Cooker Hoods: Recirculation Hoods vs Extraction Hoods

There are two types of venting that come with cooker hoods and these are recirculation and extraction. Choosing the right cooker hood can be a challenging task. There are benefits and drawbacks to each type but they’re both very effective. We’re going to explain the difference between the two and their respective pros and cons. 


This is the preferred solution for getting rid of odours and steam. A cooker hood that employs extraction means that you are extracting via ducting through an outside wall. This means all your smells, moisture, and pollutants are directed outside, never to be seen or smelt in your kitchen again.

This is the most efficient and long-lasting option for extraction and is the one most commonly used. It does require you to have access to an outside wall where you plan to install your cooker hood, however.

Benefits of an Extractor Hood

There are some pretty clear-cut positives to having an extractor cooker hood and there’s a reason why it is the preferred option.

Extraction is highly efficient. As all it has to do is channel the air from the kitchen through its ducting to the exterior of your home. As it is being channelled outside, there’s very little room for it to not be effective. Even if the extraction rate has slowed down somewhat either due to age or a dirty filter, once it’s outside, it’s outside. 

Extractor hoods will also remove moisture and heat from your kitchen, creating a more comfortable atmosphere. This is ideal for any days filled with cooking and house-guests.

You will also not have to replace any carbon filters, which can become costly over time. Although, in an extractor hood, you will have to clean the grease filters every so often.

Drawbacks of an Extractor Hood

The drawback to extraction is that for some kitchen designs, it’s impossible to have one. For example, if you want your cooker hood above your kitchen island, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to duct it outside.

You may also find that you lose more heat in the wintertime with extractor hoods. This is because of their efficiency at removing heat and moisture from the area.

What Extraction Rate Do I Need?

You'll need to make sure that the extraction rate, or fan speed is strong enough to cover your entire area. You can use a simple calculation to determine this:

Find the Volume of your kitchen and multiply by ten.

So if your kitchen is 4 metres wide, 6 metres long, and 3 metres high, the sum would be:

(4 x 5 x 3) x 10 = 600 m/sq per hour

With this number, you can begin looking for an extraction hood that runs at this minimum rate. Ideally the stronger the better so as to keep the air in your kitchen as clean as possible.


If you do not have access to an outside wall, then all is not lost for you. You can opt for a recirculation system. As there is no outside access for all your odours and moisture to be directed, your recirculation hood will suck it up, filter it, purify it and pump it back into the room. 

This type of hood has some specialist parts. You will need recirculation filters so your hood can filter and purify the air it is pumping back into your kitchen. These are very easy to maintain and replace but are still an extra part for you to worry about.

Benefits of a Recirculation Hood?

Recirculation cooker hoods still do a good job and allow you to achieve any kitchen design you want. With modern kitchen designs not conforming to layouts that we are used to, don’t let the allure of extraction stop you from fulfilling your design. 

Recirculation hoods not only allow for more versatility, but they are also easier to install without the need for ducting.

You will also find that you won't lose heat in the winter with a recirculation hood.

Drawbacks of Recirculation Hoods

There are drawbacks to recirculation, however, which will need to be considered if you choose to go down this route.

You will have to change the carbon filters often. Charcoal filters will help filter smell and pollutants from the air in recirculation hoods. These aren’t expensive, and you only need to change them every few months or so.

You may also find that recirculation hoods will leave your kitchen more humid than normal. This is because the air is refiltered and reused, rather than removed. Open your windows for some natural extraction if this becomes an issue.

The performance is also slightly weaker than a ducted cooker hood too, as there’s more to recirculating than just pumping it outside - once again, a couple open windows will fix this issue.

Recirculating hoods will typically be louder than extractor fans as they are working harder to pull air in and filter it

How Often Should I Replace Filters?

Cooker hoods come with two different types of filters; grease filters, which can be found on both recirculating hoods and extraction hoods; and carbon filters found only on recirculating filters.

Grease Filters: Grease filters are designed to pull in grease particles from the air and trap them in a fine mesh grate that is found on the underside of both types of hood.

These filters will not need to be replaced often if they are clean every few months or so. If you cook from home often, cleaning them every 1-3 months would be ideal, whereas if you don't tend to use your kitchen often, every 3-6 months should be fine.

To do this, simply unclip them from the bottom of the hood and either soak them in soap and water or run them through the dishwasher. (You'll want to make sure that they're dishwasher safe first.

Carbon Filters: Carbon filters are found only in recirculation hoods and are an essential part of this type of hood. This is because they filter impurities and smells from your kitchen (something that an extraction filter does by nature).

Because they have such a difficult job, they'll need to be replaced every 6-9 months to ensure they are working at their best. As above, this depends on how often you use your cooker. If you don't use it often, then replacing your charcoal filter every 9-12 months should be fine.

Make the right choice for your kitchen

Deciding which cooker hood is right for you depends on a few factors.

  • Placement of your cooker within your kitchen: Extractor hoods will need to be close to an external wall so that the ducting can reach the outside of the building. Installing ducts that reach further may make the hood less efficient and cause more of a buildup of grease and oils - which can be a fire hazard. In this case, you may find that extraction hoods are impractical and so may lean towards a recirculation hood, which can be placed anywhere in your kitchen.

  • Air preferences: Extraction hoods will typically create a better atmosphere in the kitchen, as they push polluted air, fumes, and smells out of the building, rather than recirculating the air. This can create cooler and more comfortable environment in the kitchen.

  • Cost Preference: Typically recirculating cooker hoods will come at a lower cost than extractor hoods. This is because of the convenient all-in-one system that comes with recirculating cooker hoods. You won't need to worry about installing a duct. Although despite the lower cost, these hoods can leave the kitchen slightly more humid and warm than an extraction hood.

  • Maintenance Preference: Cleaning your cooker hoods will ensure they last long and stay efficient. Recirculating hoods tend to need more maintenance than extracting hoods. This is because of the charcoal filter will need to be replaced every so often. Both an extraction hood and recirculation hoods will need to have their grease filter cleaned every 3-9 months. 

Ready to Make your Choice?

Luckily, our Cooker Hoods range is filled with stylish and sleek designs with options to suit any budget and interior. With accompanying sections of Recirculation Filters andDucting Kits, we’ve got everything you need to get your cooker hood up and running and well maintained. With free shipping to the majority of the UK, save money if you buy online today!


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