Buyers rebelling against EU-spec vacuums, says Sebo

Many consumers are unhappy with the performance of their vacuum cleaners as they find the information on new EU energy labels confusing, claims floorcare specialist Sebo’s UK managing director Justin Binks.

What is more, Mr Binks (pictured) claims to meet EU requirements and achieve the pick up of dirt that is specified on labels, manufacturers are making vacuums that are not tested in “real world” situations.

Last year, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) dismissed a case from Dyson to change EU energy labelling on vacuums, saying the vacuum manufacturer failed to show there were reliable and accurate tests.

When it comes to the labels, Mr Binks said consumers would have a ‘scant grasp’ of what the data shown really means and also how little the tests used to gather it reflect the everyday use of the appliance.

“Ironically, it is now often the case that the better the vacuum cleaner performs, the worse the rating on the label,” adds Mr Binks. “Our key objections to the legislation surrounding the energy label have always concerned the testing procedures, particularly the tests for pick-up.”

Currently, pick-up tests require a particular type of sand to be used, but in homes and workplaces 80 per cent of what is picked up by a vacuum cleaner is fluff, hair and fibre.

Hard floor tests involve removing dirt from a 10mm deep by 3mm wide crevice. However, Mr Binks claims it doesn’t take into account the need to clean the surface of the floor.

Mr Binks continued: “There is little transparency for the consumer. In light of the Volkswagen scandal, it seems astonishing that the energy labels are self-certified and are open to abuse. Indeed, some of the ratings given by manufacturers are questionable to say the least. No wonder a generation of tick-box vacuum cleaners is being developed that are poor at picking up what needs to be picked up, good at picking up what does not need to be picked up, and frustratingly difficult to use.

He fears things may get even worse and added: “This is only the start. Currently, 1,600W is the maximum wattage for vacuum cleaners, but this figure drops to 900w in 2017. While quality brands will hopefully always offer superior performance, in future it may take a lot longer to clean a floor.”