Dyson DC59 Animal review

Lightweight, a snap to maneuver and easy on the eyes, the cordless Dyson DC59 Animal is a surprising joy to use. It almost makes cleaning fun. Almost.
Lightweight, a snap to maneuver and easy on the eyes, the cordless Dyson DC59 Animal is a surprising joy to use. It almost makes cleaning fun. Almost.
Lightweight, a snap to maneuver and easy on the eyes, the cordless Dyson DC59 Animal is a surprising joy to use. It almost makes cleaning fun. Almost.

Highs

  • Lightweight
  • Balanced design
  • Surprisingly powerful
  • Docking station for easy storage

Lows

  • Trigger can tire the finger
  • Dirt bin has low capacity
  • Boost battery mode very limited

DT Editors' Rating

Dyson is a relatively new name in the vacuum industry, yet inventor James Dyson was tinkering with the technology for decades before introducing his own products. Early on he met resistance from major manufacturers when he showed them how to improve their vacuums: They were wedded to their vacuum bags, clunky designs and inefficient motors.

It’s hard not to fall in the love with the stalwart Dyson DC59 Animal.

Dyson proved he was on to something when he launched the bagless DA001 in 1993. Since then he’s created dozens of models, including the cordless Dyson Digital Slim DC59 Animal, a sleek, handheld vacuum that claims to have three times more suction power than its cordless competitors.

Putting a vacuum through its paces has its perks. After all, there’s only one way to test it – by vacuuming dirty floors. With a cat, a messy parrot and a combination of carpet, rugs and tile flooring, our Dyson Digital Slim DC59 had a tough assignment.

Nice Maneuvering

Even before removing the $499 DC59 from the box, I could tell it was light and compact. The entire package fit under my arm and was easy to carry on public transportation.

Dyson DC59 Animal

There are only two main parts – the purple aluminum wand and the main body, which houses the V6 motor, the filter and the clear dustbin. The powered brush head is designed to handle like an upright vacuum on carpet or hard floors; the smaller head is ideal for stairs. A handy little upholstery brush and a corner nozzle are also included. All of these can attach with ease to the wand or directly to the main body, which is incredibly convenient for quick cleanups in the house or car.

It’s weirdly satisfying to watch hair, dirt and dust build up so fast in that plastic compartment.

I was vacuuming within a minute of opening the box. The motor whirred, and I roamed everywhere, unencumbered by a cord and hose – it’s a weird sense of freedom. I chose the main head to start and got to work on the carpet near the birdcage. Having the weight of the vacuum above and below my hand, rather than on the floor, made it much easier to maneuver. Getting into small spaces, under furniture and along windowsills was remarkably easy. And with a light touch of the blue “Boost” button near the motor, the DC59 kicked into super suction, requiring less effort to achieve serious, deep cleaning in tough areas.

Although the powered brush rolled smoothly over carpeting, rugs, and hard floor, it didn’t impress me along the baseboards. At first I pushed it directly into the wall, then along the edge, to no avail. Finally, I replaced the brush head with the nozzle. That attachment was more than sufficient, but it was a step I’d rather avoid.

Trigger Happy

There isn’t an on or off switch on the DC59 Animal but instead a trigger that requires one finger to keep the motor working, like on a cordless drill. While it’s light to the touch, I found my hand, especially my trigger finger, aching midway through the job. It was also hard to avoid hitting the trigger when cleaning the bin or attaching the body to the charging dock.

Cleaning Machine

Both the brush heads are equipped with carbon fiber antistatic bristles to reduce the build-up of static charge. They also help capture fine dust on hard floors. The nylon bristles effectively trap ground-in dirt from carpets, all of which you can see as it fills up the clear bin. Yuck. 

It’s weirdly satisfying to watch hair, dirt and dust build up so fast in that plastic compartment. And I do mean quickly. One of the downsides to the DC59’s compact size is that it doesn’t hold much debris. In turn, that can mean a couple trips to the trash to empty the bin’s contents. If your home is shared with four-legged or winged friends, you may need to dump it several times per vacuum session.

Hygienic, Perhaps

Dyson made the clear bin relatively easy to clean. A red button on the handle releases the dirt directly into the trash. Fur and rug fibers, however, require more effort to dump which is why the entire bin can be detached from the main body by pressing the red button a second time.

Dyson DC59 Animal

But I still had to pull several tenacious clumps of hair and rug fibers from the filter. Then I discovered that the small upholstery brush attachment is an ideal tool for taking a final sweep of the bin before putting it back together and returning to task.

Energy Use

For the DC59 Animal, Dyson re-engineered the nickel manganese cobalt battery, and that means 26 minutes of cleaning time when it’s fully charged, unless using the Boost mode. In that case, you have 6 minutes to do the job — not much time if you’re cleaning out a really dirty car, for example. Because recharging takes 3.5 hours, I preferred to limit my Boost use to spot cleaning, where it warranted the extra power. Still, with a full charge I cleaned my small, three-bedroom house with enough time to spare for dusting a few tchotchkes.

Conclusion

It’s hard not to fall in the love with the stalwart Dyson DC59 Animal. It feels good in the hand, it’s lightweight, and it’s easy to maneuver. And I even like the look of it. Perhaps its most impressive quality, however, is its power to clean. Dyson has a way with packing a lot of power in a small body. I respect that.

Is it worth $499? If you consider there’s no need to buy bags or filters, and that minimal parts often means less chance for breakage or repairs, then I’d certainly consider it a long-term investment in clean.

Highs

  • Lightweight
  • Balanced design
  • Surprisingly powerful
  • Docking station for easy storage

Lows

  • Trigger can tire the finger
  • Dirt bin has low capacity
  • Boost battery mode very limited
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