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Dyson DC39 Animal Canister Vacuum

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Avg. consumer rating = 87/100 

Never has a vacuum cleaner elicited so many “I love it” and “I hate it” consumer comments at the same time.  There are many 5 star ratings but also quite a few 1 or 2 star reviews.  Owners praise the vacuum for its strong suction, ability to pick up pet hair, easy maintenance, and low profile nozzle, however there are also comments that the dust canister has to be emptied frequently, the hose is short and the nozzle is hard to move on bare floors. 

We found over 1300 consumer ratings at 13 online retailers.  These are shown in the table below.  When averaged these generate a score of 87.4 out of a possible 100 (or about 4.4 stars out of 5).    This is a good score so despite the disparity in comments there are clearly more pleased owners than otherwise.  You can compare this score to other Dyson vacuum scores or Canister vacuum scores if you like. 

 Source  Consumer Ratings  #Ratings
 Amazon  4.0 stars out of 5  285
 Best Buy  4.5 stars out of 5  226
 Bed Bath & Beyond  4.5 stars out of 5  140
 John Lewis  4.2 stars out of 5  48
 Target  4.3 stars out of 5  18
 Walmart  4.6 stars out of 5  127
 QVC  4.2 stars out of 5  165
 Kohl's  4.5 stars out of 5  116
 Home Depot  4.6 stars out of 5  124
 Overstock  5.0 stars out of 5  3
 HSN  4.3 stars out of 5  14
 Lowe's  4.6 stars out of 5  109
 Abt  5.0 stars out of 5  2

 

A review of consumer comments from a large number of sources yielded the following common vacuum likes and dislikes:

PROS
- Parts all “click-fit” together
- Sleek, attractive looking machine
- Compact
- Not too loud
- 5-year warranty
- Most owners report that it is effective on pet hair
- Most owners feel the suction is strong

CONS
- Expensive
- Brushbar is powered by suction only
- Filter should be washed every month
- Dust canister needs frequent emptying
- Power cord and hose are a bit short

Consumer comments are not entirely consistent with respect to several vacuum features.  Some report that the vacuum is lightweight while others feel it is quite heavy.  Others report that the suction is fantastic and that it picks up everything while a few indicate that the suction is lacking (our experience was that the machine had fairly powerful suction). 

Most folks feel the DC39 Animal is a sleek, good-looking vacuum but some find it unattractive.  Also, while most owners feel the unit is very effective at picking up pet hair there are some reports that it does not quite live up to its reputation in that department.

Fortunately there is also agreement on several issues.  The dust canister is easy to empty, the brushroll is easy to remove and clean, the hose is a little short, the dust canister has to be emptied frequently, and the low profile nozzle is helpful when vacuuming under furniture.  There are also a number of comments that the nozzle has a tendency to “suck down” onto very smooth flooring making it hard to move.

You can read more customer reviews on Amazon if you want.

dc39 brushroll maintenance
Easy brushroll removal with just a quarter

 

There are presently two canister vacuums in the Dyson stable (although others can be found at some retailers online).  The Dyson DC47 is a mid-size vacuum and the Dyson DC39 is a full-size vacuum.  The main differences between these two vacuums are the size and the power.  The DC47 has a smaller dust canister, a shorter power cord, and it weighs less than the DC39.  The DC47 also generates 170 Air Watts of suction power while the DC39 generates 275.

Out of the box the vacuum assembles very quickly and easily.  All pieces simply “click-fit” together.  No tools are needed.

 

dc39 assembly
Easy assemble. Parts click-fit together without the need for tools.

 

The Dyson DC39 Animal is an unusual looking beast, especially if you are used to more traditional looking canister vacuums.  But then, many Dyson machines look a little “out of this world”.  Most think the DC39 looks futuristic and attractive but a few feel it is a little ugly.  We actually think it looks pretty cool.  You can see the canister body in the image below.

 

dc39 canister body
Futuristic looking canister body

 

A couple of stand-out features that make the vacuum look the way it does are the “Radial Root Cyclone Technology” and the “Ball Technology”.  

The cyclones make up the innovative looking purple assembly atop the dust canister.  There is a lot of marketing talk about the DC65 having “Radial” root cyclone technology as opposed to just root cyclone technology.   As far as we can figure ‘Radial” simply means that airways have been remodelled to help improve flow efficiency and reduce turbulence.  In theory this should provide better suction power and dust removal.  The vacuum does generate a very healthy 275 air watts of suction.  For comparison purposes consider the following (in air watts):

DC65 Upright - 245
DC41 Upright – 235
DC47 Canister – 170
DC59 Stick Vac – standard: 28, boost: 100


Following is our video review of the DC39 Animal. We walk through features, specifications and also run the machine through several key tests.


