A $3000+ Envirotect vacuum has come bottom in our test of top-end vacuum cleaners. This high-priced model – advertised as a "World Class Indoor Environment Management System" – scored no better for carpet cleaning than a vacuum you can buy for less than $100.
Envirotect vacuum cleaners are made by a Korean company called Conet Industries and imported here by Carmen and Brenda Glenn.
The vacuums have been sold door-to-door by various companies and we've been writing articles for years about the hard-sell methods used to flog them. Despite warnings from the Commerce Commission, sales tactics haven't changed.
Our test shows claims this cleaner is a top performer don't stack up. This vacuum is grossly overpriced and we think consumers are being ripped off.
Claim #1: The Envirotect website claims the vac is of "superior design", "outstanding quality" and will give you "the Cleanest Healthiest Home".
Far from being superior, the Envirotect is among the lowest-scoring of the 50+ cleaners in our test database.
It managed just 5.9 out of a possible 10 points for dirt removal from carpet. A top-rated cleaner scores 8.3 out of 10 – and sells for less than a quarter of the price of the Envirotect.
Glenn told us that the company's own independent test shows "quite a different result". We asked to see the results but nothing was provided.
Claim #2: The Envirotect website also makes various claims about the alleged health benefits of the vacuum, listing as potential effects "Less Asthma and Allergy attacks", "Fewer illnesses" and "Fewer Doctors visits".
It's hard to see how a vacuum that does a mediocre job at picking up dirt is a good choice for asthma or allergy sufferers – or for anyone else. Our test shows this vacuum is worse than most others we've tested at sucking up dirt and at cleaning in corners and along edges where dirt and dust collect.
The only thing this vac performed well at was picking up pet hair. But that's little consolation given its less-than-impressive ratings in other areas.
Claim #3: According to the Envirotect website, the vacuum cleaner has two ISO certifications: "ISO9001 for Quality in Manufacturing and ISO14001 for Design of Environmental Systems". The vacuum also has stickers on it claiming certification to these standards.
These claims are misleading. ISO9001 and ISO14001 certifications can't be given to a specific product. They're certifications for business processes, not products. Conet Industries, Envirotect's Korean manufacturer, has been certified to ISO9001 Quality Management Systems and ISO14001 Environmental Management Systems. But all this tells you is that Conet's management processes meet ISO standards. It doesn't reveal anything about the quality or environmental attributes of the vacuum itself.
We checked with the UK company that issued Conet's certification and it confirmed ISO logos should not be used on the vacuum cleaners at all.
- It's an offence under the Fair Trading Act to make a misleading claim that goods are of a particular quality or have any approval, performance characteristics, or benefits.
- We believe the claims being made for Envirotect vacuum cleaners breach the Act – and we've made a complaint to the Commerce Commission. There are plenty of good vacuums available. Envirotect isn't one of them.
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