The Best Dyson Vacuum Cleaners

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We have reviewed many Dyson vacuum cleaner models over the years – from uprights and canisters to handhelds and stick vacs.  But which machines are the best?  In order to determine this we have broken down our analysis into 3 steps. First we analysed our existing Dyson reviews and came up with a list of the top vacuums. We then took a fresh and exhaustive look at consumer ratings for each one of the units on this list.  Finally, we removed models that were no longer strongly favoured by consumers.

STEP 1 – Review of all Dyson vacuums we have investigated
It should be noted that many aspects of these machines are similar and thus difficult to compare - 5 year warranty, HEPA filtration, washable filters, cyclonic suction, etc.  - and while there are unique features as well as price differences, probably the best determination of a top performing machine is strong consumer ratings.

Among the vacuums we reviewed some have received very good consumer ratings and others have not.  An overview of the Dyson vacuums and their average ratings (out of 100) is shown in the table below.  Highly rated machines from each style of vacuum have been chosen for further analysis.  These are highlighted in green.

 Model  Style  Rating
 DC07 All-Floors  Upright  84
 DC14 All-Floors  Upright  81
 DC15 Animal  Upright  90
 DC17 Animal  Upright  85
 DC18 Slim All-Floors  Upright  88
 DC24 Ball All-Floors  Upright  82
 DC25 All-Floors (Multi floor)  Upright  92
 DC25 Animal  Upright  90
 DC28 Animal  Upright  87
 DC33 Multi floor  Upright  81
 DC23 Motorhead  Canister  92
 DC23 Turbinehead  Canister  84
 DC26 Multi floor  Canister  87
 DC16 Root 6  Handheld  65
 DC31 Handheld  Handheld  84
 DC35 Digital Slim  Stick  75

Please note that the Dyson DC15 and the Dyson DC18 are no longer widely available but refurbished units can sometimes be found.  And the Dyson DC23 Motorhead is now quite hard to find but as of August 2011 stores like QVC and Lowes still carry it.

STEP 2 – Bring scores up-to-date for the vacuums highlighted in Step 1
Some of our reviews go back a few years so we have recalculated average consumer ratings for the Dyson vacuums of interest above by visiting the following sources and averaging ALL the consumer ratings.

Sources: Walmart, Viewpoints, Epinions, Abt Electronics, Ciao!, Macy’s, Best Buy, Target, Lowe’s, QVC, JC Penney, Home Depot.

The two vacuums highlighted in red below have slipped in terms of consumer ratings.

 Model  Style  Updated Rating #Ratings 
 DC15 Animal  Upright  89.9  457
 DC18 Slim All-Floors  Upright  87.0  304
 DC25 All-Floors (Multi floor)  Upright  88.9  1192
 DC25 Animal  Upright  89.2  1023
 DC28 Animal  Upright  86.9  504
 DC23 Motorhead  Canister  79.5  42
 DC23 Turbinehead  Canister  82.7  199
 DC26 Multi floor  Canister  87.0  26
 DC31 Handheld  Handheld  80.9  68

STEP 3 – Drop units who’s scores have faltered & create final list.
The up-to-date calculations above allow us to drop a few vacuums from the list.  Namely the DC23 Motorhead and the DC31 Handheld.   We are now left with the following machines and the final list:


 Model  Style  Updated Ratings  Approx. Cost
 DC15 Animal  Upright  89.9  N/A
 DC18 Slim All-Floors  Upright  87.0  N/A
 DC25 All-Floors (Multi floor)  Upright  88.9  $499
 DC25 Animal  Upright  89.2  $539
 DC28 Animal  Upright  86.9  $599
 DC23 Turbinehead  Canister  82.7  $399
 DC26 Multi floor  Canister  87.0  $399

Upright Vacuum Cleaners -  overview of the winners
With respect to upright vacuums the DC18 and DC15 are generally no longer available and those that can be found are used or refurbished (for example see the DC15 Animal on Amazon).  The DC25’s get slightly better ratings than the DC28 and they are also less expensive - so the two DC25's are our top pick for Dyson uprights, followed by the DC28.

The two DC25 models are almost identical except the DC25 Animal comes with a special turbine tool for vacuuming up pet hair.  The DC28 differs from the DC25 models in a number of ways – the DC28 has a longer power cord, a much larger dirt canister, stronger suction and more tools and accessories.  It is also a fixed wheel unit unlike the DC25’s that use Dyson Ball Technology.  The DC28 weighs about 4.5 lbs more than the DC25’s and costs more (as seen in the table above).

