Chimney vs Exhaust Fan – Which is Best for Indian Cooking?

chimney vs exhaust fan

An Indian kitchen is incomplete without a chimney or an exhaust fan, but what is the difference between chimney vs exhaust fan, and which is best for Indian cooking, that’s the main question.

Note: You can also check out our post on Top 7 Best Exhaust Fan for Kitchen Window in India.

A chimney or an exhaust fan is an indispensable part of our kitchens, due to 2 main reasons –

  1. Our kitchens are not very well ventilated
  2. The amount of oil and ghee used in the cooking makes the kitchen greasy

Whether you are cooking a biryani in a dutch oven, or deep-frying pakodas in a stainless steel kadai, there is no way the kitchen can survive without a chimney or an exhaust fan.

In today’s post, we will unveil some key differences between chimney and exhaust fan. Knowing these crucial differences will allow you to make the right decision.

However, before we figure out the difference between chimney and exhaust fan, let’s quickly take a short look at the anatomy of an exhaust fan and a chimney.

Quick Glance – Chimney vs Exhaust Fan
Chimney – Premium, Expensive, Advanced features
Exhaust Fans – Affordable, Easy to install, Minimal power consumption

You can also check out other posts on Best 2 Burner Glass Top Gas Stove in India and Best Frying Pan in India.

Chimney vs Exhaust Fan (Quick Glance)

Chimney vs Exhaust Fan (Quick Glance)

Anatomy of an Exhaust Fan

Anatomy of a exhaust fan

Exhaust fans have been widely popular in India, much before kitchen chimneys came. We use exhaust fan not just in the kitchen, but also in the bathroom or even offices these days, especially due to the new Covid guidelines to flush out the used air.

As far as the use of exhaust fans in kitchens is concerned, it helps to push the inside air to the outside of the kitchen. An exhaust fan contains a motor and blades, and when the motor starts, the exhaust fan sends out unwanted odours, moisture, and fumes in the kitchen, and allows the fresh air to get inside.

In a nutshell, an exhaust fan replaces bad air with fresh air with the help of constant circulation. Having said this, an exhaust fan cannot prevent the kitchen walls from becoming dirty and greasy, and this is where, a kitchen chimney comes into the play.

Anatomy of a Chimney

Anatomy of a Chimney

Kitchen chimneys are not as popular as exhaust fans, but they are slowly picking up pace in the Indian kitchens. If you have had an exhaust fan before, you know it can do everything, but for some reason it cannot remove the grease and oil from the kitchen walls.

In order to make sure, the kitchen walls are not full of smoke, and they look spotless, you need a kitchen chimney. In addition to this, a chimney will ensure that the smoke does not fill up the room. A kitchen chimney is at its best to direct the smoke away from the stove and out of the house.

In a nutshell, the primary purpose of a chimney is to remove smoke, hot exhaust gases, odour, or steam that is generated during our cooking. A chimney comes with suction motors and filters, which helps to trap the grease. It is also true, that a kitchen chimney requires regular maintenance.

Chimney vs Exhaust Fan – Which is Best for Indian Cooking?

Now that you know how does a chimney and an exhaust fan works, let’s review the main differences between chimney and exhaust fan, so you can put your money in the right appliance.

To understand which is better, we will evaluate these two appliances on several parameters such as features, ease of use, what they can and cannot do, maintenance, running expenses, etc. For every single factor, we will assign points to the respective winner, only to make this comparison more interesting and intriguing.

Chimney vs Exhaust Fan - Which is Best for Indian Cooking?

1. Features – The choice to buy a chimney or an exhaust fan depends on what these tools are capable of. In simple words, it is important to understand what these tools can do and cannot do. So, a kitchen chimney can remove smoke, bad odour and grease particles present in the kitchen. On the other hand, an exhaust fan can only remove smoke and bad odour, but it will not remove the grease particles. So, if you have wondered why a kitchen chimney is so expensive, hope you have received your answer now.

Scoreline: Chimney 1 vs Exhaust Fan 0

2. Kitchen Cleaning – Who does not like a clean and hygienic kitchen, everyone does. Now, when you have a chimney installed in the kitchen, it takes care of the cleaning as well, because you do not have to remove grease anymore, since the chimney ensures all your walls and kitchen interiors are spotless. With an exhaust fan, you still have to take care of these things, and clean the kitchen frequently. So, it is safe to say that a chimney reduces kitchen cleaning efforts as compared to an exhaust fan.

Scoreline: Chimney 2 vs Exhaust Fan 0

3. Air Filtration – An exhaust fan does not filter the air, instead it directs the bad air from the kitchen to the outside of your house, indirectly contributing to the pollution. On the contrary, a chimney is placed right above your gas stove. This means, there is no chance for the bad air to get circulated inside the kitchen. So, depending on the type of chimney, the filtered air might get recirculated or pushed out of the kitchen.

