If you’re shopping for the best microwave, you may have wondered about convertible vents vs recirculating microwaves. You may not think vents matter that much on your range microwave, but vents help clear cooking odor and refresh your kitchen air. Each type of filter will have different speed fans to increase air quality and overall airflow in cooking areas.


  • Convertible vents offer improved air quality by venting air outside of the kitchen. They can also convert into a ductless system that uses air filters.
  • Recirculating microwave vents send your kitchen air through a series of aluminum, carbon, or charcoal filter vents.
  • Recirculating microwave ovens offer an energy-efficient way to improve your indoor air. That said, a convertible vent system has higher-speed fans for quicker ventilation.

Comparing Convertible Vents and Recirculating Microwaves

A convertible range hood, or exterior vent, allows for your kitchen air to be passed through the exterior walls of your home. The system uses a ducted range hood and fan power for built-in venting.

A recirculating venting microwave, or ductless range hood, is a built-in ventilation system that recycles air through the microwave vents. The recirculating ventilation pulls the air through charcoal filters or other types of filters. A replaceable charcoal filter is most common, but you can also choose carbon or stainless steel filters.

Read on to learn the difference between ductless models and ducted hoods. That said, a vent may not help if you don’t understand defrost vs cooking in a microwave.

Insider Tip

Modern building codes require external venting over the kitchen stove. So, if you have a range microwave oven, you may already have multiple venting options.

Air Quality

Only a ducted hood, or a convertible range hood, actually uses exterior venting. Ducted applications offer improved air venting over ductless models. However, recirculating range hoods only cycle your indoor air through charcoal filters or stainless steel mesh filters. It will help you deal with smoke and steam, but it will not offer the air quality of exterior venting.

Odor Control

A vent hood with exterior venting removes smoke and steam away from your kitchen. In addition, the exhaust vent expels odors away from your home, which is more effective than a ductless hood. That said, a ductless range hood should still help mitigate smells with filters, but they will lose effectiveness over time.


Convertible microwaves can switch between exterior venting and recirculating ventilation. That said, modern built-in microwaves usually only have a ducted range hood due to building codes. Just like comparing microwave handles and push buttons, the version with fewer moving parts should have fewer issues over time.


You need to replace your carbon filters regularly for the best indoor air quality. Contact vent installation services if you feel unsure about replacing your baffle filters.


Are ductless range hoods safe?

Recirculating hoods are entirely safe. That said, your ductless hood will require more regular maintenance than a ductless model.

Are ductless range hoods worth it?

Ductless hoods are adequate for the cost. In addition, the carbon and grease filters will clear your kitchen air without needing to install exterior venting.

How much does it cost to install a ductless range hood?

A quality range hood will not be cheap, but you will save money by skipping on a convertible hood. Non-vented range hoods cost about $100 to $300 to install, but it is simple to DIY for a low price.

Are over-the-range microwaves still In style?

While the range microwave oven has been around since the 1980s, it can still look as modern as ever. In addition, current building codes require external ventilation for regulating indoor air quality.

STAT: According to a US Department of Energy survey, less than 1 percent reported not owning a microwave. (source)

Christen Costa

Grew up back East, got sick of the cold and headed West. Since I was small I have been pushing buttons - both electronic and human. With an insatiable need for tech I thought "why not start a blog focusing on technology, and use my dislikes and likes to post on gadgets."

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