Non-venting extractor fans

Joined Oct 9, 2008
We've just moved, and the new place is a condo set up such that exterior ventilation is not possible. What everyone has is one or another kind of extractor fan that funnels stuff through a filter. I'm sure there is a name for this, but I don't know what it is.

The point is, the one we have doesn't work at all well. It does nothing on low power, and on high power it mostly sucks up stuff from the rear burners and not the front ones. What comes out the vent is only slightly stripped of smoke, though it's pretty decent on grease. It is also 17 years old, and I'm betting there are good models on the market.

Can anyone help me suss out the options here?


Staff member
Joined Mar 29, 2002
Grease is about all they're good for. And that's better than nothing. All the fan does is draw the air across the metal grid of the grease traps to help condense out grease and water. Even an exterior vented fan does no better, just shifts the burden to the neighborhood by polluting the commons as it were.

Smoke requires a much different and expensive sort of filter that would need lots of changing and I don't recall seeing such on the market though one probably exists.

Most of these above stove systems are comparatively low air flow, less than 150 CFM. Even if exterior vented, this isn't enough air flow to clear smoke above a hot pan.

When I last looked into it (11 years ago), what I was reading was that you need 300 CFM to really move out the vapors, steam, grease and so on.


Joined Dec 14, 2006
Are you talking about a non-ducted or recirculating range hood?  Not as good as a vented one, but better than nothing.  I'm sure you can find a better one than your current antique, with 250-600 CFM's and a charcoal filter behind the mesh.  Some vented ones can be converted to recirculating with a conversion kit.  Broan Elite, Zephyr, and Thermador come to mind.  I would go to the AJ Madison website and use their search function to compare some different models.

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