Are you interested in buying a ductless range hood for your kitchen? You have found the right website.
Buying the best ventless range hood is an important step to having healthy indoor air, remove unwanted odors, and to prevent grease coating your cabinets.
In this expert buyer’s guide, you will learn…
- The #1 best rated ductless range hood
- How ductless range hoods work (many are converted from being ducted)
- How to Wire a non-vented range hood to the electrical system
- The reason ductless range hoods are so much easier to install
- The main features and differences between self-venting range hoods and their ducted cousins
Let’s get started with this guide!
Our Top 5 Best Ventless Range Hoods
Are you short on time? Here is a quick look at my list of top rated ductless range hoods. Ductless range hoods recirculate kitchen fumes through a replaceable charcoal filter. Here are the best...
- Cosmo QS75 Pro-Style Ductless Hood With LED Lights (My #1 Top Pick)
- Cosmo 5MU30 Slim Profile Range Hood (A Close Second)
- Broan 413004 Ductless Range Hood (Best budget choice)
- Cosmo UC30 Contemporary Range Hood
- Broan Aluminum Ductless Range Hood
Our Overall #1 Rated Pick
The Cosmo QS75 is a powerful range hood that is rated at 900cfm to give you that extra power to handle the toughest home cooking. The 18-gauge stainless steel housing will give you long lasting durability and looks great. This range hood has a contemporary professional style that home chefs love. The additional purchase of the Cosmo Carbon Filter #CFK5 is required to use this hood as non-vented.
What Is A Ductless Kitchen Range Hood?
A ductless range hood is simply an exhaust fan (similar to bathroom exhaust fan) that is placed above a kitchen cooktop or stove. Self-ventilating range hoods are used to minimize cooking odors, fumes, smoke, and grease from being inhaled or spread throughout the home --- creating a much healthier home environment.
Unlike a bath fan, a range hood also has a filter made out of aluminum mesh. Most ductless range hoods also have an additional charcoal filter sandwiched to the aluminum mesh. The charcoal filter makes it safe to use the range hood because it filters out extra pollutants and odors that is sent back into the indoor air --- things that a plain aluminum mesh filter does not do.
Many range hoods are “convertible” to self-venting with the purchase of a additional kit that includes a charcoal filter. Sometimes all that is necessary is to purchase an additional charcoal filter. The cost to "convert" a regular range hood to ductless can vary from $10 (just the charcoal filter) all the way up to around $75. Some ductless range hoods already have the charcoal filter included such as the Broan-Nutone 413004.
The controls for a non-ducted range hood are very simple and basic. Usually there are a few settings for the fan speed (such as low, medium, and high), and there will be a control for the lighting. Non-vented range hoods are meant to be turned on manually when you are cooking anything that will cause smoke or fumes.
What Are The Benefits Of A Ductless Range Hood?
Probably the biggest benefit of a ventless range hood is the ease of installation. A “through the wall” vent used by ducted range hoods have a number of components such as a metal vent, an exterior vent cover, and the wall holes.
Just cutting into an exterior wall and piping a metal vent pipe all the way to the kitchen stove can be a very difficult job to say the least. Installing ductwork to the outside may involve cutting into a brick wall, or even cutting into the roof. Any roof work will usually require a licensed roofer.
A recirculating range hood avoids the mess of installing an exterior vent and can save a large amount of time and grief. Ventless range hoods can sometimes be installed in less than ten minutes. It can literally be as simple as a few screws and simply plugging the range hood into an outlet.
Avoid Carbon Monoxide Hazards
Since these range hoods are self-circulating, you won’t have to worry about creating a negative air pressure problem inside the home. If your kitchen range hood is sucking out air and putting it outside (the vented type) it may cause pressure problems and even create a carbon monoxide hazard.
If you have natural gas appliances such as a gas-fired furnace, and you install an overly powerful “exterior vented” range hood, it may literally cause your furnace to spill it’s exhaust back into the home — a problem known as backdrafting. But with self-venting range hoods this isn’t a problem because all of the air is self-circulated back into the home (rather than going outside).
Indoor Air Quality
If you have ever cooked anything without a working range hood, you know how unhealthy the air can become. According to Environmental Health Perspectives, the three main pollutants released from cooking are carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, and particulate matter. In fact, these indoor pollutants can be significantly higher on the inside of our homes than we will ever experience outside.
I used to live in a small apartment with a broken range hood, and whenever I cooked steak — smoke would fill the apartment and choke me. You can imagine how unhealthy inhaling smoke, grease, and cooking fumes into your lungs can be. Of course, this doesn’t include the annoyance of cooking smells to your neighbors or other home occupants.
You don’t want these particles into your lungs, trust me.
With a typical outdoor vented range hood, there is also potentially significant energy losses because you are expelling conditioned air to the outside. You have spent valuable energy to heat or cool the indoor air, and then with a ducted range hood (some of them are very powerful 400cfm+) you are sending all of that air conditioned air right back outside!
Besides the problem of sending conditioned air to the exterior, the long vent hose can be a source of air leakage. Many times the exterior vent cover isn't properly sealed, and outdoor air leaks into the inside. Especially with today’s highly energy efficient homes, a ductless range hood may be a much more energy efficient choice.
How Do You Inspect A Ductless Range Hood?
#1. Securely Attached & Level
Pull and tug on the appliance to see if it is securely attached to the wall or to the cabinet. Verify that the range hood was installed level.
#2. Source of Makeup Air
Range hoods greater than 400cfm should have a source of makeup air to balance the air pressure in the home (which may affect gas appliances and lead to carbon monoxide poisoning).
