How Many CFM Do You Need for a Commercial Ventilation Hood? | Hoodmart

What is a CFM rating, and why is it important when selecting a commercial ventilation hood? Learn the CFM basics from the experts at Hoodmart!

Commercial ventilation hoods are a crucial component of any commercial kitchen, as they help to remove smoke, steam, and other harmful cooking gasses. They also prevent the buildup of grease and smoke that can affect the air quality in the kitchen and create unsafe working conditions. But how do you determine which commercial exhaust hood is best for your restaurant or commercial kitchen ventilation needs? When selecting a commercial ventilation hood, the CFM rating is one of the most important factors to consider.


CFM, or cubic feet per minute, measures the air volume that the ventilation hood can move in a one-minute increment. The CFM rating of a commercial ventilation hood determines its ability to remove smoke, steam, and other harmful gasses from the kitchen. If a ventilation hood has a low CFM rating, it may not be able to adequately remove low-quality air from a large kitchen, resulting in a buildup of heat and potentially harmful gasses. Conversely, a ventilation hood with a high CFM rating too high for a given space may create a vacuum effect that can lead to drafts, affecting the kitchen's temperature and potentially causing other issues.

Determining the appropriate CFM rating for a commercial ventilation hood can be a complex process that requires professional guidance and careful consideration of several factors. These include:


Calculate the Kitchen Size

The first step in determining the appropriate CFM rating for a commercial ventilation hood is to calculate the size of the kitchen. To do this, you must measure the kitchen's length, width, and height. You can then use these measurements to calculate the cubic footage of the kitchen. Simply multiply the length, width, and height together to do this. For example, if your kitchen is 10 feet long, 15 feet wide, and 8 feet tall, the cubic footage would be 1,200 (10 x 15 x 8). Having this information available when speaking with an exhaust hood representative will ensure an accurate quote.


Determine the Cooking Surface Area

To determine the cooking surface area, you need to measure the size of the cooktop or range. You can calculate the total cooking surface area if you have multiple cooktops or ranges. If your cooktop is 4 feet long and 2 feet wide, the cooking surface area would be 8 square feet. Again, this information is an important starting point, as no kitchens are alike and this basic information is a key part of the formula required to ensure adequate ventilation.


Consider Additional Factors

In addition to the kitchen size and cooking surface area, there are other factors to consider when determining the appropriate CFM rating for a commercial ventilation hood. For example, it's essential to consider not only the size of the kitchen and cooking surface area but also the type of cooking that will be done. High-heat cooking methods such as grilling, broiling, and cooking with a lot of oil can produce a significant amount of smoke and grease, which can quickly build up in the kitchen if not effectively removed. In these cases, a ventilation hood with a higher CFM rating may be necessary to ensure the air is properly filtered and the kitchen remains safe and comfortable for staff.


It's also worth noting that local codes and regulations may specify minimum CFM requirements for commercial range hoods based on factors such as kitchen size, cooking surface area, and type of cooking equipment.  To qualify as a UL 710 listed Type 1 hood, CFM calculations use the maximum cooking surface of the appliance it serves and the linear feet of the hood supporting it. Be sure to check with your local authorities to ensure that your ventilation hood meets all requirements.



The CFM rating is an essential factor to consider when selecting a commercial ventilation hood. By calculating the cubic footage and cooking surface area, you will be prepared to have an accurate conversation with our Hoodmart experts. Because each of our hoods are custom made for your unique space, we encourage you to give us a call at 1-855-411-6386 or request a quote today!