Review: Dyson Cyclone V10 Absolute

Like the smartphone or the television, the cordless stick vacuum is one of those products that has already arrived at something close to its ideal form. Dyson, the leading brand name in household products that suck or blow with vigor, standardized its signature take on the handheld cleaning machine about 10 years ago. Centered around a brushless digital motor connected to a clear canister that can accept various attachments, that same design has prevailed ever since. We've seen only incremental improvements to the blueprint.

The new Dyson V10, announced today, has all of the expected enhancements: a more powerful motor, a more efficient battery, and a larger bin than the preceding V8. (Like Apple with the iPhone and Microsoft with Windows, Dyson's marketing department skipped 9 and jumped straight to 10 for the stick vacs. At least they didn't go with "X.") But the company went a little deeper with its remix this time, tweaking the design in ways that make it measurably better.

Dyson sent me a vacuum to test, and it performs admirably. I can recommend it, but only if you can stomach the price, which ranges from $500 to $700, depending on which model you buy. As with all things Dyson, the V10 breeds sticker shock. But also as with all things Dyson, you get what you pay for, and this thing kicks ass.

Roller Derby

The most noticeable change here is in the shape of the handheld "brain" of the device. The motor, which used to sit perpendicular with the dust bin, has been swung 90 degrees to sit inline with the bin and the suction tube. This design makes for a more efficient motor, but it also redistributes the weight above the handle, so the vacuum is easier to hold. Dyson also swapped the old steel spinning shaft for a stiffer and lighter ceramic one. The new motor can spin at 125,000 rpm, or just over 2,000 times per second.

The battery pack seemingly grows smaller and more powerful with every version of the V-series vacuums. The V10's battery provides an impressive full hour of vacuuming per charge. That's up from 40 minutes in the V8. A row of lights on the battery tells you how much charge is left, and there are lights to tell you if the suction passageway is blocked and whether the filter is working properly. When the filter warning lights up, it's either time to take the filter out and rinse it clean, or you just forgot to put the filter back in. (Which, in my house, happens all the time.)

The bin is 40 percent bigger, at least on the two premium versions of the V10; the cheapest V10 uses the old bin size. There's also a new mechanism inside the bin for pushing debris into the trash. It's a little red lever that you press toward the floor. It scrapes the dust and dirt down from the upper part of the bin where your fingers can't reach.

Finally, a new motor head has been designed for the V10 line. It looks like a standard motor head with a spinning, bristled drum, but it has a red switch in the front. Slide the switch one way and two small gaps in the leading edge of the head open up, letting you suck up larger pieces of junk like bits of cereal, clumps of potting soil, or shattered tortilla chips. Slide it the other way and those gaps close. With the soft rubber foot at the back of the head pressing down against the floor, you get a suction boost from shutting those front vents.

Push Alert

There's very little the V10 can't pick up. In my tests—conducted on polished concrete, burl carpet, and a sealed kitchen floor—the vac was able to sweep up all of the common crumbs and dirt I put down for it. When I used it to clean the WIRED cafeteria after lunch hour, cracks and seams in the floor were spotless after just two passes of the motor head. It even picked up paperclips, pennies, and, on the "Max" setting, a handful of wing nuts.

All of Dyson’s V10 stick vacuums come with the standard attachments like this combination tool.

Beth Holzer for Wired

There are three models to pick from. The entry-level Cyclone V10 Motorhead ($499) has the current-size bin and comes with the bare minimum of attachments, but you get the new motor head with the toggle switch on the front. The Cyclone V10 Animal ($599) is the model pet owners should consider, since, in addition to the new motor head, you get Dyson's small cleaner head with spinning bristles for picking up cat and dog hair off couches, curtains, and upholstered chairs. This is also the first model to come with the new, larger dust bin. The deluxe model, the $699 Cyclone V10 Absolute, comes with all the attachments. You get the new motor head, the spinning brush for pet hair, all the standard tools, plus Dyson's fluffy roller head for hard flooring.

The soft roller head comes with the Absolute model or can be bought separately.

Beth Holzer for Wired

I used that fluffy head on the polished concrete floor, and it did a decent job of vacuuming up crumbs, but it doesn't generate as much power as the more traditional motor head. Dyson tells me this fluffy head doesn't need frequent cleaning, but when I used it on the kitchen's faux-wood floors, it got grody pretty quickly. The fluffy drum pops out for easy washing, but it takes about a day to dry completely.

Rare Change

All of these new V10 vacs can be purchased starting today at They'll show up at Amazon, Best Buy, Target, and Bed Bath & Beyond next week.

The money Dyson charges can really make your face feel hot. I can't ignore that—even $500 is a lot to spend on a vacuum, let alone $700 for the top model—but as a person who has tested and owned several cordless vacuums over the last 10 years, it's my opinion that there really is no match for Dyson's build quality and ease of use. The company also routinely wins customer satisfaction awards from houses like J.D. Power and Associates, and its stick vacuums boast absurdly high ratings on Amazon. So unlike anyone who bought a Juicero, most Dyson vacuum owners consider their purchase to be sound. Hey, at least you can sit on an extraordinarily clean floor while you save up for a couch.

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