Living in the Past
Well Built machine that will last decades.<br><br>Conventional washer that does not use HE.
The Bottom Line:
If you want a tough machine that cleans well and built like they were 35 years ago buy this.
Years ago you bought a washer and dryer and they would last at least 20 years. They were built tough and made to last. There was no HE which uses less water but in the process shreds clothes and no plastic parts or electronic controls that failed a few years after you bought them. Speed Queen is the last washer and dryer made to the old standards. They are identical to the commercial machines made for Laundromats but instead of a Coin box they have a control panel.
If you like fancy electronic controls, machines made of more plastic than steel, and don't mind being on a first name basis with your appliance repairman the Speed Queen is not for you. But if you want a tough no-nonsense washer and dryer that cleans well and is similar to the workhorses sold in the 70's and 80's you are in the right place.
The Appliance Repairmen I talked to tell me these machines will easily last a family 25 years and probably longer. In fact, one told me he has never removed a Speed Queen Washer or Dryer from a home regardless of age that wasn't still working.
For the sake of a balanced review it should be noted the Speed Queen lacks features common to many other modern washers. The cycle options are limited and it does not have the choice of a warm rinse. It also has a smaller capacity than many newer machines. My wife doubts it will wash her Queen Bedspread but her old King Size Kenmore could not wash it either. That is one item that will still be taken to the Laundromat every few months.
Unfortunately, if you are in the market for a Washer and Dryer it seems you can no longer "Have Your Cake and Eat it Too". While other washers have larger capacities they are plagued with so many other problems as to make them more trouble than they are worth.
Our friends who own newer machines all complain of problems in one form or another. The only common denominator is they are all related to something electronic. Speed Queens have no electronics so they tend to be reliable but they are not particularly fancy either.
It seems there are now only two choices. An unreliable full featured machine that looks like something out of Star Trek or a rugged well built one that looks like the washer your Grandmother had. While the Speed Queens do lack "pizzazz" it should be noted they clean better than HE machines and do not tear up what they wash.
I would recommend one other thing.
Find a dealer and go look at the machines in person. That is what we did and it only took a few minutes to realize we had found what we were looking for.
Also, these may be something best bought locally. The prices for the AWN542 Washer and the ADE4BR Dryer were lower at our neighborhood appliance store than the prices online even with local sales tax added in.
Oh by the way- one other reason to buy Speed Queens. The machines and all their components are MADE IN AMERICA.
We have now had the AWN542 Washer and the ADE4BR Dryer for a little over two weeks. In that time my wife has washed everything from her normal weekly wash to every blanket, sheet, and throw rug in the house.
Since the initial review was written from my point a view I decided to include my wife's since she is the one who actually uses them. She has now seen them operate in every conceivable circumstance so I felt her opinion would be more helpful than my impression when they were first delivered.
For the record the Speed Queens replaced a Kenmore Catalyst Elite Washer and Dryer.
1) My opinion the cycle options are limited is not shared by my wife. She feels the washer can handle anything she would conceivably want to put in it.
2) The Speed Queen can handle bigger loads than her old King Size washer. As others have mentioned, the agitator is smaller which may be the reason it holds more.
3) She loves that nothing throws the washer "out of round". She has not had one situation where it "clunked" or the load had to be redistributed. This even included washing throw rugs.
4) She initially missed the dispensers the Kenmore had and the Speed Queen lacks. Her Kenmore had separate Bleach, Fabric Softener, and Detergent dispensers. The Speed Queen lacks a detergent dispenser.
5) She wanted a warm rinse option.
I fixed the problem by getting two Y-hose couplers and feeding a small amount of hot water into the washer's cold water inlet. This made the warm wash a little warmer while giving her a warm rinse at the same time.
Years ago all washers including Speed Queens had the option of a Hot, Warm, or Cold rinse. Unfortunately, Energy Standards forced manufacturers to eliminate those functions or make them useless.
Today Electronic Washers have sensors which allow a Hot Wash to be only 100 degrees and a Warm Rinse not to exceed 70 degrees.Since Speed Queens are mechanical the customer can "override" what the government says we are allowed to have.
6) In her opinion the Speed Queen cleans better and has not damaged anything put in it. It may clean better simply because she has hotter water during the "Warm Wash" on this machine than she had with the "Hot Wash" on the previous one.
7) The thing she likes most about both the washer and dryer is they are very rugged in their construction. She doesn't think anything can damage them which is not how she felt about her old Kenmore's.
These are her words," I think if I wanted I could wash and dry a load of rocks and it wouldn't faze them".
I hope this is helpful to other potential buyers.
One interesting thing I noticed about a Stainless Steel versus a Porcelain tub:
One problem with porcelain is the more loads you wash the more it wears the glaze off. Eventually the porcelain gets rough like fine sandpaper and will wear your clothes. What I noticed with Stainless steel washing clothes actually polishes the metal making it shinier. So the longer you use it the easier it is on the clothes you put in it.