Dyson Ball Animal 2 Review
Avg. consumer rating = 94/100
The Dyson Ball Animal 2 is one of the latest upright vacuums in the Dyson stable. The term “Animal” is intended to highlight its capabilities in households with pets, however there may be another reason. This vacuum cleaner is something of a beast. It is hugely powerful and also a bit of a handful to wield. Is this is a good thing? Well, for the most part it is good but in some cases it isn’t. The machine’s colossal suction ensures top notch cleaning of pet hair, bare floors, carpet, etc. but the weight of the vacuum makes it a little cumbersome despite the added maneuverabiity of “Ball Technology”.
|Best for...||Hard Floors & Carpet|
|Pet Hair Features||Yes|
|Approx. Weight||17.4 lbs|
|HEPA Level Filtration||Yes|
|Power Cord Length||35 feet|
|Motor Driven Brushbar||Yes|
To date the number of ratings for this vacuum is limited and we found less than 100. However, given that this is a Dyson there will be many more ratings in the coming months and we will update as appropriate.
Presently the owner ratings we found (see table below) result in an overall score of 93.9 out of 100 which is very good. You can compare this to the scores of other uprights in our upright vacuum ratings table, or you can see how it stacks up against all other vacuums in our vacuum cleaner finder application. The average score (at this time) for an upright on this site is about 81 out of 100.
|Amazon||4.3 stars out of 5||21|
|Target||4.9 stars out of 5||23|
|Home Depot||4.9 stars out of 5||21|
|Sylvane||4.0 stars out of 5||1|
Pros & Cons
A quick review of owner comments as well as our own testing and insights has provided the following likes and dislikes:
- Very powerful suction
- Effective at pulling up pet hair
- Thoroughly cleans both hard floors and carpet
- Washable filters
- Long cleaning reach
- Whole machine HEPA filtration
- Easy to empty dust canister
- Assembly is simple and quick
- Large cleaner head with wide cleaning path
- Awkward to lock into upright position
- Difficult to push on very deep pile carpet (like shag)
- Can stick to some throw rugs
- Active Base Plate has tendency to push larger debris around
What are Owners Saying?
The most commonly discussed characteristic of this machine is its incredibly strong suction. This is something all owners are very pleased with as it results in significant cleaning ability. Owners are also happy with the unit’s pickup (typical household dust & debris as well as pet hair) on both carpet and smooth surfaces.
Folks like the vacuum’s very long cleaning reach. The lengthy power cord, combined with the hose and wand, allows the vacuum to access the far reaches of a room without having to constantly hunt for a new electrical outlet.
Several owners report that they can smell the difference in the air quality in their rooms after vacuuming with the Ball Animal 2. We didn’t notice it but perhaps this depends on whether or not you have pets. This was brought up enough times by owners that it clearly was something quite a few people noticed.
Others also like how easy the dust canister is to remove, empty and reattach, and that the filters are easy to access and also washable which saves money.
On the downside, several people have reported issues when vacuuming throw rugs. The vacuum’s powerful suction has a tendency to pull the rug up and it can get stuck to the nozzle. And, as with any vacuum, you also need to be very careful if your rug has tassles along the edge. This machine will attack them unless you turn off the brushroll.
In addition, there are some reports that the Active Base Plate on the bottom of the nozzle makes the machine harder to push on some very deep pile carpets – like shag.
This is also not a lightweight vacuum and despite the maneuverable ball technology you can feel the weight start to drag on your arm and shoulder over time. Moving the vacuum back and forth and around a room can get tiring, and if you are doing an entire house at one go you will likely feel it.
Finally, an annoyance that has been dogging Dyson uprights for a while is the mechanism for locking the machine in the upright position. The handle needs to be pushed forward until you hear a barely audible “click”. If it doesn’t “click” then the handle just falls back and it will not stay in the upright position. It is hard to hear the “click” when the vacuum is running and getting it into position sometimes requires a good shove just so you are sure. Folks have complained about this system for a few years now and it remains the same on the Ball Animal 2.
