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One of the biggest changes in my personal life over the last five years or so has been to get a dog. Partly because although I have fond memories of growing up with a black Labrador, she passed away when I was around 5 or 6, and the only pets I've owned, or lived with since, have been a multitude of cats. So a bundle of bouncing fur in the shape of a cuddly little yellow Labrador four years ago this month (ironically from a breeder named Mrs Barker) heralded a new dawn in my household.
Around 16 months later, we decided to complete our family with the arrival of a tortoiseshell kitten.
The reason this is pertinent is that previous to us owning either pet, vacuuming was a weekly chore best gotten over with quickly, paying scant attention to tricky little corners or behind the backs of furniture unless a special occasion loomed imminently. This is what my mother in law calls 'windmill hovering', where pretty much the middle of the room is what gets the most attention, being, if you will, similar to rooms in a rounded building. That was fine with just my husband and myself, but once we had a little Labrador which moults like crazy for nearly half of the year, and a kitten which needs regular grooming too, sadly my once a week carpet cleaning simply wasn't enough.
My vacuum cleaner at the time was a Dyson DC05 in fetching lime green. I had bought this on the recommendation of several relatives and friends who used Dyson cleaners and thought they were the best things since sliced bread almost. Unfortunately, I never found mine to be the answer I was hoping for, with the main selling point (that it is bag less) to become my main bugbear. Having to take it outside to empty, with fur flying literally everywhere outweighed it's advantages for me. Furthermore, I didn't find the suction to be as good as it should have been.
So when the time came to replace the Dyson, unlike other electrical items I've bought recently, the main criteria wasn't the price but performance. I needed a vacuum cleaner which was easy to manoeuvre, and most importantly would remove the dog and cat hairs from our carpets.
So having spent some time online, looking at various makes of vacuum cleaner, I settled on the Miele TT2000 Cat and Dog cleaner.* This is one of the earlier editions from Miele, which now do a range of other vacuums for pet owners.
Having already decided to stick with a cylinder cleaner which I find much easier to manoeuvre around than uprights, I chose this model primarily because of it's claim to be aimed specifically at people with pets. The claim is borne out by having a special Turbobrush, and also a 'Super Air Clean' filter.
It arrived by courier several days after ordering, in a huge box which seemed heavier than I had imagined, although the courier delivery man was kind enough to bring it in to my living room for me.
Inside, along with the cleaner were three manuals. The first being a 43 page manual with operating instructions for the cleaner generally, and the second and third being the Turbobrush operating manual, and the Handheld turbo brush manual. Both the last two manuals are in 15 different languages. Curiously, a seperate translation from the English version is included for our American cousins. (Turbobrush Operating Instructions in English, and Operating Instructions for Turbobrushes in American). Go figure!
There are various safety warnings mentioned at the front of the main manual, such as to only use the cleaner on dry surfaces. If you have carpets which have been freshly cleaned or shampooed, you must wait until they're totally dry before use, unless you're the kind of person who likes having their hair standing on end for fun. All the warnings should make common sense, but it's probably best to check them all first. The manual as a whole is easy to understand and very well laid out.
~ The features ~
A big attraction was that it came with a special cleaning head called a turbo-brush which is designed to remove unwanted pet hair in particular from carpets. Of the three floorhead brushes, two are in fact turbo brushes, one being twice the size of the other, along with a regular standard floorhead.
Both Turbo brushes have a roller brush incorporated which of course must never be touched whilst it's in use due to possible injury.
The 'regular' floorhead is suitable for hard flooring as well as carpets and rugs.
While I am vacuuming a room, it's nice to know my hard work isn't for nothing by having the dust and any unpleasant odours absorbed and not recirculated into the room either. This is achieved with the TT2000 by means of the exhaust filter, which is called the 'super air clean filter'. This filter can reportedly last for up to 50 hours of use, or twelve months. Although I wouldn't say that I have nasty smelling carpets (only a nasty smelling dog sometimes) it's difficult to gauge how effective the filter is, but I like to think it's making a positive difference, even if it's only a small one.
What I can say is that my carpets always look a lot better for being cleaned regularly.
There is also a separate dust compartment filter, designed to protect the motor from unwanted dust leaking from the dustbag which sits in front.
