April 16, 2023 8 min read
A range hood is essential to any kitchen as it helps improve indoor air quality by removing smoke, steam, and cooking odors. The best way to ensure that a range hood adequately vents all the strong odors, smoke, and debris generated by cooking is if mounted at the proper clearance distance from your cooking area.
Installing a range hood that is too high or too low can result in poor performance and may even be hazardous. Therefore, it is crucial to determine the optimal height for your range hood before installation.
Finding the perfect range hood height can be challenging, but this guide will give you the information you need to make an informed decision. By considering several factors, such as the type of stove, ceiling height, the size and height of the cooking surface, etc., you can determine the optimal height for your range hood.
This article will also provide installation options for different types of range hoods and frequently asked questions regarding range hood height and maintenance. With this information, you can confidently install a range hood that is effective and safe for your kitchen.
Let’s dive in.
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:
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 will vary depending on your stove type.
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, which means that the vent hood should be installed at a height that allows it to capture the smoke and combustion byproducts effectively. An induction or electric cooktop typically doesn't produce 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.
The ceiling height in your kitchen also plays a crucial role in determining the height of your range hood. The higher the ceiling, the higher the range hood should be installed to ensure efficient capture of smoke, steam, and cooking odors.
A standard ceiling height in most homes is between 8 and 9 feet. For a ceiling height of 8 feet, the range hood should be installed 24 to 30 inches above the cooking surface. For a ceiling height of 9 feet, the range hood should be installed at 27 to 33 inches above the cooking surface.
If your ceiling is higher than 9 feet, you may need to install a chimney extension if you have an island range hood, for example, to capture smoke, steam, and cooking odors effectively. A chimney extension is a duct that extends from the range hood to the ceiling, allowing the range hood to capture smoke and steam effectively.
To calculate the recommended range hood height based on your ceiling height, you can use the following formula:
Recommended range hood height = cooking surface height + ceiling height - 30 inches
For example, if your cooking surface height is 36 inches and your ceiling height is 8 feet, the recommended range hood height would be 42 to 48 inches (36 inches + 96 inches - 120 inches = 42 to 48 inches).
It is important to note that the recommended range hood height should be adjusted based on your range hood's CFM and speed settings. A higher CFM and adjustable speed settings may allow for a higher range hood installation, while a lower CFM and fixed speed settings may require a lower range hood installation.
The height and size of your cooking surface also play a crucial role in determining the height of your range hood. The range hood should be installed at a height that ensures it can effectively capture smoke, steam, and cooking odors. It should also be at least as wide as the cooking surface.
Most stovetops' standard cooking surface height is 36 and 42 inches from the floor. However, the height may vary depending on your preferences. Measuring the height of your cooking surface before determining the height of your range hood is essential.
The larger the cooking surface, the higher the range hood should be installed. This is because a larger cooking surface produces more smoke and steam, which require a higher range hood to capture effectively.
To calculate the recommended range hood height for your cooking surface, you can use the following formula:
Recommended range hood height = cooking surface height + 24 to 30 inches
For example, if your cooking surface height is 36 inches, the recommended range hood height would be between 60 and 66 inches above the ground.
If you have a larger cooking surface, you may need to install multiple range hoods to ensure adequate coverage.
The CFM, or cubic feet per minute, of your range hood, is a critical factor in determining the optimal height for your range hood. CFM refers to the air the range hood can move per minute. The higher the CFM, the more powerful the range hood captures smoke, steam, and cooking odors.
Generally, a range hood should have a minimum CFM of 100 for every linear foot of the cooking surface. If your range hood has a higher CFM, it can be installed above the cooking surface. For example, if your range hood has a CFM of 900, you can install it up to 36 inches above the cooking surface and still capture smoke and steam effectively.
However, if your range hood has a lower CFM, you may need to install it closer to the cooking surface to ensure efficient capture of smoke and steam. Generally, if your range hood has a CFM of less than 300, it should be installed no more than 18 inches above the cooking surface.
By considering your range hood's CFM and speed settings, you can determine the optimal height for your range hood and ensure efficient capture of smoke, steam, and cooking odors.
The cooking you do in your kitchen can also impact the height of your range hood. If you frequently cook foods that produce a lot of smoke or steam, such as deep-frying or stir-frying, you may need to install your range hood at a lower height to ensure efficient capture of smoke and steam.
On the other hand, if you primarily cook foods that do not produce a lot of smoke or steam, such as boiling or simmering, you may install your range hood at a higher height.
Additionally, if you frequently cook with high heat, such as using a wok or cooking on a grill, you may need a range hood with a higher CFM to capture smoke and steam effectively.
It is important to know any regional regulations regarding range hood installation heights. Some local building codes or homeowner's associations may have specific requirements for range hood installation that must be followed.
For example, in some regions, the range hood may need to be installed at a specific height above the cooking surface to comply with ventilation regulations. These regulations may also specify the minimum CFM for the range hood to ensure adequate ventilation.
Before purchasing a range hood and planning for its installation, it is recommended that you research any local regulations regarding range hood height and ventilation. Consider consulting with a licensed professional, such as a contractor or electrician, to ensure compliance with any regional laws.
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.
Most range hood manufacturers provide clear instructions on the recommended height for installation. These instructions consider the specific range hood's dimensions, components, and customizations, as well as safety and performance considerations.
As outlined in the range hood installation manual, the manufacturer's instructions are often the most accurate guide for how high your range hood should be installed. They have conducted stress and functionality tests on the range hood before settling on how high it should be placed. The instruction in the installation manual is often the best place to start when figuring out how high your range hood needs to be to work well and safely.
Here is an overview of the installation height options for wall-mounted, island, and under-cabinet range hoods.
A Wall-mounted range hood is mounted on the wall above the stove and vented to the outside. They come in various styles, including bell-shaped, rustic, and flat designs, and can be made from stainless steel or glass. One advantage of wall-mounted range hoods is that the wall mount hood doesn't take up cabinet space, unlike some under-cabinet models. However, they can be more challenging to install since they require mounting to the wall. The range hood should be mounted between 24 and 30 inches above the cooktop surface for optimal performance. This placement adequately captures cooking fumes and smoke and is perfect as an outdoor range hood.
Island range hoods are a popular option for homeowners with a cooktop on an island in the kitchen. These hoods are mounted from the ceiling above the cooktop and are vented to the outside. They come in styles like canopy or chimney and can be made from stainless steel or glass materials. One advantage of island range hoods is that they create a stylish focal point in the kitchen. However, they can be more difficult to install and may require professional installation. An island hood should be mounted between 30 and 36 inches above the cooktop surface for optimal performance. This height ensures that the range hood can capture smoke and fumes from all sides. They are often considered gas range hoods.
Undercabinet range hoods are a popular option for homeowners with limited kitchen space. These hoods are installed under the cabinet above the cooktop and are vented to the outside. They come in various styles, including slimline, ductless, and convertible designs, and are often made from stainless steel. One advantage of undercabinet range hoods is that they don't take up much space and can be more affordable than other options. However, they may not be as powerful as different range hood types and can be louder due to their placement. The under-cabinet hoods should be installed between 18 and 24 inches above the cooktop surface for optimal performance. This height ensures that the hood can adequately capture cooking fumes and smoke.
If you place your range hood incorrectly, you run the danger of the following happening:
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.