Setting the facts straight

Consumer will get better vacuum cleaners than ever before

Consumer will get better vacuum cleaners than ever before

Posted on

Aug 25 2014





holznma's picture
Marlene Holzner

Consumer will get better vacuum cleaners than ever before

©European Commission

It is not power that makes a vacuum cleaner perform well. The EU will now require that all vacuum cleaners clean well and at the same time avoid wasting electricity. This will ensure quality, help consumers save money, and make Europe as a whole use less energy.

The EU Commission has NOT decided to regulate any other products. In January 2015 a study by an independent consultant will recommend a list of products.

Power-hungry appliances not necessarily better in cleaning


Contrarily to what is written in some articles and comments, the amount of Watt does not automatically indicate how well a vacuum cleaner will clean. The amount of Watt indicates how much electrical power is used by the engine. Wattage has become a marketing tool, steering the market towards more power-hungry appliances. The side-effect is that a lot of electrical power is wasted and not turned into sucking power, whereas the consumer is still paying for that wasted electricity.



Better vacuum cleaners: save energy, clean better, less noise


The important question is: How efficiently is electrical power translated into picking up dust?


On 1 September 2014, vacuum cleaners in the EU will have to abide by a new set of minimum requirements. They cover:

  • Power
  • Performance (ability to pick up dust)
  • Energy efficiency
  • Dust re-emission in the exhaust air (particularly important for people with asthma)
  • Noise level
  • Durability (no early failure of the hose or the motor)


Label: Consumers can make informed choice

Furthermore, the efficiency and performance of vacuum cleaners will have to be rated on A-G scales in an energy label displayed on appliances in shops and also in Internet stores.

The legislation looks at power, but also at cleaning performance. Dust pick-up is part of the new rules. New models put on the market must meet minimum dust pick-up requirements, based on  a practical test that measures the pick-up performance.


As regards power, the maximum allowed input power will be reduced: from 1600 Watt in 1 September 2014, to 900 Watt in September 2017. The current average on the market is about 1800 Watt.



One additional measure helping to tackle climate change


The new rules will save 19 terawatt-hour per year by 2020, which is the electricity produced by more than 4 power plants or consumed by 5.5 million households.


Of course, measures on vacuum cleaners alone will not tackle climate change. However, if we consider all products together for which minimum efficiency requirements exist in the EU, the overall savings achieve up to a third of the EU's energy saving target for 2020.




Saving money on electricity bill


Ecodesign and labelling regulations save money for consumers. The electricity consumption of fridges and freezers has been reduced to a fraction of what it was at the time when the EU label was introduced almost 20 years ago. We want to help consumers save money on electricity bills – which is important in times of ever increasing electricity prices.


Strict controls by national authorities


Contrarily to some claims, the energy label is not self-regulating: national market surveillance authorities have the obligation to check that the labels placed on products in the shops correspond to reality, and to issue penalties and/or order a withdrawal of the products in case of non-compliance.


Good for competitiveness of European manufacturers


Industry as a whole welcomes the regulation, as it is good for the competitiveness of European manufacturers. Experience tells us that EU industry adapts very quickly to higher requirements, which is often less the case of companies outside the EU. For TVs, only two years after the adoption of minimum and labelling requirements, 70 percent of the models were already in best class.


No list of new products


Whether the EU will regulate any other products has NOT decided yet, nor is there a draft or a formal proposal on the table. Before doing so, the EU always commissions a study to an independent consultant. The aim is to establish a list of products where huge energy savings could be achieved and discard others where this is not the case. In the past, products such as coffee machines were not regulated because savings would have been too low. In the same vein, the EU did not follow ALL the recommendation of the studies.


At present, one study is commissioned that should be finalized by January 2015. Whether  and what products on the recommended list will be regulated is a political decision taken by the EU Commission, the European Parliament and the Member States.



The ecodesign regulation was adopted on 13 July 2013 with requirements coming into force on 1/9/2014:


The energy label regulation was adopted on 3 May 2013 with labelling requirements by 1/9/2014: