Until today, I haven’t really tackled the canister vacuum cleaners segment. There are a few reasons to that and I’m not going to get into details, suffice to say that today I’m considering myself ready to talk about the Complete C3 models from Miele. Miele is an interesting brand. If you remember, a while ago I reviewed the Dynamic U1 upright from the very same manufacturer, and boy was I thrilled.
But now we’re talking about another fish in the sea. The Complete C3 line targets high-end buyers. The C3 canisters must be the flagship of Miele, as only canister vacuum cleaners are sold in Europe, Miele’s place of birth. There are 9 models in this line with prices raging from $600 to $1500, so I’m sure many of you are confused. Which unit should you buy? Why? What’s the difference between these? Don’t worry, I’m here to help, so here’s what you will learn from me today:
- why Miele is worth it
- what are the main features of these canisters
- which of the Complete C3 models suits you, from my definitive comparison chart
- where to find great deals for these models
Pretty colored, aren’t they? From left to right, we have on the first line the Kona, the Alize, the Brilliant and the Calima. On the second line we have the Homecare, the Homecare+, the Limited Edition and the Marin models. I’ve made the Cat & Dog unit from right the biggest, since this is my main recommendation, but we’ll see about that later. All units measure the same dimensions: 15 x 17 x 23.2 inches, specs which are common among most of the canisters. But here’s where Miele clearly differentiates from the competition:
Features shared by all models
For starters, let’s talk about their motor. Miele has come up with a new 2015 low-noise, 1200-watt Vortex Motor, which is used by all these models. Why only 1200 Watts? To comply with the newest regulations imposed by the EU commission. There are 6 speed settings which can be controlled either by the plus – minus buttons located on the unit, or by the handle controls (only for Brilliant and Homecare+ models), allowing for seamless transitions from hardwood floors to carpeted areas.
All models use the same AirClean Sealed System for ensuring that all the dust and debris vacuumed stays where it belongs – inside the bag. By the way, the bag has a great storage capacity of 1.18 gallons. The G/N bag type is also an active component of the AirClean system. The bags are made out of an electrostatically charged material and are staying tight thanks to the spring-loaded mechanism and to the self-sealing collar. Last but not least, all the models (except the Cat&Dog and the Limited Edition) have a HEPA filter. But this is not an ordinary HEPA. This product part meets the European HEPA 13 standard, meaning that it will filter 99.95% of all airborne particles, down to 0.1 microns (vs 0.3 microns, which is common in standard HEPA filters). This part also comes with a TimeStrip indicator which shows you when it’s time to change the filter. The Cat&Dog and the Limited Edition have an Active filter, which is a HEPA filter with additional charcoal layers, for completely eliminating any unwanted odors.
Now, all the models have a stainless steel telescopic wand. You can connect a lot of attachments to this wand, including a set of 3 accessories which is stored on-board: the SFD 10 Standard/Extended crevice nozzle, the upholstery tool, and the SSP 10 dusting brush. The other attachments vary from model to model, but, we’ll see about that later.
The usability of the Complete C3 is enhanced by a 22 ft. long power cord, which contributes to the 36 ft. cleaning radius. With just a push of a button, you can automatically rewind the cord inside the appliance. All C3s glide smoothly thanks to the Dynamic Drive technology which uses specialized castor wheels with air-injected tires that absorb shocks. The light weight of only 11.9 lbs. improves the user interaction.
With the exception of the Brilliant and Homecare+ models, all units have a 7-year warranty on the motor and casing, and a 1-year warranty on all other parts. The Brilliant and Homecare+ have a 10-year warranty on the motor and casing and a 5-year warranty on all other parts, which I might add is pretty neat!
As you can see from the first picture, not all head nozzles from all models are the same, which translates into the fact that not all vacuum cleaners are suitable for medium or high pile carpeting. Of course, all units can vacuum hard floors or low pile. However, the models Alize, Calima and Limited edition are not meant for thick rugs, whereas with the Homecare model, you’ll need to purchase optional accessories to compensate for this functionality. Since head nozzles are important, let’s discuss each in particular:
The STB 205-3 Turbo Comfort brush uses air to activate a rotating roller in order to agitate and loosen the dirt, hair and so on. It’s ideal for low pile carpets and comes as default with Calima and Limited Edition models. This is the standard attachment, improved with the following carpet nozzles.
SEB 217-3 Electro Comfort is an electrically-driven tool with an auto-adjustable head and swivel neck, perfect for low/medium pile carpets. It’s a basic Miele brushroll for rugs, improved in the 228 and 236 versions, which can be bought as an optional accessory with the Homecare model.
