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The Complete Buying Guide to Dyson Vacuums: Every Model Explained

From Dyson’s latest and greatest cordless vacuums to its older models, here’s everything you need to know about the biggest name in vacuums.

complete buying guide to dyson vacuums gear patrol full lead
Chase Pellerin

Welcome to Brand Breakdown, a series of comprehensive yet easy-to-digest guides to your favorite companies, with insights and information you won’t find on the average About page.

There is nothing exciting about vacuuming except for the prospect of not having to vacuum for a while. Of course, there are some vacuums that get the job done faster, more efficiently and provide some added benefits in the process. And Dyson specializes in these vacuums.

Don’t know where to start? We don’t blame you, which is precisely why we made this cheat sheet to all the Dyson vacuums you can buy.

History of Dyson

James Dyson started making vacuums in the ’80s and he became so proficient at it that he later earned a knighthood from the Queen of England. His innovations are numerous — bagless emptying, cyclonic suction, swiveling heads, fade-free batteries and more — but the number pales in comparison to the massive variety of vacuums in the brand’s portfolio. Within the four greater categories — cordless, corded, handheld and canister — there are models and submodels of each style, not to mention a whole world of attachments. Words like “Animal,” “Torque Drive” and “Cinetic” pepper the marketing materials for each, cluing you in to the fact that this is far from your average cleaning appliance company.

Need to Knows

Attachments

The names of new Dyson vacuums are followed by an adjective, such as Motorhead, Animal, Absolute, Torque Drive or, in the case of the new V11, Outsize. Each one denotes a different number of “extras” that come with the vacuum. These usually take the form of detachable heads for different uses, like a narrower head for cleaning stairs, a slimmer head for fitting in tight spaces and so on. In most cases, Motorhead models come with the fewest number of attachments, while the pricier Absolute models come with the most.

Runtimes

The runtimes listed Dyson’s cordless vacuums can be deceiving. The number you see is the maximum runtime, meaning it’s how long the vacuum will run on the lowest suction setting, which isn’t indicative of how people use vacuums. It’s safe to assume you will get 20 to 30 percent less runtime off a full battery than what’s listed, as you’ll be moving between high suction and low suction fairly often.

Pricing

As new vacuums come out and old vacuums get older, prices change. Dyson vacuums are also frequently on sale through major online retailers like Amazon, Ebay, Jet and Walmart. The takeaway: the prices listed in our guide are approximations and subject to change. One thing we do know: if you want the best value for a Dyson vacuum, go with an older generation model.

Manufacturer-Refurbished

If you ever find a suspiciously low price on a Dyson vac, it’s likely a refurb. Here’s what the company has to say about its refurb program: “Our refurbished machines have been thoroughly tested to meet like-new performance standards. Units may have some cosmetic blemishes that include scratches and/or other surface imperfections, that do not affect functionality.”

Cordless Stick Vacuums

Dyson V12

V12 Detect Slim

Dyson dyson.com
$649.99
$549.99 (15% off)
  • Available: Detect Slim, Detect Slim Extra, Detect Slim Absolute
  • Max Battery Life: 60 minutes
  • Released: 2022

    Lasers make everything feel more futuristic, and Dyson's latest the V12 Detect Slim has a laser in its cleaning head that reveals dirt invisible to the naked eye, a feature that we found makes it one of the best stick vacuums you can buy. If you've ever vacuumed and felt like nothing was happening, the V12 uses a thing called an acoustic piezo sensor. The sensor turns the vibrations of dust being sucked up into electric signals, and it's measured and relayed through an LCD screen to keep track of how much crap you've vacuumed. It is one of the lightest vacuums that Dyson has to offer at only 5.2 pounds, which makes it easy to maneuver around and under furniture.

    Dyson V15

    Courtesy

    V15 Detect

    Dyson dyson.com
    $699.99
    $599.99 (14% off)
    • Available: Detect, Detect Absolute
    • Max Battery Life: 60 minutes
    • Released: 2021

      Very similar to the V12, the V15 also employs an acoustic piezo sensor and a laser attachment that reveals hidden dirt and dust as you vacuum. The vacuum's slim laser head — meant for hard floors — is equipped with a green laser that illuminates particles as small as 10 microns, which is about the diameter of human red blood cells. The second cleaning head that comes with the V15 is the High Torque cleaner head, which works on hard floors as well as rugs and carpets. It's heavier and larger than the V12, making it better suited for heavy duty cleaning.

      Dyson Omni-Glide

      Courtesy

      Omni-glide

      Dyson dyson.com
      $399.99
      • Available: Omni-Glide
      • Max Battery Life: 20 minutes
      • Released: 2021

        Dyson's Omni-glide was the brand's slimmest and most maneuverable stick vacuum when released a couple years ago. It has a cleaning head that swivels 360 degrees that sucks up dirt forward and backward. It was engineered for hard floors, so don't get this if your home is covered with mostly rugs and carpeting. The 4-pound vacuum quickly and easily transforms into a handheld vacuum with just a click. Easily the best part of the Omni-glide is its push-button operation. While some older Dyson models required you to constantly depress the trigger, the Omni-glide lets you power on and power off with just a touch so you can more easily vacuum without hand strain.

        Dyson Outsize

        Outsize+

        Dyson dyson.com
        $949.99
        • Available: Outsize+
        • Max Battery Life: 120 minutes
        • Released: 2020

          Dyson's largest cordless vacuum, the Outsize boasts a dustbin capacity of 1.9 liters, a whopping 120-minute runtime and it weighs about 8 pounds. The Outsize+ also comes with the same laser head attachment as the V12 and V15, making a great option for someone who wants all the benefits of the brand's latest cordless vacs but needs to cover a larger space.

