The Kenmore Elite 97203 is an electric range with an induction cooktop. Instead of heating the burners directly, it generates an electromagnetic field that heats up the cookware directly (provided that cookware is made of magnetic materials). It pairs this cooktop with a 6.1-cubic-foot convection oven, plus a separate warming drawer. Additional features include a meat probe and a built-in ventilation fan. In professional tests, this model gets excellent scores across the board for boiling, simmering, baking and broiling.
However, user reviews are less positive. While owners say they love the fast-heating cooktop and convection oven, they also complain that the cooktop layout makes it difficult to use all the burners at once. We saw similar comments about the top-rated Samsung FTQ307NWGX (*Est. $1,930), but the Samsung induction range did not have as many complaints about reliability. Although we found only a handful of reviews for the Kenmore Elite range, two of them contained serious reliability complaints -- one about the burners and another about the ventilation fan. Another review says that the huge oven takes a long time to preheat.
The Kenmore Elite 97203 has been subjected to detailed, thorough testing both at ConsumerReports.org and at Good Housekeeping. User reviews for this range are scarce, however; we found only a handful at Sears.com, the only retail site that sells Kenmore appliances. The annual appliance survey by J.D. Power and Associates provides some general information about the Kenmore Elite brand.
ConsumerReports.org provides ratings on its website for more than 100 ranges, including the Kenmore Elite 97203. Ranges are rated on cooktop performance, baking, broiling, capacity and oven cleaning.
Review: Kitchen Ranges, Editors of ConsumerReports.org
2. Good Housekeeping
Testers at Good Housekeeping award the Kenmore Elite 97203 a grade of B+ for its performance, features and ease of use. Reviewers say its broiling performance is excellent, but the burners don't heat evenly and the self-cleaning cycle leaves residue behind.
Review: Kenmore Elite 97203 Induction Range, Editors of Good Housekeeping
We found only a handful of reviews for the Kenmore Elite 97203 at Sears.com, and they are mixed. While owners like the fast cooktop and convection oven, we saw complaints about the cooktop layout and the reliability of various features.
Review: Kenmore Elite 30 in. Freestanding Induction Range, Contributors to Sears.com
4. J.D. Power & Associates
The Kenmore Elite line does better than the regular Kenmore brand in this survey of more than 4,300 consumers who have bought ranges, ovens or cooktops. It's rated "better than most" overall, with above-average scores for performance, styling, features and price. Its warranty and ease of use, however, are deemed only average.
Review: Home Appliance Study, Editors of J.D. Power and Associates, Aug. 3, 2011