Hands-on review: Miele Triflex HX1
Image credit: Miele
Straightforward convertibility makes this cordless vacuum cleaner a versatile choice.
Miele has a great reputation for vacuum cleaners, so it’s fitting that it took its time to launch a cordless model. This is very much a premium appliance, designed to be powerful enough to use as your home’s only vacuum cleaner and (whisper it) a potential Dyson-beater.
It’s powerful and well designed, with its unique selling point being supreme convertibility: you can use it three different ways. Cleaning floors, you’ll tend to use it as an upright cleaner with the weight at the bottom. But you can rearrange the four pieces (body, floorhead, tube, handle) so the weight is at the top, making it a stick cleaner. Pop the floorhead off the stick cleaner and you have a powerful handheld.
The HX1 comes with three tools: crevice nozzle, dusting brush and a flat upholstery tool. There’s storage for them on top of the HX1’s wall bracket. You can charge the vac while it’s hanging up but you must remember to plug it in, it doesn’t happen automatically: unlike Dysons, it’s not a charging dock.
The HX1 range starts at £479 (at the time of writing) but we tested the £579 ‘Cat & Dog’ model, which adds HEPA filtration to remove smaller particles, headlights on the floorhead and a turbo brush designed to lift pet hair from soft furnishing (and car interiors). There’s also a £679 ‘Pro’ model that includes all of those things apart from the turbo brush and adds a second rechargeable battery with its own charging dock.
Run time is quoted as “up to 60 minutes” on one battery charge but that’s disingenuous. It’s 60 minutes on low power without using electrical accessories, but most of the time you’ll be using the powered floorhead, in which case run time is 34 minutes. Halve that to 17 minutes on the higher of the two power settings. It therefore pays not to use the top setting unless you need the extra power.
We tested the middle-of-the-range HX1 Cat & Dog. Suction was powerful and the floorhead picked up dust and hair well. The headlights are very helpful though they do let you see the few crumbs at the very edge of the floor that the vac doesn’t pick up. Just a millimetre or two, but you do notice them when they’re illuminated. The floorhead feels (and sounds) harder and more plasticky rolling around on hard floors than the excellent fluffy hard floor roller on the Dysons, but it doesn’t do the floor any harm, it’s just a harsher feeling.
Converting between the three styles of cleaner is easy. You soon learn to swap the four pieces around; it takes 20 seconds once you’re used to it. As an upright, with the weight at the bottom, it feels like a traditional vac and is great for floors. It also stands upright by itself when not in use, which is incredibly helpful when you need to pause. This is the best style for cleaning floors as a result.
Convert it to a stick cleaner, with the weight at the bottom, and it can’t stand up independently. So when you need to pause, you have to lean it up against something or, better still, lay it on the floor. (As any experienced drunk will tell you, the advantage of lying on the floor is that there’s nowhere to fall...)
As a stick cleaner, it feels a bit nippier, more manoeuvrable for a quick clean, but feels heavier in the hand. The advantage of this style, though, is it’s much easier to convert to a handheld when you’re cleaning a mix of stuff, not just floors. Swap the floorhead for a tool for a long reach for cobwebs and awkward corners. Go without the tube to clean furniture. Remove the tube but replace the floorhead for stairs. It’s at this point you wish there was onboard storage for, say, two tools as you reach for the brush and crevice tool regularly.
Whichever style you go for, the ergonomics are great, the handle is comfortable and the controls (two power levels) are perfectly positioned for your thumb.
In all, the cleaning power and performance was impressive. Not as good as a mains-powered Miele Cat & Dog but that’s a really high benchmark. But as good as many mains vacuum cleaners for sure.
There were two caveats compared with a larger, corded cleaner. The first is battery life: the lower power setting is good enough for most things, which gives you 34 minutes. That’s fine for a couple of rooms but not a large house. So the pricier model with two batteries is worth considering if you like a weekly deep clean. If you’re in a smaller home or are happy vacuuming little and often, however, one battery is fine. A room a day is a good alternative to a weekly blitz.
We weren’t convinced of the need for the pet turbo brush though, despite having a hairy dog. But if your pets are all over the furniture then it could be perfect for you.
The other caveat is capacity. The cyclonic cleaner’s dust canister comes off sealed and is easy to empty but its small capacity of 0.5 litres (that’s the size of a large mug) needs emptying regularly compared with the container or bag of a mains-powered vacuum cleaner. Again, this means changing your cleaning habits a bit.
We missed the Dyson’s charging dock, for convenience. But in all other ways this new Miele is a worthy rival and worth considering as your new vacuum cleaner, whether as a main vac or a cordless convenience. It’s pricey but practically perfect in every way.
From £479 miele.co.uk
This cylinder-style cordless vac is only a fraction smaller than the mains-powered Henry. It’s not exactly compact then, but it has a huge capacity of 6 litres and comes with a spare battery, so you can vacuum the whole house only cordlessly.
A stick-style cordless vacuum cleaner that’s elegant and lightweight (2.6kg) thanks to a carbon fibre body. It uses simple paper bags to catch dust, with a 1.6 litre capacity, and comes with 52 extra bags plus a crevice tool and dusting brush.
From £250 www.capsuleclean.com
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