#3. Check The Filter
A ductless range hood needs to have a properly fitting filter that has an aluminum mesh but also has a charcoal filter. Does it need to be replaced?
#4. GFCI Trip
Trip the GFCI outlets in kitchen, and check the power to the range hood. If the hood is off, then it is not on it's own dedicated circuit when it should be.
#5. Inspect The Power
Carefully look at the power cord. Is it all intact? Any plug type electrical cords should not pass through ceilings, walls, or floors.
#6. Operate The Fan & Light
Turn on all settings of the exhaust fan and light. Listen for any unusual noises or rough fan operation.
How Do You Install a Top Quality Ductless Range Hood?
A wall mounted self-ventilating range hood is installed by using a few screws and securing it underneath a cabinet (above the stove) as well as the wall behind it. If the unit comes with a plug, you simply have to plug it into a wall outlet, which is usually the receptacle in the cabinet above the stove.
If the unit is hardwired, it will have to be wired into to the electrical system—an electrician is recommended. There are also devices called “pigtail plugs” which can be purchased so a range hood can simply be plugged in to an outlet if the range hood was made to be hard-wired.
At Home Inspector Secrets, we always recommend fully reading the included instruction manual that comes with the range hood --- many models have their own unique installation steps.
Finding A Skilled Contractor
If you want the ductless range hood professionally installed, I always recommend Thumbtack because you can quickly get free estimates, read trusted reviews, and instantly chat with contractors about jobs.
How I Pick A Top Rated Ventless Range Hood?
Picking the best non-vented range hood for a kitchen involves a few key choices such as the price, strength of the fan (the CFM rating), ease of installation, and aesthetics.
If you have a large cooktop or stove, you will want to have a non-vented range hood with a higher fan strength so it will eliminate all of those cooking fumes. However, if your kitchen is small or standard-sized, and your oven is also normal sized, I would recommend going with a non-vented range hood in the 200-300 CFM range.
CFM stands for cubic feet per minute and is the standard rating for fan strength or how much air the fan can push out in one minute.
For aesthetics, I always prefer the stainless steel look, but if your existing appliances are black, I would definitely go for a black ventless range hood to match.
Where To Buy The Best Self-Ventilating Range Hood?
The best place to buy a ventless range hood is Amazon due to a wide selection of range hoods, great prices, and fast delivery. I mean, who wants to drive to a Big Box store when you have some time off? With Amazon, you can read the reviews, carefully read the specs, and know that the range hood will be delivered within a few days.
What Are The Best Ductless Range Hoods?
The best ductless range hoods have good aesthetics, great reviews, and has the top features for your particular kitchen. Here is my list of the top ductless range hoods...
The Cosmo QS75 is a powerful range hood that is rated at 900cfm to give you that extra power to handle the toughest home cooking. The 18-gauge stainless steel housing will give you long lasting durability and looks great.
This range hood has a contemporary professional style that home chefs love.
The additional purchase of the Cosmo Carbon Filter #CFK5 is required to use this hood as ductless.
- Stainless steel body for durability
- Powerful dual motors
- Efficient 1.5 watt LED lights
- 4 custom speeds for maximum venting control
- More expensive
- May need to provide source of makeup air
- Must buy ductless kit additionally
Here is our best budget friendly ductless range hood to remove cooking fumes. This Cosmo brand hood is 200CFM and is installed underneath a cabinet or against a wall.
It has a 3-speed fan and comes with two LED lights. This model comes in 30″ and 36″ with a slim profile. A brushed stainless steel hood, it is stylish and easy to clean.
The CFK4 Charcoal Filter is required to make this range hood ductless.
- A quiet range hood (less than 56dB at max speed)
- Comes with two bright LED lights — energy efficient
- 200CFM so it is strong enough for most home cooks
- A very affordable price
- Uses a standard 3-prong plug so to hardwire requires a bit more work
- Will have to purchase a Carbon Filter separately to work as ductless
Here is another 30 inch budget friendly self-venting kitchen range hood for all of your cooking needs. This stainless steel 30″ range hood includes the charcoal filter to make it non-vented.
It uses a 75 watt bulb for great light (an LED bulb can also be used). The hood comes with a protective light lens that evenly distributes light so you can see clearly what you are cooking.
This unit is made to hardwired into your electrical system.
- Includes charcoal filter
- 2 speed fan
- Stainless steel finish
- Light bulb not included
- If you wish to use an outlet, you will have to install a pigtail plug
- Poor instruction booklet
Here is our premium choice for a self-circulating kitchen range hood that looks amazing. This stainless steel 30″ range hood can be used ductless with the addition of the Cosmo CFK1-RS Charcoal Filter.
This stainless steel range hood has a European style that is sure to turn heads. The hood is a powerful 760CFM’s, and comes with a 3-speed fan. The filter baffles are also stainless steel that gives it a professional chef look.
- A powerful fan that moves 760 cubic feet per minute
- Stainless steel filter baffles for a unique look
- Comes with electrical plug
- Some users have complained about noise
- Charcoal filter not included for ductless operation
- 25 pounds so it may require two people to install
The Broan aluminum range hood is a good quality hood with an aluminum finish. This model is 250cfm but also comes with a stronger 390cfm model.
The hood can take two 40watt bulbs for effective lighting over your cooking range.
To use this hood as ductless, the Carbon Filter Kit 357NDK must be purchased separately.
- Aluminum finish
- Easy to clean smooth surfaces
- Quick release filters
- Good lighting capability
- Must buy ductless kit additionally
- No heat sensor