Pros and Cons of Slide-In Ranges versus Cooktop and Oven Cabinet

steph2000July 19, 2011

What are the pros and cons of each? We like the look of the oven cabinet and cooktop on the counter, but I haven't ruled out going with a free-standing range.

What do you love and why?

Any drawbacks to either I'm not informed enough to ask about?

Thanks in advance!

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We battled with this question as well. My conclusion came down to one of aesthetics vs cost.

In our case, the Electrolux push-in range with comparable features to the same manufacturer's cook top and wall-ovens was less expensive & even has extra features (a second oven/warming drawer). We also found that going with separate units really added to the costs of cabinetry and custom counter top cuts required to accommodate the two pieces.

That said, practically lost out to looks in our case & we went with the separate cooktop & oven combo. I like the two separate units, and the 'look' is higher-end, and becoming de rigueur for the condo units in our area/price bracket.

Not sure if that helps or not...

    Bookmark   July 19, 2011 at 2:46PM
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We went with a 36" pro range. Here's why:

1. cost- the separate oven and cooktop was too expensive and we couldn't get all of the features we wanted
2. I didn't want to give up my hutch cabinet, which would have been the only location for the double oven.
3. I cook a TON of things that go from cooktop to oven and I didn't want to walk across the kitchen

The whole cooktop to oven issue really pushed me into the range concept. If that isn't an issue for you, I think it is more difficult to make the decision. Think about the potential locations of each and see which flow you like better.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2011 at 2:55PM
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Fori is not pleased

In a small kitchen, you're supposed to get a range so that the oven is taken care of, but it actually makes more sense to put in a wall oven because you can put the microwave in the same cabinet. But. Hey I dunno. There's no right way and no wrong way except I'd for sure not design for a (freestanding) range because the crack between range and counter is one thing I'd rather not deal with. Doesn't bother others.

I just moved into a place with a slide-in and I find the cleaning aspects are satisfactory.

There are advantages to each and different people have different preferences.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2011 at 3:25PM
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I agree with the above. It depends on your budget and preference. I've used a freestanding range all my life and used friends cooktops and built in ovens. I cook a lot and prefer the versatility of it being separate.

One drawback to the freestanding is the cleaning, for me. you've got to pull it out to scrub down the sides when messy kids "help"." The built in ovens have counters to eliminate that.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2011 at 3:49PM
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Today, the workers pulled out my slide-in range, which I have cooked with for thirteen years. The sides had many gross drip marks from instances in which something had spilled between the counter and range. We will install a double oven and cooktop this time.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2011 at 4:00PM
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We decided on the slide-in range because of cost and space. We actually had the other setup but felt we didn't have enough work space so rather than buying a new wall oven and cooktop (since we needed additional burners), we got the slide in. And then made the island (where the cook top was) just work space. So I would agree it depends on your budget and your counter space.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2011 at 4:03PM
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We had a slide-in. I love the look of the cooktop & separate oven, but it would have required the addition of a another electrical outlet (some $) and the loss of the storage area under the oven. We're space challenged, so we went with the range. A free-standing, nonetheless. Slide-ins look nice, I think, but the one we had stuck out too much and it always bothered me. The freestanding looks slick, abuts the wall, and fits like a glove between the granite.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2011 at 4:05PM
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I just like the way a range looks...I stink at cooking, but when I saw the 36" pro-style range we are getting, I felt like I was on the Food Network! ;) Hey, you know me, form over function, baby!

    Bookmark   July 19, 2011 at 4:07PM
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Yeah the downsides of the slide-in range are the drips you will inevitable get down the sides. Pretty gross.

On the plus side, in my opinion, it takes up less space in a small kitchen. We have a stove + oven + warming drawer all in one piece, rather than everything separated. If the oven is separate, it takes up valuable cabinet space. Also you do have to move things by walking, which may or may not be an issue.

Aesthetically, I do think that the slide-in all-in-one (am I even using the right terms?) are the generally the least attractive option, but it ended up being the most convenient for us.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2011 at 4:08PM
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Free standing range is different than a slide-in. A slide-in actually has a lip that goes over the counter top and stops most of the nasty spills/food/yuck that builds up on a typical free standing range.

