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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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Steve Sheinkopf

Steve is the third-generation CEO of Yale and a lifelong Bostonian. He currently resides in Boston, one mile from where he was born. Despite being one of the worst goalies of all time, he is a huge hockey fan of college hockey and the Boston Bruins. The love of his life is his daughter Sophie.

Steve has also been featured in numerous publications such as the New York Times, Consumer Reports, The Boston Globe, Bloomberg Radio, the New York Post, The Wall Street Journal, and Entrepreneur, for his knowledge of how to buy appliances and appliance repair.

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