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Downdraft vs. Island Hood Ventilation (Reviews/Ratings)

Steve Sheinkopf  |  December 01, 2014  |  8 Min. Read

Ventilation  |  Makeover Monday

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So what do you want your kitchen to look like?

Do you want a cooktop and downdraft or the flexibility of a whole range and a professional hood. They are two very different visuals and both can work under the right circumstances.

You also want efficient ventilation to keep smoke, odors and grease from lingering in your kitchen. We will review the advantages of both plus a few pics of each.

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Island Hoods

If you looked for an island hood back in 1986, I would have shown you two. There was an awful looking Nutone made in 4 finishes like Harvest Wheat and Coppertone. The other was the Broan “Chuckwagon” hood. It brought back the 1880s Wild West here in New England.

Needless to say, we did not sell either very well. In the 1990s, the European companies like Best, Zephyr and Faber brought some really cool designs in a myriad of styles.

There are different styles like this glass unit.


Pro Styling



You can even custom panel your own blower



Downdrafts became popular for a number of reasons. It is easier to vent a downdraft through the floor than a hood through the roof. Typically in construction, there is much easier access. Secondly, downdrafts look different than a larger hood aesthetically. You can see the whole kitchen. Let's look at a few.



Downdraft vs. Island Hood

Functionally, island hoods are way better for a number of reasons.

  1. Smoke rises so it simpler to redirect where it is already headed
  2. CFM: The max power on a downdraft is 1,000 CFM versus 1,500-1,800 on an island hood
  3. Most importantly, there is a huge difference in capture area. Smoke is first channeled, filtered and then exhausted. An island hood has plenty of capture area, but there is almost none in a downdraft. If you grill or wok, the downdraft will not be able to handle the smoke and grease.

In fact, do NOT place a downdraft behind a professional cooktop or range. I am starting to see this configuration more frequently, and it will not exhaust properly.


What Would I Do?

I like downdrafts because I do not cook much and like sleek contemporary styling. I would  ask how you normally cooked.

Hoods are really better. They exhaust wok, griddle and grilled items more efficiently.  However, the visual of just an open space is pretty appealing and can only be accomplished with a downdraft

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Additional Resources

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A few review sites have placed this at the bottom of their articles. So here is our take: Our mission is to find reliable products for you to buy. Other review sites may say this as well.

However, we don’t love every product. Quite frankly, it costs us way too much money in repair costs to support less reliable brands.

In fact, we sell fewer brands than most appliance stores. Here is why:

We feel it is our responsibility to repair your appliances after you buy them.

We now have 30 service technicians, each averaging 8-10 calls a day Monday through Friday, plus another 110 on Saturday. That's over 30,000 service calls logged in one year.

The labor rates of fixing an appliance do not come close to the true cost in any product’s warranty period.

That is why no major retailer has a service department. It costs too much labor, money and time.

Our Blog is a bit different than most others you will read. We cannot write glowing reviews of unreliable products.

Hopefully, the bloggers and organizations who write such glowing product reviews for every brand consider servicing these products first. Only then they will understand the consequences of their marketing.

Steve Sheinkopf

My goal has always been simple: I want Yale to be the best retail experience anywhere. I have tried to create a compelling environment for customers and employees alike.

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