Dyson DC44 Animal
Avg. consumer rating = 85/100
The Dyson DC44 Animal is Dyson's latest stick/handheld vacuum cleaner and it is essentially an upgraded Dyson DC35 Digital Slim. Upgrades include a more powerful floor tool, increased run time and a motorized tool for pulling up pet hair. Consumers praise the vacuum for its strong suction and versatility but most also feel that it is quite expensive.
This cordless, battery operated vacuum uses root cyclone technology. Root cyclone technology spins air very rapidly and the centrifugal force generated removes the dust and debris and deposits it directly into the dust canister. This approach ensures that suction stays constant while you vacuum (unlike a bagged machine where suction drops as the bags fills) and it also keeps much of the dust away from the filters giving them a longer life. If the filters get dirty on the DC44 they can easily be removed and washed.
A review of consumer comments provides the following vacuum likes and dislikes:
- Easy to use
- Convenient (no need to pull out the big vacuum for smaller jobs)
- Better than the DC35 on pet hair and carpet
- Small dust canister
- Have to hold power button down for the vacuum to run
- Top heavy design bothers some owners
- Hair can be tricky to get out of dust canister
Like DC35 owners a number of DC44 owners complain that you have to continuously hold the power button down for the vacuum to run. This was a major issue for DC35 owners and it is somewhat surprising that Dyson did not make any design changes here. Also, while the literature highlights the great vacuum balance there are some reports that the top heavy design tires the wrist after a short while.
The main floor tool is motorized and the nozzle head includes anti-static carbon fiber filaments (for picking up fine dust) as well as stiff nylon bristles (for dealing with more ground-in dirt). The floor tool has 180 degrees of movement and ball technology similar in some ways to that found in many Dyson canisters and uprights. This ball technology allows easy steering at the flick of a wrist. The baseplate of the floor tool is adaptable and it moves up and down helping keep the brushbar at an optimal cleaning distance from the floor surface. Dyson claim that this new motorized floor tool is twice as powerful as the floor tool provided with the DC35.
Like the Dyson DC35 Animal, the DC44 Animal includes a mini motorized floor tool (this isnt standard with the Dyson DC35, just the Animal version). This tool is useful for power cleaning in confined or tight areas. The DC44 also comes with a combination crevice tool and dusting brush.
All the tools can attach directly to the handheld unit or to the end of the lightweight detachable aluminum wand (2.18 feet in length). With tools attached to the handheld unit the vacuum becomes adept at cleaning stairs, furniture, and vehicle interiors.
Owner ratings for this stick vac have been found at a number of retailers and are recorded below. The overall average rating for this machine is 85 out of a possible 100.
|Amazon||3.9 stars out of 5||26|
|QVC||4.3 stars out of 5||61|
|Bed, Bath & Beyond||4.8 stars out of 5||4|
|Target||4.67 stars out of 5||3|
|Best Buy||4.4 stars out of 5||10|
|Home Depot||5 stars out of 5||1|
You can read more DC44 customer reviews on Amazon here if you wish.
One of the key improvements the DC44 has over the DC35 is the increased run time. The DC35 has 15 minutes of run time on the standard power setting and 6 minutes on max. The DC44 has 20 minutes on standard and 8 minutes on max. Dyson has achieved this through battery modifications.
The DC44 uses a 22.2 volt Lithium-ion battery called a Lithium nickel manganese cobalt battery (a newer Lithium-ion approach than that used in the DC35 battery). This new battery type is commonly used in electric cars, scooters, and bikes and they have a high energy density and produce a long life cycle. Additionally Li-ion batteries generate fade-free power and ensure that suction remains strong until the battery is fully discharged. An LED battery power indicator on the vacuum will light up when there is approximately 60 seconds of battery life left.
Differences between the Dyson DC35 and the Dyson DC44 Animal:
|Feature||Dyson DC35*||Dyson DC44 Animal|
|Tools||No mini motorized tool||Mini motorized tool|
|Main Floor Tool||Half as powerful as the DC44||Twice as powerful as the DC35|
|Battery||Li-ion||New NMC Li-ion|
|Standard run time||15 min||20 min|
|Max run time||6 min||8 min|
*note - there is also a Dyson DC35 Animal which does include the mini motorized tool.
The dust canister on this stick vac is quite small at 0.09 gallons and there are several consumer comments alluding to the fact that it needs frequent emptying. Also, while it does empty easily at the push of a button, a number of folks highlight that it can be tricky digging pet hair out of the canister.
The vacuum cleaning path width is a fairly narrow 8.25 inches. Owners both like and dislike the narrow nozzle. It allows the unit to easily get around furniture and into confined areas but if you are using the vacuum to do larger floor areas it covers a small area with each pass. Whether you like this feature or not is very much a function of your intended use.
The DC44 is lightweight at only 5.07 lbs (lighter than many of the stick vacs in our Best Stick Vacuums list) and it is UL listed and ETL listed - these are both groups who certify products that meet US safety standards. The vacuum also includes a docking station (essentially a wall mount) where the vacuum and tools can easily be stored. In addition, it can conveniently be charged while in the docking station - see image to right. An indicator light on the wall plug will let you know when the unit is fully charged. The Dyson DC44 Animal carries a 2-year parts and labor warranty.
If you can get over the $400 price tag then this is a good vacuum. But a number of owners feel that for $400 this should be more than a stick vac or handheld. It is important to bear in mind that this is not a full size vacuum and while it can be used to vacuum bare floors and carpet in smaller areas it is not the best fit for a larger house. Like most stick vacs or handhelds this is designed for quick pickups and small area cleaning - and for this kind of cleaning it works well.
Suction is good and the nozzle and tools make the vacuum very well suited for bare floors, carpet, upholstery, stairs and even vehicle interiors. Also the new, more powerful motorized floor tool is better on carpet and more effective at pulling up pet hair than the floor tool on the original DC35. Finally, thanks to the new battery technology this machine now has run times on par with other top stick vacuums.
Vacuum Cleaner Videos
Following is a quick 2 min commercial from Bing Lee showing some of the key DC44 features. It's short and worth a look to see some of the vacuum features.
Below is an interesting video discussing some of the engineering aspects of this Dyson vacuum.