You can see more owners reviews on Amazon if you want.
Aside: - Comparisons to the Dyson DC65 -
The Ball Animal 2 is very similar to the Dyson DC65 Animal, and while the DC65 is a powerful machine in its own right, the Ball Animal 2 has even more suction - about 10% more.
DC65 Animal – 245 Air Watts of suction
Many other aspects of these two machines are similar, such as:
Also, not surprisingly, the two machines have similar scores (average consumer ratings) on our site. The Dyson DC65 scored 95/100 while the Ball Animal 2 has come in at 94/100. These scores are so close as to be indistinguishable.
In addition, the two vacuums also look alike but they do have slightly different color schemes as you can see in the image below:
We would also like to point out that while the Ball Animal 2 is not an inexpensive machine, it is actually lower priced than the DC65 was when it launched.
At the time of this writing prices for the Ball Animal 2 are as follows:
What’s in the Box?
When you buy the Dyson Ball Animal 2 this is what you get in the box:
• Dyson Ball Animal 2 Upright Vacuum
• Owner's Manual
• Telescopic Wand
• Tangle-free Turbine Tool
• Combination Tool
• Stair Tool
Tools & Attachments
We got an upgrade to the tool set so in addition to the Tangle-Free-Turbine Tool, Combo Tool, and Stair Tool, we also received the following 3 tools in the box:
1) Groom Tool
2) Articulating Hard Floor Tool
3) Stiff Bristle Brush
In the video following we show you the 6 tools: (these are high-resolution videos so if you want a better look at things you may want to maximize them)
With the range of tools and the cleaner head the Ball Animal 2 has the ability to do floors, stairs, overhead cleaning, pet hair, and also get into all sorts of nooks and crannies.
We found the tools easy to attach and detach from the vacuum. We like that they are not compression fit but rather click firmly into place. When they click into place they stay put and don’t fall off. In addition, they are reasonably well made. We’ve seen some atrocious tools provided with cheaper vacuums.
The combo tool is pretty standard – it is a crevice tool and a dusting brush. We use it mostly as a crevice tool and fortunately it is quite long (longer than most) which is helpful as this tool is often used to get into corners or behind things.
The tangle free turbine tool with its counter-rotating heads actually does work and it limits tangling of thread, hair, etc. We ran ours through some difficult tests with rubber bands, thick string, twine, etc. and we did manage to cause it some grief (the test was a little ambitious) but with dust, hair, thread, etc. it performed just fine. You can see a Dyson video regarding this tool here (opens in new window). In our experience if you did a lot of what they show here with shoelaces and the like, at some point you would bind this thing up but with the smaller stuff this is fairly accurate.
The one tool that stood out - at least with respect to cool factor - was the groom tool. After years of telling people that a pet version of a vacuum isn’t really designed for vacuuming your dog, Dyson has created a tool which does just that. We don’t have a pet so we have to rely on the Dyson video to show us how this thing works – see the video (opens in new window, second video on page). It certainly looks cool. Will your pet like it and will you find it useful? You’ll have to tell us, but one thing we have heard from quite a few folks is that their pets are spooked from the noise of this vacuum cleaner so getting them to sit still while using the groom tool may be difficult.
The cleaner head (nozzle) on the vacuum is designed for cleaning multiple surfaces such as carpet, wooden floors, vinyl, tile, etc. The cleaner head has something called an “Active Base Plate” on the bottom. This device raises and/or lowers to help focus the majority of the suction onto the floor surface – it essentially limits loss of suction from around the cleaner head (see video below). This works quite well and it actually sucks the cleaner head down onto a smooth floor surface resulting in very strong floor cleaning power. This approach also removes the need for nozzle height controls and one can simply move from bare floors to carpet and back.
The nozzle has a wide 13.4 inch cleaning path which helps when doing large area cleaning – there are less passes needed to clean an area.
Power & Cleaning Ability
Now let’s discuss the most talked about characteristic of this machine – the power! The Dyson Ball Animal 2 is touted by Dyson as the most powerful vacuum on the market today. Their marketing materials state:
“Strongest suction of any vacuum.”