          Dyson V10

          Cyclone V10 Animal

          Dyson dyson.com
          $549.99
          $449.99 (18% off)
          • Available: Animal, Absolute
          • Max Battery Life: 60 minutes
          • Released: 2018

            The V10 marked a Rubicon-crossing moment for Dyson. Upon its release, the company declared it would no longer invest R&D into its classic upright vacuums, opting instead to push further into the world of cordless vacuums.

            It was also the first of Dyson’s cordless catalog to feature the vertical dustbin, which allows you to eject vacuumed contents without putting your hands in dirt’s way. It comes with a standard fully sealed, washable, full-machine HEPA filtration system, too. The vacuum's max runtime of 60 minutes decreases significantly when you use the highest power setting, making it a better fit for those with small spaces.

            Dyson V8

            V8

            Dyson dyson.com
            $449.00
            $349.00 (22% off)

            • Available: V8, V8 Absolute
            • Max Battery Life: 40 minutes
            • Released: 2016

              The V8 represents the best balance of price and performance you’ll find in the Dyson catalog, which is why it tops our list of the best vacuums. It boasts plenty of suction and a full-machine, washable HEPA filter (this means you don’t have to replace the filter every few months) and it is frequently on sale. For an added layer of frugality, go for the manufacturer refurbished models, which come with a truncated warranty but are ensured by Dyson to perform up to the standards of its brand new equivalents.

              Upright Vacuums

              Dyson Ball Animal 3

              Ball Animal 3

              Dyson dyson.com
              $499.99
              $349.99 (30% off)
              • Available: Ball Animal 3, Complete, Extra
              • Released: 2022

                Dyson's latest upright vacuum model, the Ball Animal 3, boasts superior suction and hair-detangling capabilities. It has a 50-foot cord and a 1.7-liter dustbin for covering large spaces. Because it's corded, there's no limit to its runtime, making it a great option for large spaces that need deep cleaning often. The vacuum is also suited for homes with pets and the Complete and Extra versions of the upright even come with a pet grooming tool to remove loose hair before it even hits the ground.

                Dyson Ball Animal 2

                Ball

                Dyson dyson.com
                $599.99
                • Available: Ball Animal 2, Total Clean
                • Released: 2017

                  In comparison to its successor, the Ball Animal 2 has a much shorter cord at only 30 feet and a much smaller dustbin at about 1 liter. However, it's also designed for homes with pets, and the cleaning head can adjust to different floor levels, which allows it to move seamlessly from carpet to hard wood. Plus, like the newer cordless models, you can easily empty the dustbin with one click.

                  Discontinued and Unsupported Products

                  Because Dyson is always coming out with new products and models, there's a good chance that a machine you bought a few years ago may no longer be sold — at least by Dyson. Often other retailers, like Amazon, sell older Dyson models that have been discontinued. You'll notice that Dyson currently only sells cordless stick vacuums and uprights, but there are a few handhelds and canister vacuums on this list. While you may be able to get a deal by shopping somewhere else, be sure to check Dyson's list of retired machines to make sure you're not buying a machine that you won't be able to get replacement parts for down the line.

                  Dyson V11

                  Courtesy

                  V11 Torque Drive

                  Dyson amazon.com
                  $699.99
                  $564.00 (19% off)
                  • Available: Torque Drive
                  • Max Battery Life: 60 minutes
                  • Released: 2019

                    The brand’s V11 boasted improved battery life, more suction and more space in the dustbin when it hit the market in 2019. The V11 Torque Drive has an LCD screen that displays performance and runtime, and it has three modes: auto, eco and boost.

                    Dyson V7

                    V7 Absolute

                    Dyson amazon.com
                    $399.99
                    $347.00 (13% off)
                    • Available: Motorhead, Absolute, Animal
                    • Max Battery Life: 30 minutes
                    • Released: 2017

                      Billed as a more affordable V8, the V7 packs similar suction levels, the same dirt ejection system and much of the same shape. It does not, however, come with a washable HEPA filter. Like the V8 and other older Dyson models, it’s often the subject of significant markdowns on major ecommerce sites.

                      Dyson V6

                      V6 Absolute

                      Dyson amazon.com
                      $594.60
                      • Available: Motorhead, Animal, Absolute
                      • Max Battery Life: 20 minutes
                      • Released: 2015

                        The V6 was Dyson’s first serious attempt at a cordless vacuum that could rival upright, corded models. The V6 is almost always on sale and readily available as a manufacturer refurb, but its weak battery life can be problematic for owners who live in a big house or have tons of carpet. It features pre-motor HEPA filtration but the filter must be replaced every three to six months of consistent use.

                        Dyson V7 Handheld

                        V7 Trigger

                        Dyson amazon.com
                        $529.88
                        • Available: Trigger
                        • Max Battery Life: 30 minutes
                        • Released: 2017

                          The Dyson V7 handheld is smaller, lighter, more powerful and more energy-efficient than its predecessors. The Trigger model is the bare bones vacuum body with a small crevice, motorized and general use attachment head.

                          Dyson Cinetic Big Ball

                          Cinetic Big Ball Animal

                          Dyson amazon.com
                          $699.99
                          • Available: Animal
                          • Released: 2016

                                No bags, no filters that need replacing, no suction loss over time — this canister vacuum is for the person that has a lot of space that needs deep and consistent vacuuming. Think multiple large rugs and carpeted floors, not a New York City apartment. This model comes with a dustbin ejection system that doesn’t leave dirt all over your hands.

                                    Assistant Editor, Home and Design Will Price is Gear Patrol’s home and drinks editor.
                                    Tyler Chin is Gear Patrol’s Associate Staff Writer.
                                    Grace Cooper is a Commerce Writer at Gear Patrol, covering deals on everything from home to hiking.
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