A down draft range hood is a type of range hood which takes the cooking fumes from the stove top and draws it below the cooking surface and away commonly through below the level of the floor or recirculates the air at ground level.
These downdraft systems can be usually be found in two incarnations either permanently settled at the rear or in the center of the stove top or are able to pop up from a position level to the stove. These systems are quite attractive as they can add a minimalist look and feel to your kitchen rising to 8-10 inches when in use then hiding when stored.
The main drawback of these systems is that they require more energy to take the cooking fumes from the kitchen. Because of their positioning they may be less effective for the burners that are furthest and for soup or taller stock pots which already sit close to or above the maximum height of the range hood. In addition these range hoods can be slightly more costly to install as the duct work has to fit underneath the stove and be directed through the floor.
Despite the extra expense the down draft range hood may be the preferred option if for example the cook top is located on an island or the space above was designed to be open. This is quite common in some restaurants where you cook at the table. If you are looking at this as an option for your kitchen then a down draft system can be fitted to your existing stove from $600.
It is general consensus that only ducted down draft range hoods should be installed as the ductless versions do not really have any ventilation function. The ductless versions may seem like an attractive option because of their starting price of $50 but further from taking all the cooking fumes through a cheap filter it just sends the heat and all the gases back into the kitchen.