A rangehood can help rid your kitchen of steam and cooking smells.
Get rid of steam and cooking smells.
Cooking steam can really add to household condensation and moisture build-up. Removing moisture from where it’s produced is the best way of dealing with the problem. Which models will do the job?
There are 5 types of rangehood available: fixed, tilting, sliding, canopy and undermount. All usually come in 60cm and 90cm widths.
Shaped like a flat box, they're fixed permanently to the wall or under an overhead cupboard. Some have a small hinged visor. They can be fitted to a new or existing kitchen. DIYers should find these easy to install.
This type of hood works well with a couple of pots steaming away, but it will miss quite a bit of the steam if you have all 4 elements going. Because they always stick out they can get in your way.
These are mounted between cupboards and have a front panel that tilts open. The panel can be matched to your kitchen décor. To use the hood, you swing the front panel out over the cooktop.
Tilt hoods are more effective than fixed ones at removing large quantities of steam. So if you often cook with all 4 elements at once, a good tilt hood may be a better option. Controls on tilt models are usually somewhere behind the tilting front, and are a little harder to use than the front controls of fixed or canopy models.
Tilt hoods are usually considered for new rather than existing kitchens, because of their "built-in" nature. But if you're getting new cupboards done, or don't mind having to reconfigure your existing cupboards, they are worth considering.
These are designed for kitchens where you want the hood to be out of the way when it's not in use.
They're generally mounted under cupboards and have an extension that slides out – the fan and light come on automatically. They are generally less efficient at collecting steam because of their smaller steam collection area.
Canopy hoods are large and comparatively expensive. Once confined to commercial kitchens, they have joined a range of other high-quality cooking equipment that has found its way into domestic kitchens.
While other types are usually ducted through the wall, most canopy hoods have a vertical flue that takes cooking fumes out through the ceiling or wall. The hood itself is usually made of stainless steel or glass, and can be deep and rectangular, or curved. Some are fixed to the wall, others hang from the ceiling. All the canopy rangehoods in our test are wall-mounted models.
With a more powerful fan, bigger chimney and greater width, canopy hoods often have a higher airflow than fixed types. They usually have additional features such as electronic controls, built-in halogen lighting, glass shelves, a rail for hanging implements, and 3 or 4 fan speeds.
Also know as "powerpacks" an undermount rangehood is hidden away above your cooktop, which makes them an unobtrusive choice. However, because they don't necessarily cover the entire cooking area they may not work as well as a canopy rangehood, depending where your saucepan is located.
In ducted mode the steam (which can be greasy from frying) and smells are blown outside. It is now illegal to duct into the ceiling cavity, because the build-up of grease can be a fire hazard and moisture can cause condensation and rot.
In recirculating mode, air is passed through a carbon or charcoal filter and recirculated back into the kitchen. This eliminates cooking odours and grease, but not moisture, which goes back into your kitchen, so it’s a second-best option.
Installing in recirculating mode is cheaper as no ducting is required, but you may need to buy a recirculating kit. You’ll also need to replace the carbon or charcoal filters – how often depends on how much and the type of cooking you do. Cooking that produces mainly steam means your filter will last longer than it will with high-fat cooking that produces strong smells. Manufacturers recommend replacing the filter every three to six months.
Rangehoods perform better in ducted mode, but for some people ducting won’t be an option (you live in an apartment or installation in ducted mode is too expensive).
Tip: When installing a rangehood it’s best to use rigid ducting. Flexible ducting has ridges which can trap air and impede performance.