The 3 Main Types of Range Hood Filters: Which is Best?

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The 3 Main Types of Range Hood Filters: How to Choose Range Hood Filters for Your Kitchen

By Hauslane ∙ 10 mins read

There are many different types of range hoods available from sleek ductless models to eye-catching wall chimney styles. But did you know there are also a variety of options to choose from when it comes to range hood filters? The type of filter your range hood comes equipped with will depend on its design and function.

Let’s get to know the three main types of filters you’re likely to come across, their purpose, benefits, and potential drawbacks.

The 3 Main Types of Range Hood Filters: Which is Best?

What is a range hood filter?

First things first, what exactly is a range hood filter? The part of your range hood cleans and purifies grease, dirt, and other particles. Essentially, they capture all the bad stuff produced by the air and smoke that emits when you cook. Depending on the type of range hood you have, this air may be cleaned and recirculated or extracted to the exterior of your home.

Without a range hood and its filters, your kitchen would be in pretty bad shape with grease on the countertops, cabinets, and floors. Worse, the air could negatively affect your home’s air quality and your health.

Types of Filters

As we mentioned, you can find a range of filters out there. The three most common types are baffle, mesh, and charcoal filters. Each functions slightly differently, but they’re all made to improve air quality.


1. Stainless Steel Baffle Filter

Stainless steel baffle filters are designed for heavy-duty cooking, but you can find them in any high-quality, ducted model. These filters trap grease while helping the exhaust fan suck out smoke, steam, and odors. The grooves within the filters catch dripping grease, preventing it from falling onto your stove, cabinet, and food.

The stainless steel construction makes it easy to clean with a bit of soap and water. If they’re dishwasher safe, you can even run through them with your next cycle of dishes. The material is also quite durable, but you should replace them according to manufacturer recommendations for best results.

2. Aluminum Mesh Filter

Aluminum mesh filters are excellent for everyday cooking and medium use. The filter works by using two layers of filtration: aluminum mesh and activated charcoal. The aluminum mesh serves as a support structure for the charcoal and helps to trap larger particles like grease and oil. As air is drawn through the range hood and passes through the filter, the activated charcoal in the filter absorbs any odors, smoke, and other toxins before recirculating air back into the kitchen.

3. Charcoal Filters

Charcoal filters are typically found with ductless range hoods. In fact, they’re often used to convert ducted models to ductless. These filters are made of carbon-based material. This allows them to filter out contaminants and deodorize any odors produced during the cooking process.

These filters typically can’t be cleaned and, instead, need to be replaced regularly. When paired with a quality ductless model, they work well with medium or everyday cooking. If you stir fry a lot or otherwise use high levels of heat often, you may benefit more from a model with baffle filters.

Which range hood filter is best?

It all comes down to your cooking style and needs. Charcoal filters are great for home cooks who prepare light meals and don’t have ductwork in their kitchens. Those who love to stir fry and try out complex dishes will likely prefer stainless steel baffle filters. If you do a little of both, you may like a model with aluminum mesh filters. Ultimately, we recommend first selecting the range hood that suits your kitchen’s construction (i.e., ductwork or no ductwork), layout, size, and cooking habits. From there, you can compare the type of filters that come with each model and narrow down your options.

Not sure which range hood model you should choose? Check out our essential buyer’s guide, where we break down everything you need to know before you buy.