At a Glance
Speed Queen has become the go-to laundry if you don't like your current laundry set.
It's almost like many people want their old indestructible Maytag back from 30 years ago, and Speed Queen is the next best option.
Many people have stopped caring about capacity, water savings, energy savings, and 20 cycles and want a washer to work consistently for more than five years.
For that reason, Speed Queen top load washers have an almost cult-like following amongst its customers.
But is it warranted?
In this article, you will learn the main feature differences between the Speed Queen models and their two different wash systems, Classic Clean and Perfect Clean.
You will also learn Speed Queen's reliability based on actual service calls logged by our service team.
Then we will compare Speed Queen against other competitive top load brands like LG, Maytag, and a few front-loads.
By the end of the article, you should know whether Speed Queen is right for you.
But let's answer the question: Who is Speed Queen?
Speed Queen History
Speed Queen started as a commercial laundry supplier based in Ripon, Wisconsin.
For anyone who has been to the laundromat, commercial machines are solidly built to withstand repeated use and occasional abuse.
Speed Queen residential is built with the same commercial-grade quality.
A Speed Queen top load washer weighs 196 pounds versus 135-156 pounds for competitive brands.
You will see if that type of construction translates into better reliability.
Speed Queen Wash Systems
Before you consider the four Speed Queen top load washers, let's take a minute to understand their two different wash systems.
Classic Clean is only available on their most popular model, the TC5003.
I use the word aggressive to describe the washing action of this machine.
Unlike the back and forth of most machines, it is 210 degrees with 60 wash strokes per minute.
The agitator is also tied to the motor to generate that torque.
Perfect Clean is their latest design where the agitator is tied to the tub rather than the motor.
The agitator flows with the water with a less aggressive wash action.
It is also quiet at 43 decibels using an inverter motor.
You can't hear 43 decibels. The quiet Bosch dishwasher is 44 decibels.
Inverter motors are becoming more popular among appliance manufacturers due to fewer parts and quieter operations.
Perfect Clean also spins faster at 840 RPM versus 710 RPM for Classic Clean so that the clothes will be drier due to the increased spin velocity.
Perfect Clean vs. Classic Clean Wash Systems
It depends on what you wash.
If you are washing towels, jeans, and other durable fabrics, then the Classic Clean may be better.
Just remember, you want to ensure your jeans do not even have a minor tear because the agitator could turn that tear into a larger rip.
The Perfect Clean is better for more delicate items like shirts. It won't yank at the collars due to the gentler agitation.
It's also much quieter.
After researching this article, users have found better cleanability for Perfect Clean by first using the soak cycle and then following with a wash.
Best Speed Queen Features
Deep Fill: Although other manufacturers have started to copy Speed Queen, Deep Fill is a core Speed Queen cycle.
Unlike the energy-efficient front-loads, the water fills to the top, so you wash by water saturation at 40 gallons versus 10-15 in a front load.
Cycle Time: Because it completely saturates the clothes with water, the cycle times are less about 40 minutes versus 60 for most other brands.
Warranty: Speed Queen has the best warranty with the TR7003 being seven years full, their five series machines, the TR5003, and TC5003, offer five years, with the less featured TR3003 being three years
(Editor's Note: Make sure your local servicer will service Speed Queen or any other manufacturer's extended warranty. Manufacturer's warranty rates are usually artificially low, so many independent servicers will not repair during the warranty period).
No Lid Lock: Forgot that matching sock? You can add it in a Speed Queen. The TR7003 prevents spin only by that time. It's probably too late anyway.
Sanitize: Speed Queen doesn't mix your water, so it can be as hot as your water heater allows.
No Mold: Speed Queen top loads like most top loads do not allow standing water, so mold, odor, and mildew do not develop.
Standard Features for all models:
- Constructed with premium metal components (others will use plastic)
- Tested for 25 years of commercial use
- No distinction between commercial or residential products
- Three coats of commercial-grade finish
- Front serviceable, so there's no need to move product
- Made in the USA
What Features is Speed Queen Missing?
Capacity: Speed Queen is 3.2 cubic feet and around 2.6 in usable capacity versus the average front load being 4.5- 5 cubic feet.
It is debatable whether you can stuff five cubic worth of laundry without compromising the wash results.
Other review sites claim 3.2 cubic is the most a washer can wash effectively.
I read a few front load operation guides, and none say to limit capacity. We also stuff ours as well at home.
Spin Speed: Speed Queen is decent for a top load at 710-840 spin speed. However, the average front load spin is 1100-1300 for a front-load so that the clothes will be considerably dryer.
Automatic Detergent Dispensers: Many washers now employ an auto dispenser delivering the right amount of detergent at the right time in the wash for better cleaning.