The SEB 228 Electro Plus brush is 14 inches wide and offers a 5 setting height adjustable feature. It has swivel technology for flexible maneuverability and was built to conquer carpets both medium to plush in thickness. This means you’ll need it i.e. for vacuuming a frieze carpet.
The SEB 236 Electro Premium is an electrically-driven brush roll, especially designed for deep cleaning your carpets. It has a wide opening of 13 3/8″, and it also has 5 height adjustments (which you can vary, depending on your carpet type). It comes with a swivel neck, LED lights and an all-around bumper strip to protect your furniture. It can automatically shut-off if it is set in the parked position.
Another tool perfect for low pile carpets and bare floors is the SBD 285-3 AllTeQ Combination Rug/Smooth floor brush. As you can see from the image, you can quickly switch from had floors to carpets by using the foot switch. This is the default nozzle for the Homecare model.
The SBB 300-3 Parquet Twister floor brush is perfect for the hardwood floor in your house. The twister tool rotates a full 180 degrees and provides the ability to clean easily around table and chair legs, furniture, appliances, and other spaces. As its name states, is designed for flat wood surfaces such as parquet.
The SBB 400-3 Parquet Twister XL smooth floor brush has its bristles made out of a chemical composite named polyamide mixed together with natural hair, in order to provide a soft touch, helping you to clean tiles, hardwood and other bare surfaces. Also has the swivel neck, but offers a wider suction area, helping you to vacuum with up to 20% faster. Only comes with the Brilliant model.
SBD 650-3 AirTeQ floor brush is an improved version of the SBD 285-3. It’s perfect for low pile carpeting, rugs and bare floors, and comes as default on the Alize model. The flow of air is assured by a perfect floor contact, even when switching from bare floors to carpets. The control is also achieved by foot pedals.
Now that I’ve covered these, let’s check the specific features of each model:
Miele C3 Complete Cat & Dog
All pet owners struggle with the shedding patterns of their animals, unless of course they have hairless or well-shaven pets, and even then they still have to deal with the dirt tracked in, and not to mention pet dander and odors. If you remember, a while ago I was talking about how pet owners should clean their homes. It’s now time to present the proper tool for helping you with this chore: the C3 Complete Cat&Dog.
It comes with the SEB 228 Electro Plus and with the SBB300-3 Parquet Twister, helping you to clean all types of floors. What differentiates the Cat&Dog from the rest of C3s? The Active AirClean filter which I was previously talking about and the STB 101 Hand held turbo brush, which is ideal for vacuuming upholstery, stairs and furniture.
This is basically my main recommendation when it comes to Miele canisters and to top things, check out this deal I’ve found for this model.
Miele C3 Complete Alize
The Alize is the entry level of the C3 line, if one might even say that, considering Miele’s prices. You can recognize this model thanks to its distinctive Ivory White color. It is ideal for bare floors and low pile carpeting. Along with the common features, it only comes with the SBD 650-3 AirTeq floor brush. A nice touch is the LED spotlight integrated in the vacuum’s handle.
If you don’t have pets, high pile carpets or sophisticated cleaning needs that require additional accessories and attachments, this is the model to go with. It has almost all the features i.e. of the Marin model (including the same motor, the same filtration system, the same case), and cost almost half. But before you even consider buying this from anywhere else, make sure you’ve seen this offer.
Miele C3 Complete Calima
Calima is a vacuum with strong personality. The Canary Yellow color strikes you from the first glimpse. It comes with the STB 205-3 Turbo Comfort Turbobrush and the SBB 300-3 Parquet Twister floor brush. Considering the other models in the line, it’s very similar to the Alize model, as it is suitable for cleaning low/medium-pile carpets, rugs and bare floors. The only differences are the different head nozzles and the light in the handle, which is missing from this model.
The price is however the same as Alize’s, which makes it a great mid-range purchase, considering all that it has to offer. As you might guess, I would recommend Alize for people with more bare floors, and Calima for people with more low carpets. Both are working just as well, but their specific is a bit shifted. Once again, I have to emphasis on the extreme quality and the generous warranty of this product.
Miele C3 Complete Limited Edition
The Limited Edition vacuuming system provides versatility, as it works on low pile carpeting and hard floors, and is built to last a lifetime. As the other units, this model features Miele’s twelve stage AirClean system that was specially designed to keep the dust and debris out of the air and in the vacuum bags. It comes with the smaller STB 205-3 and with the SBD 285-3. If I would compare this model with any other, it should be the Calima. The racing green fits the unit nicely, the only difference is the lack of the SBB 300-3 attachment. What’s important about this product, it comes with an AirClean filter instead of a HEPA or an Active AirClean.
Thanks to its lack of accessories, it’s one of the cheapest C3s, perfect for homes without pets. At the moment, I couldn’t find this model to be sold online.
