In the land of cordless stick vacuums, Dyson is king. There are other brands — Shark, Bissell, Hooker and so on — but, through performance, reliability or new technology, the British home appliance giant holds dominion over all of them. One of the few appliance makers that can compete with Dyson on each point is Miele, but the old German company hadn't thrown its hat in the ring until this summer, when it released the Triflex Cordless Stick vacuums.
The Triflex makes its best case through a flurry of quality of life improvements. Lights on the vacuum's head illuminate bits of dirt and debris. The battery life — a max of 60 minutes per charge, or roughly 45 minutes set on auto — is plenty. It can "park" itself and stand up without being braced by a wall or piece of furniture, which saves walls from scuffs. The dust ejection system is less messy than others I've tested.
Then we arrive at the product's namesake feature — a triple threat of vacuuming formats. What seemed like a tedious gimmick proved rather clever. The vacuum's power hub — where the battery, motor and dust bin are — can be moved to base of the vacuum (where the suction is happening) when cleaning floors, to the hilt of the vacuum to reach elevated surfaces and directly to the head of the vacuum, sans-stick, to clean smaller spaces like a car.
Its cleaning performance is consistently good — it makes quick work of dog hair (mine is medium length, coarse and prone to massive shedding), dirt and the other unnamed bits of stuff that wind up in its path.
What's Not So Good
Like Dyson's latest cordless stick vacuums, Miele's Triflex line is expensive. A strong argument could be made that the technology, quality of life improvements, reliability, warranty and service offered by Miele makes the (starting at) $500 pill easier to swallow, but it remains a $500+ vacuum nonetheless.
The three configurations is clever, but also confusing at first. Figuring out what plugs in where takes some getting used to.
The one-to-one comparison would likely be Dyson's V10 model (its second-newest). The two products share a starting price of around $500, can be broken down for smaller jobs and employ washable HEPA filters. For me, the Triflex's ease of use and Miele's notable customer service record break the tie, but Dyson loyalists may be attracted to the brand's more modern design and huge suction power.
It is easy to dismiss Miele's Triflex as a high-priced luxury product, but its performance and thoughtful design features make an argument for splurge. If you live in a small- or medium-sized home (large homes typically have too much ground to cover for wireless vacuums) and want a product that will be supported (and last) for years, take the dive. Or wait for a sale. I wouldn't blame you.