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Best Induction Range

By: Carl Laron on January 09, 2018

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Best induction range

Kenmore 95103

Induction ranges heat the pan, not the cooktop

Unlike conventional electric ranges, which use heating elements to cook, an induction range uses electric current to generate an electromagnetic field on the cooktop. When magnetic cookware, such as cast iron, stainless or enameled steel, is placed on the cooktop, the electromagnetic field generates heat directly within the pan while the cooktop itself stays cool. However, it's important to use the proper pots and pans in order to make this work. For some top recommendations for induction-friendly pans, see our separate report on cookware.

We found fewer reviews for induction ranges than for other types of electric ranges, primarily because they're less common. However, we also found some ranges that were easy to recommend.

Often, the best performing appliances are also the most expensive, but that's not the case with the Kenmore 95103 (Est. $1,000). According to James Aitchison at Reviewed, this induction range is nearly identical to the Frigidaire Gallery FGIF3061NF, our Best Reviewed pick last year, which is now discontinued -- and that's a good thing. The Kenmore is every bit as much of a value, and just a good a performer, earning a 9.7 score at Reviewed and Editors' Choice honors. It's also well-liked by the testers at Consumer Reports, where it earns a score of 88 and Recommended status. Aside from baking, which earns a Very Good rating, the Kenmore 95103 pulls down Excellent ratings in every other performance and convenience metric.

You'll be buying this oven for value and performance rather than features. Still, the 5.4 cubic foot oven has true convection and a variable self-clean function. There's also a storage drawer.

Oven performance is perfectly adequate, though baking is shortfall. You can get good results, though finding the right settings can take a bit of trial and error. At Reviewed, using convection produced much better results than the standard bake setting when making cookies, but the opposite proved true when baking cakes.

But it's the cooktop that's the star of the show here. "One word: Wow," says Reviewed. Like most induction cooktops, the 95103 can detect the size of the pots and pans being used. It also has a Power Boost function that can up the output of the elements -- an additional 100 degrees Fahrenheit for up to five minutes, Reviewed reports. "This allows you to add a sear to a steak, melt cheese, or boil water in less time than normal," Aitchison adds. The stovetop's normal temperature range is wide enough to handle any cooking task -- from an average low of 100 degrees to an average high of 609 degrees Fahrenheit in Reviewed's tests. On the front right element, it only took 2 minutes to boil six cups of water.

If there's a caveat it's that user feedback is simply not very plentiful -- just 20 reviews at Sears.com, with a rating of 4 stars.

The Kenmore Elite 95073 (Est. $1,300) is another induction range that fares well in professional testing. It just edges out the 95103 by a single point at Consumer Reports, yet oddly, doesn't score quite as well in the individual ratings earning scores of Excellent for low and high temperature cooktop performance, Very Good for baking and broiling.

The situation at Reviewed is the opposite; it is edged out by the 95103 by single point, but still earns a 9.6 rating and Editors' Choice honors. Kori Perten finds a few shortfalls in her testing, but adds that "All in all, this Kenmore is an above-average range that seems designed with the induction newbie in mind."

You can count CNET among its fans as well. It's named the best induction range in a 2016 round up. Ashlee Clark Thompson says "The stovetop boiled a large pot of water faster than other electric model we've tested, and the oven roasted one of the tastiest chickens that's ever come out of the CNET test kitchen."

The range excels particularly at stovetop cooking, experts say. Perten calls it "the star of the show" thanks to its lightning-fast boil times and great heat distribution. The range has five heating zones -- one of which is a warming zone -- with pan-size detection sensors to ensure that energy output is tailored to each pot or pan.

While everyone agrees that the stovetop is terrific, we found more divergence when it came to the convection oven. Consumer Reports says that the oven "offers impressive baking and broiling," though gives it only its second highest grade in those measures. Perten is also impressed when it comes to broiling, but not so much when it comes to baking. Cakes came out well enough -- near perfect, in fact, but, "our cookie tests left something to be desired," she said. Perten adds that while the "oven isn't at all awful," some serious bakers might find it to be disappointing.

Kenmore appliances are primarily sold at Sears (though some are now available through Amazon as well), and while we found more feedback for the 95073 than for the 95103, there's still not a ton.

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