Kenmore ‘Elite’ Means ‘Only Eight Months Until Rust Spots Show Up’

Reader Arglex recently remodeled their home and replaced all of the appliances. Like many Americans, the Arglex family have been loyal Sears customers for decades. They believed that Kenmore Elite appliances were, well, elite. Not that they would begin to rust after only a few months and not do their jobs properly. Like keeping ice cream cold.

Mostly, though, it’s the rust that bothers them.

In April of 2012, we purchased all new Kenmore Elite appliances. We have been Sears customers for 30+ years. Kenmore Elite appliances are supposed to be the best appliances you can buy.

So we decided to remodel our house and add all new appliances. Kenmore Elite was for a full size refrigerator, full size freezer, electric convection double oven, dish washer and microwave. The appliances were delivered and sat in storage in a garage for 6 months without rust. They came out of the box to be installed the week of labor day and looked brand new as they should. Within 2 months, small rust spots started to appear. Not to mention that fridge magnets do not stay on the fridge or freezer (shouldn’t magnets stick to stainless?). So now as you can see in the attached pictures, the appliances are coming up with bad rust, are not working correctly and are less than a year old. Kenmore Elite is no longer the best brand on the market and I highly doubt that this is actually stainless steel.

The freezer will NOT freeze ice cream. Buy frozen ice cream from the store and put it in the freezer and by the time the kids want ice cream, it is soup.

Ok, maybe I got bad appliances. Maybe something happened in storage. They are still under warranty. Then comes the customer service nightmare. We have spoken to at least 12 reps from SEARS about the appliances and the first response is that they are not responsible for the rust because they do not know the conditions of the place where it is in operation (is stainless supposed to rust?). Now we received a call from Sears corporate stating they have never received any of our complaints. 12 reps and SEARS does not know that their appliances are all rusting (in a newly remodeled home with central air to boot) and the freezer will not keep ice cream cold.

Buyer beware, 30 year SEARS customer no more. Kenmore Elite appliances are not even stainless steel. A simple magnet test verifies that these are some other alloy and they rust. They rust bad after a few months sitting in a climate controlled environment.

Failing a “magnet test” doesn’t mean much. Stainless steel appliances are often made from alloys that aren’t magnetic. That’s why cool modern families use Pinterest and smartphone calendar apps instead of putting vital information on their refrigerators. I think. Maybe I misunderstood.

Stainless steel isn’t entirely rust-proof, either. There are ways to remove those irritating little rust spots – maybe they won’t reform by the time someone at Sears manages to get back to you and help.

As for getting actual help out of Sears… well, storing the appliances in a garage could have caused problems, or maybe these appliances are just made out of crappy steel.

One of our favorite contacts over the years has been the Sears Cares team, which does sometimes manage to care. You can reach them at

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