I’ve tested numerous vacuums, from less expensive to more expensive and my conclusion remains the same – that Dyson vacuums (and their new handheld) outperform the rest, dollar for dollar, and promise the greatest return on the investment made in their products with the highest degree of customer satisfaction.

This conclusion was recently upheld in my tests of three of Dyson’s newest products.  Before launching into the details, you should know that I am a longtime Dyson fan, simply because no matter what others I have tested, none has done as good a job of sucking up the dirt on carpets and floors and also showed the ease of daily use, lack of required maintenance and infinitesimally small cost of ownership as have Dyson vacuums.  In fact, there has been $0 cost of maintenance over at least six years, so far. The other brands cannot show this excellent record. They will require maintenance that increases the overall cost of ownership, resulting in a cost much greater than owning a Dyson. And, with a Dyson, your home is cleaner, too!  Now, you do have to actually use it to achieve the clean home!

I will not embarrass the other brands of bagged and bagless vacuums, with one exception to be named later.  However, my simple tests here at Gadget Central have been as you would do in your own homes if you could.  I vacuum with my Dyson as I normally do. Then, I test the other brands to see if they get what the Dyson misses.  The next week, I do the reverse and, without exception Dyson simply picks up more, they are easier to maintain and none has ever required any cost to repair or maintain beyond the original price. No belt has ever broken even after now more than six years in service.  Our hand-me-downs have gone to good homes that still report excellent service even with rigorous use.

So, it was with great anticipation that I jumped at the chance for Dyson to send a couple of new vacuums along with the newest handheld.  I’ll provide my conclusion here – A new vacuum has done what previous Dyson vacuums have not.  This new model is the new king.  This new Dyson has outdone previous Dyson vacuums!

 

This new model is called the Dyson DC28 Animal with Airmuscle technology and this is where my story begins.

Technology in the business end is what’s different.  Dyson already has winning technology in its cyclonic air handling to provide its clog-free, no loss of suction fame. No other vacuum can do what Dyson does upstream. Others use filters that clog and cause a loss of suction, even if they appear to have similar technology, but not Dyson.  The company vigorously fights patent infringement.  Now, the focus is on where the brush head meets the carpet.

Carpets are all different in their pile heights as well as in the makeup of their fibers and in other ways.  When the brush head floats above the carpet and that beater bar spins, only so much suction can be present.  If the brush head is too far away from the carpet, above the carpet, suction leakage prevents the vacuum from bringing up dirt that is not close to the surface, so dirt can remain deeply embedded within the carpet pile.  It is impossible to create a perfect suction in this area as the surface of any carpet is not only made of fiber strands atop a carpet base on top of carpet padding.  A tight seal is not possible.

That the vacuum must also be able to easily move across the surface AND have the spinning brush beat the pile to draw out dirt creates another obstacle to creating anything approaching perfect suction.  The best that has been done by others is explained at the Airmuscle link above.  It takes not only excellent suction to begin with, but also just the right amount of downward pressure upon the carpet surface without preventing the vacuum from rolling easily.

What the Airmuscle technology has achieved is focused suction along with a head that is always at the precisely correct angle of contact regardless of the movement, the tilt of the upper part of the vacuum.

In my tests, it really works.  The “conventional” Dysons, the non-Airmuscle models still do a better job than competitors, but this model is demonstrably better.

I’ll make the point with the true story of a door-to-door sales visit to Gadget Central by a Kirby vacuum sales team.  This is and has been the ONLY authorized method of selling a Kirby vacuum, a company whose parent company is now owned by the amazing Warren Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway!  A young lady said that she was NOT selling anything, but, rather, was offering to do a demonstration of their product that was claimed to be the best vacuum AND a fine carpet cleaner as well, a wet cleaner.  Sure, said I, come on in!  She demurred and let us know that another person the actual demo person would be along in a little while to clean one room’s carpet and to demonstrate the vacuum’s awesome capabilities.

That demo was excruciating in its length.  It was stated that the demo would be about 45 minutes, but about two hours later, the demo was still in progress, first to show off vacuuming prowess before any wet carpet cleaning demo was to take place.

