Dyson vacuums have a reputation like a Porsche — sleek, good looking and expensive. The company's 10 vacuum cleaners run the gamut from handheld vacuums meant for tidying up the minivan to full-size canister vacuums that will send your cat (and its hair) into hiding. And, with prices ranging from $200 up to $700 for its V11 Torque Drive, which advertises 60 minutes of cordless cleaning time, there's a lot to choose from.
We've narrowed it down to four models that will best fit a variety of needs, from picking up pet hair to cleaning out your car. We've also included some tips on how to keep your Dyson vacuum running just like the first day you bought it.
How we picked
We selected the four best Dyson vacuum cleaners by scouring review sites such as Wirecutter and Reviewed.com, and also looked at user comments on retail sites such as Best Buy and Home Depot.
1. Dyson V7 Motorhead Cordless
This entry-level cordless vacuum strikes a happy balance between budget and convenience.
Vacuum Type: Bagless | Weight: 5.45 pounds | Suction Power: 100 watts | Cordless: Rechargeable battery with 30-minute runtime
The cordless V7 Motorhead is the least-expensive stick vacuum sold by Dyson, but that doesn't mean it skimps on suction. Reviewers praise its superior ability to extract pet hair and dust from carpet, and users extoll its lightweight and 30-minute battery life. The V7 Motorhead further sets itself apart from the staid beige vacuums of years ago with its color scheme of fuschia, purple and red.
There are more wallet-friendly stick and full-size vacuums available, but the motor-on-handle design along with the included crevice and 2-in-1 brush tools give the V7 Motorhead a second life as a handheld vac.
What reviewers say:
Wirecutter: "In our tests, the base-model Dyson V7 Motorhead was a clear cut above its competitors when it came to pulling deeply embedded dust and pet hair out of rugs."
The Dyson V7 Motorhead is one of the best-selling vacuums on homedepot.com and has received an average of 4.4 out of 5 stars in almost 800 reviews. One reviewer said,
"We have 11 cats, a German shepherd and a house full of kids. It [the V7] gets every bit of hair, even from upholstery and even hay bits brought in from the farm that my other vacuum would NEVER suck up."
2. Dyson Cinetic Big Ball Animal canister vacuum
Great canister vacuum for big homes in need of deep cleaning
Vacuum Type: Bagless | Weight: 17.6 pounds | Suction Power: 250 watts | Cord length: 21 ft.
The Cinetic Big Ball Animal canister vacuum is the most powerful corded vacuum made by Dyson, with 35 suction cyclones inside. The nozzle has a maximum reach of 35 feet, making it easy to remove everything from cobwebs in a ceiling corner to dust bunnies under the bed. That long reach also comes in handy when vacuuming stairs. The Cinetic Big Ball has another nifty feature — it automatically rights itself if tipped over. The Cinetic Big Ball Animal comes with five attachments, including a turbine tool that's specifically meant to pull up pet hair from rugs and furniture.
What reviewers say:
Reviewed.com: "[I]f you hate to clean, this self-righting, filter-free Dyson canister just might be worth the money."
The Dyson Cinetic Big Ball Animal canister vacuum has over 117 reviews on BestBuy.com where it currently has an average rating of 4.5 out of 5. One reviewer said, "Having pets and kids means having a good vacuum. There are so many things about this vacuum that I love. It makes it easy to get under tables and cabinets and is easy to empty."
3. Dyson V7 Car + Boat handheld vacuum
This easy-to-use handheld is perfect for cleaning up messes in the car.
Vacuum Type: Bagless | Weight: 3.77 pounds | Suction Power: 100 watts | Battery: Rechargeable with 30-minute runtime
No matter how hard you try, eventually the interior of your car is going to get gross. Crumbs will infiltrate the seat cushions and cup holders while pebbles and dirt attack footwells. Toss a few car seats in the back and the crevices multiply.
With a 30-minute regular runtime or a 6-minute Max mode runtime, the Dyson V7 Car + Boat handheld vacuum is great for a quick car cleaning with attachments for crevices, a soft brush for dashboards and mini brushroll for upholstery. There's even a car charger so you can keep the vac nearby in case of spilled Cheerios.
Though it has "Boat" in its name, this handheld is not waterproof nor is it able to clean up watery debris. But it's still a solid choice for cleaning up unexpected dirt in hard-to-reach places.
What reviewers say:
TechGearLab: "This vacuum is absolutely phenomenal at cleaning up every sort of mess we threw at it, delivering an unparalleled performance in each of our cleaning metrics."
Reviewed.com: "This handheld offers long battery life, powerful suction and a flexible set of included attachments."
4. Dyson V11 Torque Drive stick vacuum
Splurge-worthy vacuum packs upright cleaning power into a cordless stick.
Vacuum Type: Bagless | Weight: 6.68 pounds | Suction Power: 185 atts | Battery: Rechargeable with 60-minute runtime
The V11 Torque Drive cordless stick vacuum is Dyson's newest flagship cleaner that trumpets a 60-minute runtime and 14 cyclones generating 185 air watts of suction in Max mode. In addition to obliterating pet hair, the V11 has Dynamic Load Sensing technology that adjusts the vac to the surface and the battery's corresponding runtime. This information is displayed on the LCD screen near the handle where you can choose between Eco, Auto and Max cleaning modes as well as get guidance if the vac needs a blockage cleared.
