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Dyson DC50 Animal Review

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Avg. consumer rating = 88/100 

The Dyson DC50 Animal is the latest upright in the Dyson stable.  Consumer ratings are quite good to date, but bear in mind the vacuum has only been on the market in the US for a few short months (at the time of this writing).  The DC50 is compact compared with previous Animal uprights and this results in a very lightweight and maneuverable machine.  The vacuum also uses Dyson Ball Technology and includes several tools, such as the new tangle-free turbine tool.  Owners report that the DC50 is effective on pet hair but some feel the dust canister is too small and that it is perhaps a bit too expensive.

As this is a relatively new machine to the US market the number of consumer ratings is still somewhat limited, but it will certainly grow in the coming months.  At this time –of this writing we had garnered some 52 ratings, however we have since updated the ratings table (February 2016) and there are now 5993 ratings which can be seen in the table below.  These provide an overall average score of 88 out of 100, or 4.4 stars out of 5.  This is a very good consumer rating when compared to most other uprights (you can see a table of our upright ratings here).

Ratings Updated February 2016
 Source  Consumer Ratings  #Ratings
 Amazon  4.1 stars out of 5  522
 Overstock  4.3 stars out of 5  192
 Target  4 stars out of 5  42
 Walmart  4.6 stars out of 5  1874
 Best Buy  4.5 stars out of 5  291
 Abt  4.3 stars out of 5  109
 Staples  4 stars out of 5  4
 Tesco  4.3 stars out of 5  2959

An analysis of consumer comments provides the following list of common likes and dislikes:

PROS
- Assembly is easy and quick
- Lightweight
- Many owners feel the “Ball” improves maneuverability
- Reasonably good suction for its size
- Dust canister is easy to empty
- Compact and easy to store
- Attachments generally work well
- Good looking machine
- Gets fairly good grades from owners for dealing with pet hair

CONS
- Somewhat expensive
- Some parts appear a little flimsy
- Small dust canister
- A few comments about the hose kinking

In analyzing consumer comments we noticed that several owners expressed concern regarding “flimsy” vacuum parts.  These same folks also often indicated that there is altogether too much plastic used in the construction of the vacuum.  However others have highlighted that while some components may seem flimsy they are actually stronger than they appear, and that it is simply the presence of so much plastic that leads some to conclude that parts of the unit are flimsy.

Other commonly commented upon areas include:
- owner praise for the vacuum’s ability to deal effectively with pet hair
- concerns about the hose kinking and potentially cracking (we have read of one case where it did indeed crack)
- weak suction at the attachments (a few comments)
- no stripes left on the carpet by the vacuum nozzle

You can read more customer comments on Amazon here if you wish

As mentioned the DC50 is quite new to the US market.  An article from Consumer Reports indicates that the DC50 and the DC47 became available in the US only in May of this year.  It is also interesting to note that at the time the article was published Consumer Reports stated that Dyson models had always fallen short of making their top picks list – although they hadn’t tested these two vacuums yet.  

Also, these models (DC50 and DC47) both sport new two tier cyclone technology.  This technology simply involves two levels of cyclones instead of the usual one.  You can see these purple plastic cyclonic units above the dust canister.

Following is a video (from Dyson) that highlights many features of the vacuum including the new two tier cyclonic technology.  It is short and worth a quick look.  Bear in mind it is from Dyson and is essentially a commercial.

The new Dyson DC50 is rather compact and this sets it apart from their last animal upright, the DC41.  The compact nature of the DC50 helps tremendously with weight savings but contrary to marketing materials there are indeed trade-offs.  Let’s look at some key specifications between the DC50 Animal and the Dyson DC41 Animal. 

   DC41  DC50
 Motor (amps)  12  6
 Suction (Air Watts)  235  128
 Canister Capacity (gallons)  0.55  0.21
 Total Cleaning Reach (ft)  51.7  28.5
 Power Cord Length (ft)  35  24.9
 Cleaning Path Width (inches)  13.3  11
 Weight (lbs)  17.1  11.6
DC50 vs DC41
DC50 vs DC41

There are other differences as well but these are the key differences and distinctly show that the DC50 does not have the suction, the bin capacity or the cleaning reach of the DC41.  It is, however, 5.5 lbs lighter.  One would do well to consider the differences prior to a purchase.  You may wish to look at your cleaning priorities.  Are you concerned with ease of movement, ability to lift/carry the vacuum, a machine that is easier on the back, a unit with a small footprint?  Or are you more focused on strong suction, large area cleaning, and long reach? 

The DC50 does require some assembly after it is unboxed but this is reportedly quite easy and quick.  The vacuum manual (link provided at bottom of article) describes assembly as a 3 step process and consumer comments indicate that it is indeed straightforward.

The DC50 Animal has a “self-adjusting base plate”.  The base plate automatically adjusts moving the nozzle (with brushbar) up or down ensuring an optimal cleaning distance from the floor surface.  This approach minimizes air leaks between the nozzle and the floor surface and ultimately directs more suction to the floor.  It is an especially helpful feature when moving from hard surfaces to carpet or vice versa.  The DC41 Animal has a similar feature.

The brushbar on the DC50 has stiff bristles as well as anti-static fibers (you can see these alternating rows of black and orange brushes on the brushbar).  The bristles help to remove dirt/dust from carpet while the anti-static fibers are designed to pick up fine dust particles from hard surfaces.  The brushbar can also be turned on or off (via fingertip controls).  Some homeowners may wish to vacuum delicate hard surfaces with the brushbar off to ensure there is no scratching. 

Note that the brushbar will always default to ON when the vacuum is turned on and reclined for cleaning.  The brushbar will turn OFF when the machine is in the upright position (not reclined for cleaning).  It will also automatically turn OFF if it is obstructed – a motor saving feature.

