Educate me on Speed Queen

gibby2015July 4, 2014

I've started reading this forum again thinking I may need a new WD in the not too distant future as my Kenmore HEs are about 10 years old. I love FL and have been very happy with them - no problems but I wonder if I'd be so lucky the second time around. I see a lot of people swear by Speed Queen so I started looking into them a bit more. Looks like they continue to have the old mechanical vs electronic controls which I assume is a big plus. Also noticed they are very expensive. I had a hard time coming to grips with price of the HEs ten years ago and SQ now a lot more. Can you tell me more about why they are worth the price?

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All Speed Queen frontloaders have a rotary dial for cycle selections but there's an electronic control board behind the dial.

Their toploaders are due a redesign in the next year or two and likely will switch to fully electronic controls at that point, even if also with a rotary dial.

    Bookmark   July 4, 2014 at 1:21PM
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Why are they worth the price ? Excellent warranty no other maker offers for one. Sturdy build quality. TRUE commercial components like the commercial washers.
People are willing to spend upward of a grand or more for these "HE" washers but think that paying for a SQ is steep.

With a Speed Queen you get the quality you pay for.

    Bookmark   July 4, 2014 at 3:21PM
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FWIW, CR rates the SQ TL (AWN542) pretty low on the list, but it's tops in reliability. That is somewhat of a conundrum.

Same for the SQ FL (AFB50R/AFN50R).. at the very bottom of the performance list. No indication on the reliability list.

I know CR is not the final authority... but still, a data point nonetheless.

    Bookmark   July 4, 2014 at 10:34PM
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CR always seems to have an issue with the small production, non mainstream, well built more expensive appliances, that goes for stoves, fridges, dishwashers, etc...

Go read reviews about SQ here, Amazon and other sites. The vast majority are extremely positive. I was sold within a day of our salesmen recommending it. I read the reviews that night and was back the next day buying it.

This machine actually washes clothes, it doesn't leave any stains and a load is done in just under 30mins. And last but not least it doesn't make holes in our clothes like the FL crap we previously had.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2014 at 12:58AM
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I'm going out today to take a look at the SQ line.

Our 14 year old TL is becoming somewhat unreliable. I've had to fix a few minor things on it, but I fear its day is nearly done. Time for research and shopping.

Our laundry is on the 2nd floor... so vibration and leaks are a concern.

We are on the fence about TL vs FL. No real preference either way. But all we've read and talked to friends and family are in complete agreement... there is no consensus! They seemed to be equally loved/hated.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2014 at 8:20AM
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Speedlever- which CR issue are you looking at? Their most recent ratings, in the July 2014 issue, only includes HE washes, and SQ isn't HE, and not in the ratings.

A note about their ratings: they rate overall performance looking at all the variables- washing performance, noise, capacity, etc.... I don't have the issue in front of me, but one thing they have been weighting in recent years, is water efficiency, which might put SQ down towards the bottom if comparing to HE machines.

Their reliability ratings are taken from surveys from their readers and questionnaires about the machines they own.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2014 at 12:46AM
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I looked at Dec.13, but no mention of SQ. I believe I saw SQ mentioned in the online CR version. Not sure how that relates to the magazine. I just got the Aug 14 edition yesterday which also has a section on W/D. No mention of SQ in the new edition either.

My visit to the mom and pop store to check out SQ was a bust yesterday as they were closed for the 4th of July weekend. So I went to Lowes instead. In particular, I asked about service and parts for LG and Samsung. Lowes appears to have their own service company and says that unlike several years ago, parts and service are no longer a problem for those brands.

If nothing else, the relative lower capacity of SQ may kill them from consideration.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2014 at 8:30AM
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The Speed Queen top loaders have plenty big capacity at 3.3 cu. ft.
My previous washer was a Maytag Bravos X that had a capacity of I believe was 3.6 cu.ft because there was no agitator.
The SQ washes as much and more effectively because it is a REAL HEAVY DUTY washer.
Don't get fooled by capacity claims. These old school washers were plenty good for the generations of families that came before us and we had clean clothes.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2014 at 5:42PM
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Family of four....wore out two Kenmore/ Whirlpool washers in 12 years. About five years ago, bought a Speed Queen top loader because of their reputation for reliability. No problems, no regrets. And never an unbalanced load with the SQ that sent me flying down the basement stairs with the other two.

If I have an extra dirty load, I like the option of stopping the washer to leave things to soak. Not sure you can do that with a lot of the machines available now?

    Bookmark   July 6, 2014 at 5:59PM
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That's another good point ci lantro. The ability to soak for ays long as you want.

