When choosing a cooking range, slide-in and drop-in are two models which may appear to be similar, but each style has unique design features with different installation requirements.
A freestanding range is the most popular 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, but there are differences between them, and installation requirements vary, so be prepared hire a contractor to set-up your new stove, if necessary.
A slide-in cooking range has contoured sides with a slightly-protruding cooktop, which allows the installer to slide it in between the cabinets so that the cooktop rests on top of the countertop on each side.
There must be cabinets on each side of this range model, since the side panels are not finished as found on a freestanding stove, but have alignment grooves. Slide-in models usually have a bottom drawer below the oven for storing cookware, that is part of the stove. This model looks customized with the cabinetry when compared to a freestanding range.
Drop-in ranges, on the other hand, require customized cabinetry and are dropped into the prepared base with a cabinet front panel at the bottom. It offers a very nice integrated and high-end look to the kitchen. However, the drop-in range has no cookware storage drawer, requiring an additional cabinet or drawer to house your pots and pans. Drop-in models are not as easily found in retail outlets and may require special ordering. Brand and market availability is limited.
Usually, these range models have no top dash and controls are conveniently placed at the front edge of the cooktop.
The standard width of cooking ranges is 30" though you can find larger units if you like. Note that there are limited models available in a wider drop-in or slide-in ranges. Always confirm physical measurements with the dealer or manufacturer, complete installation guidelines and provide these to the installer, along with the specs of the type of range you are planning on buying.
Other cooking range options include freestanding models or installing a cooktop in the countertop with a wall oven located in a cabinet. This kind of installation usually requires professional installation for the electrical and to ensure a good fit for the wall oven within the cabinetry.
Sizes vary for cooktops, but there is a wide range of element configuration available. Wall ovens also vary in size and baking functions and cooking technology, so review your needs and always ensure your kitchen area meets installation measurements and requirements before buying.
As for price, a freestanding range is more economical than a slide-in model, and the drop-in is the most expensive, without considering range features or labor costs for installing. A drop-in range is usually installed during a kitchen renovation and requires preplanning along with cabinet purchases and installation, so it's not a good option unless you're doing a full kitchen makeover.
There is more brand variety for electric models, but some gas units may also be available. Gas fuel ranges are extremely popular with many home chefs.