This Dyson Animal is the latest to use the now famous Ball Technology. Instead of a vacuum that travels on wheels, the Dyson Ball vacuums literally spin around on a ball, thus enabling tight turns and great maneuverability.  The ball houses the motor and filter and this helps to create a low center of gravity making the machine easier to move and also more stable.  The Ball is said to make cleaning in cramped spaces and around furniture much simpler. It should also be pointed out that consumers often really like the maneuverability they get with the Ball design but some never quite get used to it.

Dyson states that the DC50 has less clutter and ducting around the ball than previous units thereby allowing the vacuum to get even closer to furniture or other objects. Also, the ball is made from ABS and polycarbonate so it is quite tough and resistant to breakage. 

Following is an interesting video, with a Dyson engineer, regarding the design of the ball concept. 

The vacuum has 2 levels of radial cyclones which comprise a total of 19 cyclones operating in parallel.  This approach is said to increase airflow and ultimately remove more microscopic particles than the previous Dyson cyclone technologies.  Cyclonic technology has been the hallmark of Dyson vacuums for the past 20 years and they are continually optimizing this process/technology

The cyclones on the DC50 are very small as can be seen when looking at the machine.  We have also read that these small cyclones can generate g-forces up to 138,000 G’s. An interesting number but somewhat meaningless to use as we are not physicists nor do we have other vacuum G figures to compare it to.

DC50 Tools
Two of the tools

The tools provided with this vacuum include the following:
- Combination dusting brush and crevice tool
- Stair tool
- Turbine tool

The combo tool and stair tool store on-board the vacuum but the turbine tool does not.  The turbine tool – often called the “tangle-free turbine tool” - has two counter-rotating heads.  Each head has its own brushes.  This approach ensures there is no tangling of hair or other long fibers.  It is hard to envision how this tool works and it is best to view it – check out the Dyson engineering and testing video below.  One does have to admire Dyson for their tireless attempts at creating new and innovative products.  The tools attach to the end of the 8.5 ft hose or the quick-release wand.

The dust canister on the DC50 is clear so one can see when emptying is necessary and it empties at the push of a single button – both features that we’ve seen before on Dysons and other bagless units.  The vacuum also includes HEPA filtration. This level of filtration is very helpful for those with allergies or asthma as it traps/removes very fine particles such as mold spores, ragweed, dust mites, etc from the airflow.  As a result the vacuum is certified as asthma & allergy friendly by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America.

The HEPA filter on the DC50 is washable which is a nice feature as you don’t have to replace it when it gets dirty.  Dyson suggests washing the filters on this vacuum (there are two) at least once per month and using cold water.  Also, remember not to place the filters back in the machine until they are absolutely dry – this is the same with virtually every vacuum cleaner.

The dust canister (the clear portion) can also cleaned by separating it from the cyclone unit then simply rinsing it with cold water.  Again, like the filters, ensure the bin is entirely dry before placing it back in the vacuum.

Small lightweight vacuum
A small and lightweight vacuum

As the vacuum is quite compact the power cord is only 24.9 feet long.  This falls a little short when compared to other Dyson uprights like the DC33 or the DC41, however it is about the same length as the power cord on the DC40.  Perhaps Dyson may be forgiven for not having a long power cord on the DC50 because the entire unit is compact.  Also, in reviewing consumers comments there are few that indicate owners are displeased with the length of the unit’s power cord.  The cord wrap is manual (no automatic retraction).

The cleaning path width of the machine is 11 inches which is somewhat narrow for an upright, but this is again likely related to the size of the vacuum and, it must be said, a narrow nozzle is not necessarily a bad thing.  While it requires additional passes of the nozzle to cover an area (compared to a larger nozzle) it allows one to get into narrow/tricky areas and is also generally easier to move around.

The vacuum has a thermal cut out switch.  This is activated if the motor begins to overheat which may occur as the result of a blockage or an obstruction.  The thermal cut out switch is designed to turn the vacuum off before any motor damage takes place. 

The DC50 Animal carries a lengthy 5 year parts and labor warranty.

Vacuum Cleaner Manual
If you wish to view the DC50 manual you can find it here.

 



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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Comments  

0 # Dick 2013-12-18 14:01
Purchased the DC50 yesterday, we had vacuumed the first floor with our Oreck XL. The difference was truly unbelievable, what we thought was clean was not true, the DC50 bag had to be emptied three times, the Oreck XL was listed as one of the best, we had Dirt Devils, Hoover\'s and others...NONE...were as easily to use nor did they come close to the performance of the DC50...even with the small canister and short cord..it is BY FAR the best upright we have even owned.
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+1 # Dennyece 2015-02-08 11:38
I have had this machine less than 2 months - have all hardwood floors - have two large area rugs that I want to use the roller brush on. The roller bar/brush has completely stopped working, We have tried all of the reset and blockage removal (none) tips and it still will not turn on the roller bar. We now read that this is a common flaw in this particular machine, Disappointed as this is our third Dyson machine.
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0 # KathyM 2016-04-22 11:43
Having the same problem. The brush bar will not rotate even after trying all troubleshooting tips:(
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0 # DOREEN D 2016-07-11 02:43
Love this machine! Had same problems as the others - but Dyson honored warranty, took it to the authorized repair shop and it now works great again! CONS: small canister and small cord. Suction is great (even better than my larger, older dyson upright) and movement between carpet and floor is very easy.
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0 # mark c 2017-02-26 16:27
Had the vacuum for a few years before it began to have trouble with the brush bar. Found that if you remove the head and bend the metal contacts slightly that supply juice to the head, the problem stops! But now the brush bar will not stop! Even with the unit upright, brush button on or off, it always runs! Anyone else had this problem?
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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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