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Miele S168 Stick Vacuum

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 Avg. consumer rating = 66/100 

The Miele S168 stick vacuum is the latest Miele stick vac and it is slightly more advanced (and more expensive) than the S163.   The suction on the S168 is fully variable and some consumers heap praise on this machine for its power and its ability to run very quietly.  On the downside, even though rather light for an upright, it is considered by many to be too heavy for a stick vacuum.




S168 vs S163
Consumers interested in purchasing a Miele stick vac will want to know the differences between the S163 the S168:

Speed Controls:  The S163 has two speed settings.  High and Low.  The S168 has fully variable speed across the entire range of the vacuum’s power, from 0 watts to 1000 watts.

Filtration:  The S163 comes with an Air Clean filter.  These remove 94% of all particles larger than 0.3 microns in diameter.  The Air Clean filter lasts as long as 5 dustbags.  The S168 comes with HEPA level filtration.  HEPA filters will remove 99.97% of all particles larger than 0.3 microns in diameter.  According to Miele the HEPA filter in the S168 only needs to be changed about every 12 months.  In addition the HEPA filter in the S168 is “Active” which means it comes with activated carbon that helps to absorb odors and leave the air smelling fresh and clean.

Socket for Powerbrush:  The S168 comes with a special socket for a powerbrush.  The S163 does not.
Both units come with the SBD245 Combination carpet/smooth floor tool which is said to be good on bare floors and “capable” on low-to-medium pile carpet.  However for excellent carpet cleaning ability the addition of a specialized powerbrush (like the SEB217-3 Direct Connect Powerbrush) may be a good idea.
 
Wand:  The wand on the S163 is non-telescopic while that on the S168 is telescopic.

Price:  The S163 can be found for about 290USD while the S168 usually costs about 400USD and sometimes slightly less.

Consumer Input
There are limited consumer ratings and comments related to the Miele S168 however some were found:

Ratings Updated March 2016
 Source  Consumer Ratings  #Ratings
 Amazon  3.2 stars out of 5  16
 Epinions  3 stars out of 5  2
 Abt  4 stars out of 5  2
 Viewpoints  4 stars out of 5  1

 

Consumer comments yield the following common S168 likes and dislikes:

PROS
- Lightweight (for an upright)
- Well-built
- Powerful
- Very quiet
- Maneuverable
- Small footprint makes it easy to store
- Can also be used as a handheld vacuum

CONS
- Non-retractable cord
- Heavy (for a stick vac)
- Expensive

 

Miele S168 Features
Similar to the S163, the S168 has a high output motor that generates 1000 watts of power and produces 96 cubic feet of airflow per minute.  The motor is also sound insulated and consumers have indeed commented on how quiet the vacuum is. 

The SBD245 Combination carpet/smooth floor tool is provided with the Miele S168 and it is considered effective on bare floors, rugs, and low-to-medium pile carpet.  This is an all-around tool and while it does a good job it is not specialized.  Optional tools can also be purchased for the S168 and these include a Parquet Floor Brush (specifically designed for bare floors), and the SEB217-3 Direct Connect Powerbrush (for folks with lots of carpet - this powerbrush uses a cog type belt to deliver power directly from its motor to the brushbar).  The S168 also comes with an upholstery and crevice tool which tucks away in an onboard caddy. 

The dustbags used on the S168 are produced from 3 layers of random spun fibers which allow the bags to act as another layer of air filtration, removing more dust and allergens.  Miele call these “IntensiveClean dustbags” and they claim that these help eliminate clogging and also help to ensure that the vacuum filters stay cleaner longer.  The bags are also said to be almost tear proof so that sharp objects or rough treatment will still not allow dust and debris to escape.   The capacity of the IntensiveClean dustbags is 2.6 quarts.  This is not a large volume but remember that this is a stick vacuum and not a full size vacuum.  A bag change indicator is also provided on the vacuum.

Like most other Miele vacuum cleaners the S168 has sealed system construction which ensures that all of the air sucked into the unit is passed through the filters prior to being exhausted.  Many other vacuums allow leakage before or around filters and even though they may use high level filtration it may not be effectively filtering the air.
 
Like the S163 the S168 has several configurations.  The suction tube of the vacuum can be moved directly below the canister which allows one to get under beds, sofas and low furniture easily.  Also the suction tube can be removed completely and the S168 becomes a handheld vacuum.  The S168 has a telescopic handle that can be adjusted such that the handle height is ergonomically correct for the user.  The vacuum also comes with a telescopic wand that can be used to access hard to reach areas.

This machine is not battery operated and it uses a 26 foot power cord.  This is a respectable length for a stick vacuum.  The unit is also considered by some to be heavy and by others to be lightweight.  This appears to be a matter of expectations.  It weighs in at 10.5 lbs.  For a stick vacuum this is indeed a bit heavy.  It is slightly heavier than the Miele S163 (9.3 lbs) and substantially heavier than other good stick vacuums like the Hoover Linx (7.3 lbs) or the Electrolux Ergorapido (5.5 lbs).  However, for an upright vacuum 10.5 lbs is light, and while the S168 is marketed as a stick vacuum it does have some upright characteristics.

The Miele S168 is promoted as a machine that is best suited for smaller apartments, recreational vehicles or yachts.  In short, buyers are being told that it is not meant to replace a full size vacuum and is best suited for smaller area vacuuming.  It carries a 2-year warranty on the suction motor and 1-year on all non-wearing components.

Vacuum Manual
For those who want to learn a little more you may wish to review the Miele S168 owner’s manual.

 

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I'm Nigel Russco, a 50 year old professional engineer originally from the west coast of Canada.  I love to review vacuums and I’ve been doing just that since 2008.  

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