Pros: A terrific washing machine!
Cons: No cons. Love it!
This is the absolute best machine on the market today. It actually does the most important thing that a washing machine is supposed to do --- it cleans your clothes, efficiently and effectively, without having to refer to the instructions or scroll through a daunting array of computer-chip generated cleaning features. In a word, it is Fantastic!! and I am sooooo glad that one washing machine manufacturer is staying with the "tried and true" method of washing machines. I have been using my new Speed Queen (sometimes called Huebsh) washing machine for two months and I love it. I considered every top loader available today--Maytag Bravos, Whirlpool Cabrio, Sears branded washers, Samsung, LG, and all the others. They all fell short on ease of operation, longevity, parts availablity, warrenty, and, most importantly for me, lack of control of my wash. All these new machines are controlled by computer chips which provides more opportunity for errors or issues with your machine when you need it most. My bottom line was that I wanted to control the machine and my wash, not the other way around. I wanted to control the temperature of the wash, the amount of water that was used, and a machine that would last more than the expected 10 years of these new computerized machines. After considering all the available washers (I even looked at -- and almost bought-- the Fisher and Paykel model that still had the agitator and simple use--- but it is made in Australia and I was afraid that service would be an issue. In addition, its companion dryer had all sorts of issues...).
In other words, I did not set out to buy a "made in America" machine, but after considering all the advantages and disadvantages of all the machines in the market, I ended up with a "made in America solution". Therefore, it is a wonderful outcome that the best machine for me is made in America, and I therefore contributed somehow to keeping American jobs in America-- but this was not one of my considerations when chosing this washer.
If you are considering buying this washing machine, then you have moved past all the other levels and are making an intelligent choice. I looked for a new washer for three months and was totally enthralled with the new-fangled ones currently on the market: you know, those nice colored (grey, red, silver...) machines with an impellor (note: an impellor is NOT an agitator), high speed spin, automatic temp control, automatic water levels, plus the very newest thing -- (which is a totally useless "feature" )-- called a lid lock. All these newest features on a washing machine are ludicrous and are just computer chips waiting to break down and cost more money to fix or replace....Because they looked so pretty, I wanted to be convinced that they would wash my clothes, but after exhaustive research on-line and in stores, I had to realize that these new fangled machines have all sorts of problems....that I just wasn't willing to live with. In short, I just was not convinced that computer controlled washing machines were better; and the more I investigated, the more I realized that new technology in washers did not mean cleaner or more economical washing. In fact, the opposite is true, especially when you have to wash your loads twice or have to iron everything or replace items that have been damaged due to excessive twisting or fabric distortion during the spin cycle.
So if you want your hot water selection to be real hot water (not lukewarm), or if you want to be able to add that sock, t-shirt, or towel in the middle of a wash cycle (no infuriating lid lock feature), if you want to have enough water to actually wash your clothes, if you don't want to iron all your clothes, if you want a stainless tub and parts that are not made of plastic or components that are computerized, then this is the machine for you!
I know that it is just a plain white machine, but when you do your wash, you are in control of the temp and water level-- this is the ultimate best thing in a washing machine. Here is a list of what I have learned:
-- top loading machines are much better than front loading ones: if you are European, you envy the North American's for their top loading machines. Front loaders are for small loads in cramped quarters-- they are a compromise for those situations where a top loader will not fit!
-- it is an agitator that mixes the soap with the water and moves the clothes around to get that "washing" action. No amount of swirling with an impellor will give you clean clothes!
-- beware of fancy gagets that can break down: what is the lid lock for anyway? When was the last time a kid sat in a washing machine? Plus, if you have an agitator, there is no room for a kid to get into the machine in the first place!!!
-- how big of a machine do you really need? We are a family of five (three boy teenagers!) and I can wash a king sized comforter in this size of machine. I don't need any more room than what this machine offers. I think the total capacity is approximately 3.9 cu.ft and its maximum load is 8-9 shirts, 2 queen size sheets, 4 pillow cases, 2 nightgowns, and one queen-sized bedspread. As all this is subjective (how thick is that bedspread?), I can tell you that I have washed an entire queen-sized bed set, including the polyester fibre-filled comforter without any difficulty and therefore am confident that a king sized comforter would also be washed well in this machine.
