Manufacturers who are in the market for a spray paint booth are faced with a difficult decision, especially if they are unfamiliar with the designs and features available to them.

Before making a final selection, buyers must fully understand their current and future production needs, as well as their budget for installation and operations. Downdraft booths are an ideal choice for applications that demand high-quality results, but there are several key considerations to take into account before committing to this design.

Downdraft Booth Design Basics

As the name suggests, downdraft booths are characterized by a vertical airflow pattern that passes from the top to the bottom.

In this design, air passes through a supply plenum/filter chamber which is located in the ceiling of the booth. The air flows evenly around the part or product in a downward direction before entering the grating area that typically runs along the center of the floor.

The air and overspray then pass through a series of exhaust filters that remove hazardous particles before exhausting clean air back into the atmosphere.

Key Benefits and Features

Primary advantages of the downdraft airflow design include:

  • Cleaner booth operations
  • Minimal contamination of finished surfaces
  • Increased safety for workers
  • Flexibility of use
  • Provides the most optimal finishing environment

Compared to other conventional spray paint booths, the downdraft airflow design emphasizes cleanliness and quality. Top-to-bottom airflow greatly reduces contamination from dust and other environmental contaminants that could stick to the part during spray application. This reduces the need for buffing or rework after the coating is applied.

It also mitigates the build-up of overspray in the booth, which eases routine maintenance burdens.

Downdraft booths are also valued for their flexible nature, which allows operators to adjust them to fit various needs, like multiple painting operations in a single booth.

These Downdraft booths are also safer for workers inside the booth since they don’t have to stand in the spray back-draft as they move around the part as it’s painted.

Drawbacks and Considerations

Despite the numerous advantages afforded by the downdraft booth design, there are a few notable considerations due to the cost of installing and running the booth. Downdraft booths require more space than many other conventional designs and typically use more air volume. This means larger air make-up units, larger exhaust fans, more filter area, and increased horsepower. That is why Downdraft booths cost more money than conventional Crossdraft booths.

Operating Costs

For example, a Crossdraft spray booth vs. Downdraft spray booth:

  • Crossdraft airflow design requires 6400 CFM (cubic feet per minute).
  • Downdraft, with same dimensions, would require 20,000 CFM

This exponential difference can lead to much higher operating costs, especially if the air supply is needed to be heated. Potential buyers are advised to carefully consider these costs when evaluating their options.

Installation Restrictions

Downdraft units also have more demanding installation requirements than some of the other options, which can lead to substantial upfront costs during installation.

The need for grating and a filtration system beneath the booth floor adds to the effective height of the booth. This means that the owner must install a concrete pit below the booth or incorporate a raised platform that can accommodate the equipment.

Potential buyers must make sure that the booth can fit inside the current plant facility, which might require some expensive modifications to the building.

Ideal Industrial Applications

Since the downdraft booth prioritizes quality over cost efficiency, it is a prime choice in production environments that demand flawless results.

Reduced exposure to dust and other potential surface contaminants ensures a smooth finish that requires minimal adjustment before completion. This makes them a popular choice for companies that serve industries like aerospace, aircraft, and high-end vehicles.


Selecting a spray booth is not a decision that should be made lightly. As an essential part of a production line, it’s important for potential buyers to fully understand the possible consequences of their chosen design. As a manufacturer of premier custom spray booths, we work closely with customers to address their concerns and develop solutions that truly fulfill their needs. Our design experts help manufacturers account for the implications, risks, and benefits of various booth designs, so they can move forward, with confidence, that they made the best booth design choice for their operation. Contact us to learn more about how our high-quality booth designs can benefit your business!



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