/ Home & Energy

Do you really need a Dyson?

Thanks to Kazuhiro Keino on Flickr for the image.

Our research found that if you’re a Which? member and have a bagless vacuum cleaner, there’s a 75% chance it’ll be a Dyson. But my question is – do you really need a Dyson?

Named after the man who invented the bagless cyclonic vacuum cleaner, Dyson vacuums are instantly recognisable and one of the best selling UK vacuums.

Much to the delight of dust vanquishers everywhere, the Blighty based company released its new generation of Dyson vacuum cleaners earlier this year.

These new-to-2012 models boast a range of smart sounding features, including their refined ‘radial root’ cyclone technology which, according to a recent Dyson advert, ‘captures more dirt than any other cyclone’.

Dabbling with Dysons

Dyson’s new cylinder vacuums are the first to benefit from patented ‘ball technology’, making them easier to shift about. Many models now have added floor heads that automatically adjust to suit the type of surface they’re cleaning.

So it may surprise you to learn that of the six 2012 Dysons we’ve tested so far, only one has been given a Which? Best Buy. We currently have 20 vacuums that have made the Best Buy grade and only three of them are Dysons.

So why aren’t they doing better? While we can’t reveal our test results here, we can tell you that ball technology does not seem to have much impact on their manoeuvrability compared to non-ball vacs. And despite Dyson putting the motor inside the ball, it seems that noise still remains an issue.

Additionally, some Dyson vacs have also been known to struggle with pet hair compared to competing models.

You and your Dyson

Considering the number of Dyson vacs we’ve tested, our current conclusion is that they’re good, but most of the time there are better options available. That’s a sobering fact to consider when you’re squaring up to Dyson’s typically premium-sized price tag.

But given how well they sell, it’s fair to say that Dyson is a brand that inspires fierce loyalty (as well as a number of copycat designers) . But do you love your Dyson, or would you consider looking elsewhere?

Are you a fan of Dyson vacuum cleaners?

No - I think Dysons are over-hyped (45%, 447 Votes)

Yes - I think Dysons are the best (30%, 295 Votes)

Maybe - I might be a fan if Dysons were cheaper (25%, 253 Votes)

Total Voters: 1,007

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Reading the comments here I wonder if Dyson have quality control problems? My Dyson is around 10 years old, the only thing I have replaced is a worn out brush bar, some friends who have children or pets with long hair seem to have problems with theirs.
I also use my Dyson in my workshop vacuuming sawdust and shavings, it has also been used when I have been doing building renovation for collecting plaster dust and other general building debris, I have 2 industrial style bagged vacuums, both with 30+ litre bags which always need emptying long before they are full as the dust simply reduces the level of suction to the point where they won’t pick up anything.
I would agree that emptying the canister is best done outside, I wash my foam filter about every 6 months or so.
I would also agree that the original metal bodied Hoover Junior is a hard act to follow.
Since my wife traded it for a new plastic Hoover most before the Dyson only lasted a couple of years (3 upright Hoovers, 1 Hitachi, 2 Panasonic)
I also notice that most of the Best Buys are not exactly cheap either.
I have a Henry, (which I have never seen you review) and with a new bag is very impressive for the price, but with my continual abuse by using it in a more industrial environment as well as my house, the cost of new bags becomes significant

You could well be right about QC peter t and also, even though I’ve never had a Dyson so I can’t speak form experience, I would be very surprised if moving the manufacturing to China had not reduced the quality and reliability.

A friend of mine works at Marks and Spencer. He seems to think that the majority of other clothing retailers don’t actually do ANY QC on their own brand products on the basis that they cost so little to buy in that when an item is faulty it can be replaced or refunded with insignificant effect on profits. I wonder if there is any similarity in ‘white goods’? Certainly the retails price of most ‘white goods’ these days seems to be a work of fiction compared to what the (often shoddy) components will have cost. Might also explain the extended warranties which are so often added (like Dyson’s)?

The Henry hoover is excellent. Many shops have them for their durability and the fact that (on the red one at least) the lead is really really long.

My mum’s Henry is still going strong! Such a great little vacuum, though isn’t so easy to balance on stairs.

BTW as one of our new regulars Mose, why not upload an avatar to make you more recognisable in our community. You can upload a picture here https://conversation.which.co.uk/your-account – if you haven’t registered, you can do so here https://conversation.which.co.uk/register . Look forward to seeing what pic you choose! 🙂

Dyson vacs started off as distinctively different, with bright colours. That combined with effective marketing has encouraged many people to part with a lot of money.

