* Prices may differ from that shown
Amongst many brands of vacuum cleaners I own and have used over the years, I find the SEBO brand to have been the biggest bargain of the century where bags, and filters are concerned. The reason for this is because for many of the SEBO vacuums that exist, their individual paper bags seem to last a lot longer than rival brands and for the most part even though the K series is a compact vacuum cleaner by trade, I find their dust bags can last up to 2 months each before needing to be replaced.
For owners or future buyers of the compact cylinder vacuum, SEBO's K series box of paper disposable bags (8 in a pack against Miele's "yearly" 4 bag per box) costs between £6-95 and £10 alone whilst the yearly change filters cost £11 to £15. These steep prices lie in the mark up due to greedy sellers online, particularly at EBAY.co.uk and surprisingly either at John Lewis where most SEBO extras can be purchased, SEBO UK and John Lewis both charge £8-95 for a box of 8 disposable dust bags whilst their filters are priced at £11-95. The Service box (code 6695ER) that contains both filters and 8 bags costs £21-95. What's the difference? About £1-05 if buying from SEBO or John Lewis but the major difference is that the standard filter alone is replaced by a higher grade Hospital classed S-Class filter, marked in its red colour against the standard green filter cartridge. Do the sums add up then for a Service box that contains both filter and bag replacements?
Currently £22 for a vacuum cleaner part isn't anything new. Dyson charge up to £28 for a bacterial filter alone on their latest upright and cylinder ranges and that's from a private hardware company online when the actual retail price is £20! What you get with SEBO here is effectively a year's supply of bags and "a bit more" in terms of the average use of bags and two replacement filters you would use with the SEBO K series. Of course having all the consumables that need to be replaced in time from one box is at least one saving grace!
There's a bit more to SEBO though where the bags are concerned. Just like the single box of SEBO dust bags, the Service Box contains 8 dust caps that can be fitted to the dust bag hole on each bag to seal the dirt up indefinitely. This beats Miele who have just re-designed their dust bags (in the U.S they have been renamed "AirClean," from "HyClean") following complaints and reviews about their original HyClean bags where the seals don't push up automatically to seal their bags. This was due to the secondary ribbons inside the bag that were designed to trap hard dirt like bolts or pins. The ribbons however snagged on the inner seal cap that often didn't seal or close the bag properly upon disposal. Where SEBO are concerned however, hygiene is uber-important and the company won't take chances with dirt escaping. This is why the bags have a four layer construction to them making them "high filter" by design and they don't have silly ribbons that things can get caught up in them. They also fill from the top to the bottom unlike Miele's design making the SEBO capacity of 3.5 litres on paper statistic appear to last longer. When I first bought a SEBO K series for example I didn't realise how long lasting the bags last until the LED indicator comes on, assuming that the LED light didn't work! The seal caps are quite easy to just push into the dust bag hole without checking it and if you make a mistake the seal can be picked out, i.e. if your SEBO doesn't say the bag is full, there's no point in replacing it with a new one.
Dust disposal is one thing, but the filters included in the box consist of a green micro-hygiene filter that fits behind the front nameplate on the SEBO K vacuum and a red Hospital grade filter that fits behind the 4-layer high filter dust bag. Replacing this filter is very easy to do since it already has a grab handle so that the existing one just comes out by lifting it up and out. The filter also has an ingenious "down flow" design where the owner can't get confused into putting the filter in - it will only go in one way before the nameplate can be locked into place on top of the filter.
The second filter, the red Hospital grade filter fits in just below the main dust bag at the back of the SEBO K. Once the bag door is lifted out of its two lug holders, the existing cassette just comes out by pulling out the old one. Like the microfilter, the hospital grade filter can only be inserted one way and its triple walled design looks particularly efficient against other Hospital grade filters, also slightly different to the standard green walled filter that only has two walls whereas the hospital grade filter has three. Both filters are made of high quality PVC plastic and they both look and feel quite substantial and up to the job. The dust bags are made of high grade paper and have directions on the bag to show you clearly how to fit the bag into the SEBO K vacuum.
Compared to the green filters, I find the Hospital Grade filter to be better at sealing in dust and pet hair long term and unlike Miele, SEBO have a further hidden long term filter in their removable Lycra cloth Airbelt that protects the machine from bumps but also filters air sucked into the machine before putting out cleaner air into the room. In this respect the red filter seems to cope better with pet hair that sits rotting in normal dust bags (especially copy bags if you try and deceive your vacuum cleaner) compared to the 4 layer Genuine SEBO branded high filter bag than the green filter and genuine bags together. Unlike Miele where air freshener capsules can damage the charcoal filled HEPA and Active Air Clean filters, SEBO actually make their own air freshener capsules that can be put in the dust bag to make room air sweeter and you can put any air freshener into the SEBO system against Miele who warn against it unless their vacuums have the basic Super Air Clean filter fitted.
But what are the downsides to the SEBO filtration system? Well, compared to Miele I find that for all that the SEBO filters do a good job of filtering air, they aren't as quick to do as the Miele system on board their vacuums. With Miele there are two filters plus the high filter bag. On SEBO's K series there's the two filters, the high filter bag AND the longer-lasting Airbelt that acts as a protection bumper to the vacuum as well as a material filter that supplies clean air into the room. Now, whilst the filters have an easy way of replacing, the Airbelt bumper can be tricky to take off and put back on. In this respect to Miele, the SEBO system is just as effective but its older design means that for elderly people, the removal of the bumper could be trickier. Against Miele, the SEBO Airbelt bumper has a life expectancy of around five years but if your K series is expected to clear up after pets on a daily basis the filters will need replacing after every box of 8 bags is used, otherwise the smell of pet hair can come through earlier than expected. When pet hair is not being picked up, the filters on board don't normally have to be replaced until 16 to 32 bags have been used up which makes the SEBO Service Box a little bit better value and long lasting.
As such, with my experience of SEBO's K compact vacuum cleaner the Service Box idea is a good one when taking into consideration that one box effectively lasts me a year and three months. However it isn't so handy if you have more than one pet to clean up after, thus the idea behind offering bags and filters is still good value for money, SEBO need to address the price of the single filters alone to make it just as cost saving as the whole concept of the Service Box appears to be. That however is a different product than the Service Box alone. Compared to what buyers can get per single item, the Service Box is therefore worth buying. Thanks for reading! ©Nar2 2010
www.johnlewis.com product code 85662701