Cooker Hood Buying Guide: Everything You Need To Know
If you were asked to name essential household appliances found in a kitchen, you could be forgiven for forgetting to mention the piece of equipment that you find sitting above the hob - the cooker hood.
Cooker hoods are more than essential if you cook using your hob, as you’ll inevitably cause a degree of air pollution in your kitchen in the process. Opening a window in your kitchen will simply not be enough, you will need a way to quickly extract and filter the air and recirculating it around the room.
This is where the cooker hood comes in handy, they can extract bad odours, grease and smoke given off from cooking and expel it from the air.
However, knowing what cooker hood is right for your kitchen and what style of cooker hood are out there can be difficult to wrap your head around. We’ve put together this useful guide to help you understand:
- What does a cooker hood do?
- What types of cooker hood are out there
- What Type of Cooker Hood Will Fit My Kitchen Style?
- Different styles of cooker hoods
- How To Work Out What Extraction Rate Your Kitchen Needs
- How to maintain your cooker hood
- Things to consider for cooker hood Installation
- Where Is The Best Place To Buy Cooker Hoods Online
If you cook using your hob, you’ll inevitably cause a degree of air pollution in your kitchen in the process.
Cooking on a hob can produce a host of aromas. What you can smell are tiny particles of food, made airborne by heat. These particles can spread throughout your home and seep into cushions walls and porous furniture, causing unwanted smells to stick to them.
Aromas and smoke given off by food isn’t the only pollutant that cooking on a hob might produce. When you cook with oil, you’ll release particles of grease into the air. These particles will float around your kitchen, causing a smell that will linger wherever those particles settle.
Even if you’re doing something as apparently innocuous as steaming broccoli, you’ll be spreading moisture – which can cause any unprotected metal surface to rust.
A cooker hood helps solve this problem. They’ll extract that excess smoke airborne grease and moisture to ensure your kitchen is clean-smelling and pleasant to cook in.
Cooker hoods come in a range of different shapes, styles and sizes, suited to all budgets, situations and tastes. To the uninitiated, the choice on offer can be bewildering.
Extraction Cooker Hoods
Extraction cooker hoods - also known as ducted cooker hoods - are those which suck up air and release it outside. They thereby clear the kitchen of the smoke, steam and grease that cooking produces.
Of course, in order to do this, extraction hoods require an opening to the exterior of the building. This comes in the form of the ducting run – a pipe through which vented air will travel before being vented outdoors. The thickness of this pipe is important; wider ducting runs will be able to transport a greater volume of air before the pressure within builds to unacceptable levels. More powerful hoods will require thicker ducting; a 150mm-wide tube is often cited as the minimum requirement.
Other factors will play a role in determining the efficiency of a pipe. Shorter ducting with fewer bends will be more efficient than long ducting with many bends. Where possible, opt for inflexible ducting – this will offer smoother airflow, and therefore a more efficient hood.
Recirculation Cooker Hoods
Rather than removing air from the kitchen and sending it outside, a recirculation hood will purify the air and (you’ve guessed it) recirculate it back into the kitchen.
This has a few advantages. A recirculation hood will not require a ducting run, and can be installed without making alterations to the wall behind.
There are also some disadvantages to recirculation cooker hoods.
A recirculation hood requires charcoal recirculation filters to remove airborne carbon. These filters are what prevent smoke from being circulated around the kitchen. Over time carbon will accumulate on the filter, eventually rendering it ineffective. A charcoal filter will therefore need to be replaced regularly (if you do a lot of high-heat cooking on the hob, once a month is about right). You can view our replacement charcoal filters here.
Which is Better: Ducted or Recirculation Cooker Hoods?
In terms of effectiveness, ducted cooker hoods undoubtedly come out on top. However, ducted hoods are not suitable for all kitchens, however, and installation can be costly (particularly if an opening needs creating).
Recirculation hoods are a more practical solution for many homeowners. They are quicker and cheaper to install, and can be installed anywhere.
