A version of this story originally appeared on the Strategist US.
The other day I was eating ramen by myself when I overheard two people in their early twenties discussing their Christmas gifts.
“I got the best vacuum from my parents,” a woman who seemed no older than 24 bragged to her friend.
“Oh, my god, The Dyson Big Ball Animal? I got one too!”
The pals were discussing their £300 apartment-cleaning appliance as I sat there resisting the urge to chime in and tell them that their parents had bought them the wrong vacuum. The best one for the money is a Miele Complete C2.
While Dyson has the sex appeal, futuristically garish design, and woohoo-what-a-cool-invention marketing strategy, Miele’s vacuums have nothing but blunt German know-how. Without boring you with actual numbers, I’ll simply say that I spent an afternoon fixedly researching this very topic as I was looking for a vacuum, and Miele’s are not only more powerful with stronger engines, but also lighter, easier to manoeuvre, and more flexible — with a range of tools to clean carpets, hardwood floors, and, say, navy-coloured couches that often get graffitied by a dog’s thousands of white hairs. Oh, and most of the Miele vacuums have proprietary air filters that clear 99.9 percent of particles in your home, so they’ve become godsends for folks with allergies and asthma.
Buying a slightly more expensive vacuum requires, of course, the conviction that said vacuum will last a very, very long time. I haven’t had mine that long (it’s been two years), but I do know that (a) many online commenters on various cleanliness forums have owned theirs for 20 years or longer and (b) wasting your money on a cheaper stick vacuum is definitely not worth it. They’re flimsy, they barely remove stuff from carpets — the only thing they’re made for — and then they break down. Because the Miele is a canister vacuum (those short, wheeled retro ones you see hotel maids using), every part — even the indestructible hose — can be taken apart and cleaned or repaired as necessary. It requires bags, which is actually ideal in our post-bag Dyson world, since it means the vacuum itself won’t become a cesspool of debris.
So, yes, it seems absurd to spend this much on a vacuum. But imagine if it’s the only one you have to buy for the next decade or two? And if you don’t believe me, then you should believe the person who convinced me: my cleaning lady, who, after years of using our crummy Black & Decker — and then, for a short period, an actual straw broom to sweep the rugs of our tiny apartment — told us that she’d quit unless we got her a Miele. She fell in love after using it at another client’s, and I’m glad she did. Because this thing is so (legit!) fun and easy to use, I sometimes prefer to do the vacuuming myself.
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