Smoke, gas fumes, steam, heat and other toxins produced when cooking can have a big impact on the quality of air in your home. When they slowly collect in your kitchen, they can end up contaminating the air around the house which could cause serious health effects to you and your family.
Therefore, proper ventilation throughout your kitchen is vital if at all you want to maintain a safe and secure environment. To achieve this, you need a good range hood, one that’s well-constructed, easy to use, and most importantly, very effective at cleaning up the air.
Below, we’ve prepared a comprehensive review covering the top five ductless range hoods you can find in the market. There are not the only ones, there are a lot of other good options out there, and they come in various styles and have different features.
So, we’ve also included a detailed guide below to help you make a more informed decision. It includes the key things you need to keep an eye on when picking your ductless range hood.
Best Ductless Range Hoods 2018
|The Z-Line ZLKB-30|
|Kitchen Bath Collection STL75|
|Zuhne Ventus Range Hood|
|Air King AD1306|
1. Broan 413004 ADA Range Hood – Best Overall Ductless Range HoodBroan 413004 is a 30-inch stainless steel range hood from one of the leading brands in the industry. If you are looking for a top quality ductless range hood that’s capable of effectively delivering better air quality, then this Broan model is the real deal.
To start off, the whole unit is made from stainless steel. It’s very solid and well-constructed. The sides have been mitered while the bottom is hemmed. The control panel on the front is quite basic. There are only two switches, one for light control and the other for the fan. So, operating the unit won’t be much trouble.
When it comes to performance, the Broan 413004 does not disappoint. It has a rocker-type fan. It’s not the strongest in the market, but it’s very reliable when it comes to moving the air. Steam or any airborne cooking contaminant will not escape all over the kitchen.
The filtration system, on the other hand, does a great job of keeping the air clean. It includes a grease-charcoal filter that’s very effective at filtering out all manner airborne cooking contaminants including smoke, grease, and odor.
The light is bright, and it illuminates the cooking area very well. The range hood can accept up to 75-watt bulbs. Installation is easy too. The wiring is straightforward, and it’s something that you won’t have any issues with when installing the unit.
The only setback on this Broan range hood is that it doesn’t feature automatic sensors and the charcoal filter cannot be cleaned, so you will have to replace it after every six months to ensure optimum performance.
However, despite this, the unit does its work efficiently. It’s not a high-end model, but it’s more than capable of filtering the air from all kinds of airborne contaminants that result from frequent cooking.
2. The Z-Line ZLKB-30 Range Hood – Most Powerful Ductless Range HoodTaking the second position is the ZLKB-30 range hood from Z-Line. Despite being fairly priced, this is one of the most powerful models in the market. It’s a hood range that’s built to last.
The steel construction is rigid, and it’s covered with a protective wrap to prevent scratches. When put up, the look and finish are terrific. The stainless steel surface is beautifully polished and will blend in well in any modern kitchen.
However, the feature that makes this Z-Line model stand out from the rest is its super strong motor. It’s a 760 CFM motor which offers some serious sucking power. The unit will very effectively suck smoke, odor, heat and any other pollutant that result from cooking.
You can adjust the speed up to four different speeds, and this is a big plus because you can set it depending on what you are cooking. It’s an ideal model for cooking processes that produce intense smoke like grilling steak on the gas grill top. But it can still do a great job for normal everyday cooking with the lower settings.
The filter also works very well in removing grease and other harmful elements from the smoke. It’s a baffled filter fitted with a charcoal filter for purifying and recirculating the air.
With regards to noise levels, it’s a bit loud but not overwhelming. You can have a conversation when it’s operating up to speed 3, but at speed 4, it’s kind of loud.
The lights underneath are such a nice touch. They give just the right level of brightness, and the best part is that they can swivel. You can adjust them to illuminate the cooking area or anywhere you want them to.
As for installation, it’s fairly easy and can be done by a single person although you might need a helping hand to lift it and set it up. The only issue is that it tends to vibrate when the fan speed is high. Nonetheless, if fixed firmly on the wall, then it will remain still. So, it’s not really a big issue.
Generally, the Z-Line ZLKB-30 is solid, well-constructed range hood that can provide sufficient ventilation even at low speeds. It looks nice and will clean up the air thoroughly. If you are a looking for power and versatility, then this is an option you should consider. It can be installed both as non-ducted or ducted system.
3. Kitchen Bath Collection STL75 Range Hood – Best Wall Mounted Ductless Range HoodAnother interesting addition on our list is the STL75 range hood from Kitchen Bath Collection. This 30-inch unit is another versatile range hood that’s capable of providing adequate ventilation with or without a duct.
