In our latest round of cooker hood testing, we took products from Elica, Ikea, Siemens and Zanussi to the lab to find out whether they were up to the task of extracting moisture, grease and odours from your kitchen.
Our latest batch was varied when it came to designs, including canopy hoods that sit flush with the underside of wall units, which are great for smaller spaces, and an island hood that hangs down from the ceiling and is ideal for large hobs.
But we found noticeable differences when it came down to the performances of different kitchen extractor hoods, with some doing a great job at leaving a kitchen pristine, and others struggling to scoff up gasses and aerosolised (airborne) grease.
To learn more about the different types of cooker hood, read our guide on how to buy the best cooker hood.
There’s a big difference in how well cooker hoods extract grease
As you cook, quantities of grease become vaporised and they float freely in the air. If you don’t extract the moisture in the kitchen and trap grease residue in your cooker hood, then you’ll end up with sticky deposits around your kitchen, particularly in high up places.
To test how well a cooker hood is able to extract grease, we turn it to its highest setting and fry 44g of vegetable oil in a pan for 30 mintes. We do this under test conditions, so it’s always the same amount of oil in the same position, fried in the same way.
We leave the cooker hood on for an extra 10 minutes, then we check to see how much grease is captured in its filter by weighing it.
We then award a star rating depending on performance – a well-rated cooker hood will have successfully pulled aerosolised grease into its trap, while a sub-standard product will leave the air polluted.
The best vs the worst cooker hoods
- The best-performing cooker hoods in our latest tests scored the maximum five stars for grease extraction, absorbing 80% to 90% of the grease in the air.
- The worst-performing cooker hoods only scored two stars in this test, which means they extracted around half of the oil droplets in the air – a much smaller quantity despite the same amount of grease being dispersed.
- Three cooker hoods on test were awarded top marks, while four only received two stars.
If you just want to find out how 100-plus cooker hoods fared in our test lab, you can read all of our cooker hood reviews.
Not all cooker hoods are good at removing steam
Consistent with our grease-extraction test, there was a notable difference in performance when it came to extracting moisture from the kitchen as well.
A cooker hood that doesn’t extract steam effectively will cause your kitchen to become humid and damp. In the winter, you’ll be flinging open your windows and letting the heat escape, despite having an extractor fan working at full tilt.
Our tests showed us the difference
- The best cooker hoods were able to reduce the humidity of the room by 30% in quick time when they were set to max. Three Best Buy cooker hoods managed this feat.
- The worst cooker hood was a serious disappointment on test, earning just two stars. This product is one to avoid.
To find out more, read our guide on how we test cooker hoods.
Some cooker hoods are unsociably loud
Kitchens are social spaces designed for people to congregate and chat over a cup of tea. Loud appliances that annoy and drown out chatter can really grate over time.
We test the noise of cooker hoods – not just the amount of decibels they produce, but also the quality of the noise. We think there’s an important difference between a steady white noise and an abrasive cacophony.
We do this by setting them at their maximum, then measuring their noise from one metre away. For the more subjective assessments of sound quality, a panel of expert assessors come to a consensus.
Even high-quality cooker hoods produce a loud noise
There’s a strong correlation between cooker hoods that extract grease well and cooker hoods that extract steam well. But we have found that even good cooker hoods – including a Best Buy from our latest testing – can make a racket.
- The quietest cooker hood in our latest test was 54 decibels (dB), about as loud as an electric toothbrush.
- The loudest cooker hood in our latest test was 68dB, nearly as loud as a vacuum cleaner.
- The quietest cooker hood was judged to produce a steady noise that blended into the background, while the loudest produced a more abrasive sound.
We give every cooker hood a star rating out of five to help you find your ideal model. We think that a really good Best Buy is worth a purchase even if it makes a ruckus, but its performance elsewhere has to be exceptional to make up for it.
If you’re giving your kitchen a makeover, it’s worth knowing that we’ve tested more than 100 hobs to find the best on the market. To find your next Best Buy, read our hob reviews.
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