I wanted the cooktop and built in oven but couldn't justify the cost and loss of cabinet space needed to have them. The slide in looks great and works perfect for us. I think it not having the tall back with knobs gives it a cleaner look.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2011 at 4:32PM
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I went with a slide in range because I wanted as few "uppers" as possible. I like the slide in range because it keeps the oven below the counter.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2011 at 4:36PM
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OT, but itltrot do you have a post here with more pictures of your counter and backsplash? They are lovely and I'd love to see a close up photo.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2011 at 4:39PM
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My range has been in this house for almost 40 years. And I can tell you with no doubts at all that it has NEVER been pulled out from its spot. And I dare you to point out any spots on its sides. Unless you have Xray vision, of course.

With separates, you can pick and chose that which is important to you. If you don't bake or use the oven much, you can put extra money into cooktop features that you want (like induction with individual timers).

I find one disadvantage to putting a wall oven in a bottom cabinet is that the oven and the controls are too close to the floor. I would have to sit on a short stool to read the control panel, and put my back out trying to wipe out the inside.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2011 at 4:51PM
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As all have stated each has their Pros and Cons. I really wanted to switch to a Pro Range until I realized how terrible low those ovens are. I decided I didn't want to have pick a turkey up off the floor every Thanksgiving. I love the height of my wall oven and microwave. I suggest you go to a store for comparison. Stand in front of each and run through a recipe in your mind. I think you will be able to decide what works best for your cooking style.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2011 at 5:20PM
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I chose a range top and a wall oven. I did have a range in a previous kitchen and I did not like it for a number of reasons: I do not like standing in front of a hot oven (ovens were less well insulated in those days). I like that I can ask somebody to check something in the oven while I keep stirring say a sauce on the cooktop without stepping away. I like being able to look in the oven without bending way down. No oven under my cooktop means I can use that space for pots and pans in drawers, pans go from the drawer on the cooktop in one move. HTH, Petra

    Bookmark   July 19, 2011 at 5:46PM
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I have had a slide in range and now a free standing range - plain & simple reason for me selecting a range, I want my oven & broiler under my hood. I like broiled fish but I don't want to smell it.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2011 at 6:56PM
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I have a slide in range due mostly to space issues. My last kitchen had a wall oven across from cook top. I liked the look of the set up but I prefer my range for a few reasons. Extra cab space. Much larger oven capacity. Also I like to pre sear roasts and meats and the proximity with the range can not be beat. If I had more space I would have a range instead of a cooktop but i would have a wall oven/micro/warming draw stack as well.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2011 at 8:04PM
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It's more than the looks for me....

I like cooking on the cooktop and finishing in the oven. This is how I cook my meats and fishes often. Browning does not happen as nicely in the oven. (This is how restaurants often cook their meats and fishes...) This type of food works best in a range. I cook alot and move fast when making multiple dishes. Carrying a super hot pan that was used to "brown meats" to the oven is a disaster waiting to happen in "my hands", IMHO. I have a pro style gas range with a gas oven. I also have an electric oven off to the side. I use both for situations that warrant them. You have to asess how you cook!

Yes, the wall oven is better for baking or roasting for a long time where you can work at the cooktop while the baking and roasting is happening at a more convinient height for checking.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2011 at 8:18PM
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I have a small galley kitchen, circa 1961. It has a cooktop and a double wall oven. This setup works great for me, and I'm going to just update it in the remodel. I love the implement drawer and storage for pots and pans right under the cooktop. I like looking into the oven, cleaning the oven, and putting things in and out of the upper oven without bending over. Even the lower oven is a little higher than a range oven.

The biggest benefit, though, is the efficient use of space in my particular situation. My oven is built into the wall that has the garage on the other side, so no usable cabinet space is taken up by the oven.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2011 at 9:22PM
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for me, i prefer gas for the oven and cooktop, and it is more difficult to find a gas wall oven as most are electric. i think viking is one of the few that makes a gas wall oven, but it is really expensive. but that said, most people like electric ovens, so it may not be an issue for you at all.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2011 at 11:04PM
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Thanks so much for all the input and information! It was great to come home and find 20 replies.

The first thing that stands out is I am so ignorant I don't even seem to know the correct terminology and all the options. That's embarassing, and probably says more about my cooking skills and knowledge base than I'd generally want to let on. *watches cat slip out of bag*

So, let's see how my learning is progressing...
1 - Ranges are single units that incorporate the burners and the oven
2 - ovens are stand alone, either in a wall cabinet or in a base cabinet
3 - ranges come in 2 varieties - free-standing and slide-ins that actually cover the gap with the counters
4 - free-standing does not mean 'stands alone and doesn't need cabinetry to support it' but rather that the oven is separate and 'stands alone' from the cooktop

Is that right?

