We don’t cook with firewood anymore what my Grandma used to do, so there is no chance of smoke from the kitchen. But with modern kitchen and cooking appliances, smoke does not come out of the cooktops, but they release fumes.
The fumes can be gases from food or steam, they are not at all pleasant or good for health. Moreover, it can ruin your kitchen’s ambiance with grease stains. A range hood can be a good solution to it.
What are the benefits of recirculating range hoods? Why you should buy a ductless range hood? And which is the best recirculating range hood? I have covered all of them here. Keep reading.
What is a recirculating range hood or ductless range hood?
A recirculating range hood, also known as a ductless range hood does not push the tiny particles of grease and dust out of the kitchen like a ducted hood.
Instead, a ductless range hood suck in the polluted air, runs it through degreasing filters and charcoal filters and redistributes it to the kitchen.
In one single sentence, it reproduces fresh air by filtering and releasing them again in the kitchen.
As recirculating range hoods do not push out foul air from the kitchen, you do not need a hole in the wall or ceiling. You will save on time, money and space that the ductwork would have cost.
Ducted vs. ductless range hoods
We learned earlier a ducted range hood needs a duct to vent air from the room and a recirculating range hood does not. There are few other prominent differences present between them. Let’s check Ducted vs. ductless range hoods:
A ductless range hood does not come with a venting option as it does not exhaust air from the room, it purifies the air and recirculates it back in the room.
On the other hand, ducted range hoods do not work without venting. Either they are configured with rear-venting or top-venting. Rear venting hoods get a duct in the wall and top-venting hoods from the ceiling.
You can convert most of the ducted range hoods to ductless. You will need carbon filters and a professional to convert it.
There are convertible hoods available in the market. These hoods are compatible with being ducted and ductless. Convertible hoods have venting options available as well as the option to insert charcoal filters. You can switch them to ducted or ductless.
In most of the cases charcoal filters are not supplied along with the hood, you have to buy them separately.
2. Features of ducted and non-ducted range hoods
The ducted range hoods are more powerful than ductless hoods in terms of suction power. As the ducted hoods can go easily to 500 CFM (cubic feet per minute), they are noisy. Circulating range hoods are nearly 180 CFM and less noisy.
Installation of ducted range hoods are costly because they need ductwork to operate. You also need to sacrifice space for the venting pipe. Ductless hoods are easier in that regard. In simple terms, recirculating range hoods are easy to install, do not demand a hole in the wall and are less expensive.
You can install unvented range hoods or ductless range hoods under the cabinet or just above the cooktop. Convertible hoods are more flexible. Be it ducted or ductless, you can install it on the wall, island/ceiling, or under the cabinet.
Which one is more efficient – ducted or recirculating hood?
The main purpose of the range hood is breathable quality air. Ducted hoods are more powerful and more effective because it pushes out contaminated air and fills the room with fresh air.
This process has its own pros and cons. You will not wish to have your room filled with cold air by the ducted hood in the winter right? At that point, a ductless hood is more beneficial.
For fresh and good-quality air, ducted range hoods are the option. A recirculating range hood delivers a decent result. It can save energy bills, installation costs and a hole in your kitchen wall.
Recirculating range hood buying guide
While buying a ventless exhaust hood you need to keep some points in mind:
1. Effective hood area
We suggest you to buy a hood one size bigger than the range. It will make sure the hood can cover & capture the emitted fumes from the cooktop properly. What we mean here is, if your range is 24 inches, buy a 30-inch hood.
2. Filters of a ductless hood
We have mentioned many times that the non-vented range hood requires filters to operate. You will need good quality filters so the ductless hood can purify air inside the kitchen. Quality filters efficiently trap pollutants and food odors and recirculate the air back.
We suggest you to change the filters of the ductless range hood at least thrice a year. If you cook regularly then filters needed to be changed more often. More smoke and emissions your kitchen make, more frequent filter change is required.
These filters are generally priced around $10, you can get cheaper buying a couple of them together.
Ducted range hood vs. ductless range hood – Suction power
In the beginning, we learned that a ducted range hood’s power rating can easily reach 500 CFM and ductless hovers around 180 – 200 CFM. It clearly indicates ducted hoods are more powerful. Recirculating hoods redistribute air after filtration, so they consume less power.
Does that mean ducted hoods are more efficient in providing the best result? Not really. Filters’ effectiveness is more important. Good quality filters – good quality air recirculation.