I remember the good old Kirby brand from when I was child. This is a brand that was very popular, even more than 50 years ago.  I remember using ours when I was a child, better at taking things apart than putting them back together.  I remember having to change the Kirby’s belt often, as well as changing the bag.  Surprisingly, the NEW Kirby resembled the old, at least visually.  I was told it still had the same hard-core suction with its super-powerful motor and the same belt system as on the original.  As well, there was the same dial on the front I remember that we turned to adjust the brush head height according to the carpet pile height beneath.

It was explained that with proper adjustment, just right, a better suction was achieved and deeper cleaning resulted.  The demo person went all about showing us how well the Kirby was performing.  The demo machine was equipped with a special, clear mechanism that used a filter sheet in the airstream to show dirt that was picked up.  In this way, no bag was used.  The prospective customer is shown quite graphically the dirt that was picked up by the Kirby and that was obviously left by the vacuum used previously.  OK, so there was some dirt!

I mentioned after a while that we used and are well satisfied with our Dyson.  They courteous demo young man suggested another demo and asked if we had a box of baking soda. Of course we had one!

Over an area already vacuumed, he sprinkled two stripes of baking soda about two feet apart.  He used a brush to beat the white powder into the pile until it all but disappeared from view.  Then, he used his Kirby to vacuum over the area of where one stripe of baking soda had been.  I did the same with my Dyson, a DC15 Animal.  Then, we switched “stripes” and repeated the test.  I got very little from the Kirby stripe.  He picked up a considerable amount from the Dyson stripe.  Impressive!  Hmmm.

I could offer no argument, and then it came to finishing the demo.  He used attachments to shampoo one room’s carpet with his Kirby.  More demos with other attachments ensued. And then came the pitch, and the price.

For a mere, discounted price of about $2400, yes, that’s right, the Kirby and attachments could be ours.

That kind of money is not in the budgets of most consumers.  In addition, with all those attachments and all the added capabilities, I was wondering how there could be time in any given day or week to regularly use them all.  Even occasionally, thorough vacuuming of each room, up and downstairs, plus using the ceiling and wall attachment, the handheld capabilities to de-bed bug bedding, the shampooing attachments and all the rest, it would be a huge time commitment to industrially clean any home. Not that the Kirby is not capable, but, really, $2400?

I thanked them for the demo and we parted company.  I was satisfied with my $550 Dyson and felt that, no, I knew that it is still better than anything in its price class, better than anything I’ve tested that sells for less and almost as good as a machine.  That is, my Dyson is almost as good at carpet vacuuming as the Kirby that is more than four times the price!

Fast forward to today.  Of course, I’ve been thinking about that Kirby demo.  Now, with that in mind, I did the same test with the DC15 and with the new Airmuscle.  You can guess the outcome.  The Airmuscle performed better than the DC15 Animal. While I did not have another $2400 Kirby for reference, the result was similar in appearance.  Why would anyone spend that much for a vacuum, regardless of its added capabilities?

Oh, and I should mention that this Dyson also includes a lifetime washable HEPA filter!

The Airmuscle is the best all-around performing Dyson I have tested.  In fact, it is the best vacuum I have ever tested that is at an affordable price.  It simply puts to shame any other brand, all the popular ones, the geeky Euro brands and all the Japanese models around.  It is best suited for homes in which there is a lot of carpeted space. It would be waste if you have little to no carpeting.  Gadget Central is almost fully carpeted.

Next up, I tried the new DC25 Blueprint Limited Edition, a smaller, lighter weight “Ball” vacuum by Dyson.  The Dyson Ball vacuums are known for their extreme maneuverability.  This littler one, a white one, is different and smaller than our DC15 Animal.  In addition to its hospital white color and its smaller, lighter stance, everything is refined, updated and improved.  While still having the tenacious Dyson never-loses-suction system, let’s start at the bottom, that business end referred to above.

