Chimney Vs Exhaust Fan: Which To Choose?

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We all know that Indian cooking involves a lot of smoke since we use oil and fry food abundantly. As a result, our kitchen tends to get dirty and riddled with grimy, oily particles all over. When left for a longer period, this dirt sticks to the surfaces making it look unclean and a breeding ground for germs. As a result, having some sort of a system that can get rid of the oily particles while cooking is a must if keeping your kitchen clean and hygienic is a priority for you.

The popular options available in the market are exhaust fans and chimneys. And often, when you want to complete your kitchen at a budget, you have to decide between the two. To come to a decision, you will first need to understand how these devices work and what their functions are. 

Chimney Vs Exhaust Fan & How Do They Work

An exhaust fan is quite similar to a ceiling fan that consists of a motor and blades attached to it. It is mainly used to remove bad odour and polluted air from a room. All you need to do is switch it on and the motor will rotate in a circular motion which will drag the air outside of the room. Exhaust fans are used in bathrooms and kitchens quite commonly in India.

One can use exhaust fans in a bathroom without a second thought. However, it is not the most efficient way to get rid of pollutants from a kitchen. All that an exhaust fan does is remove bad odour and the stale air from the room. It cannot handle the oily particles and pollutants that are generated while cooking. 

A chimney can be mounted right on top of the stove so that it can suck all the fume and oily particles right away while cooking. A chimney has three major parts; a suction motor, duct and a filter. The motor and the filter are fitted inside the duct which is connected to the outlet. Once the device is switched on, the suction motor will drag all the fumes and greasy particles out and trap them in its filter while the smoke is released into the open air through the outlet. Chimneys come in two variants: Ducted and Ductless chimneys. The main difference between the two is that one contains a filter while one doesn’t. Now it is up to the users to decide which works best for them based on their needs.

Related reading: What Is Filterless Chimney?

Pros and Cons

There is no doubt about the fact that chimneys are far more advanced and much more effective in comparison to exhaust fans in dealing with the smoke and fume generate while cooking. However, the devices benefit depends entirely on the user’s circumstances. To help our readers decide which device works better for them, we have made a list of its pros and cons respectively.

Exhaust Fan

chimney vs exhaust fan
A very economical solution to vent stale air from the kitchen.Cannot drag air as effectively since its place is far from the source.
Easy operation of the device. All you have to do is switch it on.The interiors get oily despite using an exhaust fan.
Installed out of our reach; this makes it safe.It tends to make noise while in operation. 
Doesn’t consume much electricity.The exhaust fan gets dirty and sticky eventually.
Easy to install.Cleaning the blades and their components is difficult


chimney vs exhaust fan
More effective at filtering the airMuch more expensive.
Keeps the interiors clean and free from oily particles.Consumes more electricity. 
Adds to the overall aesthetics of the kitchen.Require frequent maintenance and cleaning.
Doesn’t make much sound while it’s operational.The upfront cost is more since its installation is done by experts.
Doesn’t allow the smoke and oily particles to spread since it is placed right above the stove.
The parts can be easily removed and cleaned.

Do You Need Both?

As mentioned earlier in the article, chimneys are without a doubt more effective than exhaust fans when it comes to dealing with smoke and oily particles generated while cooking. However, our circumstances will decide which devices work better for us. 

  • If you are living on your own, you can opt for an exhaust fan instead of a chimney.
  • If you don’t cook as often, you can skip the chimney and opt for an exhaust fan.
  • If the electricity bill bothers you, skip the chimney. Exhaust fans on the other hand don’t consume as much electricity.
  • If you are a big family, chances are the kitchen is operational very often. Get a chimney in this case.
  • If you have family members sensitive to oily food and fumes, get a chimney.
  • If you cook Indian food that involves a lot of spice and oil, the chimney is a must.

Related reading: Ductless Chimney vs Duct Chimney

To be fair, exhaust fans are rarely seen in kitchens in the most modern household these days. Exhaust fans are on the way to becoming obsolete soon. They may have some industrial purpose. However, as far as homes are concerned, it is used only in bathrooms these days. Of course, it is up to the individual to decide what works best for them and they could even opt for both. However, our advice to our readers is to follow the points mentioned above. Find out which applies to you and stick to the advice and you are good to go.

Related reading: How to Clean Chimney?

Which Is Better For An Open Kitchen? Chimney or Exhaust Fan or Both Together?

Having an open kitchen is an exciting prospect. It gives a whole new perspective to the process of cooking. It’s like a scene right out of those Hollywood movies where a smart-looking family sit around the pantry waiting for the food to be served right out of the stove. 

Coming down to the business in hand, do we need an air filtration system for an open kitchen? Yes, absolutely. An open kitchen without an efficient exhaust system means the odour, smoke and grime can spread all over your home. 

Chimneys are the best option if you have a provision to fix it right on top of the stove. Having an additional exhaust fan too is a good idea, especially if you fry food often.

 It’s a good practice to keep your expensive household items covered if they are in the vicinity of your open kitchen especially if you are cooking. If you have a lot of open space around the open kitchen, the oily particles will end up only on the floor most likely. You can also make the room around the kitchen bare so that you can merely give it a quick wipe or a mop after the cooking is done.

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