My new Speed Queen commercial LWN432 washing machine arrived about a week and a half ago, and I waited to post about it until I’d had some time to play with it, do (many!) loads of laundry in it, and decide if this machine is everything that I hoped it would be.
It is. I absolutely love my new Speed Queen. This machine does exactly what I hoped it would do — it washes clothes, and it washes them well.
It’s not fancy, and it has zero electronics. It’s got switches and a mechanical timer, an all-metal transmission, and guess what else — it washes clothes and gets them clean! More accurately, it washes clothes the way our old top-loader used to. It washes clothes the way your parents’ old washing machine used to (or in the case of my parents’ machine, still does.)
Things I already love about this machine:
- 35-minute wash loads! My old Kenmore’s heavy-duty cycle took 1 hour, 50 minutes, and still didn’t get clothes clean.
- No lid lock! I can open the lid and add things whenever I want, or just peek inside to see how clean the laundry is getting.
- Plenty of water and washing action! This machine agitates, circulates, and rolls the clothing through the machine as it washes.
I’m so happy, and I finally realize just what a dismal job our old Kenmore front-loader washer really was doing. When I was doing laundry by hand with a washboard for the past few weeks, I was quite shocked to see just how much dirt was coming out of our laundry — even things that shouldn’t have had that much dirt in them, like bath towels and pool towels. If scrubbing by hand was getting our laundry cleaner, I could only imagine what an effective washing machine could do.
Everyone in the house, from my youngest up to my husband, has commented on how clean our laundry feels and smells since we started washing everything in this Speed Queen. I haven’t changed detergents, but it is especially noticeable with our towels. They never, never smelled clean, no matter what we did. With the old washer, towels always smelled musty, even though I used to add water by the bucketful to our former front-loader machine hoping it would make a difference. (It didn’t)
I would wholeheartedly recommend this particular Speed Queen LWN432 commercial top-loader washing machine to anyone who wants a traditional, back-to-basics toploading washer. It’s low on frills and features, but it does exactly what it’s supposed to do: Washes clothes effectively, quickly, and thoroughly. Honestly, I should have replaced my front-loader Kenmore years ago!
A bunch of readers have emailed asking for updates on my new washing machine, so here’s a little more info. I decided several years ago that my next machine would be a Speed Queen, based on the high satisfaction of owner reviews I’d read and how robust the machines are — Speed Queen’s own website says their machines are built to last 25 years.
However, if you are reading this and considering purchasing a new Speed Queen in 2018, here are some things I learned prior to purchasing mine:
- Speed Queen drastically redesigned their residential washing machines for 2018. The new models have an agitator that is mounted to the tub and everything spins together, so the “agitator” isn’t truly agitating. The reviews of the new models have been disappointing, as without a rotating agitator, there doesn’t seem to be enough action in the wash tub to turn the clothes over and clean them:
- Speed Queen ‘s Washing Machine Disappoints At Every Turn (CNET)
- Speed Queen TR7 Review: Why This New Top Loader Isn’t Laundry Royalty (Consumer Reports)
- Speed Queen: The Life (And Death) of Internet Commenters’ Favorite Washing Machine (Wirecutter)
- Watch this before you buy a Speed Queen washer (Lorain Appliance)
- Now, compare those reviews to this glowing article from 2017, just one year prior:
This American-Made Washing Machine Is So Good It’s Got a Cult Following (Time)
- The last, “good” model of the home Speed Queen top-loaders is the Speed Queen AWN432. If you can still find these models at a dealer, you will be getting a solid, traditional top-load agitator washer. However, these AWN models were discontinued at the end of 2017.
- If you cannot find a Speed Queen AWN432, the next best thing is an LWN432. This is the commercial-grade version of the same machine, and it’s also what I bought.
Now, the bad news: It appears that the days are numbered for this commercial Speed Queen model LWN432 too. As I was writing this update post, I went back to the website of Abt Appliances, which is where I bought my machine from, and look what their site says now: The LWN432 is discontinued! I am still seeing these LWN commercial models on other sites though… for now. At the time of this writing, if you want one, you can still get one.
I do know that 2018 brings new regulations to further lower amount of water and electricity that washing machines can use. These water and energy reduction requirements began in the late 90s and really began kicking in during 2001, and previous tiers of standards in 2010 and 2015 requiring lower power and water usage with each tier of standards. The new 2018 standards require energy usage to drop by another 18% and water usage for top-loaders must decrease another 23%! Manufacturers are in a tough spot where they have to comply with making machines that use almost a quarter less water than the previous models and still get clothes clean.
I honestly don’t know anything about what commercial Speed Queen models may be coming out to replace the LWN line, but commercial-grade washers are allowed to use more water and electricity than for-home models, so they will likely still be effective washers. I researched washing machines extensively before buying this one, and the other model I was considering was the Maytag Commercial MVWP575GW. This is another commercial-grade traditional-style top loading washing machine with an agitator that uses plenty of water.
Disclaimer: I have zero experience with the Maytag, but the reviews I’ve read so far have been good. It is definitely a lots-of-water, lots-of-power machine that agitates well. In fact, Maytag has been comparing their traditional wash action to the new, 2018 Speed Queen home washers in a new ad, and it’s clear to see which machine is moving the clothing through the wash more effectively.
Several people also emailed to ask if we were replacing the dryer too. We did not — our existing Kenmore dryer is still working, so there was no reason to replace it other than to have the washer and dryer match. Both machines are in the basement, so we don’t care whether or not they match.
I hope that this helps anyone who’s been curious about new Speed Queen, as well as what other options are currently available for traditional, agitator top loader washing machines. Unfortunately, there just aren’t that many of them around anymore. I can honestly tell you that I will never, ever buy another “high-efficiency” machine again though. My new machine has no Energy Star rating. It uses water, uses power… and washes clothes like a boss.
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