A washing machine, especially a basic agitator top-loader, isn't the type of product you'd expect to have a cult following. Yet that’s exactly how Speed Queen describes consumers who own their washers, even touting the “cult brand” on its website. And readers in a recent Consumer Reports survey heartily agree. In fact, three out of four owners of a Speed Queen agitator top-loader said they were completely satisfied with its performance.

Other manufacturers tout innovative time-saving features and jumbo capacities; Speed Queen stresses durability. The company, which also makes commercial washers and dryers, uses commercial-quality metal components for its residential machines. It claims the washers can last 25 years and offers a warranty of three years for machines with mechanical controls and five years for electronic controls. By comparison, most washer manufacturers say you can expect your new washer to last about a decade and offer a one-year warranty on parts and labor.

In our washer survey, Speed Queen stands out as the most reliable brand of agitator top-loaders and Speed Queen agitator top-loaders get the highest marks for performance satisfaction. The satisfaction levels for Speed Queen topped not only other brands of agitator top-loaders but also front-loaders and high-efficiency top-loaders. That said, Speed Queen models are among the most expensive in our washing machine ratings.

Speed Queen isn’t included in our survey results for front-loaders because the numbers were too small to be meaningful, and the company doesn’t make high-efficiency top-loaders. Among front-loaders, owners rated Electrolux and LG more favorably than most brands, and owners of GE, and even worse, Frigidaire, are the least satisfied. Consumers who own LG high-efficiency top-loaders are more satisfied than owners of other brands, based on our survey of 63,743 subscribers who bought a new washer between 2009 and 2016.

Speed Queen washer and dryer.

CR's Test Results

You’ll see the Speed Queen AWNE92SP113TW01, $1,000, and two similar models in our ratings of agitator top-loaders, and the Speed Queen AFNE9BS113TW01, $1,500, in our front-loader ratings. They aren’t the best washers we’ve tested, but cleaning was Very Good, and they’re among the gentlest on fabrics. Some other washers in our tests are more stylish, and the Speed Queen washers lack the most innovative features, such as WiFi control or LG's TwinWash system, which pairs a front-loader with a mini-washer below. That’s not the business Speed Queen is in, and its cult following seems fine with that.