Comparison Review: Miele Complete C3 Marin vs Brilliant; What’s the Best Miele Canister Vacuum?

If you read PMC, you know we’re fans of vacuums in general, canister vacuums in particular, and Miele canister vacuums above those of any other manufacturer. They’re our vacuums of choice on most projects, including at hotels, in condominiums, and of course in single family homes. However, while we’ve used and reviewed Miele canisters for years, there are only a few models we take with us on projects involving high-pile carpet work. We reviewed two of those, the C3 Cat & Dog and C3 Kona, the other day, and we’ll review the two remaining models today.

The reason why we rarely take Mieles with us on high-pile jobs is because most Miele canisters can’t handle anything beyond medium-pile carpeting. To be honest, the lower end models are really just for hardwood floors. Today we’re going to look at two Miele canisters that are equally at home with hardwood flooring, low-pile, medium-pile, and high-pile carpet: the Complete C3 Marin and the Complete C3 Brilliant in order to figure out which is the most versatile Miele canister vacuum for the full gamut of flooring and upholstery environments. If you’re ready to buy one and just need our recommendation, we recommend the Complete C3 Marin for most buyers, and you can buy it here.

Pros, Cons, and Key Features of the Miele Complete C3 Marin Canister Vacuum Cleaner – Corded (SGJE0)

Most PMC staff members already own the C3 Marin or its previous iteration for personal and professional work, and the few of us who didn’t understood why after we had an opportunity to use one. It might be the single best vacuum cleaner money can buy today. This is largely due to its incredible versatility; it’s a vacuum you can take to any (dry) job with the knowledge that you’ll have the brush heads necessary to clean whatever you come across. It’s one of only four Miele canisters to feature both an Electro brush and a Parquet head (the other three are the Cat & Dog, the Kona, and the Brilliant).

The Electro brush can be used on every floor and carpeting type while the Parquet head provides the strength and finesse to deal with any hardwood or solid flooring, no matter how delicate. However, unlike the SEB228 Electro brush in the mid-range C3s, the SEB236 Electro Premium Electro brush that comes with the Marin (and Brilliant) also includes LEDs to help light dark areas (e.g., under beds and other furniture) while cleaning.

The SBB300-3 Parquet Twister, on the other hand, can be found on a range of Miele canisters; every Complete C3 features one except for the Alize, which is essentially a Marin without the Parquet, the Electro brush, or the ability to add an Electro brush. As a result, if you’ve used it in a different Miele, you’ll already know that it’s an excellent cleaning tool for hardwood and other smooth floor surfaces. As when connected to other Mieles, we were happy to see that it allowed us to clean more efficiently instead of simply pushing dirt from one end of the room to the other due to the vacuum’s air stream.

At this point, you might be wondering what exactly distinguishes the Marin from a similar canister like the Cat & Dog or Kona, both of which are part of the C3 series, both of which come with Electro and Parquet brushes, and both of which are slightly cheaper. That’s a great question! For us, the defining factor was the automatic speed setting system. We first talked about this on the Alize; it’s a system that allows the vacuum to seamlessly transition between higher and lower levels of suction (such as when moving from hardwood flooring to carpeting or from low-pile to medium-pile carpeting, if you happen to have both in one house) without skipping a beat.

It’s not as if it was particularly hard to make the switches with our feet or fingers, but we have to admit that the feature is a luxury we very much appreciated when doing long cleaning jobs in multiple environments. However, if you don’t find this reason enough to pay a bit extra, we encourage you to look into the C3 Cat & Dog or Kona instead; aside from this feature, all 3 vacuums are more or less the same (keeping in mind that the Cat & Dog comes with a Mini turbo brush and charcoal filter not found in neither the Marin nor the Kona).

Overall, we’re rather convinced that the Marin is the best all-around vacuum currently on the market, and the best Miele canister available. However, where does that leave the Brilliant?

Pros, Cons, and Key Features of the Miele Complete C3 Brilliant Canister Vacuum Cleaner – Corded (SGPE0) 

We’re going to save you some time: the Brilliant is the Marin in a different color, with LEDs and a velvet bumper around the body, and handle controls that allow you to start and stop the vacuum, adjust speeds up and down, or enable and disable the automatic speed switching system. It’s an excellent vacuum cleaner; there’s no doubt about that. The cleaning power was equal to that in the Marin, which makes sense since it came with exactly the same primary brush heads (the SEB 236 Electro Premium Powerbrush and the SBB300-3 Parquet Twister), the same internal motor (the 1,200 watt Vortex), the same HEPA filtration system (which works, and works well), and the same accessories (the dusting brush, crevice tool, and upholstery tool).

The question, then, is whether these additions–the handle controls being the most significant of them–make the roughly $400 price bump worth it. We aren’t going to try to tell you that the Brilliant cleaned better or left the air smelling fresher or made us happier to vacuum (well, the last one might be true for those of us who enjoyed the handle controls); the fact of the matter is that there were very few functional differences between the two machines. The Brilliant was brilliant–but we didn’t find it more brilliant than the Marin for the money.

Is the Complete C3 Brilliant Worth the Price Difference Over the Complete C3 Marin?

In our books, no. We gave the Brilliant every chance to impress us, and although it did in many ways (e.g., through the handle controls), in the end, when it came to cleaning, it didn’t do a better job than the Marin, and the Marin costs around $400 less. If money is no object, then yes, there’s nothing wrong with the Brilliant, and it’ll be a fine vacuum for many years in your home or work space. However, if you can think of better things to spend that $400 on, we’d recommend saving it and buying the Marin instead.

You can buy the Complete C3 Marin here on Amazon. You can buy the Complete C3 Brilliant here on Amazon.

If you find our research on PMC helpful, you can support our efforts to keep maniacally testing home cleaning tools by bookmarking and shopping through this Amazon link. Canadians can use this link. We promise to keep fighting the good fight against every horror children, animals, and grown, yet messy humans can inflict upon a clean home.

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