Types of cooker hood explained: Which will be best for you?

downdraught cooker hood
(Image credit: Searle & Taylor Kitchens)

Choosing the right types of cooker hood to suit your needs and the way in which you use your kitchen is hugely important when it comes to your enjoyment of this space — pick the wrong model and not only could it jar with the overall look of your kitchen design, but it will also mean it could be full of steam and cooking odours. 

Certain kitchen appliances are non-negotiable — and cooker hoods most definitely fall into this category. Selecting from the array of models now available and understanding all the various optional extras and special functions that will be offered can be pretty confusing.

This is where our guide to types of cooker hood will come in handy. We are here to take you through the most common designs and explain what each variety could offer you, so you can feel confident that the final choice you make will fulfil all your needs.

Types of cooker hood: Ducted or recirculation?

The first choice you will need to make when choosing a cooker hood will be whether a ducted cooker hood or a recirculation model will be best for you. 

Both styles come in a range of designs and are suitable for all kinds of kitchens, but they do work in quite different ways, with each having their pros and cons.

  • Ducted cooker hoods: This style of cooker hood is installed along with a run of ducting fitted within the ceiling, wall or the floor and leading to outside. They suck up steam and stale air and expel it externally. 
  • Recirculation cooker hoods: These take the steam, grease and odour-filled air in your kitchen and run it through an integral filter before returning the purified air back into the room. 

Note that some of the best kitchen extractor fans can be used as both ducted or recirculation models. Both types also contain a grease filter which will require periodic cleaning, but recirculating cooker hoods will also require an additional carbon or charcoal filter, which will need replacing from time to time. 

So, which is right for you?

Recirculation cooker hoods tend not to be quite as effective at removing stale air as quickly as ducted models and are often a little noisier too. That said, they are easier to install and usually cheaper to buy.

Ducted models might be the more effective of the two, but buying the necessary ducting (which can be either flexible or rigid) will add to costs — plus you will need to figure out where to run it to outside. 

Once you have decided whether a ducted or recirculation model will be best for your needs, it is time to choose from the various designs around, of which there are quite a few. 

Integrated cooker hoods

Also known as built-in cooker hoods, this style is great if it is a sleek, minimalist look you are aiming for in your kitchen design

Integrated cooker hoods can be built into the cabinets above your hob to match the rest of your units, or within a decorative cabinet. It is possible to find this style in both recirculating and ducted models.

Due to their often more compact size, they are not always suitable for those with very large hobs, although a range of sizes are available.

integrated black cooker hood

Fisher & Paykel's Integrated Insert Cooker Hood in stainless steel and glass has four fan speeds, plus boost function and a maximum air movement of 710m³/hr. £650.  (Image credit: Fisher & Paykel)

Visor cooker hoods

Despite falling from favour a little in more recent years, visor cooker hoods are a great, affordable option that are ideal for those after small kitchen ideas, often being more compact in size and easily fitting under wall units — something you will need to bear in mind when fitting a kitchen if you opt for this model. 

They are wall-mounted, usually slotting in beneath an overhead kitchen unit, and come with a visor section at the front which can be pulled out to extend their size — often, sliding out this visor turns the hood on. 

They come as both recirculation and ducted models. 

visor style cooker hood

The Cooke & Lewis Stainless Steel Telescopic Hood, from B&Q, measures 60cm and is designed for fully-integrated kitchens, pulling out when required. It is a cost-effective choice at just £73.  (Image credit: B&Q)

Chimney cooker hoods

Chimney hoods are incredibly popular, available in styles that suit both those after modern kitchen ideas as well as anyone aiming for a more classic look. Many manufactures offer chimney hoods that match their cookers too.

Sometimes referred to as wall-mounted hoods, they come in all kinds of sizes — ensure that the hood you buy is either the same size or larger than your hob. 

This style of cooker hood has a wider section at the bottom and a chimney hood that usually rises up into the ceiling and conceals ducting within. They can either fit between wall units or sit alone on the wall. 

black and glass chimney cooker hood

The Cooke & Lewis LED Glass Hood, from B&Q, measures 60cm and has a 344m³/h air extraction rate. It costs £107. (Image credit: B&Q)

Island cooker hoods

When designing a kitchen island that will incorporate a hob, it is crucial to think about extraction.

Also known as freestanding (although free-hanging might be more appropriate) cooker hoods, this style is designed to be suspended from the ceiling above your hob.

They are often designed to make a real statement, commonly looking more like pendant lights than a kitchen appliance. If opting for a ducted model, a suspended ceiling will need to be put in place to conceal the pipework.

black island cooker hood

Franke’s Smart Suspended island cooker hood hangs from three wires to make a striking statement. Available in black, white or stainless steel, it offers three operating speeds plus an intensive setting with an extraction rate of 580m³/h and has a noise level of 66 decibels at the maximum setting. £1,059. (Image credit: Franke)

Ceiling mounted cooker hoods

Similar in many ways to island hoods, these are designed to be integrated into the ceiling above the hob for a sleek, seamless look. 

