Modern kitchen with a combination microwave

InfoHub: Kitchen

Microwave w/ Vent Vs. Range Hood: What's Better?

Kitchen ventilation is a key component to ensuring the air quality in your kitchen is adequate. Ventilation products are engineered to remove and/or filter by-products (steam and smoke, to name a few) that are the result of cooking before they can damage cabinets, counters and fabrics. They also help stop unwanted odours before they can spread.

When shopping for ventilation, you will have to choose between a standalone range hood or a microwave with a vent. To help you decide, let’s review each option and their respective pros and cons.

Microwave With a Vent

A microwave with a vent is a microwave installed over an oven or a cooktop. It has a built-in ventilation system that suctions cooking by-products and odours out of the kitchen.

These combo units usually feature either a traditional microwave or a range hood microwave that doubles as an oven with the functionality to bake, broil, roast and steam.

While it depends on what model you have, this venting solution can either remove cooking by-products to the outside of your home, or it can clean the air and then return back into the home with the help of a recirculating kit. 

Maytag Combination Microwave Maytag Combination Microwave

Range Hood

You can also choose to pair your cooking surface with a hood. In this scenario, a hood is installed over a cooking surface to suction cooking odours and by-products safely out of the kitchen. 

Again, whether a hood expels cooking by-products to the exterior of the home or cleans the air using a recirculating kit is based on the model you have.

Maytag Combination Microwave Maytag Combination Microwave

Microwave with Vent: Pros and Cons

When shopping for ventilation products, it’s important to weigh the pros and cons of microwaves with a vent to understand if this is the right solution for your situation.

Pressing microwave release button Pressing microwave release button


This option tends to appeal to people looking for a space saving solution as it enables you to utilize the space above your cooking surface.


Incidentally, there are two drawbacks to consider:

They tend to offer less cubic feet per minute (CFM), which is the unit of measurement used to gauge ventilation strength, than a hood. If you own a gas range remember that they typically produce a high amount of BTUs and require a venting solution with a higher CFM.

The microwave may be relatively high, making it difficult to insert and remove items to and from the microwave. You can choose to have a separate microwave at counter height or lower for easier access.

Consider your counter space and how high you can comfortably reach above your cooking surface when choosing a ventilation system.

Range Hoods: Pros and Cons

Can this solution meet the needs of your cooking surface and kitchen?

Review the pros and cons to gauge whether a range hood makes more sense than a microwave with a vent. 

Pressing microwave release button Pressing microwave release button


Range hoods offer several design options, aesthetics and colours. You can go with either stainless steel or a custom covering. Ultimately, it will come down to your style preference and whether you want to make a visual statement or achieve a unified look.

Generally, they offer more CFM, allowing them to safely handle gas ranges that are prone to producing more BTUs.


The one drawback is that your microwave will have to occupy another spot in your kitchen and take up more space in the process.


There are various price points for both options. 

Hoods, in particular, have a broad price range. Some entry level hoods are relatively inexpensive, costing as low as only several hundred dollars. On the other hand, custom hoods can cost upwards of thousands of dollars and require that you buy the blower and liner in addition to needing your cabinet maker or tradesperson to make your custom covering. 

There is less price variability for microwaves with vents. The most expensive options should still cost less than custom ventilation.

Matching your kitchen to the appropriate ventilation solution is important. By choosing the wrong one, you could negatively affect the air quality in your kitchen and subject your home to the odours caused by cooking. 

Both ventilation products can be effective options so it really comes down to your space, cooking surface and what techniques you most often use to prepare meals.

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