The Miele S8990 UniQ costs $1,500. If you’re serious about cleaning, it’s worth it.
Let’s get one thing out of the way: The Miele S8990 UniQ has an MSRP of $1,549. It also has velvet trim and ground-effect lighting. But—luxurious appointments aside—this is one impressive cleaning machine. Simply put, the S8990 is the best canister vacuum we’ve ever tested.
In our tests, the made-in-Germany S8990 got floors and carpets cleaner than any other canister vacuum we’ve tested. But it also glided effortlessly across multiple surfaces, and made about as pleasant a sound as a vacuum can. It’s a true luxury product: Its crevice tool is worthy of a page in the duPont Registry, and the user-focused design might make you jealous of your housecleaner.
It’s undeniable there are canisters that clean nearly as well for significantly less money. However, none of these vacuums are quite as perfect as the Miele S8990 UniQ. It takes a special product to get us excited about cleaning, but the S8990 does just that.
Ensconced in velvet
Like a watch so exquisite it’s called a timepiece, the S8’s accessories fit inside a velvet-lined compartment. That’s right: the crevice, brush, and dusting tools are kept in a scratch-proof, sound insulated jewelry box that’s molded into the top of the canister. Velvet-aside, the accessory lineup is pretty standard.
It’s hard to quantify this scientifically, and it’s even harder to say this without sounding like a vacuum snob, but the Miele S8’s accessories just feel better than what the competition offers. They’re heavier, better balanced, and have a more pleasant texture than your garden-variety upholstery brush.
This construction quality extends to the body itself, too. The S8 is engineered to last 20 years, according to Miele. Parts and labor are guaranteed for five years, while the motor and casing get a ten year warranty.
Inside, a filtered bag seals itself as soon as you remove it from the vacuum, trapping dirt and dust inside. There’s also a HEPA exhaust filter.
The S8 has two different brush heads, which differentiates it from many other Miele canisters. The primary Electro Premium brush is a powered head that can be adjusted to five different heights, enough to handle the vast majority of carpets. The Parquet Twister head is a hardwood floor tool that can swivel 180° for ease of use.
Easy to clean with, easy to live with
The most significant difference between the S8 and other models is how easy it is to handle.
The majority of controls are located on the handle grip, so there’s no need to bend down. The cord is retractable with just the touch of a button. In fact, the cord rewind mechanism is so powerful that, when we accidentally left it plugged in and tried to retract the cord, it dragged the canister to the outlet.
When it comes to cleaning, this vacuum’s maneuverability is unparalleled. The Electro Premium brush has an articulated joint that allows the vacuum to move with you, rather than dragging behind. This electric head has LED lights to illuminate the path ahead, and even the body has lights to help see where you’ve already been. Unlike many canisters, it fits beneath low furniture with ease—our tests showed it could clean under a couch that’s as low as four inches of the ground.
Ingeniously, the brushhead is also weighted, meaning the wand is almost impossible to tip over—a common issue on canister vacuums. And all that velvet surrounding the canister? Well, that’s designed to keep it from smacking into your furniture.
Cleans softly, but carries a big brushroll
Whether we cleaned on high-pile carpet or bare floors, the Miele S8 UniQ aced all of our tests. However, it earned our highest praise on tough-to-clean high-pile carpet. From food particles to fine dirt, the S8990 easily picked up any debris we put down. The primary brush’s five adjustable levels gave the UniQ a versatility not found in most canisters.
On short carpet, it also offered good performance, picking up 72% of the dirt we left out for it. That’s a very respectable score: Out of all the canisters we’ve tested, only a few models can best it. It also did really well in our edge cleaning tests.
Surprisingly, all that suction doesn’t come with a lot of noise. In fact, the S8 is one of the quietest vacuums we’ve ever tested. At ten feet, peak loudness was only 68 dBA. That’s about as loud as a normal conversation. So if you have to clean up spilled cereal during breakfast, vacuuming the kitchen floor is unlikely to wake up the whole house.
For in-depth performance information, please visit the Science Page.
Why It’s Special
When Quality Matters
The Miele S8 UniQ might be one of the most expensive vacuums on the market, but its price tag is there for good reason. The UniQ is made in Germany, offers superb performance on all floor types, keeps remarkably quiet, and handles like a dream. An articulated joint lets you turn corners and go under tables with ease, and a balanced wand keeps it stable.
Aside from velvet and soft lighting, there’s nothing on the S8 that can’t be found on other vacuums. In fact, the less-refined Kenmore 21814cleans almost as well as this Miele, for about a third of the price. But it’s important to note that the S8 doesn’t just add luxury—it aces the basics. If you’re serious about vacuuming, the Miele S8 UniQ is about the most serious vacuum you can buy.