If you are tired of the pongy smell of fried onions, oil and fish in your kitchen, it’s time for an extractor bonnet. It provides fresh and pleasant air during and after cooking. We have summarised what you need to look out for in an extractor bonnet in our extractor bonnet test 2022.
Take a look at our list of the most popular extractor hoods and note the criteria by which you can recognise a good extractor hood. We also advise you on the best shape for your kitchen, what alternatives are available and how to use a extractor hood most effectively in the kitchen. Regular filter replacement is also an important topic, which we explain here.
- 1 The most important facts
- 2 The Best Extractor Hood: Our Picks
- 3 Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying an extractor hood
- 4 Decision: What types of extractor hoods are there and which is the right one for me?
- 5 Buying criteria: You can compare and evaluate extractor hoods on the basis of these factors
- 6 Facts worth knowing about cooker hoods
- 6.1 How high should the extractor hood hang?
- 6.2 Who will install my extractor hood?
- 6.3 What is an activated carbon filter and why do I need it?
- 6.4 How often should I replace the activated charcoal filter?
- 6.5 Why does my extractor hood stink?
- 6.6 With what and how often do I clean a extractor hood?
- 6.7 What are exhaust hoods with external drive?
- 6.8 The history of cooker hoods
The most important facts
- Extractor hoods allow you to suck in the cooking fumes in your kitchen. A basic distinction is made between extractor hoods with recirculation and extractor hoods with exhaust.
- Many manufacturers sell bonnets that support two systems. This means that you can use your hood with either a recirculation or an exhaust system.
- Extractor hoods with a recirculation system filter cooking fumes and release the filtered air back into your kitchen. extractor hoods with an exhaust air system transport the cooking fumes outside.
The Best Extractor Hood: Our Picks
Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying an extractor hood
How does an extractor hood work?
Finally, the appliance discharges the air to the outside or directs the purified air back into the room. The bonnet can be operated either via a remote control or directly via buttons.
In order to understand how an extractor bonnet works, it is first necessary to describe its structure. A extractor hood consists of a grease filter and a fan with a motor. If it is an appliance with air recirculation, then an odour filter with activated charcoal is also integrated.
The extractor bonnet is mounted directly above the hob. There are many different models that can be mounted at different heights. Furthermore, almost every extractor hood has a light so that there is enough light available while cooking.
How much electricity does a extractor hood consume?
The size of the extractor hood should be taken into account, but also the LED lighting. With LED lighting, you can save up to 80 % electricity.
Our cost comparison per year is calculated with a medium-sized extractor hood, i.e. with an air flow of approx. 400 m3 per hour with one hour of cooker extraction and two hours of lighting per day.
|Energy efficiency class||Electricity consumption per year||Electricity costs per year|
|C||101 kWh||28,30 €|
|E||182 kWh||51,00 €|
How much does an extractor hood cost?
However, if you prefer a different format, but don’t necessarily want to spend more on it, we can also recommend other affordable variants such as the flat screen bonnet, intermediate bonnet or the head-mounted hood.
|Flat-screen bonnet||80 to 600 euros|
|Under-cabinet hood||40 to 400 euros|
|Intermediate hood||70 to 300 euros|
|Wall bonnet / chimney hood||200 to 2,000 euros|
|Fan modules||200 to 2,000 euros|
|Island bonnet||300 to 2,000 euros|
|Ceiling-lift hood||3,000 to 10,000 euros|
|Head-free hood||100 to 600 euros|
Which well-known manufacturers of extractor hoods are there?
|Miele||from 100 euros|
|Siemens||from 140 euros|
|AEG||from 230 euros|
|Bomann||from 90 euros|
|Respekta||from 140 euros|
|Bosch||from 170 euros|
The big manufacturers like Siemens, Miele, AEG and Bosch are particularly well-known for their electrical appliances.
They offer many different products, and you have a very wide choice of extractor hoods, as the manufacturers often do not limit themselves to the classic ceiling bonnet, but also like to offer designer models.
Since Siemens is also considered a technological pioneer, you will find many highlights here, such as ventilation sensors, automatic networking and other innovations. But Miele, Bosch and AEG also have an impeccable reputation.
The advantage of these suppliers is their modern extractor hoods, which also score points in terms of quality. Basically, these many advantages can definitely make the possibly higher price compared to the competitors worthwhile, especially if you value technologically innovative kitchen equipment.
Which design is suitable for which kitchen?
Headless bonnets are a new form of extractor hoods. They are very decorative and can therefore set accents in the kitchen. Headless bonnets are suitable for households that focus on aesthetics. Island bonnets are extractor bonnets that are suspended freely in the room.
They are mounted on the ceiling directly above the hob, which stands as an island in the room. Island bonnets are therefore suitable for kitchen islands.
Ceiling bonnets are ideal for open kitchens. These extractor hoods are used directly in the ceiling or in drywall.
