Top 3 Best Downdraft Range Hoods (2024 Review)

Do you want to find the best downdraft range hood?

In this guide, you'll discover:

  • Our #1 top pick for downdraft range hoods
  • How downdraft hoods work
  • Tips on picking the right vent
  • And more!
best downdraft vents (1)

As a licensed property inspector, I have seen a number of downdraft hoods over the years, but they are still pretty rare!

The best part about downdraft vents is that they take up minimal space, and sometimes they even rise up out of the countertop. Downdraft range hoods provide a compact and elegant way to exhaust cooking fumes from an island cooktop or kitchens with very tall ceilings.

Below is a quick list of the best downdraft vents. Keep scrolling to learn more about how to choose and use the best downdraft vent hoods.

ImageProduct
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Broan-Nutone Eclipse
  • 500-cfm
  • Stainless Steel
  • Compact
  • 500-cfm
  • Stainless Steel
  • Compact
View on Amazon
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Zephyr Europa
  • 500-cfm
  • Heat Sentry
  • Auto Delay Off
  • 500-cfm
  • Heat Sentry
  • Auto Delay Off
View on Amazon
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Broan Elite Rangemaster
  • Stainless Steel
  • 500-cfm
  • Tall Height
  • Stainless Steel
  • 500-cfm
  • Tall Height
View on Amazon

My Overall #1 Rated Pick

eclipse broan
  • 500-cfm fan speed (great for most kitchens)
  • Stainless steel for durability
  • Compact & space saving
  • 36-inch width
  • For cooktops only

My overall top pick for the best downdraft range hood goes to the Broan-Nutone Eclipse. This 36-inch downdraft range hood (see the 30-inch version here) is rated at 500-cfm which is more than enough power for most kitchens. Due to its design, it is highly compact and will save space — great for island cooktops or kitchens with tall ceilings. It is also made of stainless steel for a durable finish. 

Top 3 Best Downdraft Range Hoods

Are you in a hurry? Check out our top 3 downdraft range hoods below! Keep reading for our buyer's guide and the detailed review for each pick.

What Is A Downdraft Vent?

A downdraft range hood is a type of kitchen exhaust appliance that is built into the cabinet either behind or to the side of the cooktop.

Most of these hoods have a motor which allows the range hood to rise up when it is needed, but some downdrafts stay flat and do not rise up. Their shape is usually rectangular and thin which helps with it's slim profile when it's turned on.

Downdraft hoods allow the cooking surface to be clear or flat when not in use which is their biggest advantage. Homeowners love downdraft range hoods especially for islands where an overhead range hood would obstruct the line of sight.

Read Also >> What Are The Code Requirements For Range Hood Venting?

How Do Downdraft Hoods Work?

Downdraft range hoods are motorized and can rise up next to a cooktop anywhere from a low of 7-inches and all the way up to around 19-inches.

When a downdraft range hood is near the cooktop (rather than overhead), it pulls the fumes into a vent underneath the cabinet, and from there either to a side wall or under the floor to the outside through a metal duct.

Downdraft range hoods are generally in the range of 500-cfm to 750-cfm (fan speed).

Some downdraft range hoods can also be connected to remote controls so you can turn it on or off even when you are in another room.

Effectiveness

Downdraft range hoods can be highly effective at removing steam, odors, and grease from your kitchen.

The higher the downdraft vent rises up from the cooktop or range — the more effective it will be since it can suck in fumes at a higher angle. Also, the higher the CFM or fan speed of the downdraft vent, the greater it's effectiveness.

However, due to their design, they will never be equal in performance to overhead range hoods since it pulls in steam from the sides rather than overhead.

But for many homeowners the aesthetics of a downdraft vent are more important.

Read Also >> Do Range Hoods Have To Vent Outside?

best downdraft range hood (2)

How To Pick The Best Downdraft Ventilation System?

Here are a few of the basic decisions to make when buying a downdraft venting system...

1. Verify Compatibility

Almost all downdraft range hoods are designed to be installed with self-contained cooktops (gas or electric) rather than slide-in ranges. The traditional installation of downdrafts is behind the cooktop, so there needs to be enough room in the cabinet for the hood, motor and ducting.

Slide-In Ovens

Most conventional slide-in ovens will simply not have the room to fit a downdraft vent along with the ductwork. However, homeowners may be able to install it to the side of the oven rather than the rear.

There are also a few downdraft vent models that have external blowers which may be able to work with a slide-in oven. The motor is installed in a different location such as in the basement or utility room which allows more room for the downdraft vent.

Homeowners should check with the manufacturer and verify there is space for an installation.

2. Consider The Ducting

Downdraft hoods typically have ducting that goes through the kitchen floor and into a crawlspace or unfinished basement and then to the outside. Homeowners may be able to install the duct through the rear or side of the cabinet and then to the outside — if the range is installed next to or near an exterior wall.

As an example, the Broan-NuTone Eclipse has three duct exit locations on the hood: the bottom, right-side, and left-side. The ducting should be kept as short as possible to the exterior and to minimize the number of bends.

It is essential to plan out the ducting and factor in any floor joist, wall stud, electrical or plumbing obstructions. We recommend carefully considering the ducting installation prior to the purchase.