Scoreline: Chimney 3 vs Exhaust Fan 0

4. Heat Inside the Kitchen – An exhaust fan is placed on the window, this means, there is enough time for the smoke and hot steam to create a very heated atmosphere in the kitchen, while you are cooking. Chimney does not allow this, as it keeps the kitchen relatively cool by venting out the smoke as soon as it is generated from the cooking.

Scoreline: Chimney 4 vs Exhaust Fan 0

5. Performance – Performance is one of the most important aspects, as it decides and influences the buying decision of the consumer. Now, there are two main types of chimney, ductable and ductless. With a ductable chimney, smoke is expelled out of the kitchen. In ductless chimneys, smoke and grease particles are captured and the remaining clean, odourless air is released back into the kitchen. When you compare the performance of these chimneys with an exhaust fan, it is believed that one ductable chimney is equal to 15 exhaust fans, and one ductless chimney is equal to 7-10 exhaust fans. In simple words, it does not matter which type of chimney you have, it will deliver a higher performance than the exhaust fan.

Scoreline: Chimney 5 vs Exhaust Fan 0

6. Affordability – Now, you cannot have both the sides of the coin with you. With the number of features a kitchen chimney comes with, it also has a higher price tag. To give you an idea, an exhaust fan in India will cost you around 1,500 rupees, and you can get the best one for this amount. A chimney, on the other hand, is very expensive, and even a basic one starts from 6,000 rupees. High-end chimney models will cost you anywhere from 20,000 to 50,000 depending on the features, brand and type of chimney. So, to sum it up, a chimney is at least 4 times as expensive as an exhaust fan.

Scoreline: Chimney 5 vs Exhaust Fan 1

7. Power Consumption – Another factor, where exhaust fan takes a lead over chimneys. A chimney consumes anywhere from 200 to 250 watts of power, this also depends on a lot of other components. On the other hand, an exhaust fan does not use a lot of electricity to operate, and consumes somewhere around 50 to 60 watts only. This means, a chimney takes 4 to 5 times more power consumption as compared to an exhaust fan.

Scoreline: Chimney 5 vs Exhaust Fan 2

8. Running Expenses – A chimney is anyday going to be more expensive than the exhaust fan, as it includes more expensive spare parts. As long as the chimney is under warranty, you might not have to pay for those expenses, but the moment, the chimney runs out of the warranty, all those expenses will have to be incurred by you.

Scoreline: Chimney 5 vs Exhaust Fan 3

9. Ease of Cleaning – In order to clean an exhaust fan, you will have to first find a ladder, as it will be installed on the window. This may not be possible for everyone, especially the old aged members of your family. Now, once you climb up the ladder, the cleaning is not going to be very easy, as the blade of the exhaust fan will be full of sticky, oily and greasy particles. Overall, cleaning is going to be a mess with an exhaust fan, most of the times. On the other hand, chimneys are well within the reach, and you can clean the filters easily. If you happen to have an auto-clean chimney, you will not have to do anything, since the chimney will take care of that.

Scoreline: Chimney 6 vs Exhaust Fan 3

10. Durability – When you are spending thousands on an appliance, you are obviously going to expect a long life and durability from the product. In this aspect, chimneys are better, as they usually have a long life, somewhere from 5 to 7 years easily. These chimneys may even last for more than 10 years, if you are maintaining them well. Needless to say, durability factor also depends on the brand, frequency of maintenance and various other factors. On the other hand, with difficult cleaning and unease of maintenance, exhaust fans may only last for 3-4 years. There is a good chance, the blades of the exhaust fan might get rusty over a period of time.

Scoreline: Chimney 7 vs Exhaust Fan 3

11. Ease of Installation Chimneys require a lot of space in the kitchen as compared to the exhaust fans. There is also a possibility that you will have to create some space for the chimney to be installed, especially if your house and kitchen were designed decades ago. Exhaust fans do not require any technical expertise to be installed, and they take less space which does not interfere with anything else. Hence, installation is much easier for exhaust fans as compared to chimneys.

Scoreline: Chimney 7 vs Exhaust Fan 4

12. Noise It is to be noted that the noise factor depends on the age of the appliance, the position and many other variables. Keeping everything equal, exhaust fans produce more noise than the chimneys. These days, brands have also started manufacturing noiseless chimneys in the market.

Scoreline: Chimney 8 vs Exhaust Fan 4

13. Visual Looks It can be hardly said that exhaust fans in the kitchen are a visual treat, because they are not. In terms of looks and elegance, kitchen chimneys are way better than exhaust fans. Moreover, you have a lot of choices for kitchen chimneys, especially with the different models and advanced features. With a nice kitchen countertop, you can really give a very nice feel to the kitchen with a chimney installed in it.

