Cooking food can release a lot of steam and smoke, and these can easily damage kitchen walls, wooden cabinets or create a cloud that fills the entire kitchen. This is where having proper ventilation comes in. A strong ventilation system can help eliminate the smoke and steam created by cooking, as well as eliminate a lot of the smell that would otherwise linger for a couple of hours after preparing the food.


There are two main types of ventilation systems, both of which are extremely useful when it comes to keeping the air clean and clear in the kitchen:


  • Kitchen range hoods – These appliances are mounted over the kitchen range, where they can absorb all the steam and smoke created from cooking. While they are quite powerful and efficient, these models are also somewhat cumbersome. They take a lot of room right above the stove and this can limit the room that would otherwise be available for cabinets;
  • Downdraft kitchen cooktops – There are also a number of kitchen cooktops that come with built-in ventilation systems that suck up the air from above the stove and vent it. These are somewhat less efficient than the hoods, however, they are useful when cooking for one or two people at the same time. Furthermore, the ventilation system usually takes the place of the 5th burner on the stove.



Why are downdraft cooktops a better choice in some cases


Cooktops, in general, are a great choice for those who have limited space in their kitchen or do not need an oven. The main advantage of downdraft models is that no other ventilation systems are required in order to vent the steam and smoke created when cooking food.


These basically offer all the facilities of a normal gas range minus the oven. The burners are identical to ones found in kitchen ranges and can be converted to other fuel sources, just like their larger counterparts.


Another aspect of cooktops that make them a great choice is the fact that they are cost-effective when compared with regular gas kitchen ranges. Mid-range models like the Kitchenaid gas cooktop with downdraft or the products from GE are cheaper than what a gas range with a ventilation hood would cost and offer the same features.


Finally, most models can be converted to other types of fuel, offering just as much flexibility and their larger counterparts.


These are basically the downsized, lite versions of gas ranges; cheaper, smaller, and more durable due to the fact that they have fewer moving parts that could break.


The best downdraft gas ranges on the market


Downdraft gas cooktops are great for those who do not want to get an overhead fan or a kitchen range hood but do want to have proper ventilation when cooking on the stove. The ventilation systems integrated into gas cooktops may not be as powerful as external ones, however, they do a good job when cooking on only one or two of the available burners.


While they do have to get a separate oven, this tradeoff can be quite useful for those who would rather place the oven over the cooktop instead of a ventilation hood.


GE PGP9830DJBB 30" Black Gas Cooktop

An elegant and efficient alternative to kitchen stove hoods

This 30-inch gas cooktop comes with four all-purpose burners, each of which is 11,500 BTU. Its size makes it great for those who want to replace their gas range with a downdraft cooktop and its ventilation system is strong enough to keep the air clean over all four of its burners. It features an elegant design that is easy to match with any existing furniture and comes with a conversion kit for those who want to use propane as fuel.


Its versatility and the quality of its build make it one of the best 30 gas cooktops with downdraft on the market at the moment.


Pros


  • 4 strong burners – the 11,500 BTU burners are more than enough to cook any type of food in record time. The powerful burners are also extremely effective at evenly heating up larger pans and pots;
  • Sleek design – Looks matter when it comes to kitchen appliances and the PGP9830DJBB cooktop looks great. Its sleek black design makes it ideal for any kitchen, and the coat of paint makes cleaning its surface easy;
  • A conversion kit included with the cooktop– The fact that the cooktop comes with a conversion kit means that buyers will not have to spend more money in order to use propane as fuel;


Cons


  • Only four burners – While the position of the downdraft is perfect for ventilation, those who need more than four burners to use at the same time may find this cooktop a bit limiting.


Frigidaire RC36DG60PS 36" Downdraft Cooktop

​A well-built cooktop that offers as much flexibility and durability as a gas range 

Ideal for anyone who wants more cooking space, the 36-inch cooktop from Frigidaire is one of the more durable models on the market. The RC36DG60PS features an extremely flexible design with four burners of growing power, the larger, elongated one reaching 21,000BTU. This model comes with cast iron grates and a stainless steel casing that can last for several years if properly maintained.


Pros


  • Downdraft cooktop built to last – The stainless steel casing and knobs along with the cast iron grates make it ideal for anyone who cooks on a regular basis and is looking for a model that will last several years;
  • Powerful burners – The largest 21,000 BTU burner is perfect for cooking food on the double. Its oval shape also makes it perfect for those who would rather use larger pans or pots in order to prepare more food at the same time.
  • Versatile design – The elongated burner enables the owner to use an oven tray in order to cook food, as they would with a regular pan;


Cons


  • Difficult to install – It may be required to modify the existing ductwork if using it as a replacement for another cooktop


GE Profile 30" PGP9830TJWW Downdraft White Cooktop

An easy to use and clean cooktop for those who want to cook great food

Featuring a beautiful design, the PGP9830TJWW is a no-nonsense cooktop that offers a lot of flexibility in terms of burner power and comes with a strong, integrated ventilation system that is as efficient as a kitchen range hood.


Everything is packed in tightly in a 30-inch case that can be easily installed in the space that would otherwise be occupied by a kitchen range. Furthermore, the grates have a new, innovative design that allows the user to cook using a variety of pans and pots of all shapes and sizes. When it comes to functionality, the PGP9830TJWW can easily be considered a proper downdraft range.


Pros


  • Easy to clean – The cooktop’s grates are safe to clean in a dishwasher, and do not require much maintenance. They just have to be cleaned with a damp sponge once in a while, and they’re good to go;
  • Strong burners – The four burners of the cooktop are 11,500 BTU and can cook food faster than a regular gas stove. To compare, regular gas stoves usually have 7,000 BTU burners;
  • Strong ventilation system – The ventilation system of the cooktop has three speeds, where the lowest is extremely silent and the highest can absorb steam and smoke from the whole cooking area;
  • Conversion kit included – GE delivers the cooktop with an easy-to-install conversion kit that can be installed by those who want to use a different type of fuel;


Cons


  • Small burners – While the burners are powerful, the fact that they are small prevents the flames from covering the entire surface of a pan. This means that it may take a while until the entire cooking surface of the pan is evenly hot;
  • Divided grates – The two grates covering the burners are divided by the downdraft system and this can make it difficult to place larger cookware on them

Conclusion

These are the products that ranked the highest in gas cooktop reviews. Those who do not have a lot of room in their kitchen or do not want to spend extra money on a ventilation hood will find that downdraft cooktops are a great choice. 


Downdraft cooktops were extremely popular in the 80s, and for a while, the world seems to have forgotten them. However, with the new trend of minimalist, simple design, they are back in the spotlight. Manufacturers are constantly looking for new ways to improve the features: more durable heavy-duty grates, easy to clean burners and strong ventilation systems.


The cooktops may not come with ovens, but for all other purposes, they are as efficient and as easy to use as if they were ranges with downdraft systems. They can do everything that their counterparts can in terms of stove functionality, but can help owners save money by having integrated ventilation systems.

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