Smart Functionality: Although it sounds gimmicky, Smart works for laundry.
You can see the remaining cycle time right on your phone and even receive text alerts when the cycle is over.
Never again will you stand in front of your washer waiting for the cycle to end.
Best Speed Queen Top Load Washers
Speed Queen Washers with Perfect Clean
Speed Queen Top Load Washer TR7003WN - $1,199
These three models use the same inverter motor for the same 43 decibels and 840 RPM spin.
The difference is cycles: The TR3003 has 4, the TR5003 has 6, and the TR7003 has 8.
TR3: Normal, Heavy Duty, Perm Press, Delicates
TR5: Adds Handwash, Spin only
TR7: Adds Bulky, Rinse and Spin, Favorites, Special Cycles. The "specials cycles" give you Eco Heavy Duty, Eco Delicate, waterproof, Super Soiled, Whites, Wool, Athletic, Denim.
The TR7003 is digital as well, while the others are rotary. You have some customization on the TR7003 as well.
The warranty difference is 3 for the TR3003, 5 for the TR5003, and 7 for the TR7003.
Speed Queen Washers With Classic Clean
Speed Queen Top Load Washer TC5003WN - $1,099
The TC5003 is the only Classic Clean model in the Speed Queen line. It's similar to the TR5003 except for the quietness and spin.
They don't list the decibels, so it's not quiet.
The system is different as previously outlined. Classic Clean is motor-driven and is more the old system loved by Speed Queen enthusiasts.
The RPM spin speed is less on this series at 710 vs. 840 for the Perfect Clean.
Speed Queen Reliability
Does the vaunted Speed Queen build quality add up to a more reliable machine?
The answer is yes and no.
Top Load Washer Reliability for December 2019 to November 2020
The most reliable top load washers are based on a minimum of 50 sold per brand with a sample of over 800 units.
Speed Queens dependability is about average to appliances in general at 9.7%
However, unlike refrigerators and other appliances, the problems are relatively minor.
Speed Queen is also front serviceable, simple to fix, and covered under warranty as well.
Read More: Most Reliable Top Load Washers
Speed Queen Customer Reviews
In terms of customer sentiment, Speed Queen probably has the best reviews on the internet.
It does clean well because cleaning through water saturation does work.
When there are problems, they are relatively minor and can be fixed quickly.
Most bad reviews on any appliance are about the process of repair.
People expect issues. They don't expect a long process in rectifying them
Speed Queen Competitors
I am still not sold on agitator-free hybrid washers. They don't rotate and clean the clothes like a front or top load with an agitator.
So following are three to consider if you are shopping for a new washer along with pros and cons.
LG Top Load Washer WT7305CW - $899
LG seems to check off all the boxes. Have a look at all the cycles and options.
7 Washer Cycles
- Normal, Heavy Duty, Bedding, Deep Wash, Pre Wash+ Normal, Delicates, Waterproof
- TurboWash™, Soak, Extra Rinse, Add Garments, Delay Wash, Control Lock, Deep Fill, ColdWash™, Rinse+Spin, Spin Only, StainCare, Tub Clean, Signal, Remote start
LG has Wi-Fi and is larger as well at 4.8 cu. ft. compared to 3.2 cu. ft. for Speed Queen.
Maytag has their version of a Speed Queen. Like LG, it's Smart enabled and huge at 4.7 cubic feet with tons of options.
Maytag has its Extra Power button allowing you to wash whites and colors in the same wash by starting in cold and slowly warming it.
GE addresses why most people dislike front loads.
The GE washers provide comprehensive mold protection with Microban antimicrobial surfaces and a fan to dry any residual water.
You also have an automatic dispenser to release the right amount of detergent at the right time.
You only need a capful. When you use more, the foam ends up in the machine causing an unnecessary service call.
However, front loads, when broken, require a ton of usually costly repair.
Should You Buy a Speed Queen Top Load Washer?
Yes, you should consider a Speed Queen, depending on what you want.
However, if you want capacity and advanced features, then Speed Queen is not your washer.
It is a no-nonsense machine that washes well and is designed to work long term.
Speed Queen is a good alternative if you are looking for a dependable, well-built washer.
Download our Yale Washer Buying Guide with all the features, terms, and brands of laundry. Over 820,000 people have already found answers in a Yale guide.
Steve is the third-generation CEO of Yale and a lifelong Bostonian. He currently resides in Boston, one mile from where he was born. Despite being one of the worst goalies of all time, he is a huge hockey fan of college hockey and the Boston Bruins. The love of his life is his daughter Sophie.
Steve has also been featured in numerous publications such as the New York Times, Consumer Reports, The Boston Globe, Bloomberg Radio, and Entrepreneur, for his knowledge of how to buy appliances and appliance repair.
A Note About Pricing