Open kitchen with gas stovetop on center granite countertop island

What is a Downdraft Range or Cooktop?

Downdraft ranges and cooktops are available in gas or electric configurations and feature an integrated venting system built into the surface of the cooktop. You can also find downdraft venting in downdraft hoods that install behind a traditional range or cooktop. These systems eliminate the need for overhead venting by a traditional range hood or over-the-range microwave, clearing up space above the cooktop and creating a sleek aesthetic in the kitchen.

How Does a Downdraft Range Work?

Downdraft ranges and cooktops feature an integrated ventilation system built into the cooktop surface that draws fumes, smoke and steam across the cooktop and into the vent. Air is then either vented outside or filtered and recirculated back into the kitchen, depending on the downdraft model. Downdraft hoods are installed behind the appliance and rise up when in use, then retract when you’re finished.

Silver downdraft range hood Silver downdraft range hood

Benefits of a Downdraft Range or Cooktop

Ranges and cooktops with downdraft ventilation can include powerful motors that help clear the air and provide a convenient venting solution for kitchens with tall ceilings or cooktops on a kitchen island with an open concept you don't want to disrupt. Some other benefits of downdraft systems include:

  • More flexibility for placement of cooktop or range

  • Extra overhead space in cabinets above

  • Accommodation for kitchens without overhead hood space

  • Quick access to filters for cleaning

  • Minimalist, contemporary aesthetic

  • Built into downdraft models or easily added as a downdraft hood

Kitchen with electric stovetop beneath wall mount canopy range hood Kitchen with electric stovetop beneath wall mount canopy range hood

What is the Difference Between a Range With Downdraft Vs. Hood Ventilation?

A traditional range hood mounts above the cooktop surface and vents steam, grease and odors as they rise, while ranges with downdraft ventilation feature venting integrated into the cooktop or range surface. Downdraft ventilation on a range is often located in the middle of the cooktop, pulling air across the cooktop surface and into the ventilation system.

If you already own a standard range or cooktop and want to utilize a downdraft system, you can add a downdraft range hood to your existing setup. Just install the downdraft range hood behind your gas or electric range, like these retractable downdraft range hoods from Maytag brand.

How Does a Downdraft Range Hood Work?

Unlike a downdraft range or cooktop with an integrated venting system, downdraft range hoods are a separate appliance that can be installed behind most standard ranges or cooktops. These hoods are often retractable and rise several inches above the cooktop surface when activated to capture smoke and steam. Downdraft hoods from Maytag brand feature a dual centrifugal blower that operates more quietly than a bladed fan, offering a discreet aesthetic and sound.

Do Downdraft Ranges or Hoods Need to be Vented Outside?

Downdraft ventilation can be vented outside through the floor or wall, or configured to recirculate filtered air back into the kitchen using a duct-free vent accessory. Not all downdraft ranges, cooktops and hoods include these accessories, but ductless downdraft vent kits can often fit multiple cooktop or range brands, helping you avoid costly kitchen renovations for outside venting.

Close-up of blue flames on gas stovetop burners Close-up of blue flames on gas stovetop burners

Can You Use a Downdraft System With a Gas Cooktop?

Downdraft systems integrate well with gas cooktops and ranges, whether they come built in or are added as a downdraft hood. When venting with a downdraft system on a gas cooktop, it’s best to use a lower fan speed or a higher burner setting for optimal cooking performance, as venting from the hood can impact heat transfer between the burner and the dishes cooking above.

 Close-up of electric cooktop with black knob controls  Close-up of electric cooktop with black knob controls

Can You Use a Downdraft System With an Electric Cooktop?

Downdraft venting is compatible with electric cooktops and available on a variety of electric ranges and cooktops across brands. Downdraft range hoods can also be installed behind any standard electric cooktop. These systems are most effective when turned on prior to operating heating elements and work best when tall pots are closest to the vent. Due to airflow across the cooktop during venting, you can optimize cooking performance by using a higher heat setting when cooking foods.

How Much Space do you Need to Install a Downdraft Range, Cooktop or Hood?

Installation requirements for downdraft ranges, cooktops and hoods vary from model to model. Freestanding or slide-in downdraft ranges typically require the same cabinet opening dimensions as standard ranges, but may have unique installation instructions for venting to the outside of your home. Downdraft cooktops house the venting system below the cooktop, inside of lower cabinets. They usually require about 30 inches between the top of the cooktop and bottom of the cabinet, depending on the cooktop dimensions.

Downdraft hoods are installed behind the cooktop and designed for use in a cabinet at least 24 inches deep, though some models require more depth. Because downdraft hoods are also housed in the cabinet below, you’ll typically need a cabinet about 30 inches deep for the motor box. Consult a professional for more help on outfitting your kitchen for a downdraft range, cooktop or hood.

Shop Maytag® Downdraft Range Hoods

Retractable downdraft range hoods from Maytag brand provide powerful venting for your kitchen. Touch-activated telescoping lets you raise or retract the vent hood with the touch of a button and a powerful blower motor quickly helps clear the air.

Learn More from Maytag® Kitchen Appliance Experts

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