Is a Venting Hob the Best Option for a Kitchen Island?

Venting hobs on kitchen islands

A venting hob is a ceramic, induction or gas hob with an integrated extractor fan in the centre of the hob. It functions as two appliances in one and is most commonly used on kitchen islands where other forms of extraction are not possible or desirable.

Venting hobs are relatively new to the kitchen market and have been designed to offer an alternative option to the traditional cooker hood and extraction methods, especially for when hobs are located on a kitchen island.

Is a venting hob the best idea for a Kitchen Island?

Having a venting hob may not be necessary for most, but for some, it is the solution to the question they have been trying to figure out.

If this scenario sounds familiar, maybe you should consider a venting hob.

You have decided that you want your hob on the island, it’s more social to face the kitchen and family when you’re cooking, and you don’t want the sink and all the dirty dishes cluttering up the island.

You want a cooker hood to get rid of smells and grease but you don’t have a wall to put it on. What do you do?

You could have a big island chimney hood coming down from the ceiling, but that will block your view and the flow of the kitchen, plus someone’s going to bang their head on it. Maybe a ceiling hood?

They can be very expensive and how effective are they all the way up there, plus you might not have space in the ceiling to fit one. You could go for a separate downdraft hood, again they can be expensive and it’s another thing on your lovely clean island.

The answer? Have the cooker hood built into the hob itself and get a venting hob.

Pros:

  • Solves the problem other cooker hoods present (scenario above)
  • Sleek and compact (two appliances in one)
  • Has a definite cool factor to it. (I try to remain objective, but they are quite cool)
  • Freedom to place anywhere in the kitchen

Cons:

  • Limited range available currently
  • Takes up some cabinet space underneath
  • Four cooking zones only
  • Price – can seem expensive, take into consideration you are buying two appliances
Venting Hob
BORA Basic Venting Hob – www.bora.com

What should you consider when buying a venting hob?

Hob functions:

As venting hobs are relatively new and you have the extractor taking up space in the middle of the hob, the functions and features of them can be a little basic. If you have to have a five ring hob then chances are you won’t like the venting hob, as they can only fit four rings.

Other functions like combining two zones to make one large zone for griddle cooking may not be available, or you will have to spend more money to get this functions that would otherwise be available in a lower priced standard induction hob.

A feature (in my opinion) you should always make sure you have is the power boost option. This gets things heating up very fast and can be a great time saver.

Extraction rate:

Just because it looks like a hob, don’t forget it’s also your cooker hood. Make sure the extraction rate is sufficient for the size of the room you have. Some models and brands have a higher extraction rate than others, so make sure you check and compare them for your needs.

Noise:

Again, it’s not just a hob. How noisy is this thing going to be when you have it cranked all the way up to get rid of that awful burning smell you’ve managed to create? Check the decibels (dB) to make sure it’s not too noisy, especially if you have an open plan kitchen living space.

Additional accessories:

Very important this one, it’s so often forgotten or people simply not aware of.

If you buy a venting hob it will need an extraction system kit. This will either be for vented extraction or recirculating extraction. (More on these below)

Always check if the kit you need is included in the price, as most often it won’t be and you will need to source this separately, usually direct from the manufacturer. They are not the cheapest things so remember to factor that into your budget.

Venting hobs to consider buying:

Want to know more?
For the full list of Induction venting hobs check out my post:
The Best Induction Hobs With Integrated Extractor

NEFF N90 T58TL6EN2 Venting Hob

How do venting hobs work?

Venting hobs take a ceramic, induction or gas hob and place a downdraft extractor in the centre of the hob itself, rather than a separate extractor or cooker hood behind or above the unit.

The extractor in the hob then sucks in any grease or steam created from cooking and pulls it down into the centre of the hob and away from your kitchen space.

Inside this central extractor are metal grease filters to help catch as much grease from going through the ventilation system as well as a small water and condensation collection unit.

In addition to the collection unit, there is normally a secondary safety tank that acts as an overflow system if you accidentally spill any liquid or food into the extractor while cooking that is more than the first collection unit can hold.

You can access this overflow tank from underneath the hob and simply unscrew to remove and dispose of any liquid that has been caught. These tanks are typically around 2L in size.

All the tanks, units and grease filters can be removed and washed or put in the dishwasher (always check) to clean from time to time.

