Do You Need A Cooker Hood In A Kitchen? (UK)

You do not need to have a conventional cooker hood in your kitchen. However, you may need to have some form of extraction in the room to the outside. This will depend on your project circumstances.

UK Building regulations state, “If you carry out any ‘building work’, and there is an existing extract fan (or cooker hood extracting to outside in the kitchen) you should retain or replace it. However, if there is no existing ventilation system you need not provide one.”

If you are having a new build or a kitchen extension then the rules state that you need to have ventilation to fresh air (vent to the outside). This can be by a cooker hood adjacent to the hob with a ventilation rate of 30l/s or another form of ventilation in the room at a rate of 60l/s. (litres a second)

Do You Need An Extractor Fan In Your Kitchen?

  1. If you are refurbishing an existing kitchen and you don’t already have any extraction in the room, then you do not need to have any installed.
  2. If you are refurbishing an existing kitchen 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.
  3. When having a new build or extension including the kitchen, then you must have some form of extraction (to outside). The extraction rate needed will depend on where it is situated in the room.

However, none of these has to be a cooker hood. They can be in whatever form as long as they extract the correct rate in the correct manner. For example, you could use a bathroom fan mounted on the ceiling or external wall, assuming the extraction rate is sufficient.

Is It Better To Have A Cooker Hood?

Although some may feel that it’s better to not have a cooker hood in their kitchen, there are a number of benefits to having one, especially if it can be installed so that it is vented outside, rather than recirculating.

Direct Extraction:

Having a cooker hood directly over your hob is always going to be the most effective way at removing grease and smells from inside your kitchen. It will tackle the problem at the source and help prevent the grease particles spreading around your room, as it is far more direct than opening a nearby window or having a separate extractor fan elsewhere in the room.

Dedicated Lighting:

Almost all cooker hoods come with some form of lights built into them, be that halogen, or (more commonly now) LED. This can be extremely helpful when cooking or preparing food.

Having that dedicated extra light from above can make all the difference to a kitchen. Having a separate light source can also help to create a different mood to the room if you don’t want the main lights on for whatever reason.

Let’s be honest, it’s sometimes the only thing we use our cooker hoods for, but it’s still very handy.

Focal Point:

While some may see the cooker hood as an ugly annoyance, some may see it as a stylish focal point. With various cooker hood options available and so many different styles on the market, it can be a purposeful and designer feature to a kitchen.

Whether that’s a modern and sleek black angled glass wall cooker hood that you think looks really great with your cabinets, or a more industrial copper or brass effect chimney cooker hood that fits perfectly into your downtown warehouse chic look, a well designed and thought out cooker hood can really help make a kitchen a more unique and designer room.

Designed For The Purpose:

Really not to be overlooked here – if you need to have some form of extraction in your room for any of the reasons outlined above, choosing a cooker hood is like picking the right tool for the job.

They are specifically designed and built to perform at this one task. I’m not saying a fan on the wall doesn’t also extract, but a cooker hood is designed for cooking extraction, and that’s what you need in a kitchen.

They have dedicated grease filters; more powerful extraction rates and more often improved extraction techniques. By that, I mean more cooker hoods are using perimeter extraction which is far more efficient.

Technical side note: Perimeter extraction is when the cooker hood sucks in the air from a vent running around the edge of the appliance (perimeter) rather than straight up the middle as is most common.

Using this perimeter extraction technique can reduce the noise caused by cooker hoods and optimizes the effectiveness of the extraction by exploiting the ‘Venturi effect’. Air accelerates as it passes through the constricted extraction space of the panel and then decreases immediately inside the hood and is then easily expelled without the need for any particular pressure.

Having perimeter extraction also increases the extraction area over the hob allowing you to have a wider hob than cooker hood.

Angled cooker hood with perimeter extraction
Angled cooker hood with perimeter extraction

Why Wouldn’t You Have A Cooker Hood?

With all of these great reasons, beautiful designs and new technology, the question is – why wouldn’t you have a cooker hood? Here are a few of the top concerns I hear from customers.

  • They’re ugly: The most common reason and why I get asked this question so much is because people don’t like the look of cooker hoods in their kitchen. Most often this is when their hob is situated on an island and it would mean having a large cooker hood coming down from the ceiling, which can be a bit of an eyesore. (There are other options, but they might not be known or viable)
  • Pendant lighting: It could be because they want to have some feature pendant lights coming down from the ceiling above their island and they can’t fit these in if there is a cooker hood in the way.
  • Storage: Other reasons could be for storage space. If you have a small kitchen, having a cooker hood can take up extra storage space, if it’s not needed.
  • I won’t use it: The other big one I hear a lot is that people simply don’t use their cooker hoods, so why bother getting one and spending money on something you never use? They always just open the window or the doors anyway if something is causing any smoke or smells.

These, and I’m sure plenty of others, are very reasonable responses as to why you wouldn’t want to have a cooker hood. However, you should think about this and some of the side effects not having one could cause, and some of the benefits having one will bring, before you completely make your mind up.

Kitchen with no cooker hood
Kitchen being installed with no cooker hood – Extractor fan on ceiling instead (Top Left)

What Are The Alternatives To A Cooker Hood In A Kitchen?

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.

You know the one, they’re typical square or round, approximately 25cm diameter white plastic fan. Nothing fancy here, but they can be much more cost effective, discreet and get the job done to pass building regulations.

Just 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) with its retracting blades that cover the vent when not in use. You can also buy different coloured covers for it, if you fancy something a little different, like silver or anthracite. 

Airflow ICON60

It’s not the cheapest, so if you’re looking for something a little less expensive but also gets the job done, then I’d recommend the Xpelair VX150T, nothing glamorous here, but it has an extraction rate of 62l/s. So will comply with building regulations for you.

Xpelair VX150T

Final Thoughts…

So, in conclusion, you don’t have to have a cooker hood (in the traditional sense) in your kitchen. However, you may need to have some form of sufficient extraction in the kitchen depending on your project and circumstances. So, that could be a bathroom type extractor fan, or more likely a cooker hood.

Have a think and weigh up the pros and cons for your particular situation, and if in any doubt always check with your builder and/or building control.

If at all unsure please check with building regulations. Individual cases may differ. This is meant as a guide only and not legal advice. You should always check building regulations first.

If you would like some more information and guidance on cooker hoods be sure to read my post – How To Buy The Best Cooker Hood For Your Kitchen.

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