If you don’t have much space in your kitchen, and you’re left with an under-cabinet space for a hood, then your best bet becomes a ductless range hood.
Although it won’t suck the air out of the kitchen as ducted range hoods do, a ductless range hood will still capture the odors and smoke particles in the air, helping you thereby to a cleaner kitchen.
In this ductless range hood review, you’ll get a list of the top hoods in the market, plus a buying guide to help you make the best choice.
What to Check Before Buying Best Ductless Range Hood?
Following is a closer look at the important features of a ductless range hood that you need to understand and pay attention to if you want to get the best ductless range hood for your kitchen.
It’s important that your range hood matches the size of your cooktop, so it can function effectively. This is based on the laws of physics.
Range hoods pick particles suspended in the air as they drift upwards but if the range hood is too narrow or small, the particles might drift away to other parts of the kitchen as they rise and therefore, not get filtered by the hood.
This makes it necessary to measure and know how much space you’ve got under the cabinet and how large your cooktop is. You’ll then have to do the maths.
For best results, the hood should be at the very least, equally wide as your cooktop, or in simple terms, the bigger the hood, the better.
Unlike ducted range hoods, which just draw the air away from the kitchen to the outdoors, ductless or recirculating range hoods draw air from the kitchen and blow it over a filter that captures the particles in it and the hood then releases the air back into the kitchen.
This filter will usually contain activated charcoal particles, which trap the odor, grease and smoke particles in the air and allows much cleaner air to get recirculated into the kitchen.
You’ll need to clean or change the filter about once or twice each year to keep a ductless range hood working efficiently, else you’ll start to get yellowing of the walls around your cooktop.
3. Air Flow
Airflow is a measure of how much air passes through the hood in a given time-frame and it’s usually measured in CFM, which stands for Cubic Feet Per Minute.
Naturally, the higher the CFM rating of a range hood, the better it should work, but you should note that filter quality is also important in determining how effectively a ductless range hood works.
Since ductless hoods need to pass their air through a filter, they tend to offer lower CFM ratings than their ducted counterparts, but this isn’t everything, what matters here is how many particles actually get filtered.
Hoods need a blower to drive the air with the particles in it and these blowers make noise. Secondly, larger or faster blowers, which generate higher CFMs of air are naturally louder.
So, if noise happens to pose a problem for you, you may want to consider premium hoods with added sound dampening features to keep noise at low levels while blowing large volumes of air.
5. Fan Speeds
Two or three-speed settings is enough and offers you the opportunity to either choose a higher fan speed when normally cooking or to choose a slower speed after you’re done with cooking and you need to continue ventilating for a little longer.
Range hoods can cost anything from a hundred dollars to many thousands of dollars depending on style, construction materials, size, and of course, features.
What you need to do here is to set your budget based on what you can comfortably afford and then focus on only those offers that fall within your budget.
5 Best Ductless Range Hoods of 2021 Reviewed
1. Broan 413004 (Best Overall)
2. Cosmo 5MU30 (Stylish & Modern Design)
3. Zuhne Ventus30 (Low Noise & Energy Saving)
4. Air King AD1248 (Best 24-inch Design)
5. Kobe CHX3830SQBD-3 (Premium Quality)
1. Broan 413004 – Best Overall
- Size: 21, 24, 30, 36, 42 inches
- Fan speeds: Two speeds
Broan offers you its top-rated ductless range hood here. It’s a high-quality hood at a low price, and although it comes with just basic features, it’s very well-engineered.
The entire construction is from stainless steel, and it offers a 2-speed motor which blows air at acceptable noise levels. There is also a light switch, but the package does not include the bulb, so you’ll have to buy that one separately.
It will accept incandescent bulbs up to 75 Watts and the bulb’s protective cover features a design to distribute the light evenly over your cooktop. In addition to all these features, this hood also features a modern design to add a touch of style to any kitchen.
This offer is for the 30-inch model but Broan also offers other models from 21 inches all the way to 42 inches and backs them all with a 1-year warranty.
