Pros and Cons of a Downdraft Cooktop

A cooktop with pots on it.
  • Intermediate

A downdraft cooktop is a stove or cooktop with a fan that sucks the fumes and smoke down through a pipe under the floor instead of having a hood that captures all the smoke. Downdraft cooktops do not have the extractor fan or cooking hood above the stovetop. Instead, the downdraft fan of this cooktop sucks the smoke, steam, or fumes down through a tube and out through a vent.

Pro: Compact and Stylish

One of the main advantages of the downdraft cooktop is that it is quite compact and can be very stylish. Since you do not have to deal with the hood or extractor fan above the cooktop, you can easily use it in an island unit or another unusual position, like under a wall cabinet. You do not have to make the necessary adjustments and installations to accommodate the hood.

Pro: Easy to Clean

Another advantage of this type of cooktop is that it requires minimal cleanup. Since the fumes, smoke, and steam are all sucked downward, you do not need to deal with build up in the hood or the extractor fan. Also, you only need to clean one area instead of climbing up a step ladder to get to the hood. All you need to do is clean the stovetop just as you would any other stove.

Pro: Cheaper

A downdraft cooktop is a lot cheaper than its counterpart. Since the exhaust or the extraction system is already built-in, there is no need for extra work on the installation. The unit itself is quite inexpensive compared to a full hood cooktop version. Most hooded cooktops are quite expensive because aside from the unit itself, you also need to consider the cost of installation, pipework, and ventilation.

Con: Not Suitable for Small Kitchens

A downdraft cooktop works by sucking in the fumes, smoke and smell downward to a pipe. A powerful fan is built in to do this job. For it to work properly, adequate airflow is needed. A small kitchen may not have enough airflow to counter the natural up flow of smoke. If there is not enough airflow or air circulation in your kitchen, the downdraft cooktop may not work as hoped. You can end up with a kitchen filled with smoke or lingering food smell. However, if your kitchen is small but well-ventilated then a downdraft cooktop might work.

Con: Construction and Installation Concerns

Although it is quite easy to place a downdraft cooktop into your kitchen, there are several concerns you may need to address before purchasing one. This type of cooktop requires the air to be vented out of the house from a downward pipe. This means that the ductwork in your house needs to accommodate the piping and venting it out of the house. The extra work and construction concerns can be quite expensive.