 

The main motor is in the ball!  There is a separate motor in the brush head so there is no attachment belt from the main motor.  The brush head installs and is removed easily, ingeniously. When connected to the main body, there is an electrical connector, a plug, as part of that connection. It is hidden and only noticeable if one cares to inspect carefully.  The point is that after removing the brush head assembly, only a quarter-turn of a coin-operated screw is required to enable the brush to be removed completely, sliding out so neatly, for complete cleaning.  Have you ever inspected the brush at the bottom of your vacuum?  In Gadget Central, with longhaired girls, it gets pretty disgusting! Hair all wrapped round and round as well as carpet fibers and all sorts of other strange material. Yes, the brush is doing its job of beating the carpet and drawing in dirt and debris, but that brush!  It really needs attention after each vacuuming, even were we to vacuum twice a week! This simple removal and reinstallation procedure is remarkable.  Watch the video below and you will see just how ingenious is just this one part of the entire DC25.

Now, let’s move up to the handle.  Dyson calls this their Quick-draw Telescope Reach wand, which is also the same as on the DC28.  With a flip of the cap on the top of the handle, raise the central tube up and up and then the entire handle detaches.  Now, with the flex hose still attached and that handle now down at the bottom of the tube, users may connect the supplied attachments, including the FlatOut™ head, which is also supplied with the DC28 reviewed above.  The hose with wand attached can reach out at least about 15 feet!

This handle/wand, too, is an engineering marvel and works so easily and well.  No difficult operations to uncouple this and attach that.  It’s just one seamless motion and operation.  Brilliant!

This FlatOut™ head presents a wide head with a full-width opening for use ideally on bare floors.  With a twist of the handle, the head will lay as flat as the tube to which it is connected, allowing ultimate pickup under even low furniture.

Also included is a stair tool, a small, air driven rotating brush head for use on stairs, and a combination accessory tool with a narrow, small end for crevices and a slide-up, slide-down end brush.  The rotating brush is easily removable for complete cleaning!

How well does this model clean?  Like a Dyson, of course!  Its smaller capacity dirt canister requires more frequent cleaning than the larger models, but its cleaning power, the suction power is nearly as great as the DC28, but not quite.  I’d suggest this model for vacation homes, smaller homes or apartments as well as for larger homes in which this model makes an ideal upstairs vacuum!

The DC25 is equipped with washable filters that should receive quarterly attention.  Of interest, at least to me, is that one of the filters is under the “lid” of the dirt bin and the other is inside the ball through a removable hatch!

Not much else to say about the DC25 Blueprint Limited Edition except that I am enjoying it as is the entire Gadget Family.  In fairness, we all just love all the Dyson products we are privileged to use.  We are a proud all-Dyson preferred family.

It is fair to say that if I find a vacuum better than a Dyson, one that cleans better, is easier and more enjoyable to operate, promises to be even more solidly built and engineered and also has a $0 cost of maintenance, I’ll buy it!  And then I will recommend it to you!

Last up in this Dyson triple play report is the all-new handheld DC31 Animal. This is an update to the original Dyson Root 6 handheld, now discontinued, that I was privileged to introduce to American TV audiences three years ago at this season.

My, how things have changed, but not everything! The new model is sleeker, lighter weight (only 3.4-pounds), more refined, of course.  The new motor, an all-new digital motor, is seen above just above the handle at the right.  That motor sound is as one might imagine would be made by a handheld turbine engine.  It is high revving and high pitched, with a firm and precise air of authority.  It commands attention, yet is it not loud in an overbearing fashion.

Not only is the motor high revving, but power is increased allowing it even greater effective cleaning and oh, so much suction!  Still it is electrically efficient, as well.  It has a dual power mode, with 10 minutes of its high, constant suction or six minutes of service per charge with 70% higher suction.  This is a workhorse!

Its portability suggests it is the perfect companion in any normal household in which there are lots of “oops” dry spills and small areas of tracked-in this and than, debris left behind on furniture and so on, perhaps a wad of fur from Fluffy. This is where the Animal head comes in handy.  This is a powered head, deriving its electricity through the connection that is automatically made when the head is installed. Inside the Animal attachment lies its own motor.  This is also ideal for auto interiors.  Genius again!

