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What Is a Range Hood Insert? And How do You Choose One?

June 04, 2023 10 min read

Cooking can be a delightful experience, but it can also produce an unpleasant side effect – the buildup of smoke, steam, and cooking odors in the kitchen. A range hood insert can be a lifesaver in such situations. With a range hood insert, you can effectively vent out smoke, moisture, and cooking smells, ensuring your kitchen stays clean and fresh.

However, choosing the right range hood insert can be overwhelming, with many available options. This article will give you a concise overview of range hood inserts. We will begin by defining a range hood insert, its features, and the various types of range hood insert available on the market. Then we will discuss the factors you should consider when selecting one and why having one in your kitchen is essential.

Whether you are renovating your kitchen or just looking to upgrade your range hood insert, this article will help you make an informed decision. Let's dive in.

What is a Range Hood Insert?

A range hood insert is a device installed into a custom range hood enclosure, which captures and removes smoke, steam, and other airborne particles generated during cooking. The primary function of a range hood insert is to keep your kitchen clean, healthy, and free from unwanted cooking odors.

Range hood inserts come in various sizes and types, including under-cabinet range hoods, wall-mounted range hoods, and island range hoods. They can be made of multiple materials, such as stainless steel, aluminum, or copper.

What is a Range Hood Insert?

Features in a Range Hood Insert

Range hood inserts come with a variety of features that can make them more efficient and convenient to use in your kitchen. These features can include multiple fan speeds, lighting options, automatic shut-off, and more.

They also typically have several components, including a blower, filter, motor, ducting, sensors, and controls. Here's an overview of their functions.


The blower is one of the most important parts of a range hood insert. It is the main part responsible for moving air out of the kitchen and requires adequate power to remove smoke and cooking odors effectively. Range hood inserts can come with different blowers, including internal or external options.

An internal blower is built into the range hood insert, while an external blower is located outside the kitchen and connected to the range hood insert through ductwork. External blowers are typically more powerful and quieter than internal blowers.


The filter is another critical part of a range hood insert. The filter captures and removes grease, smoke, and other airborne particles from the air, preventing them from settling on kitchen surfaces. Range hood inserts can come with different filters, including baffle, mesh, and charcoal filters.

Stainless steel baffle filters are popular for efficiently trapping grease and are easy to clean. Mesh filters are also effective at trapping grease but can be more difficult to clean. Charcoal filters are designed to remove odors and are typically used in recirculating range hood inserts.


The motor is a critical component of a range hood insert and is responsible for powering the blower that moves air out of the kitchen. The motor can determine how efficient and effective the range hood insert is at removing smoke, steam, and cooking odors from your kitchen.

Range hood inserts can come with different motors, including single-speed, multi-speed, and variable-speed. Single-speed motors operate at a set speed, while multi-speed motors can be adjusted to different fan speeds. Variable-speed motors are the most versatile, allowing for a range of fan speeds depending on the cooking activity.


Ducting is essential to a range hood insert, as it carries the air and cooking odors from the kitchen and outside the house. The ducting typically consists of a metal or plastic pipe that runs from the range hood insert to the outside of the home, and it needs to be properly installed and sealed to prevent air leaks.

Lighting (adjustable LED lights)

Many range hood inserts are equipped with adjustable LED lights, which can be angled to shine directly on the cooking area and provide bright, energy-efficient lighting. Adjustable LED lights are beneficial for cooking tasks that require precise lighting, such as chopping vegetables or sautéing. In addition, some range hood inserts may also include dimmer switches, which allow you to adjust the brightness of the lights to your liking.

Touch control/ Dials

Touch controls or dials are a common feature in range hood inserts, as they allow you to adjust the speed and settings of the appliance with ease. Touch controls are typically located on the front or underside of the range hood insert and can be activated with a simple touch of a button. Dials are typically located on the front of the range hood insert and are used to adjust the fan speed and lighting level.

Both touch controls and dials offer a convenient way to adjust the range hood insert's settings while cooking and can be easily operated even with wet or greasy hands.


Sensors are an important part of modern range hood inserts and can be used to enhance the functionality and convenience of the appliance. One example of a sensor in a range hood insert is a heat sensor, which can automatically adjust the fan speed based on the temperature of the cooking surface. This ensures that the range hood insert operates efficiently and removes smoke and cooking odors as effectively as possible.

