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Miele S5 Capricorn Model S 5981 Canister Vacuum Review
Miele S5 CapricornVacuum
Front View
Side View
Vacuum Information
Suction
Ease of Use
Durability
Filtration
User Ratings
Overall Rating

The Miele S 5981 Canister Vacuum is a top of the line vacuum with excellent suction power, the best filtration system you can buy, and great maneuverability.  This vacuum is built for someone who is concerned with allergies and/or asthma, wants to be able to clean everything from deep pile carpet to delicate hardwood floors, and have their vacuum last for up to 20 years.

One thing to pay attention to when looking at Miele brand vacuum cleaners is which model is best for your home.  Miele does a great job at making vacuums tailored to specific needs, so make sure that you purchase the right one or you won’t be happy.  The easiest way to decide which one is right for you is by looking at our comparison chart found here:

The Capricorn S5981 good for people who:

  1. Have low – high pile carpet
  2. Have hard floors
  3. What a vacuum that does it all

Basically, this is the Mercedes of vacuums – it does it all, and looks great doing it.

Product Specs:

  • Completely sealed system, trapping all dust inside the machine and improving air quality
  • Active HEPA Filter that traps 99.99% of all particles up to 0.3 microns
  • Filtration system rated #1 by Good Housekeeping for ‘Best HEPA Vacuum Cleaners’
  • Additional charcoal filter (generally activated) to trap unwanted odor and chemicals
  • Powerful Vortex Motor which produces 141 CFM of suction power
  • 7 Year Warranty on Motor, 1 Year Warranty on other parts and Labor
  • Tested to last 20 years!
  • Motor has a pre-filter to protect it
  • 30 Foot operating radius
  • Easy to use, 360 degree turning wheels, making it very easy to pull behind as you vacuum
  • Rubber protective bumper to maintain your furniture and vacuum
  • Durable ABS plastic casing
  • 9-layer, large Clean Air bags – 4.76 Quart Capacity
  • Bag automatically closes for dust-free and hygienic disposal
  • Indicator light that tells you when the bad is full
  • Miele ‘rib-canister design’ that makes it so the airflow is constant and the S5981 Capricorn doesn’t loose suction as the bag gets full.
  • Extremely light-weight @ only 13.5 lbs
  • Telescopic, electric wand
  • Automatic shut off to prevent usage problems
  • SBB3000-3 Parquet Floor Brush made with genuine horsehair for best hard floor cleaning possible included
  • Comes with either SEB217-3 Powerbrush (best for low-medium pile carpeting), or the SEB236 Powerbrush (best for all carpet pile lengths)
  • Tools stored on-board: Crevice tool, Dust Brush, Upholstery Tool
  • Silence insulation, for extremely quiet vacuuming

Miele Capricorn Vacuum Review in terms of: Suction, Ease of Use, Durability, and Filtration

Suction:

The suction power of the Miele vacuums is always phenomenal.  Their 1200 Watt Vortex motor produces 141 CFM of suction power, making the Capricorn the top of the line with suction power.   However, as will all Miele vacuums, you need to look mostly at the powerbrush that comes with the model in order to determine if the model is what you need.  With the Capricorn you can either get the SEB217-3 or the SEB236 powerbrush.  The cost difference between the two is about $100, but if you have thick, long pile carpeting then you should go with the 236 powerbrush.  That brush will handle anything you can throw at it – pet hair, dust deep down in your ultra-thick carpets, and anything else you can think of.  The SEB217-3 powerbrush does the same great job on low-medium pile carpeting, but doesn’t do quite as good of a job on the longer carpets.

If you are looking for something specific for pet hair, then the basic standard tools will be adequate.  However, if you want a machine that ‘Eats my pet’s hair for lunch’ (quote that I love from actual customer), then you may want to consider purchasing the STB 101 hand held turbo brush – combined with that brush you will absolutely not have pet hair problems again.  In fact, many pet owners find that they actually ENJOY vacuuming again after purchasing and using a Capricorn.  If you have pets, then this is the best way for you to go – power and great filtration (see below) all in one.

For hard flooring, there is not a better vacuum on the market today.  The Capricorn will not only clean your floors extremely well, but the parquet brush tool  (SBB300-3) is made with real horsehair bristles which are both agile for cleaning but soft on your delicate hardwood floors.

Also, a huge advantage of this model is the power controls.  You have the ability to dial down the suction power, making this vacuum ideal for rugs, upholstery, and furniture – you can get not just the most power, but the right amount of power when you need and want less (i.e. on a very fine rug).

It’s really the best of both worlds when it comes to suction with the Miele Capricorn model – you can attack everything from wall-to-wall, thick carpeting to fine rugs and drapery, to the most delicate hardwood floors all with the same machine.  Futhermore, the suction will last much, much longer than other vacuums due to the high-quality, German design.  Not only is the vacuum tested to last more than 1000 hours or 20 years, but the design itself lends to longer, more effective suction.  Because the airflow does not go through the motor many motor and suction problems that occur with other vacuums won’t happen to the S5.

