Not just hot air: The new EU vacuum rules explained

Buying a new vacuum cleaner? Here’s how the new EU vacuum cleaner regulations will affect your choice of models…

21 Sep 2017

New EU regulations mean the vacuum cleaner you buy today will use less energy and be quieter than your old model. But what does this mean when it comes to keeping your house clean?

Clean kitchen

Here we explain what the new rules are all about and how you can buy a cleaner that will tackle dust, dirt and dog hair and still fall on the right side of the law.


Why have the regulations been introduced?

The purpose of the regulations is to reduce the amount of energy used by vacuum cleaners across Europe. It’s one of many EU laws that are designed to reduce our overall energy consumption and make products more durable and efficient.

This isn’t the first time power limits have been put in place for vacuum cleaners. Since 2014, vacuum cleaners sold in the EU have had a power limit of 1,600W. Before this, cleaners regularly exceeded 2,200W.


What standards do new vacuum cleaners need to comply with?

From 1 September 2017, new vacuum cleaners manufactured or sold in the EU must:

  • Have a maximum power level of 900W
  • Have a maximum noise level of 80dB
  • Pass two durability tests: one to check how the motor copes with repeated use, and one to make sure the vacuum hose won’t easily split or break
  • Display an energy rating from A+++ to G, instead of just A to G


Will a 900W vacuum work as well as a 1600W?

It’s a common myth that lower wattage vacuums won’t clean as well as more power-hungry models.

Wattage is the maximum power the vacuum draws from your plug socket. The higher the wattage, the more energy it will use. But the suction ‘power’ of a cleaner depends on a number of factors, including the design of the cleaner, how full the bin or bag is and if you clean the filter regularly. A 900W vacuum can be just as effective as a 1600W model if you choose the right vacuum and look after it.


What about noise?

When it comes to noise, most of us would agree that quieter is better (unless you want to get the kids out of bed).

The decibel scale isn’t linear, so what seems like a small reduction in decibels will have a large impact. For example, a vacuum cleaner with a noise level of 60db will sound like a conversation in a quiet room. A cleaner with a noise level of 80db will be a hundred times more intense and will sound four times as loud – like standing next to a busy main road.


The new vacuum cleaner energy label explained

Vacuum cleaners sold since 2014 have an energy label that gives the cleaner an A-G rating based on energy usage, how well it picks up dust and how effective the filter system is. The new labels have extra performance levels, up to A+++, to help you choose between high-performance models.

Sounds great, doesn’t it? The only problem is vacuum cleaners aren’t independently rated. Manufacturers carry out the tests on their own models in a laboratory. This makes it hard to compare two vacuum cleaners based on their label.


How do I know what vacuum cleaner to buy?

When buying a new vacuum, look at product reviews as well as the specification to make sure your new vacuum cleaner does exactly the job you want it to.

There are loads of great vacuum cleaners available that already meet the regulations. For example, the MIELE Compact C2 Allergy EcoLine is specifically designed to maximise suction and will make short work of drawing up fine dust and pet hairs – perfect for allergy sufferers.

Miele Compact C2


Cordless vacuum cleaners, such as the Dyson V8 Absolute Cordless Bagless vacuum cleaner, aren’t affected by the regulations as they use a rechargeable battery. It’s lightweight, powerful and can be converted to a handheld model to use on stairs and inside cupboards.

Dyson V8 Absolute

Browse Currys full range of vacuum cleaners here

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