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Dyson V11 Review

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Avg. consumer rating = 91/100 

Dyson is starting to close the performance gap between lightweight cordless vacuums and full-size corded uprights or canister vacuums.  The cordless stick vacuum has always been a compromise. You get a light, easy to move vacuum that is not tethered by a power cord, however the limited battery power usually results in either average suction, limited run times, or both. Not so with the V11. It uses an advanced motor, a large powerful battery, and a host of other technology to deliver long run times and also very respectable suction.  No, it is still not a match for your Dyson Ball Animal 2 upright vacuum, but to date this is as close to full-size vacuum cleaning ability that we’ve seen in a stick vac.

Quick Specs
Type Stick Vac
Bagged/Bagless Bagless
Best for... Hard Floors & Carpet
Pet Hair Features No
Approx. Weight 6.68 lbs
HEPA Level Filtration Yes
Power Cord Length Cordless
Motor Driven Brushbar Yes
Warranty 2 Years
 
Disclosure: We recently approached Dyson and requested the V11 so that we could do a review. They agreed and sent one over. Please note that this in no way affects how we review the vacuum.

V11 MODELS

There are two V11 models available in the USA at this time:
1) V11 Torque Drive
2) V11 Animal

The V11 Torque Drive:

V11 Torque Drive on sideThe Torque Drive includes: 
- High Torque cleaner head
- Mini motorized tool
- Combo tool
- Crevice tool
- Mini soft dusting brush
- Stubborn dirt brush
- Docking station
- Charger
- Wand storage clip (Dyson website does not indicate you get the wand storage clip but we contacted Dyson and they told us that it is included)
- Manual & warranty card
- LCD control panel
 
The V11 Animal:
V11 Animal on sideThe Animal includes: 
- High torque cleaner head
- Mini motorized tool
- Combo tool
- Crevice tool
- Stubborn dirt brush
- Docking station
- Charger
- Wand storage clip (Dyson website does not indicate you get the wand storage clip but we contacted Dyson and they told us that it is included)
- Manual & warranty card
- LED control panel
 
Note that, compared to the V11 Torque Drive, the V11 Animal does not come with the mini soft dusting brush and it has an LED control panel as opposed to an LCD control panel.
 
Outside of the US we’ve also seen the V11 Absolute model.  It is the same machine as the Torque Drive except it also includes a soft roller cleaner head which is specially designed for hard floor cleaning.  We have the V11 Absolute.
 

CONSUMER RATINGS

We’ve done some digging online and found a number of owner ratings (119 to be exact) for the V11.  These are shown in the table below.  When averaged these generate an overall score of 91.3 out of 100.  This is a very good score and it is fairly apparent that most owners are pleased with the V11.

Source Consumer Rating # Ratings
Amazon 4.4 stars out of 5 57
Best Buy 4.7 stars out of 5 39
Currys 4.75 stars out of 5 23
 

Dyson V11
PROS & CONS

We’ve analyzed a host of owner comments and combined these findings with our own V11 experience to create the following pros and cons list:
 
PROS
- Very powerful in Boost mode for a cordless vac
- Decent size dust canister
- Very respectable run times
- Fairly quiet operation
- Maneuverable and easy to move about
- High quality filtration
- Tools click fit into place
- Display provides real time battery life
- Auto suction adjustment works well
- Mini motorized tool is useful for stairs
- Brushroll can be removed for cleaning

CONS
- Must keep trigger depressed for power
- Heavier than its predecessors
- Longish battery recharge time
- Battery cannot be swapped out
- Expensive

WHAT ARE OWNERS SAYING?

Many consumers are praising the battery life of the V11 (something not common with many of today's cordless vacuums).  Owners are also pleased with the LCD interface which provides a continual countdown of run time in each power mode.  In addition, folks feel that the V11 does a good cleaning job (even on pet hair) and that the suction is reasonably powerful. 

The AUTO power mode feature is popular.  Owners state that it works flawlessly (it has worked well for us) and that it helps to optimize battery life and cleaning when transitioning between different floor surfaces (such as carpet and smooth flooring).
 
People report that the cleaner head articulates well and the vacuum moves easily.  Emptying the bin is straightforward and maintenance is simple (for example the filter is rinsable and the brushroll can be removed for cleaning).
 
A host of tools are provided with the V11 and people find the mini motorized tool great for doing stairs.  However, a few owners wish Dyson would have provided an accessory bag, and while the wall mount is nice, it will not hold all the tools (only 2).
 
One the most significant issues with the V11 is that some people have received a vacuum with a problematic High Torque cleaner head.  The brushroll does not spin due to a broken plastic ring at one end.  We checked ours when we got it and the ring is intact and the cleaner head works fine.  We do not know if this was a short-term problem that Dyson has now solved or whether folks continue to run into this, but it has hurt the vacuum ratings.
 
A few of the same concerns we’ve seen with all Dyson stick vacs continue to raise their head (V6, V7, V8, V10, V11), namely the lack of a swappable battery and the need to hold the trigger down to get power.  Owners wish they could swap in a fresh battery when the other is depleted but this cannot be easily done.  Some folks also find that constantly holding the trigger down causes their finger/hand/wrist to ache after long vacuuming sessions.
 
Dyson Cordless Evolution
 
Other V11 grumblings include a longish battery recharge time, the fact that the vacuum is a bit on the hefty side (heavier than other Dyson stick vacs), and that the V11 is quite expensive – although many say that despite the cost it is worth it.
 
You can read more V11 owners comments on Amazon.

WHAT"S IN THE BOX?

Our V11 Absolute came with the following:

V11 What's in the box?
 
Note that the V11 Torque Drive cordless vacuum is the same vacuum as that shown above, with one exception - it does not include the soft roller cleaner head.
 
Also, in the image above you may have noticed that the V11 includes a wand storage clip – something we have not seen on any other Dyson stick vacuum.  This allows you to carry two tools with you while you vacuum - see image below.  It’s handy but it does add a little extra weight.
 
V11 wand storage clip

TECHNOLOGY

In many ways this vacuum is similar to the Dyson V10, however there are also a number of differences. The most dramatic technological differences are probably the V11 control panel and the AUTO power mode.  The LCD control panel on the V11 Torque Drive has a colorful interface and provides one touch control of many vacuum features.  The AUTO power mode adjusts motor speed on the fly depending on the floor type.

The V11 has three microprocessors: one in the battery, one in the digital motor, and one in the High Torque cleaner head.  Brushroll resistance in constantly monitored (many times per second) and the motor speed is adjusted on the fly to create optimal cleaning performance (in AUTO power mode).  This is especially helpful when you are transitioning from bare flooring to carpet or vice-versa.  No need to change cleaner heads or manually adjust the suction.

POWER MODES

The V11 has three power modes:

- ECO
- AUTO or MED
- BOOST
 
ECO mode provides the longest run time but has the lowest suction levels.
AUTO mode provides an average run time with medium levels of suction but it also changes suction power (and thus run time) depending on the floor type.
BOOST mode provides maximum suction but has the shortest run time.


So what is MED mode?  When using the V11 Torque Drive and the High Torque cleaner head, AUTO mode appears as an option – it is between ECO and BOOST.  When using any other tool/attachment AUTO mode will be replaced by MED mode.  This is because the High Torque cleaner head has a sensor in it that allows the vacuum motor to increase or decrease speed depending on the floor type.  None of the other vacuum tools have this sensor, so when using them you will see MED (for medium power) as an option.

CONTROL PANEL

The LCD control panel on the Torque Drive is located on the back of the handheld unit and it:

- Allows you to choose a language
- Reminds you when to clean the filter
- Tells you if the filter is not fit properly
- Informs you of any blockages
- Displays the cleaning mode and continually reports remaining run time
- Indicates when the battery is in need of a charge
- Allows you to change power modes

The LCD control panel also shows short video clips on how to rectify a problem should one occur.  In the short video below you can see the clip provided when the filter is not seated properly. 


Note that the control panel on the V11 Animal is LED (not LCD).  The LED control panel provides three bars for battery charge, displays power mode, and has indicator lights for filter cleaning and vacuum blockages (it doesn't have the run-time countdown / video clips / etc that you get with the LCD control panel).  A button on the LED control panel also allows you to choose power mode.  V11 LED control panel image shown below:
 
V11 LED control panel

BATTERY

The V11 battery is larger than other Dyson stick vac batteries.  The V11 battery has the following specifications:

- 7-cell Rechargeable Lithium Ion Battery Pack
- 25.2 V
- 21.6 A
- 3600 mAh
- 91 Wh
 
The battery provides what some manufacturer’s call “fade-free power”.  Essentially the battery will provide the same level of power until such time as it is depleted and the vacuum turns off.  With this type of battery you do not get waning power (and diminishing cleaning ability) as the battery is drawn down.
 
The V11 battery is larger than that on the V10 - see image below:
 
Dyson V10 vs V11 Battery

RUN TIME - OFFICIAL

According to the manufacturer V11 run times with the High Torque cleaner head are as follows (approx):

Power Mode Run Time
ECO 60 min
AUTO* 40 min
BOOST  6 min
 
*Run time in AUTO mode is a function of the floor type, so 40 minutes is likely very much an estimate.