This Dyson Animal uses the famous Ball Technology. Instead of a vacuum that travels on wheels, the vacuum literally spins around on a large sphere enabling the canister to turn uninhibited in any direction.  The ball also houses the motor which helps to create a low center of gravity making the machine more stable.  In addition, the ball has been acoustically treated to ensure that the vacuum is not too noisy.  The ball uses polyurethane sound-insulating materials that help absorb noise and sound dampening mounts are used to attach the motor to the housing.

The triggerhead nozzle is the main floor tool on the DC39 Animal and it has a suction driven brushroll (not driven by a motor).  However this nozzle is somewhat unique.  The brushroll can be turned on or off with a switch located on the wand grip.  Most suction driven brushrolls (often called turbine or turbo tools) cannot be turned on or off - when the suction is on the brushroll is spinning.  The on/off ability allows you to use the same nozzle head on carpet (brushroll ON) and bare floors or delicate rugs (brushroll OFF).  In the following image you can see the brushroll on/off switch in the grip.dc39 grip controls

Brushroll ON/OFF & Suction release controls on grip.

 

 In addition to the triggerhead nozzle, the vacuum also comes with the following tools:
- mini turbine tool
- stair tool
- combination dusting brush/crevice tool

dc39 animal tools
Tools included with the DC39 Animal

 

The mini turbine tool is useful for cleaning pet hair and other debris from narrow/hard-to-reach areas and from upholstery.  This tool does not store on-board the vacuum while the stair tool and the combo tool do.  The tools can be attached to the end of the vacuum hose or the wand.

 

dc39 filter
Washable filter

The vacuum comes with HEPA level filtration.  HEPA stands for High Efficiency Particulate Air and it removes allergens from the air that passes through the vacuum - allergens like pollen, mold, ragweed, etc.  HEPA filtration is good for those with asthma or allergies.  The washable filter on the DC39 is located just below the vacuum carry handle.  It can be easily pulled out and washed using cool tap water (no detergent).  After it is completely dry (Dyson say this can take up to 24 hours) it can be re-inserted.

Cleaning reach is published as 32.8 feet.  This includes wand, hose and power cord.  The vacuum has a 21.3 foot power cord (a bit on the short side by the way) which means the hose and wand should provide about 11.5 feet of reach.  However when we measure this we find the wand and hose only provide about 10+ feet of reach.  The hose is flexible however so it may stretch out some over time.

 

dc39 hose
Hose is a bit short in our opinion.

 

We measure the hose at about 6 feet and we find this a little short resulting in the canister sometimes being too close behind you when vacuuming.  A longer hose would have been nicer. 

The power cord is retractable and this feature works well.  A button on top of the canister pulls it back in when you are finished vacuuming.

 

dc39 canister controls
Controls on the canister body.

 

The dust canister has a capacity of 0.53 gallons and many owners report having to empty it frequently. Oddly, it is almost the same size as the canister in the DC65 full size upright (0.55 gallons) and we didn’t see this particular complaint with that model.  The canister is bottom empty and the bottom opens at the press of a single button near the top of the canister.  It is easy to operate and while it can be a little tricky at times to set it back into the machine it isn’t that difficult.  There is a small button on the top of the ball that allows you to release the dust canister from the machine.  If you try to release the canister without depressing the button you will find it a frustrating experience (we did – until we noticed the button).

The vacuum weighs in at 16.9 lbs.  This isn’t too heavy but it isn’t that light either.  We wouldn’t call this a lightweight vacuum cleaner.  You can see our list of lightweight vacuum cleaners here if you like.

Additional vacuum features include a suction release valve in the handle which allows you to manually reduce suction (useful for vacuuming delicate items like curtains, lamp shades, etc.), a cleaning path width of 10.5 inches, and a 5-year part and labor warranty.  The DC39 Animal is also UL, ETL and CSA listed.

Manual
You can find a copy of the vacuum cleaner manual here on QVC.  This is the same manual you get when you buy the vacuum.

 

 

Nigel Russco Nigel Russco has been writing for Vacuum Cleaner Advisor for years and has a background in business and engineering, as well as a keen interest in anything related to vacuum cleaners. Connect with Nigel on Google+
 





 

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About Me

Hello!

I'm Nigel Russco, a 50 year old professional engineer originally from the west coast of Canada.  I love to review vacuums and I’ve been doing just that since 2008.  

I make every effort to write unbiased, intelligent vacuum cleaner reviews and I provide average consumer ratings for each and every vacuum cleaner I investigate.  My ultimate goal is to ensure you find the best vacuum for your cleaning needs.  

I also like to help when I can so feel free to send comments.


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