A downdraft oven is a type of oven that uses internal downward ventilation to vent away steam and smoke from an oven cooktop. This is typically done in contrast to the use of hood vents that are mounted over the cooking surface of an oven range. Downdraft setups are often preferred by people who have a kitchen that features an oven as part of an island or for those who may not have room for a vent hood over the oven. A downdraft oven can take up less space than other types of ovens, but there are some downsides to choosing a downdraft ventilation system.
Also called downdraft ranges, a downdraft oven usually consists of an oven built with a cooking range on top. Ovens with cooking ranges are often installed in locations where a vent hood can be placed over the oven to provide proper ventilation for the kitchen. This ventilation can be used to pull steam and smoke out of a kitchen, making it more comfortable to cook over a stovetop, or to remove particulates of oil from the air during deep frying. In kitchens where there may not be adequate space for a ventilation hood, however, a downdraft oven may be a better option.
A downdraft oven typically works by pulling air from around the cooktop area of an oven. The name for this type of oven comes from the fact that the air is pulled down into the oven itself, rather than up into a hood and then vented outside. The way in which this downward ventilation takes place depends on the model of oven chosen and the features provided. Some ovens have a vent right on the surface of the stovetop, while other models feature a mechanism that raises a vent system up from the cooking area during use.
While a downdraft oven can remove the need for a vent hood, the air moved through the downdraft system still requires a place to be vented. This usually requires access from the downdraft mechanism to the outside of a house or kitchen, and may require special construction or renovation to accommodate it. Ovens that utilize a vent on the stovetop surface may also produce less heat from the cooking surface as the ventilation process can actually work to move heat away from the burners. This makes downdraft ovens that feature retractable vents preferable for most users, though they can also be more expensive.