How High Should Your Range Hood Be?

April 16, 2023 8 min read

A range hood is a very important kitchen appliance as it helps improve indoor air quality by removing pollutants and cooking odors. The best way to ensure that a range hood adequately vents the air generated by cooking is if mounted at the proper distance from your cooking area. A crucial mistake most range hood installers make is wrongly placing the hoods either too close to the cooking surface or too far from it.

Installing a range hood that is too high or too low will result in quite poor venting performance and overwork the device. Instead of getting a superb air cleaning device, you might end up with a noisy appliance that would often deliver suboptimal ventilation. Therefore, it is always crucial to determine the right height for your range hood before installation.

This simple guide will also cover different installation heights of most range hoods. We will show factors that influence the height your range hood should be and answer the basic questions about how high they should be.

Factors to Consider When Determining Range Hood Height

The height of your range hood from your cooking zone might seem minor detail when planning where to mount it. But this is a significant decision; several factors determine your range hood's height. Some of the notable ones are:

1. Type of Stove

Before settling on a mounting height for your range hood, you must factor in the type of stove used in the kitchen. Different stoves discharge heat and smoke differently, so the range hood height for each will differ.

The burn rate of a gas range or stove differs from that of an electric range or induction-based stove, meaning the range hood height for each will vary. Gas stoves can produce flames up to 3 inches high, so the vent hood should be at a height that allows it to capture the smoke and combustion byproducts effectively. An induction or electric cooktop rarely produces an open flame like a gas cooktop, so there is a bit of leeway on how low you can go.

Most manufacturers often place precise installation heights for different stoves in the owner’s manual of a new range hood. It is usually best practice to consult and strictly adhere to the stated height. Although industry-accepted standards for range hood mounting height for electric or induction stoves are anywhere from 20 to 24 inches and 25 to 30 inches for gas stoves.

2. Ceiling Height

The height of your ceiling plays a crucial role in determining the best height for your range hood. An industry installation guide is the higher the ceiling, the higher the range hood should be. In most homes, you’ll find that the standard ceiling height falls between 8 and 9 feet. If you have an 8-foot ceiling, the ideal height for your range hood would be somewhere between 24 to 30 inches above the cooktop. For a 9-foot ceiling, you’d want to position the range hood about 27 to 33 inches above the cooktop.

For those with a ceiling height above 9 feet, you might need to get a chimney extension, especially if you’re using an island range hood. The chimney extension is a duct that connects the range hood to the ceiling.

Here’s a simple formula to help you figure out the recommended height for your range hood based on your ceiling height:

Recommended range hood height = height of cooktop + ceiling height - 30 inches

You might need to adjust the recommended height for your range hood depending on its CFM and speed settings. One can often install a range hood with a high CFM and adjustable speed settings at a high distance. But a range hood with lower CFM ratings and fixed speed settings usually needs to be installed lower.

3. Size and height of the cooking surface

The height and size of your cooking surface will directly influence the height of your range hood. Range hoods should be at a height above the cooking surface where they can effectively capture smoke and cooking odors. The standard cooking surface height for most stovetops is between 36 and 42 inches from the floor. But you should always measure the height of your cooking surface before you determine the height of your range hood. Guesswork or estimating will often lead to a subpar installation.

If you have a larger cooking surface, you should install the range hood higher. A larger cooking surface generates more smoke and steam, and a higher range hood can capture these more effectively. The formula below is a simpler way of calculating this:

Recommended range hood height = cooking surface height + 24 to 30 inches

For example, if the height of your cooking surface is 36 inches, then the range hood should be at least 60 to 66 inches above the ground. If your cooking surface is larger, you might need to install multiple range hoods to cover it adequately. You can also get more graphical information with the range hood height calculator at ZEPHR.

4. The Range Hood CFM

The cubic feet per minute or CFM rating of a range hood is another factor that determines where best to install it. It is a measure of the amount of air that the range hood can move each minute. It often relays to the average homeowner how powerful a range hood is. The higher the CFM of a range hood, the faster it is at removing pollutants.

A standard rule is that a range hood should have a minimum CFM of 100 for every linear foot of the cooktop.

For instance, if your range hood has a CFM of 900, you can mount it as high as 36 inches above the cooktop. But if you are installing a range hood with a low CFM, like one with a CFM less than 300, it should not exceed 18 inches above the cooktop. For further information on  the right range hood CFM, check out our comprehensive piece on how many CFM your range hood should have.

