Miele Complete C3 Calima Vacuum Review
Avg. consumer rating = 90/100
The Miele Complete C3 Calima is an introductory-level C3 canister vacuum. However the C3’s are the top end of Miele’s canister stable so there are still plenty of great features on this machine. The Calima includes 2 cleaner heads – one specially designed for bare floors and the other for carpet/area-rugs/smooth surfaces. The unit also has sound dampening insulation, variable suction, a retractable power cord, and HEPA-level air filtration. This vacuum is not the best choice for medium to deep pile carpet however. It excels on bare floors, area rugs and low pile carpet. The Calima is manufactured in Germany.
|Best for...||Hard Floors & Low Pile Carpet|
|Pet Hair Features||No|
|Approx. Weight||Canister approx 11 lbs|
|HEPA Level Filtration||Yes|
|Power Cord Length||24 feet|
|Motor Driven Brushroll||No|
|Warranty||1 Year P&L, 7 Years motor/housing|
Owner ratings were found at four different quality online retailers – see table below. When these ratings are averaged they generate a score for the Calima of 90.4 out of 100 (or about 4.5 stars out of 5). This is a very good score and it is higher than most canister vacuums we have reviewed, although there are Miele canisters that have scored higher. You can see our full list of Miele vacuum ratings if you like. You may also wish to view our list of all canister vacuum ratings or even a sortable list showing the scores of all the vacuum cleaners we have reviewed.
|Source||Consumer Ratings||# Ratings|
|Amazon||4.5 stars out of 5||104|
|Williams Sonoma||5 stars out of 5||1|
|AchooAllergy||5 stars out of 5||1|
|AllergyBuyersClub||4.8 stars out of 5||4|
What Are Owners Saying?
A thorough review of owner comments has provided the following insights into the pros and cons of the Calima.
- Made in Germany
- Retractable power cord
- Very quiet
- Feels well-built
- Top-notch air filtration capabilities
- Cheerful bright yellow color
- Plenty of suction
- Great on hard surfaces
- Hose is a little short, especially for overhead cleaning
- Not a good fit for medium or deep pile carpet
- No power on/off controls on handle
There are many positive comments about the build quality of the Calima. Owners report that it feels solid and well designed. It is also lightweight and quiet – two more features that folks repeatedly highlight. While this is an expensive vacuum, there are still quite a few comments alluding to the vacuum being absolutely worth the money – despite the price. At least some of this can be explained by a number of comments stating that the machine will last much, much longer than less expensive vacuum cleaners which need to be replaced more frequently.
The canister body has an accessory compartment, which is something you do not get on all Miele Canister series. This is quite popular as the accessories are therefore with you at all times and you do not have to “fetch” one when it is needed.
Most folks like that you can change the suction power via foot switches on the canister body. So a tap of the foot can provide strong suction for bare flooring or weaker suction for delicate drapery. Some other Miele canisters have a dial for setting the suction power.
The vacuum comes with two cleaner heads – one for bare floors and one for carpet. Some folks like this while others do not. It’s is nice to have the flexibility but if you are switching between the two surfaces frequently it can be a pain as you have to carry both cleaner heads with you.
The Parquet Twister Floorhead, one of the cleaner heads provided with the Calima, has great reviews for its maneuverability. Folks say that the head swivels extremely easily and that the Floorhead turns on a dime.
Most owners report that the Calima is very good at pulling up cat and dog hair. However there are some complaints that particularly long hair often results in the need to clean the brushroll in the carpet cleaner head frequently. Also, the hair doesn’t always come out easily and sometimes needs to be cut away with scissors.
Finally, some folks would like to have seen the vacuum power on/off switch on the vacuum handle. It is not. It is located on the vacuum canister and you therefore have to walk over to the canister and tap the on/off button with your foot every time you wish to turn the vacuum on or off.
You can read more Calima owner ratings on Amazon.
ASIDE: If you are considering a Miele C3 series vacuum for your hard floors you may also be looking at the Miele Alize. The Alize - a fantastic machine in its own right - is quite similar to the Calima but it has more features and one less cleaner head. Some key features that the Alize has which you will not find on the Calima include:
The Alize comes with the AllteQ Combination Floorhead (SBD 285-3) while the Calima has two cleaner heads - the Parquet Twister Floorhead (SBB 300-3) for bare surfaces, and the Turbo Comfort Floorhead (STB 205-3) for carpet. You can see pricing for the Alize on Amazon.
The Calima has very good air filtration and this ensures the air exiting the vacuum is cleaner than the air entering the vacuum. There are actually 3 levels of filtration with this machine: The dust bag, the pre-motor filter, and the post-motor filter. The 9-ply dust bag and the pre-motor filter remove the larger particulates and the post-motor H13 HEPA filter traps 99.95% of particles with a diameter of 0.1 microns or larger (H13 HEPA filters meet very stringent HEPA 13 filtration specifications). HEPA filters are great for families with allergy or asthma sufferers and can remove the likes of tobacco smoke, dust mites, pet dander, pollen, mold spores, etc. from the air.
