Wall and ceiling vent covers regulate airflow to and from the HVAC system in your home. Vent covers also help in redirecting the airflow of your HVAC system where proper ventilation is needed the most in your home. There are two different types of wall and ceiling vent covers that serve two separate purposes.
Register Vent Covers
The first are register vent covers. Registers redirect airflow from the main channel of your HVAC into different rooms of your home whether that is with cool air or heat. You can manipulate the amount of heat or air a room receives through the open/close feature of the register. This open/close feature is called a damper. With the use of a damper, rooms that are highly trafficked may receive more airflow while less-trafficked rooms stay closed off. With register vent covers, some can be multidirectional. What this means is that the way the slats on the vents are angled allows different directions of airflow. Some registers can allow up to four different angles of airflow while others may diffuse all the air into one single direction.
Grille Vent Covers
The second type of vent cover are a grille vent covers. Grilles have the opposite purpose of registers, which is pulling air from rooms back to the main HVAC channel for recirculation. Because recirculation is needed, grilles do not have the damper feature like a register vent cover does. Grilles are often placed in hallways between rooms.
How to Use Vent Covers
Both register and grille vent covers come in plastic, metal, and wood as well as a wide variety of styles. Some have energy efficient features that may come at a higher cost than a cover with a more simple design. Black vent covers work well in a home with a more modern vibe and darker decor. Whereas brown/tan vent covers are great in a traditional home with wood paneling. White vent covers blend in great with white walls for a seamless touch. There are also decorative vent covers that can be matched to the design of furniture, trim, and color scheme of the room.
You will see that there are plenty of options to find the vent cover that best fits your home. We have researched the best register vent covers for walls and ceilings based on unique designs/features that we see as paramount when making your decision. We will also include what we have found as the best grille vent cover for recirculating air from your hallway.
Four Recommendations When Choosing Your Vent Cover
- Dampers: If looking for a register vent cover, pay close attention to the quality of the damper. If the damper does not function fully in closing and opening your vent cover, you will not be getting the full benefits of your HVAC system in your household.
- Design: Confirm first the style of the room before choosing the design of your vent cover. Say the vent cover is for your living room that will have a very traditional look– then you need to match your vent cover to the overall design that this room will have.
- Priorities: Determine what is important to you with your vent cover. Are you looking for something with easy installation or something more durable and longer lasting? Is energy efficiency important to you? Prioritize what is important to you, and this will help narrow down your vent cover options.
- Measure Ahead: Before shopping, you always need to measure the openings in your wall/ceiling for your register or grille vent covers. Vent covers come in all shapes and sizes and the last thing you want is a vent cover that doesn’t fit.
Best Wall & Ceiling Vent Covers Comparison
Best for a simple design
The EZ-Flo Sidewall/Ceiling vent cover has a versatile design and modern white look. This register has a very simple white design great for both residential and commercial spaces. It has a two-directional airflow design which you can see from the different angle slats on the face of the cover. The vent cover is also made out of metal which can be longer laster than some plastic vent covers.
After assessing this vent cover ourselves, one downfall we did find was the quality of the screws for this vent cover. While the installation process is still pretty quick and easy, the screws seem to be on the cheaper side and not as sharp as higher-quality screws. As for dimensions, this register comes in all different sizes, and the price fluctuates based upon size.
Finally, the lever used for opening and closing the vents was jammed even before we used it. However, we were able to make this work smoothly after adding some simple WD-40.
When compared to the Rocky Mountain Goods register vent, this vent looks and feels higher quality, but is actually not made with great materials. Similar to the issue with the vent open/close lever, it shows that this is not made with the best materials. Finally, the vent cover has cheap screws so you may need to use your own.
Best for low budgets
This register vent cover may not have the pristine look of the white design above, but it is great for the wallet. At just $8 per cover without sacrificing quality, this Rocky Mountain Goods vent cover is our pick for budget-friendly folks. The damper on this register is a rolling mechanism allowing as much or as little airflow as needed. With uniformly angled slats, the register diffuses air in one direction.
Out least favorite aspect is the color or look. Unless you have a brown wall or dark wooden ceiling, then this vent cover will not fit the look and feel of your room. Additionally, there is no special design or texture to the vent cover – its vanilla and plain. When compared to the Decor Grates vent cover, this one is better priced but made with lower-quality materials. Finally, the register vent can only flap in one direction, reducing the airflow capacity. The lever is also not flush with the side of the vent cover, which makes it move up and down smoothly.
