A Guide to The Best Exhaust Fan for Kitchen

best exhaust fan for kicthen
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Today we’re going to take a look at the best exhaust fans for kitchen use. Exhaust fans deserve more recognition than they are getting. It’s something that is frequently overlooked or set aside when building your dream kitchen. Meanwhile, they have been silently saving our pristine white walls, ceilings, and lungs for the longest time. 

So, if you’re looking for a sign to get an exhaust fan installed in your kitchen, or planning to have it upgraded, this is it! 

Do I Need an Exhaust Fan in My Kitchen? 

Yes, exhaust fans help eliminate steam, smoke, air pollutants, and unpleasant odor when you’re cooking. It also helps to maintain the temperature in the kitchen when you cook. More so if your kitchen doesn’t have good ventilation. 

The smoke and steam that cooking food generates can travel and stain your walls, ceilings, curtains, and even furniture. Eventually, the moisture it produces can also compromise the integrity of your house as it causes mold and mildew buildup.

While the strong scent can not only cling to your clothes and other fabrics in the kitchen for the longest time, it can also be harmful to your health. These sharp aromas and air pollutants can trigger asthma and headaches. While improper ventilation can lead to lightheadedness and difficulty in breathing.

How Does Kitchen Exhaust Fan Work? 

Exhaust fans suck out all the humid air, smoke and unpleasant odors in stuffy areas like kitchens and bathrooms, laundry rooms. This improves the air circulation in the said areas and makes it safer and more refreshing to use.

Best Kitchen Exhaust Fan: TKD Picks

Best Portable Kitchen Exhaust Fan – Holmes 3-Speed HEPA Air Purifier 

This portable air purifier by Holmes effectively works as a kitchen exhaust fan. It has a built-in HEPA filter that traps up to 99% of harmful particles in the air. It has 3 cleaning speeds and has an optional ionizer too. It is also designed to work either horizontally or vertically, so it works best if you have limited kitchen space. 

You can get additional filters such as the Odor Eliminator or Smoke Grabber to make it even more perfect for your kitchen. This product is also backed up with a limited 3-year warranty from its manufacturer.

Holmes Small Room 3-Speed HEPA Air Purifier with Optional Ionizer, White
3,263 Reviews
Holmes Small Room 3-Speed HEPA Air Purifier with Optional Ionizer, White
  • HEPA-TYPE FILTRATION: Filter helps remove up to 99% of dust, smoke, pollen, odors, mold spores, and pet dander, filtering...
  • CONVENIENT FEATURES: Choose from 3 cleaning speeds to keep air fresh and pure: Select a lower speed while you're home for...
  • DUAL POSITIONING AND COMPACT DESIGN: This compact air purifier can be placed vertically or horizontally anywhere, including a...

Last update on 2020-09-18 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Best Kitchen Ceiling Exhaust Fan – Broan-Nutone 505 Ceiling Exhaust Fan

This compact exhaust fan by Broan-Nutone has a 180 Cubic Feet per Minute airflow capacity and only produces 6.5 sones. It effectively gets rid of unwanted odors, smoke, and excess moisture in the kitchen. Thus, making it cleaner and safer for you to prepare your family’s meals. 

It comes with easy-install steel mounting brackets for hassle-free installation. Broan-Nutone 505 Ceiling Exhaust Fan is also energy star and HVI certified.

Broan-NuTone 505 Exhaust Fan, White Vertical Discharge Ceiling Ventilation Fan, 6.5 Sones, 180 CFM, 8'
279 Reviews
Broan-NuTone 505 Exhaust Fan, White Vertical Discharge Ceiling Ventilation Fan, 6.5 Sones, 180 CFM, 8"
  • VERSATILE FAN: Exhaust fan helps eliminate humidity, tobacco smoke, and cooking odors. The galvanized steel house installs...
  • EFFICIENT: Operates on 180 CFM and 6.5 Sones to ensure high-quality performance
  • EASY INSTALLATION: Includes steel mounting brackets with keyhole slots for a fast and easy installation

Last update on 2020-09-18 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Best Under Cabinet Exhaust Fan – Broan-NuTone 413004 Ductless Range Hood

If you want to level up your kitchen exhaust fan, this premium Stainless-Steel Ductless Range Hood by Broan-NuTone is the best way to go! It has a 2-speed motor that is permanently lubricated. It serves as both an exhaust fan and an overhead light for your kitchen. It is ductless and has a replaceable charcoal filter, so it’s easy to install and maintain too.

