A Guide to Slide-In, Drop-In, & Freestanding Ranges: Pros, Cons, & Comparisons

A Guide to Slide-In, Drop-In, & Freestanding Ranges: Pros, Cons, & Comparisons
Want a new range? Here’s how to choose between them.

No matter what you choose for kitchen flooring (e.g., hardwood or something more traditional),  you’re going to need a cooking range. Your main options are freestanding units, slide-in and drop-in units, wall ovens paired with range tops, and hybrid or front-control units. While freestanding ranges are by far the most popular of the four options, there are times you might want to consider a slide-in or drop-in type range, such as when you’re looking for a more streamlined or customized look in your kitchen. Today we’ll take a look at the similarities and differences between slide-in, drop-in, and freestanding range units to help you figure out which is the best choice for your kitchen.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of a slide-in range?

A Guide to Slide-In, Drop-In, & Freestanding Ranges: Pros, Cons, & Comparisons
A slide-in range offers a cleaner, sleeker look than a freestanding range…

Slide-in cooking ranges are essentially freestanding ranges wedged between cabinetry. They include angled sides with cooktops that protrude slightly beyond the general width of the range. As a result, they’re installed by sliding them between cabinets (hence the name) with the end goal of resting the cooktop on the adjacent countertops. The advantage of this approach is a cleaner, sleeker look; you’ll frequently see slide-in ranges in upscale homes, in magazines, and on cooking shows. You can readily customize them with cabinetry and achieve a more cohesive kitchen compared to freestanding ranges, which never quite match as well with cabinetry. You also can store additional cookware at the base of most slide-in models in a bottom drawer. The downside to this approach is that you can’t install a slide-in range without cabinets on both sides, as the stove’s side panels will be unfinished and will include alignment grooves. The GE PS950SFSS 30″ slide-in double oven electric range is a good example of a quality, mid-level slide-in range.

What are the pros and cons of a drop-in model?

A Guide to Slide-In, Drop-In, & Freestanding Ranges: Pros, Cons, & Comparisons
…but a drop-in range is even more attuned to your kitchen.

A drop-in range is essentially a more complicated slide-in range. You don’t just need to fit it between cabinetry, you also need to customize the cabinetry from the ground up, setting up a base and a front panel with the same materials as the cabinetry. The advantages of drop-in models are tied to style and appearance; when done well, they can appear seamlessly integrated into your kitchen, giving it a high-end look for years to come. However, drop-in ranges don’t include storage drawers for pots and pans, meaning you’ll need a separate cabinet or drawer elsewhere to hold your cookware. Drop-in ranges are also generally hard to find, which means you’ll have fewer brands to choose from and might need to special order them. They typically feature controls on the front top panel and are usually 30″ wide. You can buy wider units, but you’ll pay much more for the privilege due to the customization issues already discussed. The Frigidaire FFED3025PS 30″ electric drop-in smoothtop range above is a good example of a trending style in drop-in ranges.

What are the benefits and drawbacks to freestanding ranges?

Wall Ovens vs Stove Ranges: Pros, Cons, Costs & Convenience
That said, you’ll get the most value from a freestanding range…

Finally, you’ve got the more traditional options to consider: freestanding ranges and wall ovens. The benefits of freestanding ranges are their versatility, space efficiency, and affordability. They’re the most common type of range on the market, which means you’ll have the most options when it comes to style, color, brand, and price. You’ll also pay less for them in general because they require no customization whatsoever, unlike slide-in, drop-in, or wall-mounted units. They’re also make a much better use of space than wall ovens because the cooking surface is directly on top of the oven, which means you don’t need a separate cooktop as you would with a wall oven.

The drawbacks of these designs are that they don’t integrate quite as seamlessly into existing kitchens and cabinetry as slide-in, drop-in, or wall units. Additionally, if you want a double oven, you’ll need a lot more kitchen space to fit one in in a freestanding design. The Kucht KRG3080U range is a good example of an attractive, durable, and powerful stainless steel range.

What are the pros and cons of wall ovens compared to freestanding, slide-in, and drop-in units?

Wall Ovens vs Stove Ranges: Pros, Cons, Costs & Convenience
Wall ovens are unbeatable in aesthetics and aging in place convenience, but are pricey.

Compared to the other three options, wall ovens are undoubtedly the most chic. There’s a reason you’ll find them nearly unanimously in high-end homes: they look amazing. They’re also by far the best option for aging in place and baking with convenience, as it’s the only design of the four with the oven placed at arm height, which means you’ll never need to stoop, strain, crouch, or bend to get food in or out of them. Additionally, if you do enough backing to warrant a double oven, you’ll get the most bang for your buck with a wall oven setup, as you can fit two full-sized ovens on top of each other more efficiently in this design than with any other.

The disadvantages of wall ovens are tied to price–they’re more expensive due to the additional labor and design requirements–and space. If you want to use a cooking surface, you’ll need a separate range top, which will cost additional money and will take up additional space elsewhere in your kitchen. The GE Profile PT7800SHSS combination convection and microwave oven is a good example of a popular wall oven.

What’s the best value in a range right now?

