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Should I purchase a vent hood or microwave vent hood? (Pros and Cons)

Should I purchase a vent hood or microwave vent hood? (Pros and Cons) - Proline Range Hoods

When it comes to kitchen ventilation, some argue about which kitchen appliance is better: a range hood vent or the OTR microwave vent hood.

Kitchen ventilation is not often discussed at length. You may be tired of the wild answers you find in online forums. Or maybe you are sick of the opinions you are getting from friends and family.

At Proline Range Hoods, we have decades of ventilation experience and will share some of our thoughts and hopefully help you settle the vent hood vs. OTR microwave debate for yourself.

We’ll start by debunking some common statements that we hear about over-the-range microwave vent hoods and vent hoods.

1. "A fan is a fan; they both do the exact same thing!"

This is quite the assumption and it’s something we hear a lot. But, it’s not true. Microwave hoods and vent hoods are not the same thing.

The main problem with an OTR microwave is the much smaller capture area.

Have you ever cooked with an OTR microwave? Did you notice all of the steam, smoke, and grease that it does not filter out of your kitchen?

If your microwave vent hood is not capturing what you can see, then it’s not eliminating those invisible toxins and chemicals in the air either.

Even a powerful OTR microwave won’t clean the air efficiently enough. They generally max out at around 300 to 400 CFM. So, the most effective option will always be a vent hood.

There have been many recent studies on the importance of having a powerful vent hood installed in the home and the dangers of harmful indoor air quality.

These studies make the case for purchasing a powerful range hood. They also highlight the harmful toxins and chemicals that are released into the air while cooking. Keep in mind that, with range hoods, it is best to buy a hood 6” wider than the cooktop. When mounted, it should overlap each side by three inches. This ensures that your hood captures most of the smoke and fumes produced from cooking.

2. "My builder wants to charge me an outrageous amount for a vent hood!"

This is a common frustration that many new homeowners face when it comes to kitchen ventilation. However, this does not mean that you can’t shop around and see what you can find yourself.

Start by giving yourself a reasonable budget and then shop online for your vent hood. But, do not overlook quality. Down the line, you want to save as much money on repairs as possible.

Look for a hood that will last as long as possible. Would you rather buy one that lasts you over 10 years, or buy four that last three years each?

You may be surprised to know that there are lesser-known brands out there that are comparable in quality to top name brands – such as Wolf and Viking – for a fraction of the price.

Buy your range hood today. - prolinerangehoods.com

It is important to keep in mind that you are not just investing in a kitchen appliance. Most people cook and use their stoves a lot. This directly affects everyday life and health, making kitchen ventilation essential.

If you are searching for a quality range hood, make sure to check out Proline's top-quality selection of powerful vent hoods over 900 CFM.

Before installing your vent hood, know that many states have building codes that require the proper installation of a kitchen vent hood by a licensed professional.

However, this is not the case in all states, which leaves many consumers thinking that a range hood is not needed because it's not required.

But, it’s important to realize this: although building codes are put in place for your safety, health, and general welfare, they only specify the minimum standards, which may not be adequate when it comes to your cleanliness and safety.

3. "I found an OTR Microwave with a 400 cubic feet per minute (CFM) vent!"

Proline PLJW 113 -- prolinerangehoods.com
PLJW 120 Under Cabinet Range Hood

CFM, or cubic feet per minute, is the measurement of the velocity at which a range hood is able to move air. The highest rating you will normally find with an OTR microwave is 200 to 400 CFM. This is simply not powerful enough.

Many industry professionals recommend at least 600 CFM to be certain you are clearing the air and getting what you pay for when you invest in a range hood. The higher the CFM rating, the more efficient the blower removes toxic chemicals, grease, steam, and harsh smells from your kitchen.

Most microwave vent hoods are recirculating, which does not entirely remove the unwanted contaminants from your kitchen air. Instead, the air moves through charcoal filters and is recirculated back into the kitchen. So, it is important to duct to the outside when possible to keep your indoor air clean and fresh.

