You only need to glance at online customer reviews to know that Miele have long been trusted to clean pet owners homes with supposed meticulous effort, whilst removing their unwanted odours in the process. Queue the European Union's decision earlier this year to implement maximum wattage limits for newly sold vacuums, and we have the Miele Complete C3 Cat & Dog PowerLine cleaner with a smaller motor, dropping down to 1200 watts from the previous 2200 watts. Fear not though, are the words from Miele who have had to re-engineer to compensate, with a bold claim of cleaning power replicating 2000 watts through their new AirTeQ motorised cleaner; tool equipped. So we investigated whether their claim can really be true?
Design & Ease of Use
Our Complete C3 Cat & Dog comes in a rather glamorous cherry red. Yes, the actual body is a tad retro in cylinder shaping, steering clear of any space-like futuristic translucent plastics. Conversely Miele have focused on creating a resilient build, with strong plastics casing the outer body, robust hinges where applicable and paint that doesn't scratch or chip easily, even upon our cats ironically jumping onto it when idle. Let's be honest though, the design of this cleaner is similar to a roller suitcase, having pivoting wheels which make sliding the 5kg C3 horizontally a pleasure in comparison to other cylinders. It glides over thick pile carpets and doesn't require astute preciseness when manoeuvring - it follows your lead with the ample 11m of cable radius. Inevitably it will occasionally collide with chair legs and other furniture, but thankfully a rubber bumper wrapping around the cleaner's body defuses any impact.
Triple Filtration: As a cleaner aimed at home owners with pets, we weren't overly surprised by the slightly obsessive triple filtration system. Upon opening the cleaner up we see the Miele HyClean dustbag, motor protection filter and Miele exhaust filter, all apparently providing 11-stage filtration. This combo of filtration claims to capture 99.9% of fine dust atmospherically and from floors. Rooms smelt fresh after vacuuming them, almost as if the cleaner was dispensing a scent? A downside is the maintenance: when the dustbag is full the sealer will prompt a symbol and the filter has a TimeStrip to indicate when it too needs replacing. For perspective a box of 4 dustbags cost £8.49 on Amazon, which includes 1 motor filter and 1 AirClean filter. Our estimate is that we would use 2 packs in a single year if this was our primary cleaner.
HyClean Dustbags: An easily overlooked design piece, but the 4.5L dustbag deserves an extended mention because of how brilliantly Miele have designed it - so that it aligns with the exterior pipe connection. This is possible because the bag clips into a holder for accurate alignment every time the cleaner's hood is closed and it won't close without the bag inserted. What’s more we noticed that the dustbag has a self closing flap so that fine dust doesn’t fly into your face or into the clean atmosphere.
Controls: There’s a flurry of symbols and control buttons on top. Europe’s attention to the environmental impact of products sold within the region, would be proud of this Miele’s 6 power settings. Each symbol helpfully indicates what the respected mode could be used for; as an example the lowest is for curtains. Modes are skimmed through with plus and minus buttons that protrude from the body and are gentle to click, so you can use your foot as the controlling instrument if wished, saving you from bending over. Likewise the power button and 11m cable retraction button are just as easy to use.
A box contains a generous serving of accessories. With not one, not two, but three very different floor sweeping brushes. The one we used almost exclusively on carpets was the Turbo Brush with motorised brush-bar. Then we have a lightweight hard floor brush and the powerful EcoTeQ tool that we also used on hard floors. This solely relies on suction power, developed as a hybrid attachment for hard floors and carpets to provide the scale of performance previously offered through a 2000W motor. One of our favourite additions is the organised compartment for small tools like the upholstery nozzle, crevice nozzle and dusting brush. Of course, the C3 Cat & Dog is supplied with a flexible hose, plastic tube and telescopic pole which provides suction adjustment through a vent.
Upon turning the Miele C3 Cat & Dog on, your ears are treated to a gentle take off and even at full power (75 dB) it didn't scare cats out of the same room. It's done so the motor can ramp up power slowly to avoid overload. Furthermore, in such an event of overheating, the cleaner will automatically shut off and wait until it reads the internal temperature has cooled down.
Hard Floors: The hard cork and wooden floors that we have been testing the Miele C3 Cat & Dog PowerLine cleaner on are inhabited by 2 cats, and one of them moults a lot! With the hard floor tool equipped we noticed that suction was great and relieved larger debris, cat hair and general dirt well. It was even able to capture a competent amount of fine dust, but definitely not all as it couldn't pick up the static dust between the wooden floorboard cracks. So we then equipped the EcoTeQ brush and the improvement was like night-to-day, given the greater speed and efficiency this deploys on hard floors. In all honesty we never used the dedicated hard floor tool after this as the aforementioned sucked up all the fine cat hair and lint in rooms consistently every day. Out of all the tools this was the standout best performer for hard floors and it didn't scratch the wooden boards.
In our controlled test for the purpose of demonstrating the cleaning performance in photo form this was the tool we chose. We laid a trail of fine flour, as well as previously captured cat hair and cornflakes. In one pass the area was near spotless; a few more targeted spot cleans were necessary to rid the flour trapped between the wooden floorboards. So to conclude: it’s definitely a fairly quick high performance cleaner on hard floors.
Carpets: We have medium to thin piled carpets in our studio. The Miele proved a workout on all of them whilst using the EcoTeQ tool, even with the suction adjusted and the tool higher from the floor to relieve pressure. Although it cleans really well, it basically glues itself to the carpet for concentrated intense suction that is not rug friendly. We felt carpets with tight man-made fibres could snare and that they were best cleaned with the less aggressive Turbo Brush - it's a lot easier on the arms to push, manoeuvres nimbly around furniture and captures dirt against skirting boards well. From our collective experience with the cleaner we now generally find that the Turbo Brush is the ideal day-to-day cleaning accessory for carpets and the EcoTeQ should be reached for in the eventuality that dried mud from a pet hits a carpet, for quick and intensive cleaning.
For our photo test we laid down the same concoction as we did for hard floors and again used the EcoTeQ to reveal that everything was sucked up in just one pass. What exceptionally impressed us is how an accessory without any brushbar can rid embedded fine dust in an instant. For the sake of interest we repeated this test with the Turbo Brush tool that does feature a brushbar and it did well, but needed two passes for visible spotlessness.
Furniture: The tools supplied were satisfactory to clean general upholstery and we noted how effective the static strips on the upholstery nozzle were at amassing cat hair. The lack of a motorised upholstery tool is a surprise, as we know how effective Dyson’s are. Incidentally, curtains clean well, being easier to do with the power adjustment softened.
The Miele Complete C3 Cat & Dog PowerLine is a cleaner that pets will love. Frankly this is because it’s a quiet runner, but they should be happy that it can also eradicate their environments from odours and hair on thick pile carpets, textured hard floors and furniture. So, to answer our starting question, 1200 watts is actually completely adequate for cleaning pet owners' homes with or without the EcoTeQ floor attachment. Although cheaper than most similar Dysons, it doesn't stoop to the low prices of relatable Vax models which are unquestionably built to lower standards. In summary, at £270 this cleaner is a premium entry within the cylinder category, one with a reasonably well thought out rugged and functional design and plenty of genuinely useful accessories which are particularly suitable for pet owners' homes.