What Is a Range Hood and Why Should You Have One?

What Is a Range Hood and Why Should You Have One?

A range hood usually comes in the form of a canopy over your stovetop with a blower motor or a fan inside that vents the air above your stove. If you’re like me, you don’t love the noise most range hoods make when they’re in use, but it’s still a much better idea to have and use one than to bypass this important feature of your kitchen.

So What is a Range Hood Good For?

Getting Steamy

Boiling water for pasta or mashed potatoes is not the only source of steam you produce when you cook on your stove. Almost any vegetable or plant has moisture in it, and cooking it up will produce steam.

In the same way that regular steamy showers can cause a gradual buildup of water-related problems in your bathroom, excessive exposure to steam in your kitchen can cause damage to paint and walls, it can warp and discolor your cabinetry, and it can cause mold.

Keeping Things Shiny

Oil and grease, cooking spray, even food and spice particles, can spread from your stove to nearly every surface of your kitchen. Venting as much of that matter out of your home as possible with the range hood will make it easier for you to keep your kitchen cleaner overall.


Maybe you are still learning to cook, and you’ve set off your fair share of smoke detectors with burned pancakes and scorched veggies. Getting rid of the smoke at the source can’t help you learn not to burn your food, but it can reduce the amount of time you have to spend turning off an overprotective smoke detector.


Most people like the smell of cooking food, but not everyone has the same tastes. On top of that, if you’re adventurous in the kitchen and prone to experimentation, you might not always know what scents you’re about to produce. Turn on that vent hood to keep the smells down a bit.

Getting Hot in Here

“Sweating over a hot stove” doesn’t have to be as literal if you use your range hood’s fan to circulate the hot air right above your cooking surface out of your house.

Types of Range Hood

Under Cabinet or Microwave Range Hood Combo

If you have cabinetry or a microwave directly above your stove and you have a range hood (and, again, you really should have a range hood) this is the type you’re likeliest to have. They’re less expensive than some of the other types of range hoods out there, but they are also less effective.

Chimney-Style or Wall Mounted Range Hoods

This type of hood requires no cabinetry or appliances above your stovetop area, as well as a little bit to either side to allow for an effectively sized hood canopy. This is the style of hood affixed directly to your wall, with a vent leading up before taking the air and steam and smoke and everything else outside.

Ceiling Mounted or Island Style Range Hood

If your stove is on an island or peninsula style counter in your kitchen, this is the type of range hood you’ll need. It is typically more expensive and requires a contractor to properly install, as it hangs straight down from the ceiling above your stovetop.

The cleaning-time and water-damage trouble a range hood can save you is generally worth the initial cost.

Range Hood Styles

The style of your range hood can be as versatile as that of your other kitchen appliances. Stainless steel is popular, to match the majority of kitchens.

While most range hoods are metal, stainless steel is not your only option. In fact, with brass making a comeback in kitchen decoration trends, anyone planning a new or remodeled kitchen might find perusing CopperSmith brass hoods helpful.

Stone and wood have also been used for range hoods to beautiful effect, though they may not be as easy to maintain as metal.

In some cases range hoods have been made with plastic parts, but for such a high heat use that may not be the best idea if you can afford something a little more suitable.

Range Hoods are Good

I’ll admit—I’m not a fan of prolonged white noise, so I was always hesitant to turn the blower motor on in my own range hood at first. But once I did and saw for myself the difference it made in my cleaning time and in the moisture level in my kitchen, and the bit of comfort it offered in terms of some temperature regulation even when I’ve been cooking for a long time, I was won over.

If your kitchen doesn’t have a range hood, or if you’re planning a remodel or a new kitchen and you haven’t included one in your design, you should fix that oversight and save yourself time and trouble.