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Nerdy Science in the Kitchen

What’s the Best Window Exhaust Fan for a Kitchen



No one will ever have to know you burnt the toast!
No one will ever have to know you burnt the toast!

If you’ve got a well-ventilated kitchen with plenty of space, high ceilings, and large windows, you’ve probably never even considered the idea of a window exhaust fan. The same could be said if you have a hood extractor fan. These both come in extremely handy, without you truly noticing it.

Why use a window exhaust fan?

When you cook food with a potent smell or accidentally burn something to smithereens, a smaller, less ventilated kitchen suffers a lot more than a larger one. A singular, small window in your kitchen won’t really help you when you’ve over-done the chicken. Or when you’re cooking up some pungent Brussels sprouts.

If you are cleaning your oven with a strong oven cleaner, it’s a lot safer to work in a well-ventilated environment.

Maybe it’s time to consider a window exhaust fan for your little kitchen.

Window exhaust fans can cost a lot, and you might be thinking they’re out of your budget. But, you don’t need to spend a fortune on an exhaust fan. You can easily find one for to suit your pocket and get the job done.

Here’s a few tips on sourcing the best window exhaust fans for your kitchen.

“Reversible” fans

Many window exhaust fans will claim to be manually reversible, which often means you need to pull it out of the window and turn it around. This is a little misleading. You need to find an extractor fan that is reversible via the control button.

Noise complaints

You’ll also want a model that’s quiet. In your own kitchen, you don’t want to hear the overbearing humming of an industrial fan as you cook. Cooking should be a therapeutic process, uninterrupted by unpleasant sounds.

Looking good

There are a few models out there that are aesthetically pleasing, at least as far as extractor fans go. This is definitely going to affect the price, as more expensive extractor fans do look nicer. You’ll probably need to find a happy medium if you don’t want to break the bank. By browsing around, you’ll find one that’s cheaper and won’t ruin the decor.

Check the reviews

That smoke will clear out a room. The fan clears out the smoke. It's the circle of life!
That smoke will clear out a room. The fan clears out the smoke. It’s the circle of life!

Source a few acceptable fans, then check out some online product reviews before you buy. It’s the best way of learning about how the product performs. Doing this is a way of gauging potential problems. You don’t want to buy what you think is the perfect extractor fan for your kitchen and then find it’s faulty, or has no warranty, or is too loud. See what other customers have said online before spending your money.

Places to shop

You can pick up a good window exhaust fan from a big box brick and mortar store. Home Depot stocks a great one called the HDX 9-Inch Twin Window Fan. It’s reasonably priced and has a dual fan mechanism. It’s relatively quiet and only uses 70 watts of power, so just switch it on whenever you’re cooking and you’ll be satisfied with the electrical costs.

For a more expensive model, you can look at the

Holmes Thin Window Fan with DC Reverse Motor. It’s available from Walmart and offers a few extra features, such as an LED control panel and electronic thermostat. It’s remote controlled and has a 12-hour timer. The electronically reversible blades mean you won’t have to pull it out and turn it around.

Online retailers

Amazon has a good selection of exhaust fans as well. The Bionaire Twin Reversible Airflow Window Fan with Remote Control is another electronically-reversible model.

For a price that won’t hurt your bottom line, you get a fan with a 3 speed settings, a digital, programmable thermostat, LED control panel, and 5-year limited warranty. The water-resistant motors ensure that it’s safe to use even when it’s raining.

The Holmes Twin Window Fan with Comfort Control Thermostat is the same price as the Bionaire. It offers 3 speed settings, is electronically-reversible, has a comfort control manual thermostat, and includes 3-year warranty.

Make sure to do some measurements before you buy. Though both of these come with extenders, you need to check to see if they’ll fit your window. The Holmes model is designed to fit double-hung and slider windows with minimum openings of 25 inches wide and 12 inches high (35 inches with the extender panels). The Bionaire is designed for double-hung, vertical slider, and casement windows 24 to 37 inches wide (extenders permit a custom fit) and 13 inches high.

A breath of fresh air

If you find yourself in a small kitchen with little ventilation, you won’t spend a ton for an exhaust fan. But it will make a huge difference.

With the right fan, you can cook up delicious (and very smokey) cast iron steak or sizzling fajitas without a care in the world and pop popcorn for movie night without smelling up the entire house!

Is there particular product you’d like me to review? Leave a comment below!

Kitchen Professor author
About the Author: Bryce Heitman

Bryce is not a real professor, but he's real nerdy in the kitchen. He's been barbecuing, chopping, and generally blazing food for many decades. He thinks there's definitely a better spatula or utensil out there that hasn't been invented yet.

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