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Home & garden.

How to choose the best Dyson

Our expert guide reveals everything you need to know about buying a Dyson vacuum cleaner.
Joseph Perry

Dyson vacuums are top of many a wish list. But with Dyson's high prices and large range of models, it can be hard to know which vacuum is the best value for money. 

We've put together our top tips on finding the best Dyson for your home, so you don't end up spending more than necessary on a sub-standard vacuum. 

We run through what features to expect from a Dyson, the differences between models, and how the brand compares with rivals such as Shark.

Alternatively, you can find out which models scored best in our tests by heading straight to our Dyson reviews:

Video: which Dyson is best?

Dyson cordless vacuum cleaners

In 2018, Dyson announced that it would stop developing new corded vacuums, instead focusing on cordless technology.

Cordless vacs' versatile design often makes them more convenient than plug-ins, and they tend to be much lighter too. 

However, cordless vacuums are usually more expensive, and not all are an improvement on corded models – some have extremely short run times and minuscule dust capacities. 

Always read our cordless vacuum cleaner reviews before you buy, to make sure you're really getting an upgrade.

Dyson vacuum cleaner features

Dyson was an early adopter of several impressive cordless vacuum features. However, rivals such as Miele, Samsung and Shark have since developed advanced extras of their own, including LED headlights, flexible cleaning tubes and, in Samsung's case, self-emptying dust containers.

The features you can expect to find on most Dyson models include:  

  • a lightweight handstick design.
  • turbo and soft-roller floorheads, which you can swap depending on the surface you're vacuuming.
  • a 'hygienic' dirt ejector, allowing you to empty the dust container without getting your hands grubby.
  • three power settings (V10 onwards).

With more recent Dyson models, such as the V11 Absolute and V15 Detect, you also get:

  • an LCD screen, which includes a to-the-minute battery countdown.
  • a torque floorhead, which automatically adjusts the suction power depending on the floor type.
  • laser dust detection (V15 Detect only).
  • acoustic dust sensing, which tells you how much dust you've sucked up and categorises it by size (V15 Detect only).
  • a tangle-free brush bar (V15 Detect only).
Dyson V11 Absolute LCD display

There's also the V11 Outsize, which has the same features as the V11 Absolute, but has a wider floorhead and almost double the dust capacity, making it better suited to larger homes

Like most cordless vacuums, cord-free Dysons also convert to small handheld cleaners. It makes it easy to switch from cleaning floors to things like stairs and upholstery – or even the car. If you would prefer to keep your vac and handheld model separate, see all our handheld vacuum cleaner reviews.

Dyson cordless vacuums compared

Run time in minutes (+ turbo)Charging timeDust capacity (litres)Weight (kg)Typical price
V15 Detect Absolute
84 (14)4hr 1min0.93.3£599
Outsize Absolute
87 (8)3hr 56min23.7£559
Micro 1.5kg
27 (9)2hr 19min0.31.5£299
V11 Absolute
76 (13)3hr 23min0.93.2£499
V11 Outsize
75 (14)3hr 19min23.7£599
Cyclone V10 Absolute
43 (8)2hr 17min0.82.6£399
V7 Absolute
29 (7)3hr 4min0.62.4£299

Table last updated: June 2022.

As the table above shows, prices of cordless Dyson vacuums vary considerably. The latest models cost more than twice as much as earlier editions.

However, the newer models have much longer run times and can hold more dust. These are important considerations if you live in a larger home, where smaller vacuums will struggle to get round in one go and will need emptying more regularly.

It's also worth noting that the past few Dysons have launched at £599, which may be a sign that Dyson has reached the upper limit of how much customers are willing to pay for a vacuum cleaner.

For more buying advice and the latest savings, see our best Dyson deals.

Dyson Big Ball corded vacuum cleaner

Dyson corded vacuum cleaners 

Although Dyson is no longer producing new corded vacuums, several of its plug-in models are still available.

Its corded models ride on a ball and castors instead of wheels, which allows them to pivot and change direction more easily. While this doesn't give you as much manoeuvrability as a top-of-the-range cordless vacuum, it sets them apart from most corded competitors.

Some models also have a built-in self-righting mechanism, enabling the vacuum to correct its own stance if it topples over.

Both cylinder and upright Dyson vacuums are still available, with each having distinct advantages and disadvantages. 

In general, upright models are easier to store (because there's no trailing hose) and better at cleaning pet hair, but they can be tiring to push on carpets. On the other hand, cylinder vacuums are more manoeuvrable (particularly on stairs) and are often quieter, but they're not so good for covering large areas.

Models tend to be divided into more expensive 'Animal' and cheaper 'Multi Floor' variants. The only real difference is that the Animal version comes with an extra pet tool – so if you're not fussed about accessories, the Multi Floor option is usually the better-value option.

