Dyson V11 - Absolute vs Torque Drive vs Animal

Dyson v11 absolute vs torque drive vs animal
So you want a Dyson V11 cordless vacuum.  They are great machines, but which of the 3 models is the right one for you?  The Absolute, the Torque Drive, and the Animal all have differences and you don’t want to buy a more expensive model only to find you don’t need the added features.  In this short article we walk through all the V11 models, and we highlight which machine is the best fit for your cleaning needs.
There are three popular Dyson V11 models – the Absolute, the Torque Drive, and the Animal.  The Absolute is the premier model and comes with the most attachments/tools.  The Torque Drive is similar in many ways to the Absolute and is currently the most popular unit.  The Animal has the least number of features and tools/attachments.  The Animal, as expected, is also the most affordable V11.
What is included with each model?
V11 Absolute
- High torque cleaner head
- Soft roller cleaner head
- Mini motorized tool
- Combo tool
- Crevice tool
- Mini soft dusting brush
- Stubborn dirt brush
- Docking station
- Charger
- Wand storage clip
- LCD control panel
V11 Torque Drive
- High torque cleaner head
- Mini motorized tool
- Combo tool
- Crevice tool
- Mini soft dusting brush
- Stubborn dirt brush
- Docking station
- Charger
- Wand storage clip
- LCD control panel
V11 Animal
- High torque cleaner head
- Mini motorized tool
- Combo tool
- Crevice tool
- Stubborn dirt brush
- Docking station
- Charger
- Wand storage clip
- LED control panel
You will notice in the lists above that the ONLY difference between the Absolute and Torque Drive models is that the Absolute includes an additional cleaner head - the Soft Roller cleaner head.  Everything else is the same.  On the other hand, the V11 has less tools/attachments and also has a less sophisticated control panel.
Oddly, the Absolute is very hard to find in the USA.  It is not even mentioned on the Dyson USA website and we haven’t seen it on Amazon.com.  However, you can find it in some other countries such as Canada (see Dysoncanada.ca and Amazon.ca).  In the USA you will typically find only the V11 Torque Drive and the V11 Animal.
The Torque Drive and the Animal come with the High Torque cleaner head – shown below. 
hight torque cleaner head
The red slider on the cleaner head controls 2 gaps on the front of the cleaner head.  The gaps can be set closed, half closed, or open.  Different settings will help with debris pickup depending on the surface, the power setting, and the debris type.  You typically have to experiment a bit to find what works best.  This cleaner head can be used on both carpet and bare floors.
The Absolute model also includes the Soft Roller cleaner head – shown below. 
soft roller cleaner head
This is a very soft cleaner head and it will not mar or scratch smooth flooring.  It provides top-notch pickup on bare floors and will outperform the High Torque cleaner head on bare floors.  It is not designed to be used on carpet.
The 7-cell rechargeable lithium-ion battery pack is the same for all V11 models and it has the following specifications:
- 25.2 V
- 21.6 A
- 3600 mAh
- 91 Wh 
Dyson v11 battery pack
The battery pack has 4.5 hour recharge time - approximately. We have occasionally managed to do a full recharge of our V11 Absolute in less than 4.5 hours.  Like all Dyson stick vacs this battery pack is not designed to be quickly swapped out while vacuuming (so you cannot buy a second battery to extend your run time).
The control panel for the V11’s resides on the back of the handheld unit.  The Absolute and Torque Drive models have an LCD control panel.  This provides remaining battery life in real time (minutes and seconds), troubleshooting videos that walk you through fixes for potential problems, the ability to choose power modes, etc. (you can read and see videos about this in our full Dyson V11 review). 
v11 lcd control panel
The Animal model does not have an LCD control panel.  It has an LED control panel (image below) and it is a bit more rudimentary.  You can set the power, view a more granular version of battery power (1/3 charged, 2/3 charged, or fully charged), and there are trouble lights that illuminate to highlight potential issues such as a clog or a dirty filter. 
Dyson V11 LED control panel
