Dyson Hard DC56 Vacuum Cleaner



Avg. consumer rating = 79/100 

Dyson touts the new Hard DC56 as the first machine that uses a wet-wipe and vacuums at the same time. There may be a reason for this - it is hard to get this configuration to be effective. Overall we'd have to say that this machine has been something of a disappointment to consumers, and even to some die-hard Dyson fans. It is expensive, leaves streaks and the vacuum component, when used with the wipe plate, is a bit weak. All is not lost however as the machine is useful for light cleaning of smaller areas, and the handheld component works well.

The following video will give you an idea how the unit is designed to work, and it also shows some of the machine’s technical features.

An overview of consumer ratings for the Dyson DC56 is provided in the table below.  When averaged these produce a score of 78.8 out of a possible 100.  Compared to the scores for most machines on Vacuum Cleaner Advisor this figure is a little on the low side.

 Source  Consumer Ratings  #Ratings
 Walmart  4.6 stars out of 5  40
 Home Depot  4.4 stars out of 5  38
 Amazon  2.8 stars out of 5  21
 Best Buy  2.7 stars out of 5  10
 Bed Bath & Beyond  4.0 stars out of 5  3
 Overstock  2.0 stars out of 5  2
 QVC  4.5 stars out of 5  2
 Target  4 stars out of 5  2
 Macy's  2 stars out of 5  1
 Sears  1 star out of 5  1

Also, looking carefully at the above table you may notice some odd looking scoring.  Some retailers report a high level of consumer satisfaction (consider Walmart or Home Depot) while others (like Amazon or Best Buy) do not.  An analysis of owner ratings on sites like Walmart and Home Depot indicates that a number of reviews come from people who have received a complimentary machine from Dyson for review – as part of the Dyson registered owner program or Dyson customer marketing program.  We cannot state unequivocally that this would skew someone’s rating or review but this is something one should consider when looking at consumer ratings. 

Consumer ratings are a key factor in many people’s buying decision and manufacturers understand this. We have been seeing these kinds of “customer marketing programs” more in recent years. When poring over customer reviews we suggest a quick scan to look for the disclaimer in comments indicating that the reviewer may be part of one of these programs - most folks who are taking part will highlight it.

A review of comments yielded the following owner likes and dislikes:

- Faster than using a vacuum first followed by a mop
- Lightweight
- Does reasonable job on slightly dirty floors
- Includes wall mount
- Handheld portion of vacuum works well

- Doesn’t work on carpet
- Has a tendency to push debris instead of vacuuming it up
- Vacuum function in nozzle doesn’t work well
- Have to hold down the trigger for power
- Wet pads dry quickly
- Some owners report it leaves streaks
- Some feel the battery life is too short
- Expensive

For light cleaning the Hard appears to do a reasonable job and it is lightweight and convenient to use.  But perhaps one owner said it best.  “It doesn’t mop as good as a mop nor does it vacuum as good as a vacuum”.  Also bear in mind that the Hard is cordless and that it only has a run time of about 15 minutes so cleaning large areas is not practical.
If you are familiar with recent Dyson handhelds (like the DC34) then you have an idea of the “guts” of the Dyson Hard.  The Hard is like a Dyson handheld with a specialized nozzle on the end of the wand.  This nozzle, sometimes called the “wipe plate”, has a rectangular flat surface on the bottom to which you can attach a wet wipe.  There are also two suction channels on the bottom of the wipe plate– one on the front and one on the back.  The nozzle is highly maneuverable as can be seen in the video at the bottom of the article.  It easily pivots on its swivel neck.

Breakdown of the Dyson Hard
Dyson Hard Components

Without the wipe plate the Hard can be used as a handheld and the included tools attach directly to the end of the handheld or to the end of the wand.

The DC56 is designed for hard floor surfaces like hardwood, tile, marble, vinyl, etc.  It is not useful on carpet.  It is a cordless unit which is powered by a 22.2 volt lithium ion battery.  Lithium ion batteries are known for their fade-free power - they output sustained power until they are fully discharged.  These batteries also charge much faster than other batteries and the Hard can recharge in about 3.5 hours.

The DC56 has 2 speeds - maximum and standard.  On standard power the machine provides 15 minutes of cleaning time with 28 air watts of suction, and on maximum power it provides 6 minutes of cleaning time with 65 air watts of suction.  Some consumers report being disappointed with what they feel is a short run time – although for a cordless machine 15 minutes isn’t actually that bad.

The package includes:

- DC56 vacuum
- Crevice tool
- Combination brush and wide debris nozzle tool
- Charger
- Battery
- Docking station
- Three packs of hard floor wipes (3 wipes per pack)
- Manual/quick-start guide/registration card

The Hard comes with a washable HEPA filter which is designed to last the lifetime of the machine.  HEPA filtration removes 99.97% of airborne particulates with a diameter of 0.3 microns or larger. It has been used in the biomedical industry for years to help inhibit the spread of airborne bacteria and viruses. HEPA filtration is particularly popular with allergy or asthma sufferers as it will remove dust, pet dander, dust mite feces, pollens and other allergens from the air.

The DC56 Hard is also ETL certified.  ETL is a group that performs electrical and reliability tests on products to ensure they meet US product safety standards.  They also audit the manufacturing site and require that the applicant agrees to future factory inspections to ensure continued adherence to the standards.  ETL operates nationally recognized testing laboratories.

docking station
Docking station

The docking station is handy and it can be mounted on a wall providing convenient out-of-way storage for the DC56 and the tools/attachments.  The unit can be charged while in the docking station.  The charger itself is Energy Star rated.   Energy Star is a joint program between the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Energy. The program involves protecting the environment through energy efficient products and practices - so if a product is Energy Star rated then it has met strict energy efficiency guidelines set by both the EPA and US Department of Energy.  In the case of the DC56, when the unit is fully charged the charger goes into monitoring mode and draws less than 1 Watt.

The dust canister has a capacity of 0.09 gallons and it empties at the push of a button.  It is bottom empty so when the button is depressed the bottom flips open releasing the dust and debris.  The bin is clear and, like most of the machine, made of lightweight but durable ABS thermoplastic.  The Dyson Hard weighs in at just under 5 lbs (4.86 lbs to be exact). This light weight coupled with a center of gravity near the grip help with the easy maneuverability of the machine.

The Hard has a cleaning path width of 8.25 inches and it carries a limited 2-year warranty.

Home Depot have a manual in PDF format that you may wish to check out to learn more about features, maintenance, operation, etc.  You can view the manual here

The following video (from ABC vacuum warehouse) shows the basics of the Dyson Hard and also shows it at work.

We also have a few other videos in a previous article announcing the Hard DC56 before it was available to the public.  These include a video of James Dyson talking about the DC56 and a short Dyson commercial about the DC56.  You can check out the videos here if you wish.


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


I'm Nigel Russco, a 50 year old professional engineer who loves to review vacuums, and I’ve been doing just that since 2008.  

I strive to write unbiased, intelligent vacuum cleaner reviews and I provide a score for each and every vacuum I investigate.  My goal is to help you find the best vacuum for your cleaning needs.

Also, watch my video reviews on the Vacuum Cleaner Advisor YouTube Channel.

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