Difference Between Ducted vs Ductless Kitchen Chimney Uses and Buying Guide

difference between duct and ductless kitchen chimney

For every home, the kitchen is the heart, where we prepare meals, socialize, and eat together. But unfortunately, it also harbours high amounts of smoke tar, odour, heat, grease particles, and harmful components like aldehydes. These chemical compounds can sometimes compromise your health and where the kitchen chimneys come into play.

It acts as lungs in the kitchen either by expelling the polluted air outside of the kitchen or recirculating filtered air back into the kitchen. By removing grease, heat, smoke, odour from your kitchen, chimneys help you to breathe easier and to cook in comfort.

With so many types and options available, selecting the right kitchen chimney can be a daunting task. Unfortunately, many people tend to go with aesthetically pleasing kitchen chimneys that may fail to perform your needs.

What is Kitchen Chimney?

A kitchen chimney or kitchen hood is an electronic device installed over the cooktop with a mechanical fan and filtration system fitted inside to either exhaust airborne grease, combustion products, fumes, steam or recirculate the air back after filtration. An exhaust hood, range hood are other technical names of kitchen chimneys.

What are the uses of the Kitchen Chimney?

  • Improves air quality of your kitchen to give you a comfortable cooking environment.
  • Allows your kitchen to get rid of chemical combustion products released during cooking.
  • Providing proper ventilation clears the humidity, restricting the growth of bacteria and mold.
  • A wide variety of designs allows choosing the perfect fit according to your kitchen space and personal style to improves the aesthetic look of the kitchen space.
  • A lights installed on the chimney panels improves the lightning on the cooking top area for convenient cooking.
  • Don’t allow grease and smoke to build up a sticky film on your kitchen furniture and other appliances.

Kitchen chimneys are broadly categorized in two types on the basis of their functioning.

Types of Kitchen Chimneys/ Types of Range Hood

Duct Chimney/ Vented Range Hood/ Ducted Hood

Kitchen Chimney with Duct

A ducted chimney or hood uses a fan to suction the combustion products from the cooking area and the blower helps to exhaust them out of the house. Ducting is installed with your range hood which allows passing cooking greases out of the house exterior. Vented or ducted hoods require significant space to pass ducting lines from the cooking area to the outside.

Ducted range hoods are more effective than ductless range hoods but require more installation efforts to get ducting out of the house.

Advantages of Duct Kitchen Chimneys/ Advantages of Vented Hood

  • Because the Duct Kitchen hood vents out humidity and steam out completely this makes it more efficient working. 
  • Less maintenance as the grease and excess moisture is thrown out of the kitchen completely with the help of a blower filtration system require less maintenance.
  • According to some homeowners, ducted chimneys are less noisy than ductless one, however, the noise can differ in models, sizes, and brands.  

Disadvantages of Duct Kitchen Chimneys/ Disadvantages of Vented Hood

  • As this ducted hood require ducting that goes from inside of the kitchen to the exterior of your home, this limits the areas where you want to position your kitchen chimney.
  • Installation cost goes on the higher side due to the ventilation duct setup.

Ductless Kitchen Chimneys/ Recirculating Range Hood

ductless kitche chimney
Ductless kitchen chimney

Ductless or Recirculating Kitchen chimneys work on the principle where smoke is drawn up through a filtration system, that will be either charcoal, paper, or a combination of both. These filters clean the smoke, odour of the grease before the air is recirculated back in the kitchen.

These are very useful hooding solutions in some building environments where ducting isn’t possible. Like for example, you’re in an apartment complex, you can’t just drill a hole through your neighbour’s condo to get a duct outside of the building.

Advantages of Ductless Kitchen Chimney

  • More convenient in regards to installation and does not limit the space where you want to position your cooking top.
  • This doesn’t need any ventilation system set up in the kitchen.
  • Some Ductless hood comes with programmable timers to turn on or off automatically.

