Does anyone have an opinion one or the other?
Recirculating: Only good for filling up the space it inhabits. It is there for looks only. And making noise.
A recirculating hood that cleaned the air of grease and odor to the level of the fresh replacement air resulting from use of an exhaust hood would be very large and likely fairly expensive to replace filters for. It would require a series of mechanical filters for different size ranges of particles, as well as charcoal filters for odor. The stack of filters would require a blower capable of the desired flow rate in the presence of a significant pressure drop. This would be noisier than a similar flow rated exhaust blower.
Such a system's size would only be justified in some context where exhausting cooking effluent was prohibited. I am unaware of any units sold for residential purposes that would meet my sniff test, but there may be some somewhere. A search on this forum might yield a link to a thread I recall where someone had found a unit that met his sniff test. There could also be commercial versions available.
On the plus side, recirculating systems would not need make-up air.
I am having the same issue. I currently have a recirculating one that hasn't worked since we bought the house. I plan on getting a 36" gas range (electrolux icon) and will have to go with a vented hood. My kitchen is in the front of the house, hopefully it won't be too much of an eye sore to have the exhaust vent there! But with the 36" range I don't think I have much of a choice.
I absolutely agree with everyone who says you should have external venting, but I have a recirculating hood now (no external venting option) and it does quite a bit more than just look good. At a minimum it does draw steam and smoke up and away from the room during cooking.
sjhockeyfan...which brand and model you have?
Zephyr Europa - model is Genova.
sjhockeyfan, where does your hood exhaust go?
All of the recirculating hoods I have experienced just blow the filtered air back into the kitchen.
It's recirculating, so I would assume it goes back into the kitchen, however, while things are cooking, I can see the steam and smoke being sucked up into the fan, I don't see it being blown back out, and the room is not filled with smoke, so I don't really know.