The cleaner itself is a deep shade of red called Carmine, with a shiny and reflective finish. The control panel at the bottom of the cleaner is finished in black plastic. Overall, there's nothing extraordinary about it's appearance but I do think it looks rather attractive and modern, especially when I compare it to my previous Dyson cleaner which was green and see through plastic.
On the control panel there is the stop/start function button and the automatic cable rewind button. These are both large rectangular buttons which I find very ease to use whether with my hand or foot. In between these are the overheating warning light (which has never come on in my four years of ownership, thankfully) and six different power settings with a rotary (dial) selector.
300 (for curtains or lightweight fabrics);
600 (upholstery or cushions);
900 ( thick pile carpets or rugs);
1300 (energy saving daily use);
1600 (lightly soiled textured carpets) and
2000 (for more intensive carpet cleaning).
A big plus for me is that by each setting there is an appropriate symbol so when I forget which one I should be using (changing from carpet to sofa, for instance), I only have to glance at the symbols to know which setting to use.
In the middle of the cleaner is the button you press to access the accessories compartment.
There are three tools supplied and stored here for dealing with other types of cleaning not suitable for the floorheads. These are the crevice nozzle, a soft dusting brush and an upholstery nozzle, which are all self explanatory once you see them.
Considering the motor is 2000 watt, I find it surprising quiet in use - it's only whenever I lift the head off the floor that I realise how loud it could be! Naturally though, the higher the power setting you use the louder you'll find it gets. The first three settings I find are barely more than a murmur though.
The cleaner comes with a 4 litre capacity dustbag, which appears to be about the norm for most cleaners.
~ Ease of use ~
This model is a joy to use! A rough measurement puts the cord flex at around 18 feet long and with the telescopic suction tube extended to it's fullest, it has a radius of nearly 30 feet.
Turning the cleaner around while you're working is no problem at all, it moves like a dream. This is partly because the cleaner is a lightweight at only 4 pounds (yes I got the scales out) but also because the three wheels underneath all have 360 degree swivel joints.
I also find this wonderful when it's positioned on my staircase, as it stays where it's put and doesn't wobble or fall down the stairs after me.
The dustbags and filters are all easy to replace. I buy mine in packs of five which come with one of each filter as well. This is because it's recommended that you change both filters with each new pack of dustbags, to keep the cleaner in perfect working order.
They're available from any Miele stockist and I think they're good value for money. They consist of a fabric outer layer with a plastic inner layer and have plastic slides which are easy to manoeuvre into and out of the cleaner. This means I'm never worried about the bags tearing or all that unwanted pet fur escaping!
~ The good points ~
It looks good (how superficial am I?);
It's compact and doesn't need much storage space;
It's lightweight and easy to lift when needed;
Has two turbo brushes which work extremely well;
Has a filter which helps contain fine particles and any bad odours;
It's a cylinder vacuum, which means that there is less weight to push around than an upright cleaner (especially good for those less mobile than myself perhaps); and
It's easy to manoeuvre and turn around on the floor, with the wheels having 360 degree mobility.
I should point out, that if you are going to use the cleaner continuously for more than around 30 minutes, you need to make sure that the flex is fully extended, as it can possibly overheat. This leads me to the only small niggle I have, which is also in relation to the cord. I find that quite often when I've finished cleaning and try to retract the cord, it doesn't fully retract into the cleaner, leaving the last foot or so extended. This again, is probably because of the cleaner getting so warm, but after a minute or so it's fine.
~ Overall ~
I have been impressed with this in comparison to the Dyson it has replaced. I can't remember the exact price we paid for it when we bought it about 4 years ago, but it was around £180. That might seem expensive compared to other vacuums but I feel it was money well spent.
I would be more than happy to buy this one again, because in the four years I've used it regularly, I've never had any problems with it and it's solidly built.
Furthermore, it's virtually dog-proof. For it's first year or so of use our Labrador thought it was a wonderful new game for her and used to chase the cleaner around. The floorheads, as a result, have a few canine scratch marks in them, although they still work like new.
It's worth noting that when you dispose of an old vacuum cleaner, my manual states that there may be materials incorporated within it which could be harmful both to the environment and to people. It recommends that you take it to your local recycling centre, and not dispose of it with your normal household waste.
* There are several versions of the TT range - including a TT5000 but I have been asked to place my review here by the Dooyoo team.
Thank you for reading.