I don’t see very many range hoods being used in the houses in my neighborhood. It’s probably because most people here cook in open areas using charcoal-based stoves. In contrast, I cook indoors using propane which results in a lot of fumes and odours accumulating in my kitchen. In order to get rid it, I needed a range hood. I chose the Elba ALD-50BK/WH.
The Elba was one of the reasonably priced ones that had a stainless steel chassis. Since my stove was stainless steel as well and I was into matching appliances, the Elba stood out from the rest. After 3 years of use, it satisfied all of my requirements for a quality range hood. They are as follows: a powerful, multi-speed motor, an overhead light, and an easy to clean filter.
The 3-speed motor was powerful even at its lowest setting. As an added bonus, it was also quiet. The overhead light used an incandescent based light bulb -shaped like a hotdog- that adequately illuminated the cooking area. (I’ve not yet had to replace this bulb in the years I’ve been using it.) The mesh filter was wonderfully easy to clean and was durable unlike the filters being used in similarly priced models.
Typically, range hood filters is comprised of a multiple, soft aluminum mesh layered on top of each other until it resembles a Scotch-Brite scouring pad. Like a scouring pad, these types of filters will eventually have grease build up in the open areas of the mesh. Using a brush to clean it will work at first, but over time, the mesh will deform due to the softness of the aluminum resulting in a useless filter. By contrast, the Elba filter uses a rigid, perforated aluminum sheet instead of a mesh. This means that you can clean it with a brush as often as you wish without worrying about deforming it.
Where the Elba failed was in the test of time. More specifically, the switches that powered both the overhead light and motor broke. What happened was a colony of some type of insect found its way inside the switch block and prevented it from engaging when pressed. Furthermore, the switches were anchored to the chassis in a very unusual way, making it extremely difficult to repair.
After weighing the pros and cons in my mind, I gave this range hood a thumbs DOWN. Elba should have designed a better switch that would prevent this sort of thing from happening. All that needed to be done was the insertion of a simple O ring washer around the areas where the insects got inside the switches. This is a simple fix that would have earned this product a favorable review.
* Not the actual photo.