“No other vacuum has stronger suction at the cleaner head.”
From a “figures” point of view (270 Air Watts of suction) it is probably the most powerful vacuum we have tested. So how does all this power translate to cleaning ability? We have run several tests.
We tested the vacuum on low pile carpet and found that pickup was excellent. However we did notice that the Active Base Plate is so low it can sometimes push larger debris around – particularly on the back stroke. The larger debris does not get under the nozzle and sucked up. We noticed this when vacuuming some fruit loops. Most were picked up but some of the larger ones just got pushed around. Everything smaller was removed easily however. In addition, we noticed that the brushroll (at least in our tests) did not get too clogged or tangled with pet hair. You can see our carpet tests in the video below where we compare carpet cleaning with the Shark Rotator NV752 TruePet and the smaller Shark Rocket Complete.
One other thing that you will notice with this cleaner head is the very powerful brushroll. Unlike any other vacuums we own (and we have quite a few) you can feel the floor vibrate as the brushroll beats the carpet. It is quite pronounced. See the following video where we compare the vibrations created by the Dyson with those created by the Shark Rotator NV752 TruePet.
BARE FLOOR TEST
On bare floors the vacuum cleans very well. We tested it on dust, pet hair, lentils, fruit loops, etc. and it didn’t miss a beat. It picked up the works and in this case, unlike in the carpet test, it did not pull the larger debris back on the back stroke. We also noticed that you can actually see the Active Base Plate being sucked down towards the floor when vacuuming bare floors (it may do something similar on carpet – it is just harder to see/notice). This surely results in less suction leaking around the perimeter of the nozzle. You can see our bare floor test in the following short video:
Note: near the end of the video above you will see us struggle some with getting the vacuum locked into the upright position (the point made above in the section "What are Owners Saying?").
THROW RUG/MAT TEST
Some folks report that the machine’s strong suction can cause it to stick to throw rugs. We only had a small, lightweight, short-pile mat to test this on and again we tested how the Shark NV752 performed compared to the Animal Ball 2. Indeed the Dyson had a tendency to stick more to the mat than the NV752 – whether as the result of stronger suction, the Active Base Plate, or both we don’t know. You can see this in our video below.
Despite some small amount of “sticking”, we didn’t find this impeded the vacuum’s mat cleaning ability, and both machines, when in motion, didn’t result in any awkward sticking. That is not to say that there are no issues with throw rugs, but with our mat we did not find any.
Also, when cleaning the mats with the brushroll on, both vacuums (the Shark NV752 and the Dyson) scrunched the mat up and ultimately attempted to feed it into the vacuum. The only way to clean this was with the brushroll off.
Movement & Weight
In terms of movement, we tried the Ball Animal 2 on both low pile and medium pile carpet and while the heft of the machine requires a little muscle, we did not find that the depth of carpet made it any more difficult to move. However, we have read that some folks have found the vacuum difficult to move on very deep pile carpet. Perhaps there is some threshold with respect to carpet length where the machine starts to get harder to move. Whatever that may be we did not reach it.
Like many good upright vacuums today the Ball Animal 2 has a motorized brushroll. It also has brushroll on/off controls which are useful when moving from carpet to bare floors or vice-versa. Most folks like the brushroll OFF on bare floors and the brushroll does need to be ON for effective carpet cleaning.
Now the weight. This upright vacuum weighs in at 17.35 lbs. That is heavier than most of the uprights we have looked at (although the Dyson Cinetic Big Ball managed to tip our scales at 19.8 lbs). Despite the fact that the Ball mechanism helps with maneuverability (turns tightly and easily), you will still feel the weight when you move this vacuum back and forth. It feels heavy and when you pull it back you are also fighting the brushroll (which wants to move the vacuum forward) so if you doing a lot of cleaning it is a bit of a workout. Also, if you have to carry it from room to room or up and down stairs you may find it difficult. Now, much of this depends on your physical condition. If you’re a marine you probably won’t notice the weight, but for some other folks it may be an issue.
