Sears Kenmore 30″ Gas Stove: Review

Kenmore®/MD 30'' Freestanding Self-Clean Gas Range in White, from Sears. It works very well.

Kenmore®/MD 30” Freestanding Self-Clean Gas Range in White, from Sears. It works very well.

Wwe made the plunge into natural gas and bought a white Kenmore 30″ freestanding self-clean gas stove from Sears. Sears has some crazy numbering scheme so the stove is Item #: 223 674 132 10 as well as 790-74132. We had it delivered, and I had to get an outside contractor to install it. Before I bought it I found very few reviews of these stoves. After 3 months of use here is my review, from Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Overall we are very happy with the gas stove. Coming from electric this stove was quite a radical change. Even now we need to be somewhat vigilant, because it is very easy to burn our food. I pay more attention, and cooking is so much faster. There are 5 burners: turbo-boil (18,200 BTU), power (14,000 BTU), 2 regular (12,000 BTU), and a simmer (9,500 BTU). We really like the cast metal grates, especially the middle one, because it is easy to slide pots on the surface.

Why Gas? Firstly, our electric was malfunctioning, with only 2 burners working. Parts to replace the other 2 burners would have run $200, and we would have had a functional 1970s stove. The stove top pan was also rusting. While the oven was fully functional, we needed a new stove.

We chose to move to gas because it is marginally cheaper to run. Using the Enbridge site we should save about $117/yr using natural gas, paying for the stove and installation in 8 years, if you believe their cost savings, under their assumptions. Therefore in my view there is little compelling savings to change to gas.

We switched to natural gas because of the enhanced cooking experience. All those who cook on gas were strong proponents for it, and I am now one too. Gas is faster, hotter and easier to use. We also had a recent blackout here in Toronto, and our electric stove was dead. Now in the event of a blackout our gas stove top will continue to work, though we will need to manually ignite it. Most of our neighbours use electric, so we will invite them to our house during the next blackout.

Stove Options: We bought the self-cleaning option because the manual clean option uses a broil area at the bottom of the stove, replacing the under stove storage. We would rather the storage. We bought white instead of stainless because the only stainless you get is the front stove plate and the door front. As the rest of the stove is identical the extra $100 for the two pieces of metal was not worth the price. We did not buy convection because I did not think we bake enough to notice the difference, and this saved us money. We bought the 5 burner model instead of the 4 burner because it came with a grate that covered the complete stove top, and had a hotter big burner.

Burners: Yes, there are 5, and contrary to initial thought, I do find the middle one very useful. We were going to buy the 4 burner model 790-74032, but the 5 burner model had grating across the complete stove top, and had one extra hot “turbo-boil” burner. As new gas stove users we actually did not know if we would really need an 18,200 BTU burner. The grating, however, was very useful, and would have cost an extra $100 to buy it separately. Because of the included grating we opted for the 5 burner model.

You would think that there would not be enough room to use the middle burner, but there is. I find it very useful to have the middle burner, but I have yet to use all burners at the same time. You do not really need the middle burner, but it is handy to have.

The turbo-boil burner, at 18,200 BTU, is super hot. Unfortunately if you turn it to max the flames go around the sides of our pots and can burn your hands. The stove instructions recommend that the flame not go up the side of the pot. Because of this we very rarely use the burner at max. We can do this on our wok, but for the rest of our pot set, stainless or cast iron, we have no pots large enough. I use this burner at 3/4 most of the time, meaning that I do not use the extra power.

Speaking of the turbo-boil burner, it is located at the front right side. The wife uses this burner at full whack for stir frying in a wok. She has noted a slight melting of her polypropylene fleece sweatshirt, which is physically bumpier than before. She now uses a cotton apron to cook.

Burner Controls: The burner controls are at the front, facing you. You push them in and turn. Sometimes I would lean over to work on the back pots and inadvertently push and slightly turn the controls. I have had to learn not to do this. I would have preferred stronger springs to resist inadvertent pushing.

I believe a cat could turn on the burner by itself.

Cooking Times: Cooking on stovetop is much faster, no doubt. On our electric doing popcorn would take 15 minutes, but on the gas stove it takes 5 minutes for everything. There is very little wait time for thin aluminum or stainless steel pots. Our cast iron pots take some time to heat up, but far less than on the electric. Our cooking strategy had to change, and this caught us off guard the first time we used the stove. The electric was slow, allowing us to prepare while we wait for the pot to heat. The gas stove heats very quickly, allowing us no time to prep while we cook. We now need to fully prep before we turn anything on. The actual cooking is attention intensive and does not allow us to do much else, such as prep, take care of other chores, etc. Cooking times are much less due to not waiting for burners to heat up. You also need to monitor your pot or you will overcook your food.