5. Type of Cooking Done

The type of cooking done in your kitchen impacts the height of your range hood. If you cook certain foods that produce a lot of smoke and steam, you may need a lower the height level of your hood. This will ensure that the pollutants are all captured and none escapes into the surrounding air. But if you cook other foods that generally do not produce a lot of smoke or steam then you can place the hood at a much higher height. The heat level you cook with is another crucial point to note. If you often cook with high heat, like using a wok or grilling, a range hood with a higher CFM may be needed. 

6. Regional Regulations

It is important to crosscheck with any regional and local regulations on range hood installation. Some local building or homeowner's association codes may have specific requirements for range hood installation that detail the proper installation heights. Consider consulting with a local licensed professional, such as an HVAC contractor or installer, to ensure compliance with any regional laws. This will save you from undue stress and potential issues down the line.

7. Manufacturer Instructions

Most range hood manufacturers provide clear instructions on the recommended height for installation. This should be your first stop before considering other factors. The manufacturer's instructions are often the most accurate guide for how high your range hood should be installed. They have conducted several functionality tests on the range hood before settling on how high it should be placed. These tests consider the range hood's dimensions, components, and customizations, as well as safety and performance considerations.

8. Personal Preferences

While the height of your range hood should be chosen based on practical considerations, such as cooking surface height and CFM, the homeowner's taste sometimes plays a defining role.

Personal preferences based on aesthetic considerations in search of a range hood that matches the kitchen layout and other cabinetry might influence the placement of the range hood. Most range hoods will likely be installed at cabinet-level height, where they easily blend in with other appliances, rather than up top, where they stick out like an odd thumb.

Installation Options for Range Hoods

Here is an overview of the installation height options for wall-mounted, island, and under-cabinet range hoods.

Wall-mounted range hoods

Wall-mounted range hoods are installed directly on the wall above your cooking area and are often ducted range hoods. They are commonly recognized by their prominent vent hoods that can vary in design styles, from either bell-shaped or box-like.

Wall-mounted hoods often require less cabinet space, and their placement right on the wall above the cooking area is an ideal spot for catching pollutants. To get the best out of most wall-mounted range hoods, it is advisable to position it between 24 and 30 inches above the cooktop surface. This ideal distance will ensure the range hood is not too far or too close to the stove or range.

Island range hoods

Island range hoods are the preferred range hoods in kitchens where the cooktop is on a kitchen island. They are suspended like spotlights with large canopies or chimney hoods that provide venting coverage over the island. This strategic placement and hood design allow it to capture smoke and fumes from all sides, keeping your kitchen fresh and clean. Optimal performance, however, hinges on careful positioning. Ensure your island hood hangs 30-36 inches above the cooktop surface to maximize its effectiveness.

Under-cabinet range hoods

For kitchens with limited space, under-cabinet range hoods are a popular choice. They're compact and fit right under the cabinet above your cooktop. This saves space compared to other types, and they're also often cheaper, which is good for budget-conscious buyers.

However, they don't have as much power as some other range hoods. They can also be loud at high speeds. But careful placement can make them more effective. The ideal height to install most under-cabinet hoods is between 18-24 inches above the cooktop for good smoke and fume capture.

What Happens If You Install Your Range Hood at the Wrong Height?

If you place your range hood incorrectly, you run the danger of the following happening:

  1. Your range hood might become damaged from overexposure to heat if placed too close to a cooktop that generates lots of heat, particularly gas ranges or stoves.
  2. If your range hood is placed too far from your cooktop, it won’t clean the kitchen air properly, as smoke, vapors, and other air pollutants will easily escape into the kitchen air.
  3. You will strain your range hood motor and eventually wear it out, as it will work overtime to compensate for the ineffective placement.
  4. A range hood installed too close to a cooktop is a safety issue because the combination of intense heat and accumulated oil droplets is very flammable.
  5. Your range hood will need regular cleaning, mainly if it is too near the cooktop since soot and grease can easily stick to its hood or range hood inserts.

Final Thoughts

The factors determining how high your range hood should be are essential and should be followed to the letter. Correctly installing your range hood will make it maximally effective and significantly prolong its working life, so ensure you place it at the optimal height.