When our old toploading Maytag quit in 2009, we studied internet reviews extensively before replacing it. Reviews diverged radically. Most models had both glowing reviews (often from new purchasers), and scathing reviews. Higher priced models did not seem consistently better. Did we want a machine with the highest energy efficiency rating, or did we want one that cleaned clothes? It seemed one could not do both. Did we want one with an assortment of cycles (and expensive electronic circuit boards), or did we want one that was reliable. We intended to purchase a front loader, but concluded that a top loader with a center agitator was more reliable (the Maytag lasted 20 years).
After two years, we are still very happy with the Speed Queen we chose. It has a stainless steel tub, all the cycles and options needed, it is sturdy, it has been free of problems, and it gets clothes clean.
Some manufacturer's most efficient models had estimated annual energy costs around $15 (in 2009). A few customer reviews of these models actually complained that portions of the dirty clothes didn't even get wet during the wash cycle (likely overloaded, but nevertheless, a bad sign). The Speed Queen's annual energy cost was estimated at $31. $16 extra a year seems a small price for using enough water to clean the clothes.
Government energy standards seem to make home appliances more energy efficient, but less effective. Spin cycles strive to drain so much moisture that reviews of some other brands complained of clothes being torn. The Speed Queen too spins more aggressively than the old Maytag (setting wrinkles a bit more, which is likely true of all brands today), but it does not damage or tangle clothing.
The Speed Queen has exceeded our expectations. It demonstrates the durability of a commercial washer, cleans clothes well, and has all of the flexibility needed for regular and delicate fabrics.
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Amount Paid (US$): 600 (approx)