If you have a Miele vacuum cleaner then you may be aware that you can buy optional cleaning tools at extra costs to custom build your vacuum, rather than be pushed to buy a new model that has the tools you desire. Such is the case in the U.S where the tools we can buy at somewhat expensive costs can't be purchased singularly in the U.S and their buyers have to fork out for specialised vacuums with the tools and priced accordingly. It has only been in the last couple of years that Miele have begun to sell spare parts too like spare hoses, handles, external parts that can get lost over time and accessories such as the Miele STB20 mini turbo air brush tool are worth considering if you require a smaller turbo brush for smaller areas and mine cost me £24.95 (£28 currently on Amazon UK) a couple of months ago. It only has a 7.5cm length of the floor head compared to the 15cm on the standard small STB101 turbo brush tool that costs on average £40 to £45.00
Designed to fit all Miele vacuums from either fitting this to the handle, hose or suction tubes, the Miele STB20 makes a lot of sense on paper, able to offer consumers and owners something smaller than what has gone on before. For example, the standard Miele STB101 small turbo brush weighs around 425 grams compared to this model that weighs 234 grams in the hand alone.
** Quality and Design **
In terms of quality and design, the Miele STB20 mirrors pretty much what you'd expect if you have already purchased any of their accessories for their vacuums; top quality black thick grade PVC plastics are the order of the day and pretty similar to their vacuums, the plastics are moulded and curved with very few sharp bits in which it could catch your hand. There's a lovely smooth and tactile finish to this little vacuum cleaner tool too whilst it is also easier to use due to less weight and the natural "L" shape that it possesses. Miele claim that there's a stubborn dirt removal partition in the design and all this relates to is a permanently ribbed rectangular angle that sits at the side of the brush tool to enable it to be used to getting dirt out of awkward areas. It looks like a design oversight though and when it comes to use, it's no better to removing ingrain dirt than just using the brush tool alone or the handle of the vacuum cleaner once the tool is taken off.
** General Performance **
Where general performance is concerned, I purchased this mini turbo brush in light of the fact that I knew that in time I would have a family owned pet stay with me for a good couple of months to a year. That time has now arrived! The standard "mini" Miele brush I have is already in service with the Miele Car Clean Set I bought several years ago for the car and instead of continually traipsing out to the car to get it, I wanted to buy another smaller tool for use in the home. The STB20 however has a few surprises in store due to its smaller size.
For a start, it's a lot nimbler to use and because of its smaller size, not as loud when the turbine spins to a ferocious speed, able to brush up cat hair in an instant and does what you'd expect a Miele branded product to do. It also seems to go about its business quite easily without scaring our cat compared to the standard mini Miele turbo brush, but this also depends on the amount of suction power you allow the tool to have the in first place. The instant pick of hair isn't just helped out by the spinning brush roll but also a double pair of lint felt pickers that snag hair and pass it into the spinning brushes as the felt makes contact with whatever surface you choose to clean. It is a pity though that whilst most Miele attachments have replaceable lint picker strips that you can buy, thus only fixing what you need in the long run, Miele choose to supply this tool with stick on adhesive lint picker strips that won't be able to be changed once they wear down with age.
Compared to the STB 101, "usual" small turbo brush by Miele, the STB20 has a swivel built in that very much copies the same idea that Electrolux brought to the market nearly 10 years ago with their "Risor Visor" on their own mini turbo brush tools. Here the actual swivel doesn't apply to the neck of the tool but simply because of the way the floor head can pivot up and down, saving you the both of changing hands or direction with the vacuum handle attached to the hose whenever you're cleaning with it. This is more apparent if you're cleaning velour or hard wearing materials like carpeted stairs and easier to swivel the visor downwards to do the lintels of stairs.
** Maintenance & Downsides **
A flush push button release half way down the main straight part of the STB20 at the top reveals the release mechanism for cleaning this turbo tool should it get clogged. It kind of works against its favour though as the opening isn't particularly large enough, though handy just to get your fingers in to pull any clogs out. However, unlike Miele's larger "mini" turbo brush, you can't actually gain access to the actual toothed drive belt or further internals if there's a clog around the brush roll, making it time consuming to unwrap pet or human hair off the brush roll - and it is impossible to cut the threads off unless you really take your time about it - to avoid cutting the bristles on the brush bar.
Another downside to this tool is that unbelievably, for all that Miele may well have wanted to copy Dyson and other brands who have since followed suit with a similar "smaller-than-small," turbo brush tools on the market, the STB20 is impossible to store on any of the Miele tool storers that they produce, either for the older S4210, S4211 with the clip on suction tube holder and now the later S2 and S6 series that all use the three part tool storer that clips onto the hose at the base of the machine, or behind the handle with the S6 series. This makes the whole idea of an "additional cost optional tool," all the more harder to justify when it can't even store on the vacuum that is supposed to be used with. How Miele can get away with this, I'll never know - yet it seems to be the case that most owners are happy to forgo these little design issues that Miele seem to continually leave out - but then owners will have to put this tool in a memorable place because of the lack of Miele's thought here and for the actual cost price, this is an expensive tool that could be a bit better thought out despite its smaller, much more nimble performance and ease of use.
** Final Thoughts **
So, is this mini-mini Turbo brush for pets and stairs worth considering? Well if you are a Miele owner and you already have the mini STB101 turbo brush and require a secondary brush tool, then perhaps there is a place in the home for the Miele STB20 and it is far lighter and quicker to pick up pet hair. However, as an cost optional cleaning tool that could double up for the STB101 alone, Miele have a bit more work to do on that score - no matter how small it is - there's very little difference in the actual performance and the larger STB101 is a bit more versatile as well as being a lot easier to clean out - crucial for pet owners who don't have the time to clean out pet designed tools for picking up pet hair in an instant and with a compromise of being larger and slightly heavier, the costlier Miele STB101 should suffice, even for just cleaning the stairs. Thanks for reading. ©Nar2 2012.
Short name: Miele STB20