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Now that Miele have launched a new range of compact and smaller cylinder vacuums on the market starting off with the S4000 ranges and has received the same Best Buy recommendation from Which consumer magazine, second hand prices of the older S500 range are now starting to fall, appearing on websites such as Gumtree and EBay. The reason however to why Miele vacuums are seldom seen on online auction sites is simply because once you buy a Miele vacuum cleaner in general, you own an appliance for life. There are the instant downsides such as the fact that for the moment Miele don't produce an upright vacuum in their range, but there soon will be a range of new upright models in the summer and the more obvious downside being that all Miele machines use bags. Miele vacuums have a general life span of 21 years and this latest second hand purchase at £50 (the retail price was £100) was purchased from a seller from EBay who had owned the machine brand new from 2003.
Over the new from the old however, it is easy to see where Miele have made improvements with the latest of vacuums in 2008. Rewind back to 1994 and Miele were still producing machines which were a cut above the rest; the 2008 year S4211 series is compact and lightweight whereas the S571 is that little bit larger, older and yet more robust given that its made in Germany against the more modern S4000 series which are exclusively produced in China.
That aside, you will find all standard features of this Miele model that you would find on the very latest Miele vacuum cleaners; from telescopic height adjustable steel extension tubes which extend to about 5ft in height compared to other rivals, to the same long 1.5 metre hose and a larger 14" floor head than the current ones available, the S571 is still worth a look as it also harnesses a quiet 1800 watt motor with the same 67dbl level of sound even at its highest speed. A very impressive 10 metre power cord however puts this vacuum cleaner into the larger cylinder vacuum cleaner market but it still whips up quickly and efficiently at the push of a button. What are the overall features? Apart from the aforementioned, the S571 uses the same material electrostatic disposable cloth dust bags which are claimed to be able to hold 3.5 litres of dirt in the S4000 range but on the S500 range, the capacity comes to 4 litres thanks to its larger dust area when the bags are put in and so far that extra capacity has made all the difference. Where the bag goes, it is easy to install and take out - cruicially unlike Dyson, the bin area is always clean and the bags don't let the dirt out unless human intevention takes over.
Other great business ideas include a hose handle which can be taken off from the hose and from the tubes; this means shifting a clog if it gets stuck around the handle or the hose is a lot easier to move and copies Sebo in this respect for being able to take off the handle independently from the hose.
Shortly I'm about to move out of my property and with moving comes the inevitable clean up of my flat which consists of the most awkward nooks and crannies where dust prevails. Forget flooring of all types because generally the larger 14" floor head on the Miele S571 does an admirable job; it is efficient and with the tubes and hose together remains a very lightweight proposition. It is bigger than the one on my S4210 cylinder that my mum adores, and has a bigger dust channel as a result of its size that still retains excellent brush cleaning sides as well as being simple and easy to move - even through legs of furniture. The bigger amount of cord means I can travel from one plug socket with acres of power cord behind me - no need for extension cables or having to change plug sockets either.
As with all Miele vacuums, the choice of filtration can also be extended to the S571; although it has smaller writing below its main exhaust vent that suggests it has a "Super Air Clean," filter by its design, I'm pleased to report that the S571 can handle other types of filter available from Miele such as their Active charcoal filter for increased odour control and Miele's yearly replacement blue HEPA Plus filter which is ideal for pet owners. Cost of charcoal filter is £9-95 from John Lewis whilst the HEPA filter (blue in colour) is a bit more expensive from £15-95 to £19-95 depending on stockist.
The S571 however has a few tricks up its sleeve due to its market position and older design. Although it is effectively a bit heavier than the S4000 range, at 8kg it doesn't disservice itself for manoeuvrability, managing to twiddle around on its three main castor wheels whilst its long body yet narrow width means that it remains just as stable as the S4210 when it comes to cleaning on stairs. However whilst there are pre-selected modes made through the variable control dial on the S4210, the variable suction dial on the S571 is continuous and through use I find that the suction doesn't need to be set high as much as the S4210, resulting in a quieter and more economical use. Like the S4210, the S571 can be used with a minimum of 300 watts right up to 1800 watts and about the only time I've used all the power is with the optional turbo brush (standard price £40) I have for thread pick up.
