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Range hoods are essential to keeping your air clean while you’re cooking. They serve to remove and filter out air that’s full of smoke, gas, food particles, and more.
There are two kinds to pick from: Ducted vs Ductless range hoods.
If you’re trying to figure out which one you need for your kitchen or which one is best, we’ve got you covered! We’ll compare the pros and the cons of each to help you make the right decision.
Take a look below to find out exactly what ductless and ducted range hoods can offer you and why you may want to choose one over the other!
- Ducted vs Ductless Range Hood: Which One is Best for You?
- How do I know if My Range Hood is Ducted or Ductless?
- What Is A Ducted Range Hood?
- What Is A Ductless Range Hood?
- Ducted Vs. Ductless Range Hoods: Head-to-head
- How To Choose Between A Ductless Or Ducted Range Hood
- Commons Questions About Range Hoods
- Final Verdict: Is a Ducted or Ductless Range Hood Right for You?
Ducted vs Ductless Range Hood: Which One is Best for You?
A ducted range hood is perfect for…
- Keeping your kitchen clean. While both types of hood can be efficient, a ducted hood often outperforms its ductless counterparts.
- A quiet kitchen. If your kitchen is your sanctuary, you’ll want a ducted hood. They operate at much lower noise levels, allowing you to maintain a sense of calm as you cook!
A ductless range hood is perfect for…
- Budget shoppers. Ductless hoods are almost always cheaper than ducted, making them excellent for anyone sticking to a strict budget on their kitchen refurb.
- Those without a duct. It goes without saying, but this is the only type of hood you’ll be able to use if your kitchen doesn’t have a duct – unless you want to undergo some extensive building work first!
Ducted vs Ductless Range Hood Comparison Chart
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Check out our guide on the quietest range hoods if you need a new hood for your kitchen!
How Do I Know if My Range Hood is Ducted or Ductless?
You have to figure out if you need a ducted or ductless hood before you can buy a new range hood for your kitchen.
The main difference between ducted and ductless range hoods is where the air travels. Ductless hoods clean the air and return it into your kitchen after being filtered. Ducted hoods send the air and particles outside.
The easiest way to find out if your range hood is ducted or ductless is to look in the cabinet above it. If you see a duct, then you have a ducted system. Most wall mounts and island hoods are ducted, but if you see a return vent near the top of the hood then it may be ductless.
You can also look at the exterior wall of your house by your kitchen. You’ll likely see a return vent where the air gets sent outside.
What is a Ducted Range Hood?
A ducted range hood is a hood that you attach to a duct found above your cooking system. This hood will then expel any particles or dirty air from your kitchen outside through the connected ductwork.
This air is expelled outside, ensuring your kitchen has clean air particles, and any smells that typically linger after cooking are carried away.
As few private homes will have ducts, ducted hoods are most commonly found in commercial kitchens. It is still possible to install a ducted range hood in your home as long as you have access to a duct system from your kitchen.
Pros of Ducted Range Hoods
Ducted hoods offer a few advantages over their ductless counterparts. From better odor removal to stylish designs, these are a few advantages you can expect from ducted models.
As the air that your ducted range sucks in is quickly passed outside, they tend to be quieter than ductless options. In addition, the exhaust fan that is used to push dirty air out of your kitchen is typically further from your stove, which can lead to less noise.
If noise is a consideration you frequently make when comparing models, then be sure to check out ducted range hoods.
2. Better odor removal
One of the main reasons you may be looking to invest in a range hood is to remove odors from your kitchen. Depending on what food you cook, your kitchen can be left smelling greasy, which we would all like to avoid.
A ducted range hood is incredibly efficient at removing odors from your kitchen as it pushes the air through a duct and outside. A ductless design will only pass the air through a filter and back into the kitchen, which may not remove all the cooking odors in your kitchen.
Check out our guide on the best range hoods for gas stoves! These are some of the best at getting rid of bad smells.
3. Powerful fan speeds
Generally, the more powerful a fan is, the more air it can move at once. As ducted models pass the air through a duct, they will rely on powerful fans to achieve this – offering you a cleaner and cooler kitchen.
Powerful fan speeds will always lead to a better ventilation system, which will help when removing excess heat and nasty odors.
4. Often quite stylish
Your typical ducted hood will cost more than a ductless option, which means the manufacturer can spend a little more on a stylish design. They are always mainly aimed at a commercial market where looks can vastly help sales.
A vented range hood can be extremely stylish and help improve the aesthetics of your kitchen. There are also thousands of models out there, so finding one to suit your taste shouldn’t be too much of a challenge!
What is a Ductless Range Hood?
