Ventilating your stove used to be pure and strictly function – no form or beauty called for here! But in the last few decades, we’ve seen a beautiful transition take place as manufacturers produce and homeowners request a desirable feature for their exhaust fans in the kitchen. So what are the options? How do you choose?
There are three popular choices for hoods: the microwave hood, a stainless steel (with or without glass) hood, or a cabinetry hood that matches the rest of your kitchen.
Stainless steel hoods can range from simple and utilitarian in style to sleek and contemporary. The most popular option of the three, stainless steel hoods have a much more powerful blower than microwave hoods.
There are also incredibly beautiful and sculputral designs for island hoods that are quickly becoming popular focal points of the kitchen. See if you can find the once-utilitarian ventilation system in the next photograph:
Comparable to stainless steel hoods in power are cabinetry hoods (with a separate blower/liner interior). The great advantage to cabinetry hoods is the seamless transition made between this appliance and your wall cabinets: it can be subtle enough to almost completely blend in, or distinct enough to make a bold statement. This slightly more traditionally look eliminates the interruption of an appliance across the upper line of sight in a kitchen.
The microwave hood is an excellent choice for spatially constrained projects. They are the best space savers! Rather than taking up room for a microwave and a vent separately, you get an all-in-one. And if you consider a convection microwave, like the GE Advantium, you also get a combination convection oven. What this translates to is more room for cabinetry and usable storage in your kitchen!
Last on the list are downdraft hoods. The least popular – but certainly still used – this hood style is the absolutely most discreet, as it is a part of a range or cooktop unit. Downdrafts suck the air down from about countertop height (or slightly higher) instead of trying to catch it from above. About as powerful as microwave hoods, the greatest advantage is not in their suction power, but their subtly, allowing for stoves to be installed in islands or peninsulas without interrupting the otherwise open, vertical line of sight with a ceiling-mounted hood.