What’s the Difference Between a Downdraft vs Vent Hood

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There’s nothing like a home-cooked meal…until cooking odors, heat, or smoke overwhelms you. Your kitchen ventilation system, whether it’s a downdraft vs. vent hood, helps keep your kitchen clean and free of overpowering odors and vapors.

This leads to more comfortable kitchen temperatures, odor control over offensive cooking smells, and increased air quality. Not to mention a decrease in cleaning times, as good ventilation draws grease particles away from your cooking area.

Difference Between Downdraft vs. Vent Hood Explained

Kitchen ventilation systems come in two basic forms: a downdraft or a vent hood. First, we’ll explain how each works. Next, we’ll give you a rundown on the pros and cons of a downdraft vs. vent hood system so you can make the best decision for your ventilation needs.

What is a Downdraft?

A downdraft ventilation system is actually part of your cooktop, located behind your rear burners. The vents are hidden below the surface until you turn the system on, at which point they typically rise to a height of 10 inches.

A downdraft draws odors and vapors across the cooktop and through a filter. From there, ductwork beneath the kitchen floor vents vapors outside your house.

Are downdrafts effective? Yes, particularly if your cooktop is in a kitchen island or peninsula where a hood might be impractical.

What is a Vent Hood?

A vent hood, (AKA a range hood, kitchen hood or electric chimney) is located above your cooking area.

A kitchen vent hood uses an updraft to pull odor, steam, smoke, and cooking particles up through a filter above the range. These cooking byproducts are then directed through a duct in the kitchen wall and outside your home.

Considering the layout of most kitchens, a vent hood is the more common ventilation option in downdraft vs. vent hood selection.

Pros and Cons of Downdrafts


  • Sleek and modern appearance
  • Hidden when not in use
  • Easy to install, with ductless options available
  • Easier to clean than a vent hood


  • Not as powerful as a vent hood
  • Draft can lessen heat on a gas range
  • May not be able to ventilate taller cooking pots

Pros and Cons of Vent Hoods


  • More powerful than a downdraft system
  • Covers a larger area than a downdraft system
  • Modern designs are less intrusive and more attractive
  • Can provide additional lighting directly to cooking area


  • Can be bulky in appearance
  • More difficult to clean than a downdraft system
  • Visible all the time

Now that you know the difference between a downdraft and vent hood we hope you have all the info you need to make your kitchen ventilation decision. Remember, there is no wrong choice in the debate between a downdraft vs. vent hood; there’s the choice that’s best for your kitchen’s needs.

Tiger Mechanical is happy to help you make the right selection for your kitchen. And as the kitchen ventilation repair experts, we can help you fix any problem as quickly as possible.

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