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Dyson V8 Absolute Review

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Avg. consumer rating = 94/100 

We just got our hands on the Dyson V8 Absolute cordless stick vacuum and have been running the machine through its paces.  For the most part, we’ve been impressed.  The V8 is a lightweight vacuum that is both a stick vacuum and a handheld.  It is maneuverable, easy to empty and very powerful for a cordless (in High Power Mode).  It includes an assortment of tools in addition to 2 specialized cleaning heads; one for carpet and one for bare floors.  It also sports a HEPA filter and a new hygienic system for removing debris from the dust canister.  Is it better than the still-popular Dyson V6 Absolute?  In our opinion, in many ways it is.

Quick Specs
Type Stick
Bagged/Bagless Bagless
Best for... Hard Floors & Low Carpet
Pet Hair Features No
Approx. Weight 5.75 lbs
HEPA Level Filtration Yes
Power Cord Length Cordless
Motor Driven Brushbar Yes
Warranty 2 Years

 

WHAT ARE OWNERS SAYING ABOUT THEIR V8?
We wanted to start by finding out what the general consumer opinion is on this new machine, so we investigated what actual V8 owners were saying.  For the most part there are a lot of positive comments but there are also a few grumblings. 

Dyson V8 What's in the Box
What's in the box - Dyson V8 Absolute

Likes
Those who like the machine point out that it is easy to use, lightweight, and very maneuverable.  Most also consider it to be much quieter than the V6 Absolute.  It is great at removing pet hair (cat hair and dog hair) and has sufficiently powerful suction.

Many also applaud the new dirt ejector system which provides almost “hands-free” removal of dust/debris from the canister.  This is indeed an interesting and useful feature.  On the V6 one often has to reach into the dust canister to pull out stuck in hair, dirt, dust, etc.  Not a pleasant experience.  The new dirt ejector system largely eliminates the need to do this.

Those who bought the V8 also like its anti-allergen capabilities (HEPA filter and sealed system) and just how easy it is to pick this machine up and use it pretty much anywhere because it is cordless.

Dyson V6 & DYson V8
Dyson V6 and Dyson V8 (right)

Dislikes
Battery life, battery recharge time and the inability to swap-out the battery account for about 80% of consumer complaints. 

While the battery life is better than that of the V6, it is still not long enough for some owners.  Also, many people seem perturbed by the Dyson marketing materials which state that the machine has a 40 minute battery life – this is not the full story and in many cases the battery will not last this long (more details further down in the article).  

There are complaints about the battery recharge time being too long, and the inability to swap the battery out – a concern previously brought up repeatedly by V6 owners.

Other matters of contention include:
- the dust canister is a bit small and as a result fills too quickly
- the trigger must continually be held down for the vacuum to be on
- the wand section scratches easily

You can read more V8 owner comments on Amazon.

OWNER RATINGS
How well regarded is the V8 by those who own it?  Consumer ratings were gathered from a large group of reputable retailers and are provided in the table below.  Despite some of the grumblings it is clear that there is a remarkably high level of satisfaction with this vacuum.  When the ratings are averaged they result in a score of 94 out of 100 (or 4.7 stars out of 5).  This is an excellent score and can be compared to the scores of other stick vacs here: stick vacuum ratings.

Source Consumer Ratings #Ratings
Amazon 4.6 stars out of 5 73
John Lewis 4.8 stars out of 5 285
Home Depot 4.9 stars out of 5 68
QVC 4.2 stars out of 5 63
Best Buy 4.6 stars out of 5 21
Bed Bath & Beyond 5 stars out of 5 8
Abt 5 stars out of 5 4

 

In addition to the solid ratings above, we note that Consumer Reports Magazine has said the following about the V8:
 “It's the best stick vacuum we’ve ever tested”

OUR TESTING AND ANALYSIS
Now we get to the nitty gritty by doing our own testing and investigation.  The Dyson V8 Absolute is similar to the Dyson V6 Absolute in many ways, yet there are enough upgrades and differences to make it worthy of some study.  We own both vacuums so in the process of testing the V8 we often compared it to the V6.

