This blog was updated on Oct. 9, 2016
Are you looking to replace a worn out downdraft range or center downdraft cooktop? Are you pulling your hair out because you cannot find a large selection of downdraft ranges or center downdraft cooktops, gas or electric? You are not alone. Jenn-Air and Kitchen Aid are the only brand that makes a downdraft range in electric, gas or dual fuel and only a few brands make a center downdraft cooktop.
What is Downdraft Ventilation?
First let me explain downdraft ventilation. This type of kitchen ventilation removes smoke, odors, and grease by drawing air down into the ventilation duct work system. If you did not have proper kitchen ventilation equipment the grease will land on your ceiling and cabinets and your curtains would stink! There are two types of downdraft ventilation appliances: retractable downdraft and center downdraft. Retractable downdraft is a separate ventilation appliance that is placed behind the cooktop or rangetop. With a push of a button it goes from flat on the countertop to as high as 12″ tall. It is not recommended to place a retractable downdraft behind a range. It can not handle a large quantity of heat and smoke. Also, it takes up approximately 2″ deep on the countertop behind the cooktop or rangetop. Usually requiring a deeper cabinet otherwise it can get tight in a standard 24″ cabinet. Center downdrafts are built into the cooktop or range.
What are the Advantages of Downdraft Ventilation?
Downdraft ventilation is ideal for kitchen islands and peninsulas as it contributes to the open design in the kitchen. Also purchasing a center downdraft will cost less than purchasing a cooking appliance and a separate range hood. The ductwork of downdrafts is usually easier to install in the floor than in the ceiling and is easier to maintain. For these reasons builders like to specify these appliances.
What are the Disadvantages of Downdraft Ventilation?
The main disadvantage of downdraft appliance is that they are not as efficient as an overhead ventilation. But it is clearly better than not having any ventilation to help remove smoke grease and heat.
Jenn-Air Downdraft Appliances
As I mentioned earlier, when it comes to finding downdraft appliances, Jenn-Air and KitchenAid are the brands that specializes in them. I lean towards Jenn-Air since they invented the technology. If you are looking to replace a downdraft range or cooktop be sure to visit our Jenn-Air Downdraft page to see all available options and learn more. Jenn-Air cooktops use the JX3™ Downdraft Ventilation System with 3-Speed Fan that uses proximity ventilation to capture smoke and cooking odors at the cooking surface and helps keep the kitchen fresh and clean without a hood. There is also an optional duct-free kit which allows great performance when ducting to the outside is difficult as it features a filter that captures smoke, grease and moisture and allows air to travel through the filter without a loss of air efficiency. Here is a video of the Jenn-Air JX3 Downdraft Cooktop in action:
If you are considering purchasing a new downdraft range or cooktop, hopefully this clears up any confusion and points you in the right direction. Downdraft appliances have many advantages and can be a great addition to your kitchen. Remember, if you are looking to replace or buy your first downdraft range or cooktop, be sure to visit our Jenn-Air Downdraft Appliance page to see all the options available and learn more.