What is an Extractor Hood?

Angela Crout-Mitchell

An extractor hood is a component of many modern stove top and oven appliances found in residential homes and businesses such as restaurants and bakeries. It is used to remove air borne debris and contaminants from the air surrounding the appliance. Grease, smoke, steam, as well as odors are eliminated from the air through the ventilation system contained in a stove hood. The three components to the traditional extractor hood designs are the capture panel, the grease filters, and the extractor fan. These kitchen appliances are made from a vast number of metal materials and are found in most countries under a variety of names.

Extractor hoods are also known as range hoods, which help eliminate odors from the kitchen.
Extractor hoods are also known as range hoods, which help eliminate odors from the kitchen.

Each component of an extractor hood plays an important part in the function of the unit. For example, the main purpose of the capture panel is to catch or contain the gases and air borne substances rising from the surface of the stove top. This function is crucial for eliminating contaminants from the air. Grease filters are in place to stop tiny solid particles of grease and other debris from escaping the vent hood which may otherwise continue to float about the kitchen, landing on the prepared food and other surfaces. The function of the extractor fan is to provide ventilation either to the outside of the building or to a contained area for the gases and debris to collect.

Also known as cooking canopies, extractor hoods are made from a wide variety of materials, generally metals, and can be purchased in several different style designs. Especially when installed in a home, an extractor hood can be an important part of the kitchen's decor and are often available finished in many colors such as copper, stainless steel, and bronze. Some extractor hoods are designed to be hidden in the cabinetry above the stove top, while others are metal cast to produce ornate appearances.

It is not unusual to find extractor hood products in just about every country in the world, and each country has its own term for this appliance. In the US, extractor hoods are known as ventilation hoods or range hoods, while in the UK it is not uncommon to hear them referred to as extractor hoods or cooking canopies. Cooks and chefs in Australia very often call them rangehoods. It is possible to find extractor hoods referred to as kitchen hoods, stove hoods, and electric chimneys, depending on the location and manufacturer's preference.

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