Dyson V11 In-Depth Review
The battery-powered stick vacuum cleaner is probably the most usable of all the types of vacuum cleaners currently available. This has been made possible by developments such as the lightweight battery and a lightweight electric motor. It allows the freedom of instant use without the nuisance of a trailing power cord and a heavy floor unit getting in the way. There are compromises though such as a relatively short operating time between charges and a smaller dust collector. These, however, are not big drawbacks when its advantages are taken into account.
The Dyson V11 Absolute has both some good features and a capability only countered by a high price. When stored on its wall-mounted charger it’s probably the fastest and most thorough vacuum to deploy, zip around three or four rooms giving a best in class clean, empty the dust container and finally return to charge. It handles all floor types, replaces the broom on hard floors and the battery has sufficient capacity to be not limiting in a normal domestic situation.
There is some maintenance required in cleaning the powered brush heads and washing the filter (about monthly) but would apply to all vacuums with a powered head. If you can afford to spend over $1,000 for a vacuum cleaner then the Dyson V11 Absolute is an excellent choice.
|Overall Rating||4||Not rated 5 due solely to its high cost|
|Build Quality||5||Assembly is very precise and finish is high class|
|Ease of Use||5||Not too heavy for its type; for car use needs a hose|
|Floor Cleaning||5||Most thorough all round vacuuming I’ve ever had|
|Car Cleaning||4||Good range of tools; bulky for tight spots|
|Noise Level||4||Noise level was quite low and can be spoken over|
|Value for Money||3||Price is at the top of the range for domestic vacuums|
|Cleaning & Maintenance||5||Emptying excellent; some maintenance required|
|Battery Life||4||Highly usable if vacuuming jobs are planned|
|Use Frequency||Several times a week|
|Floor Types||Tiles, Carpet, and Wood|
The Dyson V11 Absolute comprises a hand-held power unit with the battery, motor, dust bin and the handle. A rigid extension tube (wand) clips into the power unit and the various heads and tools attach to the wand. It is controlled and monitored through a small LCD screen on the power unit which allows selection of the power level, monitors the battery life and prompts for a filter clean.
It comes with 3 powered heads which snap into either the end of the wand or straight onto the power unit for car or upholstery cleaning. These are a multipurpose head, a hard floor head and a small rigid head.
The multipurpose head can be used on all floors as it automatically detects when on carpet and powers up the rotating brush accordingly. It is articulated on the wand and is highly maneuverable allowing at least as much manual control as a standard hose connected cleaner. You can do all floor types and reach under quite low furniture with this head. The hard floor head has a powered soft roller which dusts and polishes the floor while vacuuming. It does better than a broom in removing all loose material and I used it exclusively for the large areas of hard tiles and wood parquetry floors in the house. The small head is good for the car and other tight spaces. When used on a concentrated area of carpet at high power this head does maximum material removal. Its main drawback is that it is not articulated and must be held at a specific low angle to make good contact with the floor. There is a good selection of other static tools supplied such as a crevice tool and 3 different brushes.
A charging bracket is supplied to be screwed to the wall adjacent to a power socket. This allows the vacuum to be charged and stored in a permanent place ready to go.
1) Ease of Use
The battery, motor and dust bin are all at the top of the wand and are thus supported by hand. I found it light enough that my hand and arm never tired from holding it during a complete cleaning session. The two main powered heads are highly maneuverable and enable reaching around and under furniture etc easily. The charging bracket also aids in ease of use. The user instructions in the printed manual are quite cryptic and mostly without text. I found better instructions in the online help at the Dyson website where it is more descriptive. The worst thing I found with the V11 is the on-off trigger which is so easily turned on accidentally during many handling and maintenance operations because by design your finger falls over it when holding the power unit. I don’t think it is dangerous but it still scares me every time it the vacuum starts up in my hand when I didn’t want it to.
2) Carpet Cleaning
The V11 has exceptional cleaning power. It sucks up all small, medium and large items in its path. On its first use on my carpets I had to empty the dust bin numerous times as it found dirt and hair not cleaned by my previous machine (which was an upright with a powered head). On a shag pile carpet square it found and sucked up numerous small items which had been lost for years.
The powered rolling brushes will tightly entangle with any long items including power cords, phone charging cords, shoe laces etc. These should be removed from its path before vacuuming or you will have to disassemble the head to clear it.
3) Hard Floor Cleaning
You can use either the multipurpose head or the special hard floor head on tiles and wooden floors. I think the hard floor head does a better job here and it certainly leaves the floor with a slightly polished look. I now use the V11 instead of the broom for all but the briefest of sweeps as it is nearly as fast and it gathers more dirt.
4) Car Cleaning
I found car cleaning to be not so convenient, having to use multiple tools to get to all areas. The lack of a flexible hose limited access to some places. A hose, however, can be bought as an accessory and I would recommend that (but haven’t tried it myself). Once again the high suction levels and the small powered head cleaned reachable areas including upholstery very well.
5) Noise Level
Noise levels were quite low for a vacuum cleaner and I never found it to be objectionable. It is easy to talk over the top of it during operation.
6) Cleaning and Maintenance
Emptying the dust bin is as good as any cleaner I’ve ever had. You disconnect the wand and hold the hand unit over a rubbish bin and with your free hand press down on a lever. The dust door opens and everything shoots out into the bin. Only once on a heavy accumulation of pet hair did I have to reach in and free some of the remains manually. If required the whole exterior of the dirt barrel is easily removable to dislodge stuck hairballs etc. Regular maintenance is necessary for cleaning fibres which wrap tightly around the brushes in the powered heads. Each head has a simple method for opening, removing the roller brushes and disentangling the fibres. I found it best to cut the fibres with a pointed serrated knife as pulling on them didn’t work. This job is necessary on all vacuums with a powered head and I found the Dyson V11 to be well-engineered to allow the cleaning to be carried out easily. The LCD display indicates when its time to clean and wash the internal dirt filter. Once again removal is an easy job. You need to wait for the filter to dry for 24 hours before reassembly and use.
A full recharge can take up to 4.5 hours. If you've got a large house of carpets to clean in one session, this would not work. You have to plan your cleaning. But for a normal size house one charge will carry you through. Actual run time available on a full battery varies with the type of head and the power level. There are 3 levels of power available which are selected via a small LCD screen on the handle; “Boost”, “Auto” and “Eco”. The worst case is using “Boost” vacuum power with a powered brush head on carpet in which case the run time is limited to 14 mins. However this should be a rare occurrence as I found maximum (Boost) power seldom necessary. For the other two power levels, “Auto” allowed 24 mins of run time and “Eco” allowed 60 mins of run time on carpet. I used Auto mode for practically all vacuuming and this allowed me, for example, to clean carpets on a living room and 4 bedrooms easily on one charge. When on hard floor sweeping duties and using the hard floor powered head on Auto, available run time was 40 mins which once again is entirely usable. Overall Dyson has produced a battery powered vacuum which can handle most domestic jobs on one charge while still operating at high enough power levels to thoroughly clean carpets.
For those who can afford it, the Dyson V11 is an excellent, handy, well-performing quality product with ample accessories included.
I found it to be almost faultless with minor quibbles about the on/off trigger, it’s a bit bulky for in-car use and the fact that it is battery powered meaning that you can only use it for less than an hour before requiring a 4.5 hour recharge.
It is highly recommended and is assured to clean all of your floors better than ever before with less effort.