All you need to know about cooker hoods

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The technical aspects of a cooker hood must be considered as well. (Faber Hoods pic)

Now that you have chosen the style of cooker hood that best suits your kitchen, it is time to look at the technical aspects – what the hood can do, the installation, the type of filtration and maintenance.

Recirculating hood or ventilated hood?

The most effective way to remove smoky air from your kitchen is to blow it outside, with a ventilated kitchen hood that has an exhaust pipe that goes through a hole cut into the wall.

But if you live in a condominium or apartment, it’s usually not allowed to cut holes in the walls so you will need a recirculating hood.

Recommendation: If you live in a landed property, get a ventilated hood. If you live in a property where you can’t cut an exhaust hole, get a recirculating hood and focus more on good filtration.

Types of cooker hood filters

As the air is sucked into the kitchen hood, it is filtered to remove grease, smoke and steam, even if the air is ventilated outside. There are three main types of filters used in cooker hoods:

Mesh filters need to be washed regularly. (Recommend pic)

This is made from several layers of fine aluminium mesh. As the smoky air is pulled through the filter, the grease sticks to the filters, and cleaner air comes out the other side. They need to be washed regularly otherwise the pores will get clogged up, the hood will need to work harder and the noise will increase.

Baffle filters are less prone to clog up. (Recommend pic)

This is made from multiple plates of stainless steel or aluminium. Grease condenses on the blades or fins of the filter and drips into a collection cup or gutter. The cup can then be emptied out. Baffle filters need to be washed regularly to prevent the build-up of grease. Since they do not have small pores, they are less prone to clogging.

Charcoal filters are usually found in water purifiers and gas masks, but they are also common in kitchen hoods to absorb odours. They cannot be washed, but need to be replaced every few months.

All kitchen hoods will use either mesh or baffle filters. Only recirculating hoods need the additional charcoal filter to clean the air that is blown back into the kitchen.

Recommendation: There is no clear winner. Baffle filters may be easier to clean, but need to be cleaned more regularly otherwise they will start to drip grease. Always remember to look for range hoods that are easy to maintain and dismantle-friendly.


When a kitchen hood is running at full power, the noise of the fan can be very loud. Modern kitchen hoods use advanced aerodynamics to reduce the noise, and some models are advertised as “silent” hoods. The noise level can increase if the mesh filters are not cleaned regularly, since the fan has to work harder to maintain the airflow.

Recommendation: If you have an open kitchen, look for a quieter kitchen hood. The noise from the suction fan may disturb people in the dining and living area.


Ideally, the cooker hood should be wiped down after every cooking session. (Recommend pic)

Ideally, the cooker hood should be wiped after every cooking session. For hoods with baffle filters, the grease cup must be emptied out and wiped before reattaching. Wash the filters every two to four weeks.

Many homeowners find baffle filters easier to clean and they look as good as new after. Mesh filters may get more and more clogged unless they are deep cleaned.

The manufacturers also recommend cleaning the blower fan once a year. Depending on the model of the kitchen hood, this may require some disassembly.

Recommendation: Choose a brand that has good after-sales support. If you need spare filters, or if the touch screen stops working, it’s good to know it can be serviced easily.

Cooker hood design

Design should be the last thing to consider. (Pixabay pic)

The last consideration before choosing a cooker hood is the design. Most hoods are made from stainless steel and tempered glass so the two main “looks” are either silver or black.

Some homeowners create a custom-made enclosure for the kitchen hood, concealing the chimney section to match the cabinetry, or even build their own chimney in copper or bronze.

Price of cooker hoods and installation

The prices of cooker hoods depend on width, type of filter, suction and so on. It also depends on whether the hood has add-on features such as a touch screen, multiple speeds, lights, self-cleaning and more.

Installation cost starts from about RM300 and can go up to RM500 if you need to cut a hole in your wall and install the ventilation exhaust pipe.

For ventilated hoods, only 3m of exhaust ducting is included. If you need more, the installation will cost more. If the piping is too long the suction power may be affected. In such cases, consider cooker hoods with an auto-turbo function to increase efficiency.

Know your preferences when buying a kitchen hood

In the old days, if you wanted to do heavy cooking, you would set up a portable stove in your yard and cook outdoors.

But a cooker hood has become an essential appliance and makes a design statement in the kitchen. When buying a cooker hood, you need to figure out what is most important to you.

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