There’s nothing worse than a dirty, fume-filled kitchen when you finish cooking. The last thing you want to do is spend ages cleaning up and airing the room as your food gets cold.
To help keep air quality at a safe level and give many of the airborne fumes produced in your kitchen an outlet, range hoods play a pivotal role. All cooktops release fumes and range hoods capture a significant amount of these emissions.
The term ‘range hood’ is a strange and unfamiliar one to many. To make things a little clearer, ‘range’ refers to your cooktop, and a hood typically hangs over your range.
While the majority of exhaust hoods vent air out of the home, there are some which remove harmful odors and agents by filtering them instead. These types of hoods are called ductless range hoods.
Ductless or non-ducted range hoods effectively recirculate air, improving the air quality around the cooking area by cleaning and redistributing it. As is the case with exhaust hoods, ductless hoods use a fan to suck in the air along with other harmful pollutants.
However, instead of leading the air outside, they clean it through a process involving degreasing filters and charcoal carbon filters and then returning it back into the room.
Furthermore, since ductless hoods don’t remove air from the kitchen, they don’t require any ventilation ductwork, which will save you a considerable amount of time, effort, and money.
This guide will take an in-depth look at some of the best ductless range hoods on the market, including our best all-around pick and four other excellent options to suit all types of budgets.
Below, you’ll also find the criteria by which I judged these ductless range hoods, as well as some of the frequently asked questions.
Key Criteria & Buyer’s Guide
What exactly makes a great ductless range hood? Listed below are a number of factors you should keep in mind when making your choice from the available options on the market.
Generally, a hood should be at least the same or one size bigger than that of the range. So, if you have a 30-inch range, you’ll want to find yourself a 30-inch or 36-inch hood.
Using this sizing rule will ensure that your hood has enough coverage to catch all the emissions from the cooktop.
Ductless units have weaker blowers compared to their ducted counterparts. This, however, is by design as they require less power in redistributing air rather than extracting it completely.
While plenty of suction is a definite advantage, it’s not a clear indicator of performance for ductless hoods. Instead, the efficiency of the filtration system is arguably more important.
All ductless hoods have filters that help to keep your kitchen cleaner. They achieve this by trapping both odors and invisible pollutants.
For example, the food spills and hot oil fumes that often settle on cooktops and nearby walls are sucked up by ductless range hoods, leaving your kitchen less grimy.
Be mindful, however, that these filters accumulate dirt so they’ll need servicing to remove residual build-up.
Carbon filters generally need replacing 2-3 times per year, and even more frequently if your cooking is particularly smoky. A good way to save money on these filters is to buy replacements in bulk.
The majority of ductless hoods on the market sell for less than $100. So, you won’t need to splash out a considerable sum of money to get yourself a good quality unit. Their relatively low price is mainly due to the economic build and the low power rating.
As a general rule, the more powerful the fan in your ductless unit, the louder it’ll be, and the more electricity it’ll use up. While powerful fans are great for sucking up more of the undesirable liquids and other contaminants in your kitchen, they do create a fair bit of noise.
So, if you plan on running the fan after dinner, just be mindful that the noise may be loud enough to disrupt sleeping household members.
It’s worth bearing in mind that you can buy some ductless range hoods with a built-in timer. These are handy for setting the fan to turn on when the house is empty. Furthermore, if it runs only for a set time, there’ll be less power wastage.
These are only minor add-ons but can end up making a huge amount of difference to your unit. One of the most popular extra features is buying a hood with a thermostat to help slow down or speed up the fan when the kitchen gets too hot.
Another common addition for those with a darkly-lit kitchen is a hood with down-lighting. This is particularly useful if you mainly use your cooktop at night.
Ducted vs Ductless Range Hoods
Before we take a look at five of the best ductless range hoods on the market it’s worth exploring in a little more depth the main differences between ductless hoods and their ducted counterparts.
Ducted range hoods are more common in hotels and commercial kitchens, and lead out of the kitchen sending fumes outdoors - almost like a mini kitchen chimney.
As mentioned earlier, ductless range hoods, on the other hand, recycle your kitchen fumes and release them back into the room. They effectively clean your kitchen, extracting moisture and other undesirable particles.
