Extractors are an essential kitchen appliance, yet they are often overlooked.  As we demand more of our kitchens and continue to develop open plan living spaces, keeping our cooking areas free of moisture and cooking smells has become more important than ever.

This increased importance has seen an increase in the type and design of extractors available as well as the technology.  You can now purchase extractors which communicate wirelessly with your hob, turning themselves on and off as needed, as well as extractors that self regulate their extraction rate in response to the level of moisture/smells that they detect in the air.

Before we go any further it is important that we explain the difference between a ducted and recirculating extractor.  Ducted extractors remove moisture and smells from the air by pulling the offending air into them and pushing it outside of your home via a ducting pipe,  Recirculating extractors pull the offending air into them, filter the smells our of the air via a carbon filter and then push the filtered air back out again into your home, they do not extract moisture. Most extractors can be used in either mode but when wanting to duct, consideration has to be given to where the ducting pipe, form the extractor to the outside, will go, the distance it will be required to cover and the size of the pipe needed which in all instances should be no less than 125mm.  Ducting out is not always a viable option.

Keeping it simple in the first instance, when choosing an extractor the first question you should ask yourself is where you like your hob to be located?  Your extraction options and needs can then assessed and the most appropriate functionalities, ducting options and models identified.

Wall mounted – Chimney, Angled or Flat?

These are the most recognised type of cooker hood and are mounted on the wall above the hob.  The most common shape of wall mounted hoods are the pyramid and box.  The box hood offers a more streamlined look to the chimney hood and provides a useful space to store spices/oils/utensils as they can be used as additional shelf space for light items.

Image courtesy of Siemens

Image courtesy of Siemens

With developments in technology, extractors no longer need to cover the cooking area to be effective.  This change made way for angled and flat wall mounted hoods.  More expensive than your pyramid and box options, the increase in cost can be forgiven for the range of designs and finishes available. These hoods can be ducted out or set to recirculating.

Image courtesy of Faber

Image courtesy of Faber

Downdraft

Downdraft extraction has been around for a while now.  These hoods are stored inside your kitchen unit behind or to the side of your hob and when needed an electric motor lifts the hood to work top level.  Traditionally downdraft hoods were well known for taking up a considerable amount of room under your hob and in some instances making the space unusable.  Again, technology has moved on and the space now needed by downdrafts is significantly reduced making it possible to have useable drawers/cupboard space under your hob.

Image courtesy of Faber

Downdrafts are generally used where your hob is set into an island or peninsula and ducted out in/under the floor or set to recirculating mode.  A point to consider when looking at a downdraft hood is that your workspace remains open when the hood is stored away, when in use your cooking area and you, becomes more closed off.

 

Image courtesy of Faber

Canopy/Integrated

The Canopy/Integrated hood simply tucks away inside a wall mounted cabinet.  These hoods are discreet and available as static or telescopic.  These hoods can be ducted our or set to recirculating.

Ceiling Hoods

Similar to canopy/integrated hoods, ceiling hoods fit into the ceiling space above your hob or into purpose built voids.  They offer an unobtrusive solution to ceiling extraction.  These hoods can be ducted out or set to recirculating.

Image courtesy of Faber

Island Hoods

Unlike ceiling hoods, island hoods are not designed to be unobtrusive, quite the opposite, they are designed to make a statement,  These hoods range from chimney style hoods, to cubes, to full on luxurious.  Depending on your chosen model depends on whether the hood can be ducted out or simply set to recirculating.

Image courtesy of Faber

Image courtesy of Faber

Image courtesy of Siemens

Extracting Hobs

Extracting hobs, the latest development in extraction.  This is where your extraction is built directly in to your hob. The extractors are so powerful that they literally pull steam and smells down into the hobs cavity.  These hobs take up no more space under your hob that a downdraft extractor and keep your work space open.  When looking at these hobs as an extraction solution you will need to keep in mind that you are buying two appliances in one and their price tag does reflect this.