Range Hood and Vent Hood Differences – Which is the Right Choice for YOU

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Range Hood and Vent Hood Differences

There are multiple ways to describe a kitchen exhaust system.

For those unfamiliar with commercial kitchen ventilation and exhaust systems, it can be challenging to understand the relationship between hoods and ranges. While both play a role in maintaining indoor air quality, that’s where their similarities end.

However, a question arises: why are these two types of kitchen hoods different? To address this, let’s explore the similarities that make these two exhaust hood types distinct.

What are Restaurant Vent Hood and Range Hood?

The specific hood you select will be determined by the design of your kitchen and the building regulations in your area. Nonetheless, there are several standard kitchen hood options available for you to choose from.

Vent Hood

Vent Hood

A kitchen vent hood is a sizable appliance created to eliminate undesirable cooking odors or strong smells from the kitchen air. It achieves this by directing the air through an external vent or chimney.

In a kitchen, the most prevalent usage of a vent hood is as an exhaust fan, particularly for items such as a stove. It serves the purpose of extracting and ventilating air in this setting.

As part of the ventilation system, vent hoods are frequently utilized to draw kitchen exhaust outside through a ducted system. This process ensures that the kitchen air is effectively circulated and expelled outside the building.

If you are looking for a range hood for your kitchen but prefer a vent hood instead, rest assured that you can still achieve the same desired outcomes.

Vent hoods can be powered by either electricity or gas. The most commonly encountered types include wall-mount, island, and built-in models.

To maximize the aesthetic appeal of your kitchen while ensuring a high-quality vent hood, the built-in model is the most effective option. It seamlessly integrates into your kitchen design, adding a stylish touch while maintaining functionality.

If you want to enhance the visual appeal of your kitchen while ensuring a high-quality vent hood, the built-in model is the most effective choice. It combines style and functionality, maximizing the aesthetic appeal and the performance of your kitchen’s ventilation system.

Range Hood for Restaurant Kitchens

range hood

A range hood is a specific vent hood mounted above a cooking surface, such as a stove. It is a ducted hood that effectively captures and removes smoke, steam, and odors generated during cooking activities.

While specific range hoods are called vent hoods, it’s important to note that not all kitchen ventilation hoods are designed to be mounted above a cooking surface.

The term “vent hood” encompasses a broader range of hoods used for kitchen ventilation, including wall-mounted, island, or built-in models, and the range hood mounted above the cooking surface.

Standard range hoods can also operate on electricity, although a natural gas or propane supply typically powers them.

Ducted, wall-mount, and island hoods are the most commonly encountered range hoods.

Among the different models, the ducted hood is considered the most efficient; however, its installation typically involves more extensive work.

Wall-mount hoods are well-suited for smaller kitchens, whereas island hoods offer more flexibility as they can be placed anywhere in the room.

Range Hood Vs. Vent Hoods: Are They the Same?

Range hoods and vent hoods are both systems used for kitchen ventilation. However, they have distinct modes of operation.

The difference between range and vent hoods is negligible in a commercial kitchen.

Nevertheless, these terms carry the same meaning and can be used interchangeably to refer to the same system.

If an HVAC contractor inquires about the type of hood you would like to have installed, you can use either term, and they will understand your reference and know what you mean.

Typically, a hood refers to a ventilation system installed above a cooktop or oven. It is commonly referred to as a vent because it eliminates steam and cooking smoke from the kitchen.

Range Hood Vs. Vent Hoods

Why are Range and Vent Hoods So Similar?

The primary explanation is that range and vent hoods were created to fulfill the same function.

Both range and vent hoods are designed to remove cooking fumes, steam, and smoke particles from the kitchen environment. They employ fans and charcoal filters (commonly used in ductless models) to draw in and expel undesirable vapors and odors effectively. Furthermore, range and vent hoods are intended for indoor use only as they are powered by natural gas or propane.

Installation Method for Range Hoods and Vent Hoods

When searching for a kitchen appliance that effectively captures airborne particles, the distinction between a range hood and a vent hood may appear insignificant.

Range hoods, such as a stove or range cooker, are installed above the cooking surface. However, they can also be positioned beside the stovetop, against the wall, or adjacent to cabinets, offering more flexibility in installation options.

In contrast, vent hoods are mostly placed beside the stovetop, limiting their installation possibilities. This makes a range hood a more versatile choice regarding where it can be installed, while a vent hood has fewer placement options.

