Vacuum Cleaners from Europe: Are they any good?

european vacuum cleaner
European vacuum cleaners are in many cases the canister models from Philips and Miele.

As a Dutchman I am not used to anything other than a canister vacuum cleaner. However, as I began exploring the realm of vacuum cleaners, I discovered a diverse array of alternative types.

A canister vacuum cleaner is sometimes called a European vacuum cleaner in the US. And that is not surprising, given that this type of vacuum cleaner is very popular throughout Europe. Much more popular than the so-called ‘Upright vacuum cleaners', which are extremely popular in the US.

But why actually? And what about the EU regulations regarding vacuum cleaners? In this article, I will tell you everything about the European vacuum cleaner.

What is a ‘European Style Vacuum Cleaner'?

Let me describe the European-style vacuum cleaner. This is a type of vacuum cleaner with wheels, also known as a canister vacuum cleaner. This model often comes with a multi-surface brush, making it suitable for many different floor types.

With a European vacuum cleaner, you can choose from a vacuum cleaner with or without a bag. They almost always come with a cord and a vacuum cleaner hose that connects the suction nozzle and the vacuum cleaner rod to the vacuum cleaner.

EU vacuum cleaner regulations

In Europe, different regulations apply to vacuum cleaners than in the US. For example, vacuum cleaners were not allowed to produce more than 1,400 watts in 20214. Three years later, in 2017, this was only 900 watts. In England they were not happy with this European vacuum cleaner regulation and they even called it the ‘Hoovergate‘.

In England they were not happy with this European vacuum cleaner regulation and they even called it the ‘Hoovergate'.

Maximum noise level and longer life

In addition to maximum power, Europe has also imposed noise level regulations. This noise level is also a super important part in my vacuum cleaner reviews. Because nobody wants a vacuum cleaner that makes a lot of noise. The European Union has stipulated that a vacuum cleaner may not produce more than 80 decibels of noise.

A very high limit if you ask me: I only speak of a quiet vacuum cleaner below 60 decibels. And yes, there are: in my recent AEG VX82-1-ÖKO review I measured 54.9 decibels.

Finally, there is also a European regulation that stipulates that the motor of a vacuum cleaner must last longer than 500 hours. Earlier I did research into how long a vacuum cleaner lasts, which showed that they last about 5 years on average.

Vacuum Cleaner Brands in Europe

Not only the vacuum cleaner model is different in Europe: the brands also differ! At your local Walmart you have brands such as Hoover, Bissell and Shark, in Europe we know Miele, Philips and Bosch.

The most popular European vacuum cleaner brands:

European vacuum cleaner brand
AEG (Electrolux)See vacuum cleaners
MieleSee vacuum cleaners
BoschSee vacuum cleaners
PhilipsSee vacuum cleaners

Of course there are also worldwide vacuum cleaner brands. For example, if we look at the robot vacuum cleaner, iRobot is the global market leader. And the same goes for Dyson, which is known in every country for its stick vacuum.

Using European vacuum cleaners in other countries

When you buy a vacuum cleaner from another country, you have to pay close attention to the AC voltage. For example, in the US you are dealing with 120V/50 Hz, while in Europe this is 230V/50 Hz. If you plug a US vacuum cleaner into a European socket, there is a very good chance that you will destroy it.

To solve this problem, a voltage transformer (view a wide range here, on Amazon) is necessary. This allows you to adjust the number of volts for the vacuum cleaner, so that it does not receive too little or too much power. View the standard AC voltage per region in the overview below.

Europe230 V
United States110 V
England (United Kingdom)230 V
Russia220 V
Africa220 V / 230 V
China 220 V
Japan100 V

So an example: suppose you buy a European vacuum cleaner for the US, then you need a 220V to 110V volt transformer.

Plug connections: Europe vs US

In addition, you also have to take the type of plug into account: for example, a completely different type of plug is used in Europe than in the US. It may therefore be necessary to also use a world plug adapter, which you can buy here.

Robbert Tigchelaar
Robbert Tigchelaar

Robbert Tigchelaar has made testing vacuum cleaners his life's work. He has dedicated himself to conducting fully independent and valuable tests of vacuum cleaners to provide consumers with honest advice. His expertise in vacuum cleaners has been highlighted in The Washington Post and the Daily Express.

  1. Show us what the plug looks like.

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