Small but mighty, this compact vacuum cleaner scores well for tool design, storage and accessibility.
German high-end electrical brand Miele has long made highly respected vacuum cleaners but it only boarded the bagless bandwagon six years ago with the Blizzard CX1. We tested it when it launched. It was high-tech but heavier than its bagged predecessors, thanks to its mono-cyclone tech and 1200W power.
This new bagless model is Miele’s smallest-ever vacuum cleaner. Again it’s corded, but with a 1m shorter power cable (6.5m), resulting in a slightly shorter operating radius of 10m from a power socket. This is still long enough for any non-palatial home. The 890W motor produces a vortex with air speeds of up to 80kph. The smaller capacity of the dust container (it’s halved from 2 litres to 1 litre) is more of a pain: you’ll need to empty it twice as often.
Specs had to be shaved because the vac is designed to be small but mighty, for today’s homes with little storage space. And it succeeds, with a footprint smaller than an open magazine, but still packing powerful suction and filtration.
We tested the entry-level Miele Boost CX1 in Lotus White (it comes in white, black or grey). You can also spend an extra £60 on the Parquet model, including a different floorhead and a HEPA AirClean filter which is claimed to remove 99.999 per cent of fine dust particles and allergens. Or spend an extra £100 on the Cat & Dog model. This adds the HEPA AirClean filter plus a powered brushbar, ideal for picking up pet (and human) hair.
First impressions on unpacking the Boost CX1 are that, at 5.8kg, it isn’t featherlight. Cylinder vacuums don’t need to be because they’re on wheels. A good cylinder is manoeuvrable and follows you obediently. The weight matters on stairs, when you have to go up and down.
The industrial design is pleasingly simple, with form following function: a cylinder shape on its side, with the two circles as large wheels. There are two small castors underneath to help it turn. It has pleasingly clean lines. Unlike many cylinder cleaners, it’s stored in the same orientation as it’s used, you don’t have to upend it. That means just one clip to stow the floorhead, just one handle.
The handle is mildly confusing. The large, white handle on top is the one to lift it by, but there is also a black handle on top of the dust container. Accidentally try to lift the Miele with this and you find yourself holding just a dust container. Never mind, it probably needed emptying anyway.
Capacity is one of the Miele’s weaker suits at 1 litre. Corded vacuum cleaners usually have a capacity of anything from 2 to 10 litres. You can forget about emptying them for weeks on end. This one has a dust canister with little more capacity than a rechargeable handheld (the latest Dyson v15 has a 0.76-litre capacity and its chunky Outsize Absolute is 1.9 litres). You’ll find yourself emptying it weekly.
Emptying is at least straightforward. Hold it over a bin by the black handle and use your other hand to pop a button to open the bottom and the dust drops. A panel on the side of the dust canister pops off in an equally simple way to give access to the filters for cleaning. There’s a small brush clipped on the side here, a nice touch that dramatically increases the likelihood of users cleaning filters properly. Finally, there’s a foam filter mat and a pleated paper fine dust filter. Washing instructions for these are printed on the casing – again brilliant because no-one reads instruction manuals.
There is a separate exhaust filter cartridge near where the hose attaches. This is where the HEPA AirClean filter goes on high-end models, to ensure that air is cleaned of even the tiniest particles as it passes through. The pleated paper filter that comes as standard can be replaced with a HEPA AirClean filter (the SF HA 60, just under £32 at the time of writing) so that’s an affordable way to upgrade this basic model to anti-allergy vacuuming. The filter should last for around a year, or 50 hours of use.
Vacuuming performance is powerful yet relatively quiet, even on the top setting. The floorhead gets up to edges and corners well and has a thin line of brushes that stick out for hard-floor cleaning but can be retracted for carpets. These are easy to pick hair from. I share my home with lots of pets and long-haired humans and found that hair gathered inside, in the bend where the floorhead meets the bottom of the tube, so this is worth checking when you clean the floorhead. Again it’s easy to clear.
Controls are simple and intuitive. There’s a rotary control on the body that offers four power levels, from curtains up to hard floors. Then there’s a power button and a cord rewind button. It doesn’t pause when you park it.
Stairs are interesting. The Miele fits on a stair, sideways, just. Or its long hose means you can clean from top or bottom. Or you can hold the vacuum cleaner in one hand and use it, with the hose and floorhead but no tube, with the other hand. I went with the latter.
As a tall person, I like that the fact that the telescopic tube works smoothly and can suit everyone from the tallest member of the family to the shortest junior vacuum cleaner doing their chores.
Honestly, the finest feature of the Boost CX1 is the VarioClip, which attaches all three small tools (upholstery nozzle, crevice nozzle and dusting brush) right by the handle, so you can reach them at all times. Tool design, storage and accessibility matter. Three good tools is plenty and these are so accessible that you’ll use them as you clean.
Miele tests these machines heavily, to the equivalent of 20 years’ use. It’s built to last and will surely outlive cordless rivals. This is a vacuum cleaner designed by someone who actually does the vacuuming and it shows. You also don’t need to read the instruction manual. You do need to clean the filters sometimes – like any vacuum cleaner – but they’ve made this easy. A bit more capacity would be welcome, but otherwise it’s hard to fault.
From £269 miele.co.uk
Miele Blizzard CX1
Miele’s first bagless vacuum cleaner, which we reviewed when it launched six years ago. Again pay extra if you want a rotating brushbar. Sat on its end, the storage footprint is similar but its 2-litre dust container is twice as big, it has an exhaust filter and a slightly bigger cleaning radius.
From £339 miele.co.uk
The classic, anthropomorphic cylinder-style vacuum cleaner but without the power cable. Henry Cordless has a run time of 30 minutes per battery and stores dust in HepaFlo bags that close to seal in dust, so they won’t trigger allergies even when emptying. Capacity is a colossal 6 litres.
Hoover Optimum Power
Another space-saving cylinder cleaner. This one is very affordable and bagless, with a washable HEPA filter. It’s less powerful than the Miele but weighs just 4.5kg (body only) and has a 1.8-litre dust container.
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