What is the difference between these two? This is a frequently asked question and the only real difference is style and location of the controls.
We'll explain each by itself and then compare them to eachother.
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Slide-in ranges allow you to have the seamless look of your tile backsplash without looking at the backguard of a range.
Slide-In ranges feature the burner and oven controls up front and also are a little bit wider on top to overlap the countertop to create a built-in look.
There are two main benefits: Style and Cleanability.
Slide-In models and freestanding models are most often 30” wide to fit conventional cabinets. However, while they both require a 30” cabinet opening, slide-in models have unfinished sides so they are truly designed to be built-in between two cabinets. They are about 2” wider on top so they overlap the countertop.
One of the main benefits to the overlap is cleanability. Food and crumbs can’t drip down the sides like it can with a freestanding. Also, when you push a slide-in range all the way back, there is about a 2” space behind the range. You fill this with countertop material. This allows a built-in look and the capability of being able to showcase your backsplash since there isn’t a backguard blocking it like a freestanding unit.
Freestanding ranges, on the other hand, have a backguard which features the oven controls and burner controls (burner controls are usually in the back for electric ranges and up front for gas ranges).There are of course a few exceptions like KitchenAid, but generally speaking these are the most common features.
Freestanding models have finished sides so they are a little more flexible with installation. Freestanding ranges are available at much lower prices and more selection than the higher priced slide-ins. The comparable freestanding will also be 10-15% cheaper as well.
Slide-In vs. Freestanding Ranges
Here is an example of an electric slide-in and free-standing range featuring Bosch.
Both ranges above are very similar features. The only one missing from the slide-in range is a 5th warming element.
Both ranges have convection in the oven. Convection is a fan that circulates the heat to keep the temperature even throughout the oven so you can cook on multiple levels at one time, as well as cook more quickly. Both ranges also have a built-in temperature probe (internal thermometer meant to measure the internal temperature of meat and poultry) and lastly, a warming drawer to keep foods warm for up to three hours without dehydration like a microwave.
The following is another example of a slide-in and freestanding range featuring Electrolux. I want to point these models out because they have features that are exclusive to them.
For example, with slide-in gas (gas oven and gas burners) or dual fuel (electric oven and gas burners) ranges, most of the slide-in models have 4 burners (GE Cafe and Electrolux are the exceptions) while the model below is available with 5 burners.
The models above are dual fuel models where the burners are gas and the ovens are electric. In addition to the 5th burner featured on both of these models, you will also find full extension glide racks in the oven as well as the lower drawer being a second oven. Anything you can fit in the lower oven you can cook since the lower oven drawer has a separate temperature control that is capable of going up to 450 degrees.
These ovens both have high end features like convection, built-in temperature probes and preset options such as ‘Perfect Turkey’ (an Electrolux exclusive), which allows you to cook your turkey with such ease it’s amazing. You can literally stick your turkey in a cold oven, plug in the probe and press the ‘Perfect Turkey’ button and let the oven work its magic. I cooked a 20lb turkey at Thanksgiving and it was done in 2.5 hours, picture perfect and juicy.
As you can see, slide-in ranges are more expensive than freestanding ranges to a varying degree depending on the manufacturer. Although the slide-in ranges might have slightly more advanced features such as a telescopic oven glide rack in the Electrolux, the features between the slide-in and free standing ranges are pretty much the same. So really the choice becomes style and cleanability versus price.
The installation is not a simple change out due to the different configurations. Check the specs to either add/subtract the filler and check the instructions as well.
Frequently Asked Questions
“I currently have a freestanding range, but I want a slide-in. Will a slide-in fit into my cabinet opening?”
When switching to a slide-in range , there is about a 2” space behind the range. You must either find a way to install apiece of counter top behind your range or purchase a metal filler strip that will fill this gap. If you try to install a slide-in range without this filler strip you will see a hole behind your range.
“I currently have a slide-in range but I want to purchase a freestanding range to replace it”
When switching from a slide-in range to a freestanding range, chances are you have a piece of countertop behind your range. You must have this piece of countertop removed before you install your free standing range. If you install a free standing range where a slide-in range used to sit, chances are you will see a large gap behind the backguard of the range. The unit will be pushed into the kitchen by a couple of inches as well. Some slide-ins require the cabinets to be notched. Check with your salesperson first.
So really the choice becomes price or style. If you have designed a nice new kitchen with a custom backsplash, then a slide-in becomes a better option.
- Cleanability and built-in appearance for slide-in
- Better selection and prices for freestanding
For more information about slide-in and freestanding ranges, download our gas and electric range buying guides.