In terms of installation, ductless hoods - with no ducts to install - are far easier and quicker to set up. The majority of single-purpose ductless units are installed beneath the cabinet above the cooktop.
Convertible hoods, which can be set up for either a recirculated or vented system, are much more flexible and provide several ways to mount the hood, including the wall, under-cabinet, and island mounts.
If you’re concerned about heat loss in your home, ductless hoods are valuable - especially during the cold winter months. This is because non-ducted hoods recirculate the air in your kitchen so heat loss is minimal.
While a unit with an air duct is the way to go if you want plenty of breathing air throughout your cooking, a ductless, filtered system can still deliver excellent results while, at the same time, limiting heat loss.
Best Ductless Range Hood
1. Best Overall Pick: Broan-NuTone 413004 Non-Ducted Ductless Range Hood
We’ll start off with our top pick, an excellent all-around unit provided by Broan NuTone. This stainless steel ductless insert will significantly improve both the ventilation and lighting over your cooking stove with a top-range filtration system to remove smoke and odors.
Incandescent down-lighting illuminates your cooktop evenly, saving you plenty of money on electricity bills - particularly if your cooking area is dimly-lit or enclosed.
The Broan NuTone 413004 is an under-cabinet range hood, so will only take up limited space in your kitchen.
Furthermore, it’s relatively easy to look after with a replaceable charcoal filter so you can maintain optimum levels of grease capture and keep your kitchen looking and smelling fresh.
As ductless range hoods go, this unit is notably versatile. It comes equipped with separate rocker switches to control the light and a fan that can run at two speeds for easy use.
The 413004 measures 30” width, by 17.5” depth, by 6” height, and requires at least 18” of clearance space above the cooktop.
The hood also has edges and sides that are hemmed and mitered to prevent accidental cuts. This neat design gives the hood a clean and minimalist finish, adding to its already impressive aesthetic value.
- Excellent versatility with a two-speed fan and separate rocker switches.
- Being an under-cabinet unit, it saves plenty of valuable space in the kitchen.
- Easy to clean as the surfaces and charcoal filter are all accessible.
- Efficient incandescent lighting provides an even distribution of light over the cooktop.
- Reliable quality from a well-respected and popular company.
- The 75-watt bulb has to be ordered separately which is a little bit of extra hassle.
- Several users have reported the instructions booklet to be confusing when it comes to installing the hood.
- HIGH-QUALITY DUCTLESS RANGE HOOD INSERT: Stainless steel hood insert improves ventilation and lighting over your stove with the non-ducted filtration system that effectively removes smoke and odors
- EFFECTIVE INCANDESCENT LIGHTING: A protective lamp lens distributes light evenly over the cook-top and accepts up to 75W bulb (bulb not included)
- EASY CARE: Charcoal filter is replaceable so you can maintain optimum grease capture and keep the kitchen fresh
- VERSATILE: Separate rocker switches control the light and the 2-speed fan for easy use. Bulb (Recommended Type) - A19
- IDEAL SIZE: Range hood insert measures 30" and should be installed at least 18" above cook top
The next range hood on our list is the CIARRA CAS75918B. This product has two working modes. It can either be used as a recirculating (ductless) cooking hood with a separately sold carbon filter or a ducted hood through the top venting hole of the unit.
In terms of performance, the CAS75918B has a high extraction rate, so can efficiently absorb smoke, grease, and other contaminants, to protect you and your family from anything potentially harmful.
Furthermore, the extractor fan is of excellent quality so the amount of noise produced is minimal - less than 6.5 sone at the high speed.
The range hood is under-cabinet mounted with push-button control for three different speeds. It also comes equipped with two LED lights inside.
Overall, this dual-purpose range hood exhibits impressive performance and can also add a stylish touch to your kitchen decoration.
- High extraction rate helps to enhance the efficiency of the unit.
- Three-speed exhaust fan gives you plenty of flexibility with the operation of the hood.
- Two working modes (recirculating and ducting) enables the unit to be used effectively as either depending on your preference.
- Stylish design suitable for any kitchen.
- Carbon filters aren’t included with the range hood so need to be purchased separately.