- The entire hood is from stainless steel
- Cleans the air using a charcoal filter
- Includes a lighting function with even distributing lens
- It’s backed by a 1-year warranty from Broan
- The light-bulb is not included in the package
- It doesn’t use modern, energy-saving lights
2. Cosmo 5MU30 – Stylish & Modern Range Hood
- Size: 30 & 36 inches
- Airflow (Max): 200 CFM
- Fan speeds: 3 speeds
- Noise level: 56 dB max
Appliances don’t always need to look boring, they can also offer a form of artwork to beautify their surroundings and that’s exactly what this Cosmo 5MU30 does.
You get a range hood that offers smooth curves all over. Plus buttons that are both functional and beautiful. Then there are LED lights to both save energy and give you one of the best ductless under-cabinet range hoods.
Another feature is that you can either use it as a ducted or a ductless range hood and there are 3-speed settings, allowing this range hood to blow air at up to 200 CFM.
One thing you might not like here is that you’ll need to buy the carbon filter kit separately to make it work like a ductless hood. Else, this is a great offer and the manufacturer backs it with a 5-year warranty.
- Made using 20-gauge stainless steel
- Features a high-quality filtration system
- Powerful but quiet system
- Offers a 3-speed fan and modern LED lighting
- The offer comes backed by a solid 5-year warranty
- The carbon filter needs getting purchased separately
- It’s only available in 2 sizes
3. Zuhne Ventus30 – Low Noise & Energy Saving
- Size: 30 inches
- Airflow (Max): 450 CFM
- Fan speeds: 3 speeds
- Noise level: 48 decibels
From its backlit soft-touch control buttons to its 3-Watt LED lights and stainless steel baffle filters, this is one elegant and energy-saving modern range hood that anyone should be happy to own.
It’s designed for flexible installation, either as a ducted or a ductless range hood and it comes with all the accessories needed for a ducted installation, including its 15.6-inch to 30-inch telescopic chimney.
For a ductless installation, however, you’ll need to contact Zuhne for the charcoal filters, which means extra work. The good news though, is that the filters are free.
This range hood also features many certifications like BBB, RoHS, and UL, additionally making it a top choice for builders and one of the best recirculating range hoods there is. Plus, Zuhne backs it with a lifetime warranty.
- Elegant design as both ducted and ductless hood
- Energy saving and low noise design
- Delivers up to 450 CFM at just 48 decibels
- Backed by Zuhne’s lifetime warranty
- It costs more than most others
- Need to ask for free filters for a ductless installation
4. Air King AD1248 – Best 24-inch
- Size: 24 inches
- Fan speeds: 2 speed
Air King offers you the AD1248 here, which is one of the best ductless range hoods designed for 24-inch installations. It’s a simple but reliable system, but it doesn’t look very stylish.
Asides from aesthetics though, it’s manufactured using 23-gauge stainless steel and features dual rocker switches. It has that rugged industrial look to it which lets you know that it’s built well.
This hood will accept a 60-Watt bulb, although it’s not included in the package. It also makes it look dated with other products including modern LED lighting, which is both energy-saving and long-lasting.
Still, if it’s a 24-inch range hood that you need, then this one is a great offer. It’s 6 inches high, 18.5 inches deep, and it comes with a 1-year warranty.
- Built using a 23-gauge stainless steel construction
- Designed specifically for 24-inch ranges
- Features a dual rocker On/Off light switch
- It’s backed by a 1-year manufacturer warranty
- It’s not a very stylish range hood
- It doesn’t use modern, energy-saving lights
5. Kobe CHX3830SQBD-3 – Premium Quality
- Size: 30 and 36 inches
- Airflow (Max): 400 CFM
- Fan speeds: 3 speed
- Noise level: 42 decibels at 150 CFM
Kobe’s Brillia series offers you one of the best ductless range hoods with a charcoal filter and an uncompromising quality that’s both impressive and equally expensive. This hood is the costliest in this review, but it also has a lot to offer.
Beginning with its 18-gauge stainless steel construction, you get beautiful curves and a carefully designed package that will accent any kitchen’s designs with a touch of style and class.
The technical aspects are equally impressive, with up to 400 CFM of airflow in three speeds, two bright LED lights, baffle filters, and two carbon filters.