Disadvantages of Ductless Kitchen Chimney

  • Due to the fact that it recirculates the air instead of venting out, meaning there are chances of keeping your kitchen fairly humid.
  • The energy consumption level for ductless chimneys may be a bit higher due to the fact they often have more fan power.
  • Installing a ductless hood goes on the higher maintenance side as the filter needs to replace often for optimum performance.

Difference Between duct and ductless kitchen chimneys

Duct Kitchen ChimneyRecirculating/Ductless Kitchen Chimney
InstallationHard installation due to ducting workEasy installation at the desired place, no ducting work
FiltrationUse fan and blower to vent out combustion products out of the houseUse filters to filter out combustion products and recirculate fresh air
EfficiencyMore effective than ductless, due to complete vent out of combustion product, and smokeAs it recirculates air back in the kitchen after filtering, keeps the place fairly humid
MaintenanceLess maintenance often need to replace ducts, and filtersSolely depends on the filter to remove combustion smoke require frequent filter cleaning, or replacing
BudgetHigher installation cost due to ducting workLower installation cost due to no ducting work

Points to Consider Before Buying

Although all range hoods have the same basic purpose there are several factors that come into play when you’re choosing the right one for your kitchen.

Natural Ventilation

You will need to consider the natural ventilation to your kitchen, if your kitchen is already enough ventilated then you can go for the ductless option.

If your kitchen is in dark and doesn’t have natural ventilation then it is recommended to opt for a duct kitchen chimney as this will allows you to ventilate combustion products completely.


First, you’ll need to decide what size of chimney you’ll need. You will want to have your chimney be equal to or just larger than your cooktop so it overlaps on each side.

It’s important to chimney panels to overlap with the cooktop because the larger the canopy area of your kitchen chimney, the better it can trap unwanted grease, heat, smoke, odour, and vent it out of your kitchen.  

Cooking Type

Recirculating or ductless kitchen chimneys typically cannot handle professional-level needs. Professional level cooking needs to move so much air, that you have to change your filters every few weeks and it would get very expensive.

You’ll want to consider installing a duct kitchen chimney if you frequently do a lot of frying or wok style cooking, if you grill, cook spicy, fishy, or other more pungent foods.


If ducts are already there in your kitchen or you are living in your own property, then you can purchase a ducted kitchen chimney. However, if you regularly want to shift to various places due to job work, it is advisable to choose a ductless option. The ductless hoods are portable and can be move whenever, wherever you want.

Noise level

Fourth, you’ll need to decide how quiet you want your kitchen chimney to be. The majority of the noise from a chimney is created by the blower but you’ll also get noise created by the air moving past the filters.

Local blowers or fans that are installed directly inside the chimney can be very quiet but you can lower the noise level over your range hood even more by using a remote blower, which is located away from your kitchen, in line with your ductwork, or on your rooftop.

Grease Filters

Fourth, you want to decide what type of grease filters to use. Now there are two basic types of grease filters: baffle filters and mesh filters. Mesh filters trap the combustion products and grease in the actual mesh.

If they are not cleaned frequently enough, they can be louder than the baffle filters and they restrict the airflow. Baffle filters catch the grease and then trap it in a removable grease cover tray or in the filter itself. Both types of filters are dishwasher safe and easy to clean.


Fifth, you’ll need to decide how the power of your chimney to vent out the air. The ability to move air is measured in cubic feet per minute or CFM. To determine your needs, you’ll need to consider what type of stove you have and what type of cooking you prefer.

You’ll need 100 CFM for every 10 inches width cooktop so, measure your cooktop exactly and make the choice according to calculation.


The kitchen chimney will cost some money, but you also need to consider the cost of installation. Installing ducted hoods can prove costly because you will have to get new ductwork installed for accommodating this hood.

If you are late on a plan to move your hood, it would be even more costly as you will have to spend to patch up holes that it leaves behind. Just make sure that the choice you made suits your budget for all the expenses with kitchen hoods come along.