The Kenmore Elite 3112 is one of the most unique gas cooktops we evaluated. It’s made of stainless steel and has two distinctive features: It vents with a downdraft system, and its two left burners connect to make one large bridge burner. It’s also the only 36-inch gas cooktop we reviewed with four burners instead of five, which is a sacrifice necessary to fit the ventilation system.
The downdraft ventilation system draws air from above the cooktop to vents on its surface and through the ducting below. The main benefit of a downdraft system is you don’t need to install a vent hood, which can be difficult in a small kitchen or one that has an unusual setup. As such, the Kenmore Elite 3112 is a great choice if you own a small house or condo. The ventilation fan has three speeds and draws away heavy odors like bacon and garlic.
This Kenmore cooktop features an 18,200 Btu single burner for searing and boiling. Its bridge burner, which can heat long griddles and roasting pans, outputs an exceptionally high 21,000 Btu. The two burners that comprise the bridge can each reach 7,000 Btu on their own. There is also a simmer burner, which reaches a maximum of 5,000 Btu to gently melt and simmer delicate foods.
The burners are sealed, so spilled food stays on the cooktop’s surface – this makes it easy to clean. In general, downdraft cooktops are more challenging to clean. However, Kenmore minimizes this problem by including a dishwasher-safe vent cover. The grates and knobs can also be cleaned in the dishwasher.
You can spend a bit extra and buy Kenmore’s flat griddle that has a ribbed grill on the other side. With it, you can make paninis and grilled veggies on one side and pancakes and bacon on the other.
The Elite 3112 is missing some of the features common in similarly priced gas cooktops, including safety features like automatic reignition and a heat indicator light. If you want them, try the Bosch 800 NGM8656UC.
If your kitchen uses liquid propane instead of gas, you need to buy Kenmore’s compatible LP cooktop conversion kit.