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Miele TriFlex HX1 review: The most flexible cordless vacuum

Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
479
inc VAT

An ingenious 3-in-1 design sets the Miele TriFlex HX1 apart from the competition, but it’s very expensive

Pros 
Comfortable to use
Can stand upright
Decent battery life
Cons 
Heavy in handheld mode
Limited accessory choice
Pricey
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Given how good Miele’s washing machines and dryers are, we had high expectations of the Miele TriFlex HX1. At first glance, the German manufacturer’s first cordless stick vacuum cleaner does not disappoint, with a clever reconfigurable 3-in-1 design and a swish design to rival even the most high-tech of rivals.

The Miele TriFlex HX1 doesn’t quite have the cleaning power to dislodge Dyson as king of cordless vacuum cleaners, but its adaptable layout certainly sets it apart from the crowd.

READ NEXT: Our pick of the best cordless vacuum cleaners

Miele TriFlex HX1 review: What you need to know 

Not only can it be used as a traditional stick vacuum cleaner – with the power unit at the top of the wand and the powered brush head at the bottom – but it can also be used with the power unit at the bottom of the handle in what Miele calls “comfort” mode.

It comes with a swappable rechargeable lithium-ion battery, which lasts up to a quoted 60 minutes, along with a selection of cleaning attachments, which vary depending on the model you buy. As with most cordless vacuums it’s bagless but the dust collection bin is quite small, so you’ll have to empty it quite frequently.

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Miele TriFlex HX1 review: Price and competition

The cheapest Miele TriFlex HX1 costs £479 but this model only comes with the most basic set of accessories. You get a crevice tool, a dusting brush and an upholstery attachment to go with your wall mount kit and power adapter but that’s all. Spend £100 more and you get the Cat&Dog model, which comes with the addition of a smaller powered brush head – great for stairs – and an LED light built into the front edge of the powered brush head.

The most expensive model in the range is the Miele TriFlex HX1 Pro. This comes with all of the above but adds a spare battery and charging cradle, allowing you to double your cleaning times but it’ll put a crater-sized £679 hole in your bank balance.

The Dyson V11, the British firm’s flagship vacuum, is the main rival to the HX1 when it comes to premium cordless vacuums. It costs between £500 and £600, just like the Miele, but comes with a far greater choice of accessories; the top model comes with three powered cleaning heads as well as all sorts of different brushes.

If you want great cleaning but don’t want to pay quite so much, the Dyson V10 is your best choice and, again, offers many more extras. The V10 Total Clean, for instance, costs £480 and comes with three motorised heads and a bunch of other brushes. Neither Dyson, however, has a removable battery like the Miele.

You don’t have to spend this much on your cordless vacuum, however, with the Dyson V7 and the Vax Blade 4 both offering effective cordless cleaning for prices closer to £200.

Our favourite premium vacuums and where to buy them: Dyson V8 Absolute - £320 - Amazon.co.uk | Dyson Cyclone V10 Absolute - £495 - Amazon.co.uk | Dyson V11 Absolute - £560 - Amazon.co.uk

Miele TriFlex HX1 review: Design and features

The Miele isn’t all that generous when it comes to attachments but it is unique in the way it can be disassembled and reassembled. The “comfort” mode, in particular, makes it much easier to manoeuvre than your average cordless stick vacuum. It feels light in your hand and glides lightly over all types of surfaces, from hard floor to deep pile rugs. Another bonus of this mode is that it can stand upright without assistance from a wall mount.

When you’re not cleaning the floor, you can detach the motor unit from the powered floor head, swap the wand and handle around and use the HX1 like a handheld (“compact” mode) or a regular stick vacuum (“reach” mode) for cleaning in high places – the tops of cupboards, for instance. It’s a clever design, although the girth and gloss of the various components meant it felt a tad slippery to handle at times and I found it awkward to reconfigure the various bits without dropping them on the floor.