In terms of built quality, the STL75 is not as heavy duty as the Z-Line ZLKB-30 above. The whole unit is constructed using good quality stainless steel, but the thickness is a bit on the light side. The sheet metal is really thin. It won’t be much of a problem though if you can handle it with care.
Like the ZLK-30, the control panel is a touch screen, and the buttons are very responsive to touch. They work very well, so you will have no difficulties in operating it.
With a suction capacity of around 400CFM, the STL750 has enough power to get rid of intense smoke and odor from the kitchen. The filtration system is a combination of aluminum micro-cell grease filters and charcoal carbon filters both of which are very efficient at trapping grease, fumes, and other pollutants. So, it can also thoroughly clean the air.
The noise level of the fan is a little high but not to the point of becoming annoying. It’s definitely not a deal breaker. The lights on the hand are nice and provide great visibility. The only problem is that they not recessed well under the hood. They are too bright, so they emit quite a lot of light to the room, and there is no way of directing them to the rear.
Installing the STL750 is pretty easy, it’s light, and a single person can handle it. Aside from the super bright lights, the only other issue is that the unit produces a loud beep whenever you press a button. Other than that, everything else is good and the hood functions effectively.
The STL75 is a great fit for any modern kitchen. Despite its thin metal sheet construction, it’s a hood range that can last for long provided that you handle it with care. It offers great value for the money, and it’s an option worth considering if it has won your over.
4. Zuhne Ventus Range Hood – Most Efficient Ductless Range HoodZhune Ventus range hood is not a high-end model, it’s an average range hood but what makes it stand out is its superior performance. The unit strikes a good balance between power and efficiency.
Its build quality is above par. The whole unit is made from stainless steel. It’s strong and feels durable plus the satin finish is scratch resistant and gives the range hood a very contemporary look especially with its angular design. It can blend nicely with any modern kitchen décor.
The soft touch control panel is very basic and easy to operate. There are five buttons, three for fan speeds and one for the task lighting. The last one is for powering up the unit. They are simple buttons with quick on/off function.
In short construction-wise, this Zhune range hood has passed the test. However, its main highlight is its efficient ventilation system. With a suction power of up to 450 CFM, the unit has more than enough capacity to handle most household cooktops.
You can set the fan according to what you are cooking as there are three settings for light, medium and heavy cooking. Besides raw power, the unit is equipped with baffle filter that’s also fitted with charcoal filters.
Therefore, whether installed ductless or with the duct, it will still effectively get rid of fumes, odor, and any other harmful contaminant. The fan is relatively quiet on low, medium and even high fan speeds. It does not have a low light option, but the Twin 3W LEDs provide sufficient lighting.
The installation instructions are pretty clear and straightforward. If you have experience in installing a range hood, then it shouldn’t be a problem otherwise it would be better to have a specialist do the job.
There is no big concern about this unit. It’s a solid range hood and does its work efficiently plus the baffle filters are dishwasher friendly. So, it’s another good option to consider.
5. Air King AD1306 Range Hood – Best Value Ductless Under Cabinet Range HoodClosing our top 5 list is the Air King AD1306 model which is one of the most affordable range hood in the market. It doesn’t require a major investment but will still perform like the more expensive models. If you are under budget but looking for a decent ductless range hood, then this is a great choice.
This unit is undeniably very basic in terms of its design. There is no much glamour about it other than the black finish that gives a decent look that will fit in any kitchen. However, the construction is solid with the whole unit made from 23-gauge stainless steel. It can last for a long period with little maintenance.
The built quality is good and so is the performance when it comes to keeping a clean air in the kitchen. Operating at 180 CFM, it’s not the most powerful hood; however, it’s more than decent for the price.
It utilizes a combination of grease and charcoal filter which together can effectively get rid of grease, smokes, smells and any other unwanted particulates in your kitchen. The system offers adequate ventilation without the vent. The grease-charcoal filter has to be replaced after 6 months.
It’s a little disappointing that the bulb is not included in the package. However, it uses a standard 60-watt bulb, so it will provide sufficient lighting to your cooking area. The unit is very basic, and it comes with a DIY installation guide, so putting it up and operating it won’t pose any challenge.
Generally, the Air King AD1306 is not a heavy duty hood considering its low airflow rating. However, for normal everyday cooking, it will do an excellent job. It’s more capable of keeping the air in your kitchen clean and smelling fresh.