It seems like it has been interrupted, but I guess I’ll have to document myself better instead of jumping into conclusions. It’s back up on sale.
Miele C3 Complete Kona
The C3 Kona features a stylish obsidian black color, the kind you’ll definitely appreciate i.e. in a SUV car. Similarly to Cat & Dog, it comes with the SEB 228 ElectroPLUS and the SBB300-3 Parquet Twister. As the others, it has a five-level height adjustment which can really make a difference if you have different types of carpets. The price is just a bit lower than Cat & Dog’s, as the unit features a HEPA filter instead of the Active AirClean filter, which is a bit more expensive. In rest it is virtually the same: same warranty, same materials, same German quality build. You can control the Electrobrush using buttons located on the comfort grip.
If you own a big house, with different cleaning needs but no pets, than this vacuum is for you. You also might want to check out what other buyers are saying about this product, so make sure you’ve read all their comments.
Miele C3 Complete Marin
The Complete Marin comes with almost the same features as the Kona. However, instead of the cheaper SEB 228 ElectroPLUS nozzle, the Marin comes with the SEB 236 with LED lights, allowing you to tackle any kind of flooring. And if that isn’t enough, you can always purchase additional nozzle heads such as the SEB 228 or the SEB 217-3. As I was saying, this particular attachment (SEB 236) allows you to use it as a standby switch. Besides the SEB 236, Marin also comes with the SBB 300-3. Thus, this vacuum is ideal for any floor surface, from hardwoods to deep carpets. Another feature of the Marin is the filter replacement indicator, especially useful for people with allergies or asthma.
Marin has as expected a beautiful metallic navy blue color, and is as expensive as the Cat & Dog. Here’s the latest deal I’ve found for this product.
Miele C3 Complete Brilliant
The C3 Brilliant is the most complete vacuum of the series. Along with the SEB236 Premium Electrobrush and the SBD 285-3 AllTeQ Combination tool, you will also get the SBB 400-3 Parquet Twister XL floor brush. As in the case of Marin model, you’ll get notifications from the filter replacement indicator every time you need to change the filters. The Brilliant unit has an unique illuminated park system with LED under-body lights, making it perfect for a late night photo shoot session. Thanks to the SEB236 attachment, you can set it automatically on standby if you rear park it. The SFD 10 Extended Crevice tool aids in the cleaning of folds, corners, crevices, furniture cushions, and other tight places. Last but not least, you’ll enjoy one of the longest warranties I’ve seen in the world of vacuum cleaners: 10 years for the casing and motor and 5 years for the parts.
This model is perfect for any type of flooring. It’s bronze pearl finish is impressive, and so are the handle controls, the kind you can only find in the HomeCare+ model. Although it’s expensive, it’s one of the best canisters I’ve ever seen, and I warmly recommend it.
Miele C3 Complete HomeCare and HomeCare+
Although they do look a bit different in my picture and on the producer’s site, both these Miele have the same color: mango red, which is a vivid original touch to an appliance. If you didn’t know, the HomeCare models (including HomeCare C1 and C2, as well as Miele’s Dynamic U1 HomeCare upright) are only sold in Miele’s partner retail stores, so you can’t buy them online.
The purpose of these models is clearly described by their name: to completely clean your house. The cheaper model (HomeCare) comes with the SBD 285-3 head nozzle. However, you can optionally purchase the SEB 217-3, SEB 228 and the SEB 236. The HomeCare Plus also comes with the SEB 236, which is enough IMO to handle every vacuuming chore. The simple version comes with a Deluxe Comfort Grip handle. Both models offer on this handle direct electrobrush control, but the HomeCare Plus also allows you to control the suction power by using an advanced digital panel, as you can see in the left image. It comes with the bigger 10-year warranty for casing and motor and 5-year warranty for all other parts, and can standby automatically, if it is placed in rear park position.
Conclusion and VGM
To sum it up, the Miele Complete C3, no matter the model, is a great vacuum cleaner, one that will last you a long time. This is a vacuum that will clean hardwoods, bare floors, carpets from fine to plush in thickness, upholstery, furniture, and so on. Depending on the model you choose, you’ll finally be able to get rid of all that pesky pet hair, allergens, and other airborne particles out of the air you breathe. Miele took the time to engineer a handle to fit in the palm of your hand, gave you the tools for nearly all your cleaning needs, lightened the machine for easier maneuverability, and even designed a quiet running motor to please its customers. The company has an abundance of positive reviews for all of their various appliances, but this is one of their main hits. Here’s my VGM (for the Cat & Dog model, my favorite):
What do you think about Miele’s top line of canisters? Would you buy one? Have one already? Please share your thoughts with us!