I’m not sure it’s possible to find a better vacuum.

German appliance manufacturer Miele has as its motto the inspiring phrase “Anything else is a compromise.” Given the lengthy testing we did of a wide variety of vacuum cleaners from various companies, this motto may have the added benefit of being true instead just the usual corporate puffery.

We tested Eureka, Sanitaire (Eureka’s commercial upright line), Ricor, Hoover, and Sebo along with Miele’s canisters. The Mieles proved themselves to be ahead of the pack by a wide margin. Props to Sanitaire their powerful, cost-effective upright which if we only had carpets to deal with might have been a winner. And kudos to Sebo for their nifty upright design.

Still, nothing came close the Mieles. The Miele’s suction was best of the lot, the design for a canister bordered on genius, and machine’s filtration was excellent.

All Miele’s have an 1100 watt 2-fan motor. There are machines with greater wattage, but nothing we tested approached Miele’s suction. Most vacuums took several swipes to get an area clean, the Miele never took more than one. Even on hardwood flooring the Miele was fantastic while other machines sprayed debris about the floor.

Still, suction is only one part of the equation. A vacuum has to be relatively easy to use and that’s where Miele’s design sets it apart. Now personally I find uprights much easier to use than canisters, but uprights are useless on hard wood floors, vinyl, and tile—even though Sebo claims otherwise for their model—so that’s a fatal strike given our floor coverings. Obviously that may not be so for others, and if you want a nifty upright, the Sanitaire is very nice. But we should compare apples to apples, and in that context, I’m confident in saying that Miele’s canisters are peerless. The controls are easy, logical, convenient. The attachments ride on board. The electrical cord auto-retracts (or not, if you prefer) and is some 30′ long. You can use the machine as a blower. There is an optional auto cleaning kit and a microcomputer cleaning kit. If you take a test drive, I’m confident you’ll agree that it’s nifty.

Plus, because most of Miele’s vacuums use an active HEPA filter and have a sealed, airtight body, they are rated to clean 99.9% of all particulate above .3 microns. This complies with the new European standard for air hygiene. The Allergy Buyer’s Club rates the Miele Red Velvet with 236 Powerbrush as the best vacuum available for allergy sufferers. (That’s the Powerbrush we got; the Silvermoon is medium-sized while the Red Velvet is large. Otherwise the machines are identical.)

In my view, expense is Miele’s sole downside. We were fortunate to receive the Silvermoon as a Christmas/10 year anniversary gift from the Lillys. (Thank you!) Given that our house has no built-in air filtration system, we’ll be relying on the Silvermoon in some large measure to clean both the ground and the air. I have no doubt it’s up to the task. If you’re in the similar situation of having multiple floor surfaces and wanting a great vacuum, the Miele Silvermoon is well worth checking out.