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The Ultimate Guide

Introduction

Slide-In vs Drop-In Cooking Range Comparison Guide

Learn the key differences

cooking range

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Among your options when choosing a cooking range, slide-in and drop-in are two variations that appear to be similar, but which have unique design features with different installation requirements.

Freestanding ranges are by far the most popular style with consumers for several reasons, but for those who prefer a custom kitchen look, a slide-in range or drop-in model is a nice alternative. Either of these two styles will give the kitchen a more streamlined look since the range blends fairly seamlessly with the base cabinets. They also both allow you to show off your backsplash because they don't have panels at the back of the oven for control knobs. But there are differences between the two styles, and installation requirements vary, so be prepared to hire a contractor to set-up your new stove, if necessary.

Slide-In vs Drop-In Range: Major Differences

Slide-in models usually have a built-in bottom drawer below the oven chamber for storing cookware. Drop-in range models have no cookware storage drawer, and this means you'll need an additional cabinet or drawer to house your pots and pans. The base of the cabinet that houses a drop-in range can't always be turned into a storage compartment.

It's also important to note that drop-in ranges differ from drop-in cooktops, which are commonly seen on kitchen islands and surrounded by cabinetry for a truly custom, built-in look. A drop-in cooktop doesn't have an oven.

Slide-In Cooking Ranges Drop-In Cooking Ranges
Integrated appearance Integrated appearance
Storage drawer on bottom No storage drawer on bottom
Installation requires two base cabinets Installation requires custom cabinetry
Can be budget-friendly Can be more costly

Key Features

Slide-In Range

A slide-in cooking range has contoured sides with a slightly-protruding cooktop, which allows the installer to slide it in between two adjoining cabinets so that the cooktop rests on top of the countertop on each side. The contoured sides and cooktop keep food from falling in any spaces between the range and cabinetry.

Drop-in Range

Drop-in ranges came into vogue in the 1940s and 1950s during the boom in home construction. Today, the drop-in range is used as a replacement range in older homes or used infrequently for kitchen remodels. They are not in demand today because they require customized cabinetry and are dropped into a prepared base that includes a cabinet front panel at the bottom.

Appearance

Slide-In Range

Slide-in models usually have a built-in bottom drawer below the oven chamber for storing cookware. Slide-in ranges offer a more customized look with cabinetry when compared to freestanding ranges. There's typically not a top dashboard for controls. The controls are usually placed at the front edge of the cooktop.

Drop-In Range

Drop-in ranges don't have a built-in bottom drawer since they're dropped down into a custom base. Drop-in ranges can provide an integrated, high-end look to the kitchen. Drop-in ranges usually have no top dashboard; instead, the controls are conveniently placed at the front edge of the cooktop.

Best for Appearance: Slide-In Range

You'll always have a place to store cookware in the built-in bottom drawer of a slide-in model. However, either of these two styles will give the kitchen a more streamlined look since the ranges blend fairly seamlessly with the base cabinets.

Sizes

The standard width of cooking ranges is 30 inches, though you can find larger units if you like. But size options are somewhat limited when it comes to drop-in and slide-in ranges. Always confirm physical measurements with the dealer or manufacturer, ask for complete installation guidelines, and provide these to the installer, along with all range specifications.

Installation

Slide-In Range

There must be base cabinets positioned on each side of a slide-in model. The range's side panels are not finished as they are on freestanding stoves, but instead, have alignment grooves to assist with installation. Freestanding ranges are the most economical to install, followed by slide-in ranges.

Drop-In Range

Drop-in ranges require careful planning and usually requires the installation of specialty cabinetry, so it's not an ideal option unless you're already doing a full kitchen makeover and prefer the style. Drop-in ranges are the most expensive style to install.

Best for Installation: Slide-In Range

Slide-in range models simply slip into place between two base cabinets. There's no need for any cabinet customization. All range types are available in both gas and electric models, although the style variety is wider for electric models. Serious home chefs often prefer gas ranges.

Cost

Slide-In Range

For comparable functions, a freestanding range is more economical than a slide-in model. A slide-in range costs less than a drop-in model.

Drop-In Range

When compared to a freestanding and a slide-in, the drop-in style is most expensive. Drop-in models are not as easily found in retail outlets and may require special ordering. Brand and market availability is limited.

Best for Cost: Slide-In Range

Most retailers carry a large selection of slide-in range models along with freestanding range models, but not so many drop-in ranges. Slide-in ranges are available in both gas and electric models, although the style variety is wider for electric models. Serious home chefs often prefer gas ranges.

The Verdict

Slide-in ranges are generally considered to be easier and less costly to install than drop-in ranges, while both models give a kitchen a streamlined look. You’ll also have more storage with the bottom cookware drawer on slide-in ranges. In addition, you’ll be able to easily find and purchase slide-in ranges over less popular drop-in models.

Top Brands

  • GE is a major manufacturer of slide-in and other style ranges and is one of two companies selling drop-in ranges.
  • Frigidaire also sells slide-in and other style ranges and also sells drop-in ranges.
  • Bosch sells upscale slide-in ranges.