3. CFM

The power of range hood downdraft vents is measured in CFM which stands for cubic feet per minute. CFM is a measurement of how much air the hood can exhaust in one minute.

There are several ways to estimate the needed CFM for a range hood, but the most common rule is to pick at least 100-CFM per linear foot of the cooking surface.

Alternatively, another guideline is 1-CFM per 100-BTU of total burner output for gas ranges.

Read Also >> How To Pick The CFM (Fan Speed) For A Range Hood?

4. Physical Dimensions

Homeowners need to verify that the downdraft vent will actually fit into the countertop space behind or to the side of the cooktop.

The downdraft hood should at least match the width of the range or cooktop. A hood that is less than the width won't be as effective at capturing steam, smoke, and grease.

And since the vent rises from the cooktop 7-14 inches, there shouldn't be any vertical obstructions. There also should be enough space at the rear for it to operate correctly, the Broan-NuTone Eclipse requires at least 2-inches of countertop BEHIND the vent.

Lastly, the cabinet and countertop itself should be at least 28-inches or more in order to have the room for the hood itself and the ducting underneath.

We recommend checking with the manufacturer for the physical requirements of the install or reading the installation manual.

5. Outlet

There needs to be an accessible outlet inside the cabinet for the downdraft hood. 

It is possible that there isn't room behind the downdraft for an outlet and it may need to be located on the side. Another option is to install an outlet on the exterior wall if it's just behind the cabinet — cutting out a hole in the cabinet for the cord.

Read Also >> What Are The Best Ductless Range Hoods?

How To Install A Telescopic Downdraft System?

Below are some of the basic steps to install a downdraft range hood. Please verify with the manufacturer's installation manual for your specific model.

  1. Install Electrical Outlet If Needed: Downdraft vents need power through an outlet. If there isn't an outlet inside the cabinet, a new one will need to be installed. The hood can also be installed on a rear wall outlet with the cord going through a hole in the cabinet.
  2. Cut Hole In Countertop: Use the provided template to mark out the hole for the downdraft unit and carefully cut it out.
  3. Drop In Downdraft Vent: Carefully place the downdraft hood into the hole and fasten it in place with the provided screws. Shims may be needed for a straight fit and use any leveling brackets provided by the manufacturer.
  4. Install Ductwork: Cut out a hole in the cabinet and floor or wall for the ducting (if it hasn't been done previously) and connect the ductwork. Make sure there isn't any plumbing, electrical, joist, or stud in the way of the duct.
  5. Plug In Vent: Connect the power cord to the outlet inside the cabinet or on the wall.

Our Reviews of the Best Downdraft Range Hoods

Here are my full reviews (with their pros and cons) of the top rated downdraft range hoods. Check it out below...

The Eclipse by Broan-Nutone is a high quality 36-inch downdraft range hood that is compatible with almost all kitchen cooktops. You can see the 30-inch Eclipse model here.

It is made of durable stainless steel so it will last for a long time and hold up to acids and kitchen grease.

The adjustable speed control is flush on the side of the range hood for a nice look. The 36-inch Eclipse is rated at 500-cfm which is more than enough power for most kitchens.

Pros
  • 500-cfm
  • Stainless steel
  • Compact and space saving
Cons
  • Somewhat noisy

The Europa by Zephyr is a premium 36-inch downdraft range hood which is great for kitchens with very tall ceilings or island ranges.

This range hood has a stainless steel finish for a great look and for durability.

One great feature of the Zephyr is that it has heat sensors which will increase your range hood fan speed automatically when it senses more heat.

It also has an auto delay off feature so it will turn off automatically. The Zephyr is rated at 500-cfm which is more than enough power for most kitchens.

Pros
  • 500-cfm
  • Automatic heat sensor
  • Auto delay off 
  • Stainless steel finish
Cons
  • Pricey

The Elite Rangemaster by Broan is a great addition to any cooktop where a conventional range hood is not possible.

This 500-cfm downdraft range hood is made of stainless steel for a durable and long lasting finish.

It features a heat sentry mode which means the blowers will automatically speed up when it detects an increase in heat. 

You can also buy an optional remote control with this 30-inch range hood.

It will also range a high of 9.5-inches which is great for when you are using tall pots and pans.

Pros
  • Stainless steel
  • Rises 9.5-inches for large pots
  • 500-cfm
  • Heat sentry
Cons
  • Grease filters aren't the greatest

Final Thoughts

Downdraft ventilation systems are a great alternative to bulky under cabinet, wall mount, or island range hoods.

These are also known as telescopic vent systems because a motor pushes the range hood above the countertop anywhere from a 5-15 inches.

It's essential to factor in the spacing requirements of the downdraft vent. Most of these systems are designed for electric or gas cooktops — and not slide-in ranges.

Another key component is the ducting installation. Most downdraft hood vents go INTO the floor and to the outside through a crawl space, basement, or garage.

I hope you enjoyed this guide from Home Inspector Secrets!

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3 thoughts on “Top 3 Best Downdraft Range Hoods (2024 Review)”

  1. Hello friend, I am a technician, I installed a smoke extractor and it goes up but not down when working. What could it be?

    Reply

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