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In a perfect ventilation world I would have a 27" deep and high powered hood fan that sits as close as possible to the stove (18"?). Unfortunately, this would be tricky as the hood fan would be so deep and low that I'd have trouble seeing the whole stove and I could hit my head on it.

This leaves me with two options:

  1. A low (18" above the counter) and shallow (e.g., 18" deep) hood fan, or;
  2. A high (e.g., 32"-36" above the counter) and deep (e.g., 27") hood fan.

Which of these two options would be most effective at eliminating unwanted odors and gases? Let's assume in both cases that the hood fan extends beyond the edges of the stove on both sides (e.g., a 46" hood fan over a 36" stove).

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  • Wouldn't a fan only 18 inches above the stove be really annoying even if it were only 18 inches deep? I can't imagine dealing with that – Kat Dec 6 '20 at 22:34
  • The strength of your fan is also a factor....and you definitely do not want it low enough so that you hit your head. 18 inches is way too close. Also consider the occasional flair up. You do not want flames being sucked into your hood. – moscafj Dec 6 '20 at 22:58
  • Also...quick google search yields 24 - 36 inches above depending on fuel and hood. – moscafj Dec 6 '20 at 23:03
  • @moscafj 24-36 is an absolutely huge range though and 36" won't nearly be as effective as 24. – Behacad Dec 7 '20 at 0:06
  • @Kat 18" is the typical height of cabinets above the counter, isn't it? If so, this is certainly not that bad since most folks have cabinets or a microwave over their stove. – Behacad Dec 7 '20 at 0:07
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This is going to be dominated by ergonomics.

The perfect fan for exhaust isn't so perfect if you're always banging your head on it, or can't see in the pan. Some unusual devices are rather tall and wouldn't even fit in your 18" (I can't strain jelly on the worktop because of the cupboards so do that on the cold stove).

In catering, where kitchen air quality is a concern, the fan hoods are normally high, well over head height for the tallest users, but powerful.

The stuff you want to get rid of, whether steam, oil aerosol, or smells, tends to be carried upwards by convection, which gives a push to complement the fan's pull. You also have to consider the source of replacement air - if the house was sealed completely tight there wouldn't be one and the fan would be largely useless. Airflow from the rest of the house into the kitchen to replaced the exhausted air can be effective in controlling the flow of smells, despite not increasing or even decreasing (for the same total inlet size) the amount of airflow.

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  • In commercial kitchens the fans are usually located outdoors...on roofs or exterior walls. – moscafj Dec 7 '20 at 11:41
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    @moscafj that's true, but the hood itself is in the kitchen, and the OP seems to be asking as much about hood placement as the placement of the actual motor (or assuming little or no ducting between them) – Chris H Dec 7 '20 at 11:43
  • My questions is not ergonomic in nature, but rather refers to the effectiveness of hood fans. A low shallow hood fan and a high deep hood fan are both ergonomically fine – Behacad Dec 8 '20 at 15:03
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    I guess what I'm saying is that a low shallow hood often isn't fine. If you try to idealise out the ergonomics, it becomes a question of fluid dynamics not cooking IMO. – Chris H Dec 8 '20 at 15:07
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    great answer. a word of caution, if you use an induction stove convection won't be as strong and you lose that additional push – Agos Dec 10 '20 at 13:39

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