Here at Proline Range Hoods, we have been selling professional quality range hoods to loyal homeowners and contractors for over 15 years. We recommend choosing a vent hood of at least 600 CFM.

Browse our versatile selection of 600 CFM vent hoods here or click on the banner below.

Now that we’ve reviewed three common statements on vent hoods and OTR microwaves, we’ll go over some more useful information below. We want you to be able to make an informed decision on purchasing a microwave hood or range hood.

What is a vented microwave range hood?

Microwave Vent Hood in White Kitchen - - prolinerangehoods.com

A vented microwave range hood is a microwave with a fan that is ducted to the outside. Air passes through some type of filter inside the fan (often charcoal filters). Then, it travels through ductwork outside your home.

Do over the range microwaves need to be vented?

Vented microwave hoods are much more efficient at removing contaminants from your kitchen air than a nonvented one. A recirculating microwave hood recirculates the air through "filters" and back into your kitchen.

Although a vented microwave is more efficient than a recirculating one, a professional-quality range hood cleans your air even more efficiently and it’s also more versatile and powerful.

Don’t miss out on the pros and cons of a microwave over the stove later in the article. We’ll also compare range hoods and microwave hoods in more detail.

300 CFM vs 400 CFM Microwave

Two of the most common airflow ratings for microwave ovens are 300 CFM and 400 CFM. If you are faced with the decision to purchase a 300 or 400 CFM microwave, go with 400 CFM.

But, know that 100 CFM will not make much of a difference. Both 300 and 400 CFM are relatively weak compared to the power of a ducted range hood. Unlike microwaves, ducted range hoods can pull up to 2000 CFM of air!

Can you replace a microwave with a range hood?

Wall Range Hood in Sleek White Kitchen - - prolinerangehoods.com
PLFW 832 Wall Range Hood

Yes! Many people replace their over the range microwave with a ducted or ductless range hood. Range hoods are the much more flexible and versatile option when it comes to ventilating your cook space, compared to microwave hoods. Stainless steel filters are much more efficient at capturing grease compared to charcoal filters. And the grease that isn’t extracted with a range hood is vented out of your home instead of back into it. In addition, the motors are much more energy-efficient and powerful.

Are over the range microwaves out of style?

Yes. Range hoods have been growing in popularity over the past several years. Many homeowners are realizing that high quality range hoods are a worthwhile investment compared to microwave ovens because of their superior power, looks, and efficiency.

Can you replace a vent hood with a microwave?

In some cases, you can. If possible, avoid replacing a vent hood with a microwave. In most cases, this is a downgrade. Rather than replacing your vent hood with a microwave, keep your vent hood and invest in a countertop microwave. Or, find a cupboard where you can store and use it.

If you’re not happy with the quality of your vent hood, the first thing you should do is remove and clean your filters. If that doesn’t improve the ventilation, it may be a good idea to look for a replacement. Browse our wide selection of under cabinet, wall, and island hoods.

Microwave Above Stove - Pros and Cons

OTR Microwave in Kitchen with Black Cabinets - - prolinerangehoods.com

Here are the pros and cons of using a microwave with a fan/vent.

Is a range hood better than a microwave?

Usually, yes. It depends on the type of range hood. You can find range hoods from big box stores that are 400 CFM and lower and rival the quality of microwave vent hoods. But, a high-quality vent hood is much better than a microwave. Check out our list of the many benefits of a range hood compared to a microwave hood below.

  • Versatile 600-2000 CFM range
  • User-friendly control panel(s)
  • Sleek, modern design
  • Variable speed blower(s)
  • Quiet operation
  • Durable stainless steel hoods last for years to come
  • Efficient stainless steel baffle filters (they do not require replacement)

Can you put a microwave above a gas range?

Yes. In fact, you can put a microwave over a gas range or electric range. Microwaves are also commonly placed on countertops, stored inside cabinets, or on shelves.

How high should a microwave be above a gas range?

