Everyone loves the smell of food cooking, wafting through the kitchen as you hungrily await your dinner. But what about when the meal is over and you’re trying to rid the room of the lingering hints of what came before?
Regardless of your level of culinary ability or knowledge, cooking on your stovetop will produce strong-smelling odors and fumes that can then linger in your kitchen. Gas cooktops with a downdraft system are a great way to avoid this issue, as they pull the odors away from your face even as you’re cooking!
Particularly if you’re frying food or cooking with lots of ingredients, there can be a build-up of odors on top of any grease, fumes, or the carbon monoxide produced when cooking with gas.
In addition to getting rid of any lingering cooking odors, downdraft ventilation systems can also filter out any harmful byproducts from cooking, thereby reducing the number of impurities left in your home.
Purchasing a new gas cooker is a big decision for anyone due to their constant use, high price tag, and prominent placement within the kitchen, so we’ve chosen a select few for you to consider and reviewed their best bits so you don’t have to.
There are lots of elements to take into consideration, such as size, burner functions, and aesthetic, which we’ll cover in the Buyer’s Guide below.
However, if you’ve got something cooking on the stove already and you’re in a hurry, check out our top pick to see what we chose as our favorite product!
Top 3 Best Gas Cooktop with Downdraft Ventilation System
OUR TOP PICK
Our top pick for the best gas cooktop with downdraft ventilation is the KitchenAid 36” KCGD506GSS 5 Burner cooktop! Slightly more expensive but also bigger than the KitchenAid KCGD500GSS 30”, this model has an extra burner to cook on for additional pots and pans.
This means it is an excellent choice for someone looking to experiment with exciting recipes or for anyone catering to a larger family, and there are more cooking options available.
Available in stainless steel, this stunning cooktop makes for a sleek and easily wiped-down surface that will bring both style and substance to your kitchen. It has 5 burners, including a powerful 17,000 BTU burner that is perfect for boiling, searing meat, and Asian cooking such as stir-frying.
At the other end of the spectrum, the burner attachment allows you to achieve a low simmer for a more delicate heat when cooking sauces or melting chocolate, meaning this appliance offers maximum flexibility for your cooking. The cooktop was designed to encourage maximum efficiency, and even with the extra burner is spacious and easy to use.
The full-width cast-iron grate is beautifully designed and makes the sleek look of this cooktop a stylish addition to any home. Also practical, the design of the grate allows for easy movement of heavy pots across the cooktop, minimizing the need for heavy lifting and the chance of spills.
The grates can also be fully removed when cleaning and are dishwasher safe, which saves time and effort during clean up, and they easily realign with the burners on the cooktop once cleaned.
The downdraft ventilation system has 3-speed settings and is powerful without pulling the flame to the side as reported with the former KitchenAid model.
Despite the addition of the fifth burner, positioning it as an isolated burner means there is no overcrowding to disrupt the heat distribution and ensures even cooking. The stainless steel cooktop is easy-to-clean and minimizes spillover as well as being resistant to rust or tarnishing, and the vent cavity is reportedly large enough to clean with relative ease as well.
You can remove the cast-iron grates to further simplify the cleaning process.
Similar to most other KitchenAid gas cooktops, this model is compatible with the KitchenAid duct-free conversion kit, although this is not included and must be purchased separately.
This allows for complete freedom when deciding where to place your cooktop and it can be installed almost anywhere in the kitchen due to the ductwork filtering system recirculating the air.
17K BTU burner allows high temperatures to sear and low temperatures for simmering
300 CFM and 3 Downdraft speed settings
5 Burners with a separate attachment for low heat options
Even heat distribution
Removable grate to facilitate cleaning
A more expensive option
Designed for residential use, this 30” gas cooktop from KitchenAid has the quality of a commercial cooker without taking up quite as much space. The dimensions are 30” W x 21.5” D x 18.44” H, and the downdraft ventilation is integrated into the cooker so there is no need for a separate hood.
