I want a Dyson!
March 7, 2007 5:40 AM   Subscribe

Dysonfilter: I know vacuum cleaner questions have been on here before, but mine is a bit more specific-mine's dead and after research my heart seems set on a Dyson...

Do I need to wait till I can get a Dyson Animal or would a cheaper Dyson model still make me happy? (At this time I have no pets.)
posted by konolia to Home & Garden (37 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
I've owned a Dyson for 10 years, the same one, which is the very basic model that was the only one available at the time. I have owned at least two cats throughout the time I've had the Dyson and it has never (thus far) ever let me down. Plus, I am lax about changing the filters, and it still works just great.

The accessory shown here (with the red strips) is very useful for vacuuming sofas, chairs, etc. which have cat fur on them.
posted by essexjan at 5:49 AM on March 7, 2007

I have been repeatedly told that the only difference between the animal (which we own) and the other Dysons is the attachments it comes with. You can buy attachments separately. We use the mini-turbine head a lot, but never use the low reach tool, so do whatever makes sense in that regard.

Also, I recommend getting it at Bed Bath and Beyond with their 20% off coupon. Saves a bundle!
posted by dpx.mfx at 5:51 AM on March 7, 2007

I have the regular Dyson and it is better than anything else I've used for pure sucking power. Unfortunately the hose and attachments for doing the upholstery and whatnot are a major PITA -- difficult to detach, maneuver, and reattach; no on-board storage so they tend to get lost. Can't comment on the differences between the models, but if you have no pets, I'd venture the regular model will suit you fine. It can't be beat on the wall-to-wall.
posted by libraryhead at 5:52 AM on March 7, 2007

I was pretty clueless when I bought my first vacuum cleaner, I ended up buying a really pricey Kenmore from Sears (I don't know who actually made the Kenmore model). I recently replaced it with a Dyson and the difference is impressive. First of all, the old vacuum kind of flung a lot of dirt around rather than sucked it up. Wisconsin is very sandy and the vacuum just didn't work well with sand. Second of all it was noisy, though no noiser than most. The Dyson in contrast just picks up everything and is pretty quiet. I have the DC15 for what it's worth.
posted by substrate at 6:13 AM on March 7, 2007

I have the regular Dyson as well, and from what I've seen, the animal hair attachment is just gilding the lily. You will be really happy with the basic Dyson.
posted by pomegranate at 6:17 AM on March 7, 2007

Aw, I am so relieved!

I'll still take more comments-I still have to totally sell my husband on the Dyson. ;-)
posted by konolia at 6:24 AM on March 7, 2007

We have the DC15 also and it works great. The only odd thing it does is, if you hit the brush guard just right, it'll push it onto the brush and make a terrible racket. Just turn it off, stand it up, and its good to go again. Picks up little hairs and crap like crazy and its fun to look into the cannister to see what you vacuumed.

dpx.mfx: IIRC, the 20% Bed, Bath, & Beyond coupon excludes Dyson as well as most of their premium brands that don't get discounted.
posted by dr_dank at 6:24 AM on March 7, 2007

We have the Dyson Animal because of our 4 pets. I love it. The only thing we have to pay attention to is the beater bar. Long hair gets wrapped around it and we have to clean it regularly. The only one with long hair in the house is the Berner. As a result, I have to clean the bar with every other use normally. Shedding time requires the bar to be cleaned with each use. Despite that, the amount of hair and dirt picked up is amazing.

Watch Bed Bath and Beyond's advertising. Not only do they have the 20% coupons on a regular basis, they also sometimes offer a rebate on vacuums. When I bought mine, the rebate was $100 for vacuums costing $250 or more.
posted by onhazier at 6:28 AM on March 7, 2007

We have six pets and the All Floors 07 (yellow, older model) and it does the job just fine. I do find it prone to clogs, especially in the labyrinthine section between where the hose attaches to the body and the cannister. I have occasionally wished for another vacuum to use to suck the clog out of the Dyson. Also, for as long as the hose can get, mine is still so tight after nearly two years that pulling on it generally knocks the vacuum over.

Aside from that, though, I find it easy to maneuver even with a ginchy elbow, and it gets up just about everything. I have one fluffy cat whose fur tends to "smear" across the carpet where a push-sweeper can't get it up, and it comes up right away.

