Bagless vacuums are a modern miracle. You get to see how much you’re cleaning and no longer have to purchase expensive vacuum bags. Today we are going to take a long, hard look at the Miele CX1 Blizzard and Dyson Big Ball MultiFloor bagless vacuum cleaners.
**BIAS ALERT: At The Kitchenworks, where we sell appliances daily, we are a Miele dealer. We do not sell Dyson products. However, I’ve done my best to put forth an honest comparison between these two units. I’ve used my own hard-earned dollars to purchase both of these machines at the same time to specifically to test them side by side in my home and office.
Miele CX1 vs Dyson Big Ball
To have any chance at offering a worthwhile review on these units, I first had to come up with a list of features I want in a vacuum.
I had to ask myself: What does the perfect vacuum cleaner look like to me?
A couple of features on my personal wishlist:
- Bagless Design
- Easy to roll on any type of floor surface
- Long power cord
- Easy to clean dustbin
- HEPA exhaust filtration
- Built to last a minimum of 5 years
- Adjustable heads for various types of carpeting and floor surfaces
Two Vacuum Cleaning Icons – Head to Head
Now that I had my wishlist, I ordered one bagless vacuum model from each brand. From Dyson, we bought the Dyson Big Ball Multifloor Canister Vacuum at $399.
For the Miele, we opted for the CX1 Electro+, as it was the cheapest model to come with a rotary brush head for carpeting. At $799, it was twice the price of the Dyson.
Each was shipped via UPS in their respective manufacturers boxes and both made the journey without issue thanks to excellent packing design.
Initial Impressions on Each Vacuum
The first thing I noticed when unpacking these appliances was the big difference in the build materials used by these two manufacturers. The Dyson was made almost entirely of plastic. And not just any plastic, but that cheap, injection molded plastic you find in Chinese made appliances reminiscent of Shark or Bissell.
Every piece felt hollow and delicate. The rotary brush head – the one part of the vacuum destined to be smacked into chairs and walls during use – was constructed of far too thin plastic. I have little confidence it will stand up to regular abuse for long before cracking.
The Miele, by contrast, feels solid. Smooth lines where different materials meet, the Miele uses a combination of heavy duty resin, smooth glossy plastic, and stainless steel. And the placement of the various materials is purposeful.
For instance, a tough, resin-like material makes up with bottom skirting of the vacuum — where the machine is most likely to make contact with rough surfaces and wall corners. The rotary brush head is likewise constructed of the same, tough resin plastic. The arm is built of stainless steel, with a very satisfying extension mechanism.
It becomes immediately obvious – once you have these machines side by side – that the Miele has been constructed of superior materials, and is put together at a higher level of manufacturing.
Everyday Use and Abuse
With the canister vacuum design, movement is key – as you must constantly pull the vacuum along with you as you go.
It’s here we assumed the Dyson Big Ball would really shine. After all, the entire premise of the “ball” shape design was it allowed freedom of movement and a self-righting, anti-tip canister shape.
In real life, we found those marketing promises unfulfilled.
Pulling the Dyson around the house was not a smooth enterprise.
The bottom of the machine is only supported by (3) fixed, plastic wheels. These wheels have no free movement. The only way the unit turns is by leaning into one of its large half-ball side wheels. But these wheels are constructed of hollow plastic and the lack of heft keeps it from continuing the inertia.
What results is the canister starts to tilt and drag in an odd half turn.
You’re constantly pulling on the hose to drag the Dyson Big Ball around corners. It’s tedious, in-elegant, and nothing like they show in their commercial.
The Dyson Turbine Brush Head spins very fast.
It is not motorized and instead uses the suction power from the vacuum to turn the brush wheel. Because of this, the head is smaller than the Miele, and smaller in width than most regular motorized brush heads.
A couple design elements of the brush head caused us stress right out of the gate. For instance, we found no adjustment on it for varying floor heights.
Odd for an appliance with the word “Multifloor” in it’s name.
Also, since the Dyson does not have variable suction speed, it’s always pulling at full-power, and we found that it would get too rough with the pile on our medium pile rugs in our home. It would end up ripping out more carpet fibers than dirt.
Bottom line: the Dyson brush head is not designed for medium to high pile carpeting. It will be overly aggressive with these types of carpets and wear them down over time.
If you’re like me and live in a home with women, be prepared to detangle hair from the brush head on a regular basis.
Hair is a problem for all vacuums, no doubt. But our Dyson seemed particularly vulnerable to performance degradation from even small amounts of hair slowing the rotor spin. Thankfully, Dyson does make it easy to clean the rotor by providing access through a side port on the rotor head.
Dyson does not include a parquet floor attachment with the Big Ball Multifloor.
