Retailers in Europe will no longer be able to sell and import vacuum cleaners with power consumption above 1,600 watts, as a new EU legislation comes into force.
The controversial law, aiming to improve energy efficiency, cut greenhouse gas emissions and boost research in energy efficient technologies, will see most of today’s consumer favourite models disappear from the market.
All vacuum cleaners sold in Europe will now be rated on a scale from A to G regarding their performance, energy efficiency and dust emissions and a minimum level of performance will be set for the vacuum cleaner to be sold in the EU.
The power consumption, starting at 1,600 watts, is expected to be further reduced by 2017 to only 900 watts. Today, the average power consumption of vacuum cleaners is about 1,800 watts.
British manufacturer of innovative domestic appliances Dyson said the company did not worry about the impacts of the new law as it had never produced a vacuum cleaner with power consumption above 1,400 watts, well within the currently imposed limits.
"It's a myth that bigger is better. Dyson has never made a vacuum cleaner of more than 1,400 watts because it is intelligent engineering that leads to high cleaning performance, not energy-thirsty motors,” said the company’s founder Sir James Dyson
"The motor cap is a sensible part of the upcoming regulation from Europe, as it can drive investment in efficient technology."
The company said its sales rocketed up 78 per cent following the announcement of the new labelling system, suggesting that efficiency is what matters to consumers.
However, retailers’ data hint consumers are rather concerned to be left with inefficient vacuum cleaners and are taking stores by storm, trying to snap up the remaining powerful models. Tesco said its sales of vacuum cleaners were up 44 per cent over the past two weeks. Cooperative Electrical recorded a 38 per cent increase and online electricals retailer ao.com said it had seen a 40 per cent rise in sales week on week, with the surge predominately driven by "panic buying" of cylinder cleaners across all of its major brands including Dyson, Miele, Bosch and Hoover.
The new regulation bans further imports and production of vacuum cleaners with over the limit power consumption but allows retailers to sell goods they already have in their warehouses.
Consumer website Which? Criticised the new regulation as it allows manufacturers to create their own labels and doesn’t provide assurance of the results being verified by an independent third party.