I had put out a brand new light grey carpet-type 4x6' area rug two days before we bought the Dyson, and that was the first thing we vacuumed. There was a visible tumbleweed of stuff in the cannister after a couple of passes. It's a hell of a vacuum.
posted by Lyn Never at 6:29 AM on March 7, 2007

the 20% Bed, Bath, & Beyond coupon excludes Dyson as well as most of their premium brands that don't get discounted

Actually, that depends. The last one I saw did NOT exclude Dyson but it did exclude Orick.
posted by konolia at 7:10 AM on March 7, 2007

I bought mine, and two more as gifts, with the 20% off coupon, no problem. The last one I bought was at Christmas time, but unless they've changed something you're good to go.
posted by dpx.mfx at 7:19 AM on March 7, 2007

I am a long term Dyson owner/user, and love it. BUT have you looked at vacuum cleaner test reports? Each year "Which?" magazine find that Dysons are less reliable, and represent less good value for money than other vacuum cleaners, and yet paradoxically the owners are consistently more satisfied. So the straight answer is that a regular Dyson probably will make you happy, but still isn't such a great purchase.
posted by roofus at 7:23 AM on March 7, 2007

I'm hesitant to post this because it doesn't answer your question, and I know you've done research, but I actually just brought the recent issue of Consumer Reports that rated vacuum cleaners into the office for a co-worker, and they rated a bunch of cheaper vacuums better than the Dyson. If you're interested, I can post a list of the top-rated vacuums when I get the magazine back from my co-worker.

I'll shut up now.
posted by amarynth at 7:26 AM on March 7, 2007

I lived with a group of friends in college, including a very wealthy young woman who's parents bought her a Dyson Pet (the purple one) to help clean up after our housecat. I was not the primary vacuum user, but I noticed that on certain deep-pile carpets, it would end up making TERRIBLE noises. I think it was trying to pick up the carpet pile, not just the cat hair. This could've very well been operator error, though.

It also had a couple of plastic parts that at one time or another fell off, and we had to figure out how to reattach them. Nothing was broken, just inconvenient.

That said, Consumers Reports just did a review of vacuums. The standard Dyson rated higher than the Pet Dyson, IIRC. They also rated several cheaper bagged vacuums higher, but again, IIRC, the Dyson standard rated highest for bagless/cyclone vacuums.
posted by Alterscape at 7:34 AM on March 7, 2007

My mother-in-law used to clean for a family who had a Dyson, and she absolutely detested it. I think she said it was rubbish for stairs and generally overrated, but this was a few years ago and in the UK - maybe the US ones are better? Just a datapoint. I know I've mentioned getting one in the past and she's been very quick to discourage.
posted by corvine at 7:43 AM on March 7, 2007

Our pet dyson is great for picking up after our pets' hair, but I've heard from friends that without pets, the regular is fine.
posted by k8t at 7:48 AM on March 7, 2007

We bought ours at Costco, it includes the animal attachments and then some.
posted by neilkod at 8:04 AM on March 7, 2007

I should say that we love it.
posted by neilkod at 8:04 AM on March 7, 2007

Ok, I now have Consumer Reports in front of me, but I'll stick to the ratings on the Dysons:

The categories are carpet, bare floors, tool airflow, noise, emissions, handling and pet hair.

The only difference between the ratings on the 16th-rated Animal (DC14) and the 17th-rated Ball All Floors (DC15) is in the pet hair category -- the Animal was rated fair and the Ball All Floors was rated poor. A bit lower down the list (at 24) is the All Floors (DC07). It was actually rated slightly better than the other two for tool airflow, but slightly worse for noise and handling. Interestingly (but probably not to you, since you don't have any pets), it's also rated fair for pet hair.
posted by amarynth at 8:26 AM on March 7, 2007

i got a dyson and really was not happy with it, it did not pick up stuff that my cheap Hoover canister was picking up. so i returned it. but that was the display model at Home Depot so maybe that was the issue? although it was never even plugged in there.

anyway, you can get a deal right now:
linens n things
if you have your heart set on it.
posted by annoyance at 8:40 AM on March 7, 2007

consumer reports reviews vacuums (too) frequently. the dyson models are never near the top of the list.
posted by probablysteve at 9:13 AM on March 7, 2007

For some reason, I'm anti-Dyson. Never used one; never even seen one in person. "They only like Dysons for their looks. It's the commercials. It's the colors. Consumer Reports hates Dyson. What's wrong with those Dyson owners?" In real life, I've never met anyone who tried a Dyson vacuum and didn't love it. And they all want to talk about how great it is. Who talks about vaccuuming??? They piss me off.

It might be because I have a Miele. Meile is expensive, too... comes in cute colors. Its owners talk about it dramily. I was happier when I thought it was the best.

