Ducted Vs. Ductless Range Hood: Which One Is Better?

Tom Gaffey
by Tom Gaffey

If you are in the middle of a kitchen renovation or are looking to replace your old range, you have probably given range hoods some thought. A range hood helps filter out grease and smoky smells while you cook. It also helps keep the fire alarm at bay. But if you are preparing to replace or install a new one, you need to decide between a ducted and ductless range hood.

Overall, ducted range hoods are the superior choice over ductless range hoods. A Ducted range hood removes smoke and greasy air from the home through ducts, while ductless hoods only filter it. Ducted hoods are powerful and last longer than ductless range hoods. Ductless range hoods, however, are easier to install. A ducted range hood might not be possible in your home, making a ductless range hood the only possibility.

When you decide whether to purchase a ducted or ductless range hood, you have a few factors to consider before moving forward with your purchase. There, as always, is the question of budget. You should know how much you can afford on this project, as ducted and ductless range hoods have different price tags. Then there is longevity and power. In order to know which range hood best suits your needs, you should answer the following questions and understand the pros and cons listed below.

Questions To Ask When Deciding On Ducted Versus Ductless Range Hood

Both ducted and ductless range hoods are suitable options for most homes. In order to know which type works best for you, ask yourself the questions below. These questions will help you better understand which range hood best suits your needs.

How Often Do I Use My Range?

Are you an avid hot chef? Or do most of your meals go through a microwave, with only the occasional use of the range and over? Know the kind of use your range will experience, as this will determine how much power your range will need, and how much upkeep will have to undergo.

Do I Live In An Apartment Or House?

This is a crucial question. Most houses either have duct work already, or can install it simply enough. If you have an apartment, check out the blueprints and floor plan. Discover how feasible duct work is in your space.

What Is My Budget?

The amount of money you can afford to spend on this project, combined with other logistical factors, may very well determine which range hood is right for you. Have a number in mind.

How Long Do I Plan To Live At This Property?

Are you living in your forever home? Is this a house you are flipping? Or are you just living in the place for a few years until something better comes along? These are questions you should answer before you embark on the range hood selection and installation.

Which Range Hood Should I Buy: Ducted or Ductless?

When it comes to overall performance and quality, a ducted range hood is normally the better choice. A ducted range hood actually filters out all the smokey grease air that comes from your cooking and removes it from the home. This makes the air quality significantly better than if it was simply filtered air (which is the case with ductless filters).

While ducted ranges are a better product, this does not mean it is the solution for you. Sure, they last longer and remove unwanted elements from the kitchen air, but they have their downsides as well. For one, not all living situations are even capable of installing a ducted range hood. There is also the installation cost.

Both ducted and ductless range hoods are suitable options for most kitchens. They both have their selling points to consider. Both types also have their drawbacks. So in order to know whether you should purchase a ducted or ductless range hood, review the following pros and cons of both types in order to help you better determine what is best for you.

Reasons To Buy A Ductless Range Hood

Great Option For Apartment Units In Buildings

If you are a condo or apartment owner in an urban area, rather than a house owner, a ductless range hood might be your best bet. Some homes, especially in large urban apartment buildings, cannot support the ductwork necessary to install a ducted range hood, as there is no direct access to the outdoors. It would involve going through another unit, perhaps. This is when a ductless range hood becomes a great alternative, as it is a filter system, without ducts.

Don’t Require Ductwork

As its name suggests, ductless ranges don’t require ductwork. This can be a big pro for people who are looking for a vent above their range, but aren’t trying to invest in a large home improvement project. This is one of the reasons it appeals to those who don’t cook too often.

Cheaper Installation

Ductless range hoods, in general, tend to be less expensive than ducted range hoods. The reason for this is largely due to installation. Ductless range hoods are fairly manageable to install. Ducted range hoods can require significant construction work (to build a duct), and often require a skilled professional. This process can be costly, which is why some people opt for the cheaper installation option offered by ductless range hoods.

Reasons To Reconsider A Ductless Range Hood

Requires Filter Changes

If you use your kitchen all the time, you might find yourself having to replace your range hood filter frequently. Since ductless range hoods filter air instead of removing it, they have an advanced filtration system that requires filter replacement. These filters range in price, but the costs can definitely add up if you use your range all the time.

Not As Effective Or Powerful

The main drawback to ductless range hoods is that they simply are not as powerful or as effective at removing unwanted cooking elements from the air. Ducted hoods have the advantage of powerful fans that blow smokey air directly out of the home, making it much easier and effective at keeping the kitchen well ventilated. Ductless range hoods have the drawback of a filtration system that cannot compete with a direct outlet to outside fresh air.

Does Not Actually Remove Smoke And Grease From Home

Ductless range hoods filter air, they don’t remove it. This means that while they can significantly improve air quality around the range, they cannot completely remove all the smoke and grease. After all, no filter is perfect.

Reasons To Buy A Ducted Range Hood

Cleaner Air

One of the best selling points of a ducted range hood is that they give cleaner air. These range hoods have a direct outlet to the outside, which allows them to suck out all the smokey cooking air and deposit it outside the home. This removal process results in cleaner air than a filtration process.

Long Lasting

Ducted range hoods are also known to be long-lasting. A well-made ducted range hood should last a minimum of 10 years, if not significantly longer. This is due to the nature of the device. Because ducted range hoods are built to last, they can even be a selling point for your home.

More Powerful

Ducted range hoods also have the advantage of not needing a complex filter system to recirculate air. This allows a ducted range system to use powerful fans, making them a more powerful hoods system. This is great for those whose cooking tends to create a bit more smoke than normal.

Reasons To Reconsider Ducted Range Hood

Might Not Be Possible In Your Home

One of the biggest drawbacks to ducted range systems is the fact that they aren’t always possible. Some homes, especially in large apartment buildings, simply cannot install additional ductwork to reach the outside. This means a ducted range hood is not a viable option for people in these types of living situations.

Difficult And Costly Installation

Ducted range hoods are also a bit of a production to install sometimes. Often, additional ductwork is necessary. This means you most likely need to hire a professional to do some duct work and install your ducted range hood. This entire process takes a bit of time and is costly. You might be able to do some of the work yourself, but the odds are, you will need to involve a professional to assist.

If You Don’t Cook Often

Another reason you should reconsider a ducted range hood is if you aren’t much of a cook. Ducted range hoods might be superior, but if you only use your range on special occasions, you might not need something so powerful. If you are more likely to use the microwave or eat a salad than ever take out a frying pan, then a ductless range hood might suit you just fine.

Concluding Thoughts on Ducted vs. Ductless Range Hoods

Both ducted and ductless range hoods are effective devices for removing smoke and grease air from your kitchen while cooking. Ducted range hoods are more effective at removing undesirable elements from the air from the room, as they have a direct outlet to the outside. These range hoods are also more powerful, and tend to last longer than ductless range hoods. They are, however, more costly to install.

Ductless range hoods, however, are a good solution for those who don’t tend to do that much cooking. They are also the best and often only solution for those living in large apartment buildings where ductwork is not possible.

Tom Gaffey
Tom Gaffey

Tom Gaffey is an expert writer who currently resides in Washington D.C. Tom has a passion for real estate and home improvement writing, as well as travel and lifestyle writing. He lived the last twelve years in Hawaii where he worked closely with luxury resorts and event planners, mastering his knowledge of aesthetics and luxury products. This is where he found his passion for home improvement and a keen interest in DIY projects. Currently, Tom resides in Washington D.C, and also working on his debut fiction novel.

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