Numatic has converted a commercial vac into a product with widespread appeal simply by giving it a name and a couple of ‘eyes’, followed by some cosmetic changes such as giving the cover round edges.

I’m glad that Henry has a lesser known brother called James. That will ensure that Dyson is unlikely to inflict a Dyson James on us. 🙂

Here’s something that tricks many people into believing bagless are “better”: the dustbin of a bagless vacuum will appear to have picked up more dust and dirt. The vacuum pressure in a bagged vacuum seems to compress-out all the air from the dust and dirt, which makes it appear that the same amount of dust in a bag looks less than that of a bagless.

I vacuum my carpets, rug, doormats and vinyl floors etc. regularly and a dustbag can last me at least 9 months, because I don’t change it until it’s becoming very full and only at that point do I notice the vacuum isn’t picking up the dust quite as well. Then I fit a new bag and the performance is powerful once again. A pack of 4 dustbags off Amazon UK only costs about £12 including the postage, which works-out at just £3 a bag and no dust anywhere. I must say since I’ve owned my bagged vacuum (3 years) that I hardly get as much dust indoors compared to when I used bagless vacuums, so my bagged Bosch is definitely picking up more dust and containing it.

Ava-london says:
9 September 2012

I own a dyson, and have done for many years. The adage that you get want you pay for could not more true. I neglected to register my dyson but after many years of owning one I had to loggon to the website to order a part.

Easy peasey lemon squeasy….. easy to navigate, there was a help line that was open on a Sunday and a helpful acessible person at the other end of the line. My part with me within 1 week and, the life of my dyson extended. Yhay!

The long term view is the one you need to look at. I am in my 40’s and simply cannot be bothered with saving a few quid and being treated like crud. Robert Dyas, dyson products and john lewis… luv em! Value for money is what is important.

Hmmmmm……..Dyson = rubbish by the sounds of most people on here and a few older convo’s found that John Lewis were not up to much either.

What is Ava-london managing to do to get the service and quality that the rest of us don’t?!??!

Ask politely – rather than demand?. So far I have excellent service and quality from the vast majority of my goods – I was always taught to be polite

Hear hear Richard; absolutely agree.

Sadly I have often found that John Lewis staff fail to respond to politeness in the same way as many other shops …… not sure why this may be.

I wonder if Vacuum cleaners respond to politeness? They certainly respond to gentle (respectful) treatment. 🙂

J Hughes says:
14 September 2012

I decided to buy the latest and greatest in vacuum cleaners. The bagless Dyson was reputed to be very good, made more attractive by the fact it needed none of those bags you could never find when you shopped for them.

A web site, , is a site I use to check out products.

They recommended the Panasonic range. Three models required no bags – and the top of the line model had some some of air exhaust filtration system.

One of the challenges in my house is that I work with electronics and have cut bits of component leads, nuts and bolts that fall to the floor and subsequently end up in the vacuum.

I need two things of the vacuum: (1) No damage to the vacuum cleaner from little bits of metal; (2) The ability to poke through the sweepings, with chopsticks, and recover useful nick-knacks that have been sucked up.

Best of all – more than half the price of a Dyson with the nice touches/improvements Japanese industry is known for.

I can’t see me spending all that money on something so.. quite frankly, boring! The difference between using one hoover and another isn’t make or break time for life is it? I think our’s is a Hoover wet n dry darlik type. It’s ok, it hoovers things up enough for me. I think Mr Dyson has done an amazing job though: he’s convinced us that we need to spend £200 on a hoover.

Andrea says:
9 October 2012

I have owned a Miele ‘cat and dog’ for over ten years, it hovers carpets, stairs and hard floors. It works as well as on the first day. I did consider buying a Dyson, but found out that they had dismissed the UK workforce and relocated overseas and I try to buy British if possible as its generally better quality and keeps people in work.

Numatic (‘Henry’ and others) cleaners are made in the UK. Unfortunately I there was not room for one in my cupboard. 🙁

One thing that comes from this thread is that the Which? questionnaire on cleaners and in fact for most electronic products never ask how much you use the appliance. I hoover perhaps once a week my mother-in-law does it daily so our experience of hoovering and the use of the machine is different. I have a ball Dyson and the filters need washing every 6 months they say.

I also have a 20 year old Miele which has occasional use and two “garage” machines experience but is Which? interested? I do have severe reservations about the quality of the Which? reports.