Sitting completely flush with the ceiling, they come in all kinds of sizes and, when colour matched to your ceiling paint, become all but invisible. As with an island cooker hood, a false ceiling will usually be required. 

integrated ceiling cooker hood

The Pureline Integrated ceiling hood, from Novy, is A++ rated, comes in two sizes and with button or remote controls. It has three power levels plus a power boost function with an automatic downshift after 6 minutes. £1,933. (Image credit: Quiet Mark UK)

Downdraught cooker hoods

Downdraft cooker hoods are one of the newer kids on the block and something you should definitely consider alongside your kitchen worktop ideas

Built into your kitchen worktop, they disappear down and under your work surface when not in use, rising up at the touch of a button. They pull steam and stale air across your hob then downwards through ducting within your units to outside. They are available as both ducted and recirculating models. If you decide to go for a ducted model you will need to consider where the ducting will exit — if your hob is against an external wall this shouldn't be too troublesome, but if you are fitting this style of hood into an island, you will need to take the ducting through the floor which can be tricky in retrofit situations. 

This style of hood is not recommended with gas hobs.  

downdraught cooker hood

The Air Wall by Falmec integrates downdraft technology into a backlit, white tempered glass panel. Extraction takes place via a rectangular opening in the glass, allowing the passage of air and access to the hood’s controls. Features include a 600 cubic metre brushless motor and direct dialogue system between the hob and hood. The vertical panel is also equipped with a magnetic system for adding accessories. From £1,800.  (Image credit: Falmec UK)

Integrated hob extractors

These do away with the need for a cooker hood entirely. Also known as venting hobs, these include extraction vents within the hob itself. The vents are designed to be protected from spills and mean you can position your hob anywhere you like without thinking about where the hood will go. 

"Integrated hob extractors are a good choice in open plan spaces where a streamlined look is desired," says Jo Sargent, sales and marketing director at Franke UK. "These models offer powerful localised extraction that quickly removes cooking odours and condensation before they have a chance to rise and permeate the kitchen, and at the same time they blend seamlessly into a kitchen design because everything is kept at hob level.”

integrated hob extractor

Franke has just launched the new Maris 2gether hob extractor. The stylish black glass, with a cast-iron grid, features a fully integrated extractor positioned between induction hobs with four cooking zones, all operated via a discreet touch panel. It can be installed flush with the work surface and has an energy rating of A++. £2,247. (Image credit: Franke)

The latest innovations and designs in cooker hoods

Of course, the world of cooker hoods cannot escape the latest kitchen trends and this is a fast moving sector with new innovations cropping up all the time. The most recent and popular models are concealed cooker hoods and integrated hob extractors, but there are also some other special features to look out for. 

"After all the focus on pendant cooker hoods in the kitchen, there is now a significant trend towards hidden extraction, in which the cooker hood appliance forms part of the overall kitchen design," says Sean Drumm, MD of Falmec UK. "Concealed hoods often have more power than other types of cooker hoods and offer stronger recirculating and ducted out efficiencies. 

"So many new kitchens are now open-plan spaces where the whole family congregates throughout the day, so it’s even more important to install powerful extraction to ensure effective removal of unwanted odours. Not enough people ask about this aspect when they are choosing a cooker hood on looks rather than efficiency."

concealed contemporary cooker hood

The Monolith from Falmec consists of a 90cm central suction element with 30cm, 60cm and 90cm wide accessory storage modules that can be placed left or right for a totally customised set-up. It boasts a powerful 800 cubic metre brushless motor, is dialogue ready and includes a Carbon.Zeo filter for recirculation. Prices start from £1,800. (Image credit: Falmec UK)

So what other special features and advances in cooker hood technology should we be aware of?

“The growth of open plan living and the time spent at home during the pandemic have driven demand for quieter cooker hoods," says Jo Sargent. "Look out for models with a decibel level of 55db or less for a more peaceful cooking experience."

And, of course, cooker hoods have not escaped smart home technology. From those with air quality sensors that monitor VOC levels, to models that can be connected to devices such as Amazon Alexa — perfect for following along with a recipe as you cook.

smart cooker hood

Franke’s AQ Sense Monitor cooker hood, with integrated 21.5” monitor, features an Air Quality Sensor which constantly monitors VOCs, air temperature and humidity and activates automatically when unsafe levels are detected. The hood provides up-to-date air quality information via the Franke Cloud app and is compatible with Amazon Alexa. It also features a built-in web browser, camera connection and a 24-hour ventilation option. £3,852.  (Image credit: Franke)
Natasha Brinsmead

Natasha is Homebuilding & Renovating’s Associate Content Editor and has been a member of the team for over two decades. An experienced journalist and renovation expert, she has written for a number of homes titles. Over the years Natasha has renovated and carried out a side extension to a Victorian terrace. She is currently living in the rural Edwardian cottage she renovated and extended on a largely DIY basis, living on site for the duration of the project. She is now looking for her next project — something which is proving far harder than she thought it would be.