Best Dyson vacuum: Cleaners that really suck (In all the best ways!)

Searching for the best Dyson vacuum? Find vacuums for pet hair, stick vacuums & more, all reviewed by experts.

Best Dyson vacuum: Cleaners that really suck (In all the best ways!)
Suck up the mess with a Dyson vacuum.
Suck up the mess with a Dyson vacuum. (Dyson/)

Look at any report or review of vacuum cleaners, whether it’s the best upright vacuum, the best vacuum for pet hair, or the best stick vacuum and you’ll likely as not find there’s a Dyson product in there.

So what’s so special about Dysons? Why do so many people think they make the best vacuum cleaners? The British brand was founded in 1978 by James Dyson and pioneered bagless technology. The inventor was inspired to create something different after the bags on his regular vacuum kept clogging up. Ahead of its time in many ways—Dyson fans were doing without disposable bags, long before the current concerns about the damage that the single-use lifestyle can wreak on the environment—Dyson has continued to innovate to stay ahead of the competition, and the result has been an almost bewildering array of models. This means that even if you’ve managed to narrow your choice down to “a Dyson” you’ve still got a lot of decision-making to do—and that’s where we can help. Here’s how to narrow down the very best Dyson vacuum for your needs.

How to pick the best Dyson vacuum cleaner for you

Dyson vacuums have millions of fans worldwide who laud the brand for its unparalleled suction technology, but working out the best Dyson vacuum cleaner for you can be a tricky task. And it’s worth pointing out that the best Dyson vacuum for you is not going to necessarily be the best Dyson vacuum cleaner for your best friend. That’s because your individual criteria for a Dyson vacuum are going to depend on you, your home, and your family.

At the time of writing, there were more than 10 different models of Dyson vacuum on the market—there are stick vacuums, handheld vacuums, ball vacuums, and animal vacuums—who could blame you for being overwhelmed by the choice?

Over the course of this article, we’ll help you narrow down what’s important to you in a vacuum cleaner, and as a result, which is going to be the best Dyson vacuum for you. We’ll look at whether a stick vacuum or a canister vacuum is most appropriate for you and your home, the difference between corded and cordless vacuums, and how having a pet may well have a significant amount of influence on the type of vacuum you buy. Here’s what you need to know.

Stick, canister, or upright vacuums?

With such a great range of styles of vacuum cleaner around, it helps to familiarize yourself with the different types and what they do. The clue is—perhaps not surprisingly — in the name. A stick vacuum tends to bear a passing resemblance to a broomstick. If you’re using them for floors, they can be harder to handle as they tend to be weighty in the handle end, rather than the floor end. But they are very versatile since they can easily be used on stairs and upholstery, and even on curtains and dusty ceiling corners.

Canister vacuums combine a hose that is connected to a compact wheeled unit that contains the tank and the motor. The hose can be attached to different accessories, allowing you to clean floors, sofas, and curtains with ease.

Upright vacuums look a little old school these days—they tend to be fairly weighty and have an upright handle, which is usually where the tank is, and the main cleaning part is the wheeled base. Some will also come with a hose attachment, which is helpful for cleaning anything that isn’t a floor.

You can work out what’s best for you and your family, but if you want something lightweight, easy to store, and versatile, a stick vacuum is probably the best option.

Best Dyson stick vacuum: Dyson V11 Outsize Cordless Vacuum Cleaner

The ease of a cordless stick with the functionality of a full-size upright.
The ease of a cordless stick with the functionality of a full-size upright. (Amazon/)

There are plenty of reasons why this qualifies as the best Dyson stick vacuum—for a start, it’s designed for large houses. It’s the only Dyson vacuum supplied with two batteries that, used back-to-back, give up to two hours of cleaning time. Plus, it comes with a full-size head and a full-size bin so you can go longer before emptying, while an LCD screen keeps you posted on run time and performance.

Corded or cordless vacuums?

