There are a great many Dyson vacuums, so once you digest the existential dread of possibly buying a $500 vacuum, you’ll want to know which model to go for.
Consumerism has conditioned us to search for what is the newest, as it should, theoretically, be best. But high-performance vacuums are not smartphones — they don’t obsolesce. When Dyson released its V6 cordless vacuum in 2015, it was the best vacuum it could make, and when it released a V8 a couple years later that was the best vacuum it could make.
The beauty of investing in a Dyson is it may very well stick around your broom closet for the next decade or more, never losing effectiveness and backed by one of the best warranty and customer service programs in the business.
That all said, having tested, compared, poked and prodded these machines, I’ve developed a sense of what most people need when it comes to Dyson’s all-powerful lineup of vacuums. These are the best Dyson vacuums to buy — and a few you should avoid buying (for now).
Best Dyson Vacuum Models
Best Value Dyson Vacuum: Dyson V8 Animal (Refurbished)
Who It’s For: People looking for the best performance-price ratio who only have a half an hour’s worth of vacuuming at any given time.
Released in 2016, Dyson’s V8 vacuum is stellar, and buying a manufacturer refurbished Animal knocks off hundreds of dollars without losing any significant performance. After the V6, it was the second serious cordless release Dyson put out, and it improved on it in every way: longer battery power, a larger dust bin, washable HEPA and pre-motor filters (this means you don’t have to spend money to replace any filters), a dirt ejection system that doesn’t leave your hands filthy and it cut back on the machine’s noise output. The “Animal” in its name simply refers to the number of different modular vacuum heads the machine comes with — Animal packages specialize in everyday vacuum heads (hardwoods, carpets, rugs, etc.) as well as heads aimed specifically at pulling dog and cat hair from the confines of, well, everywhere.
Manufacturer refurbished models are taken rather personally for Dyson — that is to say, they are not afterthoughts. The product is brought back to the Dyson mothership, taken apart, put back together, tested, tested some more before finally being eligible for resale. Dyson ensures its refurbished products’ performance is on-par with its new products, though there may be some “cosmetic blemishes that include scratches and/or other surface imperfections, that do not affect functionality.”
Prices for older Dyson models, refurbs especially, are volatile. We’ve seen V8 Animal refurbs hover above and below $300 on eBay for a while, so wait on a sale before hopping on it. Is it as powerful as some of Dyson’s other vacuums? No. Is it hundreds less, still plenty powerful for most people, versatile and user-friendly? Yes. Dyson’s refurbished V8 Animal is the best Dyson most people should buy (see the next pick for what the remaining few folks should go for).
Suction: 22 airwatts (normal), 115 airwatts (max)
Runtime: 40 minutes
Other Notable Features: Washable HEPA filter, lower sound output, clean dirt dumping
Best Dyson Vacuum Model (Corded): Dyson Ball Multifloor 2 (Refurbished)
Who It’s For: People who live in larger spaces and may need to vacuum for longer periods of time, or simply don’t want a time limit on their vacuuming.
Once again, there a lot of words in that model name, but there’s only one takeaway — this is the Dyson to get if you have a big living space. Even cordless vacuums with the most efficient batteries (see the V10 below) can only operate from 40 to 60 minutes (and that’s on the lowest power setting). Upright, corded vacuums — inelegant as they are — are necessary for larger homes.
The refurb Multifloor 2 is the ideal blend of power, versatility and value. It’s the second model of a vacuum that adjusts suction and head height based on the surface your cleaning. It’s HEPA-certified, so allergens and other potentially harmful microscopic bits aren’t an issue, and it rocks a wider vacuum head than the cordless varieties. The Multifloor 2 isn’t far superior to the original Mutlifloor — its body is slimmer, it has similar suction, more yellow coloring and a wider vacuum head — but the difference in price for the refurbished models is $20 (give or take based on the sales of the day). If you see a sale on the original Multifloor and not the Multifloor 2, you’re not losing much if you go for it.
These are as affordable as you’ll see modern Dysons, and I wouldn’t recommend reaching further back into the catalog trying to scrape together a deal. The further you go back, the fewer resources at your disposal in the case of breakdowns and upkeep.
Suction: Radial Root Cyclone Technology
Cord Length: 31 feet
Other Notable Features: clean dirt dumping, HEPA-certified, self-adjusting head height, easy-turning Ball technology
Models We Don’t Recommend
Dyson V10 Absolute
The issue with the V10, as noted when I reviewed it when it launched, is not performance — it’s that you’re paying almost a grand for a cordless vacuum cleaner that didn’t totally eclipse its predecessor, the V8 (our top pick).
The V10s specs are off the charts (its max suction is 40 percent higher than the V8), but, functionally, that’s not all that helpful. You simply don’t need that much juice to pull up dirt, dust and dog hair. It also boasts a longer battery life that’s 20 minutes longer, but only when in its lowest suction mode, which is lower than the base suction for the V8. Running on its mid-level suction, it runs nearly identically to the V8. Its greatest improvement, and one I won’t bemoan is that of the dustbin — it holds more crap from your floors, and it’s way easier to eject into the trash. Unfortunately, that doesn’t make it worth the $700 price tag. As it gets older and sales and refurbished models start piling up, it will become a better value buy. But, for now, pass on it.
Suction: 15 airwatts (normal), 151 airwatts (max)
Runtime: 60 minutes
Other Notable Features: all-in-one washable filter, no battery-linked performance fade, larger dust bin
The Dyson V6 is not a bad vacuum — for a cordless vacuum, it’s plenty powerful. It’s also a solid value buy, seeing as its the oldest modern cordless vacuum and goes on sale often (recntly, under $200). The V8 — our choice for best overall Dyson — is found around the web for roughly $100 more. What does that $100 get you?
The differences that matter: twice the battery life, significantly larger dustbin (and the ability to empty it without dirtying your hands), washable pre-motor and HEPA filters and, in case an error occurs, a replaceable battery. For me, these combined make the V8 feel worth the extra $100 or so. Perhaps most significant from a long-term value perspective is the upgrade to the vacuum’s filters — because the pre-motor filter and the HEPA exhaust filter are washable, you won’t have to replace them every three to six months. HEPA filters for vacuums can cost around $50 or $60 alone.
Suction: 28 airwatts (normal), 100 airwatts (max)
Runtime: 20 minutes
Other Notable Features: full HEPA filtration, first “power-dense” digital motor
Dyson V7 Handheld
In Dyson’s catalog, I don’t fully understand the point of the handheld vacuum. Available starting in 2017, the V7 is a handheld vacuum with much of the same features as its older and younger cordless counterparts. Except it doesn’t have a longer stick for day-to-day cleaning, it’s just for your car or boat and, despite this, it’s typically barely more affordable than the V6 full-size cordless. The aforementioned V6, V8 and V10 cordless options, for the record, can very easily act as a handheld vacuum — simply remove its larger, rolling head with one of the heads that’s more suited for your car or boat. The V7’s stock vacuum head is slightly different than some of the heads you’ll get with the other models, but it’s not hugely impactful. Most models also don’t come with a HEPA exhaust filter.
If you’ve got a car, boat or some other tight area to clean, just get a V6 or graduate up to the V8 and clean it and your home.
Suction: 21 airwatts (normal), 100 airwatts (max)
Runtime: 30 minutes
Other Notable Features: increased dustbin capacity, extra lightweight, comes with 35W motorised powerhead standard