Weight
When I first picked up the V8 it instantly felt heavier to me.  I thought this was odd as I had not read anywhere that other owners were concerned about the vacuum weight.  A little digging reveals that the V6 weighs 5.1 lbs while the V8 weighs 5.75 lbs.  Now this isn’t a big difference but it was one we noticed.  If you put the handheld units side by side you can even see that the V8 (on right side of image below) is larger and that the battery is bigger too.

Dyson V6 & V8 Handheld Units 

Upon weighing the handheld units we found the following:
V6: approx. 2.9lbs
V8: approx. 3.5lbs

So it would appear the difference in weight (between the V6 and the V8) is concentrated in the handheld unit.  This may make a difference for some who intend to use the vacuum in handheld mode frequently.  You can also feel it a bit on the wrist when turning the vacuum with the wand and cleaner head attached - although this isn't too pronounced.

The following may also be of interest:
V8 with mini-motorized tool (no wand) = approx. 4.1 lbs
V8 with wand and bare floor cleaning head = approx. 5.8 lbs

Power & Run Time
the larger V8 battery results in longer battery life and also a little more power:

The V8 Absolute has 115 air watts of suction in High Power Mode
The V8 Absolute has 28 air watts of suction in Low Power Mode

The V6 Absolute has 100 air watts of suction in High Power Mode
The V6 Absolute has 28 air watts of suction in Low Power Mode

We never found the V6 lacking in power but the little extra you get with the V8 in High Power Mode is just fine.

V8 Power Mode Switch

With respect to V8 run time, the following is the case (there are so many conflicting numbers out there it can be confusing but we took these directly from the manual that came with the machine):

V8 Low Power Mode
- 25 minutes with direct drive cleaner head (the one for carpet)
- 30 minutes with soft roller cleaner head (the one for bare floors)
- 30 minutes with the mini motorized tool
- 40 minutes with dusting brush / combo tool / crevice tool
V8 High Power Mode
- 7 minutes with all cleaner heads and tools

How does this compare to the V6?

V6 Low Power Mode
- 16 minutes with direct drive cleaner head and soft roller cleaner head
- 17 minutes with mini motorized tool
- 20 minutes with dusting brush / combo tool / crevice tool
V6 High Power Mode
- 6 minutes with all tools

So there have been significant improvements in run times on Low Power Mode from the V6, however very little improvement in High Power Mode.  It appears that this lack of additional run time in High Power Mode caused Tech Crunch to conclude the following about the V8:

“I’d pass on the V8 Absolute — only because its battery life is not justified against its cost.”

This is a contentious area.  Quite a few folks agree with Tech Crunch here but many do not.  This, in our opinion, depends on your cleaning needs and the extent to which you find the $600 price tag hard to swallow.  We have a smaller space (about 1000 sq ft) and low pile carpet and tile floors.  As a result we rarely find the need to use High Power Mode so we get much more than 7 minutes cleaning time.  For us the improvement in Low Power Mode over the V6 is significant so we have been pleased with the V8’s longer run time.

Battery & Charging Time
The V8 uses a rechargeable lithium-ion battery and charging time is a full 5 hours.  This is up from the charging time of the V6 which is only 3.5 hours.  The longer charging time is hardly unexpected given the increase in power and longer run time of the V8.  But 5 hours is a significant amount of time to wait should the battery run down before you have finished vacuuming.  

V8 Battery
- Rechargeable Lithium Ion
- 21.6  V
- 2800mAh
- 65 Wh

V6 Battery
- Rechargeable Lithium Ion
- 21.6 V
- 2100mAh
- 46 Wh

V6 & V8 Battery

We have also noticed that the V6 has one charging light and you cannot use this to determine what charge is left on the battery.  The V8, on the other hand, has three charging lights which can indicate a low level of charge, a medium level of charge, and a high level of charge.  We find it useful as we can get an idea of how much vacuuming time is left at a glance.

