How to Choose: Cooker Hood

Related Posts
1 How to choose: Cooker Hood
2 Fujioh FX-900: Butting the Head
3 Review: Fujioh Hood FX-900
4 Fujioh FX-900: Update

Our Criteria
To begin, here's our criteria for choosing a cooker hood:

1 Cooking Style and Cuisine
If you do a lot of pan-frying on your burner hob, and your cooking style fogs up with oily fumes and residues, look for a hood that is highly rated for oil absorption. Don't be swayed by good looks or design over engineering specs. At the end-of-the-day, if the hood you buy leaves oily residues on the stove top and cabinet walls, what good is the design if the hood does not perform?

2 Suction vs Absorption
Many hoods claim high suction power. And back up the claim with impressive specs of the fan motor unit. However, it is not motor suction power that determines how effective a cooker hood removes oily fumes. But another metric designed to

measure oil absorption efficiency. The metric measures the oil the filter absorbs during normal cooking, and was explained at the Fujioh website in 2008. The site since then has been updated to focus more imagery rather than explaining the technical and engineering specs, a serious serious flaw in my view. For what it's worth, here's the link if you wish to visit the site.

Here's a video comparing Fujioh's oil absorption vs a competitor

If you look closely you will observe the "other hood" fails to suck in much fumes compared to the Fujioh FSR-3000, though it would appear the pot under the FSR-3000 produces less vapor for the test than the other pot. Initially I thought the test might be biased in favor of the Fujioh but a later video segment showing a larger close view of the vapor and hood changed my mind. The FSR-3000 does suck in more vapor than the competiting product.

Video providing interesting information on Fujioh's hood

3 Paper vs Metal Filter
Look for a hood that uses a metal filter instead of a paper/carbon filter for oil absorption. That will save you money from having to buy and replace the oil-soaked paper filter every few months.

4 Ease of Maintenance
This is self-evident. Choose hoods that are easy to clean and require minimum maintenance. Sometimes it is not evident a hood requires a judicious amount of maintenance. My previous German hood, for instance, was easy to clean externally. But opening the casing to replace the internal paper-carbon filter was really troublesome. So ask sales personnel about these issues, read the product brochures. And check out the product on the manufacturer's web site for information and technical specs that the sales staff may have omitted to tell you.

5 Cost vs Performance
This is self-evident. Most cooker hoods are priced within a narrow range of $250-400 to attract buyers. Therefore you don't want to splurge on a hood that is out-of-sync with the market as far as price is concerned. If you go for more expensive designer hoods you are only getting diminishing returns. Such hoods tout its designer appeal to justgy its premium pricing, and don't have any bearing on the hood performance.

6 Standard dimension
Most brands offer cooker hoods with standard dimensions. Some however offer special (designer) models with non-standard dimensions. If such models break down in future and is no longer in production you would have a problem finding another

hood that can fit in exactly into the space vacated by your dead hood. That was my unfortunate experience with the German Bauknet hood, a story already blogged and posted. Lesson? Look for a cooker hood that has standard dimensions. You will then be able to buy and fit in a new hood if you have to get a different brand of hood in future.

7 User Experience
I have bought products that don't function as advertised or malfunction within 3 months of purchase. See my reviews, Bellari Soap Dispenser and Roddex Toilet Roll Holder. The two items were bought 'blind' as I couldn't locate any reviews from users who have bought the items. But those weren't the only ones! Recently I was at a Novena Square retail outlet that sells many useful and unique items for the household. Items like cotton water filter for basin taps, small muslin bags for spices, useful if you prepare Bak Kut Teh or some curries, tooth-picks, disposble plastic glvoes, etc. Supermarts and large dept stores don't normally retail these items. They have a low retail value (read: low gross margin), and don't justify valuable shelf-space. I bought a cutie knife sharpener for $2. Back home, I immediately put it to the test. "Scriiip, scraaaap, scriiip.." it scrowled as I deftly slide and grind the knife across the gears in the sharpener. *Sigh.. to no avail.* No amount of sweat could induce the blade to brighten up. It remained as dull as ever. Alamak, waste of money, greater waste of energy! I immediately bin'ned the sharpener.

Therefore reading up on user experiences is vital. Think - if the hood turns out to be a dud, can you get a refund? An ethical retailer ( = quite extinct species these days ) may offer to exchange it for a different hood. Even then, can the new hood fit? What if the dimensions are different? You would then have a headache trying to solve the problem.

All these can be avoided had you first read-up before you buy or have friends who could share their user-experience with the product.

Products don't seem to last these days. Computer hard disks, TVs, kitchen appliances, etc give up the ghost within 3 short years or less. About 3 years ago, for instance, I built 2 new PCs - one for self, another for third brother - and

recently had to replace the SDRAMs and graphic display cards. That didn't occur with PCs I built in the early 2000s. And not long ago the motor died on my premium-brand kitchen blender machine. On a side-note, that just as well, for I hate to use it. It was unnecessarily laborious to clean and took up a fair bit of counter space. I have now bought a new Bosch hand blender. And pleased as punch with it! Should have bought an immersion or hand blender long ago, read why here.

Yes, durability is a dirty word in many businessmen's dictionary today. Don't be shocked if the word is no longer in their vocab. Which makes it so important you know how to research, sift through the web trash, and read up how to choose products so that you will end up buying a gem, not an imitation.

Like my Maytag washer or GE Profile refrigerator. Both were bought in 1988 and are still serving me well today! Wow, what a gem they have both turned out to be!

Related Posts
1 How to choose: Cooker Hood
2 Fujioh FX-900: Butting the Head
3 Review: Fujioh Hood FX-900
4 Fujioh FX-900: Update


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