Kitchen Island Cooker Hoods – Everything You Need To Know

One of the discussions I have most with clients is whether to put the sink, hob or nothing at all on a kitchen island. If the decision is to put the hob on the island the focus then turns to kitchen island cooker hoods.

I’m often asked – How do you get a cooker hood on a kitchen island, what does that even look like and what are my options?

In this post, I’ll share the different options available for kitchen island cooker hoods. As well as the advantages and disadvantages of each.

So, after reading you’ll know which kitchen island extraction method is the right choice for your kitchen design and cooking needs.

Let’s go!

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Kitchen Island Cooker Hood Options

When it comes to cooker hoods on or above kitchen islands there are four main options available.

Each has its pros and cons. So it’s about finding which one works best for your particular design and cooking style.

So without further ado, here are the options.

1. Island Chimney Cooker Hood

Probably the type of cooker hood people think of most when talking about kitchen island extraction. Island chimney cooker hoods come in various shapes and sizes, (some prettier than others) mostly due to what type of ventilation method they have.

The most common style of island hood is the big stainless steel box that comes down from the ceiling and hangs over your hob. It’s basically a standard chimney cooker hood that’s finished on all four sides. They’re often vented out, so need to hide the ducting, which is why they can look at bit chunky.

The main factor to consider with island chimney cooker hoods is whether you want it to be able to vent out or if you are okay (or limited) to have one that is recirculating. Deciding this will narrow down your options straight away.

If you want an island hood that is vented out, you will be looking at the bigger, boxier designs. You’ll also need to make sure you have enough space in between your ceiling joists to be able to run ducting along and outside your house. Or you could go down the industrial style route and have exposed ducting.

If you are happy to have a recirculating model then there are more design options available. A slight alternative to the island chimney cooker hood is often referred to as a ‘designer island hood’.

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Designer Island Cooker Hoods

These cooker hoods are arguably more stylish, usually a bit smaller, often more decorative and can be installed in pretty much any scenario. However, they are only available with recirculating extraction and don’t have a chimney section for ducting to vent out.

This is what gives them the freedom to be designed in much more stylish and interesting ways.

Although island chimney cooker hoods may not always be the most attractive option, they will usually be the most effective choice when it comes to island extraction, especially if they can be vented out.

Having your extractor directly above and closer to your hob will mean that it catches the most amount of grease and smells from cooking and can, therefore, extract the most out of your kitchen. Other factors such as the extraction rate and type of extraction will also impact this.

Island Chimney Cooker Hood – Advantages

  • Most effective extraction (especially when vented out)
  • More helpful task lighting as it’s directly above and close to the hob
  • Typically the most cost-effective option
  • Can be Vented or Recirculating (not ‘designer hoods’)
  • More options on the market (especially if you include ‘designer hoods’)

Island Chimney Cooker Hood – Disadvantages

  • Often considered to be quite ugly (especially ‘standard’ island chimney cooker hoods)
  • Blocks views and sight-lines through the kitchen
  • You might hit your head on it as it hangs down lower (I certainly do)

2. Ceiling Cooker Hood

Ceiling cooker hoods are flat hoods that fit flush (or almost flush) into your ceiling, so nothing is hanging down at head height above your hob.

Operated with a remote (because you’ll never be able to reach it), these can be a stylish alternative to the island chimney hood, especially if you don’t want to have anything hanging down from the ceiling and blocking views.

As with a vented island chimney hood, you will need to make sure you have enough space in between your ceiling joists to run ducting along and out. As well as this, you may also need to have enough space to house the motor of the cooker hood itself.

If you don’t have the space to do this, you could consider building a ceiling box to house the cooker hood and motor. These ceiling boxes can be turned into quite the feature if you add extra lighting around them. 

Ceiling Cooker Hood – Advantages

  • Unobtrusive sleek design
  • Doesn’t block views and sight-lines through the kitchen
  • Can be vented or recirculating
  • Can feel quieter as the motor is further away and insulated in the ceiling

Ceiling Cooker Hood – Disadvantages

  • Usually more expensive than an island chimney cooker hood
  • Not quite as effective as an island chimney hood due to the distance from the cooking source.
  • Installation can be a bit more difficult (depending on the model)

Top tip: Make your ducting route as short and as straight as possible. Cooker hoods lose approximately 25m3 of extraction capacity per metre of ducting.

3. Downdraft Extractor

Downdraft extractors are cooker hoods that live in your worktop behind your hob and rise out of the work surface about 30-40cm when in use.

They work by drawing the air back across the top of your pots and pans and then either venting out or recirculating it back into your kitchen.

