Choosing the right extractor fan

Starting a kitchen project? Make sure you consider the extractor

Story by: Trends
Well-rounded design – an adjacent conical tower roof countertop, floor, interior design, kitchen, room, sink, gray
Well-rounded design – an adjacent conical tower roof provided the inspiration for the support elements at the ends of the island and the custom rangehood in this kitchen by Celia Visser Design. See the full kitchen story

The extractor has become a quintessential part of the modern kitchen, considered alongside the microwave and dishwasher as an essential appliance. Without an extractor, you’d turn your kitchen into a humid mess every time you felt like a stir fry.

Here’s what to look for when you’re shopping around for one.

Key things to keep in mind

Go vented instead of duct-free/recirculated. An extractor without a duct is going to be cheaper, but the units are flawed. Unlike vented units which take the smoke and push it outside, they release it into the kitchen after passing it through a filter.

Strength: The power of an extractor (how fast it sucks up smoke and air) is measured in cubic metres per hour. Try and find a unit capable of at least 800m/h. Anything less will likely get overwhelmed when you start cooking.

Noise: Strength ties directly into noise. The more powerful you go, the louder it’s going to be. Units that produce around 60Db will be fine for most kitchens. Any louder and it’s going to be annoying. It’s definitely a balancing act.


You can get a real sense of the cabinetry, countertop, cuisine classique, floor, home, home appliance, interior design, kitchen, room, gray
You can get a real sense of the traditional elements here, with glass cabinets and detail around the rangehood. See the full kitchen story

What type should you buy?

Keep in mind that function usually comes first when shopping for an extractor. For example, if you have a cooktop on your island, you can’t install a wall-mounted extractor – you’ll need to go for a ceiling-mounted or downdraft unit.

Integrated: These units are designed to integrate with a cabinet, usually sitting beneath them.

While this kitchen's components are designed to present architecture, cabinetry, ceiling, countertop, cuisine classique, floor, flooring, house, interior design, kitchen, real estate, room, wood flooring, gray
While this kitchen's components are designed to present as strong sculptural forms, the stainless steel twin cylinders of the rangehood are a major clue to day-to-day functionality. See the full kitchen story

Wall-mounted: You’d install a wall-mounted extractor if you didn’t have cabinets above the stove.

Ceiling-mounted/hanging: For kitchens with island cooktop, a ceiling-mounted or hanging extractor is one of the more effective options – although certainly not the only one available.

Downdraft: These units connect to a duct and pop out of the countertop when needed. They help maintain a clean look design on an island and can be very effective, but can be expensive.

An integrated extraction unit and a  large stainless cabinetry, countertop, cuisine classique, interior design, kitchen, real estate, brown
An integrated extraction unit and a  large stainless steel splashback and rear benchtop add to the clean-lined design of this contemporary kitchen by Matisse. See the full kitchen story

Other features to look for

Timers: Chances are you’ll need to keep the extractor on after you finish cooking in order to suck up the remaining smoke. Timers can turn the units off after a preset time.

Lights: Lights in an extractor are a great way to kill two birds with one stone. You can brighten up a difficult-to-reach area of the kitchen and make cooking easier. Sensors: Certain models are smart enough to turn on when they detect a certain amount of heat in the area.

Not convinced?

Extractors offer other benefits which may not be immediately apparent. For example, they can help to keep your kitchen clean by sucking out dust and smoke.

Kitchen projects can be stressful, so view some of our other articles if you’re still feeling a little lost. If you want to get started with a new kitchen, read the ‘Getting started’ guide.

Oct 17, 2017
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