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The Complete Guide to Purchasing a Commercial Vent Hood

The Complete Guide to Purchasing a Commercial Vent Hood

Black and white photo of a commercial kitchen and vent hood. Text "The Complete Guide to Purchasing a Commercial Vent Hood" and the Big Plate logo are over the photo.

If you need a commercial vent hood, you know it’s a big purchase! Vent hoods play a vital role in maintaining a clean and safe environment in commercial kitchens. They efficiently remove smoke, heat, grease, and odors, ensuring a comfortable working space and compliance with health and safety regulations. However, buying the right commercial vent hood can be a daunting task, given the myriad of options available in the market. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the key considerations for purchasing commercial vent hoods, helping you make an informed decision for your kitchen needs.


Photo of kitchen blueprints

Assess Your Requirements

Before diving into the commercial vent hood purchasing process, it’s crucial to evaluate your specific requirements. Consider the following:

  • Size and layout of your kitchen.
  • Type(s) of cooking equipment you have.
  • Volume of cooking you anticipate.
  • Local ventilation regulations. (Most states follow the International Mechanical Code, but specifics may vary. For instance, Texas regulations require that commercial vent hoods have a six inch overhang on either side of the equipment. New Mexico requires a twelve inch overhang on either side of the equipment.)

This assessment will serve as a foundation for selecting the appropriate vent hood for your kitchen.


Photo of commercial kitchen with a long vent hood covering multiple pieces of equipment.

Types of Commercial Vent Hoods

There are two types of commercial vent hoods.

Type I Hoods are also called Grease Hoods. They’re designed to remove heat, smoke, and airborne grease, or what the health department calls “grease-laden vapors.” These hoods cover kitchen equipment like fryers, grills, ovens, griddles, etc.

Type II Hoods are also called Condensate Hoods. They’re designed to remove steam, vapor, and other moisture from the air. These hoods cover kitchen equipment like dishwashers.


Photo of commercial kitchen with 2 different vent hoods.

Mounting Styles

Each of the two types of commercial vent hoods can be designed and mounted in a variety of ways, depending on the needs of the kitchen.

Wall-mounted hoods are ideal for kitchens where the cooking equipment is placed against the wall. They effectively capture fumes and grease, and some models may include a built-in fire suppression system.

Island hoods are suspended from the ceiling and are suitable for open kitchens or cooking islands. They provide excellent ventilation while adding a stylish focal point to the kitchen.

Proximity (roof-mounted) hoods are specifically designed to be placed directly above cooking equipment, such as grills or fryers. They ensure maximum ventilation efficiency by capturing smoke and grease right at the source.


Photo of commercial kitchen with two different sized vent hoods.

Sizing and Airflow Requirements

Determining the appropriate size and airflow capacity of the vent hood is crucial for optimal performance. The hood should be able to handle the volume of cooking you anticipate. Consider the heat and grease load produced by your equipment as well as the equipment’s BTU output, and ensure the vent hood can handle the airflow requirements to effectively capture and exhaust the contaminants.


Photo of a commercial kitchen with a vent hood that has several components visibule including a fire supression system and grease traps.

Vent Hood System Components/Accessories

A commercial vent hood consists of various components that contribute to its functionality. These may include:

  • Exhaust fans – pull the air through the hood to remove the moisture, heat, smoke, or grease
  • Variable speed fans – allow you to run the vent hood on low, medium, or high instead of just on/off
  • Filters/grease traps – remove the contaminants from the air
  • Fire suppression systems – automatic system to suppress fire
  • Ductwork – route air to the outside
  • Make up air devices – replace air inside your establishment as the hood sucks air out; stabilize the pressure in your building which affects your electric bill, slamming doors, HVAC pressure, etc.
  • Grease extractors – separate from the grease filters, these are an extra step at the fan level that removes grease that made it past the filters
  • Duct thermostats – monitor temperatures in the ductwork to ensure they don’t get too hot
  • Wall mount panels – keep switches tidy on the wall
  • Manufacturing materials – stainless steel is easiest to clean but is also more expensive; hybrid vent hoods are stainless steel on the exterior for aesthetics with galvanized steel on the interior for cost effectiveness
  • Concession-style hoods – shaped to allow closer access to equipment without the height restrictions

Carefully evaluate the quality, durability, cleaning, and maintenance requirements of these components to ensure efficient and hassle-free operation of your vent hood system.


Photo of a man inspecting ductwork for compliance.

Compliance with Regulations

As we previously mentioned, compliance with local building codes and regulations is essential when installing a commercial vent hood. Check the specific requirements in your area such as:

  • Minimum exhaust rates
  • Fire suppression system obligations
  • Ductwork specifications
  • Required height above equipment
  • Required overhang on either side of equipment

Ensure the vent hood you choose meets or exceeds these regulations to avoid penalties or safety hazards.


Photo of clean grease filters on a commercial vent hood

Quality, Warranty, and Maintenance

Investing in a high-quality vent hood is crucial for long-term performance and durability. Look for reputable manufacturers with a track record of producing reliable products. Consider the warranty offered and the availability of replacement parts. Additionally, assess the maintenance requirements and costs associated with keeping the vent hood in optimal condition.


Photo of an HVAC technician walking on a job site carrying a toolbox.


You will need a professional to install your commercial vent hood. They will ensure proper functioning and compliance with regulations. The installation can cost as much as the vent hood itself, so don’t forget to budget for both. Engage the services of experienced technicians who can assess your kitchen’s specific needs, provide advice, and perform the installation correctly.


Purchasing a commercial vent hood requires careful consideration of your kitchen’s requirements, the different types available, sizing, airflow needs, and compliance with regulations. By thoroughly assessing these factors and selecting a reputable manufacturer, you can ensure that your commercial kitchen remains safe, clean, and comfortable for your staff.

If you need a quote on a commercial vent hood, click here to see the information we will need. Big Plate’s friendly and knowledgeable staff will be happy to walk you through the process of figuring out what will serve you best.

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