P.s.: three years ago I bought a GE canister vacuum that Consumer Reports rated as a "Best Buy," but was almost unusable because it was so hard to maneuver. CR's criteria didn't include maneuverability, but put a lot of emphasis on things that are less important.
posted by wryly at 9:56 AM on March 7, 2007

Dysons suck the guts out of your carpet. They work equally well on hardwoods. They are very cool.
I have two dogs (terriers who don't shed that much) and do not have the Animal. I have the DC15. I can't imagine there's a machine that would improve over the Dyson I have. It's just incredible. No complaints. Even my husband doesn't mind vaccuming because of the engineering marvel it is.

I got mine at Costco. Costco has an extremely liberal return policy if you are not satisfied.

(Consumer Reports is OK for some things like cars. But vaccums? They also rate pasta sauce, in case you're interested...)
posted by FergieBelle at 10:22 AM on March 7, 2007

bought a Dyson Animal a couple weeks ago with the 20% off coupon. (Even if it says that Dyson is excluded on it, most clerks won't care. The guy behind me had five "one per customer per visit" coupons and the clerk didn't even blink.)

Don't have a pet, but I would have bought the attachments that came with it eventually.

I generally love Consumer Reports, but I'm going to heavily disagree with them on this one.

I love it. Sure, I love how it looks, but just to compare I vacuumed the whole place with my old Hoover and then immediately did it again with the Dyson and it picked up so much that the other one missed had to empty it at least once in each room.

I also love the ergonomics. I got a DC15 with the ball of the bottom and it handles like a dream. Its much quieter and lighter than my old one and emptying the thing is easy and mess free.

God help me, but I'm a bachelor and I actually love vacuuming with this thing. I'll get it out because I like using it, not because the carpet needs it.
posted by Ookseer at 10:47 AM on March 7, 2007

I'm thrilled to death with the performance of my Animal, which handily deals with the sheddings of a SO who never wipes his feet, an 8 year old boy, two indoor cats, and a perpetually molting 80# Labrador in a house mostly done in wall to wall.

I rarely use the power head attachment or the bare floor attachment; I supect I would have been fine with the standard yellow model. FWIW, mine has never required a visit to the shop for repair, I bought it in 2003.

My favorite Dyson story: as recommended by a friend who had one, I vacuumed the hell out of my living room with my old vacuum (a two year old Hoover), then ran the Dyson over the same area. Filled up the Dyson's cannister a quarter of the way through the room, the contents of which included the very distinctive hair from one of our cats that had died 5 years before. Eww and stuff. (and yeah, the carpet had been regularly vacuumed and even professionally cleaned prior).

Regarding CR: I was a subscriber for decades but started noticing frequent errors in their computer hardware reviews (way back when they were still reviewing h/w). "Here's a topic I know quite a lot about and I'm finding sloppy errors in CR's reviews. What errors is CR making in reviews about products I know nothing about?" turned out to be a line of reasoning which killed much of their credibility with me.
posted by jamaro at 11:36 AM on March 7, 2007 [1 favorite]

amarynth, I'm not the original poster, but I'm in the same boat of needing to replace my vac, so I'd love to see that list!
posted by dejah420 at 12:36 PM on March 7, 2007

konolia, sorry to take this so far off topic.

About CR: I certainly wouldn't decide which brand to purchase based solely on a Consumer Reports rating, but it would make me think twice or try to find more reviews. I try to check epinions, Amazon, etc, but some of the reviews seem completely biased, or something with a high score will turn out to have a bunch of 5 star reviews from a few years ago mixed with a bunch of recent 1 star reviews. What's a good source of unbiased ratings?

That said, dejah, here are the top 10:
Kenmore Progressive with Direct Drive 35922 ($300)
Hoover Windtunnel 2 U8311-900 ($250)
Kenmore Progressive with Direct Drive 36932 (bagless) ($300)
Eureka Boss Smart Vac Ultra 4870 ($150)
Hoover Windtunnel 2 Surface Command U861-900 (bagless) ($320)
Electrolux Oxygen EL5035A ($400)
Riccar Supralite RSL3 ($350)
Hoover Tempo Widepath U5140-900 ($60)
Kirby Sentria ($1,350)
Bissell Healthy Home 5770 ($300)
posted by amarynth at 2:10 PM on March 7, 2007 [1 favorite]

No problem with the slight derail, folks, it's educational. Besides, that is exactly why I came here with the question. I kept hearing people online rave about Dyson, despite what Consumer Reports said.
posted by konolia at 2:24 PM on March 7, 2007

The only problem you should consider -- I am convinced that my two cats have begun to shed *more* fur to compensate since we got the Dyson. Little shits.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 3:24 PM on March 7, 2007

We rennovated a 4 bedroom house. We took the plaster off the walls back to the bare brick in most rooms. The big bits of rubble we shovelled, the rest we sucked up with our 5 year old Dyson DC01 assuming it was on its last legs anyway. It sucked up everything that wasn't too big to get in its hose (about 3/4 inch across) day in day out for weeks. 6 years later, it is still the household cleaner and sucks like it did when it was new.