There are two ways to install a venting hob, vented out or recirculating.

What is the difference between vented and recirculating extraction?

When it comes to installing your venting hob or any cooker hood for that matter, you have two options for what it’s going to do with the steam and grease that it sucks up. Depending on your project you may or may not have a choice, but these are the options.

Vented:

Vented extraction is when you can connect a duct or pipe from the appliance (in this case the venting hob, but most commonly a cooker hood) and run this ducting to an outside wall of your house.

You will then normally place a small grill in the brickwork of the external wall to allow the air that is sucked up by the extractor to then be expelled outside.

With a typical wall-mounted cooker hood, this is usually a duct that comes up from the appliance and runs along the top of the wall cabinets to an exterior wall and then through the wall to the outside.

This allows the air sucked up from your cooking to get completely removed from inside your house, so all the grease and smells get thrown outside an away.

Depending on what type of cooker hood/extraction unit you have and where it is located will determine if it’s possible to be vented out and if so, what the most effective route would be. For example; if you’re having a venting hob or downdraft extractor you may need to place the ducting in the floor.

Recirculating:

Recirculating extraction is the alternative if for whatever reason you cannot vent out your extraction.

Recirculating as the name suggest recirculates the air inside your kitchen. All the grease, steam and smells that get sucked up by the extractor are drawn through carbon filters.

These filters then do their best to remove as much of the smells and dirt particles as the air passes through them. Once the air passes through these carbon filters it is then released back into the room.

In the case of a venting hob, this is usually through a small grill in your plinths (kickboards) or back of an island. In the case of a more common wall cooker hood, the air is blown out of the top of the appliance itself.

You need to make sure you install the carbon filters if you are going with the recirculating option, otherwise, there will be no benefit at all.

Which is better, vented or recirculating extraction?

Hands down vented is better, but it’s not always possible, which is why recirculating is the next best thing. Physically removing all the grease and smells from cooking to the outside is always much better than having them pumped back around and into the room.

However, if you live in a flat with no outside wall in your kitchen, or you don’t want to have to dig up the floor to lay ducting for a venting hob, then recirculating is your only option and it’s certainly better than nothing.

As a side note: Vented can lose its benefits if done poorly. If the ducting isn’t sealed well or has to take turn after turn to wind its way to an outside wall, the effectiveness of the extractor starts to get compromised.

So if you are venting out, always take the most direct route to outside your house. This will ensure you the absolute best results from your cooker hood, whatever that may be.

What happens if you spill something into a venting hob?

Nothing, so no need to panic. Anything that gets spilt into the centre of a venting hob and into the extractor part will simply collect in a chamber where the grease filters live.

This is usually around 200ml in size so can hold the odd spill of water or pea that escapes. If you completely trip over and pour a pan of water down there, don’t worry its got you covered.

There is a secondary overflow chamber that can hold usually around 2L. The motors and electronics are safely positioned out of the way of these areas.

How do you clean the inside of a venting hob?

You can pull out the parts that need cleaning in a venting hob quite easily. Usually, you can just lift up the centre part and remove the grease filters and drip collector, you can also remove the larger overflow collector from underneath the hob usually by just unscrewing it.

These are the internal sections that need cleaning every now and then. You don’t need to wash these every time you use the hob unless you spill pasta sauce right down into it, then you should definitely give it a good clean, but once in a while, it’s good to at least give the grease filters a clean.

You can wash these parts by hand or most often you can also put them in the dishwasher, but always double check they are dishwasher safe.

Do you need carbon filters for a venting hob?

If you are having the venting hob installed using the recirculating extraction system, then yes. You should always install carbon filters when your cooker hood is recirculating the air and not venting it outside.

Depending on how much you use the extractor and your cooking style, these carbon filters should be replaced every 3-6 months.

If installed using the vented extraction system you do not need carbon filters. Just wash the grease filters every now and then.

So, is a venting hob the best option for a kitchen island?

That of course will depend on your kitchen layout and the wants and needs you have for your space. With more and more people trying to achieve that sleek open look, I think we will be seeing the venting hob appear in kitchens much more in the future.

If you’re just starting your new kitchen project then have a read of my post Top 10 Kitchen Design Tips – from a Kitchen Designer.