Thor Kitchen HRG3080U Range Review, Kucht KRG3080U Comparison
The Thor Kitchen HRG3080U is our top recommendation today for a high-end range for mid-range prices.

Given how much more value you get per dollar with a freestanding range over any other kind (e.g., a wall oven and range top, a slide-in range, a hybrid setup, or a drop-in range), we typically recommend them over the other options when you want the most for your money. Right now, two freestanding ranges that give a lot of power, performance, and reliability for a relatively modest sum are the Thor Kitchen HRG3080U 30″ range (reviewed here) and the Kucht KRG3080U range (reviewed here). The units themselves are the same; the Kucht just costs a bit more because the company provides better customer service and people are willing to pay extra for it.

You  can buy the Thor Kitchen HRG3080U 30″ freestanding gas range here on Amazon or buy the Kucht KRG3080U range here instead.

Canadians can buy the Thor Kitchen HRG3080U 30″ freestanding gas range here on Amazon or buy the Kucht KRG3080U range, which is cheaper, instead.

If you find our research on PMC helpful, you can follow our efforts to keep maniacally reviewing home appliances by shopping through our links above. We promise to keep fighting the good fight against every horror children, animals, and grown, yet messy humans can inflict upon a clean home.

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Kucht KRG3080U Range Review, Thor Kitchen HRG3080U Comparison

Kucht KRG3080U Range Review, Thor Kitchen HRG3080U Comparison
The Kucht KRG3080U natural gas range offers professional quality at middle-class prices…

Regardless of whether you opt for a traditional floor for your kitchen or something more avant-garde like hardwood floors, you’re probably going to want to update your stove and oven someday. Presuming you want a gas range over a wall oven and cooktop (because there are pros and cons to both), your next challenge will be to find an appliance that blends quality with affordability. Because while you can buy a brand new range for under a grand, most of what you’ll find on the market won’t last for long before running into electronic brain damage due to planned obsolescence. And as much as we love cooking, most of us aren’t going to buy Wolf or Viking ranges any time soon, no matter how attractive and powerful they may be.

Thor Kitchen HRG3080U Range Review, Kucht KRG3080U Comparison
…and is worth considering over the Thor Kitchen HRG3080U due to better customer support.

Fortunately, thanks to the Internet, you can buy well-engineered and durable appliances from all around the world without taking out a second mortgage. Want a buy-it-for-life vacuum? A made-in-Germany Miele canister will last you 20 years or more. And if you want a high-end gas range for mid-range prices, one of the best options on the market today is the Thor Kitchen HRG3080U 30″ range, which we recently reviewed. Today we’ll take a closer look at the Kucht KRG3080U Professional Natural Gas Range to see how it compares to the Thor Kitchen in value. Our overall thoughts are to choose the Thor Kitchen if saving money is a priority, to upgrade to the Kucht for better customer service, and to take advantage of Amazon’s expert installation; the ranges themselves are identical. We fully review the Kucht below, and you can buy the Kucht KRG3080U here in the US. Our Canadian readers can buy the KRG3080U here.

Pros, cons, and key features of the Kucht KRG080U Natural Gas Range

Kucht KRG3080U Range Review, Thor Kitchen HRG3080U Comparison
Made by New Jersey-based Kucht, the KRG3080U is a sleek, functional range…

The Kucht KRG080U is one of several gas ranges produced by Clifton, New Jersey-based Kucht Professional. The company is a small but growing brand, one of many to hit the market in recent years due to the ready availability of high-end appliances from Chinese factories. They offer dishwashers, range tops, dual fuel setups, range hoods, refrigerators, and wine coolers, and their gas and liquid propane (LP) ranges are a good way to get “prosumer” cooking gear–that is, professional-like appliances at consumer-friendly prices–in the United States. Like Thor Kitchen and other small brands sourcing their appliances from the same factories, we’re impressed at the level of quality they’re bringing to moderately affordable price points.

Kucht KRG3080U Range Review, Thor Kitchen HRG3080U Comparison
…with four burners, a convection oven, and a broiler.

The KRG080U offers a 4.2 cubic foot, 22,000 BTU convection oven beneath a 4 burner stovetop with 3 different max power outputs. The front left burner generates 18,000 BTU; the right front offers 15,000 BTU, and the two twin rear burners have a maximum output of 12,000 BTU each. You’ll find a 13,000 BTU broiler beneath the oven. The KRG080U uses natural gas. If you want to convert it to use liquid propane, you’ll need the Kucht liquid propane conversion kit and a few hours of work. Alternatively, you can buy the KRG080U/LP propane range; it’s exactly the same model except designed to run on propane instead of on natural gas. The range uses piezoelectric ignition and an auto-regniter. It’s stainless steel from top to bottom with a blue enamel finish in the oven.

What control options are available for the Kucht Range?

Kucht KRG3080U Range Review, Thor Kitchen HRG3080U Comparison
It’s easy on the eyes and easy to control…

The Kuch range is well-made, easy on the eyes, and very easy to control. The solid steel construction is visually attractive and firm to the touch, although the steel used isn’t quite as thick as that used in a Viking range. On the other hand, this costs half as much. The control knobs turn easily and have a discreet metal finish. The cast-iron cooking grates are satisfyingly heavy and reassuringly stable, even when balancing heavy dishes. The oven window is clear, solid, and large enough to get a good look at whatever you’re cooking. Several internal halogen oven lights allow to you to see your culinary creations with the flick of a switch, one of only two on the face of the range.

