I’m a longtime Dyson vacuum owner. After we got ragdoll cats, my wife and I went through 3 or 4 different vacuums over time. All of them barely had enough power to lift cat hair out of the carpets before the motors started to go. Finally, around 5 years ago, once another stick vacuum died, we had enough and purchased a Dyson DC28 Animal. Taking it out of the box, we put it to the test on our white carpets that had just been cleaned. I was amazed to see within a few minutes, I had a full canister of cat hair and dust that was trapped within the fibres of the carpet that all my previous vacuums missed. Within a couple hours, my carpets looked better than they ever had before. I was and continue to be sold.
That DC28 is still going strong as is the Animal Hand Vac that we purchased for stairs and upholstery a couple years later. However, it’s about 6 years old. In terms of technology years, that may as be Methuselah. Smaller models have replaced the mighty standing canister and as Dyson looks to improve on the internal technology, they make changes to the way the outside looks and functions too.
The Dyson we’re looking at in this review is the Animal version of the DC66. The bottom cleaner head has been revamped to include bristles that pick up dirt and pet fur even better than before and much quicker. If you don’t have a pet, there is a model available without the pet hair benefits as well.
Good things come in small packages
To your left, you’ll see a comparison shot of two vacuums next to each other. That is my Dyson DC28 sitting next to the DC66. You see immediately how much more compact the latter is. There is a substantial weight difference too. When empty, the larger canister weighs over 20 pounds. The DC66 is just shy of 13. In addition to being 35% lighter, it is far more compact for storage too. Overall, it takes up about 50% less space in your bustling closet than an upright canister. The surface area it covers is smaller than the big canister. However, expect to have to exert less effort.
The DC66 has automatic floor contour recognition which means that it caters to the nuances of your floor without your having to tell it whether you’re on deep pile or a hardwood floor. However, if you find that the vacuum has any trouble picking dust or dirt up, it does have a little slider on the bottom pick up that drops a rubber lip that can scour and bring up more particles.
Dyson vacuums follow a bagless, environmentally friendly cleanup style. You simply disconnect the chamber, press a button over your garbage can and everything falls out. Emptying the canister regularly and washing filters once a month will help maintain the quality and longevity of your vacuum.
Installation…or how I put a vacuum together during a commercial break
The Dyson DC66 is exceptionally easy to set up and take down. Here is what the vacuum looks like out of the box.
All you have to do is snap the 3 pieces together where they’re supposed to go and you can have the vacuum going in the time it takes you to read this sentence. You can basically set up and tear down the vacuum inside of 15 seconds once you’ve done it a couple times. The dynamic nature of the vacuum makes it so easy to remove and add the add-on brushes that are included.
How it moves
Mobility is one of the biggest problems I’ve found with my DC 28. One of the issues I was looking to have addressed with the DC66 is the lack of flexibility with spaces. With a heavy straight wide set canister vacuum, it is difficult to do stairs. In fact, I don’t do stairs with my DC28 anymore. It weighs around 21 pounds and trying to fit it into nooks and corners is too much of a hassle. I use my hand vac for the stairs now. The DC 66 has a smaller base and because it only weighs around 13 pounds, it is much easier to carry and maneuver. The ball pivot also makes it easier for you to push along stairs and move from edge to edge. This is a definite design win.
If you are part of the previous Dyson generations, you will have to get used to the lighter weight of the vacuum and thus how it handles your pushing and pulling. I guess I have a really rough vacuuming style and was literally picking the vacuum up off the ground when I was pulling back. I did also have a bit of trouble pushing the vacuum forward smoothly, even with the rubber lip up. I countered this by having my wife vacuum the half of the living room I didn’t do and she had no issues in comparison. Note to self: Vacuum gentler.
One of the best aspects of having an “animal” vacuum is its specialty in picking up pet fur and dander. When I found out I would be reviewing this vacuum, I let a spot that my cat loves sleeping on accumulate fur over the period of about 10 days and went to work. The vacuum passed with flying colours. Check out the video below
Silence is golden
One of the things I read about the DC66 prior to test was how quiet this was compared to other vacuums. Every Dyson I’ve ever owned or used has been as loud as any vacuum (or early model PlayStation 3) in terms of its “jet engine” style noise. The DC 66 is much quieter. It doesn’t have the soothing tones of Sarah McLachlan singing about arms of angels by any means, but there is a VERY noticeable difference. I put this to the ultimate test. I put my 2 year old daughter down to bed wide awake and started vacuuming. It didn’t affect her at all and she was asleep by the end of what I was cleaning. Thanks to years of concerts and heavy metal music (and Sarah McLachlan music I suppose,) my hearing isn’t what it used to be but I’d say it’s about half as loud as previous models.
The pivoting features of this vacuum would make Ross Gellar proud. The pivot ball allows your vacuum to turn corners and change directions easier than ever. Since the whole bottom piece is lower to the ground, you can actually get it a fair ways under couches now instead of having to blindly throw the hose in hoping it doesn’t suck something up that gets stuck halfway.
The tools it comes with were great too and a great value add considering I had to buy many of these accessories separately before. There’s enough there to save you the time of having to buy a hand vac and will help you easily deal with upholstery and drapery in one package.
There is one thing to keep in mind if you are looking for a Dyson, however. They often issue similar models of the same vacuum specializing in different purposes. The DC66 model I reviewed is an “animal” vacuum and such usually comes with an extra price tag attached to it. If you are a pet owner, this is definitely one to keep on your radar. In fact, after going through so many vacuums that were supposedly great for pet fur, I’ll never go back to other brands as long I have cats. However, if you are not a pet owner, there is a DC66 model without the animal benefits that will work just as well and save you a few bucks.
In closing, I can say that few vacuums suck as much as a Dyson does. Pardon me, a little vacuum humour there. You get my point. This is a fantastic vacuum that fixes many of the little problems previous models did. To cap things off, you even get a 5 year parts warranty, so if your hoses stick or you accidentally break something while cleaning after you’ve registered, Dyson has your back. They cost a little more but are definitely worth the time and the results speak for themselves. You can get this Dyson and check out a full range of their products at Best Buy or online at BestBuy.ca