Choosing the Best Ductless Range Hood
Ductless range hoods come in a wide variety of styles, and they differ greatly when it comes to features and build quality. You want to make sure that you spend your money on a unit that offers the best solution.
To give you a head start, here are five key things you should consider when evaluating different options.
1. Size of Your Cooking Range
The first thing you want to do before looking for a hood is to determine the size of the area over your cooking range. This is important because you want to get a unit that covers all your burners or rather the entire cooking range.
You should also measure the height of the range from the point where you plan to put the ductless hood. The standard size for most hoods is 30- inches wide which is enough to amply cover most cooking surfaces.
However, it’s better to bank on buying a larger hood. This way, it will be powerful enough to air out the grease and smoke from your kitchen.
2. The Mounting Style
Another crucial element you should consider is how the hood is going to fit. You want something that will not require some massive remodeling. This will, however, depend on the location of your stove.
Wall-mounted range hoods are the most common version you will find on the market, and these are ideal if you are remodeling and looking to place the stove against the wall.
If it sits under your cabinets, then you will have to go for under cabinet hoods. These are amongst the easiest models to install.
Likewise, if you have a kitchen island, then you might want to consider a unit that can hang from the ceiling. However, these models tend to be lighter, so you won’t get as much power as the under cabinet or wall-mounted range hoods.
Basically, whatever style you choose will depend on the location of your stove and the design of your kitchen. The most important thing here though is to pay attention to the measurements. Whether it’s an under cabinet or wall-mounted unit, it’s imperative that you have sufficient room to accommodate the unit to ensure optimal performance.
3. Build Quality
Once you have figured out the size of your cooking range and the type of hood that suits your kitchen design, it’s time now to go shopping. And the first thing you should check when evaluating your options is the quality of the construction.
A good range hood is constructed using stainless steel that’s thick enough to withstand the elements and last for a long period. Almost all the components affected by grease and smoke including the filters and fan covers as well as the paneling. This will not only ensure durability but also make cleaning a lot easier.
Airflow is one of the things that will have an impact on the performance of your hood. So, you want to ensure that you select a unit that has sufficient power to suit all your needs. The key feature here to check is the motor because it’s what will determine how quickly and efficiently the fan get to recirculate or remove the air. You should consider:
5. The Power of the Fan
The power of the fan/motor is measured in CFM which is cubic feet per minute. The higher the CFM, the greater the airflow and the greater the airflow, the faster and more effective the fans will vent the air through the hood’s filtration system.
In this case, you should consider units that offer at least 300 CFM. An airflow capacity of around 300 CFM is ideal for most homes. It’s sufficient for normal everyday cooking but the higher the capacity, the better.
6. Fan Speed Adjustment
The ability to control the airflow is equally important when it comes to ventilation. You might want to do some heavy duty cooking like preparing meat on an indoor griddle which can result in a lot of smoke.
With a unit that offers fan speed adjustment, you will be able to adjust the airflow to an appropriate level to ensure optimal ventilation. Therefore, aside from having a high CFM, consider a unit that also allows you to set the speed of the fan according to your needs.
7. Filtration System
The true effectiveness of any ductless range hood will be mainly determined by the quality of its filters not necessarily a high CFM. So, this is one area you want to be extra vigilant when evaluating your options.
Most units will have either an aluminum mesh filter or a charcoal filter. They are some that utilize both filters or include a grease filter alongside the charcoal or aluminum filter. Between the two, charcoal filters are far more effective in removing all kinds of particulates including oils and odors.
Aluminum mesh filters are also good at pulling impurities out of the air but are not that reliable especially when it comes to absorbing grease and odor. However, they are reusable and easy to clean as most of them are dishwasher friendly.
Charcoal filters, on the other hand, cannot be cleaned. They have to be replaced regularly, mostly after every six months of use. Generally, for optimal filtration capability, you should consider a hood with a filtration system that utilizes either a charcoal filter or an aluminum and grease filter. If you can find one that has both or a charcoal filter coupled with a grease filter then the better.
Aside from all these, the other factors you should keep in mind when selecting your range hood includes the noise level, lighting, and a timer or automatic shut-off feature. These are minor factors to consider but are equally important.
Our Final Review
In general, there are many reliable and efficient ductless range hoods out there. The most important thing though is finding the one that will adequately address all your needs without necessarily draining your pocket.
The units listed above represent top quality and are very capable of keeping the atmosphere around your kitchen and home safe and clean. However, they are not the only ones.
So, if none of them impressed you, then the guidelines provided above can help you narrow down your options and select the best unit for your home.