Kucht KRG3080U Range Review, Thor Kitchen HRG3080U Comparison
…with a body free of electronic clutter…

One of our favorite things about the design of the range is how wonderfully simple it is. In a world where most appliances are thrown away because it costs more to fix their circuit boards than to toss the machines and replace them, we’re happy to see a pushback against planned obsolescence through electronic brain damage. The range is refreshingly analog in design; you can control all of it through switches and knobs.

Kucht KRG3080U Range Review, Thor Kitchen HRG3080U Comparison
…allowing you to focus on what really matters in a stove:

There are no clocks to set, self-cleaning functions to fix, digital thermometers to beep at you. To set your oven temperature, you turn the dial to the temperature you want and you’ll see a blue indicator light when the oven reaches it. You can choose between 150 and 500 degrees Fahrenheit. The oven is 28-7/8″ long including the oven handle, 30″ wide, and 40″ tall including the venting grills. It weighs 200 pounds. Like all ranges by Kucht, it includes a two year parts and labor warranty.

What is it like to use and cook with the KRG080U? Is it user-friendly?

Kucht KRG3080U Range Review, Thor Kitchen HRG3080U Comparison
Focused, functional, powerful cooking.

Cooking with the KRG080U is a pleasure. While you’re not going to turn into Jamie Oliver or Wolfgang Puck the moment you turn it on, you can easily lose yourself for hours making meal after meal. The burners click smoothly, light practically instantaneously, and the bright blue flame that sprouts from the grates heats food satisfyingly quickly. Unless you’ve used a professional-grade stovetop before, you’ll need to give yourself some time to adjust to how the increased power–because there’s a lot of it–affects cooking times. The inclusion of the center grate is wonderful for letting you move pots and pans from one burner to another without risking spills and burns.

Beyond the ease with which you can cook with the Kucht, perhaps the most satisfying part of using it will be how organic it is. Nothing’s going to beep at you, flash at you, need resetting or programming or other electronic tinkering. It’s not a “smart” appliance, and it won’t overstimulate you like one. You just light it and get cooking, which is ultimately what we’re most interested in doing.

What’s the difference between the Kucht KRG3080U and the Thor Kitchen HRG3080U?

Thor Kitchen HRG3080U Range Review, Kucht KRG3080U Comparison
It’s identical to the Thor Kitchen HRG3080U…

Our investigation of both models has led us to conclude that there aren’t actually any meaningful differences between the two models aside from brinding, price, and customer support. They have the same specifications, cook the same way (very well), and appear nearly identical internally and externally. The main differences in price are that the Kucht costs more in the US and less in Canada than the Thor Kitchen model. It’s also got far better customer support if something goes wrong; while we haven’t had any direct negative experiences, we’ve heard from others that Thor Kitchen can be less than responsive if you have questions or problems with the range, while Kucht has already established a reputation for promptness and a willingness to go the extra mile. When buying a multi-thousand dollar range, a little extra support can go a long way.

Why buy the Kucht KRG3080U, and is it worth paying extra for Amazon’s professional expert installation service with the Kucht range?

Kucht KRG3080U Range Review, Thor Kitchen HRG3080U Comparison
…but is worth paying extra for due to better backup from the company.

To sum up our thoughts, both the Thor Kitchen and Kucht ranges are a smart way to buy a Wolf or Viking-like cooking experience on a middle class budget. Both ranges are sleek, powerful, functional, and impressively well made. They aren’t perfect; the steel scratches too easily for our tastes, and the range can become quite hot when using it; we’d like to see better insulation. But if you want a commercial-grade range at a consumer-friendly price, there are very few better options on the market. We’d recommend the Kucht over the Thor Kitchen for the extra customer support.

As a final note, we’d also recommend paying the additional few hundred dollars if you’re in the US to have Amazon send experts over to install either range for you and remove your own range. It’s not a complicated installation if you’ve done it before, but if you haven’t, there are better places in life to try to save money than when trying to haul in and haul out two appliances that weigh hundreds of pounds each and are fueled by explosive gases. Just choose the “include installation” option and enjoy your new range. Alternatively, you can always hire a local professional; the range is worth it.

You  can buy the Thor Kitchen HRG3080U 30″ freestanding gas range here on Amazon or buy the Kucht KRG3080U range here instead for a little more money and a lot more customer support. If you use propane, get the Kucht KRG3080U/LP instead.

Canadians can buy the Thor Kitchen HRG3080U 30″ freestanding gas range here on Amazon or buy the Kucht KRG3080U range, which is cheaper, instead. Use propane? Buy the Kucht KR3080/LP here.

If you find our research on PMC helpful, you can follow our efforts to keep maniacally reviewing home appliances by shopping through our links above. We promise to keep fighting the good fight against every horror children, animals, and grown, yet messy humans can inflict upon a clean home.

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