V8 Battery Charging Light
 
Dust Canister
The new dust canister has a capacity of 0.14 gallons.  This is slightly larger than the canister on the V6 which is 0.11 gallons (the V8 is 27% larger).  Still, the V8 does fill quickly and even with our small cleaning space we tend to empty it after one or two cleanings.  But this is a lightweight, compact stick vacuum – we expect this so it really isn’t much of an issue for us.  If you expect to do larger area cleaning this could have more of an impact – but then you may want to consider a larger machine.  Most stick vacuums have smallish dust canisters.

Another improvement over the V6 is the new hygienic dirt ejector.  It sounds like it may not be a big deal but it really is a great feature.  Other owners have given it high praise and so do we.  If you have tried to empty the dust canister of the V6 you will understand why.  Getting all the trapped hair, dust and other debris out of the dust canister is nigh on impossible even after reaching in with your fingers.  The new system on the V8 scrapes this debris down into the bottom of the dust canister for easy removal.  The system is simple and it works well.  This is an area where Dyson have listened to the consumer.  We haven’t seen a system such as this before.  See our video below.

Cleaning Heads
The two cleaning heads are effective and maneuver easily.  They turn at the twist of a wrist and the profiles are reasonably low which allows you to get under low furniture.  

We have many vacuum cleaners but we find ourselves often grabbing the V6 or V8 for quick and easy bare floor and carpet cleanups – as well as stairs.  These stick vacs are just so convenient and effortless to use.  We use them on low-pile carpet, bare floors and for picking up pet hair.  They do a respectable job on all.

Dyson V8 on Pet Hair
Using the V8 carpet cleaning head on dog hair - before and after

 

The cleaning heads are both direct drive units and are not driven by suction.  The direct drive makes the brushroll less likely to slow or stall and is especially effective on the carpet cleaning head - although this head is still best for low pile carpet and would be challenged by deeper pile carpet.  

V8 Cleaning Nozzles

The bare floor cleaning head is very soft and ensures no marring of delicate flooring.  In our case we have tile and often just continue to use the carpet cleaning head on our bare floors (we’re not concerned about scratching the surface).  It is a bit of a hassle to swap cleaning heads when you are in the middle of vacuuming.  

Carpet Heads - V6 & V8When comparing the cleaning heads of the V6 and the V8, they both have the same path widths – 9 inches.  The bare floor cleaning heads themselves are identical but the carpet cleaning heads are slightly different.  The V8 carpet cleaning head is a bit larger than that provided with the V6 (even through it has the same path width) - see image to right.

Air Filtration
This stick vac has HEPA filtration and a Sealed System (as does the V6).  HEPA filtration ensures that very small particles are removed from the air passing through the vacuum.  This removes the likes of tobacco smoke, dust mites, pet dander, pollen, mold spores, etc from the air.  HEPA filters are especially beneficial in homes with allergy or asthma sufferers.  However in order for a HEPA filter to do its job effectively it is best if your vacuum has a sealed system.  This ensures that all the air entering the vacuum is passed through the filter before it is exhausted – it doesn’t bypass the filter(s) or leak out through cracks in the vacuum body or poor seals.  In short, the combination of HEPA filter and a sealed system is what you want if you are serious about clean air being expelled from your vacuum cleaner.

There are two filters on the V8 - the pre-motor filter and the post motor filter (HEPA filter - on left of image below).  Both are rinsable and reusable.

Dyson V8 Filters

Noise Level
We were very surprised when we first put the V8 together and started it up.  It is really much quieter than the V6.  And, it is quieter than many of the other stick vacuums we have tested.  Dyson claims to have achieved this via acoustic felt and closed cell foam which has been inserted inside the machine.  Whatever they have done it has worked.

We did a decibel test of the V6 and the V8.  A noise meter was set at a distance of 3 feet from each handheld unit and the noise output was recorded.
 