- ULTRA SLIM: Ductless range hood 30 inch with low profile design, extremely space saving, great for condos and apartments.
- USER-FRIENDLY DESIGN: Stove vent hood for kitchen with mechanical push button for convenient control. Quiet operation, 6.5 Sones max at the highest speed.
- SUPERIOR FILTRATION: Under cabinet range hood with mesh filters, trap cooking grease and oil with ease, preventing smells and odors spreading in your kitchen.
- CONVERTIBLLE VENTILATION MODE: The slim range hood can be converted with ducted or ductless. Ductless mode need to operation with the optional purchase of CACF006 carbon filter for recirculating.
- 2 YEAR WARRANTY: CIARRA 30 inch vent hood provide 2 year limited warranty against any defects.
As a brand, Cosmo has grown in popularity over the past few years, and the 5MU under-cabinet unit is one of their best-selling convertible or recirculating-optional hoods.
The 5MU has a slim and convertible design which is ideal for smaller homes and apartments. Importantly, it’s convertible to a ductless unit with the use of an optional carbon filter kit.
To change the range hood from ducted to ductless, simply remove the two mesh filters and the bolt. Then, change the switch position to ductless to allow the exhaust to flow out the front vent, before adding your charcoal filter.
Useful features of the hood include a three-speed motor, stainless steel construction, and a maximum noise level of 56db - which is considerably less than many of the other ductless units on the market.
- Slim design is perfect for saving valuable space in smaller kitchens.
- Efficient performance with three different speed options.
- Maximum noise level is significantly lower than many other similar models.
- The carbon filter kit you need in order to operate the ductless potential of this unit is sold separately.
- Aluminium degreasers tend to wear out.
- Built with cutting edge technology and with the utmost of care, Cosmo brings you beautiful premium range hoods at an affordable price. Expect cooking and cleaning experiences that make life easier, brighten up your kitchen, and protect your health
- SLIM SPACE SAVING DESIGN: Slim profile saves space. Great for condos and apartments. Convertible to ductless with optional Carbon Filter Kit (Purchase Part # CFK4). Suitable for top or back venting; install under a cabinet or against a wall
- EFFICIENT YET QUIET: 3-speed motor, 56dB max. Cosmo’s vent hood filters your kitchen without the loudness and sounds of competing range hoods
- SUPERIOR MULTI-LAYER FILTRATION: Durable reusable aluminum mesh filters included to trap grease and oil. Multi-layer filters trap grease more effectively. Uses 5-inch round duct for exhaust vent. HVAC tape required for installation
- 3-YEAR LIMITED PARTS: Our customer support team is based proudly in the USA. Product Dimensions: 29.75" (W) x 19.75" (L) x 5.5" (H). Electrical Requirements: 120V/60Hz, 3-Prong Plug (INCLUDED). Duct Size: 5" Round
The penultimate range hood on this list is an offering from AKDY. While the hood can also be used as an under-cabinet ducted unit, we’re interested in its value as a duct-free hood. To be duct-free, a removable carbon filter needs to be fitted.
These carbon filters aren’t too pricey and can be ordered from any HVAC supplier. Better still, the AKDY comes with your first set of free carbon filters, so you’ll be covered for at least the first six months before it needs replacing.
The hood comes equipped with a powerful 85W motor that will efficiently suck any steam or smoke from your cooking. It also has three-speed levels which allow you to choose the intensity of the air suction.
In addition to carbon filters, this unit has two aluminum mesh filters that need to be cleaned every week or two. These filters are dishwasher safe, so you can easily remove any smoke or grease stains, ensuring excellent airflow and ventilation of your entire kitchen.
Finally, the hood is made with stainless steel which guarantees the premium quality of the product, as well as provides a modern and minimalist design that’s ideal for any kitchen style.
- The 85W motor has three-speed settings giving you plenty of choice in terms of the intensity of the air suction.
- Three free carbon filters come with the unit to start you off.
- The fan is incredibly quiet, keeping the noise level under 55db.
- Stainless steel construction guarantees premium quality and a modern, aesthetically pleasing design.
- Mesh filters are dishwasher safe so it’s easy to remove any smoke or grease stains.
