Every cooker hood draws in steam, smoke and odors from the kitchen. But when it comes to style, the designs vary widely: some are kitchen-defining statement pieces, while others are almost disappearing.
“There is often a tendency to have a beautiful sculptural element above the hob,” said Melissa Baker, who co-founded New York-based architecture firm Pulltab with Jon Handley. "But we usually try to hide them instead."
One of the company's most popular approaches is to install a retractable hood, mostly hidden in a cabinet above the stove, with a retractable shield that expands while cooking. But for homeowners who prefer the look of a professional chef's kitchen, Pulltab sometimes specifies large stainless steel models that look like they were pulled out of a restaurant.
Regardless of your preference, the most important part of owning a range hood is remembering to use it.
"If you don't have an extraction," said Mr. Handley, "the apartment will smell of fish for two more days."
Will your hood vent to the outside or circulate air through a filter? Outside ventilation is better, said Ms. Baker, but not always possible, especially in apartments. Many hoods can work both ways, but may require a conversion kit.
Is it getting the right light? The light from a hood should be bright enough to illuminate pots and a color temperature similar to that of your under-cabinet lights. "You really don't want terrible lighting over the area," said Ms. Baker.
How wide should it be? At least as wide as the range, she said, but for top performance, some manufacturers recommend choosing one that is at least three inches wider on each side.
Professional hood available in different colors
From $ 4,595 at BlueStar: 610-376-7479 or bluestarcooking.com
GE Custom Hood Insert
Extractor hoods built-in for customer-specific housing
$ 329 at GE Appliances: 800-430-1757 or geappliances.com
Chimney-style wall hood available in different colors
$ 1,299 at Perigold: 844-248-0909 or perigold.com
Pull-out hood under the cupboard
From $ 579 at Build with Ferguson: 855-719-0658 or build.com
Faber Cylindra Isola
Cylindrical stainless steel hood for island installation
$ 1,699 at AJ Madison: 800-570-3355 or ajmadison.com
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