The Conflict – My Old High Efficiency Washing Machine
When I purchased my house I purchased a high efficiency washing machine from one at the local big box stores (Lowes, Home Depot, Walmart, Sears, etc) in the middle of the price range. It was a pretty basic 4.1 cuft capacity high efficiency machine with a variety of settings for different amounts of soiling, water temperatures, and I could even select the water level (or so I thought). Since that time I always set the water level to the largest setting and it always filled about half way. Over the past seven years I’ve attempted to compensate for the low water level by pouring water in the drum, using less soap, and only running half a load in an attempt to get everything under or near the water line. I never felt that my clothes were getting clean, but had no other alternatives due to government regulations. Plus the high efficiency washing machine ran much longer than the older washers (an hour and ten minutes). I found that laundry took all day and I had to set alarms / reminders or I’d forget about laundry altogether.
The straw that finally “broke the camels back” was when my girlfriends dog got sick on the bed and the comforter did not get clean after 4 attempts through the washing machine. I went on one of my frequent rants bashing my high efficiency washing machine and Department of Energy for instituting these regulations while sprinkling in a few colorful 4 letter words. I had visions of my ensuing mid life crisis, only mine did not include a fancy red sports car. My vision included several rows of expensive laundromat quality washing machines lined up in my basement as I was certain I could only purchase them at some minimum quantity. I also had visions of starting a washing machine company. How difficult could it be to strap a motor, controls, and a few actuators to a 50 gallon drum to do a load of laundry. Heck I could do a better load of laundry than my high efficiency washing machine using only a kiddy pool, garden hose, and a sturdy stick.
Before I reserved myself to beating my clothes against a rock down by the river, I decided to give my search for a solution one more try. I scoured the big box stores web sites and there were a few rays of hope, but nothing panned out. One machine was not listed as high efficiency, had some control over the water level, and it had great review. However, I found that it was truly a high efficiency machine after downloading the manual and finding that it clearly showed how to properly load the machine with the clothes above the water line. I quickly found that the big box stores only market settings and features that the have some resemblance of control, but don’t include information that would allow me to make a truly informed decision (i.e. water usage and duration of the wash). I found the solution to my laundering troubles buried in the comments of a review of this high efficiency washing machine… Speed Queen.
The Solution – Speed Queen Top Loader Washing Machine
Speed Queen!… I want to shout it from the rooftops!
Speed Queen Side Steps Restrictive Government Regulation
The Speed Queen washing machines have successfully side stepped government regulation using good old fashioned american ingenuity. The Speed Queen washing machine’s “Normal / Eco” wash setting satisfies the Department of Energy’s government regulations and technically qualifies it as a High Efficiency washing machine; however, all other preset cycle settings on their washing machines Fills the Entire Tub with Water. The “Normal / Eco” cycle setting uses less hot water to save energy and includes a spray rinse to reduce water consumption. There are 9 other preset cycle settings on their high end electronic model and 5 on their base model (that fills the entire tub). There is No Lid Lock that prevents you from opening the lid at any time to stop the cycle and verify the claims of a full tub of water. The Speed Queen top loader washer manual does recommend the use of HE soap; however, I suspect that this is only in support of the “Normal / Eco” setting.
My First Load of Laundry in the Speed Queen
This s a picture of my king size comforter during the wash cycle in the Speed Queen top load washer (3.3 cu ft capacity). This picture was taken after my girlfriends dog had gotten sick on it (mentioned previously) and 4 attempts to clean it in my old high efficiency washer. There was some room in the tub to spare for clothes and the water level couldn’t get any higher. There was clearly some excess soap in it, but I’m not sure whether that was due to the prior 4 frustrating attempts to get it clean or was built up over time. The comforter was clean after the first attempt in the Speed Queen and the excessive soap was removed with a second rinse. Probably could have gone through a 3rd rinse (which is an option on the high end model), but I didn’t feel that the was necessary. I can’t believe the ridiculous rituals I performed while trying to do laundry with the high efficiency machine. The Speed Queen just works!