The motorized brush will, of course, require attention, as you read above about the other Dyson models and, in fact, about any vacuum with a spinning brush inside the head. Other vacuums make this a difficult in addition to unpleasant chore. Often, on other models, it is simply not easy nor convenient nor even possible to thoroughly remove wrapped-around stuff from the brush itself.  Even on this precision handheld model, this is easy.  On one side of the brush head end is a coin-operated screw that, with the customary quarter turn to the left, releases the cap and, so, the brush itself can be easily, fully extracted for complete care and cleaning.  Popped back in place, screw quarter-turned right and it’s all buttoned up once again.  Oh, and I should offer further design, engineering and manufacturing props for the way the lower plate on the Animal attachment rotates to accommodate a wide angle of attack to remain in proper orientation to the to-be-cleaned surface below.

Also standard with this (and the standard DC31 model) is a combination accessory tool – a narrow, angle-tipped nozzle for debris removal with a slide-in-, slide-out-of-position brush for cleaning in narrow areas such as picture frames, baseboards and for other small dusting chores.

Emptying the bin is a fast tab down to drop the bin bottom, ideally over a waste receptacle.  Again, simple as any Dyson.

The battery recharges in place fully in about two and one half hours.

This Dyson DC31 Animal is, too, a joy to use and, for me, another example of Dyson engineering prowess.  It’s a bit pricey at a retail cost of $220 but in this product is all that could be expected of a handheld Dyson, unlike any other handheld.  Unlike other products does not automatically determine that it is better than others, but you know that it my intention here is to say it is quite superior.  The only other handheld I have used that commands any respect from me is the Hoover Platinum Collection Cordless Hand Vac, now priced at $130.

By comparison, the Hoover is better than any Dust Buster, but it has its drawbacks when compared with the Dyson DC31.  The Dyson offers measurably, demonstrably more and better performance than all others.  It is truly a shrunken full-size Dyson.  There is no motorized head for the Hoover. It is a sucking machine only, and only through its open orifice.  Also, with each use of either the Hoover handheld or its sister Cordless Stick Vac, the filter MUST be cleaned, that is, washed in soapy water, wrung out and left overnight to dry.  This is likely an inconvenience for most users.  I accept it. Others here find it an unwelcome drudgery and a chore rarely undertaken by others because they know I will step in and get the job done, ultimately.

The Dyson DC31, of course, requires only more occasional attention, and promises far less mess than other models, than any other model handheld.  This, along with its superior performance where it counts suggests that the cost is well justified for anyone with a demanding workload for such a gadget.  And remember that this buy-in cost is the end of the road as far as money spent. There is no periodic maintenance to be performed that requires the expense of an expert.  The only area in which the Hoover product bests this Dyson is in its six-year warranty (not including the battery with its two-year warranty).  The entire Dyson DC31 carries a two-year warranty.

I wish to address one other area that is often mentioned by unworthy competitors which attempt to discredit Dyson’s bagless design.  “They” suggest that it is unhealthy and messy, an asthma sufferer’s worst nightmare when emptying a dirt bin such as on a Dyson.  On the contrary, if done properly, it is no problem at all.  Ideally, with this or any bagless vacuum, the dirt receptacle should be emptied directly into a garbage bag outside or in the garage, somewhere where the dust that may fly a bit will be least impactful upon others.  This only makes sense.  The air expelled from Dyson vacuums is ordinarily clean.  Some have HEPA filtration, while others do not.  If allergies and other pulmonary-related concerns exist, then it is appropriate for the consumer to pursue the purchase of a Dyson or any vacuum with this caution in mind. However, in my experience, caution, and not undue, awkward action is rewarded with a minimum of kicked-up dust when emptying a Dyson dirt bin.

Finally, a word about where to buy your Dyson.  It is no mystery.  Shop in conventional establishments, from Costco and Target to all the rest and certainly shop online seeking your best deal.  First, however, for the purpose of familiarity and to decide upon which Dyson best meets your needs, seek information on the main Dyson Website.

So, readers, there you have it.  A threesome like no others, only from Dyson!

Next up for me from Dyson, I am looking forward to evaluating their technology showcase that is the new Dyson Air Multiplier Fan series.  Air delivered without fan blades and no spinning things to make noise or gather dirt.  I can’t wait!

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