Some years ago the survey asked me if my cam-corder had broken down in the previous 12 months which I could easily answer NO. The fact I had not used it in the previous 12 months appeared to be an irrelevant question. Until Which? surveys ask about usage I am afraid they are fatally flawed.

Obviously there will be considerable differences in how appliances are used but differences are likely to average out if the sample size is reasonable. Hopefully, most people will have the sense not to provide information about rarely used vacuum cleaners or other domestic appliances in surveys.

You have read the thread and seen how many people have different cleaners on each floor and you only get to report on one ……

The questionnaires need to be better designed. Your assumption that people might not think not to report rarely used items needs to be made an explicit request. The questions go something like do you own a camcorder. YES. What make. Sony. Have you had any problems in the last 12 months NO.

There are no options for saying I have not used it. I could lie and say I have no camcorder but why would I do that? Why should anyone not want to say what sort it is. Afteralll Which? might be after brand penetration and ownership numbers aswell as reliability.

In any event how rarely an item is used is surely a personal definition and varies from item to item and Which? perhaps needs to give guidance with each questionnaire.

As for sample size from what I have read in the surveys some makes our only represented in tens to hundreds so a single response on brand reliability would be a significant %

Why not suggest to Which? staff that questionnaires should ask “how often have you used the equipment”?

Funnily enough I did write on the questionnaire – it was paper in those days – and never had a response and no change.

Amanda says:
28 January 2013

I am 44 been looking after rescue pets since a teenager..my mum had a kirby which was good..since getting my own property I have had meile vax henrys for pet hair and a dyson.. now bearing in mind I have 2 cats a long haired one and a short haired one..now the only hoover to cope and do a good job is my dyson..ive had it 9 years I think and it was a reconditioned one then..no complaints here and will buy a dyson again.also I believe ive done real well out of the 6 month guarantee the man provided..so im happy

Veliko says:
1 April 2013

3 years ago I bought a Dyson DC23, and it died the other day. Dyson service said my guarantee is not valid since I bought it off ebay. So I disassembled it, and found that the fan nut on the motor loosened, and caused the motor to block, and the carbon brushes burned as a result. I’m pretty disappointed by the build quality, given the price tag. I was a fan up till now, but I’ll pick more carefully the next time I buy a vacuum cleaner.

Apart from that, here are the things I don’t like about the DC23
1. The air exhaust is on the side, and bows all floor dust around when you clean. All the dust becomes airborne when you clean. You must be very careful what direction it blows when you clean. It would have been much better if it blows up. I cannot believe that there are vacuum cleaners with such a fundamental flaw!
2. It is not balanced well, and is not easy to move around by just pulling the hose. Often the front part (where the hose is attached) will lift, but not move forward. A much better solution is if all wheels were rotating (like the front wheel). This way you can easy move it sideways if you like.
3. It is very noisy. We use a replacement Samsung now, and it is much quieter. I can even clean now, while my kids sleep in the next room. Not so with the Dyson.

Veliko – You are right that the air outlet of a vacuum cleaner should be upwards to avoid blowing dust around the room. My Miele ‘cylinder’ is ideal. Dyson uses HEPA filters on some models but removing every trace of dust from the exhaust will not help if dust is blown round the room. Hopefully other Dyson cleaners do not do this.

The fact that you bought your cleaner on eBay suggests it might have been second-hand. If so, it is unlikely that the warranty was transferrable.

Veliko says:
2 April 2013

It was not second hand. It was brand new, unsealed. It is not hard to tell if a vacuum cleaner was never used. The problem with the warranty is that Dyson require the original proof of purchase so your warranty can be valid. Unfortunately the ebay seller (spares-2-go) did not keep the original invoice (the one they received when they bought the machine), so I was out of luck. I don’t blame them, after all it was 3 years since I purchased the machine. But they are in this business (they sell a lot of other machines), and should know such details about the warranty and how to qualify for a warranty.

Anyway, I’ll know from now on to contact the manufacturer first, and ask them the terms of the warranty. That is when buying again from Ebay of course.

Yes, Miele canisters blow the air up. They also have all wheels rotating, so it’s easier to move them sideways if you need to just move it a little bit. I’m done with vacuum cleaners anyway. My next one will be a central vacuum cleaner. Much better in my opinion than any stand alone vacuum cleaner.

Btw, I tried to repair the motor by changing the carbon brushes, but no luck. The motor begun to smoke after couple of seconds. Apparently the copper wires inside melted during the initial blockage. I’ll order a new motor tomorrow 🙁 I’m so frustrated that such expensive machine could burn by such a dumb accident – loosened fan securing nut. Dyson need to tighten they quality assurance.

