Miele S5281 Callisto Vacuum



Avg. consumer rating = 92/100 

The Miele Callisto is part of the Miele S5 series of vacuums.  The S5 series are Miele'’s higher-end canister vacuums, with the S4 and S2 series being typically more affordable.  The Callisto has been around for some time and is now paired with the new SEB228 Heavy Duty Powerhead (for both high and low-pile carpet) and the SBB300-3 Parquet Floor Brush (for bare floor cleaning).  This canister vacuum gets very good consumer ratings and is said to be powerful yet still quiet.

There are presently few sources of ratings for the Miele S5281 Callisto however a few were found (see below).  Consumer ratings are quite favorable.

Ratings Updated April 2016
 Source  Consumer Ratings  #Ratings
 Amazon  4.1 stars out of 5  82
 Epinions  5 stars out of 5  1
 Allergy Buyers Club  5 stars out of 5  2
 AJ Madison  4 stars out of 5  4
 Overstock  1 star out of 5  1


Consumer comments indicate the following common Miele Callisto likes and dislikes:

- The powerhead attachment is very good on carpet
- Tools are stored in canister
- Very quiet yet powerful
- Suction power can be controlled
- Works well both on carpet and hard floors
- Solidly built (in Germany)
- True HEPA filtration

- Expensive
- Vacuum bags are expensive
- Power cord is a bit short
- Heavier than other Miele canisters

Like all Miele vacuum cleaners the Callisto is made in Germany.  It is also powered by a 1200 Watt vortex motor and comes with 6 suction settings that are controlled via a rotary dial on the body of the vacuum.  Lower settings allow effective (but not destructive) cleaning of drapes or delicate rugs while higher settings are used for carpet cleaning.   The motor of the Callisto has a life expectancy of 1200 hours and is guaranteed by Miele for a lengthy 7 years.  To ensure quiet operation the motor and vacuum are sound insulated and the fan is sound optimized.  There are quite a few consumer comments alluding to the fact that the vacuum is very quiet.

The Miele Callisto sports sealed system construction paired with HEPA filtration to provide very clean exhaust air.  Sealed system construction ensures that all air passes through the filters and that air and dust cannot leak out through cracks or somehow bypass the filtration path.  HEPA filtration removes 99.97% of all particles larger than 0.3 microns in diameter – this typically includes dust mites, pet dander, pollen, etc, - and is very popular with those suffering from allergies or asthma.  The Callisto uses the Miele Active Certified S-Class HEPA exhaust filter which combines HEPA filtration with a thin layer of activated charcoal to help eliminate odors.  The filter should be changed approximately every 12 months.   Finally, dust bags on the Callisto automatically close when they are removed from the machine ensuring that no dust escapes into the surrounding air.

The Miele Callisto comes with the SEB228 Heavy Duty PowerHead.  According to the marketing materials this vacuum head is designed for both high-pile and low-pile carpet as well as pet hair.  It is also said to be easy to push and maneuver.  The Miele website describe this tool as follows “SEB228 – an electrically-driven carpet tool with a 14"-wide brush roll.  Equipped with a swivel neck and five level height adjustment.”  The brushroll on the SEB228 can also be shut off and this allows one to use it for quick bare floor cleaning (probably small areas) when you don’t want to switch over to your bare floor tool.  You may still find the Callisto paired with the SEB217-3 however Miele now only combine it with the SEB228.

To manage bare floors the Callisto comes with the SBB300-3 Parquet Floor Brush.  The SBB300-3 can flatten out to reach under furniture and can also twist 90 degrees.  In short it is highly maneuverable.  It is described by Miele as follows “SBB300-3 Parquet Twister – a floor brush for tile, wood and other smooth surfaces. It has a 90° rotation.”  Consumer comments do indicate that the Miele Callisto with the above floor tools is effective on both carpet and bare floors.

The Miele Callisto is advertised as light and at 13.5 lbs it is fairly lightweight compared to other brands of canister vacuums.  However some consumers have indicated that it is a little heavier than other Miele Canisters.  It is about the same weight as other S5 units (measured without floor tools) but it is indeed heavier than S2 or S4 models. 

The Callisto comes with a number of other features including automatic cord rewind, a bag change indicator, an electric telescopic wand, a thermal protection feature that’s shuts the machine off if it detects a blockage, and large capacity bags (4.76 quarts).  The S5 series bags are all 4.76 quarts and these are the same size as the S2 series bags but larger than the S4 series bags.

On-board storage is provided for the three tools that come with the Callisto - a crevice tool, upholstery tool and dusting brush.  The Callisto has an operating radius of 33 feet and this includes the 21 foot power cord.  This cord seems a little short in our opinion and this is reflected in several consumer comments.  

The motor on the Callisto is covered by a limited 7-year warranty while the rest of the vacuum carries a standard one-year limited warranty.  We have read that these vacuum warranties are reduced to 6 months if you use the vacuum for commercial purposes.  This may be something to consider before a purchase.



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About Me


I'm Nigel Russco, a 50 year old professional engineer who loves to review vacuums, and I’ve been doing just that since 2008.  

I strive to write unbiased, intelligent vacuum cleaner reviews and I provide a score for each and every vacuum I investigate.  My goal is to help you find the best vacuum for your cleaning needs.

Also, watch my video reviews on the Vacuum Cleaner Advisor YouTube Channel.