Dyson vs. carpet
September 19, 2006 7:10 AM   Subscribe

Which Dyson vacuum? Is Dyson the best option in that price range?

So, I am poised to purchase a new vacuum cleaner and looking at Dysons. My place has wall-to-wall carpeting (to be replaced within the year with bamboo), and have three cats. My current vacuum, a classic older Electrolux, just isn't up to the job of cleaning the pet hair from the carpets. I know Dysons have been recommended here before to those with pets. My question is which model will work best in the current situation, and work well once the flooring has changed? Are there any models which should be avoided, particularly quality-wise? There is a considerable amount of conflicting info in the reviews I found for these, so I turn to you folks for firsthand accounts - thanks!
posted by vers to Home & Garden (33 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
 
I wanted a Dyson, but couldn't justify the expense. I ended up with a Hoover Fusion instead. It's a Dyson knockoff, right down to the purple-colored plastic and clear canister.

It does an excellent job of cleaning up the hair from my two cats and yellow lab. It comes with a pet hair attachment tool that I use on furniture. It's amazing how much dirt it sucks up .

The only drawbacks are its tendency to tip over when you're using the attachment as well as the noise generated by the pet hair remover tool.

It was around $129 at Wal-Mart. You might want to consider it as well.
posted by Ostara at 7:33 AM on September 19, 2006


I like canister vaccuums and just last week got a new one that I can definitely rave about - the Hoover S3765-040 WindTunnel. For apartments with some rug and some wood, it's brilliant (you can switch between carpet and floor settings by clicking the handle without turning it off) and it has a really powerful motor that sort of lunges ahead eagerly. I'm thrilled with it. Found it online for $160 with free shipping.
posted by CunningLinguist at 7:46 AM on September 19, 2006


I love my Dyson, but I don't think I would have spent that kind of money if I knew I was only going to have carpet for a year. I do use it to vacuum the linoleum and it's fine, it picks up the massive dust bunnies (three cats, three dogs), but I still have to sweep and mop to get the actual dirt up - it sits fairly high off the floor, as I think most uprights tend to do. I don't really enjoy getting at the floor with the hose/handle; for all the length of the hose it's still a tight coil and wants to pull the machine over. Mine is the All Floors (yellow) 07.

If I knew I was going to have a hard floor later, I think I'd buy a cannister vac instead of an upright.

Caveat: I don't have the Dyson Animal attachment, and I haven't been motivated to buy one because of the tipping-over issue. Probably it does a better job on floors, but so would a cannister vac with a low hard floor attachment.
posted by Lyn Never at 7:54 AM on September 19, 2006


I dont know a damn thing about vaccums, but I do know that this months Consumer Reports magazine has an entire section devoted to the best vaccums for the value. They test out about 25 of them, so I would suggest checking that out if you really want some sound advice.
posted by meeshelle39 at 7:58 AM on September 19, 2006


OK, slight derail here but why are only the upright Dysons available in North America? I would love a Dyson (someday) but despise uprights. Do I really have to order the canister vacs from the UK?
posted by LunaticFringe at 8:07 AM on September 19, 2006


I spent the ridiculous amount of money for the Dyson, the purple one for animal owners. I absolutely love it. Love it love it. BUT -- if you don't have carpets, or if you have expensive carpets, you shouldn't get a Dyson. They aren't great on floors, and they are too strong for high-end carpets.
posted by ClaudiaCenter at 8:15 AM on September 19, 2006


Consumer Reports top 3:
• Electrolux Oxygen3 EL5035A , $400
• Eureka Boss Smart Vac Ultra 4870 , $150
• Kenmore (Sears) Progressive with Direct Drive 35922 , $300
posted by doctor_negative at 8:15 AM on September 19, 2006 [2 favorites]


I've got a Dyson, and it works better than any vacuum cleaner I've seen. It takes some getting used to, and is a little clumsy, especially at first. The hose wants to retract onto itself, and pulls really hard. I wouldn't recommend one to someone frail, elderly or who has arthritis. It's tough lugging the sucker around. But boy does it clean well.

