Over a year ago, we tested out the Dyson V6. It was a lightweight, cordless vacuum with good suction — and mediocre battery life. The Dyson V8 Absolute updates several features compared to the earlier version, but the most notable improvement is the battery life. The V6 couldn’t withstand much more cleaning than 20 minutes. Neither can we, but we’d like the option to go on a full-house vacuuming spree, should the need arise.
With a better battery life, is the Dyson V8 worth its $600 price? Read on to find out.
Looks like a Dyson — or three or four different ones
The first thing you’ll notice about the Dyson V8 Absolute is that it comes with a lot of gear. In addition to the gray, purple, and red vacuum itself, there’s an orange wand and six attachments. The soft roller cleaner head is meant for floors, while the direct drive cleaner head has bristles for carpet cleaning. There’s also a motorized tool that works well on pet hair, a crevice tool, and a soft brush for cleaning electronics. The combination tool has both a brush and a piece of plastic that extends from it that works more like the crevice tool. You’d almost think this would make the two separate tools that provide similar functions redundant, and we couldn’t find a compelling reason to have all three.
The motor and bin are in the main part of the vacuum, which weighs about 5.6 pounds. That’s also where you’ll also find the HEPA and washable filters. It has a red trigger button that you have to hold down continuously to get the vacuum sucking. This is fine for quick jobs, but we found our fingers cramping a bit if we used the vac for its full 40-minute runtime. The Dyson did stay true to this promised time frame with the smaller attachments, averaging around 41 minutes. In max mode, the vacuum died at between eight and nine minutes, a minute longer than its promised runtime.
The motor makes the vacuum top-heavy, so it won’t stand on its own when the wand is attached, even with the cleaner heads on. This may not be a huge deal, but leaning it against a counter isn’t effective if you have to answer the phone or take a break from all that button pressing.
For storage, the vacuum comes with a wall-mount. It’s meant to be a convenient way to charge the vacuum, which is great. It takes about five hours to get the thing fully juiced, which is a long time if you’ve spent under 10 minutes using the max-power mode. There isn’t enough room on the mount for all the attachments, though, so you’ll have to store some elsewhere. It’s actually a little odd that Dyson, known for its design, didn’t make enough space for all the V8’s parts.
Bin there, done that
Every time I review a new Dyson vacuum, I end up with dust all over my floor, post-vacuuming. There’s always some little trick to opening the bin, and I invariably muck it up the first time. Things were no different with the V8 Absolute, but after that first disaster, pulling up on the red plastic doohickey proved pretty easy. When you do, a trapdoor on the bin swings open and the cyclone lifts up and out of the bin, shaking loose the debris and making it easier to clean the bin and its components. It still releases some of the contents in a cloud of dust, so allergy sufferers might want to take note of that.
The bin holds 0.14 gallons, which is actually a bit smaller than what you’ll find on some robot vacuums but an upgrade from the V6’s 0.11-gallon bin. There’s a max line on the clear canister, so you can see when it’s too full of dust bunnies.
Tackling the cat tree
To test out the vacuum’s suction power, we ran it through the paces with 100 grams of flour, sand, rice, and cereal on both hardwood and carpeted floors. The key was selecting the right tool for the job: The cleaner head meant for carpets was abysmal at picking up cereal on the wooden floor, for example, merely pushing the Os around instead of sucking them up. When the cereal got stuck in the roller, the vacuum’s motor starting pulsing on and off, letting me know there was a problem.
Swapping out attachments is extremely easy.
When the proper accessory was attached, the Dyson did a pretty good job of picking up the messes, especially the rice and cereal, picking up about 97 percent for both in a minute of cleaning. Max mode proved the way to go when picking up the admittedly heavy particles of sand, and we saw an average of a 16 percent improvement on performance.
My cat’s tree generally has enough fur on it at any given time to reconstitute an entirely new feline. The motorized tool has a rectangular opening with a brush attached to a plastic roller inside. It works really well picking up pet fur on flat surfaces, but its unusual shape — plastic juts out on one side of the attachment — made it little awkward for cleaning the door-shaped opening on the cat tree.
Swapping out all these attachments is very easy, but because the carpet cleaner head performed much better on carpet than the hardwood version and vice versa, you’ll need to keep going back to the mount (or wherever you’re storing the extra attachments) to pick the right one for the job.
While Dyson’s upright vacuums have five-year warranties, its cordless products have only two-year warranties.Our Take
At $600, the Dyson V8 is one pricey cordless. It’s also extremely lightweight and pretty powerful for a cordless. Its relatively small footprint and myriad attachments make it pretty ideal for apartment and condo-dwellers — especially because its five-hour charge-time and 40-minute run-time mean you couldn’t clean a three-bedroom house in one go.
What are the alternatives?
The DT Accessory Pack
While it may not have as many attachments or the sleek look of a Dyson, the Hoover Air Cordless has a longer runtime at 50 minutes and it takes three hours to recharge its interchangeable battery. It’s also $250. For $180, you could also get the Bissell Bolt Ion XRT 2-in-1, which is both a cordless vac and dustbuster. Both options provide long runtimes and good cleaning power at more affordable prices, though they do lack some of the versatility of the Dyson V8.
Will it last?
Entirely plastic, the Dyson feels pretty durable, though the aluminum wand did get a ding when we propped it against the counter and it properly fell over. The V8 roughly doubled the battery life of the V6, so it would be nice if the vacuums had swappable packs like the Hoover Air Cordless machines. In fact, it would be great if you could have a spare battery that you could exchange in when the first one ran out of juice.
Should you buy it?
If your place is spacious and you’re looking for something to be your one-and-only vacuum, you probably don’t want a cordless. But if your apartment has pets, hardwood floors, and carpet and you want something that can handle it all, the V8 is versatile enough to do so. It’s pretty enough that you might not mind hanging it on your wall, but there are cheaper, less elegant cordless vacs out there if the V8 doesn’t fit your budget.