Everyone loves a monstrously powerful vacuum. Sure, there's something to be said for elegant design, clever attachments, and extra features, but there's just no replacement for raw cleaning ability. That's why their power draw has been steadily increasing over the years.
But if you live in Europe, your next vacuum will probably be a bit less powerful. The Daily Mail reports that the European Union is banning the import and manufacture of all vacuum cleaners with motors over 1,600 watts, starting September 1st.
The move is part of the EU's broader plan to fight climate change, which includes similar bans on appliances like water heaters and clothes dryers.
Alongside the ban, the EU is creating an energy label that will rate vacuums on everything from power use to cleaning ability and dust emissions. Though it hasn't yet been launched, the label has already been met with controversy. That's because manufacturers will be permitted to produce the labels in-house, and may not have to independently verify their tests.
Even James Dyson, creator of the iconic vacuum brand and a known advocate of wattage limits, is unhappy with the changes. He told the Daily Mail that the labels are misleading since they don't factor in consumable parts like bags. It's a subject near and dear to Dyson's heart, since his company pioneered bagless vacuum technology. He also called out the EU for not using real-world conditions in its testing.
The restrictions will tighten again in 2017, prohibiting vacuums with motors greater than 900 watts. Our vacuum experts here at Reviewed.com expect these changes will negatively impact vacuum performance in the short term, but manufacturers should soon catch up. It's a pattern we've seen here in the U.S., where progressively enforced Energy Star standards have gradually brought down power usage in a broad variety of appliances.
Speaking of Energy Star, it appears the EPA currently has no plans to introduce labels for vacuums in the U.S. Though it conducted a study in late 2011, no move has been made to introduce official guidelines.