Another thing about them- the fittings, while ingenious in their snap-together nature, are all plastic, and can break. I dropped the end of the hose on my wood floor accidentally and it cracked just enough that it wouldn't hold in place anymore. On the upside, I called the 800 number in the manual, talked to an intelligent person without waiting, and after reading her the serial number on the unit, she shipped me a replacement part free of charge, which I received in a couple days. I hadn't even filled out the registration. That's either excellent customer service, or they have a lot of broken parts often and have learned to deal with it quickly.
posted by jeff-o-matic at 8:18 AM on September 19, 2006


I also have three cats. But, I have tile in half the house and carpet in the rest. To minimize the hairballs, I run a Roomba every other day. Then I run the All-Floor Dyson about once a week, real quick. Maybe every other week, as I'm usually pretty busy. That combo keeps the place pretty hairball free.

That said, I really love the Dyson on carpet and my area rugs, but am not wild about it on tile. Really, it performs about the same as my Roomba there. And this is suppossed to be the "all floor" model. So, I can't say if a Dyson will work well when you switch to bamboo.
posted by Sangre Azul at 8:44 AM on September 19, 2006


I have the Dyson Animal (the purple one) as well and am thrilled to death with it. It comes with a low reach head which does great on the half of my house with hard flooring--you can buy the head separately too, but if you've got pets, the powered hand attachment for upholstery is not to be missed.

The path from sucking end to collecting end is very large, meaning not too many things get stuck. Each segment from head to dust canister comes right off so it's easy to remove anything that does manage to obstruct airflow internally.

Mine is going on a couple of years now and as promised, hasn't lost any sucking power: every vacuum cleaner I've owned prior to this started out strong but died a slow death over the course of a few years. I vacuum almost every day (I find it relaxing, yes weird I know) and I've killed many lesser vacuum cleaners.

My only complaint is the head of my upright is way too big to fit under my bed (their low-profile model came out well after I had already bought mine) so I use a Roomba for under there. on preview: waves at Sangre Azul, heh.

LunaticFringe: In the past I've seen the Dyson canister sold at Linen's & Things (brick, not website).
posted by jamaro at 9:03 AM on September 19, 2006


Thank you all for the input - keep the comments coming! It's heartening to hear mostly good things about the Dysons, though I'm still a bit undecided yet.

LF, Vacuumcleaners.net has the DC11 canister. I've not checked out that store's ratings as yet, but they are stateside.
posted by vers at 9:10 AM on September 19, 2006


If you get your Dyson at Costco (as we did) for $469, you get the DC14 AND the attachment that turns it into the animal vac. You get a few other doodads as well.

So far, we love it.

There are a few other Dyson-related on the green-you can't miss 'em. If you do commit to a Dyson, be sure and get the Full Kit from Costco.
posted by neilkod at 9:22 AM on September 19, 2006 [1 favorite]


We have the DC07, hardwood floors (and one tiled room, one linoleum), a couple of rugs, two kids who like to pave the world with Cheerios and two longhaired cats. We couldn't be happier with the vacuum.

We have leather upholstery, and perhaps if we had fabric we'd want the Animal attachment. As it is, it's not necessary for us.

We've had ours for almost four years and it still runs like the day we brought it home.
posted by padraigin at 9:31 AM on September 19, 2006


We have the DC07 animal, all hardwood, two cats, two dogs (ones a german shepard), and a four year old. Its been a life saver. I've gone through various sub $150 vacuums, and the DC07 was worth every penny of its $400 price.

I'm pretty careless with it when I really get going, and so far its been extremely reliable after at least a year of regular use. Highly recommend it.
posted by rsanheim at 10:01 AM on September 19, 2006


Devil's advocate (ha) here: I have two hairy dogs, and have, for several years, used a $64 Dirt Devil upright purchased on sale at K-Mart. It works just fine on the carpet. For the hardwood floors in our house, I just use a broom.
posted by M.C. Lo-Carb! at 10:04 AM on September 19, 2006


We have the animal hair one. It has changed our lives!!!!!
posted by k8t at 10:10 AM on September 19, 2006


Ditto padraigin and rsanheim, mostly. DC07, 100% hard surfaces, 2 cats, one kid, LOVE IT. Dysons seem to be the same price everywhere in-store, but sometimes you can find a "buy a Dyson, get a $50 giftcard" or something of the sort. And I love the attachments. Good this time of year for sucking up dead crane flies. *shudder*
posted by peep at 10:22 AM on September 19, 2006


If you haven't bought yet, make to find out if the Linen and Things in your area has a 20% off coupon that doesn't specifically exclude the Dyson line. They send out coupons regularly and change their exclusions quite often - but 20% off a $500 purchase makes it a great deal.

