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Top Features Readers Look for in Fume Hoods

Learn the most popular types of fume hoods and more from our latest product survey results

by Shane Downie

One of the primary safety devices in laboratories where chemicals are used is the laboratory fume hood. It allows a researcher to work with—but not be exposed to—materials that create toxic fumes or particles when it is properly installed and maintained.

Top 6 Questions You Should Ask When Buying a Fume Hood

  1. Can your lab go ductless? Ductless hoods are a viable solution for most routine laboratory applications.
  2. What is the hood constructed from and how is it constructed? Will the chemicals you use attack, degrade, or physically alter the material of the hood?
  3. What types of safety controls are included in the base cost of the unit?
  4. Has the manufacturer/distributor gone through a thorough application review process? Does the suggested filtration make sense?
  5. How hard is installation? Will there be a future/potential need to move the hood after initial installation? Should the hood be portable?
  6. What are the capital, installation, and operational costs? From the lab manager’s perspective, capital costs are but a fraction of the overall budget.

Fume hood types used by survey respondents:

Conventional ducted fume hood68%
Laminar flow hood37%
Benchtop ductless fume hood20%
Canopy ducted fume hood20%
Variable air volume ducted fume hood20%
Portable ductless fume hood6%

50% of respondents are engaged in purchasing a new fume hood. The reasons for these purchases are as follows:

Replacement of aging fume hood
Addition to existing systems, increase capacity
Setting up a new lab / developing a brand new method

Top 10 features/factors respondents look for when purchasing a fume hood:

Safety and health features94%
Performance of product88%
Durability of product87%
Low maintenance / easy to clean82%
Ease of use; ergonomic operation80%
Value for price paid77%
Low operating costs66%
Total cost of ownership62%
Service and support58%

For more information on fume hoods, including useful articles and a list of manufacturers, visit

See results from previous surveys: