The V11 Absolute and the V11 Torque Drive both have the new LCD control panel located on the back of the handheld component. This panel provides color-coded graphics showing which power mode you are in as well as a real-time numerical readout of remaining run time in each power mode. In addition, you will find short video clips showing how to troubleshoot a problem such as a clog or filter issue. These clips are automatically shown in the panel if a problem is encountered. The panel can be set to operate in a host of different languages and the interface is easy to use.
One of the issues many cordless vacuums have is a short run time. The V11 run times are actually quite good (in our opinion). In ECO power mode the vacuum, according to Dyson, should run for about 1 hour. Even in BOOST power mode (the most powerful) our tests showed that the vacuum ran for over 12 minutes which is much longer than run times in the highest power mode for ALL previous Dyson stick vacuums.
The V11 is more powerful in each of its three power modes than the V10. Also, in BOOST power mode the output is 185 Air Watts which is 23% more suction than the V10 and a staggering 61% more suction than the V8. In addition, consider that the V11 is able to sustain this suction longer than both the V10 and the V8.
Like all Dyson stick vacuums the V11 is easy to move and the cleaner head steers very easily with a twist of the wrist.
Carpet cleaning in all modes is fairly good. Of course it gets better as you move from ECO power mode to MED power mode, and finally up to BOOST power mode.
Bare floor cleaning is best in BOOST power mode, and we found the extreme suction in this power mode more than offset any issues of scatter that are common with spinning bristled brushrolls on hard surfaces.
The V11 comes with a special AUTO power mode which is implemented when you are using the Torque Drive cleaner head. This mode automatically adjusts motor speed depending on the floor surface – more power for carpet and less for bare flooring. This helps preserve battery life and ensures optimal cleaning power when needed.
Sound insulation is used in the V11 and our tests show it is about as quiet as the V10 (which was reasonably quiet). It is a joy to use in ECO mode and you can almost have a conversation while vacuuming. It is quieter than the V6 and V7, but our testing still showed that the V8 in Low power mode is the quietest of the Dyson stick vacs.
The vacuum sports both a HEPA filter and a sealed system. A HEPA filter is a great feature if you or someone in your household suffers from asthma or allergies. It is capable of removing allergens from the air. However some vacuums with HEPA filters still allow unfiltered air to escape – NOT the V11. The sealed system forces all air through the HEPA filter before it is exhausted from the machine.
The tools click in place and can only be detached by depressed the lock button. This ensures that they do not fall off while in use. This applies to tools/attachments at the end of the handheld unit and at the end of the wand. A number of other manufacturers use the less secure compression fit approach.
The filters on the vacuum are rinsable in water so there is no need to buy new ones when they are dirty. The brushroll in the Torque Drive cleaner head is easy to remove if you need to cut away hair/string wrapping. Also, if you have the Soft Roller cleaner head (comes with the V11 Absolute) the soft rollers can be easily removed for washing. The dust canister itself also pops off and can be wiped with a damp cloth if it gets too grubby (which they often do). And, of course, this is a bagless vacuum so you do not need to buy bags.
The V11 includes more tools than any previous Dyson stick vacuum – see the full list in our Dyson V11 review. We find the mini motorized tool especially useful when doing a set of stairs and the new storage clip is great for carrying two tools with you while vacuuming.
The dust canister on the V11 has a capacity of 0.20 gallons. This is the same size as the canister on the V10 Absolute and the V10 Animal and, in our opinion, is a respectable size. You will not find yourself emptying this too frequently while vacuuming. It is also a larger dust canister than those on the V8, V7, and V6.
The V11 is the heaviest of all the Dyson cordless stick vacuums. If you have used a previous Dyson stick vac model, you will notice the increased weight of the V11 right away. You can feel it in the handheld component. It is not a big issue when using it as a stick vac, but many owners also use these as handheld vacuums. As a handheld the weight is even more apparent, and in our opinion it can be difficult to use for extended cleaning.
It doesn’t have the longest recharge time (the V8 does at 5 hrs) but it does take a full 4.5 hrs to recharge the V11 battery. All other Dyson stick vacs take 3.5 hours and it would have been nice to see some improvement in this area as opposed to moving the other direction.
This has been an issue since the DC59 or the V6. When the battery is depleted you cannot swap it out with a freshly charged battery to continue vacuuming. These batteries are not designed to be easy to remove and replace. Some other manufacturers have put swappable batteries in their cordless vacuums which effectively increases your run time.
Dyson has called this trigger something like a “run time enhancement trigger”. The idea here is that the second you take your finger off the trigger the vacuum stops. This approach doesn’t waste any battery energy when you move from place to place while vacuuming and therefore prolongs run time, but some owners find that it tires their finger during long cleaning sessions. There are quite a few people who wish there was a way to lock the trigger in the ON position but there is not.
This is perhaps a small issue but in our experience if you have a lot of tools it is handy to have a place to put them or they tend to get lost over time (especially when they cannot be stored on-board the vacuum). An accessory bag would have been a nice touch.
In our bare floor cleaning tests we noticed that the Torque Drive cleaner head (the only cleaner head provided with the V11 Torque Drive and the V11 Animal) had a tendency to cause some debris scattering when used in ECO and AUTO power modes. This does not happen with the Soft Roller cleaner head but you only get this with the V11 Absolute which can be hard to find in the USA.
At $650-$700 the V11 Torque Drive is a costly vacuum cleaner. Granted that prices will come down over time, but generally speaking Dyson cordless units are expensive and the V11 is currently at the top of the list.