How Brexity is your vacuum cleaner?
Staunch leaver James Dyson has said Britain should walk away from talks with the EU. Here’s where other dust busters stand on the issue
As well as vacuum cleaners, Dyson is famous for gadgets that blow hot air, from fans to hairdryers. These days, that list also includes the company’s billionaire founder James Dyson, who regularly blasts unsuspecting Britons with his gung-ho view on Brexit.
Most recently, the outspoken British inventor argued we should walk away from talks with the EU. Walk away and “they will come to us”, argues Dyson.
So, if you are in the market for a new dust buster, is there a Brexit angle to consider alongside price, ability to suction pet hair and whether it fits under your stairs? Or is the appliance market a political vacuum, so to speak?
Which? magazine is usually the first stop for the discerning domestic-appliance buyer and brands in the top tier of its Best Buy table include Dyson, Miele, Vax, Henry and Bosch. So we know these vacuums will do the job, but what do they stand for?
These days, James Dyson is as much of a household name for his politics as his inventions. Dyson employs 3,500 people at its R&D base in Malmesbury, Wiltshire, but manufactures in Singapore and exports around the world from there. It banked record sales and profits in 2016 despite having to pay World Trade Organisation tariffs on its products.
Miele appliances are the hallmark of a middle-class kitchen. Jointly owned by the Miele and Zinkann families, this steady German company remains anchored in Gütersloh, the North Rhine-Westphalia city, where it started out making butter churns in 1899. Its bagless Blizzard will set you back the price of a mini-break, but you can feel good about the purchase given Miele’s goal of being the industry’s “most sustainable” company.
The history of Vax sounds a little bit Alan Partridge – or rather Alan Brazier. The late Midlands entrepreneur built the prototype after winning a contract to clean Newport Pagnell service station and finding nothing was up to the job of cleaning its greasy carpets. In 1999, Vax was sold to TTI Group, which also makes Hoovers and Dirt Devils, and is listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.
So what of Henry, or indeed Hetty’s, politics? The smiley vacs – Hetty is pink with eyelashes – are all made by British company Numatic International in Chard, Somerset. It was founded nearly 50 years ago by Chris Duncan who still runs the company today. He rarely speaks to the press but told one interviewer the British company had “no fears of returning to a degree of national independence”.
Bosch, the German multinational, took the Brexit vote to heart, describing the outcome as disappointing. Founded by Robert Bosch in Stuttgart in 1886, the company has been in the UK for more than a century, employing more than 5,000 people working across 41 sites. Which?’s favourite vacuum is Bosch’s Power Animal 2, but you need to look out for its vorsprung durch technik. “If you have thick carpets ... on its highest setting it is very difficult, almost impossible to push,” it warns.
If you are still undecided on which of these vacuums is worth the investment, youcould always just buy on on Black Friday like everyone else.