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A high-end Dyson cordless vacuum cleaner that ticks all the boxes, even with the high price tag.
You’ve no doubt seen the new Dyson cordless vacuum cleaner. It’s been the talk of the town since release, and for quite a few reasons. One of them is that this is the first vacuum cleaner that the company has released since they announced that they would no longer be manufacturing new corded vacuum cleaners, and would be focusing solely on cordless models instead. So, when this hit the shelves, we were all waiting with quiet anticipation.
I love Dyson vacuum cleaners, and I have always been excited when they release new models. They are always one step ahead of the game, developing new and innovative technology to make cleaning an easier task. When I had the chance to get my hands on a Dyson V11, I was a little sceptical because the massive price tag did make me quite hesitant.
However, I did it, and I looked forward to seeing how it coped with my home and our own in-house tests here at Smart Vacuums. Did I love it? Yes. Was it perfect? You will have to wait and see in our hands-on Dyson D11 review.
About the Dyson V11
We purchased the Dyson V11 Absolute for this review. This model comes with both the Torque motorised head and the soft (fluffy) head, which is designed for hard floor use. It cost £599 for this model, but you can purchase the Dyson V11 Animal for £499. I will discuss the main differences between the two models in more detail below.
Quick View of the Dyson V11 Specifications
|Model||V11 Absolute, & Animal|
|Dust Bin Capacity||0.76 L|
|Returns||Free 35 Days via Dyson.co.uk|
Dyson V11 - Absolute Vs. Animal - Key Differences Explained
What’s the difference between the Absolute and Animal models though? The answer is that there isn’t a great deal, but it’s worth making a note of.
Firstly, the Absolute has the Torque drive floorhead which can automatically detect the floor type/surface and adapt accordingly. It’s smarter, more convenient, technology vs. the Animal which just has a Direct Drive Roller Head, both are very good tools.
Secondly, the Absolute also comes with the additional soft(fluffy) floorhead vs. The Animal which doesn’t. This head is great on hard floors, tiles laminate that type of thing. So if you have a lot of floor space covered with any of the aforementioned, then the Absolute should certainly be your choice.
Third, the Absolute comes with an LCD display with some advanced features which we cover more on later. The Animal comes with an Led display, which again we cover fully below.
Finally, the colour of the wands varies between the two models with the Absolute being available in Nickel Blue or Gold ( Not a great colour in my opinion) and the Animal being only available in Nickel Purple.
Features & Benefits
Battery Life and Charge Period
The battery life for the V11 range is more than impressive; lasting nearly one hour on its lowest setting. This gives you more than enough time to clean your entire home thoroughly, and even the boost mode can go for just under 15 minutes.
One of the most common complaints with cordless vacuum cleaners is that they don’t last long enough, and that is something that Dyson has rectified with its latest collection.
We got the stopwatch out for this one, secured the trigger, and let it run from a full charge on each of the settings. These figures are with the motorized Torque floorhead on, so will, of course, reduce the run-time compared to using non-motorized accessories such as the crevice tool, soft dusting brush, or mini-motorized head (we found by at least 10%).
|Model (Mode)||Runtime (Mins)|
|V11 (Eco)||55 Mins|
|V11 (Medium)||45 Mins|
|V11 (High/Boost)||13 Mins|
The charge time is a little less impressive, but also expected when you consider how big the battery is. While previous models in the V series (like the V10) only needed 3.5 hours to charge, the V11 needs 4.5 Hrs to reach 100%.
On the plus side, the battery included is a smart battery – which means you can leave it on charge all day without worrying about it becoming damaged through over-charging.
You may also know that Dyson acquired several battery companies in recent years, and through this, they have been improving their current technology. In previous V models, it was quite easy to remove and replace the battery but Dyson claims there is no need for this with the V11 series.
“You may also know that Dyson acquired several battery companies in recent years”
This is because they have designed a battery that should last 15 years without the charge levels being negatively impacted. Whether or not this is realistic remains to be seen, but it’s an impressive claim from the vacuum cleaner leaders nonetheless.
For many, this is the most important section in the review. After all, a vacuum cleaner could have all the fancy gadgets in the world but is useless without powerful suction and good cleaning results.
Before we get into the details, let’s take a quick run-through of what makes the Dyson V11 a superior cordless vacuum cleaner in terms of power.
It has the best suction of any Dyson for starters, with a 32% increase in airflow when compared to the V10 ( we found this to be true with our own tests below). Equally, it is one of the most powerful cordless vacuum cleaners in general, offering the same quality clean that you would expect from a standard corded model.
It could probably replace your corded model, and that’s a mean feat for any cordless machine.
