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What Is a Convertible Range Hood? A Guide to the New Class of Range Hoods

March 13, 2023 5 min read

From an accomplished chef to a casual cook, your kitchen generates pollutants that need to be removed by a range hood. The most often suggested types of range hood for your kitchen are ducted and ductless range hoods, but a third, more dynamic option, the convertible range hood, is usually ignored.

Contractors seldom promote convertible hoods, which sadly obscures that they are among the best range hoods that provide proper kitchen ventilation. There is little information available on this class of range hood, which is disappointing considering they offer so much.

To tackle this, we've created a comprehensive guide to help you learn more about them. This article contains a detailed overview of convertible range hoods, how they work, and the benefits of installing one in your kitchen.

Range Hoods

Let’s dive in.

What is a Convertible Range Hood?

Convertible range hoods are types of range hoods designed to remove and clean polluted air in the kitchen, with or without duct systems. They are incredibly flexible kitchen range hoods that can be used or switched from ducted to ductless range hoods.

Like other range hoods, they have effective blowers that use powerful suction fans to extract polluted air and contaminants from the kitchen. They can function as ducted range hoods with external venting or ductless hoods with an air-recirculation system. This flexibility in installation and use gives them an additional benefit over other range hoods.

So how do they work?

How Do Convertible Range Hoods Work?

Rather than having only one way of kitchen ventilation, convertible range hoods combine the benefits of ducted hoods with those of ductless models. Powerful blowers draw vapor, smoke, grease particles, and other air contaminants into their vent hoods. They either expel them outside like ducted range hoods or clean the kitchen's air using mesh or charcoal filters, just as how ductless range hoods work.

When you want to switch, there is no need for reinstallation, as convertible hoods contain all the connectors and joints needed to connect to a duct system when used as a ducted range hood and the necessary filter part when working as a ductless hood.

A convertible range hood uses arecirculating or conversion kit when operating as a ductless range hood. This recirculation kit contains a mesh or charcoal filter system and sometimes stainless steel baffle filters that can continuously clean polluted kitchen air.

Types of Convertible Range Hoods

Convertible hoods come in different forms, ratings, features, and mounting designs. Each will have the ability to offer external venting and a filter kit unit for recirculating venting. The major types include:

  • Under-cabinet convertible range hoods
  • These range hoods are installed under the cabinet space above the cooking surface. Often powered by multiple motors, their vent hood is optimally located to catch and extract all odors, fumes, and chemicals generated when cooking.

    Like all convertible hoods, they have versatile venting features with an exhaust outlet for external ducts and a filter unit with aluminum mesh filters, activated charcoal, or stainless steel baffle filters.

  • Wall-mounted convertible range hoods
  • These powerful range hoods with high CFM (cubic feet per minute) ratings and are installed on the wall above the cooking surface. They have large vent hoods that provide optimal venting coverage. They contain venting options for ducted use via an opening on the exterior wall and a recirculation kit when functioning as ductless hoods.

  • Convertible island mount range hoods
  • These are high-performance range hoods typically installed from the ceiling directly above the stove or range. These island range hoods have duct outlets that remove heat, smoke particles, cooking exhaust, and other air pollutants through the ceiling. Island hoods also have recirculation kits with filters that trap grease and absorb cooking fumes and fans that recirculate air back into the kitchen.

  • Custom Range Hood Insert Convertible Hoods
  • A custom range hoodinserts convertible hood is quite different from most range hoods as they come in different parts rather than a complete range hood unit. It has a custom-made decorative vent hood, a range hood insert containing its blowers and exhaust fan, and a recirculating kit with its air filtering unit. This is the right range hood for homeowners who want a powerful range hood with a decorative touch.

  • Convertible downdraft hoods
  • A convertible downdraft range hood is a range hood that is integrated into the cooking surface or kitchen setup. It can work in ducted or ductless mode and pulls smoke, excess heat, and contaminant downwards rather than upwards like other range hoods. They have direct venting that allows top or rear air removal via ducts and a filter unit for when working as a ductless hood.

    Other notable mentions are convertible over-the-range microwaves.

    Benefits of Installing a Convertible Range Hood in Your Kitchen.

    Modern convertible range hoods include tons of features that make them worth considering. They are a little pricey, but the value they provide more than makes up for it. Some of the top five benefits of installing one in your kitchen include:

    Offers Kitchen Construction Flexibility

    A convertible range hood offers excellent design flexibility when building or renovating a kitchen. You can move your cooking area from one section of your kitchen to another quickly and easily, and you can easily change the range hood placement to accommodate the new cooking area.

    Also, because of the versatile nature of their use and smooth installation, they allow the option of venting polluted kitchen air outdoors or reducing construction costs by adopting a recirculation system. If you later want to switch your venting system, the switch will also be a lot easier.

    Has Additional Modern Features

    Most convertible range hoods are modern-based systems with modern features that enhance their utility. They have notable features like:

    1. Automatic start and shut off that can be set to turn on or off the device at preset intervals.
    2. A remote control feature allows the chef to operate the appliance anywhere in the kitchen, even from a mobile device.
    3. Adjustable fan speeds allow the owner to customize the venting speed based on their preferences.
    4. LED or Halogen lighting systems provide additional cooking area lighting.

    Additionally, they feature backlit controls that make using them relatively easy.

    Powerful Venting System

    Integrated into the framework of any convertible hood are powerful suction fans with adjustable speeds and efficient blower systems that can move large cubic feet of air like in any ducted hood. This ensures that odors, smoke, grease, and moisture are completely removed from the kitchen. Also, they are energy-efficient when working as a recirculating or ducted unit that sends the air outside.


    Convertible range hoods offer easy conversion from one ducting system to another, depending on the design and demand of the kitchen. They are simple to install and very customizable to fit your present needs. For example, moving into a kitchen with no ductwork won't require getting a new range hood system.

    With a recirculating kit, you can easily customize your range hood to function as an air recycling unit. This also applies to moving into a kitchen space with a duct system, as they can just be attached to the vent and programmed to release any exhaust outdoors. This level of versatility means you can continuously use your convertible range hood unit in any kitchen at a moment's notice. 

    Sleek Designs

    Convertible range hoods typically feature stainless steel finishes that enhance their appearance and give them much-needed durability. These are very modern models of range hoods that blend into the aesthetic flow of any kitchen they are installed in. The ultra-modern look they give your kitchen makes it stand out from any angle. The goal is to look good while also performing well with a high level of ventilation.

    Final Thoughts

    Convertible range hoods have duct joints or connections and a recirculating kit for their ductless system. This improved flexibility makes these range hood units among the best available, and it is worth looking into one when selecting your new kitchen range hood.