- To use this range hood as a ductless unit, you’ll need to order a carbon filter separately.
- Several users have reported that the hood has a tendency to suffer from functioning issues.
- WHAT YOU NEED: On the search for the ultimate range hood for a professional-looking kitchen? We have the answer: the AKDY 36” white painted stainless steel under cabinet hood vents will eliminate any steam or odor!
- PREMIUM POWER: The flat-shape under cabinet hood has a powerful 85W motor that will suck any steam or smoke from cooking. The range hood has 3 speed levels through which you can choose the intensity of the air suction.
- TOP MATERIALS: The kitchen range hood is made with stainless steel which guarantees for the premium quality of the product, as well as a modern and minimalist design suitable for any kitchen style.
- EFFICIENT FILTER: The professional range hood has mesh filters that are dishwasher safe so you can remove any grease or smoke stains, ensuring a perfect airflow and efficient ventilation of the entire kitchen.
- QUIET & PRACTICAL: Although powerful, the kitchen exhaust fan is extremely quiet, keeping the noise level under 55db. Also, a halogen lamp ensures the light you need for cooking.
The final ductless range hood on the list, and by certainly no means the least, is the Chef PS18 from Hauslane. This hood has a sleek stainless steel construction with a digital touchscreen display which is easy to use and allows you to analyze the readings in less than a second.
Just be mindful that although this range hood is ductless, it’s also commonly set up as a ducted unit. So, to make it a recirculating hood, you’ll need to buy a charcoal filter to supplement the steel baffle.
The fan of the Chef PS18 can run at six different speeds providing you with plenty of control over the power and noise of the unit, while the hood is fitted with a baffle filter that can be easily removed and cleaned in the dishwasher.
Another useful feature is the auto-shut-off switch. This is especially handy at dinner time as it allows you to turn off the kitchen lights once you’ve finished cooking and let the fan run until it’s cleared the air. It’ll then automatically switch off to ensure you have a noise-free night.
- Six different speeds provide highly-customizable performance settings,
- Easy to maintain and use due to the stainless steel baffle filters which can be removed and put in the dishwasher.
- Digital touchscreen control panel also makes everyday use simple.
- The unit has convenient under-cabinet mounting.
- As reported by several customers, the durability and lifespan of the unit isn’t the greatest.
- CONTEMPORARY DESIGN: Whether you’re remodeling your entire kitchen or just upgrading appliances, this sleek stainless-steel heavy-duty range hood with its convenient digital screen and baffle filters will fit in perfectly and stand the test of time. Choose from matte white, matte black, and stainless steel.
- POWERFUL SUCTION: Lingering odors in your kitchen? A thing of the past. Prevent toxic and harmful chemicals with customizable ventilation and suction. ideal for heavy-duty cooking including heat, and smoke; boiling, steaming, poaching, braising, frying, searing, and sauteing.
- SAVE MONEY W/ 3-WAY VENTING: Keep your project simple and save you money! Choose from 3 venting options fit your current ductwork: vertical 6” round, vertical 3-¼” x 10” rectangular, or horizontal 3-¼” x 10”. Fits 6” round duct or 3-¼” x by 10” rectangular duct.
- HIGHLY-CUSTOMIZABLE SETTINGS: Customize its performance through 6-speed settings to set suction and noise levels. The standard 2700K light color gives off a warm glow but can be swapped out to match your kitchen’s lighting scheme.
- EASY TO MAINTAIN AND USE: Simply pop the easy-to-remove stainless steel baffle filters into the dishwasher to clean. Buttonless design with touch screen AND delay shutoff makes everyday use simple. Six-speed setting allows you to control the power and noise.
Frequently Asked Questions
While ductless range hoods provide an excellent addition to any home, ducted units are a little more efficient as they directly vent kitchen air to the outside of your home.
The charcoal filters used by ductless hoods to trap grease, odors, and smoke aren’t as effective as the stainless steel baffle and mesh filters typically used by ducted range hoods.
Despite the slight drop in quality, ductless range hoods tend to be a lot more affordable.
The majority of basic range hoods are wired directly into the home’s electrical system, irrespective of whether they’re ductless or ducted.