Dyson V11 Vacuum Cleaner REVIEW
Dyson V11 Vacuum Cleaner REVIEW
PAT PILCHER hates hoovering but Dyson’s new sucker is such a game changer that it’s given the poor old guy a new hobby around the house.
Vacuum cleaning, it’s a weekend chore that I put right up there with self-immolation and DIY root canal surgery. Lugging our wheezy Electrolux corded sucky-motor around the house is a lot like dragging a bag of bricks to push dust around between cord tangles, plug changes and bags needing to be changed. Dyson’s V11 Absolute changed all that.
Dyson specialises in advanced suckage, and have upgraded the hugely successful V10 cordless stick vacuum with the V11 Absolute.
Done out in the now standard Dyson technical Lego aesthetic, the V11’s sleek design has more in common with a laser rifle out of a ‘50s sci-fi flick than a home appliance. This makes it a stylish piece of gear. While it’s slightly heavier than the V10, it’s also superbly balanced. While dragging my ageing Electrolux around the entire house would leave me feeling more than a little shattered, vacuuming with the Dyson was a far less fatiguing undertaking.
One minor difference with the V11 over earlier models is the configuration of its dustbin and cyclone system/motor setup. These have all been positioned in a straight line, which Dyson claim delivers more suction compared to the diverted airflow on earlier models.
Are they right? Indeedy: the V11 really sucks (in a good way). Its cyclone array (the nozzles above the dust bin) consist of 14 cyclone jets which provide a suction force of 79,000 G’s. To put this into context, a jet fighter pilot can only take a maximum of 9 Gs before they black out. Fine grit, dirt and other particles simply don’t stand a chance, and when set to boost mode (more on this shortly), it could lift a heavy Turkish hallway rug off the floor. On our matai hardwood floors, any detritus between floorboards were lifted out straight away.
The dust bin has also been given a good dose of growth hormones by the Dyson team. It’s bigger, and it’s bagless. Better still, instead of dealing with the usual dust explosion (and subsequent clean-up) that’s an inevitable part of emptying my old vacuum, I just remove the V11’s cleaning head and pipe, point it at the rubbish bin and flick a red latch, boom! Emptied: no dust, no mess. Brilliant.
Epic sucking ability and simple bagless designs aside, the big news with V11 is the LCD display built into its air filter, which makes a huge difference. In earlier models, battery charge levels were shown by a series of five blue LEDs which required some guesswork, as they were not terribly intuitive at showing how much charge there was. The V11’s display shows the actual battery charge percentage as it sits in its charging cradle. It also provides a real-time display of remaining battery life in different operating modes – eco, auto, and boost. Now you can vacuum away and plan around additional charges instead of having the vacuum dropping dead and needing quality time with its charging cradle in the middle of the job.
Battery levels are one thing, but the screen can also display handy alerts such as reminding you to clean the air filter, or how to deal with a blockage (complete with a visual demonstration of how to do the unblocking). Anything that results in fewer calls to helpdesks is a good thing in my books, so the display earns Dyson serious brownie points. At the bottom of the screen is also a small button which allows you to switch between various suction power settings.
A key question on the lips of many prospective V11 buyers is likely to be around whether battery life is better, worse or samey-samey. It’s good news week! Dyson has gone to considerable lengths to extend the V11’s battery life, and to this end introduced three different operating modes. These are auto, boost and eco mode. Eco mode can give you up to an hour of vacuuming, but the trade-off is less suction (which is still a tonne more than what was on offer with my old vacuum). Boost mode ups suction to maximum, albeit at the expense of battery life. Auto mode uses sensors in the high torque cleaner attachment that can detect how much work the brush is doing and will intelligently tweak it’s suction power. This translates into sensors checking brush resistance 360 times per second and adjusting suction as needed. With auto mode enabled, I could hear the V11 powering up or down depending on the surface I was vacuuming.
The V11 comes with a 7-cell nickel/cobalt/aluminium battery that is around 20 percent larger than that used in the V10. Dyson has also added a dedicated microprocessor to optimise power consumption depending on usage. While this should theoretically make it significantly more energy efficient, the more powerful digital motor offsets any savings, so the battery is only marginally better than the V10. Using eco mode, I could typically wring out just over an hour of use (which was enough to get my entire home vacuumed) with the odd burst of boost mode for trickier spots. For smaller apartments, the V11’s battery life is unlikely ever to be an issue.
Like earlier models, the V11 comes with a plethora of attachments, all of which use the same red button push-to-release setup as earlier Dyson vacs. Dyson has also added a small plastic clip that attaches to the V11’s cleaning pipe which can hold two cleaning attachments. This means switching attachments need not be an interruption to your vacuuming efforts. It’s a simple thing that proved to be incredibly handy.
The Dyson V11 Absolute manages to be both well designed and a joy to use, which isn’t something you’ll hear often about vacuum cleaners. It might not look all that different from the V10, but a host of really useful design tweaks, upgrades and features add up to make it a worthy upgrade.