The best type of cooker hood for you really comes down to how your kitchen is setup, and what you can afford. In many cases your choice will be dictated by the type of hood that’s currently in place.
When picking out new appliances for your kitchen, it can be difficult to decide which appliances will suit their decor. Ship It Appliances is here to help you pick out a style of cooker hood that will look great with the rest of your kitchen.
Cooker hoods for classic and traditional kitchens
Classic and traditional kitchens should aim for a more understated look. Chimney cooker hoods and curved glass cooker hoods would look best in these types of settings, as they blend in nicely with the décor. They do not take too much focus away from the classic look of the room. Visor and under-cabinet cooker hoods are also a good choice, if you prefer to keep your kitchen ventilation hidden.
Cooker hoods for modern kitchens
If your modern kitchen has a very minimalist look, it is best to seek out a cooker hood that will remain hidden. Downdraft cooker hoods are perfect for this because they are only visible when they are in use. They rise out of the kitchen counter, perform their task, and then descend back down into the surface.
If you have a busier style of kitchen, then an eye-catching designer cooker hood is the best option. Flat glass cooker hoods and lantern-style cooker hoods will add a unique touch to your kitchen décor. In addition to ventilating your kitchen, they also act as a design feature that can complement modern art pieces in your home.
Cooker hoods for industrial kitchens
Industrial kitchens are known for their sharp lines and steel surfaces. The perfect cooker hood for this look is one that ticks both of these boxes. Either a stainless steel chimney cooker hood or a linear cooker hood with blend in beautifully with industrial kitchen décor.
Cooker hoods rustic kitchens
‘Rustic’ is a new and trendy design theme in homes across the UK, and we are seeing plenty of homeowners design their kitchens in this style. If you have a classic rustic kitchen, then it is best to have a kitchen extractor that remains hidden – like a downdraft cooker hood or an under-cabinet cooker hood. This allows you to keep the focus on the wood or stone elements in your kitchen.
However, if you’re going for a more modern-rustic look, then you have plenty of options. You can go for an industrial-style linear cooker hood or even a curved glass cooker hood for a soft look.
Chimney Cooker Hoods
A chimney cooker hood consists of a wide funnel which tapers off into a chimney. This chimney then extends upwards into the ceiling, mimicking a real chimney. It’s in this chimney that the ducting is stored. Of course, the ducting within this chimney does not have to go into the ceiling; it can just as easily disappear into a hole in the wall, disguised by the shape of the chimney.
Canopy Cooker Hoods
Canopy hoods are designed to form part of a structure which overhangs the hob. The main body of the hood itself can then be disguised by a cupboard, or similar object. This allows you to lessen the visual impact a hood might have on your kitchen. If you have an older kitchen with a chimney above the stove, you may be able to fit the hood into its base, and run ducting all the way to the roof.
Ceiling Cooker Hoods
Ceiling hoods, as you might expect, are built directly into the kitchen’s ceiling. They have an obvious advantage – they consume far less space than other forms of cooker hood. That said, they also require more extensive modification to a kitchen – and are therefore mostly restricted to new builds and extensive redesigns.
Designer Ceiling Hoods
Some designer cooker hoods are made to mimic a light fitting – they’ll hang downwards, and catch smoke and steam on its way up from the hob. Some are even retractable, and will descend mechanically at the flick of a switch.
Island Cooker Hoods
If a hob is built into an island unit in the centre of a kitchen, rather than adjacent to a wall, then a different sort of hood will be required – one which sprouts downwards from the ceiling, independent of the kitchen’s walls. This sort of hood is called, imaginatively enough, an island hood. Large and often imposing, an island hood will make an eye-catching centrepiece for any kitchen. For those who prefer something a little more discreet, a ceiling hood might be the better option.
Integrated Cooker Hoods
Integrated hoods are built into a cabinet above the hob. They’re designed to blend seamlessly into the rest of the kitchen, and usually come with a door that can be opened upwards whenever the hood is required. They’re distinct from canopy hoods in that they are made to look like a kitchen cupboard, rather than sitting just underneath (and within) one.