Dcuted vs. ductless range hoods – Price
In most of the cases, you will find recirculating hoods are priced below $100. Ducted range hoods are priced at $300-400 depending on the model. More high-end models are pricier.
Remember we talked about Convertible hoods? They belong to the same price range as ducted hoods.
Reviews of the best recirculating range hoods
1. Boran 41000 Series of recirculating range hood
When I bought a range hood for the first time, I had a budget issue. I was looking for a pocket-friendly yet decent-performing hood.
I went through many ductless hoods user reviews, prices, customer complaints to find a suitable hood for myself and I found Boran 41000 series.
Boran 41000 series got many size choices. It has range hoods from 21 to 42 inches in width. Most of the ductless models’ highest suction ratings are around 190 CFM.
Range hoods of the Boran 41000 series come with aluminum mesh filters. Charcoal carbon filters help in reducing food odors and tiny particles in the air.
The aluminum filter will improve air quality by degreasing emissions.
Cleaning Boran 41000 series ductless range hoods
First thing first, aluminum is not dishwasher-friendly. You can’t put aluminum mesh filters into dishwashers. It will be wiser to use mild degreasing soap, baking soda and some warm water, hand cleaning is recommended for longer life.
Charcoal filters are not very hardy and you need to change the meshes after around 100 – 120 hours of cooking. They are not reusable like the aluminum filters.
To clean the exterior of the range hood just use a damp cloth to wipe out dirt.
Install under the cabinet – easy to install
Recirculating range hoods are easy to install, Boran is no exception. It takes less time and effort to install these ductless hoods. As the hoods are meant to be installed under the cabinet you don’t have to remove the cabinet. Just use the cabinet as a platform.
In the case of Wall-mounted hoods, you may need to remove the cabinet. For best performance install the hood 18-20 inches above the cooktop.
Why Boran is a good choice?
Boran 41000 series made quite a legacy in ductless range hoods in terms of value and trust. It has been more than ten years since the interlocution of this series. Boran’s products are reliable, Broan-NuTone 413004 Non-Ducted Ductless Range Hood received 80 % five-star rating out of nearly 4000 reviews.
- Low/affordable price
- Easy to install
- Compact design
- Multiple sizes available
- Decent & even distributed light under the hood to help cooking
- Light bulb not included with the hood
- Degreaser aluminum mesh can wear out
2. Cosmo 5MU Series Ducted/Ductless Range Hood – Best Under Cabinet
In recent years Cosmo range hoods became popular among users for their price-performance ratio. This convertible range hood series has Cosmo 5MU30 and 5MU36 among the best-selling ducted/ductless hoods.
Compact & convertible range hood
The ducted/ductless (convertible) hood series has stainless steel sleek body. You can control the hood by pressing the push buttons.
As it has both duct and ductless operational options, you can switch on the fan lever up to the recirculating mark to use recirculation. In recirculation mode, the hood will redistribute the air from the front vents. In default settings, it works as a ducted hood and releases air out of the room from rear gaps.
You will need carbon filters to use ductless operation that you need to buy separately (around $10 – $20 per piece). It’s simple to insert the charcoal filter into the power blower.
At optimum speed, the hoods can draw air at 200 CFM which is sufficient for ductless operation. For more than 20000 BTU it will not be able to suck in all the air.
The aluminum mesh filters are multi-layered and trap grease and odors effectively. These filters are long-lasting and easy to clean. It has a 3-speed motor that you can use as needed depending on the cooking operations.
Under cabinet recirculating range hood
Under-cabinet range hoods are easy to install. You can use any of the venting options (rear or top venting) at a time. If you are using the rear-venting then seal the other one and vice versa. Both the openings have round-shaped 5-inch duct.
For good results install the hood around 25 inches above the cooktop.
Why I prefer Cosmo 5MU Series
As these are convertible range hoods, they are not powerful as ducted hoods. Yet, for the convertible hood, they are great options. 5MU30 and 5MU36 are 30 and 36 inches respectively. You can choose as per your cooktops width.
- Space-saving sleek design
- Can be used as an under-cabinet or wall mounted range hood
- Multi-layered, long-lasting filters
- Stainless steel sturdy body
- The light seems not sufficient
3. Cosmo 63175 Ducted/Ductless Range Hood – Best Wall Mount
The Cosmo 63175 is loved by users for its elegant look and performance among other qualities.
The chimney attached, wall-mounted range hood is 30 inches in size. If you need a bigger-sized range hood then you can go for Cosmo 63190 which is 36 in size. Cosmo 63175 range hood has a brushed stainless steel chimney, the air pipe remains hidden inside it.
