“All Rangehoods ductless anyway”.

“I don’t even know where to start with this”.

“I was told that I have to have a ductless hood”.

Suppose you’ve been caught up by any of these statements you are not alone. That’s okay, we’re going to give you all the answers.

In this article, we’ll cover:

  • Clearly stated what are the differences in range hoods.
  • The type of Hood you need.
  • Where to find the different types of range hoods.

Different Types of Range Hoods

It would suffice to say that ductless means well, less a duct. But this is where the slope begins to get slippery. I know, not even enough time to get the Caution Wet Floor sign out.

The issue comes because there are commonly used terms for different types of range hoods that have now gotten inner mixed. It’s like saying “she’s got a big trunk”. It meant one thing in the ’50 and the ’60s. While something completely different today. So how do you make heads or tails of it, to mix metaphors?

The Two Types of Ductless Range Hoods

1) The first type (and this type is where the term “ductless” comes from) is with a unit such as an above-range microwave or a stainless steel vent that takes air from the cooking area, possibly filters it, and then blows it back into the room from the top or sides of the vent stack/chimney. (see image) These units have their place but also have their shortcomings.

ductless range hood

2) The second type is a “ductless” insert. An insert/blower is the mechanical portion added to a custom range hood enclosure. This does the actual work of moving the air. 

The term “ductless” is used in this case because it can be ductless or, in other words, NOT ducted to the outside. 

In proper terms, this should really be called a recirculating insert

With a recirculating insert, the vapor is still pulled from the cooking area, through a filter and then needs to be directed out. 

Now hang with me on this. Some companies sell a ducting kit for a “non-ducted” hood application. A quick run of the old googlator and you will find this little morse of confusion. (see picture)  These parts are sold to add to the insert so the air can be exhausted back into the room via whatever means you deem possible.

ductless insert

So How, Why, And when do you pick one over the other? 

Glad you asked. From this point on we are going to talk only about option two and eliminate all the confusion. To solve the mystery it really only requires a couple of answered questions to be a better detective than John Walsch and solve the mystery. That’s the guy from unsolved mysteries, you remember, right? Anyway…

  • Is your range/cooktop on an interior wall with restrictions above (IE no attic)? 
  • Are rafters in the way of ducting through the ceiling?
  • Are you in a commercial/condo with floors above?
  • Are you building in a manner that doesn’t allow for envelope penetrations (IE exterior wall or roof)?


If you answered yes to one or a combination of these questions a “ductless/recirculating” insert may be the best option. 

No need to worry, we’ll help you all the way to the finish line, or maybe dinner bell is a better fit. Either way, there are a few options ready to be deployed to truly pull off your kitchen vision. 

Option 1. Ductwork is installed in the ceiling above the custom range hood (if framing allows) directing the air from the insert/blower back into the room, exhausting the air from the ceiling above the cooktop. 

Option 2.  Have a custom recirculating Rangehood designed and built for you. Blue Fig Artisan has created the best of both worlds by offering an all-in-one custom range hood. Much like the stainless steel vent that exhausted from a vent in the top of the chimney. We build a custom range hood to your desired style, colors, and dimensions and then integrate the needed ventilation. Leaving you with a completely custom range hood that only needs to be screwed to the wall and plugged in.

Recirculating Range hood example

We want to know

What have you been told about Rangehoods and venting?  

If you have questions we’re here to help!


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