Kenmore is a Sears brand that borrows basic appliance templates from other manufacturers and then tweaks them to create its own products. So, while Kenmore's $2,600 Elite 41313 is based on an electric Frigidaire range, it still has its own unique design, specs and price tag.
The Elite is a decent range overall with pretty good performance, nice looks, a simple display and an included temperature probe. However, it has a small oven and few features, which hurt it in a side-by-side comparison with Samsung's impressive $2,299 NE58F9710WS Flex Duo range . The Elite definitely delivers, but it isn't a good value and that makes it tough to recommend.
A Kenmore Elite close-up
Kenmore was clearly going for a luxury look when it designed the Elite. Its front-facing display and knobs and stainless-steel-covered exterior have a definite minimalist appeal. At the same time, that streamlined approach seems a little uninspired since all you end up with is a cube-shaped hunk of metal that looks pretty nice as a whole, but doesn't really have any standout design elements.
That might be a personal gripe with front-mounted display panels in general, but I do think that the $2,299 Samsung NE58F9710WS looks better. This is mainly because the Elite is actually a free-standing model, or as Sears describes it, a "freestanding range with a built-in look." Hmm.
Samsung's electric NE58F9710WS is a true slide-in model that's designed to sit flush with existing kitchen cabinetry, whereas the Kenmore Elite doesn't have to be nestled between cabinets at all.
That means that the Elite can fit into a variety of kitchens, but free-standing models are typically in the lower price range. That's odd since the Kenmore Elite costs a whopping $2,600 -- about $300 more than the $2,299 Samsung NE58F9710WS. This also accounts for the stainless steel border surrounding the Elite's cooktop -- a finishing touch that distinguishes it from slide-in models, but also reinforces its cube-look. Still, it looks pretty good overall.
The Kenmore Elite is quite easy to use. The display and knobs are simple and intuitive -- I only wish that the panel was adjustable because it's angled in a way that makes it a little difficult to read without stooping down.
As far as features go, the Elite has five burners, one 100W burner, two 1,200W 6-inch burners, one 3,000W burner with adjustable sizes and one 3,200W burner. Samsung's NE58F9710WS also has five burners, although the specs are slightly different. It has one 100W burner, one 1,200W burner, two 1,800W burners and one adjustable 3,000W burner.
It also has a 4.6 cubic-foot capacity oven. That's really small compared to the 5.8 cubic-foot capacity Samsung NE58F9710WS -- and really, most of the ovens we've reviewed. The oven size may not directly impact your day-to-day cooking, but when holiday season comes around and you want to cook three racks of cookies at a time, the Elite will come up short.
A thermometer probe comes with the oven and there's a related Meat Probe mode on the display so you can cook food to temperature. But that's pretty much it for special features.
Back to the oven
Since the Elite comes with a temperature probe, I used it to convection roast a chicken at 425 degrees until it reached an internal temperature of 160 degrees. I spot-checked with a secondary meat thermometer for comparison and found that it was very close to the probe's readings throughout testing.
Aside from being extremely accurate, the probe was also easy to use. I connected it to the jack inside the oven and it immediately senses that the probe was attached. Then I stuck the probe in the thickest part of the chicken breast, placed it in the oven and chose the cooking mode and temperature (convection roast at 425 degrees). From there, I hit the Meat Probe button, entered in the target temperature of 160 degrees and the oven chimed when the food reached temperature. It also tasted quite good, which doesn't hurt.
I also cooked a few batches of burgers to temperature, except this time I used the broil mode and moved the rack closer to the top of the oven. This test shows how quickly and evenly the upper heat element cooks food. Fortunately, the Kenmore Elite returned consistently speedy -- and delicious -- broil results.
Specifically, it took the Elite an average of 14 minutes and 19 seconds for all of the burgers to reach a minimum internal temperature of a medium-rare/medium 145 degrees. The $1,899 Samsung NE59J7850WS is the only model that managed to achieve this feat faster, taking less than 13 minutes to hit the target temperature. And, the $800 GE JB650SFSS took the longest of the electric models at 16 minutes and 15 seconds.
The biscuit runs also turned out very well. Rather than testing the time it took for them to reach temperature like the chicken and the burgers, I simple cooked each batch for 9 minutes (since the instructions give a range of 8 to 10 minutes).
The double rack traditional biscuits (pictured above on the top row of the collage) weren't particularly even, but they were still pretty good results considering that there was no fan to blow to hot air around. The double rack convection biscuits (pictured above on the bottom row of the collage) performed better, producing a more consistently-cooked biscuit across the two rows.
I used the Kenmore Elite's powerful 3200W 9-inch burner for the 5-quart boil test and it performed extremely well, coming in at 9 minutes and 24 seconds. That's second only to the $3,699 Samsung NE58H9970WS induction range, which took less than 8 minutes to reach a rolling boil. Samsung's $2,299 NE58F9710WS took the longest at 14 minutes and 32 seconds.
The Elite struggled on the small 3-quart water boil test. I used one of the 6-inch 1200W burners and it took 14 minutes and 14 seconds to reach a rolling boil. The $3,699 Samsung NE58H9970WS induction range had the best result at under 6 minutes and the $1,400 LG LRE3027ST took the longest at over 15 minutes.
The $2,600 Kenmore Elite is a very good performer with the exception of the small boil test. It also looks pretty premium, has a straightforward touchpad and comes with a meat probe. The problem is that the oven is too small and it doesn't offer the same range of features as competing models, like Samsung's large-capacity electric $2,299 NE58F9710WS Flex Duo range . The Elite doesn't exactly disappoint, but the value simply isn't there.