If you are refitting your kitchen or installing a new built in cooker and hob, you should definitely consider buying a cooker hood to eliminate steam and odours. If you do not use a cooker hood, the house will be more prone to smells and possible damp as the steam will have nowhere to escape, especially if the windows are closed.
There are a huge range of cooker hoods available today but a few basic criteria will enable you to make the right decision.
There are two main types of cooker hood - extraction and recirculation and many models can be switched to either type.
Extraction - any steam and smells are literally extracted from the kitchen to the outside through a duct.
Recirculation - the air is drawn through a charcoal filter to take out steam and odours before being recirculated back into the kitchen
Both methods have their pros and cons. Extraction is generally more efficient as it totally removes the air and deposits it outside, but it is not possible to fit the duct in all kitchens as you will need to set the cooker hood in an external wall and you may need considerable building work to be able to successfully install it. Recirculation is generally less efficient but it can be installed anywhere. On a long term basis recirculation may work out more expensive due to the cost of replacing the filter on a regular basis - which is necessary for the unit to work at maximum efficiency.
However within these two types of cooker hoods there are further sub-types which are also important.
Wall-Mounted Cooker Hoods
This is the most common type of cooker hood, which is attached to the wall behind the hob.
Ceiling Mounted Cooker Hoods
These are attached to the ceiling and are more suitable for standalone or island units.
Integrated Cooker Hoods
There are also integrated cooker hoods available which are designed to be built into the kitchen units. They remain hidden by a door when the cooker hood is not in use.
Built-Under or Canopy Cooker Hoods
These tend to be less powerful than wall and ceiling mounted cooker hoods and are better for smaller kitchens.
Conventional Cooker Hoods
These fit under the kitchen units and protrude slightly.
Telescopic Cooker Hoods
These are designed for smaller kitchens and are pulled out from the wall when needed.
Downdraft Cooker Hoods
These are less common and are installed into the worktop behind or next to the hob. They remain hidden for most of the time and pop up electronically at the press of a button.
The minimum extraction rate is how much air the cooker hood is able to extract in a set period of time, usually an hour, and is dependent on the size of your kitchen. Generally, the higher the extraction rate, the more efficient the unit will be. The standard calculation for the minimum extraction rate is based on:
The length of the room x the width of the room x the height of the room in m3.
For example 3m x 3.5m x 2m = 21m3
Then decide how many times you want the air to be changed in one hour. This should be minimum 8, but preferably 10-12 times. Multiply this by the size of the room (using 12 changes per hour as an example):
21m3 x 12 = 252m3/hour.
Although higher extraction rates are generally better, if you have a very small kitchen you may not need one with a very high extraction rate. Models on the market today generally range from about 400 m3/hour to 800 m3/hour, although there are models with extraction rates outside of these figures. The built-in or canopy cooker hoods tend to be less powerful than the other ones, with many extraction rates being in the region of 180-300 m3/hour.
The size of the duct is also important as larger ducts improve airflow, and many hoods offer a choice of 15cm or 12 cm.
Many cooker hoods are 90cm wide, although other sizes are available such as 35cm, 60cm, 70cm and 100cm. A larger cooker hood does not necessarily mean a more powerful one, and you should be guided by the extraction rate rather than the size in this respect.
Noise level, calculated in decibels, is also extremely important especially in smaller kitchens and kitchen diners. The higher the decibel the noisier the extraction! Cooker hoods available today are generally in the range of 52 to 70 decibels, although you may find hoods over 62-65 decibels too noisy. Some manufacturers offer models as low as 40 decibels.
We have already mentioned the charcoal filter which is necessary for those cooker hoods using the recirculation method. These are easily available from shops or the internet and need to be replaced on average once a year to eighteen months.
However both types of cooker hoods also use a grease filter to trap grease particles. Some grease filters are disposable while others are washable, and they generally need to be replaced or washed every 3 to 4 months. The disposable filters are easier but more expensive. Some may have an indicator to alert the user when they are saturated and need to be changed. The washable filters can be a little messy to clean but many are dishwasher safe.
There are an incredible amount of cooker hoods on the market, many practical yet design driven. There are many models in black, stainless steel or glass.
Many cooker hoods are the traditional chimney type, some of which have a glass canopy underneath. Others are a simple rectangular or round tube.
Design wise a cooker hood can make or break a new kitchen so although the practical side has to be the most important criteria, it is important to find one that compliments the look of your kitchen.
Most cooker hoods have an on/off switch and variable speed settings as well as one or more halogen lamps to illuminate the cooking area.
Some cooker hoods may have additional features such as:
- Electronic touch controls.
- Electronic dimmer display for softer lighting when required.
- Delayed switch off timer.
- Auto safety switch off.
- LED lighting with programmable colours.
- A sensor which detects the heat and humidity levels and sets the cooker hood to the required setting.
- Service warning indicator.
- Remote control.
- Turbo function.
||AEG Electrolux Cooker Hoods AEG Electrolux - they offer a wide range of cooker hoods both chimney type and designer in stainless steel, black and toughened glass.
||Baumatic Cooker Hoods Baumatic - they have island, wall mounted and island cooker hoods in a varied selection of sizes and extraction rates.
||Bosch Cooker Hoods Bosch - they have cooker hoods in their premium Logixx, mid-range Exxcel and value for money Classixx ranges.
||Candy Cooker Hoods Candy - their range includes wall mounted hoods and integrated canopy hoods.
||Caple Cooker Hoods Caple - they have an extension selection of cooker hoods including downdraft cooker hoods and some hoods in very unusual designs.
||Elica Cooker Hoods Elica - they offer a designer look Space hood with a noise level of just 45 decibels.
||Hoover Cooker Hoods Hoover - their range includes decor and chimney hoods as well as integrated hoods.
||Hotpoint Cooker Hoods Hotpoint - this UK manufacturer supplies built-in hoods and wall mounted hoods in different sizes.
||Miele Cooker Hoods Miele - their range includes models with the Con@ctivity System, which sends messages between the hob and the cooker hood so that the correct speed setting is always used.
||Neff Cooker Hoods Neff - they offer a wide range of cooker hoods including chimney hoods, canopy hoods, integrated hoods and telescopic hoods.
||Siemens Cooker Hoods Siemens - this German manufacturer has an extensive selection of hoods from its value for money iQ100 range through to its premium iQ700 range.
||Smeg Cooker Hoods Smeg - as well as being very design driven, many of these sleek cooker hoods have decibel levels as low as 40.
||Whirlpool Cooker Hoods Whirlpool - their wide range includes canopy, decorative and chimney cooker hoods in a range of different designs and sizes.