-- parts: those new fangled, colorful machines (man, they look so nice, but...) have a life span of maybe 10 years and when a part breaks (or a computer component dysfunctions--remember this machine is near and uses water!!) it may take some time to get it fixed or to find someone who can come out to fix it.
-- ask your salesman if the machine you are considering has an automatic temperature control and if it does, run away. It means that if you select hot, you will only get warm water (frankly, I think this is false advertising! If you put the knob or push a button to select hot water on a washing machine, one expects to get hot water to be pumped into the tub, NOT warm!!). Hot water is what cleans whites! Using hot water is also a must for baby items, especially burping towels, sheets from sick kids, diapers, or diaper liners.
-- ask your salesman if you can override the water level that is "automatically" chosen for you. If not, run away. If there is not enough water in the washer, there will be soap residue or clothes that just sit on top and do not get circulated through the wash (who wants to wash the same load twice?)
-- high spin speeds (really high ones, over 1000 rpm) will dry clothing, yes, but be prepared to iron everything, especially cottons. Lots of complaints on the internet of twisted and ruined clothing from very high spin speeds. This model of Speed Queen (its the very basic one) has only one spin speed (710 rpm)-- if you need two spin speeds, the two higher models (the 412 and the 432) have the added option of a second, lower spin speed of 473 rpm for your delicate cycle; these two higher model machines also have more cycles; 8 and 17 respectively). Since I have been washing my delicates with a regular washer (my old machine did not have a slower spin speed, but just a delicate cycle) for the last 20 years, I didn't think I needed to go up to that higher model for the lower spin speed (or additional wash cycles).
-- This machine also comes with a 5 year warrenty on the motor which I think is almost unheard of these days. With most other washers, you'd be lucky to get a one or two year warrenty. For me, that was another selling point because it meant to me that at least the manufacturer was expecting this machine to last for some time. There is even a 10 year warrenty on the transmission-- which is the part that gave out on my last washer. And a lifetime warrenty on the stainless steel tub! Wow!
-- I also like that there is no special requirement for different laundry soap than the regular type. This washer does not use HE detergent. You simply put a scoop of detergent in the tub (amazing--- no requirement to clean the dispenser mecanism, like in some of the fancier top loading machines). In addition, the location of the bleach dispenser is very convenient; just in the left corner when you open the lid and the fabric softener (if you use it) goes into the container at the top of the agitator.
-- If you have to wash your load twice because there is not enough water that is "automatically" put into your machine, is it really an economical way to wash your clothes? If you have to iron everything, is it really economical or are you just switching the cost load from the ineffective washer to other electrical appliances?
-- If you are putting your washer under cupboards (some of us have overhead cupboards in our laundry rooms), measure the height of the washer you are considering with the lid open. It may hit your cupboards because these new fangled washers have huge lids whereas the tried and true Speed Queen fits perfectly under my laundry room cupboards and when the lid is open it does not hit my cupboards at all. This is just another reason for me to love my new Speed Queen.
I sure hope that I have managed to convince you that the new computerized washing machines have forgotten about the main reason we have them: to clean our clothes!! One would think that after 30 years of manufacturing washing machines that we would have a perfect one for the consumer. Luckily one manufacturer--- Speed Queen (or Huebsh) has retained the good functionality of an agitator and has built a superior washer. The 311 model is the least expensive of the series and does not have the extra rince function, nor does it have the dual spin speeds like the two higher models (the 412 and 432) but I certainly don't miss these additional features. The 311 is pretty basic: one motor speed, 7 cycles, and 3 water temperatures (and when you select hot you get hot, not warm) and there are many options on the cycle knob and you control the water level depending on the size of your wash. I know it is tough to walk away from those pretty, colorful, computerized machines, but for the good of your family and your sanity, buy a washer that actually washes clothes first, and every, time!! You control the washer, not the washer controlling you!!