Multi purpose vacuum cleaners Best in test

Multi-purpose vacuum cleaners

Last updated July 2018

With a multi-purpose vacuum cleaner in your home, you can use it for vacuuming challenges that you wouldn't otherwise be able to take on. The difference between a multi-purpose vacuum cleaner and a normal vacuum cleaner is that the multi-purpose vacuum cleaner is intended for tougher tasks. It can vacuum everything from building dust to material that's damp - or even water. Building dust is something you should avoid vacuuming with a traditional vacuum cleaner, as it may damaging it. That's when the multi-purpose vacuum cleaner really comes into its own.

One major advantage of the multi-purpose vacuum cleaner is that it can be connected directly to many electrical tools. For example, if you have a sander with a matching nozzle, you can connect it directly to the multi-purpose vacuum cleaner, which in turn vacuums up a large proportion of the dust and sawdust produced by your sanding session. The filter that comes with these machines is often insufficient and the work environment can become harmful to health. With the multi-purpose vacuum cleaner - or wet and dry vacuum cleaner as they're sometimes called - you end up with a lot less dust.

And of course the multi-purpose vacuum cleaner can be used for a range of other work areas. For example, many of them include a nozzle that makes it easy to vacuum the car, where coarse dust, gravel and debris often accumulate. Equally, it's ideal when you need to vacuum the utility room.

How a multi-purpose vacuum cleaner works

The multi-purpose vacuum cleaner consists of a bucket with a lid on, from which a hose extends. The lid contains the motor. This is also a design that's constructed upwards rather than lengthways. This means that the motor doesn't risk damage when you vacuum damp materials. At the end of the hose is a handle with a nozzle, which is often interchangeable.

The design of the multi-purpose vacuum cleaner means that underpressure is created in the container when you vacuum. The dust enters the bucket, and when it's full you remove the lid and empty the bucket. A multi-purpose vacuum cleaner can be used both with and without vacuum cleaner bags. The manufacturers recommend that you use vacuum cleaner bags when you're vacuuming dry material. Above all, this makes it easier for you to empty it. Without a bag this causes more dust. When you vacuum damp materials, you should instead avoid using a vacuum cleaner bag as the material they're made of can't cope with moisture.

If the filter clogs, you press a button on the multi-purpose vacuum cleaner. This makes the filter vibrate, releasing the particles it contains. Some vacuums have a motor connected to this which makes the vibrations more powerful and more prolonged. The very cheapest multi-purpose vacuum cleaners essentially only have an On/Off switch.

The more expensive versions also come with a range of accessories and extra functions such as the option to see when the container is full, vacuum strength control or a blowing function to blow out debris that has got stuck in the tube. Some can even be connected without being in operation, and then start up automatically when you start the electrical tool that the vacuum cleaner is connected to.

Buying a multi-purpose vacuum cleaner

When buying a multi-purpose vacuum cleaner, you should first consider your needs so that you can buy one able to cope with all of the tasks you need it to do. The time aspect - how often you will use it - is also important. For example, if you rarely do DIY but intend to use the vacuum cleaner in your home and car, it may be more important that it's easy to store it neatly. But this characteristic won't be as important to someone who constantly has the multi-purpose vacuum cleaner out ready for use in their workshop.

It's also important to check that it has a nozzle that fits your electrical tools. Or that you at least can buy a suitable adapter.

There are also a range of other differences that make a multi-purpose vacuum cleaner more or less user-friendly. Everything from how smoothly they move over dirty floors to how long the cable is and how strong the suction ability is. The nozzle design, filter positioning and positioning of buttons and controls are other properties that affect the user experience.

By choosing a multi-purpose vacuum cleaner that matches your specific needs, you ensure that you're satisfied with your purchase for longer. You should also bear in mind the fact that build quality and guarantees are important in terms of your finances.

Products tested

How the test was made

We carry out all of our tests ourselves and test all products in real conditions. We tested multi-purpose vacuum cleaners in a number of different environments that set different types of demand. For example, they have been used to vacuum sawdust from a chicken shed, and to remove sanding dust from electrical tools in a workshop. They have also been used to vacuum out cars and utility rooms. The multi-purpose vacuum cleaners that have extra functions have undergone additional tests. For example, the blowing function has been tested to see whether it is strong enough. Two examples of tests are blowing debris out of the hose and efficiency tests to see how the vacuum performs when we blow debris across a floor surface.

