If you aren't deep in the laundry industry or a hardcore Speed Queen fan, you might have missed the controversy over Speed Queen's new top load models released in 2018. They had to make changes to meet energy efficiency requirements, and some of those changes involved the wash action of their top load models. This departure from what their fans were used to resulted in some backlash. Long story short, the new wash action is gentler overall, which is not necessarily a bad thing - but it wasn't ideal for some of Speed Queen's customer base. (Despite this controversy, as of this writing all of the TR series of washers have over 4.5 stars from customer ratings on their website.)
The TC5 is a return to tradition with a lot of the features that people loved about Speed Queen's 2017 and earlier washers. It was updated in 2021 from the TC5000WN to the TC5003WN. We'll compare in-depth the differences between the TR5 model and the TC5 model below! (Speed Queen also released a front load model in 2019 - click the link to read our review!)
Table of Contents
Watch our quick video overview of the TC5000!
Speed Queen TC5003WN Overview
The TC5 has a familiar design to the rest of the Speed Queen lineup. It retails at $1,099. You'll find that is has a 3.2 cubic foot capacity stainless steel tub with no lid lock and no automatic load sensing. It uses a transmission like pre-2018 Speed Queen models, and has a 1/2 HP variable-speed motor that can spin the tub up to 710 RPM. It also has the dual action agitator that moves independently from the tub rather than the unified agi-tub design introduced with the 2018 TR models.
It comes with six cycles and three options. What's interesting about this washer is that it has no automatic load size sensing - it defaults to one water level, and you can select the Deep Fill option if you want to fill it to the max. So ideally you should only be washing medium to large loads in this machine to get the most out of that water usage (which you should do in general for any washer).
The warranty covers 5 years parts and labor. This is an improvement over the models released in 2019 that only had a 3 year parts and labor warranty. The Energy Guide states that it will use about 82 kWh of electricity per year for an estimated energy cost of $9, not including water usage and most likely when using the Normal Eco cycle.
Cycles & Options
6 Cycles: Normal Eco, Delicate, Permanent Press, Heavy Duty, Bulky/Sheets, Spin
3 Options: Extra Rinse, Extra Rinse & Pre-Soak, Heavy Soil
4 Wash Temperatures: Cold, Cool, Warm, Hot
Deep Fill Option
No lid lock
The TR5003WN vs TC5000WN
The new TR series of machines that Speed Queen released in 2018 have several changes, such as an "agitub" wash system where the agitator does not move independently from the tub. Instead, the tub and agitator twist back and forth in tandem to push clothes through the water. This is a gentler cleaning action overall than what people were used to from old Speed Queen models.
We'll compare the TR5 to the TC5 since they are at a similar pricing tier (the TR5 retails for $999). Let's see...
|Warranty||5 years parts and labor on all components||5 years parts and labor on all components|
|Cycles||Has Hand Wash cycle||Has Bulky/Sheets Cycle|
|Options||Heavy Soil, AutoFill w/ Extra Rinse (under Load Size settings)||Extra Rinse, Extra Rinse w/ Pre-Soak, Heavy Soil|
|Load Size||Small, Large, AutoFill, AutoFill w/ Extra Rinse||Default (a medium fill), Deep Fill|
|Cycle Times||Similar for both. Although the TC5 is generally a bit faster, it's not significant enough to really stand out. The basic cycles (without additional options like Extra Rinse or Heavy Soil) take 30-40 minutes for both washers. This is faster than average washing machine cycle times.|
|Lid Lock||Lid locks after 5 minutes, but you can still pause the cycle to add forgotten items at any time||No lid lock|
TR5: 1 HP variable speed reversing motor - The most powerful motor on the market at the time of its release!
TC5: 1/2 HP 2-speed motor with transmission
Both options have belt-driven motors rather than direct drive
TR5: 820 RPM maximum spin speed (higher final spin speed means less time in the dryer!)
TC5: 710 RPM maximum spin speed
TR5: "Agi-tub" wash system where agitator and tub move in tandem
TC5: Agitator moves independently from wash tub
(Pictured below: An exploded view of the TR5.)
Who Should Buy the TC5?
Speed Queen washers are, in general, designed for people who value reliability and heavy-duty components more than having the latest features or the most energy efficient design. Regardless of which type you choose, if you prefer a traditional wash then you'll want to avoid the Normal Eco cycle. This cycle was designed to meet water usage requirements and uses less water. It's made for lightly soiled loads.
The TC5 is designed to be simple and familiar to people who prefer the washing machines of yesteryear. It WILL be rougher on clothes than a TR model. Farmers, auto mechanics, and other people with dirty jobs that result in heavy-duty fabrics with serious soils can get the most benefit from this type of washer. It's not a great fit for washing stretch fabrics, knits, and thinner fabrics. Consumer Reports confirms this: they found that this model is good at cleaning among agitator washers, but it's tough on fabrics and noisy, too.
The TR models are quieter than most other agitator washers on the market, and gentler on fabrics as well. You have more options to customize cycles, especially if you upgrade to the laundromat style TR7 model, which helps keep your clothes in the best shape for longer. For the average household that isn't regularly washing canvas and denim caked in grease or mud, the TR models are a better pick. They also have longer warranty coverage, and the technology upgrades will blend into the background, so there's not much of a learning curve.
Long story short - want simple and familiar, and don't care if it beats up your clothes? Go for the TC5. If you want something a little more advanced but still easy to adapt to, check out the TR models!
So, what do you think about this new "throwback" model from Speed Queen? Leave us a comment below - We'd love to hear from you!
Editor's Note: This blog was originally written in July of 2019 and has been completely revamped and updated for accuracy as of the publication date noted above.