How Does a Range Hood Work? (Step-by-Step)

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A range hood is a kitchen appliance implemented with a mechanical fan that extorts unwanted smoke, steam, odors, heat, and grease from the kitchen. Most of them have a single motor, but few also have two or more.

It is often known as an exhaust hood or an oven hood, which takes away the heat and contaminated air from your kitchen from above the cooktop through a duct. There are ductless range hoods too, which use the filtering mechanism for air purification.

Different range hoods are designed for residential and commercial purposes, pulling up to 2000 CFM and 5000 CFM or more, respectively. Let’s see the different kinds of range hoods and their working.

Different Kinds of Range Hoods:

Slide Out Range Hood
Slide Out Range Hood

Most popularly used range hoods are:

Ceiling-Mount Range Hoods:

Also known as the Island-Mount Range Hood, it is attached to the ceiling if the kitchen cooktop is in the center for proper ventilation. They come in a minimal design, an excellent choice to cover a larger area, as it can cover it without the help of walls to channel the contaminated air, smoke, and fumes out of the home.

Its design is somewhat similar to a wall-mounted one with a wide base and narrow top, but it is designed to provide 360o viewing, giving you a stylish kitchen.

Wall-Mount Range Hoods:

The wall-mount range hood requires room amid the cabinets and some space on the wall above the range. They are also known as the Chimney-Style Range Hoods and is fixed on the wall above the range. It is ideal for open floor plans, large kitchens, professional ranges, etc. It provides good ventilation and a nice visual balance.

Under Cabinet Range Hoods:

Under Cabinet Range Hood

An under cabinet vent hood has a flat shape and fits well under the cabinets of your kitchen. They are comparatively smaller in size compared to the former range hood. Despite their small size, these offer efficient ventilation and a neat aesthetic to the kitchen. Ducting is hidden behind cupboard doors, best suited for small kitchens where the venting air outside is not a feasible option.

Related: How to Install a Range Hood Vent Through Ceiling? (Step-by-Step)

How does a range hood work?

Ducted and ductless range hoods are the main range hood with some of the components for proper working. Below are the basic components and their working.


The blower has an electric or mechanical fan attached to the motor installed on the wall or the ceiling. Most have a single blower, but some have a dual blower. It consists of fan blades, motor, and protective housing.

Blower Types:

Three types of blowers widely used are inline blower, local blower, and external blower.

A hood consists of the local blower followed by the remote blowers installed in the ductwork. These are away ahead from the range hood, thus makes less sound than the local blowers.

External blowers are installed outside the home or on the roof, but it’s expensive; thus, people don’t prefer installing it.


Every range hood has a control panel with stainless steel push buttons, but some high-end ones might have LED touch panels.

The panel is used to control the lights, blower speed, heat lamp controls, speed-adjustment, clock, time delay, timer, as well as on/off feature.

Filter Type:

Mainly three types of filters are used, which are charcoal filter, mesh filter, and baffle filter.

Mesh filters are efficient in catching oil, grease, and other similar particles, can be used in ducted and ductless chimneys; easy to clean, and highly durable. Its made with aluminum or steel mesh strips placed one over the other in succession, whereas the baffle filter has a curved panel used for the same purpose.

The charcoal filter has a honeycomb structure made up of powdered activated carbon charcoal, used mainly in ductless range hoods.

Most have baffle filters, but few have the mesh filters too… Charcoal filter is accompanied, but either one of them in the ductless models.

The larger the range hood is, the bigger the number of filters it has to vent the air outside.

Electric Fans:

Every vent has it to blow the hot gases from your cooktop. The speed of the fan determines its efficiency as well as noise levels. Higher speed means more efficiency but quite noisy. Though, the advanced range hoods have the noise cancellation feature, even a silent feature with high blowing speed. They have remote controlled electric fans, fan speed memory, etc.


After sucked by the fan, the contaminated air is directed to the duct, which lets it out of the home. Mostly made up of stainless steel and mounted either on the wall, roof or ceiling.

How does an under cabinet range hood work?

Under-cabinet range hoods are one of the most common types of hoods available. They are installed below the kitchen cabinets, usually situated above the cooking range or the cooktop. It offers a great, modern look to your kitchen.

Under-cabinet hoods are of two conventional types — ducted and ductless.

A ducted range hood is one that has been connected to a duct and vent air to the outside. With the help of pipes, a passage is created for the fumes or smoke to travel from the kitchen to the outdoors.

On the other hand, a ductless range hood consists of a fan that sucks up oil particles, fumes, odor, and smoke and filters it before circulating it back into the kitchen. They are quite effective but not as much as the ducted ones.

Installing them is easy if you already have the ductwork and cabinetry in place. If not, it might require a professional to do so if you want a ducted under-cabinet range hood since they will configure the vent from the kitchen to the exterior of your home.

How does a ducted range hood work?

Many people get confused with a ducted and ductless range hood as both falls under the category of under-cabinet range hoods. Here’s how a ducted range hood works:

  • A ducted range hood works by pulling air through the ductwork, usually running through the ceiling or the wall.
  • It’s connected to the exterior of the house and is one of the most effective options for purifying the air in your kitchen since it vents any type of dirt, odors, fumes, grease, etc. out of the house

How does a ductless range hood work?

You must be curious as to how the mechanism in a ductless range hood works; well, it’s pretty simple, and here’s how it works:

  • Firstly, a ductless range hood has two main components: a fan (motor) and a filter.
  • The ductless range hood absorbs the air with the air suction mechanism and utilizes its filter steam, fumes, smells, or smoke.
  • It simply recirculates the air in the kitchen after filtering it.
  • Three types of filters are used in a ductless range hood: Charcoal filters, Mesh filters, and Baffle filters. Each of these works differently, but each main goal is to purify air quality in the kitchen.
  • Most ductless range hoods use charcoal filters, but some have HEPA-grade filters too. The filters trap the solid particles from the air along with the order and reduce them to a significant level.

Since the under-cabinet range hood has powerful ventilation fans, it does not allow grease or other particles to stick to the kitchen cabinets. Thus, it is important to look for the fan speed and noise while buying a range hood, as it will determine its efficiency and comfort while using it.

Related: 8 Steps: How to Install Under Cabinet Ductless Range Hood?


When you consider purchasing or upgrading your kitchen appliances or the range hood, you must keep in mind some of the mentioned things. The best-preferred option in modern times is Under the cabinet-range hood. It makes your kitchen look neat and spacious and works effectively to purify the kitchen air from fumes or smoke, allowing you to breathe well while cooking.

You can also go for the island range hood. It comes in various trendy styles and shapes. Unlike wall-mount hoods, these are mounted to your ceiling; hence, it won’t take up much space or make your kitchen appear odd but remains quite effective. Depending on your kitchen area, type, and purpose, you can select which is best suited for you as per their work.


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