The HEPA filter on the Calima comes with something Miele calls a TimeStrip which is an indicator that tells you when it is time to change the filter. You activate the TimeStrip when you put a new filter in the vacuum and over time the time check window gradually turns red. When the red has reached a specified point on the TimeStrip then it is time to change the filter. Miele also states the one should replace the filter after about 50 hours of use (or once per year).
Should you have pets such as cats or dogs you can always use a Miele Active AirClean Filter which has a layer of activated charcoal in-between two Miele Super AirClean filters. This filter is great for removing pet odors. The Miele Active AirClean filter does not come with the Calima and has to be purchased separately.
The vacuum also has what is known as a “sealed system”. Essentially this ensures it does not leak unfiltered air back into the room. All the air entering the vacuum is passed through the filters before being exhausted. Some vacuums tout their quality filters but allow the air entering the vacuum to leak back into the room through poor seals before it even gets to the filters (these machines do not have a “sealed system”).
The Calima takes "AirClean 3D Efficiency GN" dust bags. These are fairly large 9-ply bags and have a 4.76 quart capacity. They also have a spring loaded, self-sealing collar so no dust or debris escapes when removing and disposing of the bag. This is a smart feature as it would be frustrating to have such quality air filtration on a machine only to be exposed to dust and allergens when changing out the bag (this happens on many other vacuums).
A dust bag change indicator on the vacuum also tells you when it is time to swap out the bag.
The Miele Calima comes with two cleaner heads:
1) Parquet Twister Floorhead (SBB 300-3)
2) Turbo Comfort Floorhead (STB 205-3)
The Parquet Twister Floorhead (right) is designed for cleaning smooth surfaces like hardwood floors, linoleum, tile, etc. The head on this unit can swivel a full 180 degrees (90 degrees to one side and 90 degrees to the other). The Parquet Floorhead has soft natural bristles and two rubberized wheels that help it glide over hard, smooth floors. This floorhead will not scratch delicate surfaces.
The Turbo Comfort Floorhead is best for lower pile carpet (if you have deep pile carpet or soft/plush carpet you may want the Miele C3 Complete Soft Carpet - this is the highest rated vacuum on our website). The Turbo Comfort Floorhead can also be used for area rugs and even smooth floors. The tool has a swivel head for added maneuverability and it has an 11 inch wide brushroll. It is important to note that the brushroll in this cleaner head is driven by the vacuum suction – it is not motorized (see image below). This configuration is usually effective on lower pile carpet but may start to bog down (brushroll slows) when confronted with deeper pile carpet. The Turbo Comfort Floorhead also has a buffer strip that protects from furniture scuffing.
TIP – if you like these two cleaner heads but feel the Calima busts your budget you may want to look at our review of the less expensive Miele Compact C1 Turbo Team canister vacuum. It comes with the same two cleaner heads but doesn’t have the bells & whistles of the C3 series vacuums.
Suction Power Settings
The suction power settings are actually motor speed settings but it more or less amounts to the same thing when you are vacuuming. The Calima has 6 settings which can be changed via a +/- foot switch on the canister body. The settings are identified with small graphic icons and the selected setting is illuminated.
We also note that many people have commented on how quiet this vacuum is. It turns out that the vacuum body and the motor have noise insulation and it clearly works.
The vacuum has a 36 foot operating radius but you don’t often find the length of the power cord disclosed. Operating radius is presumably the length of the power cord, hose, and wand combined. A little digging around indicates the power cord on the Miele Calima is only 24 feet in length which is perhaps one reason why these vacuums are always marketed with a 36 foot operating radius. In our opinion 24 feet is a little short, although canister vacuums often have shorted power cords than uprights, especially when they have the automatic cord rewind feature (you require space to put the cord).
The automatic cord rewind feature on the Calima is a very popular feature and owners really like it. The cord will retract at the tap of the foot switch located on the canister body.
The Calima comes with three tools:
- Dusting brush
- Upholstery nozzle
- Crevice tool
These all fit on-board the vacuum in a covered compartment on top of the canister. This is very handy as the tools are at your fingertips when you need them – not sitting back in the closet somewhere.
The canister portion of this vacuum weighs under 11 lbs which is quite light. The unit also has a built-in carry handle which is very convenient when moving the machine from room-to-room or up and down stairs.
Other Features & Warranty
Additional features include a telescopic stainless steel wand for extending your reach, a soft bumper around the perimeter of the canister to prevent scuffing of walls and furniture, a thermal motor shut-off to save the motor should it start to overheat, and the vacuum hose is crush proof. The canister itself is also very easy to move and turn as it sits on three 360 degree swivel casters.
The Miele Calima carries a 7-year warranty on the motor and body casing, and a 1-year warranty on parts and labor.
Vacuum Cleaner Manual
The manual for the Calima covers areas such as maintenance, how to use the vacuum, cleaning & care, FAQ's, optional accessories, and warranty. It is written in English, French and Spanish. You can find a copy of the owner’s manual here: Miele Complete C3 Calima manual