Kenmore has a new lineup of home appliances designed for consumers who want the look of an upscale kitchen without the high price.
The new Kenmore Pro line features the kind of high-end touches—like thick handles, stainless trim, and chamfered edges—usually found on pricier ranges and wall ovens. But they've been applied to appliances that cost thousands less than those from true luxury brands like Wolf, Miele, and Viking.
Also unlike many true commercial-style products, Kenmore Pro appliances are still loaded with extras. For instance, the wall ovens and ranges feature a setting called Accela-Heat, which automatically adjusts a recipe so the user doesn't have to preheat the oven. A TurboBoil burner outputs 18,200 BTU, and each range comes with two oven timers.
This marks the second time that appliances have worn the Kenmore Pro badge. The first round of Pro products came out back in 2006. They were expensive, and sported chunky handles and analog dials. When the housing market collapsed, consumers balked at how much the 36-inch ranges and built-in fridges cost, and Kenmore went back to the drawing board—quite literally.
It took almost five years of consumer research and design work to create the new line. During that time, Kenmore found that customers wanted pro-style looks at an accessible price point. For instance, the new Kenmore Pro ranges have a slide-in look but will still fit in a full-depth 30-inch cutout, and fridges are freestanding—not pricey built-in models. That means consumers won't have to redo their cabinets and countertops.
The trend of high-design, mid-price appliances started with GE's Café line, and continued with the advent of Frigidaire Professional—whose appliances formed the basis for Kenmore Pro's cooking lineup.
Kenmore hasn't yet released pricing data for the Pro line, but promises it'll be on par with the high end of the current Kenmore Elite line. That way, the two lines can exist as companions, with the Elite line reserved for those who want a more contemporary look.
The Kenmore Pro sub-brand will include gas and electric ovens, drop-in cooktops and slide-in rangetops, gas and electric ranges, counter-depth and standard-depth French door refrigerators, ventilation hoods (including an over-the-island hood), an over-the-range microwave, and a dishwasher. They're all scheduled to go on sale in September.