If you aren't familiar with Speed Queen, the Wisconsin-based company has a large following of devotees who praise its washers and dryers for their simplicity, commercial build quality, and durability.
We have no doubt this dryer is well-built: It's essentially a commercial-grade dryer adapted for in-home use. Customers who own them rave about them. But how does it dry clothes?
As it turns out, our tests showed this Speed Queen dryer overdried normal loads—which can wear out everyday fabrics—but couldn't get bulky items dry. If you're looking for a simple dryer and don't need commercial-grade durability, we recommend these budget models instead. They dry just as well as the Speed Queen but cost less than half as much.
Read our full review of this dryer's matching washer, the Speed Queen AWNE92SP311TW.
There are some differences between this basic Speed Queen and models that cost a lot less. For once, there's a digital control panel on the top. Four cycles offer sensor-based drying, and a manual Timed Dry mode also includes Quick Dry and Fluff Up.
Anti Wrinkle and EcoDry are the only extra options, but they’re both useful—and rare on dryers that cost less. A Favorite cycle option saves your favorite settings.
We like the galvanized steel drum with a light that turns on when you open the door. However, we disliked the fixed lint trap. Instead of removing the lint trap and cleaning it over a trash bin, you must first scoop out the lint, then carry a ball of lint over to the trash—just as you would in a laundromat or college dorm.
To test a washer's Normal and Delicate cycles, we wet 8 lb. mixed fabric loads to 150 percent of their dry weight and time how long they take to dry on default settings. We also include a hygrometer in the load to make sure the cycle doesn't run after clothes are dry.
Both of these cycles removed 100% excess moisture from our test loads. However, they also ran warm—and long: the Normal cycle took nearly an hour and a half to finish, continuing to tumble long after the laundry was ready. Most dryers can get the same results in almost half the time.
Those issues aren't deal-breakers, but a test of a Queen-size down comforter was this dryer's downfall. After one hour on the Heavy Duty cycle at temperatures that peaked over 151°F, 42% of excess moisture remained behind. By comparison, most dryers get the comforter at least 70% dry. This test result was our biggest disappointment with this machine, and the main reason for its low score.
Despite our performance issues, there is one thing this machine has on every other dryer out there: An unparalleled warranty. Coverage includes an impressive five years on parts and labor, as well as lifetime coverage on certain parts including the stainless steel cabinet assembly.
We'll admit it: Our Speed Queen review doesn't tell the whole story of this machine. We don't hold onto machines for 20 years to see how long they'll last, and we don't put the company's iron-clad warranty to the test. However, we're firm believers that there's no use to an appliance that doesn’t work as well as it should, even if it lasts a long time.
If you want a great, basic dryer to match your top-load washer, we recommend this Maytag, which costs about $250 less and does a much better job. And that’s just one of many other models we can point to that offers superior drying and more features, but costs the same or less. Against those odds, this Speed Queen simply can’t compete.
Meet the tester
Logistics Manager & Staff Writer@ReviewedHome
Matthew is a native of Brockton, MA and a graduate of Northeastern, where he earned a degree in English and Theatre. He has also studied at the Gaiety School of Acting in Dublin and spends most of his free time pursuing a performance career in the greater Boston area.
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We use standardized and scientific testing methods to scrutinize every product and provide you with objectively accurate results. If you’ve found different results in your own research, email us and we’ll compare notes. If it looks substantial, we’ll gladly re-test a product to try and reproduce these results. After all, peer reviews are a critical part of any scientific process.Shoot us an email