Broan-NuTone 413004 Non-Ducted Ductless Range Hood with Lights Exhaust Fan for Under Cabinet, 30-Inch, Stainless Steel
4,247 Reviews
Broan-NuTone 413004 Non-Ducted Ductless Range Hood with Lights Exhaust Fan for Under Cabinet, 30-Inch, Stainless Steel
  • HIGH-QUALITY DUCTLESS RANGE HOOD INSERT: Stainless steel hood insert improves ventilation and lighting over your stove with...
  • EFFECTIVE INCANDESCENT LIGHTING: A protective lamp lens distributes light evenly over the cook-top and accepts up to 75W bulb...
  • EASY CARE: Charcoal filter is replaceable so you can maintain optimum grease capture and keep the kitchen fresh

Last update on 2020-09-18 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Best Exhaust Fan for Kitchen Window – Air King 9166F 20″ Window Fan

This 20” Window Fan by Air King is packed with irresistible features. This window fan prides on its industrial-grade, powerful 120-volt motor, backed with 1/6 horsepower. It comes with Air King’s signature Storm Guard, allowing you to close the window behind the fan during bad weather conditions. No need to mount and unmount it every time.  It is also made from impact-resistant plastic housing for guaranteed durability. 

Air King 9166F 20' Whole House Window Fan
1,159 Reviews
Air King 9166F 20" Whole House Window Fan
  • 3-speed, 1/6 HP, 120V, 1 phase, permanently lubricated
  • Front mounted rotary switch and RPM (High/Med/Low) is 1600 / 1450 / 1100. Compliance: ETL, OSHA.
  • Front Mounted Switch, Impact Resistant Plastic Housing, Powder Coated Steel Front Grill and Blade

Last update on 2020-09-18 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Best Wall Mounted Exhaust Fan – Broan-Nutone 512M Through-the-Wall Ventilation Fan

This small but terrible wall mounted exhaust fan from Broan-Nutone offers 70 Cubic Feet per Minute capacity and a 6.0 Sone rating. The fan’s motor has a “twist-lock” mechanism allowing for easy installation. It also has a built-in drafter that reduces possible backdrafts. Its grille is made from a white polymeric material that you can paint to match your house’s exterior.

Broan-Nutone 512M Through-the-Wall Ventilation Fan, White Square Exhaust Fan, 6.0 Sones, 70 CFM, 6'
799 Reviews
Broan-Nutone 512M Through-the-Wall Ventilation Fan, White Square Exhaust Fan, 6.0 Sones, 70 CFM, 6"
  • VERSATILE FAN: Ventilation fan helps eliminate humidity, tobacco smoke, and cooking odors to keep your house smelling fresh
  • EFFICIENT: Operates on 70 CFM and has a 6.0 Sone rating for efficient and effective operation every use
  • EASY INSTALLATION: Motor is easy to assemble with "twist-lock" mechanism and features an adjustable housings to fit walls...

Last update on 2020-09-18 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Kitchen Exhaust Fan Buying Guide

Here are some of the things you will need to consider when deciding what type of exhaust fan is best for your kitchen:

Ducted or Ductless

This is one of the first things you will have to consider if you want to go with a ducted or ductless hood. Ductless hoods take the stale air and recirculate it back to the kitchen. As the name indicates, they don’t require ducts and therefore can be installed anywhere in the kitchen. 

It is convenient, but it is important to note that it doesn’t get rid of the smoke or odor. It filters it and blows it back, which can cause your kitchen to be a little humid. It is also said to be a little louder than ducted hoods since its fan works harder.

On the other hand, a ducted hood is believed to work more efficiently when it comes to getting rid of the humidity in the kitchen. It sucks all the smoke and unpleasant odor completely out of the house through the ducts. 

The downside is that you can’t put it anywhere you want. It can only be placed where there is a duct system available that goes from the house going out. This may not do well if you have limited space in your kitchen.

Type of Hood

There are several types of kitchen hoods. It primarily depends on the layout of the area where you’ll be putting it. The fan-favorite (pun intended 😉) is the wall chimney hood, as it is said to be very efficient. 


This is another important aspect of choosing your exhaust fan. You have to note that the hood should at least be as wide as your cooking surface. If your kitchen space and layout permits, get a bigger one for the best efficiency.

Ease of Installation and Maintenance

If you’re doing the installation yourself, you want to make sure it is safe and doable without professional help. Check the installation manual if it’s understandable and easy to perform.

It is highly recommended to use outdoor vents and larger ducts whenever possible to make the most out of your new kitchen exhaust fan. Don’t forget to clean your ducts and filters from time to time as well as to wash or wipe the surface of the hood itself. 