Although I don't really use the soak on my machine, its nice to know if I want longer than the time determined on the dial, I can always push the knob in and not worry about the thing draining out the water like my previous "HE" washer.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2014 at 6:28PM
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I asked my wife about the soak option and she says that's not important to her. She wants capacity so that she doesn't have to do as many loads of laundry.

Our current washer turned 14 years old in June and is a Kenmore 110.20922990. I have the OM, but there are no specs listed for capacity.

I googled it and found answers ranging from 2.8 to 4.2 cu ft. Yeah, right. Anyone know what the capacity of this washer is?

The CR info is indeed from the CR online source. From the TL section, vibration of the SQ TL is excellent. But in the FL section,vibration of the SQ FL is only fair.

The black dot is water usage. The red dot is vibration.

Interestingly, CR separates the online reviews into FL and TL sections, but includes reliability in both sections.

In the TL section, SQ doesn't show in TL reliability.

But in the FL section, SQ shows up under the TL reliability. Go figure.

No, I do not have those reversed either!

    Bookmark   July 6, 2014 at 7:52PM
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What good is a large capacity on these HE machines when the water doesn't even fill to the top?

    Bookmark   July 6, 2014 at 9:41PM
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Speedlever, your Kenmore is considered 3.2 to 3.3 cu ft capacity.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2014 at 9:46PM
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Thanks dadoes... so basically the same capacity as the SQ TL. Now to actually see one in person... hopefully.

At least the TL is half the price of the FL!

    Bookmark   July 6, 2014 at 10:16PM
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The beauty of the SQ is a load on normal takes under 30 mins to complete and it won't leave holes in your clothes like FL machines.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2014 at 12:13AM
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A SQ also won't leave your cloths plastered to the side of the basket where you have to peel them off.

Our Cabrio always did that and the sheets were always in knots. Not so with the SQ.

Wouldn't go back to any other brand after owning the SQ.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2014 at 8:07AM
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Consumer Report favors low price, it seems the cheaper the better. SQ TL is more expensive than other TL models, but we are not buying disposable items, whatâÂÂs good to pay a cheap but problematic appliance?

In addition, Consumer Report is not that un-bias as in the past. It caves in pressure from manufactures. We do not trust CR as we did 20, 30 years ago because we have noticed some of the reports are not accurate based on our own experience.

We can afford washer and dryer at any price point; after research, we thought SQ is at a sweet spot in term of quality, price and time consumption. To us the purchase decision was an educational gamble since it seems nowadays most washers and dryers have problems and we had never owned SQ in the past. We purchased our set 20 months ago. The set has zero problem. The time savings, connivence and results we received from SQ are amazing.

Other than heavy bulky king size comforter, our SQ washes everything. Every piece of laundry turns out clean and fresh. Some people complain about washer does not fill up to the top, some question the short duration of washing, rinsing cycles. To me, I don't care as long as we get good results. If a washer could churn out clean, fresh laundry using only 3 drops of water and 3 seconds of time, more power to it.

Another school of thought is to buy cheap washer and dryer with extended warranty. It wonâÂÂt work for us. If I have other choices, why do I want to purchase an item anticipating it would break down? âÂÂFree replacementâ stated in a warranty sounds good but in reality, think about the hassles to face broken washer, and go through service calls, waiting, claimsâ¦etc. No, we donâÂÂt have time and energy for that.

Good luck with your purchase decision, do let us know if you have any SQ related questions.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2014 at 8:44AM
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Whether or not CR has a bias, I cannot say. I can say that I've bought stuff based on their recommendations in the past that died early and certainly did not live up to their recommendations.

Regarding price points, I don't think CR does that other than to match performance with price (one definition of value) since the number 1 on their August 2014 list is a $1600 LG FL!

I prefer to buy what I consider value. To me, value is not necessarily the lowest price. Right now, SQ is at the top of my list. It remains to be seen if my wife echoes that choice. I value service and reliability over bells and whistles any day. ;)

This is why I'm also looking for a slide-in range that is minimalist in electronics and maximum in reliability. I'm still looking for that combination that is reasonably priced (admittedly subjective).

