Downdraft on a pellet grill

I have noticed lately that there are more pellet grills on the market that use a downdraft system instead of a regular chimney.

Since I have added more pellet grill brands to review I found that many updates also are equipped with one now.

“Let’s see what a downdraft on a pellet grill is and what it does!”

What is A Downdraft?

There are stoves that come with a downdraft and I had one years ago in my house. The reason is most of the time that there is no option to vent it out to the roof or outer wall.

Let’s try to answer the question of what does a downdraft for a pellet grill.

if you look at most grills they have a chimney to air out the smoke. A downdraft, however, sucks the air to the side or bottom and forces the air to the outside.

I should actually say that the overpressure caused by the fan forces the air to the downdraft opening.

Here is a picture of a downdraft on a stove in a kitchen. The difference with a pellet grill downdraft is that the ventilator that is used to blow the air through the grill forces the air out of the downdraft. While on a stove the air is sucked away.

countertop stove with downdraft

Here you can see the downdraft on the Traeger Timberland and see that is at the back of the pellet grill.

downdraft on a pellet grill from Traeger

Why Use A Downdraft On A Pellet Grill?

I can think of many reasons why to upgrade a pellet grill to a downdraft instead of a chimney or to buy a new pellet grill that comes with this feature.

  • 1: More smoke flavor
  • 2: Less use of pellets
  • 3: Better temperature control

For a long time, there was Don Godke`s Downdraft that many people installed on their regular charcoal smoker, and many pellet grill users installed them also.

More Smoke Flavor

My reasoning behind my thinking you will get more smoke flavor with a downdraft system is that the smoke stays in the cooking chamber longer and rotates through it. This will give the meat more time to absorb the smoke.

Less Use Of Pellets

Since the heat cannot escape straight from the chimney and stays in the cooking chamber a lot longer it makes sense to me that it will save on pellets.

Better Temperature Control

For the same reason, I mentioned above that the hot air stays in the chamber longer and does not get forced out of the chimney on top I believe that this will have a positive impact on the temperature fluctuations that some pellet grill brands struggle with.

Cons Of A Downdraft On A Pellet Grill

I think there are not too many negative things to find in using a downdraft on a pellet grill but I can think of some.

Since the smoke does not get vent out on top of the grill but more at the bottom of the back it can cause the smoke to hang around more and not get dispersed as with a chimney.

I also think that there might be also a little more cleaning involved because of the “dirty” smoke sticking on the inside more than in a conventional pellet grill.

Downdraft On A Pellet Grill- My Opinion

I see many pros in using a downdraft. For regular smokers, there have been modifications available for a long time. Some pellet grill brands can also be upgraded with after-market downdraft systems.

Do we get to see more of them on newer models? I think that if it is proven that the temperature stays more stable and there is a decrease in pellet usage I think there will be more brands that will start adding them.

Personally, I think there are more pros than cons in using a downdraft on a pellet grill. I also think it is one of the best ways to add more smoke to your pellet grill.

Robert Chill

Robert Chill loves to cook on pellet grills and uses all types of recipes and techniques to cook some awesome food. With his experience, he is able to share many reviews, tips, and ideas on how to buy a pellet grill. You can read more about him here

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