June 03, 2023 6 min read
Kitchen range hoods are one of the kitchen appliances that genuinely make the kitchen's cooking environment clean and efficient. They either vent the foul kitchen air outside or recycle it through filters that remove pollutants.
Range hoods use three filters to clean pollutants: baffle, mesh, and activated charcoal-based filters, although the baffle filter is the most popular type. The baffle is becoming more popular because of their effectiveness and a recent push from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) to install them, especially in commercial kitchens.
So, what exactly are baffle filters? How do they work, and are they any good? Those questions are dealt with below, so read on and find out.
A baffle filter is an air filter commonly used in range hoods to remove smoke, grease, and other airborne particles generated during cooking. Their design is characterized by curved or angled panels or baffles made from stainless steel or polished aluminum. These filters capture and trap airborne particles, preventing them from circulating back into your kitchen and helping keep indoor air clean and healthy. Baffle filters are standard in commercial kitchens where hot, regular, greasy, or oil-based cooking is done.
Baffle filters are designed to separate oil droplets and grease generated when cooking from the air in the kitchen. They work based on the principle that pollutants are much heavier than air and will therefore move much slower.
Grease-laden air is drawn into the range hood at a relatively fast speed based on the negative pressure pull of the range hood fan. As air and smoke pass through the filter, the baffles cause the air to change direction multiple times. Because grease or oil particles weigh more than air, they cannot keep up with the air's fast direction changes which help to separate the particles and grease. The grease and other contaminants then collect on the surfaces of the baffles, while the clean air is allowed to pass through and be exhausted outside.
Different baffle filters are available, each with unique features and benefits. Some of the most common types include:
Traditional baffle filters are the most common type and are typically made of stainless steel. These filters are designed to fit into standard range hood models and are characterized by angled panels or baffles. As air and smoke pass through the filter, the baffles cause the air to change direction multiple times, which helps to separate the particles and grease.
High-performance baffle filters are designed to provide superior filtration performance compared to traditional baffle filters. They are often made of more advanced materials like aluminum or carbon fiber. These filters more efficiently capture and trap airborne particles, including smoke, steam, and grease. High-performance baffle filters are an excellent choice for commercial or home kitchens with heavy use.
Hybrid baffle filters combine traditional baffle filters and other types of filters, such as mesh or charcoal filters. They provide additional filtration and odor reduction while maintaining the benefits of baffle filters. Hybrid baffle filters are a good choice for home kitchens that require further odor reduction.
Removable baffle filters are designed to be easily removed from the range hood for cleaning. They are excellent for busy home cooks who want to ensure their range hood is clean and functioning properly. Removable baffle filters are commonly stainless steel or aluminum and can be washed with soap and water or placed in the dishwasher for easy cleaning.
Non-removable baffle filters, also called permanent filters, are designed to be perpetually installed in the range hood. They cannot be removed for cleaning and must be cleaned in place. Non-removable baffle filters are a good choice for commercial or home kitchens with heavy use.
Custom baffle filters are designed to fit unique or non-standard range hood models. These filters are often made of custom materials designed to meet specific filtration requirements. Custom baffle filters are a good choice for home cooks with a unique range hood or requiring specialized filtration.
Baffle filters are popular, especially in industrial-styled kitchens, and they offer several advantages over other types of filters. Some of the notable ones are:
Baffle filters are made with stainless steel or galvanized aluminum coated with zinc, which makes them very durable. They are strong, corrosion-resistant, and do not react with chemicals released during cooking. There is a reduced risk of filter degradation or damage due to exposure to kitchen chemicals. For example, stainless steel baffle filters are reusable if appropriately maintained and even outlast high-grade aluminum mesh filters.
Because baffle filters are made from durable base materials like steel and aluminum, which are flame and fire-resistant, most baffle filters can withstand very high temperatures without melting or cracking. This feature makes them the top-recommended filters for industrial use, as they eliminate the fire risk from your range hood filter.
Baffle filters are exceptionally good at separating grease and oil from the kitchen air. They use a series of angled or curved panels to force the air to change direction multiple times, which causes the particles to separate and stick to the filter. Also, installing a grease trap will effectively recover most grease filtered from the kitchen air.
Compared to mesh or charcoal-based filters, baffle filters are easy to clean and maintain. They don’t get clogged easily and do not require frequent cleaning or replacement. Most baffle filters are also made with composite metal materials, which are relatively easy to clean. They can be easily removed from the range hood, washed with soap and water, or placed in the dishwasher for easy cleaning.
Baffle filters are known for their quiet operation. They do not create much noise when the range hood is in use, making them an ideal choice for open-plan kitchens or homes where noise levels must be minimal.
There are three most common range hood filters: baffle, mesh, and charcoal. Each of these range hood filter types has its unique advantages and disadvantages. We will compare baffle filters to other kinds of filters.
Mesh filters are made of multiple layers of fine mesh that capture airborne particles by trapping them in the mesh. They are relatively inexpensive and easy to replace. However, they have a lower filtration efficiency compared to baffle filters. Mesh filters are prone to clogging, which reduces their effectiveness over time. Cleaning mesh filters can be challenging and time-consuming.
In contrast, baffle filters are highly efficient at capturing and trapping airborne particles, including grease and smoke. They are easier to clean than mesh filters, as they can be removed from the range hood, washed with soap and water, or placed in the dishwasher. Baffle filters are also more durable than mesh filters, making them a better choice for commercial kitchens and homeowners who frequently cook with oil or high-heat methods.
Charcoal filters are made of activated carbon, which absorbs and traps airborne particles. Charcoal filters effectively capture odors and fumes but are less at capturing grease and other heavy particles generated during cooking. Charcoal filters are relatively expensive compared to baffle filters and must be replaced more frequently. They are also less durable than baffle filters.
Baffle filters are better than charcoal filters for capturing and containing grease and oily particles generated during cooking. Baffle filters are more durable, easier to clean, and offer superior filtration efficiency compared to charcoal filters. However, installing a charcoal filter might be the best option for capturing and eliminating cooking odors and fumes.
Baffle filters are widely regarded as one of the best options for range hood filters. They are durable, easy to clean, and very good at catching grease and oil, which makes them an excellent choice for any range hood.