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Dyson's EU vacuum cleaner case to be decided in Summer

David Ludlow
4 Feb 2015
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Judicial Review into vacuum cleaner testing without dust has been heard and the decision is due soon

Dyson has attended its oral hearing for the Judicial Review into vacuum cleaner energy labels and how the cleaners are tested as a result. The hearing is an attempt to change part of the new EU legislation, introduced on the 1st September 2014, which banned vacuum cleaners that consumed more than 1,600w.

As part of the EU ruling, the new energy labels are designed to tell consumers how much power a vacuum cleaner uses, its yearly running costs and a rating from A to G on its suction performance. While Dyson agrees that there should be a limit on the maximum power of a vacuum cleaner, it disagreed with the way that cleaners are tested in order to get their rating.

In particular, Dyson has two main problems with the current testing methodology. First, testing doesn’t require vacuum cleaners to have any dust in them, artificially boosting many models’ suction power. Secondly, running costs only include electricity costs and don’t account for consumables including bags and filters. Dyson’s legal cases challenges this and wants all manufacturers to use real-world testing and the labels to show all running costs.

We have to say that we agree. EU energy labels should be there to accurately tell consumers what they can expect from a device, and the vacuum cleaner testing is clearly out of whack with other appliances. For example, washing machines are tested with clothes loaded into them, giving an accurate representation of how much power and water they’ll use over a year.

With vacuum cleaners, it’s incredibly important to test them after dust has been through the system, as some models start to lose suction when part full, while some models are only any good when first turned on.

It’s not the first time that the EU’s plans for vacuum cleaners have been thrown into confusion and doubt, with many newspapers foolishly urging people to run out and buy 1,600w+ cleaners before it was too late. This completely ignores the fact that it’s not how power a cleaner uses, but how much it sucks; efficiency is the important thing here and a vacuum with a smaller motor can outperform one with a bigger motor.

Dyson’s lawyers have said that they’re happy with how they presented the information, but now they have to wait while a decision is made. We’ll find out the results this Summer. Given that other manufacturers are happy with the current testing, as it suits their style of vacuum cleaner, it's fair to say that Dyson's got a tough job on its hands to get things changed.

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