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Ideal Home
Katie Byrne

The Miele Complete C3 Cat & Dog vacuum vs 3 dogs - who won the pet hair battle?

Miele C3 Cat & Dog vacuum

The German-born manufacturer Miele, which celebrated its 100th birthday in 2019, is renowned for its wide range of domestic appliances, which spans everything from washing machines and vacuum cleaners to microwaves and cooker hoods. 

Miele is renowned for its quality designs, with its higher price points often matched by time-defying products that offer exceptional performances - in fact, the brand says it tests its products to the equivalent of 20 years' worth of usage. Among Miele’s wide product range are some of the best vacuums, as well as a selection of the best cordless vacuums too. 

And if you thought cordless vacuums were the only way to clean your home in 2023, it’s time to think again. There’s certainly life in the old dog yet when it comes to mains-operated vacuum cleaners, as neatly demonstrated by Miele’s impressive Complete C3 Cat & Dog cylinder vacuum cleaner.

As used as I am to the freedom that a cordless vacuum can offer, I also sometimes find myself frustrated by the battery life of non-mains products. Testing the Miele Complete C3, I was intrigued to see how a cylinder model would compare, both in terms of usability and in terms of tackling hair and dirt. 

Miele Complete C3 Cat & Dog Vacuum Cleaner specs

  • Type: Cylinder, bagged, corded
  • Bin volume: 4.5 litres
  • Weight: 3.4kg
  • Dimensions: 21 x 26 x 111 cm
  • Power: 890W
  • Cable length: 8.5 metres 
  • Modes: normal, turbo

Who tested this vacuum? 

Who will the Miele Complete C3 Cat & Dog Vacuum Cleaner suit? 

Pet owners are the obvious audience for this model, with its powerful suction and Active AirClean filter combining to clean carpet and reduce odours. However, that’s not to say you won’t benefit from using it if you don’t have pets. Its range of controls means it can be used on both carpet and hard floors, with the option to use the ‘minimum’ or ‘maximum’ setting depending on how heavy-duty your clean needs to be. 

Katie's dog proving her pet-vacuum testing credentials (Image credit: Future)

The product is only available in one colour and, admittedly, the boldness of ‘Mango Red’ might not suit every home. However, if the visual aesthetics don’t worry you - or if you just love the vibrancy of that bold red - then you could be on to a winner.

The size of the vacuum cleaner means that storing it is relatively straightforward and it could comfortably fit in an under-the-stairs cupboard or utility space. As it’s mains-operated, there’s no need to attach it to the wall, while its design means the power cord can be retracted to within the product when it’s not in use. 

How easy is the Miele Complete C3 Cat & Dog Vacuum Cleaner to set up? 

The vacuum cleaner comes neatly packaged in a rectangular cardboard box that’s exactly the size it needs to be. There’s no excess packaging and the main cylinder comes encased in protective cardboard sleeves to protect it from any bumps on its way home. 

It felt like setting up the vacuum should have been easy - after all, there weren’t many parts involved - but I still had to track down a how-to video on YouTube to fully understand how it should be done. The mistake I made was trying to attach the telescopic suction tube straight to the suction hose; rather, the hose connector should be used as a gateway between the two.

(Image credit: Future)

The enclosed manuals are detail-rich but don’t really bring to life the setting-up process for cylinder vacuum newbies. However, once I’d watched the YouTube guide, it was pretty straightforward and simply a case of clicking the pieces into place. If you want to change the head/tool, it can be easily disconnected by pushing in a small button and clicking the next tool into place.

Of course, as it’s a mains-operated vacuum cleaner, there was no need to wait for it to charge. The plug is concealed within the base of the vacuum, and simply needs a gentle tug to extend the mains cable and plug it in to get started. 

What is the Miele Complete C3 Cat & Dog Vacuum Cleaner like to use?

A tap of the ‘on’ button brought the vacuum screaming into life on the ‘maximum’ setting - the most powerful setting it offers. The suction was incredibly powerful, to the point that it seemed to almost lift the carpet off the floor in certain rooms. (Not for nothing does the enclosed brochure gravely warn “Do not vacuum people or animals”...)

While it was clear to see when obvious dirt had been suckered off the floor, the non-bin design meant it was hard to instantly gage how much pet hair was being picked up. (We have a number of long-haired, moult-prone dogs in our lives, including our tan-and-white spaniel, who seems to shed hair by the handful on a daily basis.)

