I am incredibly cheap. Well, that’s not totally true, but I’m always on the lookout for a bargain, and I only like spending real money for real value. In fact, I will put significant effort into getting the absolute best price for any one item, and I will only spend a larger sum if I know that the item I am spending it on is worth all that and more. I live my life very much in keeping with this quote, which is why it has taken me many, many months, since losing my vacuum cleaner(s) in the flood, to replace it.*
I have wood parquet throughout, wooden stairs and a few area rugs, most small, and all flat weave, so really, nearly any vacuum would do. Only very large pile or shag rugs or wall-to-wall carpeting require more intense machines, with powered heads, so I probably could have gotten away with a nifty little 50$ number. Instead, I went in a completely different direction, and I don’t regret it at all.
The sexy beast you see above is my Miele Olympus S2121, described in an Amazon review as “something a Storm Trooper would use on the Death Star.” It is the most “entry-level” model in the Miele line, but it fit all my criteria. I considered it for months, but finally committed a month or so ago. These are the factors that went into my decision:
Canister vs. upright: This was the easiest decision for me. Having had both, I can easily say that while uprights can be convenient, they are not as maneuverable. I need something that can go under my furniture easily, and be less clumsy on stairs, so the long wand of a canister vac hits that spot. I also prefer that canisters hold more dirt without the burden of having to physically lug it around.
Bagged vs. bagless: I hate that, for all its talk about HEPA filtration, Dyson canisters ultimately need to be physically dumped into the trash. Once the dust is trapped, I want it to stay that way, so I knew that a bagged solution was the only option for me. Yes, the bags are expensive, but there is value, as someone who suffers from allergies, in not having the dust poof up from the trash when I go to throw it out. Since maintaining the integrity of the vacuum and ensuring a long life for this appliance is important to me, I will also not be buying cheaper, off-brand bags. Given the initial investment, it would make no sense to skimp out on the bags and potentially risk having to repurchase a vacuum far too soon.
Price: As I mentioned above, I entered the Miele market in the cheapest way possible, with their most entry level vacuum. It fits my needs, which aren’t very intense, and, while considerably less expensive than the cheapest Dysons, still represented a significant monetary investment for me. I did, however, make a simple upgrade right from the start, by trading up from the standard convertible head that shipped with the vacuum to a flexible, soft natural bristled head made specifically for hard floors vulnerable to scratching. That this had to purchased separately stuck in my craw, but I’m extremely glad I didn’t spare the extra expense, since I find that the convertible head that ships with this model, while excellent on my rugs, is not anything I’d ever consider using on my floors.
Other factors: I like that this model, while not shipping with a HEPA filter, does have the option to take one. The additional 50$/year expense is not one I’m considering now, but may be interested in at some point in the future. I also like that the lifetime of Mieles tends to be long, which is a very important consideration for me.
Having been using my vacuum for over a month, I can say that I’ve been incredibly impressed. It is light and extremely flexible, both with regard to its 360° wheelbase, and its various heads. I love how neatly it stores, as well as the convenient little stand for the wand when you need to take a break mid-vacuuming session (pictured here). It is silent, yet potent in suction, and the adjustable power is extremely useful.
Based on my experience so far, I have a feeling that, if I’ll ever need to replace it, I’ll probably replace it with much the same thing, but hopefully that won’t be for another couple of decades.
*I was lucky to borrow a vacuum for this period of time, so no, the floor hasn’t grown over with dust in the interim… much.