A ductless range hood is similar to ducted hoods with two main differences. The first and most important difference is that you can fit a ductless hood onto any cooking system as it doesn’t require a ducted system.
The second difference is that instead of passing air outside, a ductless hood will circulate the hot air from the kitchen through a filter. This filter will remove dirty particles from your kitchen’s air, then pass the new clean air back through into your kitchen.
There are many different ductless models out there, but generally, they will all work in an extremely similar way.
Pros of Ductless Range Hoods
Ducted options aren’t necessarily the best options on the market for everybody, as ductless systems still offer a few advantages of their own. Here are a few of the benefits you can expect from the ductless range.
Not everyone can splash out on the most expensive option available, so budget products are highly sought-after. Ductless range hoods are generally far cheaper than most ducted range hoods.
If you are on a strict budget or just not looking to spend large amounts on a range hood, check out ductless options.
2. Work in any kitchen
Ductless range hoods are incredibly versatile as they don’t require a duct. This means they can work in any kitchen, which is perfect if you are worried about not having a compatible vent in your home.
This also means they are generally easier to install than ducted range hoods. Ducted hoods tend to take a little effort to attach to an existing duct system, which can be a pain if you’re not familiar with the installation process.
3. Charcoal filters easy to replace
Ductless hoods use a charcoal filter to help clean air pollutants from your kitchen. These filters will generally need to be replaced once every 6 to 12 months to ensure that any air passed back into your kitchen is clean.
Thankfully, replacing charcoal filters in a ductless system is fairly simple. You don’t need to worry about following complicated instructions or taking a whole day to replace your range hood’s filter.
4. Can be compact
Depending on your chosen model, ductless range hoods can be much smaller than a ducted system. As they are fairly compact, ductless hoods work well in smaller kitchens where space can be limited.
Not all ductless hoods are compact, so we would still highly recommend taking the time to compare options. But if you want a ductless model, you shouldn’t need to look far to find one that fits your cooking range.
Ducted Vs. Ductless Range Hoods: Head-to-Head
Now that you know exactly what ducted and ductless range hoods are, you will want to know which is best for your kitchen. Finding the right range hood can be challenging, especially if you have a kitchen that is compatible with both types.
Fortunately, we have compared the most important aspects of each type of range hood, such as the average cost, the performance, and even how easy it is to clean.
Take a look below to find our ducted vs. ductless range hood guide, offering you a quick way to see which is the right range hood for you!
Before you decide on which range hood is the right choice for you, you must consider the cost. Unfortunately, there are thousands of ducted and ductless hoods out there, so the price can vary quite substantially.
Typically, a ductless hood will be cheaper than your average ducted hood. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t premium ductless models and more affordable ducted hoods.
Most ducted models on the market are designed primarily with commercial use in mind; this means they aim to fit within a restaurant’s budget. However, not all ducted options are expensive, as a few seek to compete with cheaper ductless designs.
In most cases, if you are on a budget, we would highly recommend sticking with ductless options as they tend to be cheaper. You could also check out some budget ducted hoods if you’re determined to find a ducted hood for your range!
Ducted hoods tend to offer more power than your average ductless hood for general cleaning performance. As the air and humidity are passed outside through the ducted range hood, they can provide more performance than a ductless option.
Ducted range hoods also have the advantage of being typically designed for use in a commercial setting. This means they will offer as much performance as possible without considering the cost.
However, ductless range hoods are still incredibly effective at cleaning and expelling hot air and keeping your kitchen clean. Although they only recirculate the air, it still passes through a filter which can vastly improve your kitchen’s air quality.
Overall, we would have to recommend a ducted range hood when it comes to performance. They offer a slightly better way of reducing air pollutants in the kitchen since they pass air directly outside.
Efficiency can be an essential aspect of any electrical device, especially in today’s world. The less energy a product uses, the better it is for the environment. But which is more efficient- a ductless or a ducted range hood?
Although many people will argue that ducted hoods are more energy-efficient than ductless models, this isn’t always true. The energy efficiency of your range hood will vastly differ from model to model, with no clear winner.
In terms of cleaning efficiency, a ducted hood will tend to clear the air in your kitchen faster. But it may also require more energy than a ductless hood as this air needs to be carried to the exhaust hood, which is outside.
If you are trying to find the most efficient model on the market, we recommend comparing models from both range hood types. This way, you can compare how much energy a specific model is expected to use, which in turn will help you find the most energy-efficient choice.
Ease of installation
If you are planning on installing the range hood yourself, you will want to consider your model’s ease of installation. Although there are a few exceptions to this, ductless hoods tend to be easier to install than your typical ducted hood.