A list of pros and cons for each model is provided below:

Dyson DC25 All-FloorsDyson DC25 All-Floors

DC25 Multi floor

- Very good suction
- Does a great cleaning job
- Lightweight and very easy to turn (folks like the ball technology a lot)
- Very easy to assemble
- Lifetime washable filters save money
- Worth every penny (as it is costly)
- Extendable hose is a great tool
- Fairly quiet
- Good warranty

- A wider stair attachment tool would be helpful
- Sometimes some dirt stays attached to inner walls of bin when emptying
- Some indications that it is hard to move back and forth on carpet
- A few comments that people would like a longer power cord
- Some folks would like a larger dirt container
- Extendable hose can be a bit stiff

Read the Dyson DC25 Multi floor review (Dyson recently changed the name of the “DC25 All-Floors” to the “DC25 Multi floor”)

Dyson DC25 AnimalDyson DC25 Animal

DC25 Animal

The DC25 Animal pros and cons are similar to those shown above for the Multi floor with a few extra comments about the vacuum’s pet hair capabilities and the mini turbine head tool:

- Most owners agree that the vacuum is very effective at picking up pet hair
- The mini turbine tool is good for removing pet hair from upholstery and other furniture
- Dirt canister requires frequent emptying especially if you have lots of pet hair to vacuum
- No place to attach mini turbine tool to vacuum
- Some folks feel the mini turbine tool is a bit weak as suction is used to spin the turbine

Read the Dyson DC25 Animal review.  This vacuum gets stellar reviews when it comes to pet hair removal and it is actually one of our top choices for best vacuums for pet hair.

Dyson DC28 AnimalDyson DC28 Animal

DC28 Animal

- Very powerful suction
- Four push-button height settings
- Good at vacuuming up pet hair
- Washable HEPA filter (easy to wash and re-insert)
- Dirt canister is easy to empty
- Good on both carpet and bare floors
- Long 35 foot power cord

- Heavy
- Expensive
- Can be hard to maneuver for some
- Only room for 2 tools in on board tool storage

Read the Dyson DC28 Animal review.


Canister Vacuum Cleaners - overview of the winners
The clear winner here is the Dyson DC26, however it is really best for small area cleaning and is thus popular with apartment dwellers.  For larger area cleaning a unit like the Dyson DC23 Turbinehead may be the best choice – but even though it is more powerful than the DC26 it does not enjoy the quite the same consumer popularity.  These models cost about the same.

A list of pros and cons for each model is provided below:

Dyson DC26 Multi-FloorDyson DC26 Multi-Floor

Dyson DC26

- Strong suction for such a small machine
- Tools and attachments couple and uncouple smoothly
- Very lightweight and easy to carry
- Good for small apartment dwellers
- Able to vacuum in narrow areas
- Dirt canister is easy to empty
- Great looking machine
- Not too noisy
- A number of owners find it useful for cleaning their vehicles

- Expensive
- Dirt canister has to be emptied frequently
- Short power cord
- Not as powerful as a full size Dyson
- Hose and attachments make storage not as easy as expected for so small a vacuum
- Several owners indicate it is not as good on carpet as it is on hard floors

Read the Dyson DC26 Multi floor review.

Dyson DC23 TurbineHeadDyson DC23 TurbineHead

Dyson DC23 Turbinehead

- Strong suction
- Attractive machine
- Easy to empty dirt canister
- Auto-rewind of power cord
- Good on bare surfaces

- Lots of plastic construction
- Vacuum hose could be longer
- Only average on carpet

Read the Dyson DC23 Turbinehead review.


Stick Vacs and Handhelds
The highest rated handheld vacuum (that we have looked at to date) is the Dyson DC31 but it still did not make our cut.  If you are a die-hard Dyson fan you may wish to consider this unit as it does have some great features and some owners do really like it.  But it is expensive and only has about 10 minutes of power on a single charge. You may wish to read the Dyson DC31 review.

The only stick vac Dyson manufacture at this time is the Dyson DC35 and, like the handheld units, it too did not make the cut due to consumer ratings.  For those with small areas to clean and who don’t mind 6 to 13 minutes of cleaning time between battery recharges, the DC35 may be a good choice.  It also doubles as a handheld and has strong suction but a number of folks cite the cost, the short battery life, and the fact that the trigger must be squeezed continuously for the vacuum to work as issues. Read the Dyson DC35 review.

Nigel RusscoNigel 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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