It’s smaller than our featured top pick, which is reflected in the cheaper price point, but the cast-iron burner grate and 4 sealed burners combine style and functionality by allowing you to cook with multiple pans at once.
This includes multiple burner options for searing heats and low simmering, and the 300 CFM Exhaust Rating ensures that a range of cooking techniques are possible no matter the associated ventilation requirements. Additionally, the grate is easy to dismantle and clean, and a smaller cooktop means less surface area to wipe down!
Alongside its high levels of functionality, this cooktop looks great in the kitchen with 5 stainless steel control knobs that add to the premium quality of the cooktop and enhance its appearance.
The burners also feature the same electronic ignition and automatic re-ignition as the KCGD506GSS model for more reliable performance, and by using an electric spark instead of a pilot light, if the flame is blown out the burners are re-lit.
This appliance is easy to install and it comes with a power cord and a propane (LP) conversion kit included, but it’s worth noting that a duct-free kit needs to be purchased separately to convert this cooker to duct-free ventilation.
17K BTU burner reaches high temperatures to sear and low to simmer
300 CFM and 3 downdraft speed settings for effective ventilation
Removable grate to facilitate cleaning
Convertible to Duct-Free Ventilation
Cooks quicker closer to the hob’s center
Only 4 burners
Considered a runner up to the KitchenAid cooktops, the GE PGP9830SJSS is a stunning option that will become a featured part of any home. Made from a medium cast with stainless steel trim, the cooktop is glossy looking and adds a modern touch to this gas cooktop.
It can be wiped down easily, although it can be tricky to reach all areas below the cast-iron grates which adorn the four burners. For this reason, the grate can be removed from the cooktop to facilitate cleaning and has rubber bushings on the bottom of the legs to keep them in place when in use and prevent any damage to the glass.
The grates are open-ended, giving the cooktop a more modern appearance, and they are positioned at a good height from the burner to provide the best heat distribution possible. Food cooks quickly and evenly as a result, and the all-purpose burners offer a range of BTU outputs to suit every cooking need by reaching both high and low temperatures.
The burner temperature range is controlled by control dials which can be found in the middle of the cooktop, as is the downdraft system control, as there are three speed settings for ventilation options that suit all styles of cooking.
Unlike the KitchenAid models, these knobs are not made of stainless steel but are instead made of plastic, and the black finish matches the grates to enhance the attractive, modern feel of this appliance.
The product dimensions for the GE PGP9830SJSS are 33” x 2” x 22” and GE offers a guaranteed same fit service. Some customers have reported difficulties with installation, but don’t let this put you off what is otherwise a great-looking appliance!
Just make sure you double check that this gas cooktop will fit the available space in your kitchen by taking accurate measurements of your countertops before purchasing.
Very attractive design with stainless steel trim
4 all-purpose burners so suitable for a range of cooking needs
Removable grate to facilitate cleaning
1-year manufacturer warranty
Tricky installation and some fit issues
Made from medium cast instead of stainless steel
Best Gas Cooktop with Downdraft Ventilation System Buying Guide
Cooker Ventilation Systems
Downdraft systems, updraft systems, recirculating hoods, and ducted range hoods are common ventilation set-ups for gas cooktops, each with its own advantages.
A cooker with a downdraft system will pull the air down to the bottom or to the back of the cooktop using built-in vents. They are different from hoods in this way, as they are often integrated into the appliance rather than being separate, making them ideal for islands or kitchens with limited space for a ventilation hood.
You can choose between options such as telescopic downdraft vents or built-in downdraft vents, and with models that suit a wide range of cookers, downdraft systems are an effective and now a more aesthetically-pleasing way of eliminating unwanted odors and fumes from your kitchen as you cook.
Updraft systems pull smells and vapors outside of the home to get rid of any harmful by-products from cooking, which is cost-effective but in the past has meant a need for large, un-aesthetically pleasing hoods. Newer models have refined this, however, and you can now find sleek designs or hoods that tuck away after use.
