A look at the best Dyson vacuum cleaners, from cordless sticks to corded uprights
There aren’t many vacuum cleaner brands that can match Dyson when it comes to recognisability, and for good reason. The British company is one of the more innovative in its field, consistently coming up with intelligently designed vacuum cleaners, alongside other products such as fans and hair dryers.
Famous for its bagless vacuum cleaners that use cyclonic separation to remove dust from the air stream, Dyson vacuums are among the most popular in the country. With such a broad and varied catalogue of available models, though, it can be tough to pick the best Dyson vacuum for your situation.
To help you choose, we’ve put together a buying guide, outlining a few key considerations and the various categories of cleaner to choose from. This is followed by our pick of the very best Dyson vacuum cleaners across a range of budgets.
How to choose the best Dyson vacuum cleaner for you
What sets a Dyson apart from other vacuum cleaners?
As mentioned above, Dyson vacuum cleaners are bagless and use “cyclonic separation” technology to remove dust particulates from the air. This feature is included in every model.
The bagless technology is somewhat self-explanatory and means that you don’t have to spend extra money on replacement bags. While that’s a positive, emptying the dust container on these cleaners does produce dust clouds, no matter how careful you are. This means bagless cleaners aren’t the best for those who suffer from dust allergies.
As for the cyclonic separation technology, that refers to the cones at the top of the internal dust canister. They use the airflow to separate dust and dirt from the air, depositing more waste – including microscopic particles – into the canister without the need for complex filters.
Another Dyson innovation is ‘the Ball’. This, as the name suggests, is a large ball upon which the vacuum cleaner pivots. Thanks to this single pivot, upright Dyson cleaners are easier to manoeuvre around the house in comparison to traditional wheel-based vacuums.
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What type of Dyson vacuum cleaner should I buy?
Dyson currently produces three broad types of vacuum cleaner: the traditional upright, the cordless stick and the hard floor cleaner.
Upright – This is a one-piece unit and the model that most closely resembles the traditional machine that most people will picture when they think of a vacuum cleaner. The suction head is at the bottom, the handle is at the top and the dust container mounted in between. It’s a simple, tried and tested design.
Uprights tend to have the largest capacity, so you spend less time emptying them, and you can cover larger areas in a shorter amount of time than other models. On the downside, they’re heavier than other models, and the mains cord and detachable hose mean they’re not the most convenient type of vacuum to use on stairs.
Cordless stick – Dyson’s cordless vacuums have a motorised head connected to a long, rigid tube, with the dust container and motor mounted on top. They’re powered by a rechargeable battery, so they’re convenient and very light, and can be easily manoeuvered in tight spaces. However, the smaller cleaning head and relative lack of capacity compared to an upright vacuum mean it can take more time to clean a larger space.
One of the great things about Dyson’s cordless sticks is that the various parts are modular and can be connected in different combinations. For example, you can remove the floor head and add an attachment to the extension wand to clean hard-to-reach areas, or remove the extension entirely to get a handheld device that’s great for stairs, upholstery and car interiors.
Dyson has a wide range of sizes available, to cater for different sized homes and cleaning jobs.
Hard floor – While all Dysons can be used on hard floor, some come with floor heads fitted with fluffy rollers, which make them particularly well suited to the surface. However, it’s worth noting that these don’t work well on carpet. Check the floor head that your chosen device comes with, in case you are buying a device that’s unsuitable for the type of floor that dominates your home. The Absolute and Complete versions of most models come with two floor heads to cover all angles, recommended for homes with a variety of surfaces to clean.
How we test Dyson vacuum cleaners
We test Dyson’s vacuum cleaners in the same way that we test all vacuum cleaners: with a series of hands-on tests that truly test their mettle. Using these results we can compare Dyson’s latest vacuum cleaners with previous models and see how they fare against their rivals.
Upright and cordless cleaners are tested on both carpet and hard floor. We test them with a trio of tricky substances: flour, Cheerios and pet hair. We drop measured quantities of these onto both types of surface and weigh the collection bins before and after they have made a single pass over the mess to see how much they collect.