Mount your microwave between 28 to 36 inches from your gas range. This is the same mounting height for a range hood.

Typically, since microwaves are less powerful than vent hoods, you can mount them closer to the cooktop. Just make sure you can still see the bottom of your tallest pot so you will be able to see what you’re cooking easily.

With gas ranges, which produce more BTUs than electric ranges, you should mount your microwave further away from the cooktop. This will allow your hood to catch the smoke and fumes more efficiently – and it will drastically reduce the chance that it will become damaged.

Where should I hide my microwave in my kitchen?

You can hide your microwave on a shelf, in a cabinet, or invest in a drawer microwave – yup, a drawer that doubles as a microwave! You’ll save valuable storage space in your kitchen if you conceal your microwave.

Does a countertop microwave need ventilation?

Since a countertop microwave will not be sitting above your range top, you don’t need ventilation. It is incredibly rare to find a countertop microwave with a fan that recirculates air in your kitchen.

Ducted and Ductless Range Hood Resources

Hopefully you’re now convinced that a range hood is a superior choice for your kitchen over an OTR (over the range) microwave.

If so, here are some valuable resources to help you choose the right range hood to suit your needs.

Thanks for reading our article on range hoods vs. microwaves. If you have any questions about purchasing your very own vent hood, call Proline at (877) 901-5530. We’re happy to help! Have fun shopping!

What is a vented microwave range hood?

A vented microwave range hood is a microwave with a fan that is ducted to the outside. Air passes through some type of filter inside the fan (often charcoal filters). Then, it travels through ductwork outside your home.

Do over the range microwaves need to be vented?

Vented microwave hoods are much more efficient at removing contaminants from your kitchen air. A recirculating microwave hood recirculates the air through charcoal filters and back into your kitchen.

Can you replace a microwave with a range hood?

Yes! Many people replace their over the range microwave with a ducted or ductless range hood. Range hoods are the much more flexible and versatile option when it comes to ventilating your cook space, compared to microwave hoods. Stainless steel filters are much more efficient at capturing grease compared to charcoal filters. And the grease that isn’t extracted with a range hood is vented out of your home instead of back into it. In addition, the motors are much more energy-efficient and powerful.

Are over the range microwaves out of style?

Yes. Range hoods have been growing in popularity over the past several years. Many homeowners are realizing that high quality range hoods are a worthwhile investment compared to microwave ovens because of their superior power, looks, and efficiency.

Can you replace a vent hood with a microwave?

In some cases, you can. If possible, avoid replacing a vent hood with a microwave. In most cases, this is a downgrade. Rather than replacing your vent hood with a microwave, keep your vent hood and invest in a countertop microwave. Or, find a cupboard where you can store and use it.

Is a range hood better than a microwave?

Usually, yes. It depends on the type of range hood. You can find range hoods from big box stores that are 400 CFM and lower and rival the quality of microwave vent hoods. But, a high-quality vent hood is much better than a microwave. Check out our list of the many benefits of a range hood compared to a microwave hood below.

Versatile 600-2000 CFM range
User-friendly control panel(s)
Sleek, modern design
Variable speed blower(s)
Quiet operation
Durable stainless steel hoods last for years to come
Efficient stainless steel baffle filters (they do not require replacement)

Can you put a microwave above a gas range?

Yes. In fact, you can put a microwave over a gas range or electric range. Microwaves are also commonly placed on countertops, stored inside cabinets, or on shelves.

How high should a microwave be above a gas range?

Mount your microwave between 28 to 36 inches from your gas range. This is the same mounting height for a range hood.

Where should I hide my microwave in my kitchen?

You can hide your microwave on a shelf, in a cabinet, or invest in a drawer microwave – yup, a drawer that doubles as a microwave! You’ll save valuable storage space in your kitchen if you conceal your microwave.

Does a countertop microwave need ventilation?

Since a countertop microwave will not be sitting above your range top, you don’t need ventilation. It is incredibly rare to find a countertop microwave with a fan that recirculates air in your kitchen.
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