We performed our own tests to measure the airflow. We tested this with the wand and floorhead attached as this is likely the most commonly used configuration. The figures are quoted in CFM ( Cubic Feet Per Minute) better known as Airflow
|Air Flow ( Low Setting)||22.5 CFM|
|Air Flow (Auto/Medium Setting)||28 CFM|
|Air Flow ( High/Boost Setting)||48.5 CFM|
Cyclonic technology runs smoothly in all the V11 models, directing dirt and debris straight to the bin instead of allowing it to spray everywhere.
The fade-free suction also means that even as the dust canister fills up, the suction will remain just as strong so that you get the most out of each vacuuming session.
Finally, let’s take a look at the Torque floorhead. Sadly as we mentioned earlier, the V11 Animal doesn’t come with this, but those who have the Absolute are in for a treat.
“The Torque floorhead is able to detect the type of floor you are vacuuming and adjust itself accordingly.”
The Torque floorhead is able to detect the type of floor you are vacuuming and adjust itself accordingly. This means it will switch the power levels and settings so that you are able to thoroughly clean your floors without all the extra fiddling. It’s one of the best features that Dyson have implemented.
So, how does the Dyson V11 cope around the home? Let’s take a look:
Carpets. One of the few cordless models that can actually deep clean a carpet, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by how much it is able to pick up even on a floor that seems relatively clean.
The brush bar on the main Torque floorhead really works the grime out, and you can feel the suction sticking to the carpet as you clean – but not so much that it becomes hard to push. It even does well on thick carpets, allowing for great flexibility.
The Direct-Drive floorhead that comes with the Animal is equally excellent when picking up dirt, and it excels with carpets.
Here are the results of our test where we weighed exactly 100 grams of various household debris that represent varying textures and in a mixture of size, such as chilli flakes, crushed cheerios, loose black tea & flax seed, we then spread this debris over a 1.5-meter long strip and performed a 10-second pass over the debris.
After we finished we weighed what the vacuum had collected in its bin. The figures below represent the % of what was collected.
Hard Floors. While both the Animal and Absolute are great for hard floors, the Absolute comes with the Fluffy floorhead. This has been specially designed to deal with hard floors and is exceptionally gentle on them. So, if you have a delicate surface that is prone to scratches, you can rest easy with this.
The Fluffy floorhead is also incredible when picking up fine dust, which is great for those who have allergies and asthma. Even the main Torque Floorhead is able to deal with hard floors effortlessly, although not quite to the same extent that the dedicated floorhead does.
The Direct-Drive that comes with the Animal is also superb with hard floors, and it does a great job collecting debris and fluff from the area. However, it’s not as good with fine dust because it lacks the detail that comes with the Fluffy.
Our Hardwood Floor Test Results
As we did with the carpet test above we repeated the same test on hardwood laminate type floor which are commonly found in UK households. This was performed using the soft fluffy head and the results as you can see are pretty impressive.
We did also test this with the torque head with the gates open and found the results to be almost identical.
Stairs. Both models in the V11 series is great for stairs, and can even be used on upholstery and car interiors. All you need to do is remove the wand so that it is transformed into a handheld model and then select the attachment of your choice.
The best for the job is the mini motorised tool as it’s basically a tiny floorhead with a lot of power. You can attach it directly to the main body of the machine and get going.
It does a thorough job, and the motor provides extra power that really works on those tough and dirty areas. Goodbye embedded mud.
Pets. Both the Animal and Absolute are great with pet hair, especially with the increased suction that they benefit from. Of course, the Animal does slightly better here since the main floorhead was designed with your furry friends in mind.
It reaches right down into the fibres of the carpet to pull up those lost hairs we never even knew were there. Not to mention that the mini motorised tool is a dream on pet bedding, stairs and carpets in your car.
The Absolute is also superb in this area, and the hair collection is fantastic. While it’s not quite as good as the Animal, it certainly does the job to a good enough standard for most pet owners.
First, we tested this by combing in real dog hair into a five-foot section of low-medium pile carpet and went over with the Torque head for 20 seconds on boost mode.
The pick up was impressive with no visible pet hair left, we also ran a window blade through the carpet to ensure there wasn’t any hidden deep-rooted hair left behind
We repeated this with the Animal Direct drive head where we received pretty much the same results.
|Pet Hair Pickup (Eco/Low)||90%|
|Pet Hair Pickup (Auto/Medium)||98%|
|Pet Hair Pickup (Boost/High)||99.9%|
The test revealed that in both auto and boost settings the results were very good, especially when you consider the excessive amount of hair we combed into the carpet.
In the Eco mode, the results weren’t great, but there is no real need to use eco mode for carpets in homes with pets in my opinion.
Like most Dyson vacuum cleaners, this model features a HEPA filter. It is able to capture incredible small particles of dust and debris, even those as small as 0.03 microns.
