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Dyson wins appeal over vacuum cleaners energy label

Dyson argues that EU vacuum tests don't reflect real-life use

Dyson wins appeal over vacuum cleaners energy label

Dyson has won an appeal upholding its complaint against the vacuum cleaners energy label, which it claims currently unfairly favours rival vacuum brands.

Dyson believes that the energy label tests on vacuum cleaners – which take into account cleaning performance –  don’t reflect real home use conditions as they are conducted when the vacuum cleaner is empty of dust.

The European Court of Justice (ECJ) has upheld Dyson’s appeal against the previous judgement by the European General Court, which ruled that Dyson had failed to come up with a reliable and reproducible alternative to the current test.

The ECJ ruled that the energy label testing for vacuum cleaners should look to adopt a more true-to-life test.

What Dyson doesn’t like about the vacuum cleaners energy label

The vacuum cleaners energy label

Dyson believes that rival vacuum brands are unfairly benefiting from testing that uses brand new vacuum cleaners in lab conditions.

Some vacuum cleaners can rapidly lose suction as they fill with dust – in some cases dramatically affecting their cleaning performance. This means that a vacuum that gets an A rating could prove less than effective once you actually get it home.

Dyson specifically singles out bagged vacuum cleaners in its claim, although we have found that both bagged and bagless models can lose suction over time.

We test vacuum cleaners both when empty and filled with dust, so we can tell you which models lose suction as you clean. Only vacuum cleaners that maintain high suction as they fill up make the grade as Best Buy vacuum cleaners.

What impact has the energy label had?

Overall, our testing shows that the energy label has had a positive impact on the vacuum cleaners market. Despite initial concerns, the cap on motor wattage hasn’t been a barrier to some vacuums achieving excellent cleaning standards.

However, it hasn’t all been plain sailing. Back in 2015 we exclusively revealed that the energy labels rating system is being inconsistently applied, which makes it an ineffective guide to choosing the best and worst vacuum cleaners.

The introduction of the energy label has also led to some unintended side effects as manufacturers seek to optimise their machines for sucking up the type of fine dust that is used in the energy label tests. This can end up being at the expense of how well a vacuum cleaner tackles other jobs, such as sucking up larger debris and pet hair.

Which? vacuum tests and the energy label

One issue we’ve had feedback about from Which? members is that some vacuum cleaners are now really hard work to push across floors. We check how much force is required to push and pull each vacuum across the floor in our labs, and we’ve found some models with a push force equivalent to lifting an Olympic men’s shotput.

This high suction power can help to achieve top-notch dust pick up, but that’s little comfort if you’re exhausted after vacuuming half a room, which is why we now take this into account in our overall test scores.

To find a vacuum cleaner that gets the balance right, and is both easy to use and a highly effective cleaner, head over to our vacuum cleaner reviews.

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