Having your vacuum cleaner plugged in makes a lot of sense in many ways. It gives you constant access to an unlimited power supply, which means no worries about the battery running out part of the way through your top to bottom clean. However, corded vacuum cleaners have their drawbacks too—as you’ll know if you’ve ever accidentally knocked over an ornament, tripped over the cable, or extended it too far and managed to pull the plug out of the socket. Besides, in 2018, James Dyson announced that his company would no longer be developing plug-in models—although they were going to continue selling the existing ones—and instead would be investing in their cordless designs.

The biggest beef about cordless vacuums was always their runtime, but the best Dyson cordless vacuum can now run for as long as 120 minutes (admittedly, it comes with a second battery that you’ll have to switch in to get this amount of continuous use). Again, there’s a pay-off: longer runtime normally means that you need a bigger or second battery which can make the machine a bit more unwieldy, especially if you have mobility problems, or need to carry the machine up and downstairs.

So if you want all the benefits of a cordless—lightweight, maneuverable, and versatile for cleaning floors, stairs, and even cobwebs out of corners—look for a stick with a slightly shorter runtime, as that will mean a lighter battery.

Best Dyson cordless vacuum: Dyson Cyclone V10 Motorhead Lightweight Cordless Stick Vacuum Cleaner

Easy to maneuver, with up to 60 minutes of fade-free suction power.
Easy to maneuver, with up to 60 minutes of fade-free suction power. (Amazon/)

The versatility of this device is what makes it the best cordless Dyson vacuum. Not only can it convert to a handheld, making it even easier to clean furniture and car interiors, but it’s lightweight and well balanced so you can easily clean curtains and ceiling corners too. And, with three power modes and a motorized head, it offers serious deep clean potential too.

Are you looking for the best vacuum for pet hair?

If you have a cat or dog—or even a house rabbit—you’ll know that pets can make a bit of a mess. Whether they’ve knocked over their food bowl and left your kitchen floor awash with kibble, or they’ve left a trail of fluff, fur, and hair on every sofa, bed, and chair in the house, pets need a lot of cleaning up after. So it’s worth bearing them in mind when buying a new vacuum.

Fortunately, Dyson, like many vacuum brands, offers pet-specific cleaners, which are easy to identify as they’re normally labeled “Animal.” There are Animal models of both Dyson’s upright vacuum and stick vacuum, so once you’ve narrowed down which format vacuum you want, you can then opt for the Animal version.

Vacuum cleaners for pet hair tend to have a combination of features that combine strong suction to draw fibers into the machine, and motorized brush heads with bristles that clean really deeply into carpets. They often have tangle-free technology, which means that pet hair doesn’t get caught and grind the cleaning process to a halt.

Best Dyson animal vacuum: Dyson Ball Animal 2 Total Clean Upright Vacuum Cleaner

Boasts the strongest suction power of any vacuum cleaner out there.
Boasts the strongest suction power of any vacuum cleaner out there. (Amazon/)

Searching for the best vacuum for pet hair? With a self-adjusting cleaner head that automatically raises and lowers to seal in suction across all floors, meaning you get maximum suction, whatever the surface, and powerful motorized brush to help really drag dirt in, this is the best Dyson Animal vacuum on the market. This Dyson ball vacuum also comes with a tangle-free turbine tool which is specially designed to remove pet hair from carpets and upholstery without tangling.

Does Dyson offer a robot vacuum cleaner?

If you’ve been researching vacuum cleaners, you’ve probably come across the concept of a robot vacuum cleaner. Small and low-profile, they use smart technology to map your home so you can send them directly to a spillage, and they also have technology that means they can detect a change in flooring and adjust the suction accordingly, or change direction to avoid falling downstairs.

On the downside, you do have to tidy up before you set them loose because if they don’t have a clear run at the floor, they will either grind to a halt or knock things over when they find obstacles in their path.

So, is there a Dyson robot vacuum? Well, yes and no…In 2016, Dyson released their first robot vacuum, the 360 Eye, but it’s now out of stock pretty much everywhere. Four years later, the 360 Heurist was launched—but, only in Europe and Asia, and not in the USA. Dyson admitted that they’d specifically decided not to launch it here based on the response to earlier models, which led them to conclude that it wouldn’t be ideal for bigger and more complex US homes.

