Updated: November 2017
Kenmore Elite Reviews and Buying Guide:Last year I purchased the Kenmore Pro dishwasher and double oven set from Sears in stainless steel. This year I needed to replace my refrigerator after the one in my garage went out after 15 years of use. The only refrigerator offered in the Kenmore Pro line was the side by side model and I was looking for a bottom-freezer french door style. So my only option was to start researching the Kenmore Elite refrigerators offered through Sears. Consumer Reports is an excellent resource for finding out which models are the best and how brands compare to others. I also found lots of useful information in the reviews consumers placed on the Sears.com website in regards to their latest purchases of the Kenmore Elite appliances. Consumer Reports says the Samsung RF266A ($1600) and KitchenAid KBFS25ET ($1700) are the best bottom-freezer refrigerators on the market, but both have internal water dispensers and I wanted access to fresh water on the door. The Kenmore Elite Trio they listed had been discontinued so I was still at a loss in terms of which model to choose.
I had seen some pretty positive owner reviews for the Samsung and GE Profile series on the Best Buy website which made me ultimately consider those brands at the top of my list. Most of the reviews for Kenmore Elite refrigerators in stainless steel on the Sears.com website were less than favorable although one did stand out. Unfortunately, that model too was being updated and they no longer carried the stainless steel style I wanted. The salesman pointed me to the new model that was coming out which was the Kenmore Elite French Door refrigerator with model # 78713 and it sells for roughly $2400 (with rebates). It had the water dispenser on the door, provided 21 cubic feet of space, and the energy efficiency was top rated. The reason for the update from the 77713 stainless steel model was a new mandate on energy consumption that the government had put out, so Kenmore made a more efficient model. My old fridge was a behemoth with 25 cu. ft. of space and it extended way past the counter, which my wife and I couldn't stand. The new Kenmore fridge was counter depth which made more sense in our crowded kitchen area. The bottom freezer style calls for an ice maker down below, so the only drawback was that we would have to fetch our own ice instead of getting it from the door like with our older model. Sears.com has the entire inventory of Kenmore products on their website with descriptions, pictures, prices, and any current sales or rebate offers. Usually, if you pay with your Sears Visa card, you can get 1 year with no interest and no payments. When it comes to an extended warranty, as much as I like to know that the purchase I made is fully warranted for years to come, Consumer Reports says those warranties usually never work out in your favor and to avoid buying them. It's ultimately up to you, but I passed on the extended warranty offered by Sears and will take my chances.