Scoreline: Chimney 9 vs Exhaust Fan 4

14. Ease of Use Exhaust fans are simple to operate, they do not have any advanced features unlike chimneys. You only need to press a button to start and switch off the exhaust fan. However, there are several mode settings on a kitchen chimney. So, if you have aged members in your family, they may not find it very easy to operate a chimney.

Scoreline: Chimney 9 vs Exhaust Fan 5

15. Warranty Warranty is a must-have, especially if you are going to spend thousands on a product. Needless to say, the higher the warranty, the better it is for you as a consumer. In case of the exhaust fans, you will get a warranty of 1 or maximum 2 years. Brands such as Havells, Orient and Luminous offers a 2 year warranty on their exhaust fans. On the other hand, there are two types of warranty of every chimney. You usually get a 1 year warranty on the chimney, but a massive 5 to 10 years of warranty on the motor of the chimney.

Scoreline: Chimney 10 vs Exhaust Fan 5

Chimney vs Exhaust Fan – Which One Should I Buy?

Chimney vs Exhaust Fan - Which One Should I Buy?

We have drawn a comparison of chimney vs exhaust fan in terms of 15 different factors, so you know how these 2 appliances will work if you happen to buy one of these. Coming to the main bottomline, which one should you buy between chimney and exhaust fan, there can be a number of factors affecting your buying choice, let’s see some of those.

1. Family Size – If you stay alone or live with someone else, and have a family of 2-3 people, it does not make a lot of sense to spend a lot on a kitchen chimney, simply because you may not cook a lot in the kitchen, especially if you go to the office. On the other hand, if you have a big family or regular gatherings at home, a kitchen chimney is a must-have for you.

2. Cooking Patterns – The choice between chimney vs exhaust fan depends a lot on the culinary patterns of your family. For an example, if you have a family where diet is more preferred, a chimney may not be the best idea. For these types of kitchens, an exhaust fan will do the job. On the contrary, if deep-frying foods and paranthas is a regular in your house, you will need to get a chimney to emit out the smoke coming from those dishes.

3. Design of the Kitchen – Indian kitchens usually do not have a very good ventilation, especially if the house was designed was decades ago. Apartments in high rise residential societies have a decent ventilation. So, if you are living in one of those places, you may not need a chimney, and the exhaust fan will do the job. However, if your kitchen is not very well ventilated, you will have to spend money on the chimney.

4. Money – Not everyone wants to spend 10,000 on a chimney, so that is also a very important factor in your buying choice. In this case, you should go for the exhaust fan. If you check the price of chimney and exhaust fans, you will notice a chimney is at least 4 times as expensive as an exhaust fan.

5. Health Issues – If anyone in your family has health issues such as asthma, excessive smoke in the kitchen may prove fatal to them. If this is the case, you should buy a kitchen chimney, as it performs much better to eliminate the smoke from the kitchen as compared to an exhaust fan.

FAQs – Chimney vs Exhaust Fan

FAQs - How to Clean a Kitchen Sink

Q. Is an exhaust fan required in a kitchen with a chimney?
A. A lot of people have this question whether they can install an exhaust fan, if they already have a chimney in the kitchen. The answer is no, you should not have both the chimney and exhaust fan at the same time, as running both the tools at the same time can create air pressure fluctuation in the kitchen, which affects the suction of the chimney.

Q. What are the pros and cons of a kitchen chimney?
A. A kitchen chimney has a lot of benefits such as it helps to keep the kitchen walls free from oil and grease, vent out the smoke from the kitchen, get rid of the smell, and it is visually vert attractive. Having said this, there are a few disadvantages as well. A kitchen chimney is very expensive, plus you will have to pay special attention to its maintenance and running expenses.

Q. What are the pros and cons of an exhaust fan ?
A. A kitchen exhaust fan costs around 1,000 to 1,500 rupees in India, which means it is very inexpensive as compared to a chimney. Exhaust fans are also good at removing smoke and kitchen odours, or eliminating excessive moisture from the kitchen. Having said this, an exhaust fan cannot remove grease from the walls, and cleaning them can be a bit of a pain.

Q. What are the best exhaust fan brands in India ?
A. Luminous, Havells and Usha are some of the best exhaust fan brands in India. If you decide to buy an exhaust for the kitchen, you can check out Luminous Vento Deluxe 150 mm Exhaust Fan for Kitchen.

Q. What are the best kitchen chimney brands in India?
A. Elica, Faber, Hindware, Kaff and Eurodomo are some of the best kitchen chimney brands in India. You can check out any Faber 60 cm 1200 m³/hr Curved Glass, Autoclean Chimney or Elica 60 cm 1200 m3/hr Filterless Auto Clean Chimney.

We hope this post on “Chimney vs Exhaust Fan” was useful and informative to you. We also encourage you to read the customer reviews of any product before buying. Should you have any questions on this, feel free to leave a comment. If you want our team to review a product you are interested in buying, you can reach out to us at [email protected], and we will be happy to review it.

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