Kitchen ventilation systems go by many names. Range hoods, vent hoods, and exhaust hoods are some of the more common names for them. No matter what kind of cooking range you intend to set up in your kitchen, a range hood that complements it is of paramount importance. But what is the right hood for your kitchen? Here’s a comparative analysis of ducted vs ductless range hoods to help narrow down your choices.

As a part of this analysis, we will define what each kind of hood is, what differentiates ducted models from ductless models, as well as the pros and cons of both of them. 

What is a range hood?

A range hood is a wall-mounted enclosure that houses an exhaust fan and is positioned above your cooking range with the sole purpose of drawing cooking odors, soot, airborne food particles, smoke, and fumes that are a result of cooking away from you and the food. One advantage of a range hood is that it stops soot and other particulate matter from settling on your kitchen walls and ceiling, making keeping your kitchen clean a lot easier.  It also helps prevent the odor of food from spreading across the rest of your house. This makes range hoods an essential part of every modern kitchen.

Ducted range hoods

Ducted Range Hoods

As the name suggests, this type of range hood uses a duct to suck in the air and smoke from the kitchen and move them out. This makes it difficult to install in some kitchen designs and also offers you less flexibility in terms of where they can be positioned in a kitchen.

Ducted hoods require the installation of proper ducts from the kitchen to the outdoors. This requires a fair amount of space, meaning you’re more likely to find them in commercial kitchens as well as large domestic kitchens.


  1. Can handle larger volumes of smoke, soot, odors, and particles.
  2. Since ducted range hoods actually vent all these outdoors, they are extremely efficient in maintaining the air quality inside the kitchen.
  3. While it has been claimed that ducted range hoods are quieter and more energy-efficient than ductless range hoods, that actually depends on the brand, model, and size of the hood.


  1. The biggest drawback is this type of hood needs ducting that leads from the kitchen to the outside of the home. This limits space and placement options and makes it almost impossible to use in small kitchens.

Ductless range hoods

Ductless Range Hoods

A ductless range hood differs from a ducted range hood in that it does not need a duct to operate, and does not vent anything outside the house. Instead, these hoods can be installed anywhere, and operate by sucking in odors, smoke, soot, and particulate matter, cleaning the air using activated charcoal or activated carbon filters, and then reintroducing the recycled air back into the kitchen.

This makes ductless range hoods a lot more flexible, considering they can be installed anywhere in a room, and more space-efficient as the size of the kitchen itself will not matter.


  1. Can be installed anywhere, even in small kitchens.
  2. Does not need ducting vents, making them more space-efficient.
  3. Easier to install.
  4. Newer models come with timers that can be programmed.


  1. Makes more noise than a ducted range hood.
  2. Require more fan power, so may be less energy efficient.
  3. Since these work on the principle of filtering and recirculating air back into the kitchen, it makes the kitchen more humid.
  4. Filters need to be cleaned and changed periodically for the hood to function efficiently.

Still not sure?

You now know what’s hot and what’s not about ducted and ductless range hoods. Still not quite sure which one fits into your kitchen renovation scheme? Well, fret not. There’s a third option for you to choose from.

Convertible range hoods

Convertible Range Hoods

Convertible range hoods give you the best of both worlds. These hoods are ducted range hoods with an air recirculating kit, converting them into ductless hoods seamlessly.

So if you want an efficient ducted range hood in the long run, but don’t want to spend on ducting just yet, you could just install a convertible range hood and operate the same way a ductless hood operates until you’re ready for the next phase of your kitchen remodeling.

Read more: The best way to clean oven hood filters

A Comparative Analysis of Ducted vs Ductless Range Hoods was last modified: April 19th, 2022 by Narayan Shrouthy
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