It might not always be possible for you to vent the kitchen’s contaminated air through the wall or ceiling using the overhead range hoods. Or you might be someone who likes to have a more open looking, clean, and clutter-free cooking space rather than a huge hanging or mounted ventilation system.
But, of course, you need to trap or vent out the grease, smoke, oil fumes, odors, and other airborne particles from your kitchen’s air. So they don’t end up on ledges, curtains, cabinets, and other appliances while creating an unhealthy and suffocating environment.
If this is the case, you probably have heard of or found out that downdraft range hoods or downdraft ventilation can help.
But you might be wondering what a downdraft range hood is?
Also Read: Top Notch Slideout Range Hood Reviews
Table Of Contents
- 1 What Is Downdraft Range Hood ?
- 2 Do Downdrafts Work?
- 3 Where Downdrafts Work Best?
- 4 Top 3 Best Downdraft Range Hood Reviews 2021
What Is Downdraft Range Hood ?
A downdraft range hood is a nearly invisible venting system that sucks fumes within and then pushes them downward, out through a duct running beneath the floor, while keeping the sightlines open.
They are slim, retractable range hood and are inserted at the back or side of a stove. At the press of a button or using a remote control, they raise and lower. They’re also known as pop-up downdraft vents or telescopic downdraft vents because they’re hidden behind and below the cooking appliance when not in use and pop-up when needed.
However, the effectiveness of downdraft ventilation or range hoods is often questioned. So, before discussing the best options available in the market, let’s first settle if they are useful or even work. Or how much can you expect from them, and what are the best conditions to have then installed or where they perform best?
Do Downdrafts Work?
The quick and straightforward answer is they’re better than nothing, or maybe. Downdrafts are probably the least effective at cleaning and exhausting. The one solid reason behind their low efficiency is they have no capture area above the cooking pots. So, they might not handle a vast quantity of smoke, steam, and fumes. Hence, it’s not suggested to use them for professional cooking style and/or with higher output range stoves (over 15,000 BTU).
Where Downdrafts Work Best?
They’re compatible with gas, electric, and induction cooktops. Still, a worth mentioning factor is their powerful suction can steal heat from the burners (especially gas), making the temperature inconsistent for cooking.
They’re generally inserted behind or at the side of burners, which is why they work well on islands and peninsulas or anywhere where a traditional hood might be challenging to insult.
But keep in mind that you have approximately 8 to 19 inches clear space for them to rise up fully. There shouldn’t be any obstruction between them and the burners to work them effectively. Which is why they work best with cooking tops or stove whose bigger burners are towards the rear end or close to them. Moreover, using shallow pots and pans for grilling, frying, and other similar cooking styles can help them work effectively rather than long and deep pots.
Enough explained that now let’s see the best downdrafts on the market that might fit your needs and budget without compromising value.
Top 3 Best Downdraft Range Hood Reviews 2021
Let’s start our list of best downdraft range hoods with this beautifully designed stainless steel downdraft range hood. This ventilation system is designed to go inside a slide behind your stove. No matter what is your cooking appliance, whether a free-standing range, gas or electric cooktop, range top, slide-in, or a built-in oven with a cooktop, it can be installed with any of them and works absolutely well.
When you’re cooking, and air needs to be cleaned from grease, steam, and oil fumes, you can raise it up to approximately 18 inches height from the countertop. Its unique vertex complete capture design pulls the maximum vapors even from the pots on the front burner while giving you a refreshing and healthy cooking environment.
Though it’s effortless to raise and lower it with the push of a button, you’re also benefited with an optional remote control to slide it up and down, such an excellent feature.
Moreover, another good thing about this is heat sentry. It’s an automated feature that increments the speed to a higher level when excessive heat is detected in your kitchen. So you don’t have to worry about controlling speed manually. This automation not only prevents damage from extreme heat but also increases the life of your product.
It has a very easy to read and clean Glass Touch Control on the front-left side, containing self-explanatory icons for different functions. Such as a 10-minute time-delay shut-off, enabling you to leave your kitchen and enjoy your meal while the hood is doing its job, and 4 fan speed settings. It also has 2 LED light bars at the upper front to illuminate your cooking surface and pots brilliantly in the dark. And you can adjust the light intensity from the touch controls.
Above all, it’s self-closing caps hide it completely when it’s lowered. So you get an unobstructed and clutter-free original look of your kitchen back without compromising on the aesthetics.
For installation, you will need about 10 to 12 inches of space behind the cooking appliance. Moreover, you’ll need to buy the fan motor or blower separately, so it’s an additional cost, unlike traditional range hoods.
