Pros: Cost, efficiency, heat control, a cooks dream.
Cons: Wait until you have to have it serviced by Sears.
I was looking to replace an old vintage Tappan electric cooktop. I originally considered installing a gas unit but when I read about the efficiency of induction cooktops I did some research and decided to take the leap. This saved me some money as I already had the 40 amp service to power the unit and I didn't have to spend money on having a gas line installed.
After much reading I decided on the 30" Kenmore Elite due to price and favorable reviews. As for the controls, I have NEVER found them to be of issue. You simply place your finger gently on the function key, hold it there briefly and presto, it works!
I won't go into technical specs on the power of each burner as there are plenty of reviews here that go into this detail. So, quite simply, I will say that I have never been disappointed with the performance of any of the burners on the cooktop.
For boiling water you'll want to use the 8" burner in the power boost mode. Gone are the endless waits for water to come to a boil for pasta. One thing you must know however is that there are two induction boards in the cooktop. One powers the two left burners and the other of course the right hand burners. If you are using the two burners common to the induction board, the priority is given to the last burner that you turn on. That means if you want to use the power burst, for example, on the 8" burner you'll have to set the temperature after you've set the temperature on the rear left burner. This may sound complicated but really it's not. Simply note it you want maximum power on one specific burner, set it last. That said, the only time you'll really want maximum power is for quick boiling of water or searing of mushrooms and meat. Otherwise I find that the settings for most cooking are best served at between 5 and 8 out of 10 possible heat levels. Of course there are some great simmering levels at lower temperatures as well.
One thing that you'll have to watch if you are heavy handed on the heat is boil overs. This stove is so efficient that if you don't keep set the temperature at the medium heat range, you'll definitely get an unexpected boil over. However, immediately turn the burner off and voila, the boil stops. Simply move the pan to the side, wipe up the mess and replace the pot at a gentler temperature and carry on. No burnt food on the top, mess resolved, it's fantastic. I've learned to be more conservative with my settings and boil overs are now almost a thing of the past.
One convenient factor is the keep warm setting on the master power control. This sets all of the burners to a warming temperature which is very convenient. There is also a timer on the master power control which can come in handy.
One thing that I don't like is the smooth glass surface. Pots tend to slide too easily on it. This isn't so much of a problem with the heavier cast iron pots or enameled cast iron ones, but the lighter stainless pots and pans are prone to sliding.
One thing worth noting, you'll need to make sure that the bottom of your stainless steel pans are 18/0 and not 18/10 stainless. Bottom line is that they must be ferrous so that a magnet will stick to the bottom. If it does your good to go. Say goodbye to aluminum and your 18/10 pots and pans. Other than that there is nothing to be concerned about.
The temperature controls have a little groove around them that is somewhat of a pain to clean. Best done with a toothpick, so as not to scratch the surface. One review complained about the streaks left when cleaning the surface. Quite simply if you use a Glass cooktop cleaning cream this is not an issue, so put away the windex and use the cream to great effect. Streaks will be a thing of the past.
This product is made in Canada by electrolux for the Sears Corp. Now let me address the issue of repairs. Needless to say this is a very wonderful cooktop. However, Sears must be ashamed of their service shortcomings on their induction product. First of all the 8" burner on the left side of the unit failed within two weeks of ownership. It took 3 months to get it repaired. Apparently they didn't have the trained technicians to handle this repair. This is shameful on a number of accounts. We had three technicians come out to look at the unit specifying this was an INDUCTION unit. They'd arrived, looked at it blankly and inform us that they don't have the training to repair this unit. The fourth guy arrived with his special training and figured out the repair. We then had to wait several weeks for the part. Here's the interesting thing. This unit is so easy to repair once diagnosed, which with the tradesman's laptop connected to a port on the contoller it is diagnosed with software. Once the part arrives, the glas top is removed by lifting the cooktop out of the counter. Then four screws and a connector are removed from the control unit. The new one is plugged and screwed in and it's done save for returning the glass top to its place and remounting the cooktop into the counter. I could have done the installation myself once the part arrived it's that easy. So, this top has been on the market for at least four years, it's shameful that Sears hasn't addressed this.
The good news, after the repair, the top has been working flawlessly. And, I'm confident that it will provide years of service. However if it does break again, I have the five year protection plan and will use it if I have to.