10 years ago when I first moved into our current apartment, as a new homeowner I had to make a lot of decisions I’d never had to make before. One of the many involved the choice of vacuum cleaner. At the time Dyson were revolutionising the market with their futuristic cyclone technology. As a techie type I was naturally drawn to their products a despite their relatively high cost at the time. The model I bought back was still in service 8 years later with only a filter or two replaced along the way. Surely a testament to Dyson reliability and durability?
I was keen to see how Dyson had changed in nearly a decade and was happy to agree to review their new small ball animal model. For starters, in common with a lot of other manufacturers, Dyson has pared back on anything unnecessary meaning that the model looks rather naked in comparison to my previous model. Now, I wanted to find out what effect, if any, it had on the ease of use and performance.
As with all models now, the cleaner came in a box and required a little self-assembling. The first thing I noticed was that it seems Dyson have not compromised on the quality of their products. Yes, the cleaner is made of metal and plastic just like the others but it just feels sturdier and the components have a satisfying and reassuring click when they join together. The assembled cleaner is actually very small in comparison to the models we’ve previously reviewed. Ideal when storage space is at a premium like at our place where we’re bursting to capacity with cat paraphernalia. It’s also very light – almost half that of my previous Dyson model. This is helped by the fact that the tools are not stored on board giving extra weight and bulk (although I realised there is a place to put a couple of the tools if you want to keep them to hand). The handle, while not height adjustable does move down , again, to reduce the storage space.
My first test of any cleaner is to see how it copes with the fur laden aftermath of a quarrel between Oliver and Nubia.
The Dyson powered over the carpet easily picking up every single hair. In fact the suction was just a little but too strong for the carpets but I was able to lower this with a little slider on the front of the head. The large ball on the front makes the cleaner swerve around objects like a dancer. It was also easy to get under the coffee table with the handle being able to lean almost all the way back. I’m glad the Dyson have not cut back on cord length in an attempt to reduce weight. I was able to reach all our apartment from just the one plug socket.
Next, I wanted to see how easy it is to connect up the hose and use the various tools including a very unusual looking tangle-free turbine head. To connect the hose you have to take off the handle and turn it upside down. It feels a bit counterintuitive at first but it’s so that the handle switches from being used in a upright to hose position. A usual with Dyson technology ease of usage is at the forefront of their collective mind. All tools can be directly connected with a simple pull on and off action. Along with a standard crevice tool (given a new deployable brush feature) and standard fan head, there’s the aforementioned turbine head.
In common with other manufacturers, Dyson have brushes powered by the movement of air through the hose. The brushes work horizontally like a 4 toothbrushes tracing a pair of circles. As with all Dyson technology this isn’t difference just for the sake of it. The way that the brushes spin means that long hairs don’t get tangled up around a central spindle. Though we don’t have that problem with cat hairs, when we had a lodger with long golden locks we often had to take the scissors to our cleaner. In addition there are another couple of smart features which I liked about this tangle-free turbine tool. To control the amount of contact with the brushes there is a spring loaded base, gentle pressure on the head allows the brushes to contact the surface you’re cleaning. Release the pressure and they just skim the surface but with the suction going.
The third feature is the fact that you can actually see the brushes turning via a covered wheel on the top of the head (presumably part of the turning mechanism) which you can see spinning. I’m not sure if that the idea of it but a little spiral on there would make it even easier.
So overall, the Dyson Small ball Animal shows that Dyson is not prepared to compromise on quality and performance when it comes to reduction in size and weight. The pared down model performs as would a full sized version with all the useful design features you’d expect of Dyson.
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