(For an August 2016 update, scroll to the end)
The vacuum. The essential wedding registry item and ‘housewife’ appliance.
Having been a young couple who had never lived together, my husband and I didn’t have a vacuum (besides the essential college dorm Dustbuster). So when we got married, we registered for one with lots of bells and whistles and hoped it would last awhile.
Fast forward fifteen years, and my upright Eureka vacuum was close to death. But what to buy? Consumer Reports was usually my go-to source for all home appliances. However, there was a post on Reddit from a user (username: touchmyf***ingcoffee) that did an “ask me anything (AMA)” about vacuums. As a vacuum repair technician, he answered questions about canister vs. upright vacuums, bagged vs. bagless, and the brands he liked the best. As a result of his AMA, I confidently bought a Miele S121 Olympus Canister Vacuum (also known as Classic C1 Olympus) from Amazon for $329. I really didn’t want to pay that much for a vacuum, especially since my registered vacuum only cost $150 and lasted 15 years. However, I had many problems with it and it lost suction easily, despite keeping it maintained. I knew it would be worth the extra money to get a better quality machine, even if it was Miele’s cheapest canister vacuum. Plus, I’m a clean freak and really love clean floors!
I was pretty leery about getting a canister vacuum. After all, the last canister vacuum I had last seen in use was at my grandmother’s house back in the 90’s (and her vacuum was from the 70’s!) Everyone has uprights now; they seem to take up less space and are easier to use. However, I learned the canister vac actually has more versatility than an upright.
- are quieter and easier to use (with a lightweight wand)
- have a long wand that allows you to clean ceilings, drapes, and other places above your head
- are able to reach tight places like under beds, corners, and edges
- perform better on stairs
- are better for homes with mostly wood flooring (which is what I have)
- are easier to use in cars
- tend to last longer than uprights
My Miele S121 Olympus vacuum was shipped from Amazon in a box where most of it was in pieces; however it was easy for me to assemble. The vacuum worked wonderfully right out of the box. There is a dial on the vacuum where you can adjust the amount of suction based on what you are cleaning – curtains, upholstery, thick carpets, regular vacuuming with decreased noise, carpets, and hard flooring. The only other buttons on the vacuum are the power button and the retractable cord button. The cord is only around 17 feet long, so I attach an extension cord to it. This is simply so that I can clean more of the house without having to change outlets. There is also a sliding air inlet valve on the wand (near where you place your hand) to quickly reduce suction when necessary. The wand length is adjustable and there is a button on the floor brush for carpets or hard floors.
There are three attachment pieces that come with the unit – a dust brush, small crevice tool, and upholstery attachment. All three clip onto the base of the hose. Sometimes this unit falls off, but it’s easily replaced.
Because there are three women in my house and a bunch of area rugs, one accessory I want to buy is one of Miele’s electric power brush attachments for medium to high pile carpets. When I vacuum with the regular floor tool, lots of hair gets trapped in the bristles and gets dragged around. I then have to lift up the wand to remove the hair. It becomes a bit of a pain to do it so often. However, these electric brushes range from $150-$260. Since this is something I can live without for now (due to the cost), I’ll just deal with extra step of manually removing the hair. However, if you have mostly carpet in your home, a power brush is probably essential.
Miele’s vacuum bags are also color coded for easier purchasing and are easy to remove and insert. There is even a small display window that lets you know when your bag is full.
I really love the fact that the air that comes out of a Miele vacuum is CLEANER than the air that goes in. Miele meets Europe’s tough HEPA 13 standards, capturing over 99.95% of all particles in the air. It’s just another thing that makes me feel good when I’m vacuuming.
I’ve had my Miele vacuum for a year and a half now and have only had one problem with it. A piece of plastic from the underside of the floor brush broke off and affected the suction. I found an authorized Miele dealer near my home and had it fixed under warranty. I thought they were just going to give me a whole new floor brush, but instead they kept the brush head and had it fixed in about a week.
Why Miele vacuums aren’t sold here in big box stores, I’ll never know. Maybe because they cost more. Maybe because they’re made in Germany. However, this vacuum works so much better than any other vacuum I’ve tried. Fortunately Amazon sells them and offers free shipping with Prime membership.
Overall, I am very happy with my Miele vacuum. I still have issues pulling the canister around behind me but that’s just because I’ve used an upright my whole life. Pushing the lightweight wand is a lot lighter than pushing an upright vacuum. The amount of suction from the Miele is great and I love how it’s adjustable. Also, I feel like I vacuum less than I used to because more dust and debris is sucked up and doesn’t get blown back out. I really like that the air is cleaner too, not just the floors. Clean air means less dust; less dust means less cleaning; and less cleaning means I’m happier. Thank you Miele!
UPDATE: Ok, about 3 weeks after this post, my Miele vacuum hose split. I didn’t notice any small cracks before, but suddenly my hose was almost completely detached. Naturally, I did the obvious quick fix and reattached it with duct tape. Of course, that “quick fix” didn’t last but one or two times vacuuming. When I realized that the hose wasn’t covered under warranty anymore since the vacuum was older than a year, I looked into buying a new hose. I was astonished to find that they cost $50-$100 at various online retailers. There was NO way I was going to spend that much on a new hose, when I paid $330 for the vacuum 18 months ago!
So I went online to see if I could find any trick to fixing the hose. The first step was to cut the hose where it broke. Fortunately for me, it was close to the end of the hose, by the handle. When I had to get the cut part of hose out of the coupler, I found the hose was super secured to it. It wasn’t until I jimmied the damn thing with screwdrivers and clamps, and pulled it out, that I realized the hose has a tapered end specific to the attachment. This allows for a secure fit and great suction. But this doesn’t help my problem! I was just going to cut the hose and reattach it to the coupler. Now that I see the end of the hose, how will I make the regular hose securely fit in the black coupler?
Fortunately, all I did was jam the hose into the coupler and twisted it a few times and it seemed to stay. I reinforced it with some duct tape on the inside of the coupler, and I’m happy to say it’s still working ok. Yes, my suction might be reduced to 95% from 100%, but it was a free fix that should last awhile. I’m just hoping this fix can last another 18 months, because I’ll probably have to buy a new hose the next time. Something I’m not very happy about.
Any questions about the vacuum? I’m happy to help!
Sources: miele.com, achooallergy.com