Fans are hopeful that a new and upgraded model that targets the US market might appear, but at the moment it’s a question of watching this space, and opting for another of the existing models.

Best Dyson vacuum for your whole home: Dyson V11 Animal Cordless Vacuum Cleaner

A great all-rounder that packs a lot of Dyson design into a relatively affordable package.
A great all-rounder that packs a lot of Dyson design into a relatively affordable package. (Amazon/)

While currently there’s no Dyson robot vacuum to recommend in the USA, if you’re looking for the best Dyson vacuum, you won’t go far wrong with this. Light yet powerful thanks to an upgraded battery that offers up to 60 minutes of cleaning in eco mode, it includes technology that senses a change in surface and adjusts the motor speed accordingly, and an LED screen that displays cleaning modes, blockages, and filter maintenance reminders.

Does a Dyson vacuum cleaner have to be expensive?

Dyson has a reputation as a premium brand—and it’s not surprising. After all, their top-of-the-range vacuums won’t leave you with a huge amount of change from $1,000. But that’s not to say that you have to spend that much to get the Dyson badge on your vacuum—it’s just worth bearing a few things in mind. First up, the older the model, the older the technology and the lower the price. So while the latest cordless models come with a second battery that means you can get up to two hours cleaning from it, the older ones will only run for a maximum of 30 minutes. Similarly, the suction on the later cordless models is up to 40% more than that of the earlier models. That’s why to get the most cleaning bang for your buck, you might be better off looking at designs that are both upright, and corded.

Best Dyson vacuum if you’re on a budget: Dyson Ball Multi Floor Origin High Performance HEPA Filter Upright Vacuum

A corded upright vacuum with Ball technology for easy steering.
A corded upright vacuum with Ball technology for easy steering. (Amazon/)

While they may not be the most fashionable, this corded upright vacuum is packed with the sort of technology that James Dyson used to transform the world of vacuums. The ball design makes it easy to maneuver, while an easy-release wand and hose allow you to clean effortlessly under furniture or higher up. It also contains the whole-machine HEPA filtration tech you’ll find in other Dysons, making it asthma- and allergy-friendly.

Best Dyson vacuum FAQ:

How should I empty a Dyson vacuum?

How to empty a Dyson vacuum depends slightly on exactly which model you have, but broadly speaking, they have what the company refers to as a “point and shoot” mechanism, which means you can pull out the tank—usually by pressing a “bin release” button or lever, which comes out fully covered. Then, at the press of a button, a trap opens, allowing you to hygienically eject dust and debris deep into your trash can in one easy action, which means there’s no need to touch the dirt.

Which Dyson vacuum has the strongest suction?

Dyson vacuum cleaners are known for their powerful suction—so much so that some rug and carpet manufacturers actually advise against using them as they can pull the fibers out entirely. But the Dyson vacuum with the strongest suction is currently the Ball Animal 2—a corded upright vacuum that the company advertises as having “the strongest suction of any vacuum.”

How long should a Dyson vacuum last?

It’s hard to answer this question without knowing which model you bought, how frequently you use it, and how much care you take of it. Broadly speaking, a vacuum cleaner should last somewhere between about seven and ten years. However, stick vacuums seem to be more prone to developing faults. For longevity, a corded upright is probably your best bet—the Ball Animal 2 even comes with a 5-year limited parts and labor warranty, so if you want a vacuum that lasts, that might be your best bet.

A final word on the best Dyson vacuum

Hopefully, this has given you a bit of food for thought when it comes to working out which is the best Dyson vacuum for you and your home. As you can see, whether you choose a Dyson stick vacuum, a Dyson upright vacuum, or a Dyson canister vacuum is very much contingent on what priorities you have. But ultimately, although the company has decided to focus on developing Dyson cordless vacuums, their heritage uprights are still worth looking at—especially if you’re on a budget.