To Find the Best Dyson Vacuums, We Tested Every Model in Its Latest Line
Spoiler: They are slimmer and stronger—and last longer.
Published Jun 30, 2022 8:00 PM
Reading up on Domino’s shopping guides is like having your own personal product concierge. We do the tedious part—deep-dive research, hands-on testing, and tapping experts for advice—so all you have to do is hit “add to cart.” That’s why we call them Simply the Best.
Visit the home of any Domino editor and you’re likely to find a Dyson V8 stored in their closet. This versatile machine has been a favorite for years now, earning the title of our go-to tool for sucking up tumbleweeds of dust bunnies—it tops our list of the best cordless vacuums—and keeping our homes feeling fresh. Content with its powerful suction, decent battery life (are you ever actually vacuuming for more than 40 minutes?), and slim profile (weighing in at just under 6 pounds), we definitely raised a few eyebrows as to what you’d gain by switching to the brand’s newest models that launched in June. We wanted to know if it was worth departing from our tried-and-true and splurging (to the tune of $600) on a new vacuum. As it turns out, it overwhelmingly is.
Already familiar with a number of Dyson units, including cordless, upright, and the classic canister, we decided to expand our exposure by bringing home the latest additions specifically from the Laser range, plus their updated tools and attachments. A month in and we’ve discovered that, by using the best Dyson vacuums, cleaning our floors no longer feels like a chore.
- Best overall: Dyson V15 Detect
- Best value: Dyson V8
- Best canister: Dyson Big Ball Multi Floor
- Best for hard surfaces: Dyson Omni-Glide
- Best for small spaces: Dyson V12 Detect Slim
- Best for large homes: Dyson Outsize
Best Overall: Dyson V15 Detect
Suction power: 230 AW | Weight: 6.8 pounds | Power: Battery up to 60 minutes | Price: $749
What we like
- Strongest cordless vacuum
- Adaptive suction power based on flooring
- Trigger controlled
- Same battery life as the smaller V12
Why we chose it: Not too big, not too small—this is an all-around powerful machine you can tap for everyday spills and routine deep-cleans in an average-size home.
Since not all of us happen to be in large, multi-floor homes or live in small city apartments, the V15 stood out as the most versatile vacuum, fitting well into any space thanks to its overall medium size. While pricier than the V8, we found it to be worth making the upgrade for: It lasts longer and is stronger (delivers 100 percent more suction), bigger, and impressively intuitive. It’s great across all surfaces (not once did we deal with an awkward adjustment period; it moved flawlessly from room to room, even when we lazily kept the Laser Slim Fluffy cleaner head on instead of switching it out, despite being designed with hard floors in mind). While only a smidge bigger than the V8, we’d still describe its overall silhouette as slim, though it’s equipped with a larger bin capacity compared to the smaller V12 (220 percent bigger), which adds on a bit more in weight. While this allowed us to go longer without emptying in-between uses, we did notice it made a difference on our thumb and wrist, especially during longer cleans.
Best Value: Dyson V8
Suction power: 115 AW | Weight: 5.5 pounds | Power: Battery up to 40 minutes | Price: $449
What we like
- More affordable cordless price point
- Max it out on medium- and high-pile rugs
- Great filtration
- Often included in sales since it’s older
- Not as strong compared to other cordless options
Why we chose it: The original we all first fell in love with.
Nearly six years ago, Dyson introduced the V8 and we discovered that being cord-free really equated to hassle-free cleaning. Since it is battery powered, we are able to vacuum without being attached to an outlet, and our editors love being able to detach it into a handheld for more agile scours. It remains Dyson’s most popular machine, and it just so happened to receive a refresh this year—your vacuum will now come with the new motorbar cleaner head featuring anti-tangle technology (more on that below) that combines powerful suction with 43 polycarbonate teeth that sort of acts like a comb for hair, moving it through the vacuum into the bin without getting caught (or requiring us to pull out the inevitable knots).