Best decorative vent cover
If you are looking to make more of a statement with your wall or ceiling register then this Decor Grates model would be a great choice. Instead of horizontally or vertically oriented outer grates, this one features an Asian-inspired pattern that creates a decorative grid.
This is a steel-plated wall vent cover that features an attractive brushed nickel finish. Another interesting feature is the high-impact plastic damper box. Most damper boxes are made of metal but the problem with metal damper boxes is that they can rust up and start to squeak. That’s not something you’ll have to worry about with this wall/ceiling vent grill, though.
The problem with this vent cover is the price and vent levers. When compared to the Deflecto and Rocky Mountain ceiling vent covers, this is made with better materials. However, better materials come with a higher price. But do you need the highest quality materials with a vent cover? In our opinion, no. A vent cover is a vent cover, and differences in performance are hard to measure. Therefore, we would consider this cover to be overpriced. Finally, there is no lever to adjust the direction of airflow. Having the ability to adjust airflow direction is a key consideration for most customers, including us.
Best ceiling vent cover
This is a very unique type of wall vent cover. The outer grille features both horizontally and vertically aligned fins. If you have a larger room that needs good air coverage, this model would be a good choice. The distinct features don’t end there, though. This vent cover is made of polypropylene plastic, which is beneficial for a couple of reasons.
Firstly, you don’t have to worry about the levers sticking because they’ve rusted it. Second, when this vent cover gets dirty, you can easily remove it and clean it in the dishwasher! The plastic design also keeps the weight down, which makes this vent cover easier to install and eliminates safety hazards.
When compared to the other covers on our list, this cover offers the ability to control airflow in multiple different directions. Most customers think this is important.
We aren’t fans of the plastic material, however. Not because it affects the performance of the vent cover, but because it looks tacky in a really nice room. It’s pretty easy to tell that this cover is plastic and not metal.
The Benefits of Wall Vent Covers
It’s important to get the highest quality product you can find when choosing wall vent covers. The right product will increase the efficiency of your heater and air conditioner. Subsequently, this means that your AC and/or furnace won’t have to work as hard to cool/heat your home – increasing their longevity.
Plus, the perfect wall vent cover can actually add to the aesthetic appeal of your home or commercial business. Then there is the air quality factor: good wall vent covers can help keep irritating particles from your ducts out of your rooms. If you suffer from allergies, this is a huge boon.
What to Look for in a Wall Vent Cover
You will want to prioritize certain features based on your own needs and preferences. As a general rule of thumb though, here are some of the features you may want to insist on.
- Tight Closing Louvers – Some louvers form a very loose seal when shut. If you want to be able to direct stronger air flow in other rooms in your house though, look for louvers that close up tight.
- Metal or Plastic Design – Metal vent covers are durable. Plastic ones are easier to install. Choose according to your preferences.
- Dimensions – Before you start shopping, make sure that you have carefully measured the dimensions of your wall or ceiling HVAC registers.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can you cover a wall vent?
Some manufacturers do make products called magnetic vent covers. They use a magnetic layer to form a bond with metal wall vent covers to cover them up. You should be aware however that covering a wall vent will restrict airflow in a room and may cause some problems with your HVAC system.
What are vent covers called?
Vent covers go by many names. Sometimes they’re called vent grilles, wall register covers or simply vents. They all refer to the same thing, however.
How are wall vent covers measured?
This is an important question. When measuring to see what size wall vent cover you will need, do not measure the wall vent cover itself. Instead, you have to remove the wall vent cover and measure the dimensions of the actual vent opening. Wall vent cover manufacturers list product size in relation to the size of the actual register opening.
The right wall vent cover can increase the comfort of your home and help keep your family healthy. While they are easily overlooked, it’s important to choose yours carefully. There are many different types made for many different preferences.
On the above list, there are products that represent different people’s tastes and needs. If you are more concerned about looks, there is a model for you. If you want ease of installation, you will find a good fit on the list. If you want high functionality you will find it in all the products mentioned above. Have your measurements ready and your preferences firmly in mind then check out the wall vent covers above!