Cooker Hood Guide
We have produced this cooker hood guide to assist you in purchasing the best hood for your kitchen and your needs.
Cooker hoods are frequently seen as a ‘design feature’, or an afterthought when planning a new kitchen. However, we believe that they are integral to great kitchen design and although they can provide the ‘wow factor’ there are a few points you should consider to choose the right one such as air filtration, noise level and finish, stainless steel is a popular choice for many, however, they also come in tempered glass, copper and heat-resistant plastics. So, without further ado, we will start this guide.
Included in this guide:
What is a Cooker Hood?
Cooker hoods are units which usually sits above your cooker or oven/hob area. We need cooker hoods to extract cooking smells, smoke, grease and steam from the kitchen.
You may also see them referred to as a kitchen hood, exhaust hood, or range hood. They contain a fan which helps to draw the air in, as well as filters and pipes which help to clean the dirty air or remove it.
Types Of Cooker Hood
There are various forms of cooker hood available to buy. Frustratingly, some of the terms are often interchanged, such as visor and canopy being confused or integrated being known as canopy, so always double check specifications.
Built In Cooker Hoods
These cooker hoods all require a cupboard above your cooking area to partially sit inside. You can choose from:
Canopy Cooker Hoods
These are built in from below to your cupboard, so require at least some of the cupboard space to sit inside too. They sit flush with the base for an unobtrusive look
Telescopic Cooker Hoods
Similar to a canopy hood, except they have a bonus section which pulls out and extends horizontally to create a larger extraction surface without taking up more vertical space
Integrated Cooker Hoods
These fit inside the cupboard and are activated by pulling out the door as you would if it were a cupboard. They’re uncommon these days
- Easier to blend in to your kitchen design
- Often require less fitting
- Good for smaller kitchens
- Often mean that the cupboard above the hob is unusable which could mean less storage space for smaller kitchens
Rather than requiring a cupboard, these attach to your wall and often rise upwards:
Chimney Cooker Hoods
Your traditional style hood with a canopy and chimney pipe. They need a cupboard-free space above the cooker, and the large size makes them a great feature piece
Visor Cooker Hoods
These sit under the cupboard above your cooking area, but fit to the wall rather than built-in. They’re the original form of hood, often the cheapest, and let you use the cupboard too
- Easier to use with complete extraction method
- Chimney hoods create style and a focal point
- Visor hoods are practical, taking up little space and still maintaining storage
- Chimney hoods are often large and bulky so not good for small kitchens
- Visor hoods are among some of the least powerful generally
Other Cooking Hood Designs
These cooker hood models are for very specific kitchens and layouts:
Island Cooking Hoods
Are designed for use above an island counter cooking space. The island hood is suspended from the ceiling, so you need plenty of space. They can be more costly but they do create a striking look.
Downdraft Extractor Hoods
These are quite new, but good if you want to go really minimalistic. A downdraft extractor is built-in to your worktop behind your hob, and will rise up at the touch of a button to get rid of air
Ceiling Cooking Hoods
Uncommon in your traditional home setting but there are still a few available. They are mounted flush to your ceiling as opposed to being suspended. These are for the people who really don’t want any eyesores in their kitchen and are perhaps best for one-story kitchens such as those in an extension due to their fitting
- Great for larger kitchens as they’re often more powerful
- Good for the style-conscious
- Most are from big trustworthy brands
- All relatively new technology – can be expensive
- Less widely available so less choice
What Features should you Look for When Buying a Cooker Hood?
Cooker hoods come with various features. Depending on your lifestyle, preferences and the size of your kitchen, make sure to consider the following features when researching cooker hoods:
Most have two-three speeds enabling you to adjust your desired extraction rate.
Some hoods can be intrusive, so it’s worth checking this out noise levels. You will find this in good a good buying guide such as our Top 10 Cooker Hood review, but you may want to note that extraction hoods are known to be noisier due to the additional power required to extract the air.
Your cooker hood will need to move 12 times the amount of air in the kitchen per hour. We have provided a method for you to calculate this further down in the guide. You are looking for an extraction rate of between 8 and 12 changes.
Cooker Hood Lighting
Most cooker hoods have lights built-in, these can be halogen, incandescent or LED. Their purpose is to illuminate the hob. This is one feature that I personally really like, I’m not a fan of bright kitchen lights and prefer the soft light from my hood.
Several manufactures have included smart technology to optimise your kitchen experience such as alerting when to change grease filters.
Cooker Hood Filters
Filters act to remove the smells in recirculation hoods before the air is recirculated back into the room. All hoods have grease filters, however, a carbon filter or charcoal filter is best for neutralising cooking odours.
What's the Difference Between Extraction (Ducted) and Recirculation?
Some cooker hood models, such as built-in models, can only offer one of the below, but there are some variations which can do both so you can pick which is the best hood for your home and kitchen layout:
Extraction hoods send the air outside by removing the bad particles and odours through ducting. Extraction hoods require mounting to a wall. Extra thought is required when planning your kitchen, especially if you want a hood above a kitchen island or against an internal wall as you will need to consider distance, angles and noise level (they can be louder than recirculation hoods due to the additional power required to push the air through the ducting. You will also need to consider the cost of installing an extraction hood – not all recirculation cooker hoods come supplied with ducting.
These hoods are used when it’s not possible to duct through and outside wall. Instead, the air is cleaned with grease filters which trap bad particles and release clean ones again. They often use charcoal or carbon filters and are a lot more flexible in terms of positioning in your kitchen.
What is a Good Extraction Rate for a Cooker Hood?
Extraction rates determine how quickly the cooker hood can remove the bad particles from the air. Generally, the best extraction rate for you will depend on how large your kitchen is.
The ideal cooker hood should be able to completely change the air in your kitchen around 12 times per hour.
How to work out Cooker Hood Extraction Rates
This piece of information determines how quickly the cooker hood can remove the bad particles from the air. Generally, the best extraction rate for you will depend on how large your kitchen is.
The ideal cooker hood should be able to completely change the air in your kitchen around 12 times per hour. Here is how to work out the rate you need:
Measure the height, width and depth of your kitchen in metres
Multiply all these numbers together to find out the volume of your kitchen (i.e. the entire space or m³)
Now multiply this number by 12 to find the rate of extraction. It will be displayed as m³/h
You don’t have to get these exact, but they should be pretty similar.
How High Should a Cooker Hood be from the Hob?
The distance between your cooker hood and the hob will depend on if you have a gas or electric hob. It is recommended that for electric hobs you have a distance of 650mm and for gas a distance of 750mm. When you research your cooker hood just check that the hood is adjustable and by what distance – sometimes they are not enough for your requirements.
What Size Cooker Hood Should you Buy?
Various sizes are available depending on how much space is in your kitchen and how large your cooking area or hob/cooker you will want to make sure that you buy the right size hood for your hob.
Cooker hoods less than W60cm
Uncommon, but the perfect match for smaller hobs
Cooker hoods W60cm – W69cm
Ideal for the standard 60cm hob width
Cooker hoods W70cm – W90cm
Good for larger hobs such as five zone and wok burners
Cooker hoods W90cm+
For range cookers and multi-zone areas such as hobs and grills/teppanyakis