We also measure the suction each vacuum is capable of and, if it’s a cordless model, we test the battery life by running it constantly from a full charge until the battery runs out. Both of these tests are carried out on each vacuum’s most powerful and most efficient settings.
Robot vacuum cleaners are tested in a similar way, using rice, flour and pet hair on both carpet and hard floor. Extra tests are performed with these devices to see how good they are at navigating, mapping and dealing with a variety of obstacles.
We also use the vacuum cleaner to do our own cleaning at home over a period of time, to see how useful and practical they are in everyday life.
READ NEXT: Best robot vacuum cleaners
The best Dyson vacuum cleaners you can buy in 2023
1. Dyson V8: Best-value Dyson vacuum cleaner
Price when reviewed: £330 l Check price at John LewisThe Dyson V8 is Dyson’s most affordable cordless stick vacuum cleaner, starting at £330. The V8 features a design that will be familiar to users of the older V7, with a side-on collection bin and a trigger controller. However, the V8 has more power (115AW) and a longer battery life (40 mins).
The latest models come with Dyson’s hair-detangling floor head, which combs the brushes of its rotating brush bar as the vacuum cleans, ensuring that hair doesn’t get tangled.
The standard V8 is ideal if you have a relatively small living space that’s mostly carpeted. If you have mostly hard floors, it’s worth seeking out the V8 Absolute, which comes with an additional fluffy roller.
Read our full Dyson V8 Absolute review for more details
Key specs – Dimensions (WDH): 250 x 221 x 1,256mm; Weight: 2.5kg; Bin capacity: 540ml; Vacuum type: Cordless stick; Bagless: Yes; Suction power – stated: 115AW
2. Dyson V15 Detect Absolute: Best overall Dyson vacuum cleaner
Price when reviewed: £700 | Check price at John Lewis To date, each new generation of Dyson cordless stick vacuum cleaner has bettered the previous, but with the Dyson V15 Detect Absolute, the company has taken things a few steps further.
There’s an increase in the suction, naturally, with this new vacuum’s stated suction power upgraded to 240 air watts, compared with 185 air watts in the equivalent V11. However, the headline innovations in this model are located in its motorised heads.
The Absolute model comes with three of these in the box: a hard floor head with a laser that highlights the dust on your floor to give you proof of your clean; a new High Torque Head that combs hair from itself as it vacuums your carpets; and a smaller motorised head for furniture and stairs with a unique corkscrew-shaped brush that releases hair from itself as it spins.
The screen on the vacuum unit also has new features and while it still helps you choose your cleaning mode and shows you how long your battery has left, it also reports on how well the V15 is cleaning your home and what kind of dust and dirt particles it’s collecting.
Put it all together and you’ve got the best Dyson you can buy: its most powerful cleaner to date, coupled with new technology that’s genuinely useful.
Read our full Dyson V15 Detect Absolute review for more details
Key specs – Dimensions (WDH): 250 x 252 x 1,264mm; Weight: 3kg; Bin capacity: 760ml; Vacuum type: Cordless stick; Bagless: Yes; Suction power – stated: 240AW
3. Dyson V12 Detect Slim: Best Dyson for smaller homes
Price when reviewed: £530 | Check price at John LewisThe V12 has all the key features of the newest V15 in a downsized and slightly cheaper package. While the vacuum itself is smaller, lighter and less powerful, the attachments are essentially identical. This means you get two floor heads: the soft fluffy roller with
green laser light that helps you spot where your hard floor is dirty; and the anti-tangle brush bar floor head for carpet, which guides hair off the roller and into the collection bin before it can wrap itself around the roller and become a problem.
Although it’s no shorter than the V15, the collection bin is smaller at 350ml, and it doesn’t contain as many of Dyson’s cyclones, reducing the overall suction power to 150AW. Don’t let that put you off, though, because there’s still enough power here to perform a fantastic cleaning job, albeit in a smaller unit that doesn’t take up as much room, so is easier to store. It’s also a good deal cheaper than the V15.