However, the shining glory is the fact that it is a fully sealed system. What does this mean? Well, it means that when the dust particles are pushed through the filter, there is no room for them to escape. This means that clean air is pushed back out of the vacuum cleaner.
|Air Particle Test ( Our rating %)||100%|
This is fantastic for those with allergies and asthma as they don’t need to worry about how much dust is being thrown back into their home.
The Dyson V11 Absolute is a little bit quieter than the V10, providing you with a less intrusive cleaning experience in terms of noise. Even on the highest setting, it remains quieter than its predecessor. In our tests, even in the boost setting, it was just over 70DB.
It’s perfect for those who are sensitive to sound, as well we people who don’t want to wake the whole house up when they clean. This also means that it is compliant with EU laws regarding the noise levels in vacuum cleaners.
|Low Setting||63.6 Db|
|Auto Setting||68.4 Db|
|Boost Setting||71.2 Db|
One of the great things that the V11 has to offer is the screen on the top of the main machine. Now, the type of screen you have will vary depending on the model you get. So, we’ll take a look at the V11 Animal first.
This model has an LED screen that contains a battery symbol to let you know how much charge is left, as well as an options menu so that you can choose your power setting. It’s basic, but it works well and is really handy to have.
The V11 Absolute features a fancier LCD screen. This shows the battery levels with both an image and a timer that will count down in real-time and adjust itself according to the floor type you are cleaning.
It also allows you to select your power setting manually so that you can work on stubborn stains. The aspect that makes this LCD screen stand out is the video instructions.
For example, if the filter has not been secured properly the screen will display a video that shows you how to do it correctly so that you can use the vacuum cleaner again.
Similarly, it will let you know when the filter needs to be cleaned to help you stay on top of things. One of the other notable videos is when there is a blockage in the airways. The video that plays will show you several different scenarios and how to deal with them.
This means that you can get back to cleaning faster, and also don’t need to call customer support for further assistance.
The way the Dyson V11 Absolute has been designed makes it stand apart from the rest of the models in the V series. It is a little bigger and bulkier than the others, and because there is more weight in the main body of the machine (due to the battery) you may feel it more in your forearm as you clean.
However, the additional weight isn’t actually a great deal more, and it differs by about 400g . Therefore, it will likely just take some getting used to.
We did our own tests that included weighing just the handheld part of the vacuum without the wand and floorhead attached. After all this is how you would use the vacuum on stairs, in the car and around furniture.
|Weight ( Full Unit with Floorhead)||3.05 Kg|
|Weight (Hand Unit Only)||2 Kg|
The wand retains that lovely lightweight feel that the V series is known for, with a sleek aluminium build that feels good in your hands without the cheapness that accompanies many cordless vacuum cleaners.
While there is a good deal of plastic used in the construction of the V11, the quality is excellent and you can tell that it’s both a sturdy and durable piece of kit.
It retains that classic Dyson look, with a sleek wand and a relatively compact main body that you can use as both a handheld and stick vacuum cleaner.
The handheld mode remains really easy to handle and allows for good movement so that you can thoroughly clean the stairs, furniture, and the inside of your car.
The stick mode is also excellent in terms of manoeuvrability due to the joint in the floorhead. This allows it to swivel as you turn it, with minimal effort required from your wrist or forearm.
The overall height of the V11 with the wand and floorhead fitted is 128.5cm which comes in 3.5 cm taller than the V10 and 4cm taller than the V8, the width is pretty much the same as previous V range models.
The colours differ according to the model you choose (see the table and section above), which is something Dyson has carried through each of their lines.
For example, the Absolute comes in either gold or nickel blue while the Animal comes in just nickel purple. Other than that, the base design remains the same throughout the V11 range.
Number list each feature with what they are/do/perform
#1 High Torque Cleaning Head
New to the V11, we have the high torque cleaning head. It’s the main floorhead and features both soft and hard bristles that are effective yet gentle on hard floors and carpet alike. It comes with a slider on the front of the brush, and this can be slid open or closed.
When closed, it has more suction and sticks close to the floor, and when it is open it is able to collect larger pieces of debris from hard floors. It can automatically adjust depending on the floor type you are cleaning. This is exclusive to the V11 Absolute and not available on the Animal model.
#2 Direct Drive Cleaning Head
New to the V11, we have the direct drive motorised floor head, this is the main floorhead and features deep cleaning capabilities to remove ground-in dirt. This floorhead only comes with the Animal mode, whilst the Absolute comes with the impressive Torque cleaning head discussed above.