V8 Low Power Mode
- 65.1 decibels
V8 High Power Mode
- 72.0 decibels

V6 Low Power Mode
- 74.5 decibels
V6 High Power Mode
- 79.1 decibels

While the figures above show the V8 is quieter than the V6, they may not make the extent of the difference obvious.  The decibel scale is logarithmic so consider that 60dB is half as loud as 70dB, and 80dB is twice as loud as 70dB.  

Our video below should illustrate the difference in sound levels between the two vacuums.

Tools & Attachments
Three tools are provided:
- combination tool
- crevice tool
- mini motorised tool (has stiff nylon bristles and is good for removing pet hair and ground-in dirt from furniture, car seats and tight/cramped spaces)

Dyson V8 Tools

The tools provided with the V6 are the same as the ones provided with the V8.

WARRANTY
The Dyson V8 Absolute carries a 2 year warranty on parts and labor.

COST
This is an expensive machine, especially for a stick vac.  The V8 costs the same as a fairly high-end full size vacuum.  Pricing on the Dyson V8 Absolute at this time (October, 2016) is about $600 USD.

The Dyson V6 Absolute has dropped some since the V8 was released and it can now be found for about $430 - $450 USD if you look around.

Check out Dyson V8 pricing on Amazon.

IS THE V8 BETTER THAN THE V6?  
In many areas YES and in some areas NO.

Run time – yes
Power – yes (marginally)
Noise level – yes
Dust canister capacity – yes
Debris removal – yes
Weight - no
Battery recharge time – no

Cleaning ability and maneuverability are about the same and neither has a swappable battery.

SUMMARY
The V8 is a great stick vacuum and it performs very well on both carpet and bare floors. We also found it to be effective at pulling up pet hair (dog hair in our case).  In addition, it is quite versatile and doubles as a handheld vacuum.   It is lightweight, cordless, easy to lift & maneuver and not too loud.  It is an improvement on the V6 and Dyson has made upgrades in a number of areas (run time / power / noise / canister volume / debris removal).  However it still has a few drawbacks, the most significant of which are the inability to swap the battery out and the hefty $600 price tag.  Bottom line – if you’ve got the money and it fits your cleaning needs, it is worth it.

The V8 is a good fit for people...
- with a small area to clean (apartment, basement suite, etc)
- with either low pile carpet or bare floors, or both
- who want handheld vacuum capability
- who want a lightweight vacuum (folks with back problems for example)
- who want the mobility and convenience of a cordless
- with allergies or asthma
- who want a machine that is not too loud

The V8 is not a good fit for people...
- with large areas to clean
- who are looking for a budget-friendly vacuum cleaner
- who have medium to deep pile carpet

VACUUM CLEANER MANUAL
The V8 manual is a bit simplistic.  The images make it easy to follow which is great but the manual is rather short resulting in a lack of detail in some areas.  But most of the key information is there.  This is similar to most Dyson manuals.  You can view the manual here: Dyson V8 Absolute Manual.

 

 

 

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Comments  

0 # Thomas 2016-10-22 22:42
Thanks for the great review and comparison between V6 and V8 versions. Using my V8 over the past few months, I agree that the new dust bin is really easy to use and whole machine HEPA filtration is a great feature… and it is fun to use!
It has been perfect at keeping the overall allergen level lower in my house because it is so powerful and easy to use on a daily basis. If just using my clumsier corded full sized vacuum, I usually would vacuum once a week at best, allowing the dirt to build up in between vacuums.
Concerning the issues with run and recharge time, my experience has been that the full recharge takes a lot less than the 5 hrs that Dyson quotes. My time is only about 3.5 hrs - quite ok in my opinion. Also, the Li-ion battery type allows you to use the vacuum again before being fully charged. So, if you run out of juice and need more time, just charge it for 1 hr and you have an extra 10 -15 mins to use on normal mode without needing an extra battery.
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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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