Normally we put our recommendation at the very end of our review but we don’t mind this time to get your attention first and justify our conclusions later.
Is this vacuum the perfect cleaning tool for every household?
Certainly not but if you’re in the market for a cylinder/barrel/canister vacuum cleaner you can’t go past the Miele C3 range...
As we mentioned in our most recent vacuum cleaner review of the BISSELL BOLT LIFT-OFF ION, any time you need more than two words to describe the brand and model I’m scratching my head. Miele has gone all-out to do the German thing which is to describe in as many words as possible all the features...
It’s a bit like saying “Kraftfahrzeug-Haftpflichtversicherung” That just means your car liability insurance.
As Mark Twain put it, "Some German words are so long that they have perspective."
So we’ll just call it the C3 as most models in this range have the same basic features anyway.
What Are the Standout Features?
Absolutely everything in the C3 models has been engineered with the legendary Miele build quality to achieve the best possible cleaning result. This means that all the dust you suck up ends up in the bag and doesn’t get distributed in the hot air that many cylinder vacuums generate. It is not a bagless system but the dust bag is a vital component in ensuring that all the dust stays put in the machine. More on this bag later.
Another great feature of this particular model is the Electro Brush, a motorised brush with five different height settings to deal with all the types of carpets you may have. It comes equipped with a set of LED headlights that are so powerful that I can spot the kangaroos in the next paddock with them!
(This is not an actual observation of course, just sayin’...)
They are bright and can easily double as running lights on Audi automobiles! When vacuuming I actually like to clearly see the detritus of modern living in front of me.
Ease of use is another key feature I would like to mention and as indicated in the model description, Comfort was high on the design agenda. You’ll see it in the way the handle is designed with all the controls at your fingertips. Also, how this machine seems to effortlessly glide behind you on its castor wheels makes vacuuming less of a chore than it normally is.
Testing in Daily Use
I could not wait to also try this vacuum at home. Our house has a mixture of carpet, wooden floors with rugs and tiles. In other words a perfect testing ground for an all-rounder like the Miele C3.
Here are our observations.
The Electro Brush is fairly massive and heavy. We were a bit concerned about how easy it would be to manoeuvre this one. We once owned a Wertheim with a similar sort of carpet beater which was rather unwieldy but it was quite surprising to find out that it takes no effort at all to move it forward and a little bit of effort to pull back. One tap of your toes will change the height for the different types of carpet you might have in your house.
I like the way the Miele vacuum starts up gently and then quickly builds up to the selected power level. You can choose from five settings plus Auto but generally one of the lowest and quietest settings will suffice for most of the regular vacuuming.
Changing the floorhead is easier than with most vacuum cleaners where you have to turn and twist it off: one solid click will do the trick....
The standard floorhead and the three on-board accessories (crevice nozzle, dusting brush and upholstery nozzle) will probably be sufficient for most of your daily needs and they can easily reach in every nook and cranny.
It is a little bit different with the SEB 236 Electro Brush which needs wide open spaces to be effective so you might be finding yourself moving furniture to do the whole carpet. What could be handy is a smaller version of the Electro Brush and guess what, Miele has a whole range of accessories to accommodate every conceivable cleaning need. If you do bump into furniture, there’s a bumper strip around the whole machine and the Power Brush to protect your stuff. The Electro Brush can automatically shut-off if it is set in the parked position.
It’s in the Bag...
I was surprised that there was no box of dust bags in the packaging. I had already visions of having to dash out to my nearest vacuum retailer (30 km away) but fortunately a bag had already been installed in the machine so we could start testing straightaway.
The HyClean dustbag, coupled with a motor protection filter and an exhaust filter, forms a sealed system. Miele calls it the AirClean Filtration System.
The dustbag contains nine (!) filtration layers, protective netting and a self-closing dust trap. It also claims a 25% larger capacity through a more even distribution of the dust.
Yes, they are expensive. The GN 3D dustbags for the C3 range come in a box of 4 bags and 2 filters. They cost $28.90 plus shipping from the Miele store. You can find better pricing if you shop around online and buy in volume.
So, over several weeks of using the C3 by several ladies in our team and myself, we came to some fairly unanimous conclusions.
The Value for Money Factor
Here at DigitalReviews.net we stress value for money as one of the main criteria for our recommendations.
The Miele C3 as reviewed is a significant investment.
Here are the main reasons we would justify spending well over a thousand dollars on “just a vacuum”.
1. Extremely high built quality.
There’s no reason this C3 model will not outlast a $600 vac twice over. The warranty for this Miele is only 2 years but don’t be surprised if it will last 20 years.
2. Very comfortable to use.
The ergonomically designed handle, the quiet, yet powerful suction, the easy manoeuvrability coupled with a 7m long power cord that retracts gently – all helps to make vacuuming easier. Only a Robot Vacuum could be less of a chore... (Watch this space for our next Miele review!)
3. The best vacuuming results - especially for people with asthma and allergies.
Miele has always been synonymous with excellent vacuum cleaners especially with the HEPA filter that will filter 99.95% of all airborne particles, down to 0.1 microns (standard HEPA filters will only filter down to 0.3 microns). This filter has a TimeStrip indicator to let you know when it’s time to change the filter (generally after one year). Coupled with the HyClean dust bag it is a sealed system.
We have no hesitation in highly recommending the Miele Complete C3 Comfort Electro Plus PowerLine Vacuum Cleaner. Particularly for people with asthma and allergies.
You know the old wisdom that it often better to buy high quality items – even if you have to save up for it?
Well, cheap stuff mostly always disappoint in use and with built-in obsolescence will give up the ghost just after the warranty expires...
Our buying advice goes even beyond the Highly Recommended.
Despite the initial rather high purchase price of the machine and the recurring cost of the expensive dust bags, the value for money and the excellent build quality, technical innovation, comfort of use and the excellent cleaning results were the deciding factors to give the Miele Complete C3 Comfort Electro Plus PowerLine Vacuum Cleaner our Editor’sChoice Award.
Please note: there are about half a dozen models in the C3 cylinder vacuum range, from as low as $500 so there’s always a model that suits your budget.
Have a look at mieleshop.com.au or check out your local retailer.
By the way, Harvey Norman seems to be the exclusive dealer for the particular unit we reviewed. It lists at $1349 for this bronze unit (model number COMPLTC3ELPBPEX ) but currently it’s on special for $1299 with a bonus of a four year supply of the Miele HyClean GN 3D dustbags.
Not a bad deal, given the cost of those bags...