Vacuums are one of those things that don’t really get a lot of love around the house. When you need one, it’s not exactly the most thrilling of purchases, and once you’ve bought one, it’s unlikely you’ll be inviting your friends over to check out the sweet new vacuum you just picked up. Enter a little company called Dyson. They managed to take an otherwise uninspiring sector and transform it into their own personal playground, creating a product range that looks more like rolling contemporary pieces of art than vacuum cleaners while at the same time inventing a technology that allows them to generate über-amounts of suction.
I’ve spent the last several months with a Dyson (the Dyson DC23 Turbinehead, to be precise), and I have to tell you, it has lived up to the hype. If you’re in the market for a new vacuum cleaner or just want a vacuum that looks flat-out sexy, read on for my impressions of this beautifully designed creature.
Upright vs. Canister
When selecting a Dyson (or any new vacuum for that matter), you’ll first have to select whether to opt for the upright or canister variety. Uprights typically tend to be a little less agile due to their size and weight, whereas canisters, once in a room, offer a little more flexibility due to the fact you only have to move the hose and attachment (for the most part). Dyson has made the agility factor even less of an issue, however, by adding a ball to many of their upright vacuums, substantially increasing its handling in tight spaces. It’s really a matter of personal preference – I opted for the canister simply because my prior house had a central vacuum system, and I grew accustomed to having a disconnect between the motor and vacuum. Another one of our writers uses a Dyson DC25 Animal (an upright with a ball) and absolutely loves it. Either way, you’re getting Dyson’s superior suction technology, so it really boils down to selecting the option you feel more comfortable with.
Which Dyson canister?
After settling on either an upright or canister, the next option is selecting a specific Dyson model. There’s a total of four Dyson canisters to choose from: the Dyson DC22 Turbinehead and Motorhead and the the Dyson DC23 Turbinehead and Motorhead. While the DC22 variants cost more ($699 and $799, respectively), the DC23 variants ($399 and $599, respectively) offer a couple features that for me made them the better choice over their more expensive counterparts – namely, bigger bins and a farther reach. Power across the board is about the same (230 air watts vs. 220 air watts), and all use Dyson’s Level 3 Root Cyclone technology, so picking a model boils down to its feature set as opposed to raw suction.
As for the DC23 Turbinehead verses the DC23 Motorhead, the difference comes down mainly to the attachments – the Motorhead includes the hard floor tool and motorized brush head, whereas the Turbinehead doesn’t. That doesn’t mean the Turbinehead doesn’t work on hard floors (it does), it just doesn’t have a dedicated attachment to do so. For my needs, the added accessories weren’t necessary, so I opted for the DC23 Turbinehead; but as I’ll discuss in a moment, there is a case in which the DC23 Motorhead will be the better choice.
Design and Usage
From a design standpoint, Dyson vacuums really are a thing of beauty. Their design is completely unique and unlike any other vacuum in existence, but more importantly, functionality is in no way compromised as a result. It’s a fact reinforced when taking the Dyson DC23 Turbinehead out of the box. After spending a few moments admiring its unique shape and glistening shade of blue, I then proceeded to assemble the unit, which took approximately 1 minute, sans looking at the instructions. The first time using the DC23 Turbinehead, operation was equally as simple, with almost all components being exactly where you’d expect them. There’s a large foot-activated power button on the canister to turn the unit on and off; the attachment wand is extendable to a variety of lengths, making using the included brush, crevice and stair tools a straightforward task; and when you’re finished, a second foot-activated button rewinds your power cord. And as is the case with all Dysons, there are no bags. When the Dyson’s canister becomes full, you simply take out the removable bin and empty it. Add to that a washable lifetime HEPA filter, and you’ve got a vacuum that requires no replacement of parts during normal use.
Using the DC23 Turbinehead around the house, it’s an exceptionally mobile creature, weighing in at just under 20 lbs. Because you’re using just the hose and and attachment – which together can lay almost completely flat – the DC23 can reach a variety of places a traditional vacuum can’t (think under beds, under tables, etc.). Having two small dogs that love tracking pet hair in hard to reach places throughout my house, I can’t tell you how welcome of a feature this is. Another feature that adds to the DC23’s mobility is the swivel cuff on the handle (this is where the hose attaches to the handle.) Because it spins freely, you can move the hose to various places in the room without having to fight the hose twisting – a huge plus when needing to switch from vacuuming to using an attachment on the fly. And then there’s the suction. Aside from shop vac, this is the most powerful vacuum I’ve used. After first assembling my DC23, I vacuumed my living area with my old vacuum (a Hoover), and subsequently followed up with the Dyson. Needless to say, it picked up a ball of pet hair that I didn’t know existed. It also works great on hard floors – again, having the dogs, pet hair is a consistent problem, but the DC23 handles pet hair on hard surfaces with ease. About the only problems I have with the Dyson is that to turn off the turbine head, you have to physically switch a disk on the head, and at times moving the canister around a room can be a bit of a pain. Aside from these minor quibbles, I have to say I love the Dyson DC23 Turbinehead.
That said, there is a case where I would recommend opting for the DC23 Motorhead. In my home, I have primarily hard surfaces and medium to small pile carpet/rugs. For longer pile rugs, you’re most likely going to run into some difficulty with the non-motorized brush head, so for you, the DC23 Motorhead is worth the upgrade. While the DC23 Turbinehead will work on longer pile carpets (I have two in my home), I wouldn’t recommend it for large areas, as that’s not really its main area of expertise.
As I noted earlier, after several months, I’ve grown to love my Dyson DC23 Turbinehead. It’s lived up to Dyson’s marketing claims thus far; I have a clean house; and in the event anything should go awry, it’s backed by a five year warranty. Is it worth the $399? You bet. And while it may not be quite as awe-inspiring as the new 50″ 3D flat panel you just picked up, for a vacuum, it’s still pretty damn cool.