Range hood inserts are a style of kitchen hood that is inserted into a cabinet, wood hood, or custom enclosure.
Just like other vent hoods, inserts can also be installed in a recirculating installation. These ductless inserts use charcoal filters to capture the smoke and fumes before sending the air out the top or rear of the hood.
Other than the carbon filtration and not using a duct, the installation is basically the same as standard inserts.
Homeowners should always verify with the manufacturer that the hood can be installed as recirculating and that carbon filters come with the purchase (or can be bought separately). I researched the highest quality recirculating inserts on the market, and made sure that they come with carbon filters (or it's available for a separate purchase). Check them out below!
Our Top Picks
Best Overall: IKTCH 36-inch Ductless Range Hood Insert at Amazon
⬇️ Jump To Review
Best Budget: FIREGAS 30-inch Built-In Vent Hood at Amazon
⬇️ Jump To Review
Best Value: MCBON 30-inch Recirculating Range Hood Insert at Amazon
⬇️ Jump To Review
Our overall top pick for the best ductless range hood insert goes to IKTCH. This powerful 900-cfm insert will filter odors and smoke from your kitchen with it's activated carbon filter (included with purchase).
This model is 36-inches wide, but there is also a 30-inch wide recirculating insert available. I really love that it comes with stainless steel baffle filters and adjustable LED lighting for an incredible look.
A great feature of this insert is that it comes with a touch screen (for easy cleaning) as well as gesture control. This means you can control the operation of it without touching any buttons and just by waving your hands in front of it. There is also a countdown timer included so it can be shutdown automatically.
Price at time of publish: $339
Dimensions: 11.77"D x 35.43"W x 11.4"H | CFM: 900 | Noise: 65-dB Max | Includes Carbon Filter: Yes | Other Sizes Available: 30" | Fan Speeds: 4 settings
Our best budget pick coming in at around $200 is the FIREGAS 30-inch ductless range hood. It comes with the activated carbon filters so you can easily install this vent hood as recirculating.
The FIREGAS insert is rated at 600-cfm and it comes with stainless steel baffle filters to effectively capture grease (and dishwasher safe).
There are also two 1.5-watt stylish LED lights that will give some nice illumination to your cooktop or stove. The noise level is moderate and it is rated at 57-dB on the high speed setting.
Price at time of publish: $199
Dimensions: 27.8"W x 11.5"D x 11.4"H | CFM: 600 | Noise: 57-dB Max | Includes Carbon Filter: Yes | Other Sizes Available: none | Lights: 2 1.5-watt LED | Fan Speeds: 3 settings
Our top value pick goes to the MCBON which is an excellent 30-inch ductless vent hood insert for all of your kitchen needs. Homeowners will have to buy a separate carbon filter kit for this to work as recirculating, you can buy the filter part# Filter-1 here.
This insert is rated at 700-cfm which is more than enough power for most kitchens. It has 3 speed settings and comes with two powerful 3-watt LED lights. This MCBON ductless insert also comes in a 34-inch and 36-inch models if you need a larger hood.
Price at time of publish: $329
Dimensions: 11.77"D x 27.78"W x 10.8"H | CFM: 700 | Noise: 62-dB Max | Includes Carbon Filter: Sold Separate | Other Sizes Available: 34" & 36" | Lights: Two 3-watt LED | Fan Speeds: 3 settings
Our #1 Choice
Our top pick for the best ductless range hood insert goes to IKTCH. This 36-inch insert comes with the charcoal filters for a recirculating installation. It also comes in a 30-inch model. It has a powerful suction capacity and is rated at 900-cfm which is more than adequate for most kitchens. The IKTCH also features a cool gesture control technology so you can turn it on and off (or change speed) by using hand gestures.
Factors To Consider When Buying
Choosing CFM or Fan Speed
Even though ductless inserts don't vent to the outside, the fan speed or CFM is something you should still carefully choose.
Range hood inserts are rated with CFM which stands for cubic feet per minute. This is a measurement of how much air the insert can move every 60-seconds.
If you buy a too powerful CFM rated hood, it will be much louder than needed and it will use more electricity. But if you buy an underpowered CFM rating, then it won't adequately capture the smoke and grease from your cooking.
The basic rule for CFM is to divide your kitchen volume by 4 to get a minimum CFM.
Insert And Liner Size
With ductless range hood inserts, it is crucial to pick the right physical dimensions.
Homeowners can either put the insert into a cabinet, a wood hood, or a custom enclosure. If the insert will go into a cabinet or pre-made wood hood, just make sure the dimensions will fit.
It is also important to consider the insert liner. The liner is a metal frame that goes over the range hood and covers the gap between the insert and the wood hood (or cabinet). Some range hood inserts come with a pre-made liner, but with other inserts you will have to buy your own metal liner.
Recirculating range hood inserts work by capturing grease through the baffle (or mesh) stainless steel filters and it filters smoke and fumes using carbon filters.
Standard inserts just send the smoke and fumes to the outside, but recirculating hoods will need to filter it. Activated carbon filters are highly porous and absorb the smoke and fumes.
Homeowners need to verify that the insert can be used in a recirculating installation and that it either comes with carbon filters or that it can be purchased separately.
Recirculating Through Top Or Rear Vent
With recirculating range hoods, homeowners will need to leave the top or rear vent open in order to recirculate. On traditional inserts this is where the duct is connected and is installed all the way to the exterior.
The carbon filters are typically round filters that are installed over the motor, sometimes one on each side.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a ductless range hood insert?
A ductless range hood insert is a type of insert that is installed without using a duct to the exterior. Instead of sending the smoke and fumes outside, it filters it through activated carbon filters before sending it through the top or rear of the insert.
How to install a recirculating vent hood insert?
Installation is exactly the same for a traditional ducted insert except that carbon filters are installed over the motors. The vent is left open on the top or rear of the insert as well. The insert will be screwed into the wall joists and/or cabinet. The power cord will need to be plugged into a nearby outlet or hardwired. Homeowners will need to decide whether to use a wood hood, under cabinet, or custom enclosure for the insert.
Are ductless range hood inserts worth it?
If you are in a situation where installing a duct isn't allowed (such as in a condo building), or if the installation would be very expensive, then a ductless installation is the only other option. Even though it isn't nearly as good as going ducted, it will still remove a decent amount of smoke and fumes for the average homeowner. You may still need to crack open a window or two while cooking for ventilation.
Can you make any range hood insert recirculating?
No, you cannot make every range hood insert into a recirculating install. It depends on the manufacturer and if they made a carbon filter for the insert. Always verify that a carbon filter is available before purchasing the insert.
Where does the air go from a ductless range hood insert?
The air will go out of the top or rear of the insert and into the cabinet, wood hood, or custom enclosure.
Our Experience With Range Hoods
Arie Van Tuijl is a licensed home inspector in the state of Virginia and has inspected and tested hundreds of range hoods. He compiled this list by using in-depth research and his own judgment to pick the best range hood for your home. Mr. Van Tuijl is also familiar with range hood codes and installation.