Without it, which is something that the S571 lacks, full power means threads and hairs can be picked up but without a moving brush, you may spend a bit longer having to push and pull the floor head over the carpet a couple of times before the threads move. Whilst the larger floor head is welcome, the bigger floor head can struggle with laying flat because it has a multi-purpose hinge which pivots the floor head flat on level surfaces as well as being able to pivot at an angle if say, placed around carpet or hard floor which is uneven. Getting under furniture is no problem for the S571's floor head though; like the current floor head on the S4000 it will lay flat and clean easily without protesting or jutting about like some floor heads on other cylinder vacuums. A thick pedal also adjusts and pivots a thick wall of stiff brushes down for hard flooring.
Outwardly if there is anything that can distinguish itself from old to new, it is the fact that whilst both vacuums use the same bags and have similar specifications, the S571 has a much welcomed tool storer which flips up at the touch of a button; the S4000 have horrible tool clips on the tubes which are liable to let the tools fall off in use.
The tool storer area is located at the front of the vacuum just below the main dirt bin full indicator. One push reveals a softly sprung door that beautifully rises slowly to reveal three perfect fit smaller cleaning tools consisting of a short crevice tool, a separate 360° upholstery brush and a flat upholstery brush. After the tools, there is also a unique design built in which is further absent from Miele's budget range; the exhaust blower channel. Although cost optional, Miele produce an adaptor that allows the normal vacuum hose to be installed so that the machine's air can be channelled to 'blow" vacuum outwards rather than just straight one way suction. The adaptor costs £5-95 from Miele, and when installed I found it extremely useful to use for blowing dust away from corners as well as general DIY work when the vacuum tools prove to be too big to get into awkward corners. Once the dust is blown out of the way for example, the adaptor can be taken off, change the hose back into the main part of the body so that it locks into place and you can use the vacuum straight away to suck up the dirt you've loosened. The air blower function has endless uses however - with the adaptor and the hose, you can blow up air beds for example or anything infact which needs inflation.
Tie this in with a very comfortable carry handle, two park positions for the hose and floor head, and you have a vacuum cleaner made so long ago which doesn't disgrace itself in terms of its overall design and function. If there is one thing to be learnt here over the smaller and more compact S4000 series, it's the fact that the S500 range still has a lot of life left in it to give, even though it may be somewhat larger than many vacuums on the market today, its quality, overall design and efficiency can not be ignored. This is the key to why Miele vacuums are retained for their design and have better reliability than Dyson according to Which consumer reports and Good Housekeeping Institute.
The bag capacity however has been the most surprising. Usually after two months the bag on my S4000 has to be replaced, after picking up pet hair and general traffic dirt. The S571 which uses the same kinds of bags has lasted for three to four months, even if suction has weakened down at the bottom level, there's always suction available by increasing the speed of the suction. A pack of bags can cost up to £7-95 and they are available to buy in single packs of 5 bags from John Lewis, Argos and other stockists such as Comet. However in each pack you will find a spare cut to size filter that is supposed to be slid into the top exhaust filter area. Having tried one there, I found that the filter did a fine job of keeping back most odours but its Super Clean air properties means that any air freshener or talcum powder sucked up for example can be detected straight away. I couldn't wait to buy my Charcoal filter to alleviate this problem. This doesn't mean that the free filters in the box are thus rendered useless - they also serve as replacement filters for the motor, which are easy to take out and install just behind the bag in the dustbin compartment. Because the motor is above 1400 watts, this Miele like all modern versions must use the material bags - paper bags used in Miele models tend to burst half way through its use because of the strong force of suction. However these bags are generally very clean the moment they are pulled out of the machine, self sealing the dust bag hole and easy to dispose of.
So for the most part, the S571 is an excellent all rounder; I'd even say it whips circles around my Sebo K1, of which I am considering selling. The S571 is quiet, efficient and darkly coloured in black; (Dooyoo pic here shows blue) it withstands scrapes very easily and remains to be robust and very practical. Now why can't everyone else make a machine like Miele? Thanks for reading my 200th review!! ©Nar2 2008