Kenmore Elite 32713 Gas Cooktop Review
This cooktop looks impressive, but leaves something to be desired.
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If you’re looking for a fancy-looking, big ol’ cooktop that can simultaneously accommodate any combination of your biggest pots, pans, and griddles on its cast iron grates, this pro-style Kenmore Elite 32713 (MSRP $949.99) might be the right pick for you. But there are a few catches.
First, it's worth noting that $950 is by far the cheapest 36-inch cooktop we've come across. Most gas cooktops of that size go for more than double that, so you should set your expectations accordingly, since it's true that you often get what you pay for.
With stainless trim, five burners and continuous cast iron grates that recall a restaurant kitchen, the surface of this cooktop feels huge. It’s a cinch to fit all your pots, making this a great option for a brunch aficionado or someone who wants to have many dishes going at once, and you can slide pans around without disrupting your cooking groove or finding trivets.
The grates are nice and heavy with that classic, slightly rough cast iron feel. They are easily removable without tools or angst for simple cleaning (dishwasher-safe, too). As far as the controls, the knobs have some wiggle but turn smoothly, and while they don’t have numbered settings or degrees, every operation is intuitive.
But while the 32713 definitely feels and looks like a quality cooktop, it just doesn’t quite perform like one.
For starters, it can’t reach high temperatures quickly or effectively. When we cooked cornbread in a pan, it wound up with underdone spots on the edges and burnt spots at center, indicating that the cooktop doesn’t heat evenly.
When we further tested the burners' capabilities, we came a very clear conclusion: The real star of this cooktop is undoubtedly the center burner. It's great at reaching both high and low temperatures, with a “Turbo Boil” setting that can bring 48 ounces of water to a rolling boil in an impressive five minutes, and an outer ring that can maintain a nice, low temperature of 125°F.
However, the rest of the burners prove that you get what you pay for in this budget-friendly cooktop.
The back right burner is designed to simmer at 5,000 BTUs, but it brought our water to 131°F on its minimum temperature setting (for low-heat burners, we like to see a max temp of around 120°F).
The second most powerful burner boasts a decent 12,000 BTUs, but could only reach 370°F on its maximum temperature. That means that you won't be able to do two simultaneous, high-heat operations on this cooktop. Kiss your dreams of quickly cooking pasta while nicely searing a steak goodbye. The remaining two burners both have 9,500 BTUs, which is pretty weak for regular cooking.
On its face, this cooktop looks and feels top quality, but it simply doesn’t do its job that well. We’d only advise buying it if you want your kitchen to look professional but don’t plan on actually using it for what it’s designed to do: Cook a lot at once. It's definitely a piece that is designed more for space and showmanship, not versatility or functionality.
The spectacular Thermador SGSX365FS has all high-quality burners, but it rings in at $1,899. If you're looking for a well-performing gas cooktop, however, it may be worth the splurge. Otherwise, prepare to use the heck out of that middle burner on this Kenmore.
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