PROS / This powerful microwave has multiple options for both its microwaving and convection cooking functions.
CONS / The Kenmore website doesn't offer live chat.
VERDICT / With more power, capacity and features than most microwaves, this over the stove microwave stands out among its competition.
The Kenmore Elite 80373 wins our Top Ten Reviews Gold Award for its impressive features, power and capacity. In addition to humidity sensors that cook and reheat your meals to perfection, this model includes convection cooking, which essentially gives you a second oven so you can add baking, roasting and broiling to the functions your over the range microwave oven can perform.
Power & Cooking
Traditional over the range microwaves combine a microwave and a range hood, but this Kenmore Elite adds in convection cooking, giving you the functionality of a third appliance:
an oven. Airflow is the secret to convection cooking. Strategically placed fans in the microwave oven circulate the hot air, cooking your food more evenly and more quickly than in a regular oven. The convection function in this microwave essentially gives you another way to bake and roast if your primary oven is already occupied, like when you're having friends and family over for a meal.
This over the range microwave oven has sensor cooking to save you time by eliminating guesswork. Rather than you having to stop the microwave to check the heat level of your food with your finger, the humidity sensors determine if the food is at the proper temperature. If it is not, the microwave automatically adds the appropriate amount of cooking time. The Kenmore Elite 80373 has a few different sensor features, including one for popcorn, so you can avoid burning this sensitive snack.
The programmable two-stage cooking cycles also help take the guesswork out of food prep. If your meal or item requires a change of power partway through cooking, you can program two different power levels for two different time durations, and the microwave automatically adjusts them during cooking for you. With this unit's 10 power levels and 1050 watts, even more watts than most microwaves, you can ensure your food cooks with the proper power.
The quick-touch options are programmed to cook or prepare commonly microwaved items. You can melt butter or ice cream without making a splattered mess, and the auto defrost thaws your frozen meats, veggies and breads in minutes.
Because it has an average-size exterior, this built-in microwave fits most kitchens. The interior space is also average, at 1.8 cubic feet. One feature that comes in handy is the child lock. You can keep your children from cooking when you don't want them to or simply lock the keypad for easier cleaning when it needs a good wipe. If you find yourself annoyed by the beeping of a microwave, you'll appreciate the option to turn off the end-of-cycle signal.
Vent & Hood
The powerful ventilation system in the Kenmore Elite 80373 puts others to shame. Depending on the design of your kitchen, you can have your microwave vent to the exterior of your house either vertically or horizontally. It also filters and recirculates the air around your kitchen. It has four different venting speeds, from low to turbo, and it vents the air at up to 400 cubic feet per minute.
You can choose to set a delay start, and if things are getting too hot on your stovetop, the fan automatically turns on and starts clearing the air.
This microwave comes in black, white or stainless steel, so you can match it to a variety of design palettes. The keypad is well organized, and the different features of the microwave
are clearly indicated to avoid confusion. The keypad is flat for easy cleaning, but you get raised vent control buttons.
The cooktop light has two different settings to illuminate your stovetop. You can also leave it on the "nite" setting for a convenient night light.
If you need extra room for baking, you can use the full-width rack or the round rack. Using both racks at the same time essentially triples your cooking space. When using racks or cooking with a larger dish, you have the option to turn off the turntable.
Warranty & Support
The manufacturer's website is easy to use and thoughtfully organized. If you need support for your unit, you can find a phone number and email address for customer service. Kenmore itself does not offer live chat on its website. However, Sears – an authorized dealer – offers live chat, and the chat option often pops up while you're navigating the Kenmore website.
The manufacturer warranty is solid, offering the standard one year on parts and labor and five years on the main component, the magnetron. A five-year warranty is the industry standard for microwave magnetrons. While this microwave's warranty is respectable, it does not cover as many years as some other warranties in our lineup.
The Kenmore Elite 80373 surpasses its competition to be the best over the range microwave oven. It boasts impressive options for convection and sensor cooking, along with a powerful ventilation system. It can cook, bake, roast, broil, reheat or defrost, all while performing the functions of an over the range ventilation hood. This microwave oven is a unit with brag-worthy features, power and design.