We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is a Hood Fan?

By R. Anacan
Updated May 17, 2024
Our promise to you
About Mechanics is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At About Mechanics, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

While cooking is a pleasurable experience for many people, the by-product of cooking often times is not. Many have experienced a kitchen filled with smoke, splattering oil and strong odors during cooking. A hood fan is an appliance that provides ventilation, air circulation, and smoke and/or odor removal during the cooking process.

A hood fan is made using either a rotary-style fan, much like a traditional household fan or a barrel-shaped fan. The barrel-shaped fan is generally quieter and more effective than a rotary-style hood fan. However, the rotary-style fan is usually less expensive. Whether rotary or barrel-shaped, the fan draws air into the unit either venting it outside or recirculating back into the room.

The most effective hood fans are ducted or vented systems. These systems actually remove smoke, steam and odors from the cooking area. As the fan draws air away from the stove, it is filtered and then channeled outside through an exhaust duct system.

A hood fan that does not utilize a duct system is often called a recirculating or a non-vented hood fan. A recirculating system draws air in, then cleans and filters it before it is circulated back into the room. Due to the fact that air it not actually removed from the cooking area, recirculating hood fans are not as effective at removing the negative effects of smoke and odor as ducted hood fan systems are.

A hood fan is most often located above the stove or directly behind it. Many hood fans that are located above the stove are often combined in a unit that includes a microwave oven and lighting. While these combination units offer space-saving convenience, they are not as effective as standalone hood fans.

Consumers who have stoves located on kitchen islands, or who do not want a large range hood above the stove can select a downdraft fan. Downdraft fans are typically located behind the back burners of a stove. When not in use, the downdraft fan retracts into the stove or countertop area, sitting flush with the surface. When in use, the fan unit pops up behind the stove and sits above the cooking surface.

While downdraft units are less visually intrusive than a traditional range hood, they are not as effective as over the range fans due to their typical location behind the stove. Even downdraft fans that are located in the middle of the stove, near the burners, do not work as efficiently as their range hood counterparts. The downdraft fan has to work harder than an over the range hood fan because it tries to reverse the upward direction that smoke and steam naturally move in.

About Mechanics is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By mobilian33 — On Apr 02, 2014

A hood fan seems to suck up as much grease as it does smoke, steam and odors. If you are about to buy a fan, save yourself a lot of work and get one that has an easy to remove filter that can be washed in the dishwasher.

By Sporkasia — On Apr 02, 2014

@Animandel - Some people actually stop using their hood fans because of the noise, so you are not alone in your dislike for the loud noise created by the ventilation devices. This may be a bit late, but hood fans are rated so consumers can determine how much noise they will produce.

The noise level of a hood fan is measured in units called sones. Make sure you check a hood fan's sones rating before you purchase it to see where the fan ranks when compared to other fans you are considering.

By Animandel — On Apr 01, 2014

I love the way my new hood fan works. We have no lingering odors from meal preparations. When we produce a little too much smoke when cooking, the hood fan quickly removes the smoke-- which could be dangerous if allowed to flow freely through the house-- and the smoke detector doesn't even sound.

However, I had no idea the fan would be as loud as it is. The one we replaced was not as loud. I wish there was some way I could have known about the noise before we bought the fan.

About Mechanics, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

About Mechanics, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.