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New EU vacuum cleaner energy label will cut power by almost half

But does less power mean inferior cleaning?

The new vacuum cleaner energy label, set to come into effect on 1 September 2017, will reduce the maximum wattage from 1,600 to 900 watts for any vacuum cleaner manufactured or sold in the EU.

But the reduction in power is no cause for panic. Over the past 60 years we have tested thousands of vacuum cleaners and found that motor size is very rarely an indicator of cleaning ability.

Wattage isn’t the only thing the new energy label will change – it will also restrict vacuum cleaner noise levels and introduce minimum durability requirements.

Read on to learn more about the vacuum cleaner energy label changes and visit our vacuum cleaner reviews to discover which are the best and worst. 

What is the vacuum cleaner energy label?

The vacuum cleaner energy label was introduced in September 2014 and cut the maximum wattage of a vacuum cleaner to 1,600W.

It also introduced A-G ratings on four key elements of a vacuum cleaner: energy use, dust pick-up on hard floors, dust pick-up on carpets and dust emissions. The label also shows how noisy the vacuum is in decibels.

The vacuum cleaners energy label

What’s new for the energy label in 2017?

From September 2017, the new label will:

  • restrict the maximum wattage further to 900W
  • cut the maximum noise level to 80dB
  • require vacuum cleaners to pass two durability tests – one on the motor and another on the main hose.

The energy ratings will also now range from A +++ through to G.

While these changes come into effect on 1 September, stores will be able to sell vacuum cleaners that don’t comply with the new label until stocks run out.

Will vacuum cleaners get better or worse?

When we test vacuum cleaners, we look at exactly how much dust and dirt each one is able to suck up. Our tests have shown that, despite initial fears, the introduction of the energy label in 2014 did not lead to a drop in cleaning performance. In fact, cleaning ability has remained largely stable.

We’ll be interested to see how the new wave of 900W vacuum cleaners will compare with older models. Some vacuum cleaner manufacturers, such as Dyson, have been producing vacuum cleaners with motors smaller than 900W for years. But it is likely to be more of a challenge for some brands than others.

When it comes to energy, you should save on your energy bills. According to the EU, choosing one of the most efficient vacuum cleaners could save you more than £50 over the vacuum cleaners lifetime.

To find a vacuum cleaner that can clean hair, fine dust, rice and lentils from any kind of surface, whether thick carpet or hard floors, head straight to our Best Buy vacuum cleaners.

Vacuum cleaner durability

The introduction of durability criteria is positive, but our reliability surveys show that, by and large, vacuum cleaners are already a reliable product and shouldn’t break down too often.

According to a survey of 1,100 Which? members who own a cylinder vacuum cleaner (October 2016), 83% are still working fault-free, even after 10 years. In contrast, up to a third of fridge freezers are likely to develop a fault in the same time period, and almost two in five kettles, which are the worst offenders, break in the first six years.

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