The only less than optimal thing I’ve read and experienced is that the water stops when the lid is open, but I suspect this is a safety precaution and is only a minor inconvenience.
Speed Queen Preset Cycle Settings / Display / Duration
Using the Speed Queen felt like my life was on fast forward. The Total Wash Time Ranges Between 27:55 Minutes and 32:55 Minutes vs over an hour in my old high efficiency washer. The time savings alone makes the Speed Queen washer a sound investment. The wash cycle options range between 12:45 and 17:45 minutes depending on whether you use the quick wash (12:45), perm press (13:45), heavy duty (15:45), whites (17:45), or bulky (17:45) settings. The rinse takes another 10:10 minutes, and the final spin takes 5 minutes. You may also choose to add an additional soak (37:00), pre-wash (13:10), second rinse (10:10), and third rinse (20:20) to your wash cycle at your discretion. The Time Remaining Display eliminates guesswork by clearly showing when the laundry will be finished.
The picture is of the high end speed queen top load washer controls. The base model includes 6 of the 10 presets cycles, 3 of the 4 temperature / load size / soil level selections, and 3 of the 6 options of the high end model as defined in the following table.
|High End Electric Model
|Rinse & Spin
Large, Extra Large
It should be noted that only the controls differ between the base mode and the high end model. All other components are identical between the two electronic models.
Speed Queen Washer Installation
The installation of the machine was no different than the standard washing machine. Just a hot and cold water supply, a drain hose, and a plug that uses the standard 15 Amp wall outlet in your home. I installed it myself using Speed Queens instructions without incident or concern.
The Speed Queen is noticeably heavier (195 lbs) than my prior high efficiency washer. As a result, there was virtually no motion of the machine and very little noise during the spin cycle even though I neglected to level the machine during the initial installation. Whoops! I also noticed that when I attempted to pull the agitator to the side the machine dampened the motion significantly as opposed to flopping over like it did in my old high efficiency machine. I think the dampening of the drum compensated for my oversight to level the machine. The Speed Queen also includes an automatic balancing system with self leveling rear legs.
The overall dimensions of the washer are standard:
- 25 5/8 inch width
- 28 inch depth
- 36 inch work surface height
- 43 inch overall height (including controls)
Speed Queen Quality, Reliability, and Warranty
The Speed Queen top load washing machines are built for commercial grade performance. Since 1908, Speed Queen headquartered in Ripon, Wisconsin has provided commercial machines commonly found in laundromats, hospitals, fire stations, hotels, and military bases for more than a century. Speed Queen’s washers intended for home use are built on the same production line and use the same components as their commercial products. Speed Queen equipment is tested to last 10,400 cycles or 25 years in the average home. This is largely due to their generous use of metal components. In fact, it seems the only difference between their commercial products and the home use products is their generous warranty offer for their home use products. The electronic models for home use comes with a 5-year warranty covering all parts and in-home labor, a 15-year limited warranty covering the transmission, and a lifetime warranty of the outer drain tub and stainless steel wash basket.
Where to Purchase Speed Queen
The Speed Queen top load washing machines are not available through your local big box stores (Lowes, Home Depot, Walmart, Sears, etc).
At the time of this article, the high end Speed Queen top loader washing machine, AWNE92SP113TW01, was available for $999 and the base model, AWNE82SP113TW01, was available for $899. I verified these prices through two of the 2,700+ authorized dealers listed on SpeedQueen.com. Initially, I thought these prices seemed high until i compared the price to the 51 top loader washers listed on Lowes.com. Of the 51 top load washers listed on Lowes.com, 11 (or ~21%) were available for no less than $1,000 and none of them appeared to fill the entire tub with water.
In addition to the dealers listed on SpeedQueen.com, you may want to consider searching for deals on Amazon.
|Speed Queen Top Load Washers on Amazon
|Speed Queen Electric Dryers on Amazon
|Speed Queen Front Load Washer on Amazon
|Speed Queen washers and dryers on Amazon
Please let me know if you have any questions, comments, or concerns in the comments section of this article.
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