If you take the brush head and move it to a hard floor surface it makes squeaking and scraping noise that hurts your ears. It sounds like it may be scratching the floor and even struggles to pick up dust. No one in their right mind would use a turbo brush head on a hard floor.
What was Dyson thinking?
Dyson does sell their parquet floor attachment separately for $50. In my opinion, Dyson should not be calling this a “Multifloor” vacuum if they aren’t including that parquet floor attachment in the box.
Cleaning Out the Canister
Cleaning the canister after each use is easy. One button releases the canister from the ball, allowing you to take your dust bin to your nearest trashcan. A plastic clip will release the bottom of the canister and all the large dust will immediately fall.
A red purge button on the side of the canister extends the filter down, purging with it finer dust that has gotten stuck in the center area.
Where we found difficulty on the Dyson was on our first “intensive cleaning” of the canister. After a month or so, dirt begins to cake up in the crevices and on the gaskets of the canister. At this point, its probably time to give your canister a more intensive cleaning with soap and water.
This is where I found some frustration with the canister design. There is no way to open the top section of the canister so that you can flush water through the machine. Instead you must spray water up through the bottom of the canister and use a rag to try and clean the caked dirt from all the side walls.
In the center there is cylindrical air intake that gets quite dirty and due to its location and size, I found it impossible to get clean. I could not get more than a single finger inside it, and after cleaning it would continue to leak dirty, black water into the canister area – driving my OCD nuts.
At the top of the Dyson Big Ball, there is a plastic door which you can pop open to reveal the air intake filter. It is a heavy-duty cloth filter which can be washed and left to air-dry.
We found it gets dirty quickly, and cleaning it is a bit tedious as the filter holds water very well and must be squeezed hard in order to get it to air dry in any reasonable amount of time (24-48 hours). If you do not squeeze as much water out as possible, it will likely mildew before it is able to completely dry, resulting in a not-so-nice smell.
On their website, Dyson claims that there is a whole machine HEPA filter somewhere in the Big Ball, but I could not locate it, nor did I read about it anywhere in the manual. Right now, I’m assuming it must come on a different model than the “Big Ball Multifloor” unit I’m reviewing here.
Right away, we noticed the Miele moves around the home with ease. Four, 360 degree casters on the bottom of the Miele CX1 keeps the vacuum gliding effortlessly on hard floors and even carpeting. No matter what angle you tug on it, it finds a way around to you.
The Miele comes with a Electro-powered Brush, a parquet floor attachment, and three additional accessories out-of-the-box.
Unlike the Dyson, the Electro-brush is adjustable to 5 different heights, so you can find the right height for each carpet pile thickness. In our home, that meant keeping it set to 3.
Using the brush is much more enjoyable on the Miele vs. the Dyson as the electrical motor powering the brushes also seem to pull the head along with you. Where using the Dyson brush head feels a lot like work, the Miele moves with far less input and is much less tiring to use.
Cleaning Out the Canister
We found the Miele canister design to be a step above the Dyson, for a couple of reasons:
- The release mechanism is a spring button instead of a flimsy clip.
- The fine dust filter at the top can be removed and the entire canister can be flushed with water easily.
- No center, cylindrical air intake means no place for dirt to hide that you can’t get to. We were always able to clean the Miele canister spotless, with little effort.
- Fine filter pathway is removable and easily cleanable as well.
This is one area that I was impressive. Miele’s Lifetime HEPA filter is a great feature.
But even more interesting is their intake filter, which is a much improved, self-cleaning cylindrical filter design.
Sitting in small section behind the canister is a large, tall filter in the airflow chamber, attached to gears.
The Miele CX1 Vacuum will automatically use the gears to rotate and vibrate the filter so that all the fine dust particulates it captures fall out and are sucked back into the canister for dumping.
It’s a well-thought out design, requiring no work on the part of the user outside a once a year washing.
Put simply: We found the Miele trounces the Dyson in every feature set that matters. In fact, the Miele bagless vacuum was the only one that managed to meet our feature wish list.
One thing is for sure: The Dyson is the cheaper machine.
And it feels it in virtually every aspect of use. From the clunky arm extension, to the lack of parquet floor head, to the rocky movement of the Big Ball across various floor types – it seemed the Dyson came up short everywhere it mattered.
The build-quality on the Dyson also gives you the distinct feeling it will not last more than a couple years of use.
Miele vacuums are already well-known in the vacuum cleaner industry as being reliable and long-lasting appliances.
For my hard-earned money, the Miele wins this battle easily. We were truly impressed with how well the CX1 handled in our home and office.
The Miele CX1 Canister vacuums are available in 5 different variants and range in price from $499-$1,049.
Dyson’s Big Ball is available in 3 different variants ranged from $399. to $599.