If you’re a fan of vacuums that last longer than a few years, you’ve probably heard of Miele. While their canisters will cost you more than anything you’ll find at your local box store, they’re high quality, buy-it-for-life machines that will pay you with years of quiet, powerful, and reliable service. We should know; we’ve sung their praises in dozens of reviews. However, a Miele is only as good as the cleaning head it’s attached to. If you only have hardwood, tile, or other bare floors to clean, you can spend the rest of your life cleaning perfectly well with a Miele with a Parquet head (e.g., the C1 Limited Edition or the Complete C2 Hard Floor). But if you have bare floors and carpets (particularly soft, plush, and high-pile carpets), you’ll need an electric brush head on your Miele if you want to get them clean.
The other day, we reviewed perhaps the best Miele powered head on the market, the SEB 228 Electro Plus Full-Size Electrobrush. Today we’re going to review the head that preceded it: the Miele SEB 217-3 Electro Comfort Mid-Size Electrobrush, and compare it to the SEB 228. Along the way, we’ll list all current Mieles compatible with the SEB 217-3 as well as every Miele that ships with it or a higher-end powered brush head. Our thoughts in ten seconds are to buy the SEB 228 if you want to clean every bare or carpeted floor on the market and to stick with the SEB 217-3 only if you don’t have any carpets higher than medium-pile. We fully review it below, and you can buy the SEB 217-3 here.
Pros, cons, and key features of the Miele SEB 217-3 Electro Comfort Mid-Size Electrobrush
The SEB 217-3 electrobrush is a lower-end electric powered brush head for Miele’s line of canister vacuums. German made, it’s minimal in its design–perhaps too minimal. It doesn’t include any way of adjusting the cleaning height, limiting it to bare floors, low-pile carpets, and medium-pile carpets in usability.
You can use the electric brush with and without power; to clean bare floors without using the beater bar (which primarily serves for cleaning carpets), you can turn off the brush head and clean with air suction, which preserves the brushes and motor while reducing noise output. The cleaning head is 10-1/4 inches wide and connects and disconnects smoothly from a telescoping cleaning wand. The SEB 217-3 is marketed as an upgrade from Miele’s entry-level rug and bare floor combination heads.
How well does the SEB 217-3 clean bare floors and low-, medium-, and high-pile carpets compared to the SEB 228?
The SEB 228 is the better cleaning head between the two. It has a much wider cleaning path at 14 inches vs 10, meaning you’ll spend less time vacuuming to cover a given amount of floor. It also has a five-step adjustable height range, allowing you to cover every kind of floor currently sold, from bare floors to high-pile and soft carpets that choke just about every other cleaning head and vacuum on the market. The SEB 217-3 won’t clean past medium-pile carpeting, and to be frank, it’s more comfortable with low-pile carpets and bare floors.
Which current Miele canisters include the SEB 217-3 or similar brushes like the SEB 228 or SEB 236?
As the SEB 217-3 is a rather old cleaning head (it was superseded by the SEB 228 several years ago), all of the vacuums that naturally included it have been discontinued and almost none of them are still available for sale. The only three exceptions we were able to find are the Classic C1 Titan, the Classic C1 Delphi, and the Compact C2 Topaz. Of these three, we’d recommend buying the Titan or Delphi, as the canisters are better and in the case of the Titan, a Parquet head is included for bare floors.
That said, instead of buying vacuums bundled with the SEB 217-3, which is a rather limited capacity cleaning head, we’d recommend buying models paired with the SEB 228 or SEB 236. The cheapest canister to include it is the Compact C2 Electro+. If you’re in search of higher-end canisters, you’ll find the SEB 228 on the Classic C1 Cat & Dog, the Complete C3 Soft Carpet, the Complete C3 Kona, and the Complete C3 Cat & Dog. If you want the highest of high-end experiences, you’ll find the SEB 236, an upgraded SEB 228, on Miele’s two most expensive vacuums, the Complete C3 Marin and Complete C3 Brilliant. Between the 228 and the 236, the primary difference is the presence of LED lights on the 236.
Which Miele canister vacuums are compatible with the SEB 217-3 electrobrush?
Every vacuum listed above will work with the SEB 217-3, 228, or 236; what’s important is that the vacuum originally shipped with an electric brush of its own. If it did, it will include the electrical connectors it needs to accept and power any other electric brush head. On the other hand, if the vacuum didn’t ship with an electric brush head from the start (e.g., the Complete C3 Alize), you’ll never be able to add an electric head to it. Years ago, Miele used to add electric connectors to nearly all of their canisters, and you could move from a combination tool or turbo head to an electric head easily. However, they removed that option some years ago and are unlikely to return it. On the bright side, if you have a vacuum that originally shipped with the SEB 217-3 head like the Titan, Delphi, or Topaz, you can turn it into a new machine with an upgrade to the SEB 228 head without spending the money on a completely new canister.
Why buy the SEB 217-3?
In conclusion, while the SEB 217-3 was a good cleaning head in its day, we can’t recommend it in a world where the SEB 228 exists, as this is a far superior cleaning head. Our recommendation would be to buy the SEB 228 by itself if you want to upgrade a Miele canister capable of using an electric brush head, or to simply upgrade to a canister that ships with the SEB 228 in the box. The cheapest options are the Electro+ and C1 Cat & Dog, while our favorite all-around Miele canister is the C3 Cat & Dog.
You can buy the Miele SEB 217-3 here on Amazon, but we’d recommend buying the Miele SEB 228 electrobrush here instead. The cheapest Miele canisters that ship with it or an equivalent powered brush are the Miele Compact C2 Electro+ and the Miele Classic C1 Cat & Dog. The best all-around Miele is likely the Complete C3 Cat & Dog.
Canadians can buy the Miele SEB 217-3 here on Amazon, but we’d suggest skipping it and upgrading to the Miele SEB 228 electrobrush here instead. To buy it bundled with a canister, the cheapest options are the Miele Compact C2 Electro+ and the Miele Classic C1 Cat & Dog. For a high-end do-everything Miele, we’d recommend the Complete C3 Cat & Dog.
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