Which leads to a question: What is the definition of a stove? Is it just another word for an oven? Lol, I'm hopeless.

itltrot - I really like your range and love the idea of protecting the sides and having a zero-clearance back, especially given that my days of a 5 inch backsplash attached to my countertop are about over.

Due to space/venting considerations, I was initially thinking we'd put the oven right under the cooktop if we went with separate units because my partner really doesn't want crumbs/drips to get going down the sides, but perhaps the slide-in option takes care of that? As much as I appreciate the idea of having things up off the floor, we aren't doing floor-ceiling cabinets in our small kitchen so those options are out at this point.

I'll have to research more for sure. The whole subject just seems so foreign to me. For those of you who have cooktops integrated into your counters, it sounds like that costs more/is more complicated with the counters. What happens if the cooktop needs repair or replacement down the road? Is the countertop impacted?

    Bookmark   July 20, 2011 at 1:20AM
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I was hoping to put an oven directly below the induction cooktop, but today my KD emphatically told me that you can't do that if you're mixing brands (which is my plan). Sorry for throwing another factor into your decision-making mix....

    Bookmark   July 20, 2011 at 1:34AM
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Steph - you may be embarrassed by the confusion your questions suggest, but I'm right lockstep beside you. And I just bought a - I don't even know what it's called... range I think. But I grew up calling these things "stoves" and it meant the whole kit and caboodle. That thing was the "stove".

I agree it's really confusing and I can never get the right words straight. But isn't the "stove" really the burners-part on the top, but popular usage refers to the whole thing that way? I guess I've inferred that from the term "Stovetop", meaning the burners detached from the oven. Bottom line is: I just don't know either and am really looking forward to The Answer.

Good to know I can't actually be TKO if this is still a confusion! ;)

    Bookmark   July 20, 2011 at 2:05AM
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Errr- There is one more type of range (that I know of), the drop-in. Freestanding ranges just sit there, Slide-in slide in and appear to float on the counter, and drop-ins sit on a plywood/cabinet base, they don't have their own bottoms. You don't see a huge variety of these nowadays, however.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2011 at 6:50AM
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I'm so glad you posted this query. I am trying to finalize a layout for a kitchen remodel that is both budget and space challenged, and I'm stuck on the range vs. cooktop/oven thing. I have to confess that part of the hangup for me is aesthetics - I'm switching from gas to induction and the look of the ranges doesn't really appeal to me. And since it seems like I can find better deals on induction in the cooktop/oven configuration, I thought I'd go that route. But then gorgeous photos like the one posted by itltrot above confuse me even further. One thing I'm certain of is that I definitely want to avoid the freestanding option simply because I hate wondering about the gunk that has slipped between my current ancient range and the surrounding countertops. Thanks to everyone for posting their arguments pro and con. Keep them coming! I need more ammunition for one side or the other.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2011 at 8:03AM
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About repair/replacement of cooktops affecting the countertop: Modern cooktops do vary slightly in size/shape, but I would think you'd be able to get some kind of trim to fill in small gaps. But yes, there can be a complication if the cooktop dies and that one isn't made any more. When my 1961 cooktop died in around 1990, I had to just replace it because the cutout in the formica was so different from the 1990 cooktops. Fortunately, Frigidaire still made it. (I don't expect modern electric cooktops to last 30 years, but who knows?.)

Repairs should not be a problem, as far as I know. The guy at the appliance store did tell me that in his experience, when you have their warranty on a cooktop, they usually just replace it rather than repair it.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2011 at 9:04AM
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So, let's see how my learning is progressing...
1 - Ranges are single units that incorporate the burners and the oven


2 - ovens are stand alone, either in a wall cabinet or in a base cabinet

Yes. You can put a wall oven in a cabinet at waist height, below the counter, or wherever you can fit it. Or it can be part of your range, as you say.

3 - ranges come in 2 varieties - free-standing and slide-ins that actually cover the gap with the counters

Slide-ins and drop-ins both have the edge lips that cover the gap. Freestanding ones don't.

4 - free-standing does not mean 'stands alone and doesn't need cabinetry to support it' but rather that the oven is separate and 'stands alone' from the cooktop

No. A free-standing range is one with finished sides; it can stand alone with no cabinetry on each side if need be. Free-standing ranges also have the controls at the back, on a vertical piece that's like a built-in backsplash. Slide-in and drop-in ranges have the controls in the front.

A much better description than I can give is linked below. It is about how to replace an existing range/cooktop with induction, but the descriptions are valuable even if you aren't in the market for induction.