Best Canister: Dyson Big Ball Multi Floor
Suction power: 250 AW | Weight: 17.6 pounds | Power: Cord | Price: $524
What we like
- Powerful suction
- 5-year warranty (3 years longer than the cordless vacs)
- Self-righting; if it falls over, this machine picks itself right back up
- Requires a lot of storage space
- Loud in comparison to other units
Why we chose it: Rely on a classic for intense suction power.
There’s a reason that upright and canister vacuums still command a big part of the market—they’re familiar, borderline nostalgic, and consistently perform without many maintenance issues. Durable canister vacuums like the Big Ball Multi Floor can last decades and require just a little learning curve. The special ball design makes it easy to maneuver, erasing the usual qualm of canisters, despite its heftier weight. And despite not being cordless, it still offers a lot of reach when you take its 21-foot-long plug-in wire and 50-inch expandable wand into account. Add in Dyson’s bagless, easy-to-eject dustbin design that releases everything at the push of a button, and it’s a standout among all canister vacuums. The Big Ball is also controlled by a trigger to turn on all the tiny tornadoes inside that you can tone up or down, depending on the type of flooring surface you’re going over.
Best for Hard Surfaces: Dyson Omni-Glide
Suction power: 50AW | Weight: 4.18 pounds | Power: Battery up to 20 minutes | Price: $400
What we like
- A soft, protective roller
- Budget-friendly price point
- Only takes 3.5 hours to fully charge (most others take 4-plus)
- Push-to-start instead of trigger control
- Niche when compared to multipurpose models
- Weaker battery
Why we chose it: If you live in a home where the floor is exclusively hardwood or tile, you won’t have to worry about turning off a beater bar.
Designed with hardwood in mind, the Omni-Glide is honestly impressive on any hard surface—in fact, it’s one of our favorite vacuums for tile floors. It is the lightest on this list—just a hair over 4 pounds—and it’s also small all around, with an extra-small bin of only .05 gallons. But if you barely have any rugs or carpets, you don’t actually need heavy-duty suction power. If you’re like us and can’t help but get a little overbearing about your floors, especially if the top layer is oil rather than, say, aluminum oxide, this will glide over laminate, wood, vinyl, and tile with ease, and won’t scuff or scratch the surface thanks to its unique “double fluffy” head attachment that sucks in everything (even pet hair) from 360 degrees. We also love that it can lay perfectly flat, making it that much easier to extend our reach under furniture; this, paired with the illuminating crevice tool, is a beacon in the darkest spaces.
Best for Small Spaces: Dyson V12 Detect Slim
Suction power: 150AW | Weight: 5.2 pounds | Power: Battery up to 60 minutes | Price: $649
What we like
- Button control instead of a trigger (say goodbye to hand cramps)
- Adaptive suction power to different flooring
- More easily maneuvers into hard-to-reach nooks and crannies
- You’ll have to sacrifice some power for size
- Medium-size bin
Why we chose it: As light as a handheld vacuum and won’t take up too much square footage (even a narrow linen closet).
The defining feature of the V12 is that it’s compact and lightweight, perhaps too lightweight—there were moments where it felt like we barely had control over the machine since it’s nearly as powerful as the V15, but 24 percent lighter. With its furry head on a hard surface, it felt almost as if we were steering nothing; in carpeted areas and with the motorbar cleaner head, it righted itself, and the latter would add extra weight in hand (though it was noticeably louder).
Sometimes it struggled over lumpy, misshapen surfaces, but the auto-adjustment technology is truly nothing to scoff at. A snag or hiccup usually only lasted a couple of seconds before it eased or reared up. While we didn’t think too much of the trigger control prior to trying out the V12, it definitely made a world of difference—once you get used to it, that is—and was most notable when going back and forth between other models. It’s easier on your thumb and we experienced zero hand cramps on deeper cleans, unlike the other laser-backed picks.