I don't think they make them like they did when they first started out. If they did, no-one would ever have to buy more than one in their lifetime.
posted by hmca at 6:22 PM on March 7, 2007

wryly: I've never owned a Miele, but I've borrowed a friend's on occasion (think it was a White Star?) and loved, loved, loved it. Easy to use, well-designed, did a great job cleaning.

Dyson I have not yet tried, but I know a ridiculous number of people in various doggy circles -- folks with heavy-shedding double-coated breeds -- who absolutely swear by them.

My current vacuum is a Riccar, although not the same model mentioned in the CR top ten list; it was recommended over many better-known (and pricier) brands by the guy in the vac shop, based on the sort of carpeting and pickup demands (dogs, cat, birds, lots of crud tracked in from the garden) that killed the prior cheapie upright. And while it's not particularly quiet, and not at all sexy-looking as the Miele or Dyson, it is an absolute workhorse that's held up beautifully so far to over five years of rough use.
posted by Smilla's Sense of Snark at 11:14 PM on March 7, 2007

wryly's comment brings up a good point. Is it possible that after spending $4-500 on a vacuum, do you really think people are going to tell you it stinks? Nobody wants to sound like an idiot for spending that much on something that works as well as their old $100 cleaner. So, they convince themselves that it works better than it really does and tell everyone how smart they were for spending the money on a more expensive vacuum.

This isn't to say that the Dyson isn't a quantum leap forward in vacuum design (I can't say that 'cause my wife really wants one), or that people who own one are just deluding themselves. I'm just saying objective reviews of a product are probably a better place to start than asking the general populace for their opinion.
posted by Spoonman at 7:12 AM on March 8, 2007

Is it possible that after spending $4-500 on a vacuum, do you really think people are going to tell you it stinks?

This only makes sense if there were no such thing as return policies.
posted by jamaro at 9:18 AM on March 8, 2007

I didn't think this applied earlier on in the discussion, because the question seemed to be "which Dyson?" instead of "is Dyson really a good idea?" -- but since the discussion has ventured that way anyway: this earlier thread might be useful. Lots of discussion about Dysons in general, and comparisons to other brands, including Mieles and Riccars.

And to summarize my comment in that earlier thread (my family has been in the vacuum business for over 30 years), Riccars, Mieles and SEBOs are what I would recommend. I'd have to kind of agree with what other commenters have mentioned about biased reviews and people just being blindly in love with their Dysons (maybe not a bad thing?). Also, I really think a lot of Dyson owners have just never experienced a quality vacuum before. Of course a vacuum that costs over $100 is going to be better than whatever crap hand-me-down you had before. The Dyson genius is their marketing ability -- the fact that they convinced everyone that vacuums are worth spending money on and that the experience can be an experience at all.

Some summary, eh?
posted by sa3z at 1:51 PM on March 8, 2007 [1 favorite]

...and checking that earlier thread, sa3z, I do believe that my Riccar came from one of your folks' retail stores. Small worldinternet, etc.!
posted by Smilla's Sense of Snark at 3:32 PM on March 8, 2007

Yay! Smilla, I didn't even realize you were in the area. In this small-world-case, I'm happy to hear that you were happy with your vacuum, and even recommending it. I love mine too. But then again, I'm a sucker for ugly but practical machines.
posted by sa3z at 8:30 AM on March 9, 2007

If you hang out on dog-focused mailing lists and web forums, the vacuum question comes up CONSTANTLY...especially when folks are focused on double-coated breeds like malamutes and elkhounds that routinely shed enough undercoat to construct entire new dogs. So I've been pimping out the Riccar for several years, after seeing how well it's held up to my pack.

I'd have to go upstairs and check the paperwork to see just what model it is, and it's old enough that I wouldn't be surprised if they don't make quite the exact same model anymore, but just glancing at Riccar's pages it's definitely something from/equivalent to the current 8900 series -- navy blue, carpet/bare floor adjustment, nice long hose for attachments, and a nice super-long power cord. In five or six years of pretty heavy use, all that's ever gone "wrong" is having to replace a couple of belts, oh and the "bag full" indicator light seems to have burned out a few months ago, but that's such a piddling little thing that I keep forgetting to take it in for a service.
posted by Smilla's Sense of Snark at 10:48 AM on March 9, 2007

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