RUN TIME - TESTED

We performed run time tests on the V11 in each power mode.  For each test the vacuum was fully charged and the High Torque cleaner head was placed on a medium pile carpet with the suction control slider set in the middle.  The vacuum was run until it stopped and the total time was recorded with a stopwatch.  Results follow:

Power Mode Run Time
ECO 55 min 14 sec
AUTO 44 min 17 sec
BOOST 12 min 52 sec
 
ECO and AUTO mode produced very good run times for a corded vacuum.  BOOST mode was a little surprising in that it completely blew away the official figure.  We’re not sure where the official 6 min figure came from but the test showed almost 13 minutes.

RECHARGING THE V11

The time to recharge a fully depleted V11 battery is about 4.5 hours.  This is perhaps a little on the long side.  Dyson managed to get the V10 charge time down to 3.5 hours – however consider that the V11 battery is larger and it delivers more power and longer run times.

SUCTION POWER

V11 suction power is quite good and the unit delivers respectable power in all modes.  The V10 felt a little weak in LOW power mode but the V11 in ECO power mode (its equivalent of LOW) does not.  Also, in BOOST mode the V11 delivers more Air Watts than any other Dyson stick vac.

Power Mode Suction
ECO 26 Air Watts
MED 38.6 Air Watts
BOOST 185 Air Watts
 
Suction is tricky to measure in AUTO mode as it changes depending on the floor type.  As a result Dyson has provided suction figures for MED mode.

How does the V11 stack up against the V10?
Read our detailed comparison: Dyson V10 vs V11

CLEANER HEADS

The High Torque cleaner head on the V11 looks physically the same as the Torque Drive leaner head on the V10 (different color scheme though).  However, as mentioned previously, the V11 cleaner head has a sensor that detects brushroll resistance and (in AUTO power mode) will change vacuum suction accordingly between carpet and bare flooring.

The High Torque cleaner head has two rows of bristles – one row consists of stiff nylon bristles and the other has finer, softer carbon fiber bristles.  The stiff bristles are helpful at pulling up ground-in dirt from carpet and the finer bristles excel at picking up fine dust on smooth flooring.  Also, a suction slider on the front (with three settings) opens and closes two slots along the front bottom.  This increases and decreases suction under the head, and opened slots also have the added benefit of allowing larger debris under the head.  See below:
 
V11 High Torque Cleaner Head
 
You can also see the soft roller cleaner head (provided with the V11 Absolute) below:
 
V11 Absolute Soft Roller Cleaner Head

VACUUM WEIGHT

The V11 is the heaviest of the Dyson stick vacuums and you can feel it.  If you haven’t used a Dyson stick vacuum before it may not be apparent but if you have a previous version you will instantly notice that the V11 is more hefty

We did not find it much of an issue when vacuuming the floor.  But it was more noticeable when using the handheld component with tools.
 
Dyson stick vac weights are shown below:
 
Dyson Cordless Model Approx Weight
V7 Motorhead 5.45 lbs
V7 Animal 5.30 lbs
V7 Absolute 5.30 lbs
V8 Animal 5.75 lbs
V8 Absolute 5.75 lbs
V10 Motorhead 5.50 lbs
V10 Animal 5.90 lbs
V10 Absolute 5.90 lbs
V11 Animal 6.68 lbs
V11 Torque Drive 6.68 lbs
 

HANDHELD VACUUM

As mentioned, the handheld component of the V11 feels heavier than its predecessors.  We placed the V7, V8, V10 and V11 handheld components on a scale and got the following results.

Dyson Cordless Model -  Handheld Unit Weight (approx)
 V7  3.1 lbs
 V8  3.5 lbs
 V10  3.65 lbs
 V11  4.45 lbs
 

These are very much estimates as our scale in not extremely accurate but it does serve to show approximate differences in weight, and the extent to which the V11 has a heavier handheld unit.  When using the V11 you will notice this difference and it is not really comfortable to use the handheld component for long periods of time or for twisting your wrist or arm to get into awkward areas.  This, of course, will depend to some extent on your arm/wrist/hand strength.

Dyson v7 v8 v10 v11 handheld

CLEANING PERFORMANCE - CARPET

We carefully measured out the following amounts of very fine debris, small debris, and medium sized debris.

- 7.5g Ground Cheerios
- 5.3g Chili Flakes
- 17.8g Flax Seeds
- 24.0g Split Green Peas
 
This debris was placed on low-pile carpet in a line 5.5 ft long.  The vacuum was run over this line in a 10 second pass (approximately) in different power modes while using the High Torque Cleaner Head with the suction slider set in the middle. 
 