Here is a link that might be useful: Types of ranges/cooktops at The Induction Site

    Bookmark   July 20, 2011 at 9:04AM
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Okay, I'm grabbing coffee and going skeptically to join aliris19 in the "Not TKO" corner. I hope you are all taking in our sincerity. lol

Great information and link, northcarolina. Gotta get these terms down before I can leave Kitchen 101, and move on to Kitchen 202. Thanks for taking the time to answer the specific questions. :)

redheaddeluxe - It sounds like you were just thrown a wrench for your plans. How strange that different makers are not playing nice for combining cooktops and ovens...

xand83 - That helps. I think what we were considering was a cooktop plus a drop-in below the cooktop, then. It raises the question, again, about what if's. What does one do if there is an oven failure with a drop-in and the cabinet/oven is covered by counter and perhaps even a cooktop?

Ginny20 - Thanks for the information on cooktop repair. Like you, I am doubting that these appliances are made like they used to be. Some of those 60's appliances are still going strong, whether people want them to or not. lol

smaloney - Glad this is helping others out! Like you, I'm liking that slide-in. In fact, I think I'd seen another one (gas burners) on line and liked it because it was even with the counter and didn't have that backsplash panel on the back, but I didn't realize that it also would close the gaps with the counters.

Those pro ranges are beautiful. I just don't know that I cook enough to justify the expense... I say that without doing any pricing, though. They sure look expensive. :)

One final question: Are there certain countertop materials that can and can't be used with cooktops? It doesn't seem like something that could be used universally, given the heat issues.

Thanks again for all the information!

    Bookmark   July 20, 2011 at 10:49AM
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steph2000 - a 'drop in' is a 'stove' - it includes the cooktop also. it looks similar to a slide in but it 'drops in' from the top and sets on a built up cabinet base. It doesn't go all the way to the floor.

if the oven dies and you can't get it fixed, you do w/o an oven or replace the whole unit.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2011 at 2:37PM
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a drop in looks like this. like a slide in w/o the pan storage area at the bottom. hmmm...maybe that's what I need...

    Bookmark   July 20, 2011 at 2:47PM
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Redhead: your KD is incorrect. You can put any cooktop over any oven you want, as long as the clearances required by both are maintained.

Manufacturers may state that only certain combinations are 'approved'. But manufacturers are not in the business of testing other makers units with their own nor promoting their use.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2011 at 3:36PM
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>maybe that's what I need..

Almost certainly your worst choice. You'll pay hugely for a really cruddy drop-in because there are just a few made as replacements for people who don't want to tear out cabinets. Not at all a good bargain, besides automatically making your kitchen look outdated.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2011 at 3:40PM
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lol! my kitchen will most definitely look outdated to most everyone even after I'm done with it!

I don't go for the newer stuff - the current cooktop on my list is - oh no! a coil top one! yep.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2011 at 7:20PM
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desertsteph -- I have a coil top too. I prefer to think of it as "retro." :)

I tried to post a p.s. after my other post above but it seems to have not gone through -- re. the knobs in the back of a freestanding range. I have a freestanding one because that's the way my cabs/counter are configured, and for now I like having the controls in the back because I have small children. When they are ready to learn to cook, it would probably be nice to have controls in the front so they won't have to reach over pots to get to them (not an issue with an adult since we're taller).

We replaced a 40-year-old coil top last year and I don't remember seeing anything icky on its sides other than some rust. And this is off-topic, but the fact that it lasted 40 yrs makes me a little dubious about the electronics on modern stoves (which still doesn't stop me thinking about induction...).

    Bookmark   July 20, 2011 at 10:47PM
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What's the advantages of a drop-in model over the others?

    Bookmark   July 20, 2011 at 11:03PM
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Well, I don't have anything against coil tops, but the fact is that they're made for the lowest end these days. You aren't going to find really nice stoves with coils anymore.

Incidentally, knobs on the back of a freestanding is the norm, but not invariable. Kitchenaid, for instance, makes a freestanding stove with the knobs on the front and just an empty backsplash on it. Can't embed because it's a stupid flash site, but the link will show it to you.

Here is a link that might be useful: KA range

    Bookmark   July 20, 2011 at 11:05PM
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1. A drop-in has no advantages over anything, including a fire down by the river. They are ugly, hard to replace and dated. They also require special cabinetry.