Under-cabinet bonnets are an affordable alternative and are particularly suitable for households that do not want to spend a lot of money. Generally, these extractor hoods can be mounted directly on the wall unit. Smaller kitchens in particular benefit from the space-saving design.
Flat screen bonnets are mounted in the wall unit and are particularly suitable for small kitchens where you like to hide the extractor hood.
Intermediate bon nets are permanently installed in a wall unit or between wall units. This makes them suitable only for larger kitchens because they take up space.
Are there alternatives to the extractor hood?
The effective hob extractor systems are mounted either at the height of the worktop or the pots. Regardless of whether you opt for the trough fan, the table bonnet or the retractable extractor bonnet – this extractor system is located directly on the hob.
The disadvantage of hob extractors that are flush with the worktop is that they are particularly susceptible to crumbs, grease splashes and liquids boiling over. Ventilations and retractable extractor bonnets are the better options here.
Care must also be taken with hob extractor systems to leave enough space under the hob for installation. However, the high price of the extractor systems ultimately remains the most decisive disadvantage.
Decision: What types of extractor hoods are there and which is the right one for me?
Basically, you can distinguish between two different types of extractor bonnets:
- Exhaust air mode
- Recirculation mode
When purchasing a extractor hood, it is not only your own preferences that matter, but also the design of the kitchen. In the following section, we will explain the difference between an extractor bonnet and a recirculation bonnet and show you clearly what the advantages and disadvantages of each are.
How does a recirculation bonnet work and what are the advantages and disadvantages?
In a extractor hood with exhaust air operation, the vapours are released to the outside. The fumes pass through the grease filter and are then transported outside via an exhaust pipe.
In a extractor hood with recirculation, there is an activated charcoal filter in addition to the grease filter, which frees the air from dirt particles and odours. In short, the cooking fumes are drawn in by the fan and freed from grease and dirt by the charcoal filter. Afterwards, the clean air is released back into the kitchen by the fan.
In principle, the extractor hood only needs to be connected to the power supply and is ready for operation. Extractor hoods with recirculation operation are also cheaper to buy, but work less effectively than extractor hoods with exhaust operation.
How does an extractor hood work and what are the advantages and disadvantages?
With an exhaust bonnet, the air drawn in from the kitchen is led directly outside. If necessary, it is filtered beforehand. For this type of extractor hood, there must therefore be a connection to a ventilation shaft or a chimney.
If this requirement is not met, a breakthrough in the form of a core hole may have to be made. However, this is usually not easily possible in rented flats.
The installation is therefore more expensive and more complex, but the air is much cleaner, as grease and odours simply escape to the outside.
Buying criteria: You can compare and evaluate extractor hoods on the basis of these factors
What features should you look for when buying?
In the following, we would like to show you which factors you can use to compare, evaluate and test extractor hoods. This will make it easier for you to decide whether a particular bonnet is suitable for you or not. In summary, these are:
- Design / construction
- Size of your kitchen
- Air output
- Location of the cooker hood
- Grease filter
- Energy efficiency
- Useful accessories
The fan of an extractor bonnet produces noise that is louder or quieter depending on the model. High-quality products have integrated silencers or acoustic packages that reduce the noise. How loud a extractor hoodt really is is indicated by the values for sound power and sound pressure.
The sound power indicates how loud the extractor hood is. The sound pressure, on the other hand, provides information about how loud the bonnet is perceived by the user. The latter value is therefore decisive. However, the sound pressure is given in the complicated unit dB(A) re20µPa.
If you look for a extractor hood on the Internet, you will always find information about the volume. Since the value probably won’t mean much to you, but you want a quiet extractor hood, we have put together a small comparison of noise levels in the following table.
|Noise level||Noise level|
|Quality dishwasher||40 to 50 dB|
|Extractor bonnet||50 / 55 to 60 dB|
|Vacuum cleaner||80 dB|
|Lawn mower||100 dB|
Design / construction
Extractor hoods come in many different shapes and colours. Personal preferences play the biggest role here. Many designer bonnets have the same functions as normal extractor hoods. There is a huge range of extractor bonnets, including models that look like crystal chandeliers or lamps.
The most common are flat models for mounting below the wall cabinet, such as the under-cabinet bonnet. Separately mounted bonnets are fixed to the wall or ceiling, such as wall and island bonnets.
Extractor hoodss that create more freedom under the extractor hood due to their sloping design are called headless bonnets. Meanwhile, there are also extractor bonnets that are installed on the side of the hob. These draw the exhaust air away from the side.
It is advantageous to consider the colour, material and design of your kitchen before buying a extractor hood.
Size of your kitchen
When choosing a extractor hood, the size of the kitchen, the existing ventilation system and the location of the hob are crucial. To prevent odour and grease particles from settling on surfaces, a steady circulation of air must be ensured.