#3 Mini Motorised Tool
We love this accessory, and it is incredibly useful. Suited perfectly to things like furniture and pet bedding, it’s a lot like a much smaller version of the main floorhead. It is also the ideal size for use on the stairs, and like all the tools, can be attached to the wand or directly to the body of the machine.
It really reaches into the fibres of the carpet on the stairs, bringing up dirt and grime you didn’t even know were there.
#4 Combination Tool
This tool features a soft dusting brush and a wide nozzle, which allows for precise cleaning as well as a soft touch on surfaces such as counters, wood, and bannisters.
The wide nozzle provides excellent suction and collection of debris, and we have also found that the dusting brush can work wonders on your kitchen floor; especially if you have vinyl or delicate tiles.
#3 Stubborn Dirt Brush
This is a little different to the classic dusting brush in that the bristles are firmer. It’s good for stubborn dirt and grime that is in your carpets, and does remain fairly gentle on these surfaces. It’s actually quite a handy little tool to have, and you’ll get a lot more use out of it than you think.
#4 Crevice Tool
Long and slim, this tool has been designed to reach every nook and cranny; both in regular cleaning and above floor vacuuming. It can be attached directly to the machine or to the wand, allowing for more flexibility while you clean.
#5 Fluffy Floorhead
Designed exclusively for hard floors. The Fluffy floorhead is really gentle on your hard floors, while also working hard to collect large and fine debris without snow ploughing. Additionally, you won’t get this tool with the V11 Animal, it only comes with the Absolute.
#7 Wand Storage Clip
One of the most welcome additions, it is able to hold the combination tool quite comfortably, and clips onto the wand. As it is the most used tool, it makes sense that the storage clip would hold it. It’s way better than the previous models in the V range because of the added convenience and the fact that you no longer have to try and fill your pockets with every tool while you clean.
#8 Docking Station
The docking station can be attached to the wall to keep things out of the way, or simply placed on the floor if you are unable to mount it. The charger cord is quite long, allowing you some flexibility when you position it. The docking station also has room for some of the tools to be stored to keep things extra tidy.
Ease of Use and Setup
And some examples-
Building the Vacuum
When you open the vacuum cleaner, the process of putting it together is actually very simple. The wand simply snaps onto the main body of the vacuum cleaner and you can then attach the floorhead to the base of the wand (or your chosen accessory).
It’s really quick and easy, and if you do need any assistance there is an excellent visual handbook included that will show you how to get started.
Emptying the bin
The bin is designed in the same way as the V10, where it opens from the bottom and you use the shroud to push the debris out in one swift movement. It’s exceptionally simple, and as long as you position it over your bin it will go exactly where you want it to with no mess.
Oddly, emptying the V11 Absolute does feel easier than its V10 counterpart. We’re not sure why since they are the same, but the V11 feels a little less stiff than the older version.
When you compare it to the V6 or V8, the V11 comes in miles ahead as the emptying process for these past models was both complex and messy; not to mention frustrating.
Looking after your Dyson V11 is actually really easy. Cleaning out the dust canister when it gets grimy only requires a simple wipe-down every week or so (depending on how often you vacuum).
Similarly, cleaning the filter is also very easy and you have the benefit of the LCD screen on the Absolute letting you know when it needs it.
When you pop the filter open on the back (or top, depending on how you look at it) of the machine you will be able to see the filter. This can be removed and washed under cool running water, and then left on the side until it is completely dry.
It is advised that you wash it every month, but you can use your own judgement when you check the filter. It’s important to take care of it because it should last a good few years, and replacing it will set you back £50.
The V11 comes with a standard 1-year warranty from the date of purchase. This covers things like mechanical faults and defects. However, the V11 also comes with a money-back guarantee that spans 35 days.
So, if you are unhappy with your purchase, you have the option to send it back for a full refund within the time period.
Should I Buy The Dyson V11?
If you have the kind of budget comfortably available then for sure I wouldn’t hesitate in recommending the V11, it’s the best in its class for sure and if you want that added tech with the LCD display and auto-adjusting to your various floor types then the Absolute is an absolute must. If you have a lot of hardfloor in the house I would also suggest the Absolute is the better choice here.
However, if you are not fussed about the tech and have mainly carpets in your home along with maybe a pet then I would probably stick with the V11 animal.
Furthermore if you live in a smaller home where the long run time isn’t paramount and you have plenty of hardfloor areas I would personally still consider the V8 or V10 Animal, especially if you can get a deal on one.
You can oftentimes find great offers on these superseded models. Keep an eye on our Dyson deals page to compare best prices available online.
Gemma Tyler is a freelance journalist with 15 years of experience writing for consumer publications. She has tested and reviewed a wide range of household items from vacuum cleaners to washing machines and dehumidifiers to steam irons. Her attention to detail and exhaustive testing certainly makes her an expert in her field.