The vacuum has clearly been designed with careful consideration for what could make the experience easy for the user. The telescopic suction tube is simple to lengthen or shorten by hand, meaning harder to reach areas suddenly become a lot easier to access. Neat details such as the foot-operated on/off button mean that there’s no need for bending down, as does the retractable plug, which can be retrieved by tapping the aptly-named ‘Comfort’ button. Similarly, the settings can all be activated by foot, meaning it’s a largely upright experience and spares you yo-yoing to change settings or turn it on and off as you move it around your home. 

(Image credit: Future)

Adding and removing attachments is simple: simply push in a button to remove them and twist them into place until you hear a click to attach them, and the range of attachments are great for any home that finds itself coated in pet hair. 

Best of all, this is a vacuum that’s great at cleaning. The standard ‘Universal’ brush worked well on both carpeted and hard floors, while the ‘Turbo’ brush produced incredible results on a carpeted living room floor, as well as a rug that was covered in various detritus scattered by a toddler. In fact, the Turbo brush was my favourite head for the vacuum, with the attachment even leaving satisfying lines on our pawprint-battered carpets. 

(Image credit: Future)

In addition to that, pop the button on the middle of the vacuum’s front to access a neatly-concealed trio of accessories. The ‘Crevice Nozzle’ is also invaluable for getting into those trickier areas - it was weirdly satisfying to use under armchairs and a sofa, while the ‘Dusting Brush’ head is perfect for those skirting boards that seem to magnetically attract dust and loose hairs. There’s also an ‘Upholstery Nozzle’ that’s ideal for giving soft furnishings a clean if your four-legged friends are prone to sitting on sofas or rubbing up against curtains.

Make sure that all enclosed accessories are correctly in position to ensure a smooth close of the concealed compartment, otherwise you might find yourself trying to force it closed.

While the experience was overwhelmingly positive, I did find using it on the stairs frustrating as I couldn’t get it to stretch far enough to complete the job safely in one go. Admittedly, this wasn’t the greatest hardship but compared to a cordless stair-cleaning experience, it certainly felt more limiting.

The stairs are also an area where the vacuum’s weight counts against it. Negotiating 7.3kg of a chunky cylindrical vacuum could easily feel mildly perilous on more narrow flights of stairs, while people with limited strength might struggle with moving the product up and down. However, this experience of course depends on your personal strength, the layout of your stairs and the positioning of your plug points.

Which features are included and are they worth it? 

The Complete C3 comes with a range of heads and accessories, which means that it’s ready to tackle carpets and hard floors from a number of different angles. 

The product’s Active AirClean filter means it can help to reduce that distinctive eau de damp dog aroma that some pets create. However, if you already use other methods to reduce unwanted smells - such as diffusers or air fresheners - than the benefits of this might be harder to detect. In the time I spent testing the product, I can’t say I particularly noticed a change but I might be “nose blind” by this point. However, it’s still a cool feature and I can imagine it would be a definite selling point for homes that are thoroughly fed-up with unwanted aromas. 

(Image credit: Future)

The Miele Complete C3 Cat & Dog is designed with a number of features that are clearly intended to put the user’s experience first. For example, the option to operate it by foot means there’s no need to bend down, while details such as the self-retracting power cord make the experience feel more sophisticated than the typical plug-in vacuum experience. It’s worth noting that this self-retracting feature can also be used if you’ve turned the product off at the wall. 

The range of button-operated settings also make alternating between different uses really seamless - you can effortlessly switch from ‘minimum’ to ‘maximum’ with a tap of your foot.

If you’re used to being able to see the contents of your vacuum’s bin, don’t fret - there’s a handy light that glows if the vacuum’s dust bag is ready to be replaced. 

(Image credit: Future)

The range of button-operated settings also make alternating between different uses really seamless - you can effortlessly switch from ‘minimum’ to ‘maximum’ with a tap of your foot.

If you’re used to being able to see the contents of your vacuum’s bin, don’t fret - there’s a handy light that glows if the vacuum’s dust bag is ready to be replaced. 

Should you buy the Miele Complete C3 Cat & Dog Vacuum Cleaner? 

If you’re looking to buy a new vacuum that will really help you tackle pet hair and give your carpets and/or hard floors a thorough clean with every use then yes, this vacuum is a great choice. Sure, there might be cordless equivalents on the market - such as the pricier Dyson V12 or the Shark Stratos - but you can’t beat the consistent power of the C3, or the heritage clout that the Miele name brings.

The plug-in cylinder design might veer towards the clunky shoppers who are used to cordless vacuums, the product’s designed-for-ease details adds a discrete touch of luxe. And it’s not often you can say that about cleaning up dog hair. 

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