Integrated hoods are ideal for smaller kitchens. Rather than dominating the room, as other types of hood tend to do, an integrated hood will blend seamlessly into the surrounding décor.
Downdraft cooker hood extractors
Instead of sucking air upwards, a downdraft extractor will channel it down behind the hob. This frees up the space overhead for cupboards, windows, and decorative items.
Downdraft extractors are typically formed of a panel at the rear of the hob, just tall enough to peer over the lip of your pots and pans. Some can be concealed in a worksurface, and brought up when needed, in much the same way that a retractable ceiling hood might descend.
They make an excellent alternative to an island hood, as they remove the need for a large structure that would otherwise block the view in the centre of the room. They also look the part when they’re in action – the smoke is sucked away into a thin slot, creating an interesting reverse waterfall effect.
Wide selection of cooker hoods available with free & fast delivery when you buy online today at Ship It Appliances. Don’t miss out!
An important consideration before buying your cooker hood is the extraction rate. While a higher extraction rate may seem to be the most effective, it may not be the best fit for your kitchen.
Some simple maths will help you work out what extraction rate you’ll need from your cooker hood:
Your extractor should be able to clean 10 to 12 times the volume of air in your kitchen. So, multiply the area of your kitchen by the height of the ceiling. Then, multiply that number by 10 or 12. The resulting number will be the extraction rate that is best suited for your kitchen.
An example for a 5m2 kitchen with a 2m ceiling:
5m x 5m x 2m = 20m3
20m3 x 10 = 200m3 (the minimum extraction rate)
20m3 x 12 = 240m3 (the maximum extraction rate)
A major benefit of a ducted cooker hood is that it does not need to have its filters replaced. There is a metal grease filter on the inside that must be cleaned every so often, and this can be done quickly and easily. Some metal filters can even be cleaned in the dishwasher. Read our blog on how to clean a cooker hood grease filter.
Most of the cooker hoods that we sell at Ship It Appliances can be fitted with either ducted or recirculating installation. For ducted installation, you will need a ducting kit. It will also need to be installed against an external wall, through which a hole has been drilled. While many homeowners carry out this task on their, some will enlist in a professional to install the hood for them.
Are Cooker Hoods Necessary?
Inhaling smoke and grease every day for years on end is unlikely to be good for you. This is a bigger concern if you’re fond of cooking on a high heat, or have a tendency to burn your food.
Smoke is the most obvious airborne contaminant that results from cooking, but airborne grease and steam can also cause problems, as it eventually settles onto walls and over time, can result in considerable damage.
You might imagine that these problems can be guarded against simply by opening a nearby window, but there are several reasons this might not be so advisable. Hot air is famous for rising - it is not quite so famous for proceeding immediately sideways in the direction of the window you’ve just opened. This means that all of that unwanted smoke, steam and airborne grease will simply spread out across the room and much of it will condense before it even reaches the window.
Moreover, since an open window does not come equipped with a fan, it has no means with which to draw those unwanted air particles outside – you’ll be relying on the direction and speed of the wind to coincide with your cooking habits.
An open window is also grossly heat-inefficient. On those frosty winter mornings, an open window will allow an enormous amount of cold air into the kitchen. If you’re looking to open a window in order to offset the property damage caused by airborne grease, then you’ll likely be disappointed.
Are Cooker Hoods Required By Law?
As we’ve seen, cooker hoods play an important role in keeping a home safe and pleasant to inhabit.
Part F of the Building Regulations requires that a building has a means of ventilating itself. Extraction hoods satisfy this requirement; recirculating ones do not. This means that if you opt for the latter, your home will need to have some other means of removing air to the outside. Fortunately, most new builds have extensive and finely-balanced ventilation systems, meaning this is rarely a problem.
At Ship It Appliances, we’re one of the best places to buy cooker hoods and several other household appliances online. We stock well-known household brands at affordable prices.
We offer free delivery throughout the whole of the UK and offer an excellent 5-year warranty on all of our SIA branded appliances.
Browse our extensive collection of cooker hoods and find the right one for you.