Quick. Go buy a vacuum before the EU bans all the good ones.
What are you thinking of buying in the next ten days? Some new clothes? A few beers? No, what you need to be putting on your shopping list is a new vacuum cleaner before the EU ban the best vacuum cleaners on 1 September.
Although this sounds like a dirty protest, no aspersions are being cast on the greasy nature of our near neighbours. Instead this is an environmental protest that is simply the latest instalment after the evil non-energy-saving lightbulb saga.
The new rules will apply to vacuum cleaners with a motor more powerful than 1600w, and from this date companies will be prohibited from manufacturing or importing super-powered vacuums. While stores can still sell their remaining stock, once everyone hears about it, we’ll all be stockpiling vacuums in the same way that we all have a cupboard full of old lightbulbs
Of course, the European Commission is claiming that this will cut down energy use dramatically, and, in much the similar way to how car emissions dropped rapidly once the Government brought in penalty rules for high-emitting cars, consumers will actually “get better vacuum cleaners than ever before”.
However, our friends at Which! claim that many of the models that its reviewers rate as the best on the market will fall foul of the rules. Out of seven “best buy” ratings awarded by its vacuum cleaner reviewers since January 2013, five have motors of more than 1,600 watts.
Which! are also sceptical over the massive energy savings expected by the new rules: “A Best Buy 2,200w vac costs around £27 a year to run in electricity – only around £8 more than the best-scoring 1,600w we’ve tested.” But never ones to miss out on a selling opportunity, the full list of endangered "best buy" vacuums is only available to paying subscribers.
In a blog last year, European Commission spokesman Marlene Holzner ranted about how this was actually A Good Thing, and not at all a Really Stupid Thing claiming that “the amount of watt does not automatically indicate how well a vacuum cleaner will clean.” She also claimed that the new
completely made-up self-regulated labelling system will ensure that “vacuum cleaners that use a lot of energy, that pick up dust poorly, emit too much dust at the exhaust of the vacuum cleaner, are noisy or break down pre-maturely will not be allowed on the market anymore. This means a better cleaning experience and less time and money spent on vacuum cleaning.”
And it gets worse. The average power of a vacuum on the market in Europe last year was 1,800 watts which will have to be halved within the next three years, as the limit of 1,600 watts will be reduced to just 900 watts from September 2017.
We think the new rules suck. Just not very well.