- Aesthetically appealing stainless steel finish
- Smoothly goes behind your stove and fits tightly in the slide
- Works with virtually every cooking appliance
- Gives multiple venting options; rear, front, bottom, sides
- Optional remote control included for distance controlling
- Time-delay automatic shut-off and heat sentry feature
- Glass touch control 4-speed setting and LED light bars
- Completely out of sight when not in use
- Works with optional automatic make-up air dampers
- Requires additional blower and venting hardware purchase
- Might be tricky to install
If an aesthetically appealing downdraft is your priority with some excellent features such as heat sentry, optional remote control, time delay shut-off, and bright LED lights, but you’re willing to pay for the external blower, then you wouldn’t probably go wrong with Best D49M30SB downdraft.
Next on our list is the 273603 eclipse downdraft range hood by Broan-NuTone, a 36-inch stainless steel downdraft with 500 CFM (cubic feet per minute) blower.
This size and speed should be enough to handle your light to medium cooking needs on an average 36-inch stove. The 500 CFM power blower should effectively and quickly suck all the steam, smoke, and odors from the kitchen air leaving behind a clean and fresh atmosphere.
Like the downdraft mentioned above, it is also compatible with virtually all self-contained cooktops, both electric and gas. So you get the freedom to pick any cooking appliance depending on your needs and kitchen design. But, just like any other downdraft, it might not work with a freestanding stove/oven with a control panel at the back because that will be in the way for the vent to collect the exhaust.
Moreover, keep in mind that the island with the underneath oven might compete for the same counter space because it utilizes the under-counter cabinet space for installation where the actual working range hood vent pops up to probably 7 inches above the counter surface. It retracts down flush to the countertop when not in use, like other downdrafts.
The speed control on the unit’s side gives you infinite speed options. But, the fan might be a bit noisier, especially at the higher speed when pulling more air. The unit also makes a sound while raising. So, consider the noise factor if you opt for this product.
Unlike the first-mentioned downdraft, you probably wouldn’t need to buy any additional parts for installation; however, the ductwork is mandatory to exhaust airborne contaminants outside. It’s relatively lightweight too at only 37.1 pounds while measuring 29.5” high, 7” deep, and 36” wide. As a bonus, you get a 1-year warranty on this product.
- Great value at a reasonable price
- Quality performance
- Infinite speed option with the rotary knob
- Multiple vent options; right, left, directly down
- Backed by a one-year warranty
- Easy to install, use, and clean
- Nosier than expect
So, if you’re looking for a 36-inch size and 500 CFM downdraft that’s lightweight as well and offer infinite speed options, but you’re willing to compromise on the noise, the Broan-NuTone 273603 Eclipse Downdraft might be a good pick with a 1-year warranty.
Moving next, we’ve UVB30KBB downdraft range hood by GF. It’s a 30-inch size downdraft that makes it a good option for the same size stove and cooktops; however, the 370 CFM power might be low for certain cooking styles. Its basic design should work with virtually all kitchen designs.
One advantage of this downdraft over the other mentioned options is, it’s HVI (Home Ventilating Institute) certified, so you don’t need to worry about performance and value. Having 4 fan speeds, you’re able to adjust the speed to effectively remove smoke, odors, grease, steam, and other air particles.
It’s easy to maintain, as well. When the filters have done enough job of cleaning the air and trapping all the grease and need cleaning, you can easily remove them and clean and fit them again. Moreover, you don’t have to worry about unnecessary noise while it’s operating.
It’s 30 inches wide, 27 inches high, and 9.5 inches deep, but the telescopic height is 8 ½ inches. Having 69 pounds weight, it’s a relatively heavy option. Another benefit is cost-effectiveness. It comes with all the necessary and relevant accessories for the installation and getting it started working.
- Reasonably priced
- Basic design but pair well with modem kitchens
- Easy to remove and clean filters
- Doesn’t create extreme noise during operation
- Might be under-powered at only 370 CFM
So, if your cooking needs are not that fancy or professional and a low-profile downdraft with good power is what you’re looking for. In that case, you can opt for GE UVB30DKBB 30 inch Downdraft Range Hood without breaking your bank account.
In a nutshell, downdrafts are a practical solution for having a clean and minimal look or when you’re not able to install a traditional overhead or updraft range hood. By raising up to certain inches, they pull vapors and duct them. But, they have to work harder as they work against the natural airflow and pull the steam downward rising from the hot pans.
To get the maximum results, you should downdraft properly. Use an appropriate duct size so that the air could move freely. Use metal in the ductwork, not plastic. And try to keep the bends and length as minimum as possible because more length and turns reduce efficiency. For maximum power, check if you can install an outside blower. And make sure the downdraft you’re going to buy separately is compatible with your current range or stove.