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Agitator Washing Machines - Learn the Pros and Cons

Posted by Bob Allaire on Oct 30, 2020 8:30 AM
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Agitator Washing Machines Pros and Cons_Maytag MVWP575GW  

If you are in the market for a new washer, you are probably trying to learn about every style and option available to you. One option worth exploring is the agitator washing machine (discover more of your choices in our washing machine buying guide).

With all the modern front load washers and top load impeller style washers on the market, traditional agitator washing machines can be easily overlooked. However, some manufacturers are still making traditional top load washers with agitators in the tubs to clean the clothes. These washers generally use more water and are smaller in capacity than newer models. However, the pros are many. Chief among them are wash performance with certain types of loads and durability. 


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Should You Buy an Agitator Washer?

If your household includes someone working in construction, agriculture, and other industries that can produce some seriously dirty clothes, or your fabrics are mostly heavy-duty, thicker, and less stretchy, an agitator washing machine may be right for you. You basically trade more aggressive cleaning performance for fabric care.

Agitator washing machines can often be less expensive than HE top load models, and budget brands like Amana offer traditional top load washers with agitators at MSRPs as low as $499. Hotpoint, GE, Frigidaire, and Whirlpool are a few other examples of brands that offer agitator washers. Most are focused on basic, low-cost washers, with the main exception being Maytag, which offers more fully featured agitator models. LG and Samsung have moved away from offering top load models with agitators in favor of impeller top load washers and front load models.


An Agitator Washing Machine May Be Right for You If...

  • You're looking for an aggressive or more powerful clean (or want to maintain the same powerful cleaning you're used to seeing from your traditional top load washer).

  • You need to wash heavy-duty clothing items that may be very dirty - for example, denim, canvas, and thick low-stretch fabrics - and are okay with the risk of stretchier, lightweight items getting caught on the agitator pole and stretched out.

  • You don't mind that this type of washer will use more water and energy than an HE top load model or front load model (although it will likely still require some adjustments to your washing habits since many now use concentrated HE detergents).

  • You would prefer to spend less on your washing machine, or are willing to spend more for a more dependable and easy-to-repair model.


In reference to that last bullet point, we'll take a closer at agitator style washing machines offered by Speed Queen. Speed Queen is the leader in agitator washing machines, and they have been making a huge resurgence in recent years. They are a specialty laundry manufacturer headquartered in Wisconsin that has been making great laundry products for both the commercial and domestic markets in the US for over 100 years. You should definitely consider this brand if you want a high-quality agitator washing machine!


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True Commercial Agitator Washer: The Speed Queen TR3003WN - $919

The Speed Queen TR3003WN is a top load washer that's been built to last using premium heavy-duty materials that withstand the test of time. The 3.2 cubic foot stainless steel wash tub is adequate for most wash loads and can accommodate a queen-sized comforter.

You can get the dirt out the first time with this washer! Speed Queen top load washers feature a one-of-a-kind wash system which delivers the best wash available in addition to taking great care of your clothes, with spin speeds up to 820 RPM. The Auto Fill system guarantees that every load uses enough water for an effective wash, but you can also choose a water level manually. The tub and agitator work together to create an effective wash action that moves the maximum amount of water through the clothes, providing a premium wash and level of fabric care.

The solid mount suspension system features a full steel base and heavy-duty springs for excellent out of balance performance and less vibration - all of which contributes to a longer machine life!




Speed Queen's average life expectancy is 25 years - that's 10-15 years longer than other brands. This washer is one that you should consider for your home. It doesn't have some of the latest features, but you will love the way it washes, and it should bring you many years of trouble-free operation.

When it comes to warranty, Speed Queen really shines with their lifetime warranty of the outer drain tub as well as the stainless steel wash basket. As for the remaining components on this model, you’re covered for three full years, parts and labor! The other models in the lineup have even longer warranties - see reviews here.


Cycles & Options:

  • 4 Cycles: Heavy Duty, Normal Eco, Perm Press, Delicates

  • Heavy Soil on/off

  • 3 Wash Temperatures

  • Load Size: Small, Large, Auto Fill, Auto Fill + Extra Rinse



  • Width: 25.625"

  • Depth: 28"

  • Height: 42.75"


Speed Queen TR3003WN  - $919

Speed Queen TR3003WN Top Load Washer



What Are My Other Options?

  • If you're looking for a traditional dual-action agitator system in a true commercial grade washer, you may be interested in the Speed Queen TC5000WN

  • For larger tub sizes and more features, as of this writing, GE's top load washer lineup offers several nicely featured agitator models with Deep Fill options and more. 

  • For EXTRA large capacities, check out our reviews of the 3 Largest Agitator Top Load Washers of the Year (Maytag usually makes our list).

  • On a budget? You can also explore a budget top load model from Amana in our Amana washer review.

  • Not sure if you prefer agitator or impeller washers? To compare more top load washer options, check out our article on the 7 Best Top Load Washers


We hope you enjoyed this review of one of the best agitator washing machines on the market. With upgrades that improve the agitator washing system, plus a high-quality and durable design, Speed Queen is a great pick for customers thinking about the long run. 

Please leave a comment below. We'd love to hear from you!


Editor's Note: This blog was originally written in January of 2017 and has been completely revamped and updated for accuracy as of the publication date noted above.

Topics: Washing Machines

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