Cleaning reach on this vacuum is very good. It sports a lengthy 35 foot power cord and a 15.4 foot hose. Now the 35 foot power cord will give you 35 feet but the stretch hose may not give you the reported length. The lengths reported on stretch hoses are usually generous given that these can be very difficult to pull to their full length without the vacuum tipping. We’ve measured this hose to the point where the Ball Animal 2 will tip and we managed to get 13 feet 8 inches to the end of the wand. While not the reported 15.4 feet, 13.7 feet is still very respectable. All-in-all we measure the machine as having 48.7 feet of cleaning reach. Nothing to sneeze at.
We have seen some gripes about the vacuum not having a retractable power cord but we’ve only run into a few uprights that have feature and we can’t imagine where the cord would actually go in a machine like this. This has the old manual wrap system which works just fine.
As for the hose and wand assembly, it is the same approach as we’ve seen on Dyson uprights for some time and while it works it can be a little bit of a pain removing and reattaching it. Again, once you get used to it everything works fine, it is just a little awkward and inelegant. You may find yourself spending a few moments puzzling the wand back into the handle every now and again.
Like many Dyson vacuums the Ball Animal 2 has exceptional air filtering capabilities. It has both a pre-motor filter and a post motor filter (this one is HEPA level) – both are rinsable. The pre-motor filter is found inside the cyclone assembly – see image below.
The HEPA filter can be found in the Ball mechanism - see image below.
The Ball Animal 2 sports something Dyson calls "whole machine HEPA filtration". What does this mean? Well, first it tells us that the vacuum has a HEPA filter, and second it tells us the entire vacuum cleaner has been engineered to be completely sealed. This means that all the air entering the vacuum gets passed through the filters before it is exhausted back into the room. Some vacuums, while equipped with HEPA filtration, allow unfiltered air back into the room through cracks and poor seals in the vacuum body as well as loose connections between parts or attachments. In the case of the Dyson Ball Animal 2, “whole machine HEPA filtration” has resulted in it being certified asthma & allergy friendly by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America.
The dust canister holds 0.55 gallons which is a reasonable size. You won’t have to empty it all the time. It is also very easy to remove from the vacuum and to empty. It can be conveniently emptied by pressing the purple button on the handle (right underneath your thumb). This opens the bottom door and the debris falls out. You have to manually close the door. In some cases, as with most bagless machines, debris can get stuck in the dirt canister and you may have to reach in and remove it. All-in-all this system works well. Also, the dust canister itself can be washed if it gets dirty and unsightly.
The Dyson Ball Animal 2 carries a respectable 5-year parts and labor warranty. Dyson also now highlights that their support includes:
- Telephone and online support 7 days a week
- Free shipping both to and from Dyson Service Centers in the USA for all repairs
In addition, this vacuum is both ETL and UL listed. ETL is a group that performs electrical and reliability tests on products to ensure they meet US product safety standards, while Underwriters' Laboratories (UL) is a non-profit, independent product safety certification organization in the US.
Given the length of this review we figure a short summary is in order. The Dyson Ball Animal 2 is a very powerful vacuum that has great pickup on all surfaces. However one of the tools that helps to concentrate that suction power (the Active Base Plate) sometimes limits the ability of the machine to pick up larger debris. The tools work well and the cleaning reach (power cord, hose, wand) is very long. We also like the air filtering capabilities of the unit. We did find the machine a little heavy (17.4 lbs) and cumbersome but the ball helps with manueverability (turns easily at the twist of the wrist). If you are not afraid of a heavyish machine and are looking for flat out cleaning power this vacuum will deliver. If, on the other hand, you like a lightweight vacuum and are not in need of heavy duty cleaning power, then you may find other options more favorable.
Vacuum Cleaner Manual
As with most Dyson manuals this one relies on lots of graphics and is a little short on text. However, for the most part, it gets the message across. You can see the manual here: Dyson Ball Animal 2 Manual