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I’m going to let you in on a little secret: There’s no Kenmore factory.
Kenmore, the home appliance brand that’s sold at Sears, K-Mart, and now Amazon has never once built a home appliance. Instead, the brand works with a variety of manufacturers to design home appliances, which are then built specifically for Kenmore. Think of it like Trader Joe’s, but for appliances.
So, just who makes the Kenmore appliance you’re about to buy? There are some general rules of thumb, but the only way to be sure is to check the build plate, which shows the model number and serial number on all Kenmore (and Craftsman) products. Ahead of the model number, there will be three digits and a decimal point. That’s called a source code, and it’s Sears top-secret way of determining who made what.
For a full list of source codes, check out Appliance411. If you don’t want to get that specific, here’s a general idea of who makes what:
Dishwashers: Even though Whirlpool appliances are no longer sold at Sears stores, nearly all current Kenmore dishwashers are made by Whirlpool Corp., a partnership that’s lasted for decades. Some older models and Kenmores sold in Canada were manufactured by Bosch and Samsung.
Ovens, Cooktops, and Ranges: Nearly all Kenmore cooking products are now made by Frigidaire. A small number of ranges come from LG.
Washers and Dryers: Nearly all new top-load Kenmore washers and matching dryers are made by Whirlpool Corp. Front-load machines and stacking dryers are made by LG.
Refrigerators: Here’s where it gets tricky. Most top-freezer Kenmore fridges are made by Electrolux, and are similar to Frigidaire models. Most side-by-side and some inexpensive French door models are made by Whirlpool, while nearly all high-end French door and some side-by-side models are made by LG.
Vacuums: For the past decade, Kenmore’s flagship vacuums were made by Panasonic (less-expensive models came from TTI, Eureka, and PhoneMate). Now that Panasonic is winding down its North American small appliance business, upcoming Kenmore vacuums will be manufactured by a company called Cleva.
Room Air Conditioners: Kenmore air conditioners are mostly made by Frigidaire and LG.
Whatever you do, don't pay full price for a Kenmore appliance, as they're often marked down well below MSRP.
Additionally, don't buy a Kenmore appliance from an unauthorized retailer. Kenmore appliances are usually sold at Sears and K-Mart, though some folks buy and re-sell Kenmore appliances on Amazon and other third-party websites at inflated prices. Always check Kenmore.com for a sale price before you buy, or you could end up spending more than you have to.
Article updated on October 24, 2017 to reflect new information about the relationship between Sears and Whirlpool.