Dyson V11 Carpet Test 
Percentage pickup is shown in the table below:
 
Power Mode Debris Pickup
ECO 96.7%
AUTO 99.0%
BOOST 99.2%
 
This level of pickup is, on average, better than what we experienced with the V10.  This is to be expected given the similarities of the cleaner head and the increased suction power of the V11.

CLEANING PERFORMANCE - BARE FLOOR

Similar tests were performed on a tile surface.

Dyson V11 Hard Floor Test

Power Mode Debris Pickup
ECO 84.4%
AUTO 93.4%
BOOST 96.0%
 
Again, on average the V11 outperformed the V10, although we did notice in MAX/BOOST modes there was little difference in pickup.
 
Note: We also ran the V11 with the soft roller cleaner head on the tile surface.  The soft roller cleaner head is designed for this kind of work and even in ECO mode it picked up 99.5% of the debris.

DUST CANISTER

The dust canister on the V11 is the same as that on the V10 and the means of emptying it is identical – see short video clip below:

It is fairly easy to empty the dust canister on the V11 and we actually find it easier than the V10 (which is odd given that the two systems look the same).  One thing to be aware of is that you must remove the wand before emptying the dust canister – the wand is in the way of the dust canister door.  This was not the case with the older units (V6, V7, V8).  Some folks find removing the wand to be a hassle while others don’t.  We have no issue with it – it just takes a second and we find it easier to hold just the handheld unit when emptying.
 

NOISE LEVEL

We used a noise level meter that measures peak decibels and tested the V11 in all three power modes (with the High Torque cleaner head).  We measured the noise at a distance of 3 feet from the front of the cleaner head with the vacuum in the upright position.

Power Mode Noise Level
ECO 63.7 decibels
AUTO 68.4 decibels
BOOST 71.0 decibels
 

In our opinion the V11 is a fairly quiet vacuum, especially in ECO mode.  Dyson has added sound insulation to the machine and it works.

Dyson V11 FilterFILTRATION

The V11 has a HEPA level filter and also a sealed system.  The HEPA filter is located on the back of the handheld portion of the vacuum and it is designed to remove 99.97% of all particles with a diameter of 0.3 microns or larger.  This level of filtration is very useful for households with those suffering from asthma or allergies. 

Dyson suggests cleaning the filter about once a month or whenever the control panel indicates it needs to be done.  The filter is easily removed and it can be rinsed in water (no need to go out and buy a new one).  Make sure the filter is completely dry before reattaching it to the vacuum.  Dyson suggests about 24 hours of drying time.
 
Coupled with the HEPA filter is a sealed system.  This is a critical feature in ensuring quality air filtration.  A sealed system does not allow unfiltered air to escape the vacuum.  Rather, it forces all the air through the filter/s before it is exhausted from the machine.  No air escapes from poor seals or cracks in the vacuum body.  The lack of a sealed system can often negate the high level of filtration provided by a HEPA filter.  Dyson sometimes refers to this combination as Whole-Machine Filtration.

WARRANTY

The V11 carries a Dyson 2-year parts and labor warranty.

VERDICT

The V11 is a worthy successor to the V10.  Dyson decided to increase run time and power at the cost of weight.  In our opinion the increase in performance was absolutely worth the additional weight.  The V11 is able to run for almost 1 hour in ECO mode and in BOOST mode the V11 delivers more power than the V10 and runs for almost twice as long. 

AUTO power mode is a nice feature and it works flawlessly.  No need to adjust suction as you move from carpet to bare floors or vice-versa.  The LCD/LED control panel is “nice”.  It’s not really necessary but it works well and is easy to use.  The run time countdown on the LCD panel is also quite handy.
  
The only real downsides are the weight and, of course, the price. With respect to weight, we didn't notice the increase too much until we were using the handheld component.  If you use the handheld component a lot then weight could be an issue. As far as price goes, these units always start high then begin to come down over time. See the latest prices on Amazon in the links below:
Also, it would have been nice if the V11 Torque Drive or the V11 Animal included a soft roller cleaner head.  These cleaner heads really do outperform the High Torque cleaner head on bare surfaces.

DYSON V11 MANUAL

Like most Dyson manuals the V11 manual is heavy on graphics.  The graphics are easy to understand and they do help quite a bit.  There is a separate manual for each V11 model: one for the Torque Drive and one for the Animal.  This is because the vacuums have very different control panels.  You can find a copy of each manual here:
V11 Torque Drive Manual
V11 Animal Manual

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About Me

Hello!

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.   


 
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