Although it is largely made from plastic, the Miele TriFlex feels very well made, with all the components clipping together with convincing solidity. There are no flimsy plastic flaps or levers to worry about breaking as there are on some of the Dyson machines.

And, though the dust collection bin is relatively small (0.5 litres versus the DysonV11’s 0.76-litres), it’s very easy to empty. Just twist and lift it off the motor, then twist the lid once more when you get to the bin and a flap pops open to let the dust fall out. There’s no squeegee inside, though, so you’ll probably need to reach inside with your fingers from time to time to dislodge hair and packed-in fluff.

With a removable 2,500mAh, 25.2V lithium-ion battery – which plugs directly into the supplied mains adapter – and a filter you never need to replace, the Miele TriFlex HX1 is a practical beast. Indeed, if you shell out for the top model you also get a pair of batteries for your money, which means you can leave one charging while cleaning with the other, then swap over when the juice runs low.

The main negative with the Miele TriFlex HX1 is its weight. With the vacuum fully assembled and the powered brush head, wand, handle and motor unit all connected, it weighs 4kg, which is considerably heavier than the Dyson V11’s 2.97kg. That’s mitigated by the fact that you can move the motor unit down nearer the floor but it means in compact mode – say, when you’re cleaning the stairs or the car boot – the TriFlex HX1 is much more tiring on the wrist than its major rivals.

Miele TriFlex HX1: How does it clean?

In testing, we found the Miele TriFlex HX1 performed well at picking up smaller particles such as dust and flour. In our flour test on both hard floor and short-pile carpet, for instance, it picked up 90% of the material we scattered on the floor. However, it didn’t do as well in the more tricky large particle test, where we challenge the vacuums to clean up 26g of spilt Cheerios. 

On hard flooring, most vacuums struggle to roll over these big pieces, pushing the majority out of the way and that proved to be the case with the Miele. Its powered floor head rides too close to the ground to get up and over larger bits. This is where the Dyson and Shark cordless vacuums perform better because they can use either a softer, hard-floor specific powered brush or an adjustable floor head to clean up these types of spills more effectively.

Moving back to carpet and the Miele performed much better, managing to lift 85% of the Cheerio spillage in a single pass – which can be ascribed to the fact that it detects different floor types and adjusts accordingly.

How does this compare with its rivals? It’s similar to the Bosch Serie 8 cordless vacuum we reviewed last year and better overall than the cheaper Vax Blade 4 but it lags behind the Dyson V8, V10 and V11.

READ NEXT: Dyson V11 review

Miele TriFlex HX1: How long does the battery last?

The Miele TriFlex HX1 has a quoted battery life of up to 60 minutes with no powered brush heads in low power, and up to 17 minutes in high power mode with the powered brush head attached. Charging from empty takes a quoted four hours. In our tests, in Max mode the HX1 lasted 12mins 11secs and in low power mode it ran for 28mins 11secs; the powered cleaning head was attached and running in both tests.

Again, these aren’t bad results. In max power, the Miele TriFlex matches the Dyson V11 and, in low power mode it’s on a par with the Dyson V8. They’re about what you’d expect and remember, too, you can double these numbers if you buy the HX1 Pro and keep the batteries charged. Unless you’re the type who actively enjoys vacuuming that should be plenty enough for most jobs.

Miele TriFlex HX1 review: Verdict

The Miele TriFlex HX1 is clearly a high-quality vacuum cleaner. It’s well made, comfortable to use – especially for floor cleaning – it cleans well and battery life is decent. The flexibility of its 3-in-1 design brings something genuinely useful to the table, allowing for more comfortable cleaning that’s easy on the wrist.

But, at £479 or more, the TriFlex HX1 is not the cordless vacuum cleaner I’d recommend. That’s because it’s as expensive as the class-leading Dyson V11 (more expensive if you go for the Pro) but nowhere near as good when it comes to cleaning, and also a bit stingy when it comes to the supplied accessories.

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