Recirculating range hoods, also known as ductless hoods, also filter some impurities from the air but do not eliminate them all meaning they are less effective than other options, and some pollutants may remain. Additionally, due to the release of carbon monoxide, recirculating hoods are not recommended for gas stoves.
Ducted range hoods, by comparison, rely on fans that stir up the air and pull away any cooking by-products up and out of the exhaust duct. Efficient blowers can improve this system as they cause less turbulence and allow more of an upward pull inside the duct.
Gone are the days of bulky, unattractive cookers that take up unnecessary space in your kitchen, yet the design of an appliance is one aspect that is surprisingly overlooked by customers.
While they say looks aren’t everything, it is important to consider the look and layout of your cooktop, especially when thinking about how easy it will be to clean. Most cooktops come with surfaces that are easy to wipe down after use, such as stainless steel, although on some cooktops the burners can be difficult to wipe around. Removable grates or burners are useful, but check if your grate is dishwasher safe before attempting to clean it this way.
Some brands may be more prone to scratches or marks, so be careful not to use any abrasive cleaning products on your cooktop. Also consider its size, depth, and whether or not there is a drip tray to help catch overspills or sealed burners to prevent spills leaking into tricky-to-reach crevices, as this will make cleaning much easier.
Over time, the build-up of fumes and odors can affect more than just your cooker, and your walls or kitchen cupboards may need updating with a fresh coat of paint more often as a result, so remember to clean your filter for optimal ventilation.
Cooktop Size and Burners
Often the same size as a conventional cooker, another benefit of a gas cooker with a downdraft system is that they eliminate the need for a bulky, cumbersome extractor taking up unnecessary kitchen space. Standard sizes range from 30” to 36” and you can choose from 4, 5, or, on some larger models, 6 burners, although you will usually only find this many on a 48” cooktop aimed at more experienced chefs.
Although the thought of more burners is attractive, it can sometimes result in your cooktop feeling overcrowded if they are positioned too closely together.
It’s worth opting for a cooktop that has burners with different BTU output options, as this will allow for different cooking techniques and temperatures. The BTU output can range from 10,000 to 19,000 and can offer rapid boiling or lower simmering options as well such as OptiSim. The higher the BTU output on your burner, the quicker you can reach high temperatures for boiling or when using larger pots.
Different models offer different functions, such as an electric spark or pilot light, and some offer automatic re-ignition. Electronic pilotless ignition is another useful option on some cooktops, saving energy and meaning that burners can still be ignited manually when there is no electricity.
Controls and Safety
Gas burners are controlled by dials or knobs, with stainless steel being the most durable material and plastic the most prone to damage. Although gas cooktops can be dangerous due to the open flame, many models now have in-built safety features of their own, such as push-turn knobs that prevent accidentally turning your burner on or changes to the temperature when cooking.
LED lighting is also a popular way to indicate that the burner is on even if you cannot see the flame whilst also adding a modern, contemporary feel to your cooktop that can be a real feature in your kitchen.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I clean the downdraft ventilation filter?
It’s recommended to clean the filter for your downdraft cooktop once every 6-12 months, depending on the level of usage.
Simply clean the filter by washing it in soapy water then again in clean water to rinse it off. Let dry before reinserting.
Can you add a downdraft to an existing cooktop?
Yes, downdraft ventilation systems can now be installed with a gas or electric cooktop, free-standing range, or a built-in oven with a cooktop.
You can purchase a downdraft vent separately and have it installed to convert your current appliance to downdraft ventilation.
Where can I install my appliance in the kitchen?
Simply put, the answer is anywhere you want! The great thing about downdraft ventilation systems is that they can be duct-free, which makes them a great option for anyone with a kitchen island or anywhere that has limited space for a ventilation hood to go.
Is stainless steel the best material for your cooktop?
Stainless steel is a common choice of material for gas cooktops because of its durable, high-quality nature, and the professional look it brings to your kitchen.
Another reason why stainless steel is so popular is that it only requires low maintenance cleaning with soapy water, as opposed to glass cooktops which can scratch easily and can show up oil splatter marks after frying in oil.