Read our full Dyson V12 Detect Slim Absolute review for more details
Key specs – Dimensions (WDH): 250 x 252 x 1,234mm; Weight: 2.5kg; Bin capacity: 350ml; Vacuum type: Cordless stick; Bagless: Yes; Suction power – stated: 150AW
4. Dyson Outsize: The biggest Dyson cordless
Price when reviewed: £625 | Check price at Amazon Dyson’s biggest cordless vacuum cleaner takes (almost) everything that makes the V15 Detect great and supersizes it, with a cleaning head that’s 25% wider and a collection bin that’s 150% bigger. The only thing missing is that it doesn’t count and measure the particles collected, though this is arguably the V15’s least obviously useful detection tool.
Battery life is excellent and cleaning power is as good as it gets, with 18 of Dyson’s cyclones built into the vacuum. The larger size means you’ll be able to cover more ground before needing to empty the dust and detritus; ideal if you have a big house with lots of places for dirt to collect.
It also comes with extensions aplenty. As well as the main vacuum unit, the extension pole and extra-large cleaning head (with hair removal veins to keep it clean), the Dyson Outsize comes with a smaller soft head for hard floors and a mini-motorised tool for cleaning stairs and other inconvenient places. You’ll also get a variety of brushes, adaptors and other extensions.
Read our full Dyson Outsize review for more details
Key specs – Dimensions (WDH): 320 x 261 x 1,286mm; Weight: 3.5kg; Bin capacity: 1.7l; Vacuum type: Cordless stick; Bagless: Yes; Suction power – stated: 220AW
5. Dyson Omni-Glide: Best Dyson vacuum cleaner for hard floor
Price when reviewed: £299 | Check price at AO Any of the other Dysons on this page will do as good a job of cleaning hard floor as they will carpet, but the Dyson Omni-glide takes hard floor vacuuming to a completely new level.
The innovative motorised floor head has two soft rollers, positioned on opposite sides of the main suction tube. These rotate in opposite directions, gathering debris from each side, launching it towards the central suction area. The head is mounted on four small coasters, and this – when coupled with the flexible, rotating neck – gives the Omni-glide the feeling of floating on air. It’s truly the most maneuverable vacuum we’ve seen to date.
It has the usual attachments for crevice cleaning and dusting, plus a small motorised head for mats and rugs, but is definitely not suitable if you’ve got more carpet than you’re prepared to vacuum on your hands and knees.
Read our full Dyson Omni-glide review for more details
Key specs – Dimensions (WDH): 206 x 91 x 1,077mm; Weight: 1.9kg; Bin capacity: 200ml; Vacuum type: Cordless stick; Bagless: Yes; Suction power – stated: 50AW
6. Dyson Ball Animal Complete: Best Dyson corded upright
Price when reviewed: £380 | Check price at John LewisHouseholds with pets may find that they need a vacuum cleaner with a bit more heft than even the most Outsize of Dyson’s cordless sticks. For such serious jobs, the Dyson Ball Animal is ideal. It comes with its own version of the tangle-resistant floor head, which is great on carpet.
This is a corded upright vacuum cleaner, so needs to be permanently plugged into a wall socket. Although its generous 10m lead should let you reach most corners of an average sized house if plugged in at a central hall or landing, you may still find yourself needing to swap sockets to reach everywhere, and you’ll definitely end up wrestling with the cord as you vacuum.
However, while it doesn’t offer the extreme suction of Dyson’s cordless models on their Boost mode, the Ball Animal is more powerful than the standard modes of such machines. With the added benefit that it isn’t going to run out and require recharging, this makes it perfect for larger, more serious cleaning jobs.
Key specs – Dimensions (WDH): 280 x 390 x 1,065mm; Weight: 7.4kg; Bin capacity: 1.8l; Vacuum type: Upright; Bagless: Yes; Suction power – stated: 90AW