How long are your vacuum cleaners lasting?

Survey finds corded vacs lasting twice as long as cordless models.

Pile of old broken vacuum cleaners.

Back in June, 87% of New Zealanders agreed that some brands were more reliable than others. However, only 62% were confident they knew which were the good brands.

Fast-forward a few months and over 900 of you have told us about your broken vacuum cleaner via our ongoing survey. That data tells us how many years vacuum cleaners are lasting, and which brands are going the distance.

The average corded vacuum cleaner lasted nearly five years before developing a serious fault. Cordless vacs failed much sooner – the average model lasted just over two years.

Average time until serious fault (by type)

Corded vacuums

We had enough data to compare the longevity of five different brands of standard vacs. Nilfisk and Dyson came out on top while Hoover vacs developed a serious fault a full year sooner than average.

Average time until serious fault (by brand)

A few things tended to go wrong with corded vacuums after only four years. But attachments are often replaceable, and poor suction can sometimes be helped by cleaning your cleaner.

Average time until serious fault (by fault type)

Cordless vacuums

A typical stick vac comes with a two-year warranty. So it’s really disappointing that the average cordless stick develops a serious fault after just 2.2 years. Manufacturers need to do more to make these appliances durable, regardless of repairability.

Most of the cordless vacuums you told us about were from Dyson. On average, Electrolux models lasted six months longer.

Average time until serious fault (by brand)

No specific faults took longer than an average of 2.5 years to pop up. Most of them shouldn’t mean a dead unit – batteries, chargers and cleaning heads should be replaceable. In 2021, we’re investigating which brands have parts like these available. We’re also lab-testing some stick vac batteries for durability.

Average time until serious fault (by fault type)

Help us investigate more brands and faults

In the new year, we’re using the results from this survey to determine which faults and which brands we should focus on first. The more responses we get, the better our advice can be. So, if you have a broken vacuum and haven’t filled it out yet, please do so here, or pass it on to your friends.

What’s a serious fault?

A fault is serious if you told us it either forced you to change how you use your vacuum, or rendered it unusable.

We didn’t include minor faults, such as cracked wheels or cords not retracting properly, in our analysis. Minor faults might be annoying, but they’re easily repairable or don’t affect how the vac performs. If we’d included them, many of the average failure times we report would be shorter.

If your vacuum has a fault that’s annoying, but not especially serious, we’d still love for you to fill out the survey. We want to know about all problems with your vac, however minor.

Tell us about your broken vac

Tell us about your broken vac

Broken and repaired vacuum cleaner.

Tell us about your broken vac

Whether the fault is catastrophic or just annoying, we need your help. Take our two-minute survey to report what went wrong.

My vac sucks!

Join the campaign for durable products

Join the campaign for durable products

Built to last promo

Join the campaign for durable products

Join us on our mission to reduce the mountain of broken appliances in New Zealand.

Learn more

Get campaign updates

Get #BuiltToLast project updates to find out how we're getting on with reducing broken appliances in NZ. We'll also keep you up-to-date with our latest news, investigations and invitations to take part in surveys.

Member comments

Get access to comment

Karen D.
09 Apr 2021
Miele S247i

I purchased this Miele vacuum cleaner in 1993, so it's 28 years old, and still going strong. What I notice particularly is the sturdy well-constructed components - the attachments show no signs of wear and the hose springs back into shape every time despite being trodden on inadvertently from time to time.

Emily E.
04 Mar 2021
FilterQueen really does last a lifetime

I’ve had mine since 2001. Bought in the UK. Coped with humidity in the tropics for 4 years before coming to NZ 12 years ago. It is serviced regularly. I’ve replaced one or 2 parts, sometimes with refurbished parts. This is not a machine that will end up in landfill. The company prides itself on keeping the machines working

Andrea K.
27 Dec 2020
Miele - full marks for longevity

I have a Miele Cat & Dog that I bought in the UK around 1999-2000. It went flatting with our son for a while, then when he brought it back it became our second vacuum. It was still going strong until recently.

Karen K.
20 Dec 2020
Dyson stick vacuum

I bought a Dyson stick vacuum about a year ago and I have several friends who recommended them to me. It is so easy to use I just love it. A few months ago it wasn’t working as it should & was sent back to Dyson & they replaced the battery. It was all very easy.

Lynette P.
20 Dec 2020
Dyson stick vac

Great machine used daily and have only just replaced after 5 years. The older one is now in the garage for cleaning out there and still goes well.

Rita S.
19 Dec 2020
Corded Vacuum

Our Miele Cat and Dog is approx 9 years old and still a brilliant machine . Sucks well and does a good job. I use it at least 3 times a week and we have a fairly large house. The suction is great without the feeling your arms are being pulled off. It has been faultless requiring no service and yes the cord still automatically rolls in as good as it did when first bought. I have recommended this machine to many people.

Blair A.
23 Dec 2020
Miele S2

Had this for about 5 years. This is as good as the day we bought it. No problems thus far.

Peter d.
19 Dec 2020

We purchased a corded upright vacuum cleaner from godfreys made by vax. It lasted 7 years which wasn't a bad effort. The cord leading into the vaccum must have become loose and that was the end of the vax. We have reverted back to our 32 year old tellus and we are happy to continue with it now.

Pamela S.
19 Dec 2020
Tellus vacuum

I had a Tellus 30+ years still going strong, very strong sucky motor and bags are still available at the supermarket. It is an heirloom now - passed it on to my son and bought a new Nilfisk when I moved house and the cupboard didn't fit my old faithful. Tradies who clean up after their work snatch up old Tellus's they are so hard working and durable.

Christine C.
19 Dec 2020
Nilfisk so reliable

Have had one Nilfisk Action Plus Pet Pack for about 10 years and it's still going as well as ever in a 2 storey house. Bought 2 top model Dyson stick vacuums to try due to apparent popularity and neither lasted a year, threw them out and decided not to waste my money again or add more junk to landfill.. but a cordless Electrolux rapido has been going great for 5 years. For the bach I bought a 2nd hand smaller model Nilfisk Meteor two years ago and again it works like a dream. Have found a reliable corded vacuum like Nilfisk still beats, in performance and reliability, any non-cordred stick vacuums I've tried.

Peter d.
19 Dec 2020

Agree totally

Margaret H.
19 Dec 2020
Dyson Stick Vac

I have one of the earliest Dyson stic vacs, I have had it 4 yrs & is it still going strong. Do have to wash the filter now & again but otherwise ok

Donna B.
20 Dec 2020
Dyson stick vacuum cleaner

My Dyson stick vac is still going well after at least 5 years, and still does a good job. Its main drawback is the size of the dust canister but small and often is a good plan 😊