Lugging out the vacuum is often too much hassle for some spilled cereal. It’s just easier to grab the broom and dustpan. Today’s lightweight, cordless vacs attempt to replace the old non-electronic standbys by being even more convenient for quick pickups. The Dyson V6 Automate is one such model, aiming to be your go-to for messes on your hardwood floors, carpets, couches, and keyboards. It’s got the versatility part down — and backs it up with its powerful suction.
A plethora of parts
I spent a few days dropping spare vacuum parts down the hall as I toted the Dyson V6 around the office recently. Don’t get me wrong: At just over five pounds, the Absolute is easy to carry, but there are just so many attachments. When you open the box, you’ll see the main body, an aluminum wand, a hardwood floor cleaner head, a carpet cleaner head, a nylon brush tool for pet hair, a dust brush for electronics, a crevice tool, a combination tool, and a docking station. All adhere to the familiar Dyson look of bright colors mixed with grays. The body of the vacuum holds the 0.11-gallon dustbin, the HEPA filter, a washable filter on top, and the motor “V6.”
It’s pretty obvious, even without cracking open the manual, what attaches where. You can snap everything into the red aluminum wand for extra reach or stick it right into the vacuum’s body. This gives you versatility if you need to suck pet hair off the couch or dust off the ceiling fan’s blades.
As I mentioned, the Absolute is cordless. It takes between three and four hours to charge and lasts for about 20 minutes of cleaning time. There’s a “Max” button that delivers an extra oomph of power, but if you leave it on all the time, the battery drains in about six minutes. I did a couple mixes of regular and max and found I could clean for around 13 minutes with that technique. Though it can tackle both your hardwood and carpet, thanks to its various attachments, this vacuum isn’t going to last long enough to do so if you don’t live in a studio apartment.
Once you snap everything together (and charge up the battery), you’re ready to roll. To clean, you have to continually hold a trigger on the vacuum. That may not be a big deal during spot cleaning, but could become uncomfortable if you’re planning on exhausting the battery. Speaking of which, the first time it ran out, I didn’t notice the low-battery light that quickly illuminated before the end. It would’ve been nice to have a little more warning that time was running out. I feel like I didn’t have a chance to say goodbye before it died.
This vacuum isn’t going to last long enough to clean your whole house unless you live in a studio apartment.
The two heads are good at what they’re designed to do. The fluffy soft head did a super job of picking up sand, rice, and flour, though there were times when it dragged or pushed the debris around a bit before eventually slurping it up. The carpet head did really well with the flour and rice and did nearly as well as its bigger cousin, the Cinetic Big Ball, when it came to particles of sand.
Dyson boasts about the suction created between the vacuum head and the floor, and I could definitely feel it when I wasn’t using the wand; it took a little tug to separate the two. I found that I really didn’t even need to use the Max button with the soft head, but the vacuum definitely did a more thorough job on the carpet with the extra power. For some of the bigger piles of rice, the vacuum seemed to push them around for a bit before eventually drawing them in.
The Absolute is pretty adept at picking up pet fur, though little of it made it to the dustbin when I used the hardwood floor attachment. Instead, it got tangled around the smaller of the two soft rollers, but it was easy enough to remove, even if I prefer to touch pet hair when it’s still attached to a living, breathing animal. If you’ve left the chore for a while, though, this could hamper the close contact between vacuum and seal usually created by the Absolute’s suction.
The dustbin opens pretty easily and you can remove it for a more thorough cleaning. Taking off the bin proved a little tricky, however, and due to the placement of the trigger I kept accidentally starting up the suction. Also, I thought I’d done something wrong when the filter on top of the vacuum kept falling out, but no. It turns out it’s just overly easy to remove: It just rests in place, which is fine, until you start knocking the vacuum around to shake loose dust particles and the filter comes tumbling down, too.
There’s a lot to like about the Dyson V6 Absolute. It’s lightweight, easy to use, powerful, and versatile. With its myriad attachments, it can quickly tackle pretty much any job you throw at it, as long as you’re not asking it to clean the whole house. With its 20-minutes-or-less battery life, you’ll want to pull the Absolute out for little chores then stick it back on its charging station. Even with a $162 discount on Amazon, $438 is a lot to pay for a vacuum that might be best used as a supplement, even though it does do lots of tasks really well. Call it the price of progress.
- Simple to figure out
- Lots of attachment options
- Cleans both carpet and hardwood
- Short battery life
- You may need a second vacuum