On the 1st of September, 2017, a new energy label is set to come into effect which will reduce the maximum wattage of any vacuum cleaner manufactured or sold within the EU from 1600 to 900 watts.
Don’t panic though as various tests have shown that motor size rarely relates to cleaning ability. However, the wattage isn’t the only thing changing. The new regulations will also restrict noise levels and bring in minimum durability requirements.
So what is the vacuum cleaner energy label?
The label was first introduced in September 2014 and cut the maximum wattage down to 1600w. It also introduced A-G ratings on four of the key elements of a vacuum cleaner:
- Dust pick-up on hard floors
- Dust pick up on carpets
- Energy use
- Dust emissions
Additionally the label also gives a noise rating in decibels.
So what’s changing in 2017?
Essentially, the following changes will be made:
- Restricting the maximum wattage further down to 900w
- Reduce the maximum noise level to 80dB
- Require the cleaner to pass durability tests on both the motor and main hose
Additionally, energy ratings will also range from A+++ to G.
However, even after the label comes into effect, stores will still be able to sell existing stocks of non-compliant vacuum cleaners.
So will vacuum cleaners get better or worse?
When vacuum cleaners are tested, 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.