Run times for ALL V11 models are the same.  Remember that all V11 models have the same battery and same basic design.  The only differences are in the tools, attachments and control panel.  As such we’ve added V8 and V10 specifications in the table below to provide some context.  Note that the V8 only has two power modes (Low and Max), the V10 has three power modes (Low, Medium, and Max), and the V11 has 3 power modes (Eco, Medium/Auto, and Boost). The figures in this table have been provided by the manufacturer.
Power Dyson V8 Dyson V10 Dyson V11
Low/Eco  25 min  35 min  60 min
Med/Auto  N/A  20 min  40 min
Max/Boost  7 min  6 min  6 min
We’ve also tested each and every run time ourselves on low pile carpet.  Our test results can be seen in the table below.
Power Dyson V8 Dyson V10 Dyson V11
Low/Eco  27 min 28 sec  40 min 17 sec  55 min 14 sec
Med/Auto  N/A  20 min 23 sec  44 min 17 sec
Max/Boost  7 min 45 sec  7 min 14 sec  12 min 52 sec
Suction power for the V11 Absolute, the V11 Torque Drive, and the V11 Animal is the same.  We’ve provided V11, V10, and V8 suction power data in the table below.  These figures have been provided by the manufacturer and are not the result of our testing.
Power Dyson V8 Dyson V10 Dyson V11
Low/Eco  28 Air Watts  15.8 Air Watts  26 Air Watts
Med/Auto  N/A  33.8 Air Watts  38.6 Air Watts
Max/Boost  115 Air Watts  151 Air Watts  185 Air Watts
Debris pickup is the same on carpet and bare floors for all V11 versions.  It will differ, however, if you are using the Soft Roller cleaner head on a bare floor.  The Soft Roller cleaner head is much more effective on a smooth surface than the High Torque cleaner head.  For this reason some folks with mostly bare floors like the Absolute model.  Cleaning tests and comparisons can be found in our Dyson V11 review and our Dyson V10 vs Dyson V11 article.
Testing showed the V11 to be marginally quieter than its predecessor the V10 – but not by much.  On our low pile carpet we found the V11 generated 63.7 decibels in LOW power mode, 68.4 decibels in AUTO power mode, and 71.0 decibels in BOOST power mode.  The V11’s have sound dampening insulation and overall we’d have to say they are reasonably quiet cordless vacuums.
The V11 models all weigh approximately 6.7 lbs.  They are the heaviest of the Dyson cordless stick vacuums to date.  Much of that additional weight is in the larger battery (the V11 has the largest battery of all the Dyson cordless vacuums).
All V11 models have a 0.20 gallon dust canister which is a pretty good size for a cordless stick vac.  They also come with a HEPA filter and a sealed system.  The filter is designed to last the lifetime of the vacuum and can be rinsed in water.
V11 handheld unit 
The V11’s carry a 2-year parts and labor warranty.
Costs vary from retail outlet to retail outlet and they also tend to dip over time.  That said, we’ve put together some approximate costs which are the result of perusing a host of online retailers (Nov 2019). 
V11 Animal: $575 - $600 (USD)
V11 Torque Drive: $675 - $700 (USD)
V11 Absolute: $900 Canadian dollars = $680 (USD)
Note that we found the V11 Absolute prices on Dyson Canada and we converted the Canadian dollars to US dollars.  Remember that the V11 Absolute is difficult to find in the USA.
If you have mostly bare floors like tile, hardwood, linoleum, etc. then you probably want the Absolute model.  This is the only model that includes the Soft Roller cleaner head and this particular cleaner head picks up dust/debris on hard flooring much better than the High Torque cleaner head.
Mini soft dusting brushIf you have mostly carpet then you should consider either the Torque Drive or the Animal.  They have the same cleaning performance so it is really down to the tools and control panel.  The Animal does not include the mini soft dusting brush (image to right) and it has the LED control panel instead of the LCD control panel.  Also, consider that the Animal is about $100 less expensive than the Torque Drive. 
In addition, if you get a Torque Drive or Animal, it is possible to buy a Soft Roller cleaner head separately.


+1 # Nigel 2019-11-27 18:54
Hey Victor. Thanks for the kind words and glad you find the reviews helpful!
Reply | Reply with quote | Quote
+1 # Victor 2019-11-26 19:09
Thanks for the heavy time and detail you put into your videos and website. I appreciate your work
Reply | Reply with quote | Quote

Add comment

Security code

Amazon Affiliate

Vacuum-cleaner-advisor.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.



Vacuum Cleaner Finder

Find the best vacuum cleaners fast! Use the Vacuum Cleaner Finder! It helps you quickly weed out the underperformers and shows you the top rated machines.

About Me


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.   

Related Items