On test: Miele Blizzard CX1 Cat & Dog vacuum cleaner
Features like multiple filters and wireless controls, plus prices in the hundreds of pounds, make choosing a new vacuum cleaner a serious business. E&T checked out the performance of one new high-tech model.
The Blizzard CX1 is Miele's first ever bagless vacuum cleaner. It boasts a unique mono cyclone that its makers claim is quiet, efficient and easy to control – whereas multi-cyclone systems are more a case of all or nothing. These are teamed with class-leading HEPA filtration and British Allergy Foundation approval.
It's available in three iterations: Excellence (£300), Cat & Dog (£350, with a big turbo brush for stubborn hair and dirt) and Comfort (£400, with a parquet floorhead for delicate wood floors and wireless controls so you can adjust the power and even pause from the handle rather than reaching down to the body of the cylinder cleaner). All offer 1200W power. We put the Cat & Dog model through its paces.
It looks a lot like previous models – the same iconic red and a similar shape – but the body of this new, improved cylinder cleaner is considerably heavier. This isn’t a vacuum cleaner to buy for anyone who struggles to lift, unless they live in a flat.
Everything clips together with ease, though: hose, telescopic tube, floorheads, attachments. And what a telescopic tube! It's extra-long and boasts an ‘eco comfort’ handle that makes it ridiculously comfortable in the hand. The handle sits slightly above the hose and feels very light. It's easy to push around the floor thanks to this, as well as the fact that the floorheads are easily manoeuvrable.
The handle confused us at first because it has a ring of bristles around it that we couldn't figure out. It transpired that it's an integral dusting brush that slides down with a quick squeeze, so you don't have to fumble around finding an attachment. There are two further tools – crevice and upholstery – stowed on board at the back of the cleaner. Unlike previous models, you can simply grab them, there's no need to lift a flap to access them.
The body of the cylinder cleaner may be heavy, but it glides with ease on its castors. Move as you clean and it follows along behind with zero effort. It's only when you need to lift it to go up and down stairs that the weight is noticeable.
The 6.5m cord is the same length as previous models and the hose is long enough to give the machine a 10m reach overall. On the stairs you do need to park it a couple of times, but we found it was designed to perch well on a stair – not the case for all cylinder cleaners.
This Cat & Dog version of the Blizzard CX1 comes with three cleaning heads. One is very light and has squeegee-like rubber sides, for hard floors. The second is a standard cleaning head that you can use for hard floors or carpets. The third is of course the powerful turbo brush, designed to lift grime and hair – good not just for pets but also humans.
We were wowed by the amount of dirt the turbo brush picked up. Of course, the dirt you collect is much more visible with a bagless cleaner, but the results really did impress. Our floors were super clean after the Miele effortlessly whizzed over them.
It made quick work of cleaning and in particular it lifted a lot of dirt from rugs that had recently been cleaned with its predecessor. That extra suction from the unique mono-cyclone design clearly works.
The Blizzard CX1's mono-cyclone design takes air flow exceeding 100 km/h and passes it through a single, large cyclone. The theory is that multi-cyclone systems waste power and generate more noise.
We were indeed impressed with the suction and sheer cleaning prowess. Our one criticism while cleaning was that we didn't find it especially quiet. It wasn't unusually loud either, it just didn't live up to the claims of sounding quieter. It's rated at 76dB. By way of comparison, Miele's Complete C3 Silence EcoLine Plus, which was awarded a Quiet Mark, is rated 68dB.
Miele also says that it's much easier to control power levels on a mono-cyclone cleaner than one with lots of smaller cyclones, because the latter only really works at high speeds. This was borne out on test – a knob on the body of the Blizzard CX1 lets you choose from four power levels. And if you go for the Comfort model instead of Cat & Dog you also get radio control buttons on the handle that let you adjust power levels without reaching down.
Every feature seems to have been redesigned for the better. For example, you're supposed to tap a button with your foot to rewind the power cable, but we found that it simply reeled itself back in when required, with no need to push a button. The machine also tells you when its two-litre container needs emptying and turns itself down to its lowest power setting until you do so.
Emptying the dust canister into the bin was fine. There was a little cloud of dust but finer particles are caught by allergy-friendly filters instead. Heavier particles drop to the bottom of the container, while finer dust is caught by pleated Gore CleanStream filter. This has a sensor-controlled, self- cleaning system. From time to time, the machine pauses for 20 seconds and automatically cleans its own filter. Alternatively you can tell it to clean itself – recommended a couple of times a year if the machine is getting such light use that it's not automatically cleaned itself.
It also has a lifetime HEPA filter that retains up to 99.999 per cent of even the smallest particles. As a result, the discharged air is cleaner than normal room air. The vacuumed bacteria, allergens and mold spores remaining safely within the filter for the lifetime of the Blizzard CX1. Thanks to these high levels of filtration, the machine has been given the British Allergy Foundation seal of approval.
In all, we were truly impressed by the Miele Blizzard CX1 Cat & Dog's performance. It doesn't put a foot wrong. The only caveat is its weight. It's light in the hand but the body of the machine is heavy to lift. Put simply: this is not a vacuum cleaner to buy for your gran, unless your gran works out (or lives in a flat).
Aside from that, we recommend it unreservedly. It is at the pricier end of the market, but in this instance you get what you pay for. Also it's cheaper than a Dyson and we felt its cleaning performance was superior.
Dyson Cinetic Big Ball Animal, £450
Manoeuvrable ball design, carbon fibre turbine head to capture dust and ‘Cinetic Science’ high-speed oscillation that separates dust so it doesn't clog the filter. dyson.co.uk
Hoover Synthesis Bagless Pets, £280
AAA rated for energy, emissions and hard floor cleaning. Rarely needs emptying because it can compact up to 10 litres of dust. Pet turbo brush. hoover.co.uk
Philips PowerPro Expert Bagless, £260
Lightweight and powerful, with an efficient motor for A-rated energy efficiency and a 3-in-1 head that's good on carpets as well as hard floors. philips.co.uk