Another type of sensor found in some range hood inserts is a smoke sensor, which detects smoke and automatically triggers the fan to turn on.

Types of Range Hood Inserts

Several types of range hood inserts are available on the market, each with unique features, advantages, and disadvantages. Some of the notable ones are:

Under-Cabinet Range Hood Inserts

One common type of range hood insert is the under-cabinet insert, which is designed to fit neatly underneath a kitchen cabinet and provide adequate ventilation for a cooktop or range. They are typically constructed from stainless steel or other durable materials and come in various sizes and styles. They are known for their compact design, easy installation, and effective performance. They are also ideal for kitchens with limited space or where the range or cooktop is against a wall.

Wall Mount Range Hood Inserts

Another popular type of range hood insert is the wall-mounted range hood insert, which is installed directly on the wall above the cooktop or range and can be customized to match the style and décor of your kitchen. Wall mount range hood inserts come in various sizes, styles, and materials and can be designed to complement any kitchen design aesthetic. They are also typically quieter than under-cabinet range hood inserts due to their distance from the cooking surface.

Island Mount Range Hood Inserts

Island mount range hood inserts are designed to be installed over a kitchen island to provide adequate ventilation and lighting for cooking tasks. They come in various sizes, styles, and materials and are designed to be functional and aesthetically pleasing. They are also ideal for kitchens with a central island or peninsula, where traditional range hood inserts may not be practical.

Downdraft Range Hood Inserts

Downdraft range hood inserts are a less common but effective type of range hood insert designed to pull air and cooking fumes down and out of the kitchen through a duct system. They are typically installed on the cooktop or range itself and can be adjusted to different speeds depending on the level of ventilation needed. They are also ideal for kitchens with a low-profile modern design aesthetic, as they can be customized to match any décor style.

Factors to Consider Before Getting a Range Hood Insert

Consider a few of the following factors before purchasing a range hood insert for your kitchen. These factors will help you pick the best range hood insert for your custom hood.

1.   Design/Size of your custom hood

When choosing a range hood insert, it's essential to consider the design and size of your custom hood. The size of your custom hood will determine what size range hood insert you should get. It's important to ensure that the range hood insert is neither too small nor too large for the custom hood. A range hood insert that is too small will not provide adequate ventilation, while a range hood insert that is too large will look awkward and may not fit properly.

2.   Its filters

Another essential factor to consider when choosing a range hood insert is the type of filters it comes with and how often they need to be cleaned or replaced. Several types of filters are available, including mesh, baffle, and charcoal filters. Mesh and baffle filters are typically made of aluminum or stainless steel and are relatively easy to clean. Charcoal filters are non-recyclable and are used to absorb odors.

How often they should be cleaned will depend on how often you cook and your cooking style. Typically, mesh and baffle filters should be cleaned every 1-3 months, while charcoal filters should be replaced every 6-12 months.


3.   Ducting

Ducting is one of the most important factors when choosing a range hood insert. Ducting refers to the ventilation system that carries the smoke, grease, and steam from your cooking surface to the outside of your home.

First, determine whether you want a ducted or ductless range hood insert. Ducted range hood inserts are connected to an exterior vent, allowing them to remove cooking pollutants from your home effectively. On the other hand, ductless range hood inserts use a series of filters to clean the air before recirculating it back into the room.

If you choose a ducted range hood insert, you'll need to consider the type and size of ductwork required for installation. The most common options include round, rectangular, or square ducts. Round ducts are the most efficient at moving air but can be more challenging to install than rectangular or square ducts. You'll also need to make sure the size of the ductwork matches the size of your range hood insert to ensure proper ventilation.

Additionally, you'll need to consider the length and number of bends in your ductwork. The longer your ductwork or the more turns it has, the more powerful your range hood insert will need to be to compensate for the added resistance.

4.   Noise level

When selecting a range hood insert, it's important to consider its noise level. A range hood that produces too much noise can be a nuisance while cooking, especially in an open kitchen. Manufacturers typically specify the noise level of their range hood inserts in decibels (dB). The lower the decibel rating, the quieter the range hood insert.

