Thermador Ventless Downdraft (Reviews / Ratings / Prices)

Steve Sheinkopf  |  September 04, 2015  |  6 Min. Read

Thermador  |  Ventilation  |  Downdrafts

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I am not a huge fan of downdrafts. If you are buying a gas range, the BTU’s of a new gas range will be at least 30% more powerful than a gas range 10 years ago.

There will be at least one burner with 15,000 BTU's or hotter, which means you need to properly vent your kitchen.

Yet, a downdraft vent has not changed much. Sure, many are taller with better motors, but you are still pushing more heat down a small aperture while reversing gravity. Smoke naturally rises. There is also no capture area to pool smoke in a downdraft like an overhead hood.

However, this ventless option does have limited applications. We will look at Thermador, and the downdraft to see if this is right for your home.

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What is a Downdraft?

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Thermador Downdrafts

Thermador and Jenn-Air were the American pioneers of downdraft in the 1970’s. Jenn-Air is flush mounted to the counter, while Thermador rises above the cooking surface. Thermador has higher CFM’s and more blower choices than the Jenn-Air downdraft.

Jenn-Air Downdraft

Thermador Downdraft

As overhead hoods became more functional and better looking, downdrafts waned in popularity. They are now predominantly used in islands and as a comparable solution to certain applications.

Thermador UCVM36FS - $1,249

thermador downdraft range


  • Suitable for wall or island applications
  • Downdraft rises over 13" to capture steam from the tallest pots
  • Downdraft recirculation possible with module RECIRC36DF
  • Three fan speeds
  • Dishwasher safe full-face filters also act as a splatter shield
  • Filter systems are highly efficient at capturing grease
  • Powerfully quiet ventilation systems
  • Blowers sold separately
  • Choose from Inline, Remote or Integrated Blowers
  • Brushed stainless steel finish
  • Easy to operate control buttons
  • Replacement charcoal filters available

How to Buy

The downdraft is a combination of three different pieces. It is available in 30” or 36”, with the 600 CFM integrated blower and recirculation kit all purchased separately. We have it on display in our Dorchester store. The finished product looks like this:

Should You Buy This?

My knee jerk reaction would be no. However, it is better than no venting system at all. You will be removing smoke and grease with the filters.

The now infamous Make-Up Air laws in Massachusetts are satisfied, because you are not removing any air. You also do not have to run ducts, so the installation is easier. 

I see this as a city condo solution. You cannot vent outside in many existing condominiums, because of concrete flooring or restrictions from the condo board or even a historical society (anyone reading from Beacon Hill, Back Bay or Cambridge can understand).

Other than that, I do not know who should buy a ventless downdraft. You would already have the ducts in an existing kitchen, (normally).

You can always plan a hood in new construction. Traditional hood ducting is better, because it removes the stale, greasy air outside your house. (Read: Downdraft vs. Island Hood Ventilation here). Downdrafts can never be as functional or efficient as a traditional hood.

I may not like the ventless downdraft, but it does have its place in certain homes.

Additional Resources

Get the Yale Ventilation Buying Guide with features, specs and a complete how to vent properly in any installation. Well over 110,000 people have read a Yale Guide.

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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.

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