Thanks to cheap features and shoddy craftsmanship, your washer and dryer are on the fritz again. It was just a few years ago that you spent hours shopping at your local big-box store before settling on the now-faltering equipment teetering before you, and already you've got to replace it.
This time, you swear you'll buy a washer and dryer with real longevity. But is "longevity" even a thing anymore these days?
Turns out it is — but you have to know where to look for it.
Savvy shoppers have figured out it's better to invest in high-quality, long-lasting appliances made by proven companies like Speed Queen. For 108 years, the Wisconsin-based manufacturer has forged a strong reputation by building workhorse washers and dryers for laundromats, hospitals, hotels and even military bases. That same experience and expertise go into every commercial-grade Speed Queen washer and dryer made for the home.
Why invest in a high-quality washer and dryer?
The answer is simple: Superior build quality means a longer-life machine that gets clothes cleaner.
"At Speed Queen, we are firm believers in the expression 'You get what you pay for,'" said Jay McDonald, Speed Queen's vice president of North American home laundry sales. "This means higher-quality components that will last a long time, even if it makes the product a little more expensive."
Speed Queen washers and dryers are built with metal instead of plastic. They're tested in a state-of-the-art lab before leaving the factory and designed to last 10,400 laundry cycles.
That all adds up to durable washers and dryers built to last 25 years in your home . Compare that to cheaper competitors offering washers and dryers built to last as little as seven years. In addition, Speed Queen offers a five-year parts-and-labor warranty on most models.
Why isn't Speed Queen in big-box stores?
Speed Queen washers and dryers are available only through select independent dealers across the country — stores staffed by folks who understand the products in detail and can explain how best to use them. In fact, many sales staff at independent dealers use the appliances they sell in their own homes and can speak from personal experience.
McDonald realizes lots of folks don't know Speed Queen makes washers and dryers for the home, but he can live with the limited recognition if it means maintaining the brand's higher standard, from manufacture to sale and delivery to service.
"In our opinion, we are better represented when a retail salesperson can explain the value we bring to the table," McDonald said. "We feel that independent appliance retailers employ trained specialists who can better explain the differences, suggest the best [washer and dryer] to fit a specific customer's wants and needs, and deliver a higher level of customer satisfaction than we could expect from the typical big-box stores."
Speed Queen stands for American quality
When you take home a Speed Queen washer and dryer, you're taking home a storied history. The company opened up shop in Ripon, Wis., in 1908, and it has remained there since, manufacturing and assembling each machine on site. Today, Speed Queen has more than 1,600 employees.
"There's a great work ethic here, and our employees have a deeply rooted commitment to produce a high-quality product that they're proud of," McDonald said. "We sell our products in over 110 countries and are the largest commercial laundry company in the world. Our mission is not to build the cheapest or have the highest market share, but rather to build the best."
Can Speed Queen represent luxury and a bargain?
Speed Queen may cost a couple hundred dollars more than competing washers and dryers, McDonald said, but a longer life expectancy means the cost difference breaks down to less than a dollar a month.
"And if you buy a different brand that has to be replaced several times," McDonald said, "Speed Queen actually costs you less over the long run."
Speed Queen's national networks of independent dealers also offer plenty of deals. Local Southland chain Howard's TV & Appliance, for instance, recently offered a Speed Queen 3.3-cubic-foot top-loading washer for $849, which McDonald said works out to be only a couple hundred more than competitive models. Howard's also recently offered a Speed Queen 7-cubic-foot gas dryer for as low as $749.
Getting what you pay for is starting to sound pretty good.