How Many CFM Should a Range Hood Have?

April 02, 2023 6 min read

Do you often find your kitchen constantly filled with smoke and becoming somewhat stuffed while cooking? This is even when your range hood is on and running at full blast. It’s a common assumption that installing a range hood will instantly eliminate all unpleasant kitchen odors. A range hood can indeed do a very efficient job of improving the air quality in your kitchen. But selecting the right range hood with the right power is vital for that to happen. This is where the term CFM gets mentioned a lot.

If you’re currently shopping for a new range hood, you may have come across the term “CFM.” It might appear to be just a random technical specification of a range hood. But the CFM value is an essential factor to consider when purchasing a hood for your kitchen. Today, you will understand why the CFM  of a range hood is so important and how to determine the appropriate CFM value for your range hood.

What Does CFM Mean for a Range Hood?

CFM of a range hood is simply an abbreviation for the term cubic feet per minute.  It is a measure of the volume of air a range hood can remove from a space in a given amount of time. It reflects the ventilation power of any range hood and clearly states the power of its blowers. To put it plainly, the CFM reflects how powerful a range hood will likely be.

Why is CFM important for range hoods?

The CFM rating of a range hood is important because it determines how effectively it can remove pollutants from your kitchen. A high CFM means more air movement, faster clearing of the air, and a fresher kitchen post-cooking. But a range hood with a CFM that is too high will create too much negative pressure. This makes it difficult for the hood to work efficiently and makes it noisy plus energy-wasteful.

On the flip side, a range hood with a low CFM may be unable to keep up with the pressure of heavy cooking. This often leads to poor ventilation and unpleasant odors lingering in the kitchen.

How to Get the Right CFM Rating for Range Hoods

The common CFM rating for range hoods can vary depending on the following:

  1. The size of the range hood.
  2. The type of range hood.
  3. The size of the range or cooktop it is designed to be used with.

Generally, range hoods for residential use have CFM ratings ranging from 200 to 900. Smaller cooktops or ranges for residential homes often require range hoods with CFM ratings of 200-400. Larger cooktops or ranges require range hoods with CFM ratings of 400-900 or more.

Here are some standard CFM ratings based on the type of cooktop for range hoods:

  • 200-400 CFM: Smaller cooktops or ranges, typically 30 inches wide or less.
  • 400-600 CFM: Suitable for larger cooktops or ranges, typically 30-36 inches wide.
  • 600-900 CFM: Professional-style ranges or cooktops, typically 36-48 inches wide.
  • 900+ CFM: Suitable for commercial-grade ranges or cooktops, typically 48 inches wide or larger.

For some standard CFM ratings based on the type of range hoods:

  • Under Cabinet Range Hoods: 200-600 CFM
  • Wall-Mounted Range Hoods: 400-900 CFM
  • Island Range Hoods: 600-1200 CFM

    Factors to Consider When Choosing a Range Hood’s CFM

    Not all range hoods are created equal; from low-end 150 CFM range hoods to powerful 900 CFM ones, kitchen range hoods come in an astounding variety of CFM ratings.

    Before calculating and settling on the best CFM number for your range hood, there are a few essential factors to consider. This includes: 

    Kitchen Size and Layout

    When picking a CFM (cubic feet per minute) for your range hood, the size and setup of your kitchen are important. You want a range hood that can clean the air in your kitchen 15 times an hour, or every four minutes.

    A big kitchen needs a range hood with a high CFM to move and clean more air. A small kitchen works well with a lower CFM. A range hood with too high a CFM can be noisy and annoying.

    Think about where things are in your kitchen, like the stove and windows. If your stove is on an island, you might need a stronger range hood.

    Type of Stove

    The type of stove in your kitchen is another crucial factor to consider when selecting the CFM rating of your range hood. This is because different stoves generate different levels of heat and require different air cleaning rates. 

    Every stove measures heat intensity in BTUs (British Thermal Units). Gas stoves usually need a range hood with a CFM between 300 and 900 because they get pretty hot. Electric and induction stoves don't get as hot, so they work well with a CFM between 200 and 400. If you have a dual fuel stove, you'll probably need a CFM between 400 and 600.

    Cooktop Size

    The relationship between cooktop size and range hood CFM is relatively straightforward. Bigger cooktops make more steam and smoke, so they need a higher CFM to clear the air. Smaller cooktops don't make as much, so they need less CFM. Cooktops come in different sizes, ranging from 24 inches to 48 inches or more. A 24-inch cooktop often requires a range hood with a CFM rating of 250-400. Kitchens with 30-inch cooktops often need a range hood with a CFM rating range of 300-600. A 36-inch cooktop requires a range hood with a CFM rating of 600–900. Finally, a 48-inch cooktop needs a CFM rating of 900–1200.

    It's important to note that the above CFM ratings are just general CFM rating guidelines. It's a good idea to pick a range hood with a CFM that's at least as big as your cooktop in square feet.


    Ductwork plays a crucial role in determining the CFM requirements of a range hood. The ductwork's size, length, and design can impact how much air a range hood can move. If the ductwork is poorly designed, it can reduce the range hood's CFM ability. If the ducts are too small, your kitchen can end up smoky and humid. The standard rule is that the width of the ducts is inversely proportional to the CFM rating, so the higher the CFM number of a range hood, the wider the vent.

    A well-designed ductwork system ensures that the range hood can effectively remove pollutants from the kitchen. A poorly designed ductwork system with inadequate makeup air and tons of backdraft can lead to inefficient ventilation. An effective calculator tool is here.

    Cooking Style

    This is an often overlooked factor when deciding on a CFM rating for a range hood. Your cooking style is essential because your style determines the level of pollutants you generate. If you cook a lot of stir-fries or deep-fried food, you'll want a higher CFM. If you don't cook much, a lower CFM is fine.

    Mounting Height

    The height at which you mount your range hood can change how well it works. It can really affect the required CFM rating for the hood. If the hood is high above the cooktop, it might need a higher CFM rating because it has to pull more air out. But if it's mounted lower, closer to the cooktop, it could work with a lower CFM since it doesn't have to move as much air to get rid of smoke and smells. That is why ceiling or wall-mounted range hoods are the most powerful, as they are usually more powerful because they're often installed further from where you cook.

    Vent Hood Style

    Range hoods come in different styles, like wall-mounted, island, or under-cabinet, and each style might need a different CFM rating to clear out cooking smoke and odors well. Hoods that are right above or close to the stove usually need less CFM than those that are farther away or in the middle of the kitchen. For example, an island hood in the center of the kitchen will need a higher CFM than a wall-mounted or under-cabinet hood because it has to cover a bigger area.

    Noise Level

    The noise level of a range hood is an essential factor to consider when selecting the CFM rating. The higher the CFM rating, the louder the range hood will be. This is because most range hoods with high CFM often have powerful blower motors that produce considerable noise. But the way the hood is designed and the quality of its motor can make a difference in how much noise it makes. A well-made motor will be quieter. Over time, the noise level might go up as the fan and motor get older.


    Finding a balance between cost and performance is essential when selecting the CFM rating for a range hood. A higher CFM range hood is often quite more expensive to purchase and install. This often makes the cost of the hood among the most important considerations when choosing the right CFM for a range hood. A high-quality range hood like those at ModernCopper, with the appropriate CFM rating, can improve indoor air quality and prevent damage to cabinets and walls. 

    Final Words

    We've reviewed the factors affecting how many CFM your kitchen hood needs. Each factor is essential and must be addressed to avoid getting an inefficient range hood. You must factor each into your decision-making process, and you won’t get a unit with too much CFM or, worse still, too little CFM.