The factors that received the greatest weighting in our assessment of each multi-purpose vacuum cleaner were:

Performance: How strong is the suction? How powerful is the blowing function? How much water can it vacuum up? What types of materials can it cope with? Does the performance vary depending on how coarse or damp the material is?

Work areas: Which tasks can it cope with? How are the nozzles designed and how many are included? How long is the hose?

Ease of use: How easy is easy to switch the multi-purpose vacuum cleaner on and off? How easy is it to change nozzles and functions? Is it easy to clean filters and replace vacuum bags? How well does the multi-purpose vacuum cleaner roll over the floor when you move? How easy is it to suspend the hose, cables and other things on the machine body and then store it away?

Further examples of aspects we have taken into account in our assessment are construction quality, guarantees and noise level. We have scored each multi-purpose vacuum cleaner according to its value for money; in other words how good it is in each area in relation to its price tag. We thus have higher expectations of a more expensive model than a cheaper one, and vice versa.

Nilfisk Multi II 30 T VSC Inox

Powerful and user-friendly for many work areas

Motor: 1,400 W Suction capacity: 2,500 l/min Underpressure: 210 mbar Container: 30 l, stainless steel Actual water capacity: 23 l (measured) Hose length: 3.9 m (measured) Power cable length: 5 m (measured) Blowing function: Yes Remote automation/machine outlet: Yes Ground clearance: 4.5 cm (measured) Noise level: 61.2 dB (measured) Weight: 10.5 kg Dimensions (L): 426 mm Dimensions (W): 374 mm Dimensions (H): 684 mm
Badge Best in Test 2018.png

The Nilfisk Multi II 30 T VSC Inox is our best in test because of its great performance and a number of intelligent solutions that make this multi-purpose vacuum cleaner extremely user-friendly. For example, it has a very good suction ability combined with a relatively flat nozzle. The advantage of the flat nozzle is that you can easily get into narrow spaces. At the same time, it's not so flat that larger bits of debris get stuck or can't fit at all. Another user-friendly solution is the hooks on the side where you can suspend both hose and power cable when you aren't using the multi-purpose vacuum cleaner. Another positive point is that it has variable suction power that can be set both on the machine body and the handle. This means you can choose the desired suction capacity on the machine and then make fine adjustments without having to go back to the machine body again. The Multi II 30 T VSC Inox also has a very long and flexible hose. This enables you to move relatively freely through the room and around objects without having to pull the machine body with you everywhere. The multi-purpose vacuum cleaner also rolls well even when the floor is covered with dirt and debris.

As mentioned above, the Nilfisk Multi II 30 T VSC Inox has very good suction. It happily vacuums up dry debris - everything from sanding dust to sawdust in the chicken shed without any problems. It can also cope with a full 23 litres of water. The filter is located in the bucket itself. This means that it gets wet when you vacuum damp material. However, it dries out relatively quickly and you can remove it and vacuum without. An indicator on the machine body tells you when it's time to clean the filter. This is very simple. All you need to do is to press a button and a small motor starts, which pushes out air which helps to vibrate the filter more. In other words, cleaning is semiautomatic. The only disadvantage that we can see with the filter is that the attachment is made of cardboard, so it's easy to damage it if you remove it and reinsert it. When you want to connect the Multi II 30 T VSC Inox to an electrical tool, you use a cone-shaped adapter. What's good about this is that it fits three different sizes. The adapter doesn't lock in place, however, so if you tug hard the electrical tool comes off. But in practice the adapter is sufficiently well attached for this not to be a problem. Overall, the Nilfisk Multi II 30 T VSC Inox multi-purpose vacuum cleaner is a really good buy. It's suitable both for people with a small workshop and for those who want to use it for multi-purpose vacuuming in and around the home.

+Powerful and controllable suction, good filter cleaning, large bucket, stable, easy to move, long and flexible hose, neat suspension system
No lockable adapter for electrical tools
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4.5 of 5

Best price at:

Kärcher WD6 Premium

Useful, strong and easy to store away

Motor: 1300 W Suction capacity: 260 l/min Container: 30 l, stainless steel Actual water capacity: 17 l (measured) Hose length: 2 m (measured) Power cable length: 6 m (measured) Blowing function: Yes Remote automation/machine outlet: Yes Ground clearance: 6 cm (measured) Noise level: 62.4 dB (measured) Weight: 9.1 kg Dimensions (L): 418 mm Dimensions (W): 382 mm Dimensions (H): 694 mm

The Kärcher WD6 Premium is a user-friendly multi-purpose vacuum cleaner with the filter positioned high up so that it's easy to access and clean. This also means you don't have to wait for it to dry out after vacuuming damp materials or water because it only gets wet if you vacuum a really big quantity of water. The fact that it's so easy to store the vacuum cleaner out of the way also makes it a helpful tool. For example, it has a separate hook for the power cable so that you don't have to bundle the hose and the cable together. There's also an extra hook so that you can suspend the hose on both sides. Not having to struggle with hoses and cables when you're shoving the machine in the cupboard under the stairs is really helpful. And the suction capacity is really good too. It vacuumed up almost everything we asked it to. The universal nozzle is a little bit too big which makes it difficult to get in everywhere. But overall it performs very well.