A stalled motor will take a considerable over-current, which may burn out a motor before the fuse blows. You have been unlucky here as well as with the warranty. It is disappointing that Dyson did not use an inexpensive locking nut or washer, which would have almost certainly have avoided the problem. It’s good to hear that there are some people prepared to tackle jobs such as renewing brushes and replacing motors.

Your cleaner is likely to be fitted with a 13 amp fuse. A 5 or 7 amp fuse might just have saved your motor. Appliance manufacturers and electricians rarely use anything other than 3 and 13 amp fuses, but ratings of 1, 2, 5, 7 and 10 amp BS 1362 fuses are also available for UK plugs, from specialist suppliers.

dave says:
25 May 2013

the dyson vac is all style! performance compared to a normal bagless is rubish. This nonesense about not cloging up is just that! rubish All Dysons have filters which clog and need replacing or cleaning. As soon as the filter clogs the performance drops drasticly. The best vac is still the good old bag vac! the bag hold the dirt and acts as a very cheap filter. so every time you change the bag your also changing the filter. Dyson is all about hype and marketing.

His so called bladeless fan is also a lie! it has blades just hiding in the base! also its not original! it was first invented by a Japenees company 30 years ago!!

He was also misleading every one with his air blade hand driyer that to was first invented by a japanees company he just copied it!

I have found the Henry the most manouvrable vacuum cleaner and the Miele cylinder the best performuig one. I have never owned a Dyson as I think they are overpriced and difficult to manouvre. I have used my siter-in-laws Dyson and was not impressed with it but she loves it. My sister bought a Which? best buy upright Panasonic several years ago and although it is a good cleaner it is too heavy for her to use and it just sits in the cupboard and she uses good old Henry instead.

James Dyson is such a British success story, it’s a shame his product does not live up to all the hype. Perhaps he should start marketing his ball-barrow instead.

Martin says:
7 August 2013

We bought a Dyson DC4 wayback and apart from being rewired a couple of times because the wire used to break at the switch it was totally reliable and did the job very efficiently. When it packed up the last time we decided to buy another Dyson, the DC33, and frankly its a load of rubbish. Far too many bits and pieces clipped in around it, the cleaning head digs in to the carpet pile for no good reason and on an efficiency scale of 1-10 it rates around 3.

Simplicity is the answer Dyson, simplicity, the clue is in the word. The DC4 could be dismantled and washed out from time to time, the filters were easy and all the tools were easy to use and the machine was quite robust. And who designed that combined nozzle and soppy brush, obviously someone who really hasn’t a clue about household cleaning that’s for sure.

On this basis I don’t think the DC33 has much of a lifespan and the question is would we buy another? I doubt it because the Henry is a better unit.

Rita S says:
13 October 2014

I was amazed reading through the negative comments on here I inherited my mums Dyson DC07 in 2005 but I originally bought it for her in 2002 and had been using it to clean her flat on a regular basis for three years since then I have been using it at my home.

It’s now 2014 the DC07 is still going strong and apart from the red catcher strips on the stair tool coming off, replacing a filter and having to change the belt a few times, I haven’t had to replace anything.

I am a soft scultpture artist so I work with fur fabrics, fillers and wool fibres, have waist length hair and a cat that sheds fur everywhere all of which often spell disaster for vacuums but the Dyson has easily coped with all of that. I use the it every other day to clean the cats room and his bedding, my workroom, our bedroom, the bathroom, the stairs and hall, then I empty it, give it a shake and put it away. Once in a while I give it a more thorough clean and brush down but that is it.

We also have a Kirby that hubby still uses to clean the living room, the down stairs hall and the kitchen but it’s really heavy and I can’t lift that any more so the Dyson being much lighter has been a godsend.

Ok perhaps it doesn’t quite have the concentrated beating power of the Kirby but the Dyson still picks up everything we throw at it and does a decent job around the house, far better than the countless vacuums we went through before getting either of these which isnt bad when you consider the Dyson was only £159 while the Kirby cost us over a £1000 and costs far more to repair especially given we have had to replace more of the Kirby parts over the years as it’s frightening how much they cost – they wanted £149 to replace a 50p bearing the last time they came to service the Kirby!

Even up against the Kirby my Dyson does a grand job, how many other vacuums can say that so as I said at the outset I really cannot understand the negativity about these cleaners as my one has been brilliant.