Installation Method for Range Hoods and Vent Hoods

Airflow Direction: Draw vs. Push

Range hoods and vent hoods are kitchen ventilation appliances that pull air from a larger area and direct it toward the cooking surface. They both utilize fans to generate airflow and are typically connected to a ducting system that expels the air outside.

However, there is a crucial distinction between the two: a vent hood is designed to draw air towards it, while a range hood is engineered to push air away from the cooking area.

Range Hood Vent Hood
Mode of Operation A range hood uses a forced-air fan to push air out of the system. That air is exhausted through the wall. A vent hood uses a pull-down fan to draw air into the system. Then, that air is vented out through the roof.
Airflow Direction A range hood pushes air out of the system. A vent hood pulls air into the system.
Filtering A range hood filters grease and cooking odors from the perspective when it is drawn into the system. A vent hood filters grease from the air when pushed out of the system.


Ductwork in Range and Vent Kitchen Hoods

Ductwork in Range and Vent Kitchen Hoods

Ducting is a distinctive feature that distinguishes vent hoods from range hoods.

In range hoods, the ducting is typically gravity-fed and can be directed to the outdoors through the roof or a wall. Alternatively, it may lead to a vent with a specialized grease filter.

A vent hood in a commercial kitchen usually incorporates ducting that is powered by a fan. This allows the vent hood to be connected to different locations within the kitchen for adequate ventilation.

Ceiling, wall, or under-cabinet installations are all viable options for ducted range hoods, which can employ gravity ducting or utilize a powered duct fan.

What are the Similarities?

Although they may have different methods of operation, range hoods, and vent hoods achieve the same ultimate goal:

  1. They effectively filter and eliminate odors, steam, smoke, and other airborne particles from the kitchen.
  2. Range hoods and vent hoods utilize a mesh or filter to capture grease and other particles from the air, which are then removed by a fan.
  3. Both range hoods and vent hoods are suitable for indoor cooking and can be installed above or beside the stovetop.
  4. It is common for range hoods and exhaust vents to share the same wall or ducting system, utilizing the same air duct to expel the air.

So, Why Do We Separate Range Hoods and Vent Hoods?


The variation in terminology between “range hood” and “vent hood” can be attributed to regional differences and the industry’s evolution. For instance, in the commercial kitchen context, using the term “range hood” was uncommon before the 1990s.

However, since then, the food service industry has widely adopted the term “range hood” to refer to almost any commercial kitchen ventilation system. This shift in language is likely because “vent hood” is more commonly associated with residential ventilation systems in informal conversations.

In essence, both “range hood” and “vent hood” represent two different ways of describing the same type of exhaust system. These systems are designed for permanent installation and can be affixed to a roof or a wall.

Vent and Range Hoods for Commercial Kitchens

Which is the Best For You? Vent Kitchen Hoods or Range Kitchen Hoods?

Both range hoods and vent hoods remove excess moisture, heat, steam, and odors from the kitchen environment.

Nevertheless, some considerations are worth pondering before deciding which one to purchase.

Cost Difference

To begin with, when considering cost, it is important to note that the pricing can vary significantly based on individual requirements, size, installation, and the materials used to construct the hood.

Generally, a vent hood tends to be more expensive than a range hood.

For instance, a high-quality range hood may range from $3000 to $4400, whereas a high-quality vent hood can cost $4500 or more. However, it is worth mentioning that investing in higher-quality hoods often results in greater longevity compared to lower-quality options. Additionally, premium hoods often come with user-friendly features like remote control capabilities.

Your Kitchen Space

Secondly, it is essential to consider your kitchen space when deciding.

If you have a smaller kitchen, there may be better choices than a range hood for reducing cooking smells and enhancing air circulation.

Typically, a range hood is positioned above the cooking area in the center of the room, causing the air to be pushed upwards and out of the top of the hood.

In a smaller kitchen, this airflow may need more room to circulate throughout the rest of the space.

As a result, the air may remain trapped within the kitchen, accumulating odors.

In contrast, a vent hood is installed closer to the floor and directs the air downwards, aiding its circulation throughout the home. This can be particularly advantageous in smaller kitchens as it facilitates better air movement beyond the confines of the kitchen area.

How Often Do You Cook?

Moreover, a range hood may be necessary if you engage in frequent cooking activities. Its supplementary circulation system aids in maintaining clean and fresh air in the kitchen environment.

Conversely, if you only cook occasionally, a vent hood will be adequate to ensure your home retains a pleasant and fresh aroma.

Tags: kitchen range hoods, kitchen vent hoods, range hood systems, vent hood systems

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