Multi-dish cooking requires moving the pots to different burners. The larger burners are good for searing food, while the smaller burners are good for simmering. I usually start with a large burner, cook, then for simmer I move the pot to the simmer burner at the back. This simmer burner is really good because you can accurately control your heat and dial it back for a really slow boil. On the larger burners it is more difficult to do this, and besides, when you want to start your next dish you need the larger burner anyway.

We have learned to turn down the burners in order to not burn our food. Fast does not always mean good if your egg comes out more black than you’d like.

For us a gas stove did not reduce the use of our microwave nor crock pot. Now we sear meats and onion on the stove, and then transfer to the crockpot for a slow cook. We also bought a rice cooker, which is so much less hassle than cooking rice on the stove, and the results are perfect every time.

Cleaning: The white porcelain top cleans pretty easily. You remove the grates and wash them separately in the sink. The white stove top is cleaned using baking soda. So far we have had no issues with this, and the stove top comes out clean. The grates all clean up pretty well.

The Oven: The oven is larger than our old oven and works pretty well. The controls are electronic, so preheat is different. The grates in the oven seem to be flimsy and easily bend under the weight of a pot. I think they are sufficient but would have appreciated stronger metal. We do store metal pots and fry pans in the oven when not in use, so we see this flex on a daily basis.

The oven door is large, allowing us to see into the oven. The light is adequate to see a temperature thermometer.

While cooking with the oven your overhead fans need to be on full blast, or they will easily set off your smoke detector.

Safety: Overall I would say that a gas stove is slightly more dangerous than an electric. You can turn the gas flow on without igniting the flame, thus filling your house with flammable gas. This, however, is highly unlikely. Our natural gas has a sulfur additive, so you can smell sulfur in the unburned gas, calling to attention that something is wrong.

There is increased air pollution in your kitchen, and therefore your house. Even with the overhead fans, inefficiently burned particles of gas and byproducts of burning natural gas are present. I can see this pollution affecting those with allergies or compromised breathing.

I was concerned that Little Weed would have a negative stove incident, but he took to it well. Initially he really liked to use the igniter on the burners, but this has now subsided. He regularly cooks on the gas stove, all without incident.

Storage space: The storage area under the oven is smaller than our old stove, but the stove area is larger in the new one. There are tradeoffs here. Overall I think the storage space is adequate.

Sears Web Site: I must state that the stove area of the web site is really bad. I knew I wanted a 30″ gas stove but could not narrow down my search sufficiently. Yes, I could view gas stoves, but not just 30″. Yes I could view 30″ stoves, but not just gas ones. Further, when I found the model I wanted, the specs for the burners was missing, necessitating a trip to the store so I could read the information tag affixed to the stove. Frankly, if there was more competition for gas stoves I would have gone with another brand, just because of the lack of info on the Sears site.

Sears Sales and Delivery: The two salesmen were good, though they slightly pressured us to buy the first day. The Wife did not appreciate this. They were flaunting a 10% off coupon. This 10% reduction was for naught because a week later the stove went on sale for 20% off. I returned to the store, returned the stove and repurchased it, all without issue. There is a one month price guarantee. The sales staff failed to offer me an installer, nor the installation kit (gas hose).

I had to wait one month for delivery, a bit long, but Ok. The delivery guys unloaded the stove in the driveway and brought my stove into the house, all without issue. They would have taken my old stove to the curb, but we were using it. They took away the box, all without issue.

Who Makes this stove: From the Sears site: “The Kenmore®/MD 30” Freestanding Self-Clean Gas Range, White, is manufactured by Electrolux Canada for the Kenmore line of appliances.”

Stove Installation: I used Owen’s Home Appliance Repairs (416-698-3316), a certified gas fitter, for installation. He gave me a fair price, and came in a couple of hours. His installation was thorough and he checked for gas with a high-tech probe. I would have used soapy water. He was courteous and answered all my gas appliance questions. I would use him again.

You can find all the parts you need for the installation at Home Depot, but I recommend against doing your own installation. You might void your home insurance if you DIY this and mess up.

Related: Sears Kenmore 30″ Gas Stove Igniter Orifice Cleaning

2 thoughts on “Sears Kenmore 30″ Gas Stove: Review

  1. Jane Stadler

    I am very grateful for this review, given how hard it is to find reviews of the Kenmore 74132 range on the computer.

    [Don: I am glad you found it useful. When we were buying there were no reviews online and I had to buy blind. You need to experience the same “gamble” that we had to.

    FYI Our stove is still going strong and we are very happy with it. Nothing has broken. The front right 14,000 btu burner is really good for stir frying with a wok.]

  2. Diane Kipp

    Thank you for this review – I am considering buying the same stove.

    [Don: Hi Diane. I recommend this gas stove. We use it daily and it has not let us down. All burners work very well. The largest one, a 1,400 btu, is a little too large for most of our pots but works well for the wok and a very large Le Creuset skillet. The grills are easy to clean, as is the porcelain catch basins on top of the stove.]

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