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Buying guide for best downdraft range hoods

As anyone who loves to cook knows, the smoke, grease, and odors created within a kitchen can build up fast. The best way to combat these culinary by-products is through some form of range hood. But not all kitchens are capable of supporting a giant overhead conventional range hood. For these kitchens, a downdraft range hood may be an option.

Downdraft range hoods offer a more compact alternative to conventional range hoods. Downdraft range hoods are installed next to a stove or other cooktop surface, and many of them remain hidden until they “telescope” up for use. Vented through the floor, they offer a unique solution for compact kitchens, kitchen islands, and other settings where conventional range hoods are either not wanted or not practical.

Read on to learn everything you need to know about downdraft range hoods before you set out to buy one. In addition to downdraft range hood power, size, and installation specifics, we will dive into some of the features, from lighting to filters, that you will encounter. We round this out with an examination of downdraft range hood pricing, and offer up some of our favorites.

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One big plus of this type of hood: when a downdraft range hood is not being used, it is invisible, which can really open up your kitchen.

Key considerations


Some downdraft range hoods offer a basic design, while others are more elegant. A brushed stainless steel finish is quite common for downdraft range hoods, with black or white also popular. While downdraft range hoods are largely hidden when not in use, you should still consider the appearance of any downdraft range hood you are considering carefully, keeping your kitchen’s décor in mind.


Downdraft range hoods range in size from 30 inches in width up to 48 inches. Again, consider your kitchen carefully before choosing a downdraft range hood size. Too large, and you will have trouble fitting it into a more compact kitchen. Alternately, buying one that is undersized may undermine its effectiveness at removing grease and smoke. Some downdraft range hoods have components that can interfere with the space a range needs, and as such should only be installed with a surface mount stovetop. Be sure that any downdraft range hood you buy will fit your stove and counter space.


The power of a downdraft range hood to remove grease, odors, and smoke is measured in cubic feet per minute (CFM). Downdraft range hoods range from around 370 CFM up to a high of 1,600 CFM, with the majority falling into the 500-900 CFM range. Basically, the higher the number here, the more effective it will be at removing cooking residue.

Ease of cleaning

When compared to cleaning conventional range hoods (which typically require a ladder and much more work), downdraft range hoods are usually quite easy to clean. A brushed stainless steel finish on a downdraft range hood will be easier to wipe down and keep clean than other finishes. Standard with the majority of downdraft range hoods are also removable filters, which can be popped out of the hood and run through the dishwasher to strip grease and odors from them.

Noise level

While downdraft range hoods generally receive high marks for being fairly quiet (particularly in relation to conventional range hoods), some will create more noise than others. Hoods with more power can be louder, as can physically larger hoods. Spend some time in a hood listing’s comments section to pick up on any noise problems a downdraft range hood may have.

In addition to traditional stove tops, downdraft range hoods can be used in areas such as kitchen islands where it is often difficult to mount a conventional range hood.




As previously noted, one convenient feature of downdraft range hoods is that they have removable filters that can be washed in the dishwasher. 


While not as common as lighting in conventional range hoods, some downdraft range hoods will include built-in lighting to help illuminate the cooking surface.


In addition to controls to raise the hood and switch it on, all downdraft range hoods offer some way to adjust the fan speed. While some have a simple high/low setting, the majority of downdraft range hoods feature anywhere from three to six fan speed options. A few downdraft range hoods also include a remote control, so you can easily start the fan or control its speed from a distance.

Temperature sensors and auto-shutoff

Two more common features of downdraft range hoods can help to turn the hood on or shut it down, offering both improved safety and convenience. A temperature sensor can detect high heat and automatically trigger the hood to rise and turn on. And the addition of an auto-shutoff will allow you to set the hood’s controls so that it will automatically turn off after a specific period of time.

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So long as they physically fit the stove, downdraft range hoods can be used with a variety of cooktops, including gas, electric, and induction stoves.

Downdraft range hood prices

While cheaper than a conventional range hood, downdraft range hoods can still set you back a bit. These hoods run from $500 for a simple hood up to $3,000 or more for more professional-level models.

At the lowest price points, you will find downdraft range hoods that offer minimal power and take up little space. You won’t find much in the way of advanced features with these models, and they are largely made for use with cooktops built into an island or as part of other setups where conventional range hoods can be difficult to install.

As the price rises, expect to find larger hoods, more power, and a variety of advanced features that can include built-in lighting and remote controls. At $3,000 and above, downdraft range hoods of 48-inches that approach the performance of conventional range hoods are common.


  • Boost your bottom line. If price is a primary issue, consider going with a downdraft range hood over a conventional range hood. Conventional range hoods can be much more expensive to buy and install.
  • Ensure proper ventilation. One downside of installing one of these in a smaller kitchen is that a downdraft range hood needs a certain amount of ventilation to work effectively. If you do wish to install one of these in a compact kitchen, be sure that it is well-ventilated first.
  • Choose an established brand. When shopping for a downdraft range hood, consider going with a known brand such as GE or Broan. These well-known brands often offer a higher quality product than lesser-known brands, and can be easier to repair.
  • Is the blower included? Some downdraft range hoods will include blowers, while others will not, requiring an additional expense. Know what you will be receiving before placing your order.
  • Consider an optional trim kit. Some companies offer trim kits that you can purchase separately. These allow you to alter the appearance of the hood so it fits better with your kitchen décor.
  • Avoid downdraft range hoods that are ventless or ductless. Although ventless and ductless models can remove grease and some odors, other odors and smoke will just be blown around the kitchen, rather than being vented outside.

The perfect time to install a downdraft range hood is during a complete kitchen makeover, when the countertops are going in.

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For serious cooks, a conventional range hood may be a better option due to its greater power, larger capture area, and ability to work with all cookware.


Q. Will downdraft range hoods work with all cookware?

A. Due to their low profile — fully extended hoods only rise an average of 8 to 10 inches — downdraft range hoods are not particularly effective with taller pots. They do work effectively with sauté pans and shallower pots, so long as these pots are used close enough to the hood. Depending on the power of the hood, some pots on distant burners may not be close enough to draw in smoke and grease from them. When you first install your downdraft range hood, experiment with different size pans and all your range’s various burners to familiarize yourself with the hood’s capabilities and limitations.

Q. What is the difference between a telescopic and a non-telescopic vent?

A. Telescopic and non-telescopic downdraft vents are the two main types of downdraft range hoods. Telescopic vents — also known as pop-up vents — are only visible when they are being used. They are usually triggered by a button, at which point they rise up to anywhere from 8-18 inches and can then be used to vent smoke, grease, and odors. When not in use, they drop down and are flush with the cooking surface. Non-telescopic vents are typically built right into the surface of the stove, and as such are generally only found in new stoves. While they are also usually started with a push button, they do not rise up to work.

Q. How easy are downdraft range hoods to install?

A. This will vary, depending on your current system. If you are installing a downdraft range hood with an existing ductwork system, installation should not be that difficult. If you are installing a downdraft range hood from scratch, however, you may be better off hiring a contractor. While it’s usually easier to install than a conventional range hood system, a downdraft range hood system will still use ductwork and a vent to the outside of your house. This will be above the skill and comfort level of many homeowners. Note also that downdraft range hoods typically don’t ship with the ductwork required to install them. In other words, you or your contractor will need to purchase, design, and install the venting system.

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