Miele pretty much invented the pet-specific vacuum cleaner, and its Cat & Dog models have been cleaning up after pets for well over a decade. With the EU’s limit on vacuum cleaner power consumption now in force, the Complete C3 Cat & Dog Powerline comes in at a frugal 1200W, adding a rotating Turbobrush and new high-flow AirTeQ floorhead to lift pet hairs where previous models went for brute suction force.
Miele Active AirClean filter has been designed specifically to help absorb pet related odours, and there is a colour strip to let you know when the filter needs changing. The C3 Cat & Dog uses self-sealing HyClean bags, comes with a range of on-board accessories, electronic controls and a substantial 11m cleaning radius. With our Labrador, Poppy, fresh from a dip in the local duck pond compete with mud, moulting hairs and a piquant odour, we set about ‘animal testing’ the C3 Cat & Dog. It passed with flying colours.
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Miele’s marketing department got a bit carried away with long names for the C3 range, so let’s just refer to this model as the C3 Cat & Dog. Like the C3 Total Solution, this is a light, compact and solidly built cylinder cleaner with a 4.5-litre bag capacity. There are three tools on-board under the top cover, an upholstery nozzle, dusting brush and crevice tool, and two floorheads supplied. The first is the Turbobrush head, which while labelled Cat & Dog is identical to the Turbobrush supplied with the Total Solution model. The air-flow powered brush has variable speed thanks to a slide vent on top.
The Miele AirTeQ head is a direct result of new power regulations and has been designed to allow the fastest and most efficient flow of air to give the same suction power as an older 2000W vacuum with a more traditional head. It’s light and flexible, thanks to an all-way pivoting neck, and its drop-down hard floor brushes make it really effective on a range of surfaces.
The smaller on board tools simply push onto the tubes while the floorheads have a secure clip. The cable length is only average at 7.5m, but the soft flexible hose and quality-feeling telescopic metal tubes make up the difference to give an 11m cleaning range from your power point. The electronic up/down control offer variable power in six steps from minimum, ideal for cleaning curtains, right up to maximum power for hard floors.
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The AirTEQ floorhead is perfect for hard surfaces with its brushes lowered, the switch for which is conveniently fitted to both sides of the head. The brushes have only very small cut-outs for air flow to stop the head sticking through suction to the ground. Yet in use this head glides around on hard surfaces like it’s on wheels, drawing in dust, dirt and pet hairs with ease.
The AirTeQ head’s impressive suction shows on carpets. In fact, on short pile surfaces and the high power setting, the head limpets itself on to the carpet, requiring a very firm hand to move. We reduced the power to make life easier and there is a suction release vent on the handle, which has the same effect. While this does demonstrate this floorhead’s suction efficiency, the Turbohead is simply easier and more effective on carpet.
On full power the Turbohead brush spins very fast indeed to give the carpet plenty of agitation to loosen dirt. The sliding vent switch is useful if you need to reduce the suction pressure a little, perhaps on rugs that may move or pull up, but we preferred the higher suction with the vent closed.
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The brush is air-powered, so it does slow down when you hit deep pile carpets, but never enough to significantly reduce cleaning efficiency. The head moves around easily on most carpets and is not too noisy either, at 79dB. With the AirTeQ head this falls further to 77dB, and it can be quieter still if you reduce power below maximum.
We would probably use the Turbohead for carpets and the AirTeQ head for hard floors almost exclusively as these surfaces see each at their best. So on our carpet test, liberally covered with carpet freshener powder, the Turbohead did an exceptionally good job of picking up the dust and a few stray pet hairs in the regulation three passes. Its close to edge cleaning was also exceptional, with little or no powder showing against the skirting board.
Before and after
With the C3 Powerline models weighing in at less than 5.5kg, the C3 Cat & Dog is easy to carry up and down stairs with its nice balance and chunky handle. It sits well on individual steps as long as care is taken not to knock it over by pulling the hose or cable. The good hose reach and telescopic tubes mean we could get to half a flight of domestic stairs from the top and the other half from the bottom, so covering the entire flight without needing to place the cleaner on steps.
The Turbobrush head was our chosen weapon of choice for our carpeted stars, although its size did stop it getting into tighter corners on bends in the stairs. For this we resorted to the lightweight upholstery tool, which while not as effective at grabbing pet hairs was great for getting into nooks and crannies.
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On hard floors with drifting pet hairs, the AirTeQ head does a great job of pulling in the detritus. The smaller vents in the sides of the bristles do mean some hairs stick to the brush parts as you sweep, but the suction is strong enough to keep them there, and even draw them into the head if you ‘lift’ slightly.
Yet the main tool here is the Turbobrush head as this lifts pet-hairs off of carpets and upholstery with consummate ease. It cleaned our standard test patch with mixed Collie and Labrador hair in 12 seconds and did a great job on the sofa, rug and the dog’s beds. All the while the C3 Cat & Dogs emits a faintly perfumed odour, which is a whole lot better than ‘eau d’soggy Lab’.
This was most noticeable when we switched back to our workhorse Numatic Henry for these duties, which seem to amplify the smell over the heat of its motor.
If you’ve had enough of stubborn pet hairs and doggy smells, the C3 Cat & Dog has to be near the top of your list. While other models with Turboheads do an equally good job of collecting furry debris, the way it quells pet odour is a useful extra. It’s also built to last, has well thought out features and superb hard floor cleaning with the AirTeQ head, while the 4.5-litre capacity is ample.
The best alternatives, assuming you want a cylinder vacuum cleaner, are the Dyson DC54 Animal and the Miele’s own C3 Total Solution Allergy PowerLine. The Dyson is even more efficient at cleaning pet hairs – it completed our pet hair test in just three seconds – and comes with the awesome tangle-free pet hair handheld tool, but then it costs a fair amount more. The C3 Total Solution cleans as well as the Cat & Dog, but substitutes the pet odour zapping in favour of improved dust filtration for allergy sufferers. Any of the three would serve you well, but the C3 Cat & Dog is the cheapest.
A good value and very effective bagged cylinder vacuum on all surfaces