Miele TriFlex HX1 (Dog & Cat) full review
The TriFlex is characteristic of Miele products in its sleek and conservative design, and in its quiet focus on quality.
It’s also something of a transformer. Instead of the usual two modes (stick and handheld), the TriFlex (as the name suggests) has three.
In Comfort mode, you attach the power unit just behind the cleaning head. The lower centre of gravity means you’re not taking the weight of the vacuum cleaner on your wrist when you use it. It is, as promised, very comfortable to use. It also stands up by itself in this mode, so you can pause to move things out of the way or take a breather without laying the vac down every time.
This will be an advantage to people with back problems, who might struggle with bending and stooping. And for the rest of us, it’s simply less faff if you don’t have to rest your vac on the floor or wedge it in somewhere every time you pause for a moment.
Combined with its powerful suction, using the TriFlex in Comfort mode feels like using an upright cleaner, with all the advantages that entails. The only difference is that it’s lighter and easier to manoeuvre than an upright and there’s obviously no cord to drag around after you.
This mode is really what gives the TriFlex an edge over the competition.
The vac can be easily reconfigured into Range mode. Slide the joints apart and attach the power unit right by the handle. Stick the wand at the other end and you can easily lift the cleaner up to the ceiling to zap cobwebs or slip under low furniture.
For upholstery and car interiors, there’s also Compact mode, which transforms the cleaner into a powerful little handheld device.
It’s easy to reconfigure the cleaner between jobs, although I did find the joints were stiff and at one point, had to wrestle to separate the handle and wand.
The TriFlex cleans well, on both hard flooring and carpet. On a spilt (dry) cereal test, it did scatter a few flakes around on the hard floor before it picked them up, but its powerful suction soon got the job done.
Accessories & features
The accessories are solid but unimaginative. The Dog & Cat model, which we tested, comes with a crevice nozzle, a dusting brush with synthetic bristles, an upholstery nozzle, a compact electric brush head and an electric multi-floor brush.
All of these were decent, effective tools. I found the compact electric brush made quick work of the blanket of fur that the cat had thoughtfully left behind on the sofa. (Thanks, as always, for your contribution to the process, Steve the Cat.)
Still, for a high-quality cleaner at this price point, I was a little disappointed in the add-ons.
Samsung’s Powerstick Jet, for example, comes with a jointed attachment that allows you to angle the head of the cleaner and vacuum the tops of shelves over your head. Dyson makes an equivalent tool, the Up-Top, which does much the same. These thoughtful accessories can make a big difference in how easy it is to clean odd spots.
However, the TriFlex does have some excellent features. If you haven’t used a cleaner with an inbuilt light before, it makes a huge difference to how well you clean a room. It’s surprising what can be hidden in shadow and you’ll do a much better job of vacuuming when you can target bits of fluff rather than aimlessly mowing back and forth.
The one slight design drawback is its small, 0.5 litre dustbin. This means more frequent emptying and could be a bit of a chore if you have a larger home. However, the bin is easy to empty and clean and comes with a lifetime HEPA-grade filter, which will never need to be replaced (although it should be cleaned out once a month).
The TriFlex comes with a wall attachment but the charging isn’t integrated. This means that you dock the cleaner and then need to remember, separately, to plug it in to charge. It doesn't seem like a biggie until you forget, which of course I did.
But the battery performance is excellent. It uses a removable, 25.2V lithium-ion battery. While it claims an hour of cleaning per charge (as all the best cordless cleaners seem to now), that's only on the lowest setting, without a motorised head. In reality, you’ll get about half an hour using a motorised attachment.
On its highest setting, using a motorised cleaning head, I was easily able to get 15 minutes of cleaning time, which I think is the best across the board (the Dyson V11 will give you approximately 10 minutes). You can buy a spare battery for the Triflex – and if you opt for the Pro model, the battery is included – so you can always have one charged and swap it out mid-clean if necessary.
The impressive battery life and the option to buy a second means that this is one of the few cordless cleaners we would happily recommend to people with larger homes. The Miele Triflex would be an excellent replacement for a trusted upright, with the additional benefit of its two other cleaning modes. You won’t need another cleaner.
Models & Pricing
We tested the Dog & Cat model, which has additional features that the standard model does not: a HEPA-grade filter, lights and a turbo brush. The Pro comes with everything but the turbo brush. Crucially, it also has a second battery you can swap out, as well as a charging dock.
If you opt for one of the other two models but want the convenience of a second battery, you can buy one separately from the Miele site for £109.99. This is a big additional expense but it's extremely frustrating to run out of battery life mid-clean, and it'll be worth your while.
The TriFlex is comparable in price to its two key competitors in the high-end cordless stick market. The Dyson V11 currently retails for £599 and the Samsung Powerstick Jet for £549. Their specs and performance are similarly comparable.
You can buy the TriFlex from Miele in the UK, as well as from many other online retailers. It's not yet available in the US or Australia.
In one sense, the TriFlex's strength is also its weakness. It’s a solidly made cleaner and that’s how it feels: solid. While its parts and attachments seem much less flimsy than their Dyson counterparts, at 4kg (with the motorised head attached), the TriFlex is considerably heavier than its two key competitors: the Dyson V11 (2.97kg) and the Powerstick Jet (only 2.8kg).
In its Comfort mode, this makes no difference as the cleaner essentially carries its own weight, but in the handheld and reach modes, the extra weight did become noticeable. This may be a problem for some users.
In terms of cleaning power and battery life, it's among the best on the market. And the black TriFlex is perhaps the most attractive vacuum cleaner I've used. (I have to admit, though, that the bright red model looks like a strimmer.)
Although that's not the most serious concern, since cordless cleaners need to be near a plug point to recharge, you may well spend as much time looking at your vacuum cleaner as anything else in your home.