The Kärcher WD6 Premium has a really intelligent function for emptying it of water. There's a plug in the bottom that you simply open to empty it all out. This means you avoid the fiddly task of undoing the lid and lifting it up, which can be heavy when it's a stainless steel bucket full of liquid. But it's also easy to open the container and empty that when you've been dry vacuuming. The biggest disadvantage of the WD6 Premium is the hose. This is because it's not particularly flexible, but instead hard and rather clumsy. It's also very short. The latter is also a problem when you attach an electrical tool, despite the fact that it includes an extension hose. The advantage of the extension is that it can be locked in place and connected directly to the hose so that you get a bit of distance between the electrical tool and the handle of the multi-purpose vacuum cleaner. The hose is also easier to deal with. The disadvantage is that despite this the distance between you and the machine is still quite small. You often have to drag the entire machine body around with you. If you're going to saw or sand larger objects in a smaller workshop this can feel rather limiting. On the other hand, it has five small neat wheels which roll really well over the floor. The WD6 Premium also runs nicely over uneven workshop floors and is hard to overturn. So if you can live with the slightly too short hose, this is a good buy. Particularly if you want a multi-purpose vacuum cleaner that can cope with a large number of tasks, primarily in a domestic environment. Here, it's particularly useful that it's so easy to hang the hose and cable on it, and that the filter is positioned high up so that it doesn't get damp. This avoids a lot of problems.

+Plus points for emptying method, good filter positioning, good storage, strong suction ability, stable construction, snap on nozzle
Short, hard hose, rather large universal nozzle
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4.5 of 5

Best price at:

Stihl SE 62 E

Useful tool for home and car, intelligent quick attachment for electrical tools

Motor: 1,400 W Underpressure: 210 mbar Container: 20 l, plastic Actual water capacity: 16 l (measured) Hose length: 3.7 m (measured) Power cable length: 5 m (measured) Blowing function: Yes Remote automation/machine outlet: Yes Ground clearance: 3 cm (measured) Noise level: 62 dB (measured) Weight: 8 kg

The Stihl SE 62 E is a compact and neat multi-purpose vacuum cleaner with a telescopic tube, making it easy to fold away. The telescopic tube together with the relatively large nozzle means that the vacuuming action is a bit like a traditional vacuum cleaner. Unfortunately the large nozzle means that it can be difficult to get in everywhere. At the same time it's very easy to store away. The hose is also long and flexible - when you vacuum you don't have to pull the machine body with you the whole time. For example, you can get all the way round a carpenter's bench, or right into the car. Given that it's so compact, the SE 62 E still copes with vacuuming a good amount of rubbish or water before it's full. The plastic container has the advantage that it's not too heavy, making the container easier to empty. Filter cleaning is also a simple process. You push a button and the filter vibrates the dust off. However, you can't vacuum water without the filter like many other machines. You should actually never do this, so this may be a safety function. It takes a relatively long time for the filter to dry again, and we'd have liked this to be quicker.

It's very simple to connect the Stihl SE 62 E to connect to electrical tools. It has a quick attachment that means you remove the entire handle section which would otherwise get in the way of the electrical tool. Instead you connect the hose directly. And on the nozzle you connect to, you can also control the suction capacity - which you can't do on the machine body itself. The cone on the nozzle is rubber and fits a large number of electrical tools. The entire solution exudes quality and feels well thought out. The suction capacity is good, but there are a couple of work areas where we would have liked it to be better. For example, the multi-purpose vacuum cleaner coped with vacuuming damp sawdust in the chicken shed, but it took a long time to do so. On the other hand, this is a demanding task, and not something most consumers are likely to require. Above all, the SE 62 E is best for the user who needs a multi-purpose vacuum cleaner for vacuuming things like cars, garages and utility rooms.

+Compact construction, long and flexible hose, handy quick attachment
Filter dries slowly, slightly clumsy universal nozzle
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3.5 of 5