I checked out the package at Costco and decided on the DC14 Animal with the 20% off at Linen and Things instead. They're pretty much the same thing, and you get a couple extras with the Animal (the extra filter that you get with the Costco one is pretty much useless... unless you can't wait 24 hours for it to dry when you clean it twice a year)

When I moved into my new house in May, I was given a Hoover Windtunnel upright that seemed to pick up more than anything I had used up to that point. The problem I had with it was that I had to empty the cannister EVERY time i vacuumed - and to do so, you had to pull out the cannister and then flip it upside down into a bag... and a regular grocery bag wasn't big enough to fit over the opening so it made a huge mess every time unless I used a garbage bag which made it a pricey option.

I returned the Windtunnel and chose the Dyson DC14 Animal mainly because of the drop-open cannister that easily empties into a small bag. As for its cleaning, the first time I used it was a couple days after the last pass with the Windtunnel and it picked up so much cat hair and dust that I have to say that the Windtunnel was far less superior to the Dyson.
posted by jeffmik at 10:27 AM on September 19, 2006


If it's okay to piggyback on this question -- how heavy are the Dysons and the Hoover Windtunnels? We're moving into a house with three levels and I have trouble lugging heavy things up stairs.
posted by sugarfish at 10:45 AM on September 19, 2006


Just popping in to say a big thank you to all of you - I took the leap on a reconditioned DC14 Complete from Amazon - couldn't beat the price, and I had GCs to use there. Delivery should be on Thursday, and I have Friday off :)

sugarfish, the operational weight for the Dyson DC14 is listed as 18.6 pounds - not too bad. Not sure about the Windtunnel, but I'd guess it's in the same range.
posted by vers at 11:04 AM on September 19, 2006


We have the Dyson DC15 (Ball) Animal and love it. On its first day home we used it on my in laws' carpet that had been vacuumed and steamed the day before. The canister had to be emptied twice.

We have three dogs, two with short hair and one very sheddy shetland. We live in Southern California where everything gets a coating of black, sooty dust every day. The Dyson works well on our Pergo and slate floors, very easy to maneuver in our tiny house.

My only complaint is the tipping issue with the hose. I've never been able to get it to extend anywhere near the 17 foot claim without it tipping over. Even if I bypass the tip over and just start out with it down on the floor, the hose still drags the whole thing toward me when I use it. So, for me, the hose is more like 9 feet. This also means that we can't use it up the ladder in our sleeping loft, but I doubt that anyone else has this particular issue.

Can't beat how cool it looks, though. It's like having my own little, purple suction-bot!

On preview: Congratulations!
posted by simbiotic at 11:36 AM on September 19, 2006


Interesting -- from what I have heard about Dysons' length of life, I would investigate the alternatives pretty thoroughly.
posted by Idcoytco at 11:59 AM on September 19, 2006


Trendy Appliances Often Least Reliable
Within six years of purchase 29% of upright Dyson vacuum cleaners and 22% of their cylinder vacuums needed repairing. The Dyson repair rate is also getting worse. A 2002 survey found that 21% of the company's upright vacuums needed repairing within six years, and a 2001 survey revealed that 14% of its cylinder vacuums broke down.

But despite ranking low in reliability, Dyson owners are still relatively likely to recommend the products to a friend. An average of 38% would recommend their Dyson, making it the fifth most popular vacuum cleaner, despite being the least reliable of those surveyed.

Separate tests by Which? have proved the Dyson cleaners to be among the most effective vacuums, despite them breaking down more. "It's a real shame [that Dysons break down]", the magazine says, "because its vacs are the only upright models we've found that clean really well."
posted by prostyle at 12:37 PM on September 19, 2006


I've had a dyson (yellow) for two years... Never broke, still can suck a golf ball through a garden hose.(well, not really, but you get the idea)
posted by quibx at 12:56 PM on September 19, 2006


I was considering Dyson, until I took a trip to the local Target.
Invariably, the Dyson's are in poor shape, with broken plastic, misaligned pieces and a shaky feel.

