I confess to an unhealthy interest in vacuum cleaners. Like the man in the supermarket whose hunger is not assuaged however many goodies he stuffs in the basket, I buy vacuum cleaners in the vain hope that they will do the work for me. I fall for it every time and I am particularly drawn to the products of Sir James Dyson. What a collection of his creations I possess: A rather elderly upright cleaner that rolls around on a huge football and is nifty despite its size; a portable City vacuum that is heavier than it looks, plus two defunct models sitting in the garage. Sir James would have still been plain old Mister without my custom.
All these cleaners, ancient and modern, have one disadvantage in common: The power cable.
Vacuum cleaners suck. Contrary to popular understanding of the term, this is a good thing when applied to hoovers. Sadly they all soon cease to suck efficiently, despite regular attention to inaccessible filters and widgets. And, in face of my best intentions when standing at the till in Currys, they fail because they are too heavy to carry around and are lumbered with that awkward and knotty mains cable.
My ideal has always been something light and battery powered to cut out the cable; something that would actually encourage me to get down to the business of cleaning. Unfortunately up to now this has been a pipe dream. Battery powered cleaners have never sucked well and could never do as good a job as the mains versions. Battery and motor technology has come on a pace or two in recent years so it is time to convert cord-free porn into reality. I have acquired the latest Dyson DC59 Animal. The Animal bit refers to its ability to pick up pet hairs. I don’t have a pet but I reckon if it can cope with shaggy moultings it can vanquish the worst my carpets have to offer.
26 minutes of fun
The DC59 ticks all the boxes. It is light and hardly bigger than Dan Dare’s ray gun; it doesn’t have a power cord so it is easy to carry around the house. And it sucks like crazy. Vacuum nirvana no less.
Inside is an insane little motor that out-sucks the competition and then some. There is even a Max Boost setting which should be used with care. Lock away your dentures, all ye who press that button.
It comes with two powered floor tools, wide for the main runway plus narrow for dodgy corners, and a brush/nozzle for close-encounter decrumbing and, even, dusting. Both the floor tools incorporate crafty motorised brushes to sweep up dirt and whiskers. This thing is a beast and out-performs my elderly football Dyson upright, so good is it. Where’s the snag?
Despite the hefty battery, the device runs for only 26 minutes (or a mere six minutes on boost) before it has to be returned to its power dock. Twenty-six minutes? What use is that?
Surprisingly, it is a lot of use. Trundling an upright cleaner around the average house can take an hour, but actual sucking time is much less. The rest of the time is spent humping and struggling, unwinding and rewinding that long and sinuous cable and trying to decide which power socket will allow you to cover the whole room.
With the DC59 I am now dancing around the premises, sucking only as required, and finish well within the battery life. I can envisage taking this thing for a drive for the sheer fun of it. Really. It is just so satisfying to find something that, in addition to looking too good to be true, actually is true.
This new a Dyson is the answer for most apartments and smaller houses. It is so petite and light that anyone can manage it. I am sure it will be a hit with older people. It is even easy to maintain. The (admittedly small) dust can is emptied one handedly by simply pulling down a red sleeve. It needs emptying frequently for maximum efficiency. And the dinky little filter just pulls out of the top and presents itself for occasional washing. Even the biggest technophobe will have no problems here.
I like to think that because of the ease of maintenance, the way it offers itself for emptying and painless filter cleaning, this is going to be one device that will keep on sucking.
There is only one problem: It costs £350. This is serious money for a vacuum cleaner, especially for a tiny portable, however talented. James didn’t get that knighthood for nothing. At least it is heartening to know that this week Dyson unveiled an even more expensive model, the Cinetic. While not as light and convenient as the DC59, the new upright does cost a satisfyingly hefty £460 which puts my outlay into perspective. As a result, I don’t feel quite as much the sucker.
Further thoughts after a month of use
The Dyson DC59 has grown on me during the first month of use. I am now convinced that it is a complete replacement for an upright cleaner and much better than cylinder vacuums that simply suck and have no powered brushes. It is thanks to the powered brushes in both floor tools (large and small) that the DC59 performs so well. The brushes really do clean the carpet and the floor tool leaves a strip of clean, perky carpet just like a powerful upright.
Above all I see no further use for a vacuum cleaner powered by a mains cable. This freedom from a cable is the essence of the new Dyson. It is so easy to pull out and use that house cleaning actually becomes fun. It can run around a 200-square-meter house full of carpets on one battery charge and I have not once run out of power during a cleaning session. I would estimate that not having to untangle cables and plugging and unplugging can actually save at least 30 percent on cleaning times.
As a tool for dusting it also excels because of its light weight and utter convenience.