Blowhard Gary Steel gets to grips with Dyson’s latest, greatest cordless sucker, and scares the cats stupid.
ALTHOUGH DYSON IS a British company through-and-through, in many ways it’s more European than its European counterparts like Electrolux. Owning a Dyson is a status symbol equivalent to the graduation amongst car owners from Honda Civic to BMW, from Japanese to Euro.
Behind that status, however, is a company proud of its tenacious and hard-working R&D department, and it’s that design and engineering work that has ensured Dyson is distinctive in the way it looks, and unique in the way it works.
Still, there are those who would claim that there’s nothing intrinsically inferior about a Suzuki Swift when its compared to it’s small-car Euro cuzzies – more than anything, it’s a question of aesthetic preference.
The big difference is that while European jallopies are confined to a niche market, in Dyson’s case, it’s a number one selling product, despite its considerably higher price points. And I can see why the new Digital Slim CD59 is a number one smash on the vacuum cleaner charts, because it has a lot to boast about.
The market for cordless cleaners has really taken off as lifestyles have changed, with apartment dwellers often finding them sufficient for their smaller square metreage, and multi-storey and large abode owners finding them excellent as supplemental to their main suckers – even, sometimes, keeping several in different parts of the house. Lazy buggers.
What’s happening to cordless cleaners now is similar to what’s happening with tablets: the latest Microsoft Surface Pro 3 is a tablet that is being advertised as being just as powerful as a regular computer – and which can be used like one. The Digital Slim DC59 packs all the sucking power of a regular, full-size, corded cleaner, but of course has the convenience of a cordless.
The big thing in terms of power is that previous Dyson cordless models have had V2 motors, while this is a V6. While this intentionally conjures images of large, powerful cars, what it really means is that there are 15 cyclones working in parallel across two-tiers and re-engineered nickel manganese cobal battery (their words, whatever they means). What it seems to mean is that there are 15 separate chambers in which the fine dust is picked up in a cyclone manner (you can see the evidence on YouTube clips) and dealt with swiftly by the powerful motor. I like the fact that Dyson’s publicity notes that “a newly configured motorhead tackles dust and dirt on any surface,” because I love the idea of Lemmy from the heavy rock group Motorhead hoovering up my dust. But that’s my sick and twisted imagination.
This superb power will no doubt be great for those who have reasonably modern flooring, and active houses with messy pups of all ages wandering around and making messes. Sadly, I have to report that my old carpet is so tired and worn out that the strong suction literally managed to deplete it of some of its remaining fibre, making it look threadbare rather than just old and motley! But that’s not the Dyson’s fault, okay?!
Probably the second most important aspect of the DC59 is its rather bizarre design. It looks like some animal creation, or perhaps a hammerhead shark-sucker. The reason its form factor is so very different to other cordless cleaners is that Dyson has decided, in its wisdom, that people don’t reall want all the weight going to the cleaning end of the contraption. In fact, they reckon the heavy parts (the motor, dust separator and filtration system) are more sensibly near your grasping little hands, which makes the cleaning bits lighter, and gives the whole thing a better gravity balance.
In practice, I wasn’t so sure. It certainly makes using the long dongle to get up to ceiling height and smash and suck spiderwebs and creepy crawlies a breeze, but it certainly takes some getting used to having the weight at hip-height.
Probably the third most important factor is vacuum time. The Dyson battery will make the motor suck like crazy for all of 26 minutes, which is considerably lower than some other cordless cleaners on the market. But really, who is going to use a cordless for more than 26 minutes in one go? That might be the case if, like me, you were stupid enough to put a bale of straw in the back seat of your car (punish me, please!), but most of the time you’ll be surprised how brief your little sucking expeditions are, and not to forget: every time the vac is back in its charger, it’s quickly glowing with energy again. [Note: we only achieved a 17-minute run time, and only 7 minutes while using the small wand. Charge took three hours].
Dyson boasts of all sorts of other reasons to love the DC59, including carbon fibre anti-static brushes for hard floors, no bags (meaning no extra ongoing costs), lifetime washable filters, several types of wands, and body strength (it’s made out of polycarbonate ABS, which apparently is also used for crash helmets and riot shields). And then there’s Boost mode, which gives you six minutes of increased suction power for difficult tasks.
We did have a few issues, though. Rather than a stand-alone holder, the DC59 needs mounting on a wall, with a nail – but no nail or screw was provided. This makes it rather necessary to settle on a ‘best pozzy’ for the cleaner, which can be a tough ask. There also seems to be no onboard storage facility for the small wand, where some brands have brackets to accommodate them.
Of most concern to me, being noise-intolerant, was that it sounded like something you might hear at the dentist, but magnified three or four-fold! Admittedly, most vacuum cleaners have repulsive whines, and this isn’t going to bug a lot of people with less nervous dispositions than myself, but it did drive the cats out of the house in an instant.
One final possible downside was that the canister filled up with dust and unnameable refuse very quickly, but I put that down (once again) to having a deteriorating carpet. And it is designed for small, regular jobs – the dust is easily evacuated into a rubbish bin anytime.
Although the weight being hand-high feels odd at first, the DC59 is surprisingly easy to manipulate around the floor, and it works like a dream. An added bonus is that the see-through canister means you can actually see the horrible stuff that it’s sucking up!
At the end of the day (as John Key might say during a quick dust’n’vac session), it comes down to the personal preferences we spoke of right back at the start of this review. Some are going to be quite happy with that bargain brand without the unique looks or sucking technology of the DC59, but others will want what the Dyson has to offer, both for what it can do to a floor, and what its presence can do to their sense of rightness about their status in life. Just like the owner of a Beamer.
The DC59 is a great machine for those who aren’t bugged by the idiosyncracies I mentioned above, and clearly, going by its prominence in the market, this Dyson is a bona fide hit. As for me, I might just have to let the dirt and dust accumulate on my mangy old carpet until I can afford a new one. GARY STEEL