Kobe backs this hood with a 2-year warranty, but you’ll have to stomach its price if you really want it.
- Powerful 400 CFM of airflow
- Very beautifully designed ductless range hood
- Offers a 3-speed control system
- The lowest speed is very quiet at just 42 decibels
- This hood is much costlier than others
- It’s only available in 30 and 36-inch models
Ducted vs Ductless Range Hoods
You may wonder if choosing a ductless range hood is the right decision or if a ducted system could be better for you. One thing you should understand is that they each have their advantages and disadvantages and following is a look at these two types:
1. Ducted Range Hoods
Ducted range hoods need a duct connection that drives air from the kitchen to the outdoors, effectively ventilating the kitchen by drawing fresh air into it.
This carrying away of the smell and carbon particles from the kitchen through a duct is what differentiates the two types of range hoods.
Ducted range hoods are more limited during installation than ductless hoods because you’ll need to connect it to a duct. They also take up more space than ductless hoods and the installation can get very costly if you don’t already have ductwork in your home.
On the brighter side, ducted range hoods are often more efficient because they don’t need to filter the air at all, but to just vent it outdoors.
2. Ductless Range Hoods
With ductless range hoods, you get an air filtering system that is much easier to install and that needs less space as well, since they do not need a duct network to work.
Ductless hoods simply draw your kitchen air and blow it over a filter, which traps the smell and carbon particles from the air and releases cleaner air into the kitchen.
By releasing the air back into the kitchen and by not filtering steam, a kitchen with a ductless hood will often get humid. Power consumption and sound levels are often higher as well.
In the end, the decision between these two types of range hoods lies with you because you’ll need to choose based on your circumstances, which can include budget, available space, taste, kitchen design, and infrastructure.
How To Clean a Ductless Range Hood?
A properly functioning ductless range hood offers you many advantages, so it’s necessary to keep its filter clean by periodically washing it. Even the best ductless range hood will become ineffective when not cleaned after months of use.
Following is a step-by-step guide to cleaning your range hood’s filter.
Step 1. Get Ready
Your first step is to get ready for washing your ductless range hood’s filter by preparing hot soapy water in the right container. The water should at best be boiling or very hot and the container into which you pour it should at best be heatproof like a sink or something else.
Once you’ve poured the water into the container, add some degreasing dish soap and some baking soda and mix well for best effect. The water is now ready for the filter and you also need to keep a brush handy.
Step 2. Remove the Filter
Most manufacturers try to make it easy to remove their range hood’s filter but as you can imagine, their systems will vary slightly from one another.
This makes it necessary to either take a quick look at the user’s guide or try to figure it out by yourself. For most, you just need to slide it after opening a latch or something similar.
Step 3. Soak It
Next step is to soak the filter in the hot soapy water and to let it soak for a while, the longer the better. Let it soak for at least 10-15 minutes to loosen the grease from the filter and make it easier for you to scrub off.
If the filter is too large for your hot water container or sink, then try soaking one half of the filter at a time.
Step 4. Scrubbing the Filter
Once the filter has soaked enough and you can even see that the grease has changed color, it’s now time to scrub the filter using a brush. Try to use a non-abrasive brush or one that can reach into tiny slots and crevices for a proper cleanse.
Step 5. Rinse & Dry
When you’re satisfied with how clean the filter has become, remove it from the soapy water and rinse it well to remove all the remaining grease and soap, then dry it with a towel.
Step 6. Replacement
Now that your range hood is clean and shiny, it’s time to put it back. It pays here to remember if there was any special procedure when removing the filter, so you can just follow it and make sure it fits well.
We’ve reached the end of this ductless range hoods review and you’ve seen the best offers in the market, including budget offers and those that offer only the best features.
If you’re in a hurry, you can easily pick the best overall range hood here, the Broan 413004 which is available in five sizes.
For a more stylish offer, the Cosmo 5MU30 should do, with its smooth design, 3-speed fan, and 200 CFM wind speeds.
In this post:
- What to Check Before Buying Best Ductless Range Hood?
- 5 Best Ductless Range Hoods of 2021 Reviewed
- Ducted vs Ductless Range Hoods
- How To Clean a Ductless Range Hood?