See our Dyson corded vacuum cleaner reviews

Dyson V15 Detect cordless vacuum cleaner

Dyson vs Shark

In recent years, Shark has emerged as Dyson's most serious challenger.

By continuing to produce new corded vacuums, Shark has taken advantage of Dyson's decision to focus on cordless technology. Since 2018, Shark has rapidly increased its share of the corded market and it's become popular with our members.

Its plug-in range contains several innovative features that are missing from Dyson's, such as flexible cleaning tubes, LED headlights and tangle-free technology.

Shark also makes cordless vacuums that are notably cheaper than cordless Dysons. Take a look at our Shark cordless vacuum cleaner reviews to see how they fare in our tests.

Find out more about Shark and how it measures up to Dyson in our Shark vacuum buying guide

Dyson 360 Heurist robot vacuum cleaner

Dyson robot vacuum cleaners

Dyson has launched two robot vacuums to date: the 360 Eye and the upgraded 360 Heurist.

At £800, the 360 Heurist isn't the most expensive robot vacuum we've come across – we've tested models that sell for more than £1,000 – but it costs much more than a regular vacuum.

On the whole, our tests have shown that, while convenient, robot vacs can't yet match their full-size competitors for cleaning power – so you'll still have to whizz round with a regular or handheld vacuum if you want to keep your home spotless.

However, technology is rapidly evolving, and it shouldn't take long for the robots to catch up.

If the idea of a robotic helper appeals to you, check out our robot vacuum cleaner reviews to see which models we recommend.

Fixing vacuum cleaner

Are Dyson vacuum cleaners reliable?

According to our latest Which? member survey, the average corded vacuum cleaner lasts for 20 years, while the average cordless model lasts for 10. To see how Dyson vacuums compare, check out our corded and cordless vacuum brand guides

However, if you fail to take good care of your Dyson, it's unlikely to last as long as that. To help you out, we've put together some advice on looking after your Dyson.

How to empty a Dyson

All Dyson vacuum cleaners are bagless, so you won’t need to change or buy dust bags. Instead, you’ll need to empty the clear dust container once the dirt inside reaches the maximum line. How to empty your Dyson depends on which model you own. For exact advice, see the written instructions that came with your Dyson. But as a general guide: 

  • If you own a corded model, you usually press the catch on top of the carry handle to remove the dust container and then press the catch again to release the dust from the bottom of the container.
  • If you own a cordless model, press the red wand release button and pull the wand away from the dust container and then firmly press the red dust container release button to release the dirt.

Be warned: the dust container empties quickly, so make sure it's tightly wrapped in a bin bag before releasing the dirt, or else a cloud of dust could undo an afternoon of cleaning. 

How to clean a Dyson

Again, this depends on which model you own. But there are three areas that every Dyson owner should pay close attention to:

  • Dust container It's important to regularly empty the dust container. But it's also worth wiping the inside of the container with a damp cloth after you've emptied it – this removes any stubborn deposits that could cause blockages in the future.
  • Filters Most newer models have a single filter at the very top of the vacuum. They should be unscrewed and rinsed with warm water once a month – it's important to let them dry naturally, or they could become ineffective. Dyson recommends leaving them beside a fan or open window for at least 24 hours.
  • Brush bar As anyone who's lived with a long-haired housemate or four-legged friends will confirm, tangled brush bars are a nightmare – they can cause suction power to deteriorate and lead to other mechanical faults. To keep on top of things, you should carefully cut away any hairs and fibres wrapped around the brush bar after each clean.

Why does my Dyson keep cutting out?

There are numerous reasons your Dyson could be cutting out, but not all are cause for concern:

  • Charge If you own a cordless Dyson, it's possible that the battery has simply run out of charge – most cordless vacuums can't run for long on a single charge (especially if you're cleaning on full power), so, like a mobile phone, they may abruptly cut out and need recharging.
  • Filters If the filter needs cleaning, the vacuum may grind to a halt – usually a warning light (or, on newer models, a warning message on the LCD screen) will show if this is the case. Just follow the steps above to get your Dyson working again.
  • Battery If your vacuum is fully charged and it's still cutting out, there could be a fault with the battery. All lithium-ion batteries dwindle over time, but some are more temperamental than others. It's best to contact Dyson if you think the battery is faulty.

It's also possible that your Dyson could be afflicted by a separate mechanical fault. If you suspect this is the case, you should contact Dyson directly.

Why is my Dyson pulsing?

Pulsing may occur for similar reasons to those listed above. It's also possible that your Dyson is pulsing due to a blockage somewhere inside. To check whether this is the case, inspect the vacuum – pay close attention to the dust container, filter and floor head – for signs of a build-up.

If you do find something and are unable to fix it yourself, contact Dyson directly. You may be advised you to book a service, which typically costs £99.

For more advice on caring for a vac, see our guide on how to maintain your vacuum cleaner.