Is it overkill? Probably. But if you can afford it, why not get the most powerful cordless vacuum Dyson makes?
What reviewers say:
Reviewed.com: "If you're in the market for the best cordless vacuum, this is the one to check out. For the money, you're getting features and performance that no other manufacturer can provide."
The Wirecutter: "On its boosted-power setting, it's easily the strongest cordless carpet cleaner we've ever tested, and it beats out some plug-ins we’ve used, too."
How to clean a Dyson vacuum
Dyson vacuum cleaners come in a variety of styles, from cordless handheld models to full canister vacs. As with any vacuum, to keep your Dyson in tip-top shape, you'll want to keep your trusty cleaner clean. Here's how to do it.
Though it varies slightly by model, all Dysons have three major parts that need to be regularly maintained: the brushroll, the filter and the dustbin. Be sure your vacuum is turned off and unplugged before starting any maintenance.
1. Cleaning the Dyson brushroll
Removing the brushroll on Dyson stick, handheld and canister vacuums is quick and easy. Detach the roller head from the rest of the vacuum. Then grab a quarter and use it to turn the end cap of the brushroll.
If you have a Dyson upright, remove the C clip that attaches the cleaning head to the rest of the machine. Next, flip the two silver levers out and swing open the baseplate. Now you can access the brushroll for cleaning.
In all cases, carefully pull out the roller and remove the debris. If there's hair or fibers wrapped around it, use a box cutter or a pair of scissors and cut a straight line along the length of the brush roll. Flip to the other side and cut a parallel line. Anything wrapped around the roll should be easy to remove now.
2. Cleaning Dyson filters
Keeping the filter clean on your Dyson will keep the vacuum running at full speed and full suction for years. The company advises cleaning filters once a month. Depending on the model, your vacuum may have one or two filters (a pre-filter and a post-filter). Dyson's Cinetic models have one lifetime filter that does not need regular cleaning. Once again, be sure the vacuum is turned off and unplugged before performing any maintenance.
Though it varies slightly by model, the filter(s) are found within the cyclone motor assembly. On Dyson uprights, the post-filter is behind one side of the ball. Unscrew the screw in the center to remove the side and access the filter. On handhelds and stick vacs, the post-filter is located at the rear near the handle and twists off.
Tap the filter on a garbage can to remove excess debris, then wash the filters in cold running water. Do not use any detergents or soap or other types of cleaners. Tap the filter on the side of the sink while washing to loosen more debris. When the water runs clear through the filter, you're done. Shake and wring the filter to remove excess water. Filters must sit for at least 24 hours or until they are dry. Putting a damp or wet filter in your vacuum is a quick way to ensure a visit to a repair shop.
3. Cleaning a Dyson dustbin
Dyson refers to their dustbins as "clear bins," which doesn't make a ton of sense since it's likely to not stay clear for very long. As with most of your vacuum, Dyson strongly recommends *not* using cleaners or solvents to clean the machine. It's best to wipe the machine down with a dry or damp cloth.
If that dustbin is extra grungy, there is help. First, empty the dustbin as soon as it reaches the "Max" line. To clean out the extra dust, remove the cyclone assembly from the bin using the release button. On stick vacs, you'll need to release the red catch button and slide the bin down and away from the machine.
On most models, you may use a cleaning agent-free damp cloth to remove dirt. Dyson recommends using only a clean, dry cloth for the bin on upright models. If necessary, allow the bin to dry before reattaching it.
How does a Dyson vacuum work?
Traditional vacuum cleaners work by using a motor with a fan to create negative pressure and suck up air along with dust and debris through the vacuum and then out through a filtered exhaust port. Newer vacuum cleaners use a cyclone method that spins up the air and debris, forcing dust particles to the side of dustbin. The smaller the size of the opening, the stronger the suction will be.
The first vacuum cleaner made by Dyson, the DC01, used two cyclones to suck up dirt and capture it. The latest models, such as the Cinetic Big Ball, use as many as 35 smaller cyclones to create stronger suction and separation between air and dirt.
Why are Dyson vacuums so expensive?
There are a lot of design, engineering and research that goes into any product. In the case of Dyson vacuums, inventor James Dyson said he spent five years making more than 5,000 prototypes before he was happy with the first vacuum the company made, the bagless DC01. Much of the work he did was later successfully mimicked by other companies that were essentially building on Dyson's research.
In the case of Dyson's canister vac, the Cinetic Big Ball Animal is available for $499, a full $200 cheaper than our best canister pick, the Miele C3 Complete Calima. Dyson tends to release new models with more frequency than other brands. Older models are still widely available and supported by the company, but are usually marked down from their initial release price.
Finally, vacuuming rarely screams "sex appeal." It’s a boring chore and not much else. Dyson used slick marketing to give its vacuums a sleek, modern and luxurious look. If you give a vacuum cleaner an Apple commercial, people will flock to it. All that marketing costs money, which factors into the price of each device.