Do you want to find the best ductless range hood for your kitchen?
Ventless range hoods are installed without any ductwork which is great for spaces where a duct just won’t work.
In this product review, I will go over…
- My #1 top pick for the best ductless range hood
- Why recirculating vent hoods need charcoal filters
- How to install ventless range hoods
Let’s get started with this guide!
My Overall #1 Rated Pick
- Ductless With #CFK5 Carbon Filter Kit (sold separate)
- Powerful at 500-cfm
- Twin centrifugal motors
- Stainless steel body
- Efficient 1.5 watt LED lights
- 4 speeds
The Cosmo QS75 is a powerful range hood that is rated at 500-cfm and can be installed ductless with the purchase of the carbon filter kit. The 18-gauge stainless steel housing gives a great look and is easy to clean. It comes with twin centrifugal motors, and stainless steel baffle filters. It also comes with two energy efficient 1.5-watt LED lights to illuminate your cooking area.
This ductless range hood has a contemporary professional style that home chefs love — and it even has a remote control. The additional purchase of the Cosmo Carbon Filter #CFK5 is required to use this hood as non-vented.
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Top 5 Best Ductless Range Hoods
Here is my list of the best ductless range hoods for your kitchen. If you want more information on these ductless range hoods, keep scrolling for my reviews.
- Cosmo QS75 (Best Overall)
- Cosmo 5MU30
- Broan 413004 (Best Budget)
- Cosmo UC30
- Broan Aluminum (Best Insert)
What Is A Convertible Ductless Range Hood?
A ductless range hood is a type of kitchen hood that exhausts filtered air back into the kitchen rather than to the outside. These recirculating hoods are almost always convertible from ducted to ductless just with the addition of a charcoal filter and closing the duct opening.
The charcoal filter helps remove smoke and other hazardous chemicals from being recirculated into the air. It’s also important to make sure that any vent holes that were used for connecting to ductwork is closed and air-sealed. The ventless range hood should exhaust air either from the top or sides of the hood.
If you want more details, you can read my guide on how ductless range hoods work.
Verify That It Can Be Used Ductless
Probably the most important consideration when buying a ventless range hood is that it can actually be used in a ductless configuration. Almost all range hoods are convertible from ducted to non-vented but you will need to verify it with the manufacturer. You will also want to make sure that you can actually purchase the charcoal filter that is required to operate the range hood as recirculating.
The charcoal filter will either be a separate filter from the grease filter (aluminum mesh or steel), or the grease filter and charcoal filter will be one piece. There also may be a third paper filter but it isn’t very common.
You may want to consider the cost of the charcoal filters because it will be something that you need to buy at least 2-3 times a year. If the charcoal filter has an exorbitant price, or if you are unsure if you will still be able to buy the charcoal filter in the future — that may impact your buying decision.
Read Also: Do Range Hoods Have To Be Vented Outside?
Recirculating Range Hood Width
After verifying that the range hood can be used ventless, you will want to make sure that you size it correctly.
The width of the recirculating range hood should at minimum match the width of your stove or cooktop. And if you can get a range hood a few inches wider than the range — that is even better.
If you pick a range hood that is smaller than your range, it won’t effectively capture the smoke and grease.
Ventless Range Hood Fan Speed Or CFM
Another crucial step in choosing a ductless range hood is the fan speed measured in CFM or cubic feet per minute. CFM is a measurement of air flow and most range hoods start at 200-cfm and can go as high as 800-cfm+.
The recommended CFM by the Home Ventilating Institute for on the wall installations is 100-cfm per linear foot. And if the range hood is on an island, they recommend 150-cfm.
Though if you get a somewhat stronger range hood for a ductless install, it may be even better. There is also no backdrafting concerns with a ductless range hood unlike ducted hoods — so a makeup air system is not needed. I invite you to check out my complete guide on picking the right CFM for range hoods here.
How Does A Ductless Range Hood Work?
A ductless range hood works by recirculating the air back into the kitchen. Instead of sending cooking fumes to the outside, it sends it through a filtration system which usually consists of a grease filter and a charcoal filter.
The charcoal filter captures smoke and fumes that vented range hoods don’t use.
The grease filter is a common filter among vented and non-vented range hoods, and they are needed to collect cooking grease, prevent fires, and to protect the motor. More fires start in the kitchen that any other room in the home.
During installation, the main difference is that any duct holes that were used to send the fumes outside will be closed. And the cooking gases are instead filtered and then sent back into the kitchen either through a vent on the top of the hood or at the sides. You can read my complete guide on how ductless range hoods work here.
Why Use A Ductless Range Hood?
Even though ducted range hoods are always superior to ductless (and recommended if feasible) — there will always be situations where a ductless hood is preferred.
Many apartment buildings have non-vented range hoods because they can’t install ductwork through their neighbors apartment. You also may have an older home where the range is on an interior wall and it may not be structurally possible to install a vented range hood.