It's essential to note that a range hood's noise level can also depend on the quality of its construction and installation. A well-constructed and correctly installed range hood insert can produce less noise than a poorly installed or low-quality model, even with the same decibel rating.

5.   Width of your cooking range or cooktop

Another important factor to consider when choosing a range hood insert is the width of your cooking range. The range hood insert should be at least as wide as your cooktop or range to ensure proper ventilation. If your cooktop is wider than the standard 30 inches, you must choose an appropriately sized range hood insert. Additionally, suppose you have a large cooking surface, such as a professional-grade range with multiple burners. In that case, you may need a more powerful range hood insert with higher CFM to ensure sufficient ventilation. Measuring the width of your cooktop or range before selecting a range hood insert is essential to ensure it fits properly and performs effectively.


6.   Heat output of your range

When choosing a range hood insert, it is important to consider the heat output of your range. The heat output is typically measured in British Thermal Units (BTUs). Choosing a range hood insert with a ventilation power appropriate for your range's heat output is important. If the range hood insert does not have enough ventilation power to handle the heat output of your range, it will not be able to effectively remove smoke, grease, and odors from your kitchen. This can lead to poor indoor air quality, and unpleasant cooking smells in your home. On the other hand, choosing a range hood insert with too much ventilation power can result in excessive noise levels and energy waste.

7.   CFM (Cubic Feet per Minute) rating

CFM rating is an important factor to consider when choosing a range hood insert. It refers to the air the hood can move in a minute and determines its ventilation power. The CFM rating should match the size and cooking output of your range.

A general rule of thumb is to have a minimum of 100 CFM for every 12 inches of the range. It is important to note that a higher CFM rating may also result in louder fan noise, so it is essential to strike a balance between ventilation power and noise level.

8.   Type of stove

When selecting a range hood insert, it's crucial to consider the type of stove you have. Different types of stoves generate different levels of heat and smoke, which can impact the effectiveness of your range hood insert. For instance, gas stoves generate more heat than electric stoves and thus require more powerful range hood inserts with an outer stainless steel housing.

It's also worth noting that the type of stove you have may impact the type of range hood insert you choose. For instance, downdraft range hood inserts are residential range hood inserts better suited for electric and induction stoves. On the other hand, large commercial kitchens with gas stoves, wall-mount, and island-mount range hood inserts are the recommended options.

9.   Installation options

When choosing a range hood insert, it's important to consider the installation options available. Some inserts are designed to be installed under a cabinet, while others are designed to be mounted on a wall or island. Choosing an insert that will fit seamlessly into your kitchen's design and layout is important. Additionally, consider the complexity of the installation process, especially if you plan to install the range hood insert yourself. Some models may require professional installation, while any model with a ductless range hood insert is much easier to install with basic DIY skills.


10.                  Aesthetics

When choosing a range hood insert, aesthetics is important, as it affects your kitchen's overall look and feel. You can choose various designs and finishes to complement your custom hood or range hood liner. Some range hood inserts are designed to be hidden behind custom cabinetry, while others are meant to be displayed as a focal point. Additionally, some range hood inserts come with customizable options, such as interchangeable faceplates, so you can change the look of your range hood insert as desired.

Benefits of Installing a Range Hood Insert

Range hood inserts offer several benefits for homeowners who love to cook. Here are ten benefits of using a range hood insert:

  1. It helps remove smoke from your kitchen, making it a more pleasant environment.
  2. Reduce cooking odors by venting them outside.
  3. It improves indoor air quality in your home by removing harmful pollutants and particulates from the air.
  4. It helps to protect your kitchen cabinets from grease and moisture damage.
  5. Increases the value of your home, as it is a sought-after feature for many homebuyers.
  6. It saves energy by reducing the need for air conditioning and dehumidifying systems in your home.
  7. Prevents fire hazards and mishaps by removing excess heat from your kitchen.
  8. They come in various styles and designs, making it easy to find one that complements your kitchen's décor.
  9. Provides additional lighting and illumination for your cooking surface.
  10. It helps reduce the cleaning your kitchen needs by constantly venting out cooking grease and debris.

Final Words

A range hood insert is a hidden ventilation system mounted inside a custom vent hood with all the benefits of a standard range hood. For a better definition, one can call range hood inserts the powerhouse of a range hood system.