Cooker Hoods

Ways of extraction

Stainless stell cooker hoodThe cooker is an important part of your kitchen, as well as the cooker hood that complements it. This kitchen appliance is sometimes underestimated when purchasing a new kitchen or upgrading an existing one, but the cooker hood extracts or recirculates the air from the kitchen which is trapped - through standard central heating, double glazing and good insulation. Essentially then, many experts will agree that if an extractor can be used, it should be used.

Cookers create odours and smoke, and with the extractor method these are removed to the outside so not to blemish the air within the house or kitchen. To run an extraction appliance is more economically friendly for the user than a recirculation appliance because the latter requires charcoal filters to work which have to be regularly replaced – there is an initial outlay for an extractor but there are no running costs. The absence of a charcoal filter also means the airflow rate is higher, and therefore goes without saying this is a direct disadvantage of the recirculation method of the cooker hood, as the positioning of a required charcoal filter is in front of the motor which lessens airflow.

When considering which type of cooker hood appliance to install in your kitchen, before all else you must consider what the logistics allow. With an extractor, everything that is being removed through the cooker hood needs to leave the kitchen through a passage to outdoors. Space within the kitchen will primarily dictate whether extraction is a viable option or not, but also if the appliance can reach what is considered an 'outside wall' through the form of ducting. If space allows an extraction appliance to be fitted then you can begin to make further considerations; if not, a recirculation appliance will become your next option as these offer much more viability as they can be installed almost everywhere. It should be noted here that some cooker hood ranges actually incorporate both formats discussed in this section and you will find that out within the manufacturers' product descriptions.

Which cooker hood?

Like most products these days, the market is becoming saturated, as cooker hoods come in varying styles, shapes and can be fitted to accommodate your particular cooker or kitchen design. Free-standing cooker hoods represent the cheapest option, but whilst being economical the consumer will lose some quality as they lack power which ultimately mean in the desired effect of clearing odours and smoke, they are less effective. This type of cooker hood appliance is fitted directly to a wall from which the cooker backs onto and is appropriate for extraction over a standard four-ring cooker/hob.

Integration, or built-in cooker hoods, are designed with the aim of blending into the kitchen surroundings more than the former freestanding chic. These can be fitted between cabinets or cupboards and although they offer a more powerful alternative to the former, as an appliance they cannot compete with the cooker hoods which will follow, and are built on the premise of isolation. Again they are ideal for the four ring standard cooker.

If you are willing to lend a little more expense to purchasing a cooker hood appliance then you will find yourself with a unit offering greater size, but still very slick. The Chimney style cooker hoods are an appliance of stainless steel and glass in material and offer a better type of extraction to rid your kitchen of the smells and smoke. This type of cooker hood appliance entails a canopy which captures steam and so forth - a chimney with an internal fan which extracts them out of your kitchen. These again, are fitted to the wall above a bigger cooker, usually a six-ring model, and although they take up more a little more space they bring a nice aesthetic to the kitchen.

The most powerful cooker hoods available are naturally the biggest in size and owing to the fact they are a stand alone appliance they go under the name of an island cooker hood. At 90-100cm in width, unlike those appliances which have been discussed before, they have no contact with the wall behind a cooker but are attached to a ceiling. Although they offer style for such an appliance, the kitchen environment must be able to accommodate such a cooker hood. The island cooker hoods are specifically designed to work above a range cooker so it would serve no purpose for a consumer searching for an appliance which is a four or six ringed cooker.

Features and price

Cooker hood familyJust like the saturation of styles of this and every other product in today's market, cooker hood appliances have digressed and offer a wide range of features or characteristics to make the whole experience more user-friendly. A good place to start would be the controls on a cooker hood appliance as the position of basic controls can vary in position. For ease of use, the appliances which have them positioned on the outside rather than perhaps the inside or underside – those which have them placed within the latter can sometimes be awkward to access. A majority of cooker hood appliances have varying speeds which you can set according to the amount of steam, smoke or odour being produced. At this point it is important to note that as well as charcoal filters, a cooker hood appliance also comes with a grease filter. Just like the speed control many appliances come with a warning light which tells you when this particular filter has become over saturated and needs to be washed.

When it comes to washing the filters in the cooker hood, they will need to be washed regularly or the efficiency of extraction will be affected. They can be washed by putting them through the dishwasher, or disposable filters can be purchased and they will need replacing on a couple of months cycle.  Cooker hood appliances mostly come with lighting built-in to help illuminate the cooking area. They come in three forms of lighting: halogen, fluorescent and incandescent and they will attempt to light up the cooking area sufficiently.

Owing to the fact these appliances can be bought from anywhere between £60 through to £2,000+, identifying your needs before you decide on which style appliance you want is very important. You must rule out which cooker hoods will not logistically work in your kitchen and which appliance will work - all due to the size and shape of your kitchen.  Many cooker hoods could look similar to others you are considering, and maybe they are. But if there is any differentiation in price it is probably because for example, it has a different type of filter or it has two speed extraction system rather than a three speed.

Essentially then, the kitchen environment must be assessed first and foremost and then you can decide whether you will extract or recirculate your kitchen air. They are the two main considerations; after that, you are presented with an artistic license to choose your cooker hood appliance. The noise of a cooker hood appliance can be intrusive so it is something to consider, especially if your kitchen doubles as your dining room. This is even more relevant if you are considering extraction as these can make noise, especially if they are used on a higher speed. Within each range the prices can greatly vary, so it comes down the budget you have set yourself.