There also may be cost considerations where it isn’t worth it to install a conventional range hood. If you are installing a second kitchen or if it is a rental property, you may just prefer to keep costs down and install a recirculating range hood.
Read Also: How To Clean Range Hood Baffle Filters?
What Are The Benefits Of A Recirculating Range Hood?
Ease of Installation
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. A range hood should not be vented into an attic or crawlspace, which makes the install more difficult, but sometimes homeowners or contractors cut corners.
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 the range hood is 400-cfm or greater and vented to the outside, you may be required by code to install an automatic makeup air system.
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).
With a typical outdoor vented range hood, there are 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 powerful at 400-cfm or more) 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 To Install Under Cabinet Ductless Range Hoods?
An under cabinet ductless range hood is installed by using a few screws and securing it underneath the cabinet above the stove. 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.
To make it recirculating, you will need to either cover duct hole if it isn’t already covered, and you will need to install the charcoal filter (as well as the grease filter) that matches your range hood.
You will need to make sure that the recirculating vent (where air goes out) is unobstructed — it should be either on the top or sides of the range hood. I recommend fully reading the included instruction manual that comes with the range hood — many models have their own unique installation steps.
If you want more details, you can read my guide on installing under cabinet ductless range hoods or my guide on installing wall mounted range hoods.
What Are The Code Requirements For Self-Ventilating Range Hoods?
Installing a ductless range hood is almost always an approved code exception as long as it is listed and designed for ventless use by the manufacturer.
Most of the building code on range hoods don’t apply to ductless range hoods because it main specifies duct length, duct type, makeup air, and other things related to the duct.
If you are uncertain about your state building code, you can contact your local building department or lookup your state’s building code.
For more details, you can check out my guide on the code requirements of range hoods.
What Are The Best Ductless Range Hoods?
Here are my full reviews of the best non-vented range hoods with their pros and cons. Check it out below…
Pick #1. Cosmo QS75
My #1 top pick is the Cosmo QS75 which is a premium range hood that can be installed ductless with the carbon filter kit. It is a powerful range hood that is rated at 500-cfm to give you that extra power to handle the toughest home cooking.
This stainless steel range hood has a contemporary professional style that home chefs love. It comes with a backlighted display and four fan speeds — it even comes with a remote control.
The additional purchase of the Cosmo Carbon Filter #CFK5 is required to use this hood as non-vented.
- Ductless installation option
- Powerful dual motors at 500-cfm
- Efficient 1.5 watt LED lights
- 4 custom speeds
- Remote control
- More expensive
- Ductless kit sold separate
Pick #2. Cosmo 5MU30
The Cosmo 5MU30 is my budget friendly pick for a non-vented range hood.
This 200-cfm rated range hood can be converted to a ductless installation with the addition of a carbon filter kit — Part #CFK4.
It has a 3-speed fan, comes with two LED lights, and has a brushed stainless steel finish. It features a space-saving design with slim body — great for apartments, or small kitchens.
This ventless range hood comes in 30-inch and 36-inch models.
- 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
Pick #3. Broan 413004
The Broan 413004 is my only range hood pick that can only be installed in a ductless configuration.
This non-vented range hood already comes with the carbon filter kit, so a separate purchase isn’t required.
This Broan hood comes in a range of sizes from 21-inch up to 36-inch to fit a variety of stoves. It is made out of stainless steel, has two speeds, and it includes the fixture for a 75-watt light bulb (not included).
One downside of this hood is that it will need to be hardwired unless you purchase a separate power cord kit.
- Carbon filter kit included
- 2 fan speeds
- Stainless steel finish
- Variety of widths (21″ to 36″)
- Needs to be hardwired
- No CFM rating
Pick #4. Cosmo UC30
The Cosmo UC30 can be easily converted to a recirculating kitchen range hood with the purchase of a carbon filter kit.
The carbon filter kit is part# CFK1-TM and can be purchased here.
This range hood is pretty powerful with a 380-cfm rating, and it comes with 3 fan speeds.
It features ARC-FLOW permanent filters that will efficiently capture cooking grease.
It has a stainless steel body and a European style.
- Convertible to ductless install
- 380-cfm fan speed
- Stainless steel ARC-FLOW filters
- Dual 2-watt LEDs
- May be noisy
- It probably requires two people to install
Pick #5. Broan PM250
The Broan PM250 range hood is a quality kitchen hood that can be converted to a ventless installation.
The PM250 has an aluminum finish, and it includes two 40-watt lights (bulbs sold separate).
It is rated at 250-cfm which is great for small to medium sized kitchens.
The PM250 is ADA compliant and can be used with a 2 or 3 rocker switch on the wall.
- Aluminum finish
- Easy to clean smooth surfaces
- Quick release filters
- Good lighting capability
- Must buy self-ventilating kit additionally
- No heat sensor