Best for Large Homes: Dyson Outsize+
Suction power: 220 AW | Weight: 7.98 pounds | Power: Battery up to 120 minutes | Price: $940
What we like
- Extra-large emptying bin (dump less, clean more)
- Comes with two charging cords and batteries (they’re bigger than the V12)
- Adaptive suction power based on flooring
- Longest-lasting battery life (twice as long compared to other cordless options)
- Heaviest (and priciest!) of the cordless vacuums
- LCD screen doesn’t reveal particle count
Why we chose it: Go big for your bigger home.
The Outsize is aptly named—it shipped in a surprisingly large box (especially when it arrived with the V12 and V15), with the majority of its heft centered in the extra-large dustbin that can hold 1.9 liters of stuff (including whole pieces of shredded wheat cereal). Though we did find it made it a bit top-heavy; maneuverability wasn’t as smooth and required a bit more effort in comparison to the fluidity of the other lasers. For our NYC apartment, it’s a bit much, but in a 1,000-square-foot-plus home, this model would be perfect.
Though do be mindful around loose rugs: The 18-cyclone-powered suction is so strong it would sometimes even catch our rug for a moment (especially over a dirty patch, such as when we poured out baking powder as a test). It never happened to eat up any tasseled edges, however, which we marked down as a big win. The Outsize also comes with a larger motorbar, equipped with extra teeth (59, to be exact), though the laser-compatible fluffy cleaner is the same size as it is for the smaller V12 and V15, which we found to be a bit awkward when paired up with the Outsize’s all-around larger stature.
On Our Radar
Ahead, while we haven’t had the opportunity yet to test these vacuums to see how well they work for us, we have heard plenty of good things.
- If reducing the amount of visible fur in your home is priority number one, then the newest upright, the Dyson Ball Animal 3, is what we’d recommended for you, especially after we discovered that pet hair carries more than just your dog or cat’s dander—there’s pollen and all sorts of other allergens from outside that creep into your home.
- As devotees to the V8, Domino editors weren’t quite persuaded by the V10 to give it a try, but it still boasts some powerful features, including a slightly stronger suction and larger bin.
How We Chose These Products
Already pretty aware of the prowess of multiple Dyson vacuum cleaners—specifically the V8, the V7 handheld (a handy tool for small messes and upholstery), the Big Ball Canister, and the Omni-Glide—we widened these personal experiences by getting our hands on the brand’s latest launches and running them through a bunch of tests at home to determine the differences between each. We lived with the Detect units for nearly a month, switching between each to run them over hard and soft surfaces (namely parquet hardwood and ceramic tile, as well as both low- and high-pile rugs during the day and at night to get a better visual on what the laser revealed). This process also gave us insight into just how long each model could last before needing a charge (and based on how rigorous the cleaning sessions were). After getting a general feel and familiarity, especially with all of the different attachment accessories, we then put them up against a structured series of obstacles—crushed cereal, whole cereal, and baking soda—to see how each performed. We considered how the vacuum powered up, how many passes it took to remove every crumb, if anything was blown away by the powerful suction, or if any got stuck (spoiler: nothing did). Of course, we also tapped Dyson’s lead system engineer, Carlos Dorado Cardenas, to get a better understanding of the inner workings of these machines and how each promises different deliverables based on lifestyle and cleaning needs.
Our Shopping Checklist
The one thing you usually don’t have to worry about no matter which Dyson vacuum you choose is suction power, that and “effective pickup and unmatched filtration,” adds Cardenas. While most vacuum companies refer to the term Pa, which stands for pascal pressure unit, to quantify the strength of their units, we noticed Dyson defaults to its motors, which are all about airflow created by cyclones. Its cordless vacuums, for instance, typically provide 230 air watts (AW) of power, whereas its canister and upright models offer a bit more oomph.