In smaller kitchens, air saturation takes place more quickly than in large kitchens. This is the reason why you should first determine the size of your kitchen. To do this, determine the volume of your kitchen (length x width x height) and multiply the result by the minimum (6 x per hour) and maximum (12 x per hour) air exchange rate.
- Kitchen volume (length x width x height) -> 4 m x 3 m x 2.5 m = 30 m³
- 6 air changes per hour -> 6 x 30 m³ = 180 m³h 12 air changes per hour -> 12 x 30 m³ = 360 m³h
This means you need a hood with an extraction rate of at least 180 m³h and at most 360 m³h. The choice of extractor bonnet depends not only on the size of the kitchen, but also on the position of the hob and the ventilation system in your kitchen.
For example, wall-mounted or under-cabinet hoodss cannot be combined with a cooking island.
Once you have calculated your kitchen volume, you should also consider the air output of the bonnet. This is generally given in cubic metres per hour. The higher the value, the more air the extractor hood can move per hour and the more powerful it is.
In the case of a extractor hood for recirculation AND exhaust operation, the air output is usually higher with exhaust air. To calculate the air output, multiply the volume value of your kitchen by 8. In closed kitchens, your bonnet has an easier time and requires about one fifth less power.
However, since air performance can be lost due to impurities or the architecture of the exhaust air path, you should aim for values above the necessity.
Location of the cooker hood
Now that you have learned about the different types of extractor hoods and calculated the air exchange rate, it is time for you to determine where your extractor hood will be installed.
Since not every type of extractor bonnet fits in everywhere without problems, we will introduce you to which type belongs in which place in the following section.
If your cooker or hob is inside a cooking island, then the island bonnet is a good choice for you.
The shaft with which the bonnet is attached to the ceiling is in the centre. The opposite example is the wall bonnet, whose shaft is located at the back.
Another option for the cooking island would be a ceiling bonnet. The ceiling above the cooking island must be suspended in order to install the unit flush with the surface. After installation, only the lower grille is visible, through which the air is extracted.
In the suspended ceiling above the cooking island, it is possible to install small recessed spotlights so that you have enough light on the work surface.
|Type of extractor hood||Location in the kitchen for the extractor hood|
|Island bonnet||On the ceiling above the cooker in the cooking island|
|Built-in and flat screen bonnets||In a wall cupboard|
|Intermediate bonnet||Between wall cupboards|
|Ceiling bonnet||In the kitchen ceiling above the cooker / cooking island|
However, if you prefer a extractor hood in a wall cupboard, then built-in and flat screen bonnets are the better option for you. With these models, the vapour shield, which extracts water vapour and odours during cooking, is in most cases extendable and therefore protrudes slightly when the extractor is in operation.
The front end is formed by a plastic or metal strip, which is available in various colours and designs. Alternatively, you can also buy an extractor hood that can be covered with a small strip from your kitchen manufacturer’s range.
This way, the extractor fan would only be visible from below, apart from a small gap between the skirting board and the wall unit. Pull-out built-in and flat-screen bonnets are often wired so that they switch on automatically as soon as the vapour screen is pulled out and switch off when it is pushed back in again.
This saves having to switch on and off manually. However, if you don’t want to buy an additional wall cabinet, the intermediate bonnet would be the optimal solution for you. As the name suggests, the extractor hood is mounted on the wall between the wall cupboards.
However, this variant has the disadvantage that the extractor bonnet is always visible. When planning your kitchen, make sure that the distance between the hob and the extractor hood is approx. 70 cm.
When lighting a extractor hood, you should opt for LEDs, as this is cheaper in the long term. Depending on the model, the lighting can be dimmed when the extractor hood is not in use.
A extractor hood is usually very easy and intuitive to operate. There are only a few buttons – the on/off button and possibly one for the different strengths of the exhaust air. It is important to note how touch-sensitive the buttons are and whether there may be a remote control.
The grease filter of the extractor hood is an important purchase criterion. A good grease filter has several layers and is closely meshed. It should also be easy to replace your grease filter, as you will have to wash or change it regularly.
It is ideal if the grease filter is dishwasher safe. If you want to test the grease filter, you can spray water from a spray bottle onto the filter. If only a little or, in the best case, no water comes out on the other side, then it is a good grease filter.
Some newer extractor hoods are networked with the hob. This means that the extractor hood automatically switches on and regulates itself as soon as the hob is used.
For this to work, the hob must be compatible with the extractor hood, usually from the same manufacturer. The advantages are obvious, but these models are also quite expensive to buy.
Extractor hoods, like all electronic appliances today, have energy efficiency classes. Of course, you should choose a particularly energy-efficient model, because this will save you electricity costs in the long term.
The two classes A and A+ are particularly economical.
There are quite a few accessories for the extractor hood. Filters for recirculation systems are particularly useful. But a new light bulb or knobs and switches can also be worthwhile.
