Do Kitchen Extractor Fans Need to Vent Outside?

Cooker hood in kitchen

If you’ve read our other extractor hood articles (Fitting a Cooker Hood, for example), you may be wondering whether all extractor fans for the kitchen need to vent outside. The short answer is no.

However, it greatly depends on the extractor fan you buy and which one is best for your kitchen. Let’s find out more about extractor fans, and which ones don’t need ducting, shall we?

Different Types of Extraction Unit

Vented extractor fan

 Vented cooker hood

Vented extraction fans or hoods are very common in kitchens across the UK. These extract the stale and moisture-filled air out of your kitchen through ducting in the wall. So, these do require a hole to be drilled in the wall.

These can be installed by yourself if you have a bit of DIY knowledge. Of course, you do have to drill quite a large hole in your kitchen wall. This is often not practical.



Are Recirculating Cooker Hoods Any Good?

Recirculating hoods were designed to be used when it isn’t possible to run ducting through a wall. In this case, the stale air is sucked into the hood, purified and filtered and then pumped back into the room. These are brilliant if you cannot extract the air to the outside. However, they do have their drawbacks.


Downdraft extractors

Downdraft extractor on kitchen island

These are one of the newest extraction units on the market. A downdraft extractor rises up from behind your cooker and sucks the smells and steam out of your kitchen really well.

However, they still employ recirculating and extracting methods, just like traditional hoods and fans. We have a whole separate article about downdraft extractors as they are really neat!


Which Cooker Hood Type Should I Buy?

Most people may think that recirculating hood units solve a lot of problems. After all, they are a bit easier to install as you don’t need to drill a hole and fit the ducting in place. Plus, they sound like they do just as good of a job as extraction units, right?

Well, extracting the air outside is a lot more efficient than recirculating it. Vented extractor fans remove odours and steam far easier than recirculating hoods. Plus, extraction hoods are often a lot cheaper than recirculating ones.

You see, to ensure that a recirculating hood does the job you need it to, you need to invest some money into it. The top kitchen appliance manufacturers like Neff and Rangemaster, for example, make recirculating hoods that are very comparable to extraction hoods, but they cost a bit more.

The same is true for downdraft extraction units. As these are the newest extraction units on the market and they are very powerful, they are not the cheapest solution to your venting problem.

However, they are extremely stylish and do work very well as they extract the odours and steam out of your home via ducting under the floor (in some cases).

Plus, they are not visible when they aren’t being used to offer a very modern style to your kitchen. As many downdraft units require ducting under your floor, though, they can be very tricky to install yourself.

So, which extracting hood should you buy? That really depends on the extraction you need in your kitchen and the price you want to pay. To work out the extraction rate your kitchen needs, here is a simple equation:

Extraction rate required = width of kitchen x height x length

So, for example, if your kitchen is 3 m wide, 2.5 m high and 4 m long, the extraction rate you’d need is 300 m3/h. This is the smallest rating that the cooker hood you choose should have. So, if you can’t find a recirculating hood in your price range with this extraction rate or higher, you should choose an extraction hood in your budget instead.

You can use our extraction rate calculator here to check what extraction rate you need.

Angled cooker hood in kitchen



So, not all extraction fans and hoods need to exhaust or vent outside. However, the hood or fan that is right for your kitchen and your wallet may need to.

If you have the budget for a good recirculating hood that matches the extraction rate for your kitchen, then, by all means, install it. However, if a recirculating hood doesn’t match the extraction rate you need, it won’t work properly and won’t filter the air as well as a vented fan in your budget with the rating you need.

We hope this look at extraction fans and hoods has been helpful. To find out how to install an extraction fan/hood or more about hoods, please explore our website further. We have loads of kitchen articles on here that can help make your kitchen the heart of the home.