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Already a hit in our tests, Sears products star in 'Man of Steel'

Consumer Reports News: June 12, 2013 10:08 AM

A new Superman movie, "Man of Steel," opens Friday and in it Clark Kent's mother, Martha, works at Sears and the family has Kenmore appliances in the kitchen and Sears Craftsman tools in the barn. Maybe Martha got an employee discount, but Ad Age calls "Man of Steel" the most Madison Avenue-friendly film of the summer with more than 100 promotional partners.

"We wanted to ground Superman in a reality that the audience could understand, with iconic American locations, like Sears, to make the film feel as authentic as possible," says Zack Snyder, the film's director, in a Sears press release. The retailer is offering "Something Super" online discounts and other promotions. All of this got staffers at Consumer Reports asking, "What would Martha like?" That's because we've tested many Kenmore appliances and Craftsman tools. Here are some that were super in our tests.

For the kitchen. The Kenmore 92163 electric smoothtop range, $1,550, was the best of the 56 models tested. It was superb overall, delivering super simmering and fast cooktop heat. The large oven was impressive at baking and excellent at broiling. At $1,700 the Kenmore 7160[3] French-door bottom freezer is a CR Best Buy. It was also excellent overall, and offers super temperature performance and energy efficiency and quiet operation. Of the 175 dishwashers tested the Kenmore Elite 12793, $1,350, was tops. It combines quietness with a number of conveniences and offers the best blend of washing and energy saving.

For the shed. The Craftsman 28856, $1,600, lawn tractor is a CR Best Buy. It has a 2-cylinder Briggs & Stratton engine and an automatic drive system. It was easy to maneuver and dispersed clippings smoothly and evenly in side-discharge mode. Mulching was impressive and it filled its bag to capacity with clippings, but this lawn tractor lacks a washout port. Need a cordless drill? Take a look at the Craftsman 17310, $100. It's a CR Best Buy and this 19.2-volt drill delivers nearly as much speed power as far pricier models. Of course, it's not quite as speedy as Superman.

Kimberly Janeway

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