Basically, I'm not a fan of electronics/computers in and around water or heat. ;)

This post was edited by speedlever on Mon, Jul 7, 14 at 9:46

    Bookmark   July 7, 2014 at 9:44AM
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Azmom-Check on You Tube. It tells how to raise your water level which is very easy. That way when set to full, tub will fill to the top every time.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2014 at 1:45PM
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Reset the water level on mine to fill to the top row of holes. Was easy to do after seeing a YouTube video.
Washing a queen sized comfortor now as I type and this machine handles it beautifully; (though it is older and not as fluffy anymore).
My 3.2 Kenmore top loader I had several years ago could not handle the comforter. The kenmores tended to be narrow and deep. The Speed Queen tub is noticeably wider, which is why it can handle the comforter.
Plus the design of the agitator contributes to keeping everything moving without the need for a dual action agitator.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2014 at 8:30PM
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Thank you for the tip. In fact, I read about that before we purchased our SQ. I asked the dealer before they delivered the units, we were told that making the alteration could result voiding the warranty. I would rather follow the rule. ;-)

So far, only once a while, we would manually add extra water. We don't feel the need, because the laundry is always clean and fresh.....

.....I still look forward to the day it only takes 3 drops of water to clean a full load of laundry. LOL!

    Bookmark   July 7, 2014 at 11:47PM
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I read a few comments about Consumers Reports above and I do have exposure to a bit about their methods, some very good, some possibly a tad questionable, and always with any rating, you have subjective elements.

Things that they do well/have done well:
-developed a very good method to evaluate off-balance loads in top load washers
-had a very good method for evaluating load "turn over" in the 1990s in a top load washer
-do a very good job of buying independently from the manufacturers, insisting on buying from a retailer just as a consumer would
-they do factor reliability in their ratings, particularly cars, and won't endorse a good performing machine if it has questionable reliability

In their defense of not testing every machine, they do not have unlimited budgets and attempt to test a cross section of the market that mainstream America will have access to.

They are very concerned about the pure functionality of a machine, so if it is a washing machine, how well does it wash, if it is a stereo, how well does it reproduce a sound signal. Their ratings do not seem to factor time in the equation, thus a machine that washes marginally better with a 90 minute standard cycle will rate better than a machine that completes the task at hand in 35 minutes. And price always seems to be the tie breaker on similarly performing machines, not time. Ironically, for the Commercial side of the business, time is a much bigger part of the equation, and Speed Queen rates well for delivering a good wash in a good time envelope, and hence it dominates that portion of the market.

I personally had to do the wash for a family of six for 20+ years and I certainly didn't want to spend all my free time doing laundry, I had better things I would prefer to be doing. Unfortunately CR does not show value for my time.

If time is no object to you, then most certainly place great emphasis on their ratings.


    Bookmark   July 8, 2014 at 8:04AM
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Good points LaundryVet. I rather think that most people don't live to wash laundry. ;) So if a smaller capacity SQ does a load in 35 minutes vs a larger capacity HE doing a larger load in 95 minutes, well, there you go.

Even if you have a 5.0 cu ft machine, if it takes 90+ minutes to do a wash, you can do more in two loads on the 3.3 cu ft SQ in 70 minutes. Of course, drying time comes into play. And if your total load fits in the large capacity HE machine, total time may be a wash... so to speak.

Bottom line for me is that the less time I have to spend on the phone chasing warranty issues or fixing the small things I can repair, the more time I have for other things in life. As long as the washer does a good job, I think my wife will be happy with whatever we get.

I buy cars using that same rationale. While any manufacturer can make a stinker, there are certain brands that I believe my chances of buying a stinker are significantly less than from other manufacturers.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2014 at 8:27AM
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Update time. You guys helped educate me about Speed Queen and I bought a SQ742 today. It will be delivered and installed on 7/29.

I need to get another plastic pan to put under it (so the washer feet can break through in short order... just like my Kenmore did)... but I guess it makes me feel like I'm providing a bit of a safety blanket for a while since we have a 2nd floor laundry.

Thanks for all the help!

This post was edited by speedlever on Thu, Jul 17, 14 at 21:55

    Bookmark   July 17, 2014 at 9:10PM
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speedlever you may find that your SQ will "walk" every now and then on the plastic pan if it gets a bit off balanced.

The installer assured me that it was nothing to worry about. It doesn't do it that often and doesn't go very far.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2014 at 8:41AM
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It probably won't walk very long or very far until it breaks through the plastic pan. Hah.

I bought this pan from Sears. Short of some custom metal pan (which I've had before and it also wore through), I don't see many options.

One year warranty on the pan. I'm sure I can expect Sears to come out and replace it within the year when the feet wear through the plastic. Um yeah. ;)

    Bookmark   July 19, 2014 at 8:55AM
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An update on our SQ432:

First of all, thanks to gibby3000 for starting this thread, even though he/she never made another post here after that first post. ;)

I got the education I was looking for and after having the SQ432 for nearly a month, all is good. My wife says that she thinks the capacity of the SQ is larger than the KM it replaced. Perhaps than is an illusion because the top opening is larger than the KM. Regardless, she is quite happy with the SQ.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2014 at 7:23AM
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