When it comes to futuristic technology in the form of a vacuum cleaner, Dyson is the company to beat. After chewing through vacuums at yearly rate due to the challenge of pets (we’ve always had a pair of large-ish, long-haired dogs and usually a cat or two thrown in the mix), about a decade ago my wife and I bought a Dyson DC-14 Animal upright vac and never looked back. We bought a second Dyson upright five years ago so we would we could have one for the upper floors of our house, and the other for the lower floors. Less lugging …
Those two vacuums continue to work and work well. We don’t have cats these days, but still have two long-haired dogs that shed prolifically. There are also three teenagers in the house. Keeping the floors clean is a constant battle.
We decided to try out the Dyson V8 Absolute cord-free vacuum cleaner to see if it would make life easier. No cords means hassle-free vacuuming. Add in the ultra light weight, and the theory is the vacuum will come out more often and take less time. The big questions is: will the cordless vacuum have the power and capability to actually replace a conventional vacuum, instead of just being a supplement for quick spot cleaning?
After two weeks with the Dyson V8 Absolute (which you can read more about here), I’m convinced. It’s made it through the holiday season with flying colours and we haven’t had to fire up the conventional, corded vacuum cleaners once.
Unboxing the Dyson V8 Absolute
Several things immediately struck me as I unboxed the V8 Absolute. First, the box was smaller and lighter than any full-sized vacuum cleaner box I’ve unpacked before. Second, despite the size, there is a ton of stuff packed inside. And third, the V8 Absolute is pure Dyson, from the funky colours to the ease of assembly and thoughtful design touches. This doesn’t look like a gimmick, it looks like a serious piece of hardware.
Included in the box is an impressive selection of accessories:
- Soft roller cleaner head
- Direct drive cleaner head
- Mini motorized tool
- Combination tool
- Rigid crevice tool
- Mini soft dusting brush
After unpacking the vacuum cleaner, I installed the handy wall-mount docking station (you can simply plug the vacuum into the power adapter if you have a spare corner you can hide it in), then gave it five hours to fully charge the battery.
Power to Spare
Dyson says this is its most powerful cord-free vacuum and it shows. It has 10 minutes more battery life than the V7 series, and 150% more power than the V6 models.
We were able to tackle daily vacuuming chores without thinking twice. It performed just as well as my existing upright, corded vacuums. And the superior direct drive cleaner head combined with the Maximum Power mode actually out-vacuumed everything else I own when it came to serious cleaning. Dog hair combined with pine needles, crushed leaves and dirt? Not a problem. Sand and salt tracked in from winter walking? Piece of cake.
The power to spare theme includes that big concern: battery power. We have four levels to clean, with a mix of carpet and laminate flooring. The Dyson V8 Absolute was consistently able to vacuum from top to bottom, with what appears to be about 15-20 minutes of battery remaining (based on the LED charge indicators). The only time battery life was an issue was when we used Maximum Power mode to tackle some seriously challenging areas, and that cuts battery life to seven minutes.
An Attachment for Everything
There is literally an attachment for everything included. One of those attachments–the soft roller cleaner head that’s designed specifically for hard floors–is the difference between the V8 Absolute and less expensive V8 Animal. That attachment definitely works well at cleaning laminate flooring, but we mostly stuck with the multi-surface direct drive cleaner head that did a great job on hard floors and carpet (while also resisting getting tangled with dog fur).
As a stick vacuum, it’s well balanced and doesn’t feel heavy. As a hand-held, it worked great on everything from stairs to drapes and furniture (it was too snowy to try it in the car).
And, without a cord to constantly be plugging in, pulling around corners and winding up, vacuuming took a lot less time with the Dyson V8 Absolute. It’s also so light that there’s no “lugging” it from floor to floor.
The Dirt Cup
The dirt cup is one reason why some people don’t like Dyson vacuums. However, the company has emptying the dirt cup pretty much down to an art. You hold the vacuum over a waste basket, pull up a lever and the dirt falls out. There’s no big cloud of dust (everything gets pretty tightly packed in there) and you don’t have to touch it. You also don’t pay for replacement bags …
However, the dirt cup was the closest thing I have to a complaint with the V8 Absolute. To keep things as lightweight and portable as possible, the dirt cup is significantly smaller than the one in my Dyson uprights. That meant a full cleaning of the house often meant having to empty the dirt cup twice.
Conclusion: Cord-Free Vacuuming Has Arrived
I have to admit that going into this, I wasn’t convinced battery-powered vacuuming was practical. I’ve owned a few cordless hand vacuums in the past, and the one I use for camping does a great job of sucking up sand. And bugs (so much easier and less messy than swatting them in the trailer). But as a traditional vacuum replacement? Not a chance …
However, if any company was going to pull off the technology needed, it’s Dyson. And several generations into its cord-free vacuum program, the V8 Absolute has what it takes to be a home’s sole vacuum. It’s more expensive than many competitors, but you get what you pay for with Dyson. There’s a two-year warranty on it and one of the reasons my existing Dyson vacuum cleaners have lasted so long is that the company makes them modular and easy to take apart (if one of your kids vacuums up a pencil, for instance), with easy user-replacement of worn components.
The Dyson V8 Absolute is solidly made, comes with a huge assortment of attachments and accessories and packs the punch needed to be your everyday vacuum–even with challenges like pet fur. Replacement batteries are available, as are optional accessories. If you’re in the market for a new vacuum cleaner, you won’t be disappointed by leaving cords behind with the Dyson V8 Absolute. My only recommendation would be to skip the V8 Absolute in favour of the less expensive V8 Animal if your home is mostly carpeted.