If you’re reading this review, you likely already know Miele makes the best canister vacuums on the market. They aren’t cheap, but they’re built to last while cleaning consistently (and quietly!) for 10 years or more. We recently reviewed two of their entry models: the S2121 and the vacuum that succeeded it, the Classic C1 Olympus. However, time inevitably marches on, and the Classic C1 Olympus is being discontinued and succeeded by the Compact C1 Pure Suction. Perhaps you already knew all of this; while not many people in the United States or Canada buy Miele vacuums, those who do tend to be lifelong fans of the brand. What you may not know is whether to buy the Miele Compact C1 Pure Suction or whether to buy the Classic C1 Olympus while it’s still available. Let’s take a closer look at the new and the old below. If you’re in a hurry, though, we cautiously recommend the Compact C1 Pure Suction, and you can buy it here (or here if you’re in Canada).
Pros, Cons, and Key Features of the Miele Compact C1 Pure Suction Canister Vacuum, Lotus White (SCAE0)
The Compact C1 Pure Suction, per Miele, was created to succeed the Classic C1 Olympus. In our books, it does, but it does so primarily because we know the Classic isn’t going to be available for much longer. The power is unchanged at 1200 watts delivered to the main motor. The operating radius is changed at 29.5 feet. The basic canister shape and telescopic wand and handle are still there; so what exactly makes it better than the Classic C1 Olympus?
To be honest, we didn’t find much in examining it. Yes, it continued to clean well–very well–as long as we used it appropriately; it shone on tile and hard wood floors and was usable, though not nearly as happy, on low-pile carpeting, and it struggled dreadfully on high-pile carpeting (as would be expected, since the lower-end C1 models don’t come with powered heads necessary for success with high-pile carpets). We felt it did a slightly better job on carpets than the Classic C1, which might have come through slight efficiency increases in the internal design. We also felt the AirClean filter was slightly more effective than the filter in the Classic C1, as evidenced by the fewer dust particles we saw flying in the sunlight after using the Compact C1.
We continued to enjoy the 6-stage rotary selector to change our power supply, we loved how light and maneuverable it was (although we noted it was slightly heavier at 15 pounds than the Classic C1 Olympus, which we measured at 13 pounds). We liked how it fit in slightly smaller spaces when storing it, which made sense since its overall dimensions are slightly smaller than those of the Classic C1. We were happy to note the continuation of the silence setting in the Compact; this essentially gives you a way to “turn down” the volume of the Compact C1, making it possible to vacuum a room away from sleeping babies. It’s already a rather quiet vacuum, but we certainly appreciated the Compact C1’s ability to virtually disappear into background noise. Overall, it continues the legacy of a competent and well-made canister vacuum, and we were happy to use it.
Not all things were better on the Compact C1, however. We weren’t a fan of the fact that it was manufactured in China–not because of any quality concerns (we’ve traveled to Shanghai and seen the factories and distribution centers); it’s because we know the workers are paid better in Germany, and we’re sad to see Miele chasing profits at the expense of worker livelihood, because we’d like everyone to earn a living wage. We also didn’t like the fact that the Pure Suction has a significantly smaller dirt capacity in its FJM Airclean dustbags at 3.7Q vs 4.7Q in the Olympus; however, this is the inevitable result of the “Compact” factor in the Compact C1. It essentially means replacing the bag after 3 months of frequent vacuuming instead of after 4. It wasn’t a deal breaker, but it was a disappointment.
The Classic C1 Olympus is the direct ancestor of the Compact C1 Pure Suction, and it’s easy to see the similarities on the outside with a glance at the canister. Compared to the Compact C1, we have to admit that it held its ground, and handily. The cleaning power was almost the same (we’d give the nod there to the Compact C1), and the air filtration was a touch behind that of the Compact C1. However, the Classic C1 weighed ever so slightly less (despite carrying a larger overall volume), and it had a larger dirt bag capacity, which means we could go an extra month or two without needing to change it. We also liked, as noted above, the fact that it was made in Germany. However, the biggest strike against it is the fact that it’s no longer made, which means it’s going to get harder to find accessories and necessary parts in the coming years. We loved it but felt we were being socially engineered to dislike it via forced obsolescence. And we didn’t like that.
Is the Compact C1 Pure Suction Worth it Over the Classic C1 Olympus?
The majority opinion of our review team is a reluctant yes, but a yes nonetheless. We won’t deny that both vacuums provide a solid introduction to the world of canisters and the quality of Miele’s canisters in particular. However, the slight improvements in the Compact C1 combined with the fact that repair parts and labor for the Classic C1 will inevitably increase over time due to its discontinuation make the choice clear: if you want a worry-free transition into the Miele canister world, you want the Compact C1 Pure Suction. If you’re wary of new technology and feel things that work shouldn’t be changed (and there were many on our review team who felt this way), you can’t go wrong with the Classic C1 Olympus. We won’t blame you; it’s still an excellent entry-level Miele several years later.
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