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What’s the Difference Between Freestanding and Slide-In Ranges?

Steve Sheinkopf  |  December 21, 2020  |  6 Min. Read

Slide-In Ranges  |  Freestanding Ranges  |  Cooking

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So you bought a slide-in range for your new kitchen.

It has a nice look and the features you want. You will also see that beautiful tile backsplash without seeing the range controls on the backguard.

Unfortunately, you found out the range will not fit in your existing cabinetry upon delivery.

Now you have to start all over. This scenario happens daily across the country.

In this article, you will learn about the differences between freestanding and the two kinds of slide-in ranges, regular and front control.

That's the problem. There are two slide-in types with two different types of installation.

Installation, as well as feature differences, will be the central part of this article.

We will also show you how to replace your old slide-in range with a front control range with a “how-to” video.

It will show you the process of measuring and cutting your countertop to accommodate a new range from your existing old slide-in

If you’re replacing an old range, make sure to watch this video.

Let’s get started.

What's the Difference Between Slide-in and Freestanding Ranges?

 

The main differences between slide-in, front control, and freestanding ranges are their installation, control location, and cleanability.

Below is an example of an electric slide-in range from Samsung, a front control range from GE, and a freestanding range from Samsung.

A front control and slide-in range sit seamlessly between your cabinets, while a freestanding range can be placed anywhere in your kitchen.

samsung-freestanding-rangeSamsung Freestanding Gas Range at Yale Appliance in Hanover

 

ge-electric-slide-in-rangeCafé Appliances Electric Front Control Range at Yale Appliance in Hanover

 

Samsung-front-control-gas-rangeSamsung Slide-In Gas Range at Yale Appliance in Hanover

 

Front control and regular slide-in ranges look similar but have different installations due to the overlap in the cooktop.

Let’s break this down.

Read More: Gas Cooking Buying Guide

What is a Freestanding Range?

electric-freestanding-ranges-at-yale-appliance-in-hanoverFreestanding Gas Ranges at Yale Appliance in Hanover

 

A freestanding range has a backguard with its burner and oven controls located on the backguard.

A freestanding range's sides are finished making it a little more flexible for installation. You can place it anywhere in your kitchen, including at the end of your cabinets.

Freestanding ranges are available at much lower prices, starting at $499-599 versus $1,000 or more for slide-ins.

Prices are also less expensive for freestanding ranges compared to slide-ins with similar features.

There is a more overall selection for freestanding ranges.

Freestanding Range Manufacturers include:

  • Samsung
  • GE Appliances
  • LG
  • Whirlpool
  • Maytag
  • Frigidaire
  • KitchenAid
Short on time? Get our free Gas Cooking Buying GuideLearn More

What is a Slide-in Range?

samsung-gas-slide-in-rangeSamsung Slide-In Range at Yale Appliance in Hanover

 

Slide-in ranges feature the burner and oven controls upfront.

They are a little wider to overlap the countertop and eliminate the seam between the counter and range.

Smaller food particles and liquids can dribble down into that seam.

It's nearly impossible to clean without pulling out the range. I can't remember anyone in my house ever doing that.

There are two main benefits of slide-in ranges: Style and Cleanability.

However, while freestanding and slide-ins both require a 30-inch cabinet opening, slide-in models have unfinished sides.

Slide-in ranges are designed to be built-in between two cabinets and are about 2 inches wider on top to overlap the countertop.

When you push a slide-in range back, there is about a 2-inch space behind the range. You fill this with your countertop. The counter will eliminate the seam in the back.

This allows a built-in look and the capability to showcase your backsplash since there isn't a backguard blocking it like a freestanding unit.

Once again, there is no seam between the counter and the back of the range. It's great for cleanability, but it is tricky to replace.

Although slide-ins were once extremely popular, there are only a few manufacturers still producing a slide-in range.

Slide-In Range Manufacturers include:

  • Samsung
  • Bosch
  • Frigidaire

What is a Front Control Range?

slide-in-and-front-control-range-displayDesign Differences Between Ranges at Yale Appliance in Hanover

 

Front control ranges are a mix of freestanding and slide-in range.

It does not have the backguard like a freestanding range, but the controls are on the front, unlike a normal slide-in range.

The first scenario of a range not fitting into an existing space could have been avoided with a front control range.

Front control and slide-ins are terms mistakenly used interchangeably. They both may be similar in price, but their installations are very different.

Unlike a slide-in, it can replace an existing freestanding range because it requires the same opening.

However, it is harder to clean with the seams on either side like a freestanding range.

You can place a front control at the end of your kitchen like a freestanding range because it does have finished sides. Remember: A slide-in range’s sides are unfinished.

