It is easy to get lost in the vast selection of stainless steel cooker hoods. Varied by function, finish, size and power, their primary purpose is to absorb smells and hot air from the hob. If you are searching for the best cooker hood for your kitchen, you should consider several aspects.
Cooker hoods can be distinguished by function:
Extractor hood requires a hole in the wall, but it is much more efficient. Motors power discharge of extracted air out of the kitchen.
If an outside wall or a ventilation chimney is not directly behind the hob, you can still consider purchasing an extractor hood. Simply bear in mind that you need to plan ducting and for reasonable efficiency, it should be less than 5 metres long in a straight line (if there are any curves, it should be even shorter).
Purifier hood or recirculation hood cleans or purifies the air and returns it to the kitchen. This type’s top hoods contain three purification layers: a mesh filter, polyurethane foam micro-filter, and active carbon filter.
Due to differences in air processing, purifier hoods are frequently less effective than extractor hoods. That’s why you should consider a higher quality purifier hood with several filters if extraction and ducting are a no go in your case.
Cooker hoods come in a range of sizes: 50cm, 55cm, 60cm, 70cm, 80cm, 90cm, 110cm, 120cm, 140cm…
How to find the right size of a ventilation hood, then?
If you are building your kitchen, planning a makeover or thinking of a renovation, you might think about leaving extra space over your hob. Consider adding about 10 cm on each side to the width of your cooktop. This will allow the hood to catch all grease and odours without taking too much space as well.
A simple example: if your cooktop is a standard 60cm unit, for the hood to be effective, it would need to be 80cm wide.
The depth is also related to your cooktop. No-one likes to hit their head against the hood while cooking, so subtract 5-10cm from the cooktop’s depth. Those who are meticulous about the design will also be pleased with a ventilation hood of greater width and smaller depth than the cooktop.
Speaking of design, a modern solution many designers choose for a cooker hood is a concealed system. Most commonly, it also has an extraction pipe going straight to the chimney. If you install it on its own behind a glass panel, make sure you leave enough space on the sides so that it does not look cramped. You can also choose a popular way of installing a hood, within a top cabinet, which makes it concealed without losing its efficiency.
However, cooker hoods installed under top cabinets remain a definitive solution both for modern and traditional kitchens. They conceal an exhaust pipe going to the chimney (also called ducting) and easily fit into most kitchens. Two options are available: extraction of air out of the kitchen and purification with filters.
Finally, let’s not forget about cooker hoods installed on their own. They add a unique touch to kitchens, especially the ones without top cabinets on the sides of the hood. Then, a cooker hood becomes the primary design element. ‘Isn’t it just for industrial kitchens?’, you might ask. A solid stainless-steel ventilation hood will beautifully complement a contemporary style kitchen. In smaller cooking areas, consider placing a hood between cabinets to maximize space.
Final tip: position a cooker hood directly above your cooktop, centred, not on its side.
Finally, think about power. The optimal filter/extraction rate is at least ten times per hour. This means that the hood catches the ‘kitchenload’ of air ten times per hour. Before the purchase, make a small calculation. Multiply the length by width by height of your kitchen and then multiply it by 10 to determine the minimum recommended performance, for example, 3m x 4m x 2.5m x 10 times per hour = 300m3/h. Now you know that you should buy a cooker hood of at least 300m3/h performance, not less. This is important because only the right combination of size, positioning and efficiency will give you the desired result.