2. Gas ranges have the knobs in front.

3. Wall ovens also have loud fans to cool the electronics that run a lot. These fans do not vent any cooking smokes or smells.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2011 at 11:23PM
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"desertsteph -- I have a coil top too. I prefer to think of it as "retro." "

being 'retro' will make it fit right in with my place then - lol! I'll think I'm living high - I've used a 1 burner hot plate for the past 13 yrs w/o feeling the need for more.

the coil top has a high chance of survival around me. A glass/ceramic top probably would have a limited lifespan. I drop things very easily.

I don't use a stove much so I'm not concerned about getting a really nice one - certainly not high end type. The few things I cook (if you call it cooking) wouldn't be worth it.

reaching the back panel - at 5' it's a stretch for me!

benefit of the drop in - it's good to get if you need to replace one and you're not planning to replace your cabinets and counter top. otherwise maybe just having the knobs up front?

    Bookmark   July 20, 2011 at 11:42PM
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> otherwise maybe just having the knobs up front?

But any slide in will also have knobs up front, a storage drawer, not need a custom cabinet, and be less expensive to boot.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2011 at 12:16AM
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The dials on a slide-in range are at the front. You don't reach over the hot burners and steaming pans to change temps. This is recommended for "universal access" kitchens because a wheelchair person can use them a little better, although the surface is not lowered. These dials are easily accessed by a child, which might not be a benefit, though, if the child is just playing.

The digital clock on the upright backed models is easily seen from a distance; same with the lighted indicators that show whether surfaces are hot or oven is in use. On a slide-in, the front dials and controls are on the same plane as the cooking surface so I would assume you need to approach the unit to see the lights.

somewhat off topic.... regarding ranges....We began this remodel with the intention of using our old electric coil range until it died. I began to do some research and found that the upraised back on new ranges has risen significantly in my lifetime. I suspect that the gov't began to require that the dials be positioned farther from the cooking surface--in two past ranges I've worked with the dials were cockwacky because they'd melted a bit. Today's range appears to be abt 75 inches tall at the back OR HIGHER. This is a significant design aspect if you're planning new construction. We thought we'd put our niche behind range up high enough to clear any new range but when I got new one, there it is arching in front of the bottom of the niche just a bit. If you're going for a standard range like this, forget any fancy backsplash, esp if you have an under cab hood unit there also, since it has to be mounted lower than some of the decorative hood units. Our niche extends up behind the vent unit, which allows taller bottles if I get crazy and buy one of those exotic olive oils or something. There is only about a foot of actual space between the top of the range's arched back and the bottom of our vent unit. Doesn't bother me at all.

nini804, there's a quote that says that any time form goes before function, take our your wallet.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2011 at 8:36AM
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I currently cook on coil, and I can't wait for the induction cooktop. I am never going to clean those burner pans and rims with SOS pads, ever again!! And no knobs to collect crumbs! I don't think you are likely to actually break the Ceran top. Did you consider induction?

On the other hand, I just looked at AJ Madison, and the cheapest induction range is $1300, and coil ranges start under $400. That is a huge difference. But smooth tops are also easier to clean than coil, and they start under $500. But "easy to clean" is a priority on my Sweeby list, and it may not be on everyone's.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2011 at 9:29AM
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Well, we use gas so I imagine that won't change. Though I admit, the cleanability of a smooth top is almost impossible to resist... ugh, I am so sick of drip pans.

Hm...that brings up the whole open versus closed (sealed) burners issue, which I ALSO don't understand. Anyone got expertise or wisdom on what THAT whole thing is about?

I'm not much of a cook, and neither is my partner. Our joke is that he aspires to be a saucier but we have nothing to put the sauces on. lol Soooo... I hestitate a bit about going high-end or fancy with the range/stove/oven. Terribly, though, the look of the thing matters to me - especially because the kitchen is going to be opened up and visible from the front door.

A while back, I saw a gas stove that had the controls up front and no backsplash thingy and I was intrigued. I wonder if that was a slide-in with those lips that cover the gap with the counter. Hmmm... I'm not seeing it, but I do see automatic shut off? Wow, things have changed. lol (link below)

And on another thread (L+Island versus Peninsula), I posted a previously posted kitchen pic that has a stove that intrigues me:

Does anyone know what kind of stove this is - or anything about the backsplash/shelf/fan hood behind it? I kinda like it...where do you find that kind of thing? Have I become intrigued with a high-end range/hood? *gulp*

DesertSteph is wiser and more practical than AlaskaSteph. She wins!

Here is a link that might be useful: Gas Range with no backsplash

    Bookmark   July 21, 2011 at 10:56AM
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