What We Like
Very powerful suction
HEPA AirClean filter removes dust and allergens
Electrobrush has five carpet pile height settings
Superior quality materials and craftsmanship
What We Don't Like
The replacement bags are expensive
Hose is stiff to maneuver
Short power cord radius
Electrobrush eats thin carpets
A canister vacuum cleaner, even a glossy, high-end number like the Miele Compact C2 Electro + PowerLine, may not immediately come to mind when you’re in the market for a new machine. And who can blame you? These days, bagged canister vacuums have lost a lot of the spotlight to their showboating upright cousins, complete with futuristic filters and swirling helices of transparent dirt cup theater. We all like to see our machines actually doing the dirty work, and the allure of not having to buy filter bags is strong.
There are some great advantages to bagged canister vacuums, though. They’re easier to maneuver and generally have a larger fill capacity. Plus, filter bags keep more of the vacuumed dust and allergens from reentering the atmosphere. The Compact C2 does all of that, and with a sleek design and engineering expertise that only a 120-year-old appliance company can bring to the table. Read on to see how this device fared against a house full of pets and almost every imaginable rug variety.
Design: High-end engineering
Trim and elegant, the Compact C2 canister resembles a little hardshell suitcase. A dial on the user interface gives you six options for suction strength with cute, easy-to-understand icons for curtains, upholstery, high-pile carpet, low-pile carpet, hard flooring, and our personal favorite: an ear that represents the C2’s energy-saving quiet mode.
After reviewing many vacuums and winding many power cords, the auto-wind is now one of our favorite features in a vacuum.
The suction dial is flanked by the power foot pedal, and the pedal for automatic cord retraction. After reviewing many vacuums and winding many power cords, the auto-wind is now one of our favorite features in a vacuum. The length of the cord is only about 21 feet, which we felt was a bit short, but manageable. This is a compact vacuum, after all, and there is only so much room inside the shell. Miele suggests that if you are vacuuming for longer than 30 minutes, you should pull the entire length of the cord out to prevent overheating.
Inside the canister, there’s room for the 3.4-liter dustbag, the engine, and the dual filter system. Larger Miele canister vacuums make room for attachments inside the canister, but the Compact C2 arranges them a little awkwardly on a clip around the base of the hose. Combined with the stiffness of the hose, this gave us a little trouble towing, but it’s no deal breaker.
The filter system consists of two main filters: a motor protection filter and an exhaust filter. The motor protection filter prolongs the life of the motor by trapping and preventing particles from entering it, and the HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) AirClean exhaust filter scrubs the air as it’s passing out of the vacuum, trapping 99.95 percent of particles, down to .3 micrometers, also called microns (for reference, the University of Illinois Extension explains that “a human hair is about 60 to 80 microns”). That means that beyond just picking up cheerios, running this vacuum can actually improve the quality of the air in your house. That will be a massive plus to those with allergies.
Beyond just picking up cheerios, running this vacuum can actually improve the quality of the air in your house.
The entire machine is well designed, but the handle and the telescopic extension wand are the real ergonomics superstars. The brushed stainless steel wand adjusts its length in 2-centimeter increments, so the tallest and the shortest users will find a comfortable, custom fit. Miele showed off its century-plus of engineering experience by embedding a strip of metal the width of a sewing needle into the handle to reduce static buildup while vacuuming. You hardly notice it, but if you keep contact with it, it should save you from getting shocked. There’s also a switch on the handle that turns the power brush on or off, which was useful as we moved from rug to hardwood floor to rug again.
Cleaning Performance: Almost too powerful
The cleaning performance of the Compact C2 boils down to a combination of the suction power dialed in from the motor and the cleaner head used. We had to play around with it a little before we found our optimal balance with the various carpet heights and bare floors in our test house. You have the option of switching out the electrobrush cleaner for the parquet brush when going to bare floors. We loved the parquet attachment, but for the sake of efficiency, we found it was better to leave the electrobrush attached and switch its roller brush off when we were vacuuming bare floors.
The upholstery tool is amazing at picking up cat hair from couches—better than anything we’ve tested so far.
The electrobrush is an intense tool that should be respected, to say the least. More than once, it violently sucked up mouthfuls of our lighter weight carpets. This trips an automatic shutoff of the brush rotation, so there’s as little damage as possible to both the vacuum and the rug. However, if you have a lot of kilim or other flatweave rugs, you could probably skip the electrobrush and just use the parquet attachment.
The other tools are simple but thoughtfully designed. The upholstery tool is amazing at picking up cat hair from couches—better than anything we’ve tested so far. The crevice tool and the dusting brush are nothing special, but we don’t have any complaints.
Noise Level: Surprisingly quiet
For a machine that performs like a sports car, you might expect it to have a roaring performance engine. The Compact C2’s noise level is actually pretty reasonable, though. The canister is well-insulated, and, beyond that, the motor has been optimized for minimal sound. There’s an additional quiet suction mode as well, which kept the cats in the house on high alert, but not at a full panic.
Ease of Use: Canisters take some getting used to
For people more used to upright vacuums (like us), a canister vacuum might seem cumbersome at first. You push the extension wand with one hand and manage the hose with the other, while the canister drags behind. The Compact 2’s hose is quite stiff, so using it to lead the canister can feel a little like you’re leading a stubborn toddler, but we picked it up eventually. We also eventually realized that the real advantages of a canister vac over an upright are 1) you don’t push the heavy motor back and forth when you’re vacuuming, 2) you can get into nearly any corner, crevice, under-couch, and spider hole with the low-clearance brush heads, and 3) you’re already using the hose, so switching the cleaner head out for an upholstery or dusting attachment is practically effortless.
Mieles are expensive, sure, but you’re investing in a machine that has top-of-the-line suction and design and will probably last you decades.
Price: You pay for performance
Miele vacuums are high-end performance machines, and you’ll see that reflected in the price—the Compact C2 Electro+ PowerLine costs about $700. If you can live without the electrobrush, there are similar Miele models for about $200 cheaper, but the line also includes similar models for $1500, so there’s a broad range of features to choose from. The bottom line is they’re expensive, sure, but you’re investing in a machine that has top-of-the-line suction and design and will probably last you decades.
Competition: Miele vs. Dyson
The Miele line is impressive, but if you really hate the idea of having to buy expensive on-brand bags for your vacuum for the next decade and a half, the Cinetic Big Ball Animal canister vacuum from Dyson might be more your speed. The ultra-efficient cyclone captures dust so efficiently, it doesn’t even need to use filters—the entire machine functions as a HEPA filter.
- Product Name Compact C2 Electro + PowerLine
- Product Brand Miele
- MPN SDCE0
- Price $699
- Weight 9.39 lbs.
- Product Dimensions 16.7 x 9.6 x 9.1 in.
- Color Marine blue
- Cord Length 21 ft.
- Maximum Suction Power 1,200 watts
- Dust Bag Capacity 3.5 L
- Warranty 1 year, with a 5-year parts warranty
- What’s Included Canister, electrobrush cleaner head, parquet brush cleaner head, crevice tool, dusting brush, upholstery tool, one dust bag, one HEPA AirClean filter