You can control the operations of the hood using the illuminated push buttons. The 3-speed fan can handle low to high suction functions as required. The hoods are fitted with a 2W Led light that gives sufficient light for cooking. It is energy-saving too.
The Cosmo 63175 model is quite efficient with 380 CFM suction power, yet, its noise level is only 65db.
Permanent stainless steel filter
Cosmo ARC-FLOW Permanent Filters are long-lasting. They are made from stainless steel and much stronger than aluminum mesh filters. Cosmo 63175 model has two filters and the 63190 model has three filters for more accurate degreasing.
Although these filters are dishwasher safe, they can serve you much longer if you hand-wash them. Whichever you find suitable.
The range hood is easily convertible to ductless using charcoal filters (buy separately).
Ducted and ductless setup
This wall-mount range hood has 6-inch diameter ductwork. The duct pipe comes included with the setup. It has a backdraft regulator (damper), does not have a rectangular outlet or outlet adapter.
If you wish to use the ductless option, you will need a charcoal filter (Part # CFK1-TM). Setup for both is the same, though it does not require ductwork or a regulator.
When the chimney installation is complete, insert the charcoal filters to the motor. Keep in mind not to block the vent holes of the chimney for proper air circulation.
Why I suggest it
Permanent filters and 380 CFM suction power is obviously plus points along with positive user reviews.
- Brushed steel strong body
- Dishwasher friendly permanent filters
- Comparatively less noise
- The chimney is space consuming
4. Broan PM390 Aluminum Hood Insert – Best Ductless Range Hood
Boran hoods are elegant looking and Boran PM390 is not any exception. For a small to the medium-sized kitchen, it will work fine. Cost and performance are appropriate if we compare them to other models in the market.
Simple but powerful
This custom range hood is simple yet powerful if we compare it with its counterparts. Boran PM390 has 390 CFM blower power, which is enough for a mid-sized kitchen. If you need larger coverage you can buy 30 and 36 inches liners and make a custom emission cover zone.
As this is a hood insert, it settles under a custom cover. The weight of the custom range hood depends on the hood insert. This unit has an aluminum body and aluminum mesh filters.
The three-speed blower can blow up to 390 CFM yet it is not that noisy (6 sones or around 54db)
Here is a Sones to DB chart, it will help you to understand better the noise levels of kitchen hoods:
Performance of the hood
The hood is by default ducted. You can buy carbon filters to use the recirculating hood feature (filter part – B08999040). The Code of the whole set is 357NDK, remember to buy the correct parts. Install the hood around 24-26 inches above the cooktop.
The aluminum-made dishwasher-safe hood insert is one piece. It is easier to clean. It will be better if you hand clean it.
What I love about Boran PM390
I love this Boran range hood model for many reasons, one of them is the Heat Sentry system. It automatically adjusts the speed of the blower protecting the range hood from overheating.
Boran PM390 hood insert is less noisy, has good performance and is reliable. Also, this convertible hood insert is appreciated by many.
- Powerful 390 CFM blower
- Heat sentry system
- Convertible to ductless range hood
- Small in size
- The light bulb needs to be bought separately
5. Cosmo QS75 Ducted/Ductless Range Hood – Best High-Tech
Do you love high-performance and high-tech appliances at home? The Cosmo QS75 is quite a smart tool for the kitchen. Its elegant satin finishes stainless steel body can enhance the impression of your kitchen.
The ducted/ductless convertible range hood is powerful and can serve you decently even for a moderately large home.
Suction power rating
At 500 CFM the Cosmo QS75 under cabinet range hood is made to perform. The 30 inch under cabinet range hood comes with a touch screen and with remote control. The hood has four speeds twin fan to facilitate faster suction. The top venting duct with a 7.5-inch diameter helps in the operation.
High-tech range hood
The under cabinet range hood has both a touchscreen panel and remote control operation. You can control the fan speed, LED light etc.
Don’t forget to go through the user manual, it will help you understand the features more clearly.
The smart range hood has a gas sensor, it can detect emissions and starts automatically or shut off operation. You don’t have to intervene in the process.
Get hold of the Grease
The hood is fitted with highly durable baffle filters made of stainless steel. These easily removable permanent filters can be washed in a dishwasher.
It is integrated with a damper. As there is no rear vent port, the damper is present in the top-vent port. The under-cabinet canopy-style range hood can be easily installed, but you will need to cut through the cabinet.
