Ductless vs. Ducted Range Hoods: What’s Better and Why

We have been talking about the best range hoods for a while and by now we expect you already know that it is a piece of important equipment that we should all have in our kitchen.

It helps filter grease, smoke, odors ensures your kitchen smells nice. In this article, we will be discussing the types of range hoods, explicitly explaining the ductless and the ducted range hoods while properly stating out its pros and cons.

We will be trying to help you select the perfect one for your kitchen, the ductless range hoods or the ducted models. At the end of the article, we would make a recommendation, but it is still left to you to choose the one that fits your needs and kitchen style.

Firstly, let’s briefly explain how range hoods work. A range hood either ducted or ductless is used in the kitchen or an enclosed area to collect smoke, grease, and other particles so that they would not get stuck to the kitchen ceiling or walls.

The range hood also helps in keeping our family and us safe from nasty air. There are mainly three types of range hoods, but we will be primarily focusing on the ducted and ductless range hoods.

A range hood is very similar to a vacuum cleaner, but this equipment needs very less cleaning and maintenance. In both types of hoods, there is always a switch button to turn on the hood so that it can begin collecting particles from the surface tables and walls. It also makes sure that odors and other unwanted smells are not allowed to spread to other parts of the house.

Ductless vs Ducted Range Hoods

The Ductless Range Hood

Unlike the ducted range hoods, the ductless can be installed anywhere because they do not need a duct to be able to work, all you have to do is install them where you want them to work, and they would get to work.

How the ductless range hood works is that it sucks in smoke, odors, and other kinds of stuff from your kitchen then filters it uses it’s inbuilt activated carbon or charcoal before recirculating it back into your home, this time, pure.

All the activated carbon in the ductless range hood does is help filter the bad smells to purify the air because you might be scared that it would further pollute the air, this is not so.

This filter is what most needs care in a ductless range hood because it doesn’t have a vent to send all the filtered stuff away; it is necessary to be changed. We do advise that you change a ductless range hood filter at least twice or three times in a year to ensure its functionality and efficiency.

It is not hard to change, and you should see our other articles on how to change ductless range hood filters. An issue with the ductless range hood is that the airflow is always reduced, and extraction is about 35 percent compared to when you have it ducted out using a ducted range system.

Having said this, the ductless range hood is a perfect choice for people and kitchen who want flexibility and can live with the other side effects.

The Pros

Versatility: Ductless hoods are made to be versatile. They can be installed almost anywhere you want the air to be purified, and it would do its work without you having to think of the stress of installing a duct manually or using professional hands. All you need are filters that can be easily changed, ensuring that the air coming back into your home is purified.

Installation: Unlike ducted hoods, it is straightforward to install because it doesn’t need the stress of installing a duct by yourself or calling a professional and paying him to do a premium job.

Efficiency: Having noted the convenience of having a ductless hood in your home, it is also important to note that its efficiency is hardly compromised. Many hoods without a duct have automatic on and off timers which makes it very easy to use. The ductless range hood also ensures that your kitchen is totally free from the grease, odors, and particles.

Also Read: What are Convertible Range Hoods

The Cons

It can cause humidity: Mainly because it is made to recirculate air to the house, it sometimes causes humidity in your kitchen. This is because it does not take the old air out, and it does not bring in new air making the air reasonably humid.

Higher Decibel levels: Depending on the brand, model, and the size of the ductless range hood you buy, it might need high fan power making the Decibel levels to be high, unlike the ducted vents.

Cleaning: Unlike the Ducted vent that does not need so much cleaning or replacements, the ductless vents need much care. The filters in it need to be changed at least three to four times yearly to ensure that it is performing optimally.

Not properly taking care of this issue can cause debris to start dripping out of it of which you do not want. This could also mean that it could be slightly expensive to maintain compared to the ductless range hood which does not require filter replacements.

Learn more about these range hoods from below


Ducted Range Hoods

The Ducted hoods are another perfect alternative when range hoods are spoken about. This is because it needs a duct to function properly, unlike the ductless hoods.

This limits kitchens or workspaces that have less space because it makes their kitchen look clumsy. On the other hand, the duct makes ducted range hoods highly effective and also efficient in carrying all those harmful gas out to the exterior.

Ductwork is usually pipes that carry these smoke from the kitchen mostly through the roof or the wall to the exterior and are common in restaurants and top-class kitchens.

The duct type and length usually affect how extraction works, making it another set back in the duct system. It is better to have a top-class ductless range hood that works rather than having a duct with so many bends; it could begin to bring up issues like leakages, slow and inefficient venting.

This ductwork is what determines if your ducted range hood would function properly that is why you should make sure you refer to our post about how to install the duct in your kitchen by yourself, or you hire a professional to do a good job for you.


Highly efficient: Compared to the ductless range hoods, the ducted models are highly efficient. This is because they can move greater amounts of grease, particles, and smoke faster, making it a top pick for people with commercial restaurants or larger kitchens that need more smoke vented outside.

Noise reduction: This depends on how well your duct is constructed and the model you buy, but the ducted systems are known to be quieter generally.

Zero Humidity or steam: Unlike the ductless system that recirculates air making your kitchen humid, the ducted vents pump unwanted smells, steams and humidity to the exterior making your kitchen smell and feel perfect.


Needs a duct: The primary concern involved in having a ducted range hood is the installation of a duct for your venting. A ducted range hood basically cannot work without a duct, unlike the ductless designs. People, for this reason, feel it is stressful and expensive to own a ducted system.

We have helped solve this problem a little by teaching how to install the duct by yourself, kindly check our previous article. Also, if you can afford it, you can also call in a professional to get the job done for you.

More on Ducted Range Hoods below.


Ducted vs Ductless Range Hoods: A Conclusion

Having said these, you need to understand the two most popular types of range hoods in order to make a perfect choice. For example, if your home comes with a duct pre-installed, it would be very comfortable for you to have a ducted model installed.

But if you do not already have a duct, then you might want to go the ductless way as long as you have no problem with a little more noise and some humidity. If this matters to you, then you should go through the pain of installing a duct professionally or manually.

The cost is another thing to be put into consideration. Any of the range hoods would cost you a little, especially if the value is to be gotten. Getting a ducted model would cost more, especially if you need brand new ductwork and cannot do it yourself.

If your budget is on the low side, you should most probably go for the ductless range hoods because they are usually less expensive yet efficient and should do just fine for your kitchen.

Picking a top-notch ductless range hood or a ducted system ultimately depends on your kitchen and your choices, and even though by now you know that the Ducted models offer more efficiency, less noise, and can be very cost-effective in the long run.

We advise that though it would cost you a little more and more stress, you should install a ducted system especially if you have a commercial kitchen and want more functionalities.

Jennifer Dumas

My name is Jennifer! Welcome to Dinners and Dreams. My goal here is to encourage you to try out recipes you never thought you could make at home. Furthermore, I also review products that I have used in the past or currently using to make every day buying decisions easier and to ensure you get the best value for your money.

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