The problem with Dyson is that the company have tried to enforce their law and no one else. Dyson and “court action” seems to pop up time and time again when searched on Google. One would think that it isn’t enough to be the number one brand, let alone marketing skills that push rival brands out but also to highly price products that aren’t as well built as either SEBO or Miele

Oh yes James Dyson takes a hammer to a SEBO bin door and it shatters. He compares like for like in his book, but convieniently forget to say that the time, the SEBO he broke has a lifetime drive belt against the uprights he had produced then that required replacement rubber belts.

Sadly for Dyson (I had 3 and never again) I am a bagged fan. 18 years going with parents’ SEBO X1 Automatic upright. Which themselves rated it number 1 and always had a “best buy” though Im surprised Which don’t realise that the X4 and X1.1 are just the same machine with cosmetic differences. Even back in the 1990s SEBO were producing low watt motors in their uprights – they’re very ahead of their time as well as quiet and get under low beds without a “round” bagless bin to get in the way.

I recommended an X4 to my mum’s best friend who is also a crafter and seamstress. The entire roller brush bar pops out by a button to clean off the entire unit. No screwdrivers needed plus a dust bag can last up to 5 months dependent on usage. SEBO are cost effective too – a lot more bags than the statistical “4” that Miele sell.

But it isn’t just that! The reliability of just going on and on without anything breaking off it is just amazing. I also have a SEBO Felix that I bought for myself when my parents were still alive and were using their X1. The X1 is still going though it is very easy to fix if anything gets clogged. What’s more – it’s the only upright brand I fully trust that can vacuum up stones, bolts, coins and tough dirt that you wouldn’t dream of expecting a Dyson to pick up. The difference is SEBO’s commercial quality. I have recommended the brand to a few buyers and they seem to be very happy. It just does what it says on the label – and without the need to wincing about high noise and poor plastics.

Brian 65+ says:
11 November 2014

I have tried them all. Despite the hype, Dyson have proved least satisfactory. Miele cylinder is very good but using it is like a workout. Even on the minimum suction it is so effective, it takes effort to move the head. We now use a Sebo upright based on the Which recommendation. It is ideal for a plug in vacuum cleaner and has proved durable. We have a GTech too. Cordless is ideal and gets used more often than anything else. Again, despite the hype, the GTech has flaws. The roller gets bound in hairs and needs cleaning after every use. A chore. A penalty of living with two women with long hair. The filter housing is flawed and will not stay together but, when complaining again, they seemed to have made the filters a fraction shallower and the housing now works. I see they have introduced a K9 version which claims it is good for pet household. That is a smart marketing way of saying that the other model is no good at that!

Peter Watts says:
19 April 2015

I have given up on Dyson’s lamentable build quality, and bought a Sebo: highly recommended. But it’s not just me – When I visited our local recycling centre to drop off an old TV, the skip for vacuum cleaners adjoined the container for TVs. It was full of Dysons, with only one exception!

Hi bought a new Dyson Cinetic Ball, top of the range dyson, we are fortunate to live in a large house so we needed something good, or so we thought, the dyson leaves tram lines in the carpet, dyson say its not a fault just a characteristic………absolute crap, they obviously didn’t test it on a half decent carpet.
The lines it leaves behind would be good for the kids to play with small cars or even use it as a makeshift railway line.
Not for me i’m affraid, give me a DC03 any day of the week.
Not Recommended at all, although great suction, but hate the ball.
Hope this helps someone

inthezero says:
29 March 2016

I’ve used a few of these massively overated things that are styled and sound like a kids plastic mock-up of a Russian Rocket and was not impressed at all except by the clever B.S. marketing that seems to be able to convince people to part with a fair wodge of cash for a brittle chunky dustbucket.

This comment was removed at the request of the user

Tim says:
27 April 2016

I owned a Dyson in the 90s and due to its plastic construction a piece broke rendering the cleaner useless.I bought a hand held Dyson cleaner last year but have found a tremendous problem getting hair from the inner roller.Also the charge only lasts about 10 minutes at best.Not impressed with the Dyson brand.

My super reliable DCO4 has just started to produce a burning smell, so sadly I will have to replace it. Having read all of the above, I am in a quandary. The new one will have to cope with 18 carpeted stairs , multi surfaces , long hair and I like to change the tools frequently. The Miele sounded good, but comments seem to imply that using it is quite energetic and changing tools, stressful. The Dyson has normally been emptied once a week, and the filter washed out about 3 times a year.
Difficult decision, as the new Dysons don’t sound as reliable.