Ease of Use:

The Capricorn S5 by Miele is extremely easy to use.   Many people don’t like the thought of having to pull around a canister vacuum with them because it is:

  1. Hard to pull around things
  2. End up bumping into everything

With the S5 vacuums, both of these issues are remedied.  First of all, the Capricorn is designed with wheels that turn a full 360 degrees, which allow you to maneuver it surprisingly easily anywhere you need to.  Most people comment how easy and well the S5 vacuums moves from room to room as they vacuum.  Second, this model comes with a nice rubber bumper pad around the canister.  This bumper will keep both your furniture and your vacuum from being scratched for those times when you do accidentally bump into something.  In addition, the hose rotates a full 360 degrees so you don’t end up getting kinks or tangled as you pull the canister around.

Another huge advantage with this vacuum specifically is how nicely the attachments fit into the canister part of the vacuum – everything stores inside the one little machine, making storage simple and not space consuming.  The tools are also very easy to use, and are very effective for what they are supposed to be used on.  If you want to dust and clean upholstery with your vacuum, then this is the one for you.

One of the nicest features with this model is how QUIET it is!  It is one of the quietest vacuums you can buy (if not the most quiet) – you can have actual conversations while vacuuming, and your pets won’t be scared to death by the noise.  To get this low level of noise from such a powerful vacuum is rare.

Finally, this model also comes standard with the Deluxe Handle Assembly, which makes it very easy to turn the powerhead.  While a canister vacuum is lighter than an upright, having a good handle really takes the strain off your wrist and makes it very comfortable to maneuver.

The only downsides we find with the S5981 are: 1) the hose is a little light, making it slightly unwieldy at times (but it also makes it very light and easy to move); and 2) the hose end is metal, making it so you have to use the attachments if you want to use the hose.  With both of these ‘downsides’ however, there are good reasons why it was build this way.

Durability:

One of the many things that separates the Miele S5 (and any other model for that matter) vacuums is durability.  They are tested not only by the company to last up to 20 years, thousands and thousands of Miele customers have experienced first hand how long these last.  Basically, if you buy a Capricorn you are not just buying a vacuum – you are investing in a vacuum that will last you a lot longer than other comparable cleaners.  Yes, the Dyson may have great suction power (and really is a great vacuum cleaner), but it won’t last as long.  In fact, there are several vacuum repair shops that also sell vacuum cleaners who EXTEND the manufacturers warranty by one or two years on the Mieles simply because they know that after the vacuum is sold they won’t have to see it again for repairs.

The motor is a vortex motor that comes with a 7 year warranty, which is great for a vacuum cleaner.  While there is only a 1 year warranty on parts and labor for other issues, we don’t see this as a negative at all given the extremely small percentage of Miele vacuums that need to be fixed in their lifetime.

Filtration:

If there is one reason why someone would purchase a Miele S5 Capricorn vacuum cleaner it would be for the filtration system.  The S5 series was rated the “Best HEPA Vacuum Cleaner” by Goodhouskeeping.  With a certified, active HEPA filter that filters more than 99.99% of dust and debri down to 0.3 microns, a fully sealed system, a self-sealing dust bag, and and additional charcoal filter to get rid of chemicals and odors, you are purchasing not just a vacuum but an air filter for your home – and it’s one of the best you can buy.

While many other vacuums on the market now days come with active HEPA filters, where this one really does a better job than the rest is with what happens when you DISPOSE of the bag.  You don’t have to empty a dirty canister after each time you vacuum (which allows tons of dust/debri into the air).  You don’t even have to emty a dirty bag.  You get to empty a bag that is self-closed, which has several advantages.  Mainly, you don’t have to breath in any of that dust and garbage that you picked up with your vacuum – it all stays in the bag.  Second, your vacuum cleaner stays clean both inside and out – making it not just look great but perform great for a long time.

The one negative about the filtration system is that it isn’t cheap to maintain.  You do have to replace the filters (both the charcoal and the HEPA are not lifetime), and you obviously have to replace the bags.  But, you do get what you pay for – literally a world-class filtration system.

If you are someone who suffers from allergies or asthma, then you really should consider this model (you could also purchase a lower end Miele model, as long as you make sure it comes with the same filtration system).

Our Bottom Line Review of the Miele S5981 Capricorn Vacuum Cleaner:

While this review may have sounded exactly like a sales pitch from Miele, it really isn’t.  The Capricorn really is just that good, and rightly deserves the title of the ‘Mercedes’ of vacuums.  You really get top of the line everything with this model.  From suction power to filtration, there isn’t a vacuum that we would recommend more for any situation.

However, that doesn’t mean there are not downsides and/or negatives to discuss.  First, of course, is going to be the price.  At $1,099 (with the SEB 217-3 powerbrush) to $1,199 (with the SEB 236 powerbrush), you are truly investing in a vacuum.

The Capricorn S5 is Built For Someone Who:

  • Wants a Mercedes of a vacuum cleaner
  • Has a lot OR thick high pile carpets
  • Has hard floor surfaces
  • Has varied floor surfaces, where a one-size fits all vacuum doesn’t work
  • Needs great/best filtration
  • Doesn’t want to have to replace their vacuum every 4-5 years
  • Wants to keep their carpets extremely clean
  • Wants to keep their house smelling clean
  • Has a pet/pets
  • Wants a vacuum that looks great

 

Best Places to Purchase (100% trust):

Miele S5981 Capricorn with SEB-236 Power brush


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