The recirculating, non-vented option can be used by buying a carbon filter kit (CFK5).
Do I recommend it?
The range hood’s build quality, smart technology used, power and performance all indicate positive for it.
The 500CMF is way above other recirculating range hoods, still, I recommend it for its positives sides.
- Permanent filters
- Brushed steel structure
- The best technology in the price range
- Pricey for a ductless range hood, but the quality and performance compensate for the price.
6. CIARRA CAS75502 Glass Vent Hood, Wall Mount Range Hood 30 inch
CIARRA CAS75502 is a modern-looking wall-mounted extractor hood. It can be installed on the wall above the hob. The design is elegant and offers modernity to adapt to any style of furniture. It is sufficient for a small to the medium kitchen to get fume-free odorless air.
Suction power rating
Like most hoods, you can decide between a ducted or ductless option. The range hood by default comes as ducted, but you can buy a CACF003 charcoal filter kit to make it ductless.
The 5- layer aluminum mesh filters can purify your kitchen’s air filtering out all the greases and odors. Filters are easy to clean.
As we talk about power, it is 450 CFM and fitted with a 3-speed suction fan. The touch control can set the necessary operations easily, you can also set the timer as well.
The LED light ensures good illumination of the worktop and avoids frequent replacement of incandescent bulbs.
Performance and user review
The LED lights are powerful enough to light up the cooking counter. A value that I consider to be normal for a 60 cm hood and allow to eliminate steam and fumes while cooking food, as well as the unpleasant odors that are released. The noise level is more than acceptable considering that it stands at a value of 63 dB with the fan at maximum speed.
Mostly positive reviews were received from users. Some of the complaints are regarding noise level while the fan is at top speed.
Why I suggest it
CIARRA CAS75502 is an essential and functional hood to carry out its task without problems. In light of the good constructive care and technical characteristics, I believe the favorable price and undoubtedly a recommended purchase.
The difficulties during the installation and the little detailed manual do not affect my positive judgment, since they can be easily overcome with a little manual skill and a minimum of DIY knowledge.
- Stainless steel sturdy body.
- Satisfactory performance.
- 2×5 layer mesh filter.
- The noise level on top speed.
7. IKTCH 36 inches Built-in/Insert Range Hood 900 CFM, Ducted/Ductless
Till now we have talked about low to medium power recirculating range hoods, this one is a powerful hood that is sufficient for a large kitchen.
If you have a big kitchen then IKTCH IKB01-36 is perfect for you. It will clean all odors and greases efficiently. One of the best circulating range hoods with a stainless steel body.
IKTCH IKB01 has two sizes 30 inches and 36 inches to choose from. The ducted/ducted convertible range hood can be controlled by a remote. With 900 CFM blowing power it has sufficient capacity to blow out all the impurities out of the room.
The suction fan has 4-speed settings. You can control the fan speed depending on your requirement.
The range hood is fitted with 2 LED lights with 3W power which is enough to lit up your cooking space
With a powerful blowing speed at 900 CFM IKTCH is quite less noisy. At top speed, it remains within 65dbs. At the lowest speed, it will make around 40dbs of noise. If we compare with other ducted or recirculating range hoods then this one is pretty decent.
Filtration and performance
IKTCH having 3 layered permanent stainless steel baffle filters. You can wash these filters in the dishwasher and they are easy to clean.
Let’s talk about performance. The enormous power of 900 CFM can literally clean up your kitchen within moments efficiently. You will never feel the odor or fumes inside the cooking space. Just not that, the control panel has 4 touch control switches for smooth operation. You can use gesture sensing technology also. Wave your hand left to right and phew…., it gets switched on or off.
Why I suggest it as the best recirculating range hood
As I have already mentioned about IKTCH IKB01 range hood’s specs & features, and it indicates a value for money. Remote control is included in the package too. Overall, this ducted/ductless range hood is one of the most efficient pieces that I found.
- The motor is free replaced within 10 years.
- LED lights are replaced within 5 years in case of malfunction.
- Dishwasher-safe permanent stainless steel filters.
- 6-inch diameter duct, sufficient to clean the room.
- Charcoal filters are included.
- You may need a helping hand to install.
- Price is on the higher side compared to other recirculating range hoods.
Verdict – Best recirculating range hood
As we discussed earlier, ductless or recirculating range hoods are not the best solution, still, they are life-saving if you do not have the option to install a ducted range hood.
In that case, we have listed the best recirculating range hoods that you can opt for.