Size and Weight
Dyson vacuums run the gamut of being small and lightweight to large and powerful. “The key differentiation factor in our floor-care range is what you can see: size. Here at Dyson, we believe there isn’t a one-size-fits-all vacuum, which is why we offer products that vary in size, weight, battery life, and power, to fit specific home needs,” explains Cardenas.
Cord vs. Cordless
Likely the biggest benefit of a cordless vacuum is the lack of limitations of where you can go; you don’t have to rely on being close enough to an outlet or even worry about accidentally sucking up the wire (guilty as charged). For a long time, corded vacuums offered a more powerful suction, yet Dyson’s new iterations definitely challenge that. But there still is a place for their upright or canister vacuums, and smaller, handheld offerings, too. It all depends on what you’re comfortable with; for instance, cleaning a sprawling home and running the risk of a dead battery is not so fun. And all of Dyson’s cordless vacuums can be detached into a smaller, handheld tool, if you need to tackle tighter quarters or stairwells.
For the cordless vacuums, we do admit that charging sometimes felt like a bit of a chore—the docking station is a little awkward and definitely bulky (plus needing room to store extra attachments and tools). While these vacuums aren’t an eyesore, we’d still prefer to put them away and out of sight when not in use. And initially, while testing, we thought we had to either prop them up on a wall near an outlet plugged in to charge, leaving them be overnight (most require four-plus hours), to only later discover that the battery pack is removable—simply unclick, plug in, and put the vacuum away.
You may be wondering how helpful “laser illumination” is anyway. We were pretty skeptical, too, at first, but that all changed when we saw it in action. It transformed our weekly cleaning routine into a real-life video game, as long as you don’t fixate too much on all the microscopic particles it reveals—seriously, that green ray of light lets you see invisibly small bits of dander, dust mites, allergens, and pollen (gross, but true) finer than sand (according to Cardenas, it can detect anything as small as 10 microns, aka really, really tiny things, even bacteria and viruses). The idea, according to the company, was to re-create that satisfying sensation of lines left behind in a carpet or rug; a visible signal that you’ve already passed over that area. With hardwood or tile, it just doesn’t feel the same, and we can confirm firsthand that watching the little dots of dust (even in broad daylight!) disappear after a pass or two was extremely rewarding. Even on floors we had just cleaned before using it (albeit with an older, less powerful vacuum), the laser revealed we hadn’t cleared all the grime. The only downside is that the laser only works with the fluffy head attachment. Overall, each is equipped with LCD screens that not only highlight the different types of debris your vacuum personally comes across, but the size and quantity, too. This is also where you can toggle between the three different modes: eco, auto, and boost.
Attachments and Accessories
Becky Rapinchuk, the creator behind Clean Mama, agrees that attachments are a big bonus. “You’ll use them more than you think you’ll need them,” she shares. “A brush, upholstery attachment, and nozzle will all come in handy for corners, curtains, furniture, and more.” In fact, they’re ideal for those tricky, often forgotten places, including behind furniture, baseboards, and hard-to-reach edges. Because, in all seriousness, dust builds up everywhere. While Dyson offers an assortment of offerings, here are those we think are worth taking stock off:
- The crevice tool is long and narrow; it’s what we’ve used for cleaning ceiling corners (sayonara, cobwebs and spiders) and those of our stairwell steps that elude the usual cleaner heads.
- Arguably the most impressive technology from Dyson is its detangling tools—we all shed a lot of hair. After years of having to take scissors to the bar of our vacuums to remove clumps, we’re ready to never have to untangle these messes again. The vacuums also now come with a smaller, more precise bar designed to specifically suck up long human and pet hair (we found it handy to use around the areas we get ready, by mirrors and in the bathroom).
- For your velvet couches or linen curtains, the soft dusting brush takes the worry out of maintaining your more delicate surfaces. Its nylon bristles are the opposite of stiff (really, it feels more like a makeup brush, for applying blush to our cheeks), so you don’t have to worry about pulls or tears.