As a ducted range hood needs to be attached to existing ductwork, it can be hard to install manually. This is especially true if you have never installed a ducted range hood before.
On the other hand, most ductless hoods can be installed without previous experience. It can still be a somewhat tricky process, but as they don’t require a complicated connection to a duct, you can generally fit them without professional help.
This also has the added benefit of not needing to splash out to hire a professional installation service – as long as you have the tools needed to install your range hood!
Ease of cleaning
Cleaning can be a chore, especially if you’re constantly busy. Therefore, when comparing range hoods, you will want to ensure that your model is easy to maintain. This way, you can save yourself some time and energy when it comes to cleaning your range hood.
In terms of ducted vs. ductless range hoods, we believe that ductless options can be harder to keep clean than a ducted range hood.
As ductless hoods use activated charcoal filters to clean the air, they can quickly gather dirt and grime. This means you will need to clean your ductless range hood frequently to ensure that the air passed back through remains clean.
With ducted hoods, you will still need to ensure that the duct is relatively clean, but not as often as you would with a ductless design. As the air is quickly expelled outside, there isn’t time for the dirt and grime to gather inside your duct.
Knowing what to expect when your range hood begins to break down can truly help you find the best choice for your kitchen. Depending on how serious the fault is, you may need to replace the entire range hood – or just a few parts.
As ductless hoods use charcoal filters, these are one of the first things you will need to consider replacing. Your typical ductless filter will last for six months to a year, depending on the quality of your filter.
On the contrary, once your ducted hood begins to break down, it may be a sign that you will need to replace the entire range hood. This can be difficult as ducted hoods can be hard to install due to the ductwork.
If you want to ensure that you can replace your range hood with ease if it begins to break down, then a ductless range hood will almost always be the better option.
Kitchen space is essential when trying to find the right range hood. You may be looking for the best way to keep the air in your kitchen clean and cool, but you will need to stick to compact designs if you don’t have the room.
Fortunately, a ductless range hood is a perfect choice for anyone who is working with limited kitchen space.
Most ducted hoods are designed with commercial settings in mind where size is rarely an issue. Unfortunately, they can be too large for smaller kitchen designs and may not be suited for use in a personal kitchen.
As ductless options don’t require any fancy ductwork, they generally offer smaller designs. If you don’t have much kitchen space, then a ductless range hood is the ideal choice.
How To Choose Between A Ductless Or Ducted Range Hood
The best way to choose between a ductless or ducted range hood is to consider your needs and limitations. Firstly, you will want to check if your kitchen has access to a duct; if it doesn’t, then you won’t be able to invest in a ducted option – unless you install ductwork into your home.
If you have access to a duct, choosing between the two types of hood can be a little more challenging.
Before you start comparing models, we recommend setting yourself a budget and listing a few preferences. Each type of hood offers unique advantages over the other, so knowing what you would benefit the most from can help you choose the fitting range hood for your needs.
Be sure to check out our ducted vs. ductless range hood guide above if you haven’t already. We have compared the most important aspects of each hood to help you find out which is better suited to your kitchen.
Commons Questions About Range Hoods
Why are ducted hoods more expensive?
Ducted hoods are more expensive for two main reasons. The first is that they are typically designed for use in commercial kitchens. The second reason is that they carry the dirty air outside, whereas a ductless hood will recirculate it back into the kitchen.
Can I install a duct for a range hood myself?
It is possible to install a duct into your kitchen yourself, but it can be extremely challenging and isn’t recommended. You will also need to ensure you have permission from your landlord if you are renting, as it will require construction work.
Is a ducted hood worth it?
If you have enough room in your kitchen and access to a duct, a ducted hood is more than worth the cost. They are exceptional at removing bad odors and excess heat from your kitchen and can add a whole new level of comfort to your home.
How effective are range hoods at clearing bad odors?
Most range hoods are fantastic at removing foul odors from your kitchen and generally keeping the air in your kitchen clean. Both ducted and ductless options can offer you an efficient way to keep your kitchen smelling fresh.
Final Verdict: Is a Ducted or Ductless Range Hood Right for You?
Both ductless and ducted range hoods offer you an effective way to keep the air in your kitchen clean. With each model offering unique advantages, there is truly something for everyone in the range hood market. We hope that our ducted vs ductless range hood guide has helped you make the right choice for your kitchen layout!
Richmond Howard started Meal Prepify in 2019 and has helped over a million people learn how to meal prep, get better at meal planning, and create a kitchen they love to use. He’s an avid home chef and loves to bbq, grill out, and make awesome food for family and friends. He’s been featured on MSN, Renaissance Periodization, and Good Financial Cents.