Pros:Inexpensive; all stainless; powerful motor; great lighting; sleek look; easy to clean.
Cons:Location of control panel; cannot turn off blower without turning off lights.
The Bottom Line: Great looking and sleek range hood with powerful fan and excellent lighting. Not for very tall people and a bit inconvenient to use the lights without the blower on.
I purchased the Zephyr Breeze 2, Model AK1200, which is part of Zephyr’s Essentials line of range hoods to replace an older range hood which was a Venmar. One of the reasons I chose the Zephyr was that this particular model is exactly the same height as my old hood and it would fit into the existing cutout above the backsplash of my range. Another reason was the power of this hood which is 400 CFMs when vented horizontally. The CFMs drop to about 390 for vertical venting.
Recommend this product?
The style I chose was all stainless steel, but this hood also comes in white. I paid $289. plus an additional $100. for installation and removal of the old hood. After much research I found that this was the best deal for a range hood of this size and power in all stainless and Zephyr has a pretty good reputation for their products.
There is nothing fancy about this range hood. It has an all stainless look on the outside with the control buttons recessed under the front of the hood. It has two halogen lights that provide very nice lighting with two levels of brightness. The light bulbs sit flush with the surface of the underside of the hood which makes for a very neat appearance, but because they are flush with the hood they are a bit difficult to remove and replace. The bulbs are a little expensive at about $6. each, but I feel they are worth it because of the soft and bright light that halogens produce.
There are two metal mesh filters that snap into the underside of the hood. These filters are easily removed for periodic cleaning and they can be cleaned in the dishwasher. I prefer to clean them by hand to keep them from turning dark from the dishwasher. There is one large blower wheel behind the filters which can also be cleaned somewhat when necessary. The hood measures 29 ¾ inches wide (they also make a 36” size) by 5 ½ inches high. This hood can also be configured to exhaust internally with a charcoal filter kit which can be purchased separately.
The control panel is mounted on the underside of the hood. If you are very tall this can be a problem because you would have to bend down a bit in order to see it. I suppose the positioning of the control panel in this place was done in order to give the hood a more sleek appearance on the outside, but this can be a problem for very tall people. The placement of the panel on the underside may also subject it to soiling more quickly than if it was on the front of the hood. So far I have not encountered that yet, but I have only had the hood for a few months.
The control panel has four buttons and three indicator lights. The far right button controls the lights. Pressing it once turns them to bright. Pressing it a second time sets them to dim and a third time turns them off. The button to the left of the light button turns the fan blower on and pressing it a second time turns everything off, including the lights. The button to the left of the power level lights is to adjust the fan speed to low, medium or high. To the left of this is the delay button, which will switch the fan to low and then shut off everything in 5 minutes. The problem I have with this configuration is that there is no way to turn off the blower without also turning off the lights. So if you want to stop the fan, but keep the lights on, you have to turn everything off and then turn the lights back on. The cheaper model of the Zephyr, the AK1100, which has lower CFMs has a different control panel with slide controls. On this model, you can adjust the blower speeds and the lights independently. I would have preferred this configuration on the AK1200, but it is a minor inconvenience and I would not trade the CFM power for it.
The blower noise is reasonable on this hood even when on high. I believe it produces about 4.5 sones and it does not seem to be annoying even at high setting. The lights illuminate the cooking area very well and the dim setting is perfect for providing a little extra light in the kitchen or if you using the range and do not need a lot of light. The underside of the hood forward of the mesh filters seems to made of a non-stick surface which makes cleanup in this area much easier. The manufacturer gives a two-year limited warranty on parts and a one-year limited warranty on labor. There is also a toll-free number to call with any questions.
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