Granted, the life of a display vacuum is much rougher than a home vacuum. But, if if can't stand up to the rigors of a demo, what's it going to look like after 10 years in your home?
posted by madajb at 2:01 PM on September 19, 2006 [1 favorite]


I love my Miele!
posted by vronsky at 3:22 PM on September 19, 2006


I'll put in my $.02 and reccomend a Kirby, even if you need to get one used. They're amazing, and they'll run forever.
posted by craven_morhead at 5:33 PM on September 19, 2006


Choice confirms that, despite a range of problems relating to performance and repairs, Dyson owners are most likely to recommend the brand to others. Dyson upright cleaners consistently perform at or near the bottom of Choice's scores for dirt removal from carpet, scratching hard floors, cleaning edges and corners, ease of use and noise. One Dyson upright's powerhead actually reduced dirt removal by 7%. Continuous suction doesn't mean much at the end of the day.

Choice (and I) recommend Miele vacuum cleaners.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 6:02 PM on September 19, 2006


If it's okay to piggyback on this question -- how heavy are the Dysons and the Hoover Windtunnels?

I can't tell you the weight exactly, but the Windtunnel (a CR recommendation) is fairly light, has a good handle and is very easy to carry.
posted by CunningLinguist at 8:51 PM on September 19, 2006


I pulled a 10-15 year old electrolux from the garbage a few months ago..

It had hose, power head, and canister, but the cord retractor was broken and the cable cut off.. I replaced the retracting unit with the one from my 30 year old electrolux.

I wouldn't pay $400, though, yikes!
posted by Chuckles at 9:58 PM on September 19, 2006


I clean professionally and I've used clients' Dysons instead of the service's vacuum at the client's request. The Dysons are unimpressive. They have fairly powerful suction, but they tend to sit high, are awkward, and are nightmarishly heavy. The Dyson does not work well on anything not carpet.

I'm sorry that I'm spacing out on the brand the service uses, but it's an absolutely fantastic vacuum. One of the things I like best about it is that it performs well on wood floors as well as on carpet, and it's sort of self-propelled and not heavy at all. We picked that vacuum by going to a vacuum store and trying out different models they had in the store.

So, my suggestion to you is that you find a vacuum specialty store, ask them to sprinkle dirt on the floor (they'll keep some around just for this) and try several different vacuums until you find a model that you think works well and feels good. Believe me, it really makes a difference.
posted by digitalis at 1:34 AM on September 20, 2006


digitalis, I bet the brand you're thinking of is Riccar. (Self-link disclaimer: That's a link to my father's site, which only has information about Riccar -- they don't sell Riccars online) Riccars are relatively unheard of on the vast internet, because they can't be sold on the internet (manufacturer's policy). But, if you go into any speciality vacuum store (even one of our stores), you'll find Riccars are usually the favorites of the people working there. They're also all we've ever had in our (mostly carpeted) homes, and we own a practical vacuum empire (so you could say we know something about vacuums).

vers, I'm sorry to tell you after the fact (though maybe it could help someone else), but that Dyson isn't going to do you much good on bamboo floors (few uprights would). It'll serve you well enough (if it doesn't break down) on the carpet, but once the bamboo floors are installed, you'll probably find you need to get a different vacuum. What earlier commenters were saying about Miele holds true here -- their canisters are great on hard floors, and with a turbo powerhead attached, they can tackle carpet too. Most first-time users also say that their carpet looks "refreshed" afterwards (which means, I think, that it looks fluffy and clean and new). Not many other vacuum owners can say that. They're not cheap, but they work consistently better than almost any other vacuum brand and they last for-frickin-ever. I've heard them described as the "Electroluxes of Europe", if that indicates anything about their longevity.
posted by sa3z at 11:42 AM on September 22, 2006 [2 favorites]


Thank you, all. I've spent some time with the Dyson DC14 today, and while I'm not head over heels, I'm fairly well impressed. For an upright, and for these carpets and pets, it's nailing the job. It's my first upright, and I have some learning to do; with that, I think things will improve. For the problem with pet hair, I'm not sure this machine can be beat. I don't typically like "plastic" goods, but the design and engineering of this one seems to be solid. We'll see how it holds up.

sa3z and others, I'll definitely keep in mind your recommendations for Riccars and Mieles (I understand the re-sale market for Dysons is quite good). Or I'll recondition the old Electrolux that I love once the new floors are in :)
posted by vers at 2:05 PM on September 22, 2006


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