You may also need a cable extension set for installation / assembly, which is generally very helpful in the household. The most important accessories for extractor hoods at a glance:
- Activated carbon filter and grease filter: While the grease filter can be cleaned, the activated carbon filter must be replaced at regular intervals.
- Shutters: With built-in extractor hoods, the pull-out vapour shield can be covered with a plastic or metal strip so that it integrates visually into the kitchen unit.
- Exhaust pipes or hoses: The exhaust hose should have a diameter of 12.5 or 15 cm.
- Knobs and switches: These are wearing parts that almost all manufacturers offer as accessories.
|activated carbon filter||from 6 euros|
|grease filter||from 5 euros|
|panels||from 14 euros|
|exhaust air pipe||from 8 euros|
|exhaust air hose||from 6 euros|
|knobs and switches||from 12 euros|
You can buy accessories for extractor hoods both online and in specialist shops.
Facts worth knowing about cooker hoods
How high should the extractor hood hang?
How high above the cooker your extractor hood hangs generally depends on the model. The minimum distance is usually half a metre. In larger kitchens, however, half a metre is not enough, as this could cause you to constantly bump your head on the extractor hood.
But if the hood hangs too high, the performance suffers. It is important to find a good balance here.
Who will install my extractor hood?
If you don’t want to install your extractor bonnet yourself, you can find plenty of offers for tradesmen. You will most likely ask yourself who is going to install your extractor hood, especially if you ordered it online.
Of course, you can do it yourself if you want to save yourself some money. You can find instructions either in the assembly instructions for the appliance or on the Internet.
If you want to assemble the extractor hood yourself, a second person is helpful.
However, if you don’t want to do the installation yourself, you can pay a craftsman to do it for you. In this case, you can quickly find many offers on the Internet that will install your extractor bonnet for as little as about 50 euros. If you bought your extractor hood in a specialist shop, you can also ask for such a service there.
What is an activated carbon filter and why do I need it?
Activated charcoal filters are used in extractor hoods with recirculation to remove dirt and odours from the air that is drawn in. Activated charcoal filters are therefore only used with extractor hoods with recirculation operation, because here the air is recirculated back into the kitchen.
Extractor bonnets do not require an activated charcoal filter, as the air drawn in is completely transported outside.
How often should I replace the activated charcoal filter?
In principle, it is sufficient to change the filter once a year. However, you can easily recognise an old filter by the smell that remains in the kitchen after cooking.
Old filters no longer work so well and can therefore no longer filter out all odours. If this is the case, it is time for a new filter.
Why does my extractor hood stink?
There can be several reasons why your extractor hood stinks. On the one hand, it could be that the extractor hood has not been installed correctly, so that an unpleasant smell is noticeable after a certain period of operation.
Something may have got stuck in the flue or the pipe may be blocked. You can tell if the hood is retracting properly by holding a piece of newspaper against the outside of the filter. If the hood retracts properly and is not blocked, the newspaper should stick to the bonnet by itself.
If not, something is clogged and you should check the vent. Most of the time, however, it is because your extractor hood has not been cleaned properly.
With what and how often do I clean a extractor hood?
Cleaning your extractor hood is quite easy and you don’t need expensive cleaning products. How often you clean it basically depends on how often and how greasy you cook, but about every three weeks wouldn’t hurt.
If you don’t have time to do this, it’s also enough to put the individual parts in the dishwasher. If you want to clean your extractor hood by hand, use a dish brush and a mixture of warm water and washing-up liquid. Soak the grease filter in it for a long time.
Impurities can be removed well with a conventional dishwashing brush. Take advantage of the moment to clean the inside of the extractor bonnet. The cleaner the grease filter, the less dirt will be trapped inside. If you prefer to clean it in the dishwasher, follow the instructions below:
- Carefully remove the grease filter from its holder.
- For light soiling, place the grease filter vertically in the dishwasher.
- If it is very dirty, place it horizontally.
- Make sure that you do not clean any dishes with it.
- Finally, select an intensive programme to clean the filter thoroughly.
If your extractor hood is in recirculation mode, the activated charcoal filter must also be cleaned.
What are exhaust hoods with external drive?
An extractor bonnet with an external drive is very practical if you want to reduce noise. If the bonnet and fan are not connected to each other, you can remove the source of the noise.
There are different models for the external drive: the outer wall fan, the intermediate chamber fan and the roof fan. The choice for an appropriate fan is individual and also depends on the kitchen.
The history of cooker hoods
The extractor hood was invented in Dallas, Texas in 1940. The Vent-A-Hood company called it the Magic Lung, and it was a sensation at the time! In 1961, the first cooktop with a downward-suctioning extractor hood was invented in Indianapolis, USA, by the Jenn-Air Products Company.
Image source: 123rf.com / starush