Considering installing a new range in your kitchen? Numerous factors come in to play, ranging from price to utility to aesthetics. While the ultimate victor of the slide-in-versus-freestanding debate boils down to your own personal needs, preferences and budget, knowing the definitive differences helps ease the choice. Before heading to the appliance store, keep key differences in mind to help you choose the range best suited to your needs.
While freestanding ranges usually feature a rear backsplash that typically houses the oven and burner controls, slide-in models forgo the backsplash in favor of front-mounted controls. Slide-ins also have slightly wider lips on top; they overlap the countertop to create an aesthetic effect that mimics the looks of built-in cooktops. Generally, this lends slide-in models forms that are sleeker than their freestanding counterparts'.
A Matter of Cost
Whether you buy a gas, electric or dual-fuel model -- all of which are widely available in slide-in or freestanding varieties -- freestanding ranges typically come at a significantly lower cost than slide-in models. According to 2014 estimates from the retailers at Yale Appliance, slide-in models cost about 10 percent to 15 percent more than freestanding ranges, on average.
While both types can be installed between cabinets, freestanding ranges offer easier installation than slide-in models and give you the option of leaving one or both sides exposed. Flush-fitting slide-in ranges, however, cater better to island peninsulas than their freestanding brethren. After installation, slide-in models are easier to clean. Because freestanding ranges leave a gap of an inch or 2 between the appliance and the cabinets or walls, food and crumbs easily fall or drip into the gaps. You can remedy this issue by filling the gaps with countertop material or a filler strip, but this comes at an additional cost and requires extra work.
More to Consider
Generally, both slide-in and freestanding ranges measure about 30 inches wide to accommodate common cabinet openings. The top lip of slide-in models exceeds this width just a few inches, however. Freestanding models often feature finished sides. Slide-in models do not. This fact gives freestanding ranges a bit of an edge in terms of flexibility. While neither appliance has exclusive operational features -- although slide-in models are likelier to offer hotter, more heavy-duty burners -- there are more freestanding ranges on market, making for a larger available selection.