Super Range Hoods

When it comes time to remodel your kitchen, big costs like cabinets, countertops and appliances come to mind. But there are a lot of other expenses. One is the range hood, which can cost $1,000 or more. Consumer Reports' tests show some are much more effective than others.

Consumer Reports uses a smoke machine to test range hoods.

After smoke is pumped around the burners, testers assess how much the range hood can capture. Some were quite good.

But others weren't up to the task. A lot of the smoke escaped around the range hood instead of being sucked into the vent.

Another important consideration, ventilation. Even a good range hood will do a poor job if it isn't vented properly.

If you don't vent the range hood to the outside, the smoke and heat won't be eliminated from the kitchen. They'll just get stirred up.

Consumer Reports also measures how noisy the fans are. A sound meter showed some are a lot noisier than others.

And there are differences in range hood lights too. Some weren't particularly good at lighting the top of the stove.

When shopping for a range hood, you don't have to pay top dollar. Consumer Reports says a good choice is the $200 one at Sears. Kenmore model number 52349. It's a Consumer Reports best buy.

Another best buy, the GE Profile model number jv 535 h. It goes for $180.

No matter which range hood you have, if it has either a filter or grease tip. Testers say you'll get the best performance if you keep it clean.

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