Freestanding vs. Slide-In Ranges: What's the Ultimate Difference?

<p>sonyachny / Adobe Stock</p>

sonyachny / Adobe Stock

Whether you choose gas, electric, or induction range, buying a new range is a chance to improve your kitchen’s form and function. If you’ve never bought a new stove before, you may be caught off guard when given the option of a freestanding or slide-in range. What determines if a range is freestanding vs slide-in? Are there benefits to choosing a slide-in range over a freestanding range?

Below, we’ve broken down the key differences between slide-in ranges and freestanding ranges, such as installation, controls, features, and costs, so you can decide which is best for you.

What Is a Slide-In Range?

<p>JOSBRA Design / Unsplash</p>

JOSBRA Design / Unsplash

A slide-in range is purposefully designed without finished sides and is intended to be installed between two cabinets. The cooking surface is designed to overlap the countertop, while the front of the slide-in range covers the edges of the cabinets.

Fake Slide-In Ranges vs. True Slide-In Ranges

The vast majority of "slide-in" ranges on the market today are actually freestanding ranges designed to mimic the look of a slide-in range with front controls and no backguard. However, these ranges still have finished sides.



Tip

Very few manufacturers still offer a true slide-in range. If you're after a true slide-in range, make sure it has unfinished slides and an overlapping cooktop.



What Is a Freestanding Range?

<p> The Spruce / Linnea Covington</p>

The Spruce / Linnea Covington

A freestanding range is designed to give you the option for installation within cabinetry or as a standalone unit. Its finished sides give it a sleek appearance even when not surrounded by cabinetry, which offers more installation versatility and requires less customization of cabinetry and countertops.

Slide-In vs. Drop-In Ranges

Slide-in ranges are sometimes mistaken for drop-in ranges, but they aren't the same. Drop-in ranges are similar to slide-in ranges in that they're a more custom option than freestanding ranges, but drop-in ranges require even more custom cabinetry for installation. This is because drop-in ranges lack the bottom drawer present on a slide-in range. This space is instead filled with more cabinetry.



Tip


A drop-in range differs from a drop-in cooktop, a similar appliance that lacks an integrated oven compartment. To account, these are usually paired with wall ovens.



Slide-In vs. Freestanding Range: Major Differences

The key differentiation between a slide-in range and a freestanding range is the installation requirements and the location of the controls. Beyond this, you may find different available features and a difference in cost.

Slide-In Range

Freestanding Range

Installation

Requires custom cabinetry and countertop layout. Must be installed between two cabinets

Can be installed between cabinets, other appliances, at the end of a row of cabinets, or as a standalone unit

Controls

Typically located on the top or front of the appliance

Typically located on the backguard of the appliance, though sometimes located on the top or front

Features

No backguard available

Optional built-in backguard

Costs

More expensive

Less expensive

Installation

The biggest difference between slide-in and freestanding ranges is the installation. You can't simply replace a freestanding range with a slide-in range or vice versa. This is because a slide-in range is designed to fit seamlessly between cabinetry with an overhanging cooking surface, which covers the back and side seams.

Additionally, slide-in ranges don't sit flush with the wall, showing a sliver of countertop behind them. This must be accounted for when the countertops are cut and installed.

Freestanding ranges aren't designed to overlap the countertop and don't leave room for the countertop behind them. Instead, they simply slide all the way to the wall. They can be installed between two cabinets or at the end of a row of cabinets thanks to their finished sides. Slide-in ranges can't be installed in this manner, as the sides are left unfinished in order to fit within the cabinetry.

Controls

The location of the range and oven controls differ between a slide-in and a freestanding range. This is because slide-in ranges lack a backguard, which is the standard control location on a freestanding range.

However, there are several freestanding ranges without backguards, which feature the controls on the front like a slide-in range. With this option, you can enjoy the sleek, streamlined look of a slide-in range with the versatility of a freestanding unit.



Warning

If you prefer the look of a front-control range, look for options with lockable controls. This keeps you from accidentally turning on the appliance, which is of great value, especially for homes with kids.



Features

Freestanding ranges and slide-in ranges share many of the same available features available for all ranges. In fact, the main feature available on freestanding ranges but not slide-in ranges is the backguard, which protects the wall from heat, steam, and general stove-top messes.

This makes freestanding ranges even more versatile than slide-in ranges, as they don't require a backsplash, whereas slide-in ranges should be installed in front of a backsplash or within a kitchen island.

Costs

Slide-in ranges are more expensive than freestanding ranges. This is due to two major factors: A higher unit cost and added installation costs. The slide-in range itself is hundreds to thousands of dollars more than a comparable freestanding range, but even more cost is added on top of this thanks to the more involved installation.

A freestanding stove is incredibly versatile and can be installed anywhere you want it. As long as there is power available and enough space, you can place a freestanding unit between cabinetry, at the end of cabinetry, next to other appliances, or wherever you want.

Slide-in ranges require very specific cabinetry and countertop spacing, which adds more cost to prep the space if it's not already perfectly suited for the slide-in range. Additionally, the requirement of a backsplash will add even more costs, should one not already be present.

Slide-In vs. Freestanding Ranges: Which Is Better?

When it comes down to choosing between a slide-in and a freestanding range, the best option comes down to your specific kitchen. If your cabinets and countertop are already installed to suit a slide-in range, a freestanding range likely won't fit.



Tip

When replacing a range, measure before you buy. Just because a range is a slide-in range doesn't mean it will fit in the existing space between the cabinets.



However, if you're planning your new kitchen build or renovation, we recommend choosing a freestanding range over a slide-in. The lower overall cost and higher versatility make it a better choice for most.

Additionally, if you're after the look of a slide-in range, many freestanding ranges are made to appear as a slide-in range, giving you the best of both worlds.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why are slide-in ranges more expensive than freestanding?

Slide-in ranges are more expensive than freestanding ranges mainly due to the fact that they are considered a niche item. Plus, the demand for slide-in ranges is dwarfed by that of freestanding ranges, so manufacturers likely charge more to account for the lower sales volume. Many manufacturers have stopped offering true slide-in ranges altogether.

Does a slide-in range need countertop behind it?

You don't technically have to have a countertop behind a slide-in range, though many homeowners opt to in order to make up the gap left between the back of the range and the wall. Many slide-in ranges include a filler strip to cover this space in the absence of a countertop.

What are the pros and cons of a slide-in range?

One of the main pros of a slide-in range is the sleek, built-in look they offer a kitchen, which is mainly a result of the covered cabinet seams. Covering the seams also keeps dirt and debris from building up around the appliance. One of the main cons of slide-in ranges is the higher price point compared to their freestanding counterpart.

Read Next: How to Wire a 120/240-Volt Outlet for an Electric Range

Read the original article on The Spruce.