thanks for all your help
I took the plunge and got the Speed Queen 542 and matching gas dryer. Towels are softer and sheets are softer w/o fabric softener. Have only done a few loads, will comment more after I've used it more. It's interesting, asked the delivery guy if they sold many SQ's and he said they sell a lot of them, have trouble keeping them in stock. Anyway, I so far love my set. And Alex you rock!!