What About Professional Ranges?

professional-gas-ranges-at-yale-appliance-in-hanover-1Professional Gas Ranges at Yale Appliance in Hanover

 

Look at the professional (pro) ranges above priced from $4,500 to $20,000.

They are all slide-ins, right?

Wrong.

Every pro range is a front control range, not a slide-in.

Front Control Manufacturers include:

  • KitchenAid
  • Maytag
  • Jenn-Air
  • Whirlpool
  • LG
  • GE Appliance
  • Electrolux
  • All professional range manufacturers such as Wolf, Miele, BlueStar, and Thermador

Now that we understand these ranges, let's go over why you would pick one over the other.

Read More: Pro Cooking Buying Guide

When Should You Buy A Front Control Range Or A Regular Slide-in Range?

First, you do have more brand choices with a front control versus a regular slide-in range.

Slide-ins are a better choice for new construction. They are much easier to keep clean than a freestanding or front control range.

Front controls are better for replacing a freestanding range because it's a direct replacement without modifying counters or cabinets.

If you like the cleanability of a slide-in and have an existing freestanding range, you will have to plan for some cabinet modification for the range to fit.

Front controls and freestanding ranges have finished sides, so they are better at the end of a counter as well rather than an unfinished slide-in.

How Do You Replace an Old Slide-In Range?

Let's take our first scenario and why it couldn't be installed.

Slide-ins have a lip over the countertop, and most often, the front of your granite countertops need to be notched to accommodate it.

You also have the countertop in the back. It has to be removed to fit a front control or freestanding range.

You have to measure and cut carefully, especially with a granite surface.

How Do You Cut Granite?

You need some expertise and the right tools. Find a countertop specialist in your area.

Fortunately, we have four install teams cutting countertops every day. If you live out of town, check your appliance store.

Here is how to properly install a range while adjusting a granite countertop accordingly.

Custom Range Installation Showcasing Granite Countertop Cutting [Video]

 

That cocoon of plastic is a procedure for us and should be for anyone in your home.

This plastic cocoon traps the dust. We also use special vacuums to contain granite dust. If you do not contain the granite dust, it will be everywhere in your house.

Should You Buy a Freestanding Range, Front Control, or a Slide-in Range?

samsung-flex-duo-slide-in-range-at-yale-appliance-in-hanoverSamsung Slide-In Range at Yale Appliance in Hanover

 

The choice depends on price, style, and ease of installation.

If you have designed a new kitchen with a custom backsplash, then a slide-in or front control range becomes a better option.

Cleanability and built-in appearance are better with a slide-in range.

Better selection and prices are best for a freestanding range.

A freestanding range with better features like convection, five burners, and two high output burners is $800-1200.

The higher-end slide-in or front control is probably $1,500-$2,400.

If you are a builder, a first-time homeowner, or on a budget, then a freestanding range is the right choice.

At $1,000, you can buy a full-featured range from Samsung or a less featured front control range from Whirlpool.

If you have just renovated your kitchen, slide-in and front control ranges are a good consideration for a cleaner look in your kitchen. Both will not obstruct the backsplash.

You will have more selection with controls but more cleanability from a slide-in.

Remember, the difference between slide-in and front control ranges, especially if you are replacing your existing freestanding range, is the installation.

You do not want to find that out on delivery.

Read More: Best Freestanding And Slide-In Gas Ranges

Frequently Asked Questions

1. 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 a piece of countertop 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.

A Samsung slide-in range comes with a back filler.

You may have to notch the countertop so the range can "slide-in" Each one is different.

Pro design tip: When replacing an old freestanding with a slide-in or front control, look behind the backsplash. You may have to also replace the old tile behind it.

2. I currently have a slide-in range, but can I replace it with a freestanding range?

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 freestanding range.

If you install a freestanding range ins a slide-in installation, 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.

Read More: Can You Replace A Slide-in Range With A Freestanding Range In The Same Location?

3. Are slide-in ranges more expensive?

Slide-in and front control ranges are usually 30-40% more expensive than a freestanding with similar features.

Additional Resources

Want to learn more about the latest gas ranges and technology? Read the Yale Gas Range Buying Guide with features, specs and detailed profiles of every major brand. Well over 800,000 people have downloaded a Yale Guide.

View our gas cooking buying guide

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However, we don’t love every product. Quite frankly, it costs us way too much money in repair costs to support less reliable brands.

In fact, we sell fewer brands than most appliance stores. Here is why:

We feel it is our responsibility to repair your appliances after you buy them.

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Hopefully, the bloggers and organizations who write such glowing product reviews for every brand consider servicing these products first. Only then they will understand the consequences of their marketing.

Steve Sheinkopf

My goal has always been simple: I want Yale to be the best retail experience anywhere. I have tried to create a compelling environment for customers and employees alike.

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