Downdraft extractors can be a good choice, especially if you want extraction on an island but you can’t have (or don’t want) anything on the ceiling above. Plus, there is definitely a certain amount of ‘cool’ or ‘wow’ factor with them.

However, as the extractor is installed below the worktop it will take up space, meaning you will lose storage capacity. I also find that they are not as effective as a cooker hood that is directly above a hob. As they are behind the hob, a lot of the time the hot air and grease is travelling too fast upwards for the extractor at the back of the hob to be able to draw the air in and catch as much of the grease and smells.

Similarly, because of its positioning, pans at the front of the hob don’t get the same extraction as pans at the back (and therefore closer to the extractor) of the hob.

Downdraft Extractor – Advantages

  • Stylish sleek design – has a wow factor
  • Nothing overhead to block views and sight-lines through the kitchen (or hit your head on)
  • Can be vented or recirculating

Downdraft Extractor – Disadvantages

  • Usually more expensive than an island chimney cooker hood
  • Not as effective as an island chimney hood due to the position from the cooking source.
  • Takes up space under the worktop (lose storage potential)
  • Can feel antisocial if opposite island seating as it creates a bit of a barrier
  • Doesn’t provide as effective task lighting compared with overhead models
  • Installation can be a bit more difficult – May need to build a support frame for the motor and the worktop will need an extra cut-out. (This will also add to the cost)

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4. Hob With Built-In Extractor (Venting Hob)

Becoming increasingly popular now are hobs with built-in extractors, sometimes called venting hobs.

Venting hobs have a cooker hood built into the centre of the hob itself, drawing the air and grease down as you cook. The extractor either vents the air out or recirculates it, depending on the model chosen.

They are an elegant and streamlined solution to the issue of extraction on a kitchen island but are certainly not limited to only being installed on kitchen islands.

Hobs with built-in extractors tend to feel a lot more expensive but remember you are getting two appliances in one.

However, similar to a downdraft extractor, it will take up cabinet space underneath the hob to house the mechanism and motor. You will most likely lose the top drawer or some cabinet space below your hob. So you may have to sacrifice that cutlery tray under your hob.

And, similarly, a venting hob won’t be as effective as a cooker hood directly above. It will always be fighting physics and the heat, grease and smells rising out of pans, trying to pull them down.

As well as this, you will only get four cooking zones, as the fifth or centre zone is taken up with the extractor itself.

Hob With Built-In Extractor – Advantages

  • Sleek and compact design (two appliances in one)
  • Has a definite wow factor to it. (I try to remain objective, but they are quite cool)
  • Freedom to place anywhere in the kitchen (especially ideal for kitchen islands)
  • Nothing overhead to block views and sight-lines through the kitchen (or hit your head on)

Hob With Built-In Extractor – Disadvantages

  • Not as much choice on the market (although definitely getting more popular)
  • Takes up some cabinet space underneath
  • Not as effective as an island chimney hood due to the position from the cooking source.
  • Does not provide any task lighting
  • Four cooking zones only
  • Price – can seem expensive, take into consideration you are buying two appliances

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Is A Cooker Hood A Legal Requirement?

Yes…No…Maybe…

It will depend on your circumstances. I’ve put a quick guide below. (UK Regulations)

  1. If you are having a new build or extension including the kitchen, then you must have some form of extraction to the outside. The extraction rate needed will depend on where it is situated in the room.
  2. If you are refurbishing an existing kitchen (no extension) and you don’t already have any extraction in the room, then you do not need to have any installed.
  3. If you are refurbishing an existing kitchen (no extension) and you do have a form of extraction in the room, then you need to replace this with the same or higher rated extraction method.

For a more in-depth explanation and guide into this topic, have a read of my post below.

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Alternatives To A Cooker Hood For A Kitchen Island

If you need to have some form of extraction in your kitchen and you really don’t want a cooker hood, then you could have the type of extractor fan more commonly associated with bathrooms.

Make sure you get one with an extraction rate of 60l/s (litres a second) or higher, as that is what the regulations call for.

My personal favourite is the Airflow ICON60, it has a 72l/s extraction rate and looks quite stylish (as stylish as they can). It has retracting blades that cover the vent when not in use. You can also buy different coloured covers for it, like silver or anthracite. 

Airflow ICON60

If you’re looking for something a little less expensive but also gets the job done, then I’d recommend the Xpelair VX150T. It has an extraction rate of 62l/s. So will comply with building regulations for you.

Xpelair VX150T

Final Thoughts…

There you have it! Everything you need to know about kitchen island cooker hoods and the options available.

There are no right or wrong options, it completely depends on your kitchen design, style preference and extraction needs.

So, which one will you go for in your kitchen island, island chimney, ceiling hood, downdraft extractor or venting hob?

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