Dyson is the last word in suction. I have no idea how its products do the things they do, but the the V6 Absolute cordless vacuum is one of the suckiest products I've ever used. I mean sucky as a verb, not an adjective mind you.
What Is It?
- Motor: Dyson V6
- Bin Capacity: 410mL
- Weight: 2.31kg
- Battery life (quoted): 20 minutes (or 6 minutes on Max)
- Warranty: Two years
I promise* that will be the last pun in this review.
The V6 Absolute is probably Dyson's most powerful vacuum yet. It's probably the last vacuum you'll probably ever buy.
Technically, it's called the Dyson V6 Absolute Handstick, but the word Handstick feels made up and stupid, so let's just all call it a cordless vacuum and move on.
The V6 Absolute sits at the top end of the V6 range as a "specialist vacuum". The family consists of the base V6 Handstick; the V6 Animal designed for pet hair as well as hard and soft floors; the V6 Motorhead Handstick designed just for carpets (and sweet metal songs from the 70's); the V6 Fluffy Handstick designed for hard floors, and the V6 Absolute (the one we're reviewing), which is designed to be great at absolutely all of these things and more.
While they're all powered by the insanely powerful Dyson V6 motor, each model looks slightly different and comes with slightly different batteries and attachments.
It's also $899. Yeah.
Dyson has made a hell of a vacuum in the V6 Absolute.
I'm a bit of a clean-freak when it comes to dust and dirt, so I have a DC59 Animal in my house right now, and it's great. The Dyson V6 Absolute, however, is better.
It wasn't enough to test the V6 Absolute in (I'm breaking my pun rule) a vacuum: we had to see how much better it was than previous Dyson models.
I took a fully-charged, one-year old DC59 Animal with a carpet cleaning head and vacuumed my studio with it. Sydney is a dusty city, and I don't have a shoes-off rule in my place, so a fair bit of dust gets traipsed about in a week. I worked on one high-traffic area of deep pile, cream-coloured carpet in my house on Max mode, and the DC59 picked up a bunch of dust I couldn't even see.
I then emptied the bin and went back over the area to see how much more I could pick up. Almost nothing. The DC59 had done its job, and the carpet looked spotless and felt soft and dust-free.
I picked up the V6 Absolute, attached the new carpet cleaning head and worked over the same area for the same time, and instantly picked up dust and dirt that the DC59 Animal hadn't. I went around the rest of the house after this and filled the sizeable bagless bin with a more dust and fibres than I'd normally get from a DC59 clean. I put it back on charge knowing that I was walking around on beautifully clean carpets for the rest of the day.
I have allergies and asthma (#nerdlyf), so knowing that I'm getting the most dust and dirt out of my carpet that I can is so comforting, and also knowing that the dust and allergens aren't being spread back into the air thanks to the frankly massive HEPA filter attached to the rear of the unit is a relief.
The best thing about the V6 Absolute -- outside of that amazing suction -- is the sheer number of accessories you get. A Dyson vacuum is only as good as its head, and you get every head you could possibly want.
The V6 Absolute comes with a soft-roller cleaner head for hard floors; a direct-drive cleaner head for soft floors; a mini-motorised tool for pet hair, furniture and car seats, and an adorable mini-soft dusting brush for compact tasks like keyboards and other such delicates. There's also an extension pole which can be attached for floor use or detached for compact handheld work. It's an all-purpose, go anywhere, clean anything vacuum.
The V6 Absolute is able to do all of this thanks to a few clever re-designs straight out of the Dyson labs.
The brush heads are now more efficient for both hard and soft surfaces thanks to the motor sitting inside the brush bar itself rather than at the back of the cleaner head. By integrating it into the rotating brush bar, power is evenly distributed across all of the bristles so you can go right to the edge of your skirting board to pick up crap lurking there. That means less time spent changing heads and more time spent not cleaning your goddamn house.
It's also more versatile thanks to the redesigned brush heads for this model. The "fluffy" brush head you get included has a new plastic edge on the front in favour of a nylon front. As a result, stuff like leaves, cereal flakes and other larger objects are sucked right into the unit while still maintaining a seal to the ground. Dyson engineers told us that they changed it because when users came up against these larger objects, they'd always lift their vacuums off the ground to get them, reducing overall efficiency.
That's why I love Dyson. It doesn't just put out new products every year with different numbers on the box and a fancy new colour. It hires hundreds of genius engineers and scientists around the world to meticulously research products and figure out how to make them better.
The redesigned brush head attachments are great, but the only annoying thing is a little hinge Dyson has added to the head that allows it to turn from side-to-side. You'd think this would be helpful, but once you start pushing it along it pivots on its own and turns away from where you intend to clean, being right in front of the head itself. It leaves you kind of fighting against the brush head, which can hurt your wrist after a full clean cycle.
Let's talk about a full clean cycle too. The battery on the Dyson V6 lasts for a maximum of 20 minutes. We couldn't get any longer out of it during testing. There's also a Max Power mode which lasts for a maximum of 10 minutes. That's rubbish. I get my studio apartment cleaned in just under this amount of time, but I have probably the smallest house of anyone reading this, and those buying it will probably want to use it for longer. What's worse is that it takes 3.5 hours to recharge (according to Dyson) from empty. If you've got a whole house to clean, you're going to need two trips, or the ability to work fast.
Dyson has recently invested in a company called Sakti3. It's a gang of really smart folks who are looking into replacing liquid electrolyte Lithium-Ion batteries with so-called "solid state" Lithium-Ion batteries for greater efficiency in a smaller space. Dyson hopes the tech will yield results soon, but for now you're stuck with a battery that lasts for, at best, 20 minutes and at worst, six minutes. For a $900 vacuum, you expect something a little better.
Also, holy crap, the price of this thing. I know good engineering takes time and the technology inside the V6 absolute is totally bonkers, but that's a lot of money for a vacuum cleaner.
I was going to write that there's also a touch of the Australia Tax on the V6 Animal, but when you think about it, it's not so bad. The V6 Absolute has a recommended retail price of $US599 in North America, which translates to $770 using our current BS excuse for exchange rates (calculated at $0.77 cents). Slap 10 per cent GST on that and you'll buy it for $847. Ship it over to Australia and you'll be touching the $899 RRP you pay in a local store.
Because it has been out in the US for a little while longer you're more likely to get a bit of a deal on it. For example when I was comparing the prices, I found the V6 Absolute for $US479.99 -- a $US120 ($154) saving. While it's still by no means cheap, it's a way to save a few bucks on the gadget if you're buying one for yourself.
No matter where you buy it, the price is more palpable when you think about it thusly: it's probably going to be the last vacuum cleaner you ever buy provided if you maintain it regularly and get a spare battery every few years. Dyson makes a solid vacuum stick thing, meaning you can buy one for a lot of money up front and absolutely get the quality you pay for, or buy several over the next 10-15 years and eventually end up spending more. Sadly, quality like this costs money.
Should You Buy It?
If you can afford it and absolutely can't stand the idea of hidden dust and crap lurking in your carpet, then you should definitely get the V6 Absolute. You're paying for peace of mind as much as you are clean floors.
It picks up more crap off your floors than its predecessors, even when they've been over the same area.
If perhaps you can't afford the V6 Absolute but still want Dyson-clean floors, I'd really recommend the DC59. Despite the fact that the V6 picks up more than it, it's still a great vacuum and one I've been using solidly for a year. Best of all, you can pick it up for about $499 these days, depending on if you can find the stock.
Either way, Dyson is still the last word in suction, and the only thing I want cleaning my house.