Dyson DC44 Animal Vacuum Review: It's Small, But It's All About How You Use It

We live in an age of robot cleaners that scour our floors with virtually no intervention. It takes a special vacuum cleaner to make you want to go back to using your arms again. But the DC44 Digital Slim vacuum is worth a look if you're considering a Roomba -- because this vacuum might actually be a better solution.

What Is It?

The DC44 Animal is a powerful, bagless, cordless handheld vacuum cleaner with an intuitive design and superb manoeuvrability. It retails in Australia for $549.

Who's It For?

People who have lots of money to spend on cleaning their homes.

Design

Fantastic form and function. Extremely comfortable for cleaning floors and ceilings.

Using It

Pull the trigger and let it suck. An optional turbo button is available for really filthy floors, and a range of nozzles to suit just about any surface.

The Best Part

The battery life is stupendous -- well beyond the advertised 20 minutes of continuous cleaning.

Tragic Flaw

Go ahead and laugh, but pushing around 2.3kg can get heavy on the arms. You use it with one hand like a giant wand. No motor on the floor is convenient, but it means you're always carrying the entire unit -- reaching into crevices and lifting it overhead can quickly start to strain.

This Is Weird...

The dirt chamber was sometimes difficult to click in and out of place. It took some wrangling -- and you can imagine a disgusting spill if it was full.

Test Notes

  • Vacuumed wood floors, carpet, and used a nice cone-shaped nozzle on couch crevices.
  • A motor in both the base and the cleaning head makes for some incredibly powerful sucking.
  • Kept it leaning against the wall in the kitchen. Compact enough to not bother stowing it away.
  • So easy to use you find yourself spot-cleaning all the time with it.
  • Really remarkable battery life. Cleaned the entire apartment top to bottom, plus little bursts of cleaning over the course of three weeks.
  • Recharged the battery a few times, but got more than 20 minutes of vac action on each full charge.

Should You Buy It?

Most people can't afford to spend $550 on a vacuum cleaner. That's a lot of money. You can get a good vacuum for much less. But if you're looking to splash out on a handheld vacuum in this price range, the DC44 is one option that is well-suited to daily life.

So assuming you're serious about this investment, put it to yourself this way: a manual vacuum can't compare to the ultra-convenience of a Roomba, but there's no doubt it can do a better cleaning job. You could be happy with either purchase. It's either a robot maid that does a decent job on floors alone, or a phenomenal cleaning tool for all surfaces -- as long as you can handle some labour.

Dyson DC44 Animal

Price: $549 RRP in Australia • Weight: 2.3kg • Bin capacity: 0.35 litres • Dimensions: 1120mm (H) x 230mm (D) x 300mm (W) • Battery: nickel manganese cobalt; no mAh or watt-hours numbers