Speed Queen Updated its TR7 Washing Machine. Is It Any Better at Cleaning?

The original model tanked in CR's cleaning tests. Here’s how the new version performed.

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When Consumer Reports tested the Speed Queen TR7 agitator top-loader in 2018, it performed so poorly at cleaning that our test engineers called the company to determine if the machine we had purchased was defective. It was not. Speed Queen has since made a firmware change to the model that it says improves cleaning. So we bought another TR7 and put the updated machine to the test.

The full name of this model remains the same: TR7000WN. This washer also looks the same as the original, has an identical small capacity (3.2 cubic feet), and sells for around $1,100, about the same as the original.

If you own the TR7 and aren’t sure which version it is, check the serial number. The first four digits denote the year, then month it rolled off the line, and anything made as of October 2018 (a serial number starting with “1810”) is updated, according to the company.

So what’s changed?

“The major difference is in the normal eco cycle and heavy-duty cycle,” says Jay McDonald, vice president of Speed Queen’s North American home laundry sales. “We tweaked agitation to deliver improved washability.” The big difference is that the new version has a longer wash time: 60 minutes vs. 40 minutes for the original version.

TR7 Take Two: Test Results

Our lab tests show that the updated Speed Queen TR7 does clean better than its predecessor, stepping up from a Poor rating to a Fair rating for washing performance. So what does Fair cleaning look like?


“The new Speed Queen TR7 left clearly visible stains on our test fabrics,” says Richard Handel, who oversees CR’s laundry appliance tests. “It’s still not as good at cleaning as most agitator washers in our ratings.”

We assess cleaning for all washers by laundering fabric swatches stained with body oil, cocoa, blood, red wine, and carbon, which is similar to soot. The tests are meant to challenge the washer so that we can see real differences among how well different washing machines perform.

We wash the swatches using the normal wash cycle and the heaviest soil setting. For the TR7, that correlates to the normal eco cycle on max soil setting, the same settings we use for other Speed Queen models in our ratings that perform much better in our cleaning test.

"Consumer Reports’ testing did highlight the normal eco cycle could be improved," McDonald says of the original TR7 tests. “We engineered the normal eco cycle to produce fast cleaning results of lightly soiled loads. However, for heavy soil items, we recommend the heavy duty cycle for the best stain removal.”

Knowing this, we conducted an extra test on the updated model using its heavy-duty cycle and max soil setting to gauge its best possible cleaning performance. “We found that cleaning improved from Fair to Good, while using significantly more water,” says Handel. “That’s what you would expect—a more aggressive wash cycle should improve cleaning.” Water usage went from 18 gallons to 30 gallons, a Good water-efficiency rating dropping to a Poor.

Despite the TR7’s unimpressive cleaning performance on the normal eco cycle, it is gentler on fabrics and quieter than many agitator washers in our tests. And even though it takes 20 minutes longer than the first TR7, it’s 60-minute wash time is still faster than a quarter of the agitator models in our ratings. CR members with digital access can see the model’s ratings here:

And though the TR7 doesn’t rate well for washing performance, Speed Queen agitator top-loaders an earn Excellent rating in predicted reliability—making it the most reliable brand of agitator washers in our survey—as well as for owner satisfaction, according to our survey. These two ratings help boost the Speed Queen TR7’s Overall Score.

Two other Speed Queen models—a top-load agitator and a front-loader—do well in our cleaning tests. CR members with digital access can read on for more details on these models. We also include information on two other agitator washers—from Maytag and GE—that make our recommended list.

For more on washers, see our washing machine buying guide. And to see how well all the washers we test perform, see our washing machine ratings.

Speed Queen Washers

And if you're simply looking for a top agitator washer from any brand, here are two models—from Maytag and GE—that make our recommended list.

Top Agitator Washers

For more on washers, see our washing machine buying guide. And to see how well all the washers we've tested perform, see our washing machine ratings.

Kimberly Janeway