Slide-in ranges allow you to have the seamless look of your tile backsplash without looking at the backguard of a range.
The burner and oven controls up front are features of the Slide In, 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.
Freestanding models and Slide-In 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.
originally posted by Danny Nguyen of Yale Appliances