Which Exhaust Fan is Best for the Kitchen?

As modern technology advances, more and more types of kitchen exhaust fans become available in the market. They differ in size, features, ventilation type, and price but mainly, they differ in the type of hood. Here are the tried and tested types of kitchen exhaust fans over the recent years:

Under Cabinet Hoods

As the name suggests, this type of kitchen exhaust fan is installed under the built-in cabinets in your kitchen. This works best for you if you want to disguise your kitchen hood as a cabinet. Under Cabinet hoods look less bulky, especially if you have a smaller kitchen.  

However, this takes up at least a whole slot of your cabinet space, so only use it if you have alternate storage options. In this type of hood, the vent’s ductwork is usually hidden through an adjoining wall, chase, soffit, or ceiling to let out the smoke. 

Some under-cabinet hood models have the option to slide out the hood from under the kitchen cabinet if you must. 

Wall Chimney Hoods

You would see this a lot in rustic-themed kitchens, but it looks just as good with other designs too. I personally find it aesthetically pleasing. But more than the looks, it is also said to have the most efficient ventilation system compared to other types of hoods.

Wall chimney hoods can only be installed when you don’t have an upper cabinet installed above your cooktop. This is because this type of exhaust fan has a sizeable exposed vent that allows it to efficiently circulate the stale kitchen air.

Downdraft Hoods

Use this if your house layout doesn’t allow you to add any external ductwork through the walls or ceiling. Then a downdraft hood is your best bet to have an exhaust fan installed in your kitchen. It is not widely used mainly because it doesn’t expel the hot air and sharp odor in the kitchen. Instead, it just redirects it downwards to the ducts beneath the floor. 

Island Hoods

This is the best exhaust fan to use if your cooktop is located on your kitchen island.  This type of hood is installed on the ceiling and has an exposed vent. The ductwork is laid out through the ceiling too.

For best results when using an island hood, remember that the exhaust fan should be bigger compared to the width of your cooktop. This is because there is nothing to help funnel the fumes due to the lack of cabinetry or wall.

Ductless Hoods

Because of the lack of duct, this exhaust fan can be installed anywhere – under the cabinet, on the wall or on the ceiling. This is perfect if you have limited space and don’t want to lay out any more ductwork.

As described earlier in this article, this type of hood sucks the smoke and fumes from your cooking surface, filters it, then circulates it back to your kitchen. Therefore, there’s a high possibility of the smoke dispersing to the rest of your house.

How Do You Install an Exhaust Fan in a Kitchen?

When it comes to installation, a ductless exhaust fan is relatively easier to set up than a ducted one. Simply because it doesn’t involve installing ductwork or piping. 

Ductless Exhaust Fan

Measure the range hood and make sure you have enough room for it above your cooktop. You also want to make sure that the power cable reaches a working electrical outlet. If there is none, you will an electrician to install one for you.

 Once this is all set, follow the manufacturer’s installation manual to mount your brand-new hood.

Ducted Exhaust Fan

Now, this will be a little trickier so spare some time and patience if you decide to go with a ducted kitchen hood. First, you need to decide where you want the ceiling exhaust hole to be. After you make the hole, put the vent pipe through it. 

At this point, it’s like a Lego piece, attach the duct elbow to the exhaust port you created. Then attach the vent fan and secure the brackets in place with screws. Then cut out an exhaust hole to let you connect the duct to the outside vent. Now plug in the rest of the wires and test the fan!  

What Do You Do if You Have no Exhaust Fan in The Kitchen?

Does your house or building prohibit you to have either ducted or ductless exhaust fans installed in your kitchen? There are other options you can do to try and improve the air circulation in your cooking area.

Use a window fan

If your kitchen at least has a window, you can install a window fan and keep it on the “exhaust” setting. It cannot help with grease (use a grease guard instead) but it can suck the smoke and steam out of the place just like an actual exhaust fan would. 

Use a portable air filter

If you don’t have a kitchen window, you can use a portable air filter instead. It gets rid of the unwanted odor and helps improve the overall air quality of the kitchen. Plus, you can also put it anywhere else in the house if you’re not cooking.

Install grease guards or use semi-gloss paint finish

To protect your kitchen walls, install aluminum foil oil splash guards. They are removable and easier to clean than to scrub stubborn stains from your wall. You can also use semi-gloss paint finish on your wall to make the cleanup much easier.

So, are you ready to pick the new exhaust fan for your kitchen? I hope this comprehensive guide helps you in choosing the best for your home’s ventilation needs. Let us know in the comments below which one you ended up with! Much love, ciao! ♥

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