- In the instances where you either don’t want to have to rearrange your entire living room or simply can’t uproot your kitchen counters to access that incredibly narrow (but visibly dirty) area between your cabinets and fridge, we’re awaiting the brand-new gap tool with extreme eagerness (while we didn’t test it, we did see it demoed in action, hence the excitement). Smaller in size compared to the crevice tool, it’s designed to be flexible; you can bend and twist it around up to 22 degrees to enter whatever small space you need for peace of mind, though Dyson shares it envisions it being a great accessory for car owners, too.
Q: How often should I be vacuuming? Any tips on how to make it more routine?
Rapinchuk recommends vacuuming on a weekly basis, though spending extra care around areas that need it—“under the kitchen table, at entryways, high traffic areas.” She usually breaks her machine out on Wednesdays, after dusting on Tuesdays, followed by washing her floors on Thursdays. “Weekly vacuuming ensures that you’ll vacuum at least once a week, and it makes it easier because it never gets too dirty or dusty with weekly upkeep.”
This year, Dyson also happened to conduct its Global Dust Study, which revealed that most Americans clean about twice a week. “While a regularly scheduled cleaning routine is still the number-one thing that prompts household cleaning, Americans are also becoming more reactive cleaners—36 percent are motivated to clean their homes when it is dusty,” adds Cardenas. This was an increase from 26 percent in 2020.
Q: Should I be doing anything other than emptying the dustbin to keep my Dyson vacuum clean?
We’re big fans of the easy emptying mechanism that comes with Dyson cordless vacuums: Simply point and shoot to eject all the dust and debris you’ve collected, without having to fiddle around with a bag. However, that motion doesn’t always completely rid this area of everything, as some particles will stubbornly cling to the sides. In this case, Cardenas recommends separating your bin and wand. “Remove the filter from the top of the bin and remove the cleaner head from the wand. Take a damp cloth and wipe the bin clean. Your bin is also safe to run under water (just ensure the filter is removed first),” he explains. “Once clean, wipe dry or lay flat to dry.”
Another overlooked cleaning regimen includes the fluffy brush head; you’ll want to remove that bar and give it a quick rinse every now and then to keep your Dyson performing at its best.
But a fun fact from Cardenas: “Whether or not you clean your wands and bins, the air coming out of the product will still be hygienic. The really important thing is to clean the filter to make sure the suction power of the product stays at peak form.” You’ll want to do this at least once a month.
Q: How do I know which Dyson vacuum accessory is best for hardwood floors?
This is more of a concern for older-style vacuums where nonrubber wheels could also potentially do some damage by scuffing the wear layer. With Dyson, though, that isn’t a problem. Otherwise, Rapinchuk advises to look for a machine with a beater bar that can be turned off. “The beater bar will scratch hard-surface floors, and when turned off will suction up dirt and dust,” she shares.
Q: Are Dyson vacuums effective in cleaning pet hair?
Very! While even the fluffiest pooch is no match for nearly every one of the units above, there is other news you may enjoy (especially if your pup happens to be blowing their coat): a pet grooming kit. Don’t feel guilty about skipping a trip to the groomer with this additional attachment compatible with a cordless vacuum. It safely removes loose fur and dander and sucks everything in through the press of a button so you don’t have to worry about scooping up tumbleweeds of fur when you’re done. If your pet isn’t exactly keen on loud noises, though, this tool may still take some getting used to.
The Last Word
While the best Dyson vacuum is the one that complements your lifestyle and your home (depending on size, the floors you have, if you share your space with pets, and more), there are a few brand benefits you can enjoy no matter which model you choose. This includes free, quick shipping; a minimum two-year warranty (if you decide to go with an upright or canister model, you’ll be covered for five years); and access to helpful customer service should anything go awry outside of that time frame. You can also live with your vacuum for a full 30 days before deciding if it works for you and return it free of charge if not. And yes, while they’re all marked by some purple flair, of all the vacuums out there, designwise we tend to be partial to this one, especially since it almost always gets the job done.
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