New EU Regulations on Vacuum Cleaners from 1 September 2014

New EU regulations have come in force for Vacuum Cleaners from 1 September 2014. These rules designed to cut energy use. Most of the discussion in the press has focused around the new rule that vacuum power will be limited to 1600 watt from 01/09/14.  From that, date manufacturers will not be able to make or import vacuums with a motor more powerful than 1600 watts. As a result, there was a rush to buy higher-powered vacuums before the deadline.  All the major vacuum cleaner manufacturers have reported increased sales during this period. If these vacuums are in manufacturers, warehouses they can still sell them.  So there should be plenty still to buy if, you want one. The new regulations extend beyond just the power of the vacuum.  I will explain what these regulations are.  In addition, what criticisms have been made of the Ecodesign for Energy-Using Products and Energy Labelling directives.  First, I will explain what these new rules are.

 What the Regulations state

 Vacuum Cleaners will have to meet a set of minimum requirements from 1st September 2014. These Regulations cover:

  •  Power – motors in domestic vacuum cleaners will be limited to 1600w from 01/09/14.  From 01/09/17, they will be limited to 900w.
  • Performance– vacuums must met minimum dust pickup standards.
  • Energy efficiency how well the vacuum uses the energy.
  • Dust re-emission in the exhaust air – important if you have allergies or suffer from asthma.
  • Noise level this is important if you have pets or neighbours!
  • Durability– how well vacuum parts like the motor or hose last.

All vacuum cleaners will have a label with a rating from A to G.  This rating is on the above criteria of performance, energy efficiency, dust re-emission, noise and durability. The rating label will appear on machines and on any internet product description. These labels are similar to those already found on found on fridges and washing machines. The energy label is not self-regulating by the manufacturers.  There will be National Market Surveillance Authorities. These authorities will check that the labelling on the machines is correct. If companies do not comply, they will have to issue penalties and or withdraw products.

 What the Regulations aim to achieve

 These new eco design regulations will cut energy use.  In addition, the regulations will ensure all vacuums clean well and do not waste electricity. This will help Europe and consumers save money on electricity bills. The idea is for the manufacturers to come up with more energy efficient designs.  To design machines that use less power less watts and cost less to run. This will drive up the quality of vacuum cleaners. The regulations will save a calculated 19-terra watt-hour per year by 2020.  This is the electricity produced by more than 4 power stations or consumed by 5.5 million households.

 Criticism of the New Regulations

 There had been criticism of the new rules in the press. This is mainly driven by the opinion that the more powerful the motor the better the suction. The regulations have been also been criticised because as the machines use less power this will mean that customers will have to clean for longer.  As a result, there will be no overall saving in electricity.  However, this equates power with cleaning efficiency when factors such as design are more important.  Currently the average vacuum cleaner on themarket is 1800w.  There are also more powerful motors on the market up to 2,200w. The amount of watts indicates how much power the vacuum uses.  This does not automatically indicate how well a vacuum cleans. High wattage or power is used to market new machines.  Often with no corresponding increase in suction power. This result in wasted electricity and cost to the consumer. Manufacturers have known this new directives was coming for several years. “Industry as a whole welcomes the regulation, as it is good for the competitiveness of European manufacturers” The idea is for the manufactures to come up with more energy efficient designs.  To design a machine that uses less power and cost less to run.  The consumer group Which says that 5 out of 7 of its Best Buy models since 2013 have motors that exceed the new limit of 1,600 watts. However, the German equivalent of Which – Stiftung Warentest states that only one of its twenty top rated products will be banned under the new regulations.  This suggest German manufacturers had already been anticipating the new regulations

 James Dyson

 James Dyson said that overall he is in a favour of the new regulations.  He explains that Dyson has never made a vacuum over 1,400 watts.  That it is efficient engineering that increased cleaning performance. He has made a legal challenge against these rules.  Because they discriminate against Dyson’s bagless vacuum cleaners. Dyson states that the regulations ignore how well a vacuum works over time. As the vacuum are only tested when they are new. Vacuums with bags lose performance over time as they use filters, which clog with dirt. He explains that the regulations overstate the energy efficiency of bagged vacuums. Also that they do not take into account cost of waste of vacuum bags ad filters. He stated that as many as 126 million end to landfill last year. No account of the cost to the consumer or the environment appears in the new labelling of vacuum cleaner. James Dyson does have a good argument here so it will be interesting to see the outcome of his legal challenge.


 Therefore, if you still want to buy a vacuum with a higher power vacuum there are still stocks about.  They out this link to Amazon.