Our biggest complaint: Because it’s a Kenmore, you can only purchase this cooktop at Sears and Kmart, which means you’re at the mercy of their sale prices. We think a sale price of $539 for the stainless-trim 45103 is fair.
Either Kenmore is as straightforward as a cooktop gets. At 30 inches wide and 21.5 back-to-front, the standard, entry-level radiant electric cooktop can be installed above an oven. (You can read the full installation guide here.)
There are four burners—a 9-inch 3000W power burner at the front right, a 9-inch 2500W burner at the rear left, and two 6-inch 1200W burners. There are no multi-ring burners. We found the rear burner a bit hard to reach, and the surface felt especially cramped when using multiple pots and pans at once.
Controls are easy to figure out—no owner’s manual needed here. (The 45103 adds stainless trim to the controls.) Overall, this budget Kenmore’s fit and finish doesn’t impress, but it doesn’t feel cheap, either.
A cooktop has to do four things really well: Boil water quickly, get hot enough to sear, simmer at low temperatures, and cook evenly across a pan’s surface. This Kenmore has no problems with any of those tasks.
Boiling took on the long side of average, with the right-rear burner taking just over 6 minutes to bring 48 oz. of water to a boil. All burners got to around 690ºF—hot enough for steak or stir fry. Even better, we found the 45109/45103 cooked evenly across a pan’s surface.
What’s really impressive for a cooktop in this price range is its low temperature cooking. With the exception of the powerful, right front burner, all others dipped below 120ºF. That’s excellent for warming soup or melting butter.
Whether you choose the all-black 45109 or the stainless-trimmed 45103, you get a standard one-year warranty. A similar model from Whirlpool is a bit less expensive, but doesn’t have the power of the Kenmore.
We recommend the Kenmore 45109/45103. It is powerful when it has to be, gentle when it needs to be, and has a style that can match almost any kitchen. What more do you need in a 30-inch cooktop?
Meet the tester
Former Editor in Chief, Reviewed Home@itskeithbarry
Keith was the Editor in Chief of Reviewed's appliance and automotive sites. His work has appeared in publications such as Wired, Car & Driver, and CityLab.
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