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Ducted vs Ductless Range Hoods – What Type to Go For?

Ducted vs Ductless Range Hoods
Written by Simon Clark
Last Update: June 21, 2023

Range hoods are becoming the norm these days and they come in two types – ducted range hoods with ventilation systems and ductless hoods with filtration systems. If you are thinking of buying one but don’t know what type to go for, we’re here to guide you all the way through differentiating ducted vs. ductless range hoods.

Ducted vs Ductless Range Hoods –  Pros & Cons

Ducted Range Hoods


  • They are usually introduced in commercial kitchens and in heavily used home kitchens. They throw out all the combustion products, steam, smoke, grease, heat, and odor; and maintain fresh air in the kitchen.
  • They are the best to extract the steam, heat, and humidity from your kitchen. These hoods will take them out through the vent instead of recirculating them in the air.
  • They use reliable stainless steel or aluminum mesh filters. You can use them for 6-8 months without even bothering to check.
  • You can clean the filters and put them back, instead of changing them. Whereas, the carbon filters used in the second type, need replacement every time.
  • User’s remarks show that these hoods work better than the ductless: they are more effective and less noisy. However, noise varies as per the brand, size, and model.


  • They limit your options of setting up the cooking range and hood. You can only establish them in the kitchens that already have a duct system or have the capacity to add one.

Ducted vs. Ductless Range Hoods -  Pros & Cons

Ductless Range Hoods


  • The most attractive feature is that you can fix them anywhere you want because they don’t need any ventilation system.
  • Their adaptability can help you keep up the decorum of the kitchen. Plus, compared to the ducted, they are way too easy to accommodate.
  • New models come with a sensor and a timer. The sensor will detect the smoke or odor from the stove, and automatically turn on the hood. Then the timer will turn it off after a specific time.


  • Their biggest drawback is that the heat and humidity still circulate in the kitchen.
  • They are noisy than the ducted one because their fan needs more power. Some other factors, like the size, brand, and model of the appliance, help the cause.
  • Their carbon or charcoal filters can’t be cleaned and need to be changed after 2-3 months as per the usage.

Ducted vs Ductless Range Hoods – Based on Utility

Reducing the Moisture & Heat

  • Being in a humid kitchen is a terrible place to be. Ducted range hoods reduce the heat and moisture from your kitchen and keep the atmosphere cooler and drier. With a vent installed, these hoods throw everything out of the kitchen and bring back the fresh air.
  • The non-ducted range hoods can filter the airborne oil and gases, but the heat and moisture will remain in the room because the air recirculates back.


  • The hoods with ducts are less noisy: the fan removes the air and everything outside. It has nothing to do with the filtration process.
  • On the other hand, the filter receives all the pollutants and purify them. Then, the fan sucks the purified air from the filter, which recirculates. That’s why the fan needs more power and makes more noise.

Grease Capture

  • Ducted hoods evacuate the greasy airborne outside. In this way, the grease might stick inside the duct’s surface but can be cleaned easily.
  • On the contrary, the second type also sucks the greasy air and purifies it with carbon filters. The filter pores absorb the grease, which gradually starts sitting in the pores. This blocking will deliberately fade away the performance.

Size and Flexibility

  • Hood’s size determines its performance. An ideal hood’s width should cover the width of the cooktop. So, they don’t let the smoke or steam swirl away and suck all the emissions. The small hood will not capture all the smoke and moisture rising from the cocking range.
  • Ducted range hoods are not flexible; their fixture needs to be close to the vent. Whereas, ductless ones are flexible, and can be fixed anywhere because they don’t depend on a vent system.


  • The hoods with ducts release all the smoke, odor, and airborne particles outside, which doesn’t mean they don’t need maintenance. Although their filters are more durable, they still need to be cleaned or replaced after six months. You also need to clean the duct because the grease could stick to its surface.
  • The ones without ducts need less maintenance. They are composed of carbon or charcoal filters and powerful fans. These filters capture all the airborne particles, which is why they need to be changed occasionally.

Odor Reduction

  • Ducted hoods release all the air outside, so they take away all the cooking or ingredients smell alongside.
  • Ductless hoods can filter out only the light smell, but these filters can’t remove the strong smell like bacon or onion and others.

Ease of Installation

  • The ducted appliances are a little difficult to install because of the whole ducting system. Plus, you have limited options for setting up your cooking range.
  • However, the hoods of the other type are very easy to install: they don’t require any extra space for ducts and can be fitted anywhere in the kitchen.


  • Ducted range hoods can cost you some extra bucks because the process involves adding a whole new duct system for the hood.
  • Ductless hoods are without a duct system, so you can save some bucks from installing cost. Yet, their filters need to be changed more frequently than the ducted.

Ducted vs Ductless Range Hoods – Who’s the Winner?

Ducted range hoods are best for you if you’re starting something commercial or your kitchen is in excessive use. Plus, if you have a proper duct system in your kitchen and conscious about the air quality.

Whereas, if you are not a frequent kitchen visitor and are looking for something that can fit anywhere you want, go for the second type for stylish decor.


Both types of range hoods have their distinctive characteristics. The choice is all up to you. Choose a hood that best suits your needs as well as your kitchen look.


1. Are ductless range hoods any good?

Ans. Ductless range hoods circulate the filtered air and help you get rid of the grease airborne and odor. Plus, an excellent option for those who don’t want a duct system in their kitchen.

2. Is a range hood really necessary?

Ans. How would you like to be in a kitchen full of smoke, steam, odors, other pollutants, and grease all over the cabinet and above the stove? If your answer is no, then you know how necessary it is.

3. Do recirculating range hoods really work?

Ans. Yes, they do work if you’re using them to eliminate grease and cooking odors and pollutants. But, they are not suitable for commercial kitchens and can’t get rid of the heat and humidity.

About the author

Simon Clark

Market Analyst

Simon is 32 with a degree in Business Administration from the California State University. Growing up in Kansas City, Missouri, he developed a keen interest in grilled and barbecued meat. His father was a renowned chef working at the Rieger Hotel Grill & Exchange. That also connects him to the food service industry. He started his career as an assistant manager at a local hotel but now he supervises the product research team at Meatballly. Simon is also into photography and frequently travels around the world with his camera gear. He does most of the photoshoots of the site.

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