/ 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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I can honestly say “I do not own a Dyson”. Although with all the calls I get offering a discount on servicing my Dyson, you’d think I did. That fact alone will ensure I’ll never buy one, just so I can avoid being party to that scam. So there are disadvantages to owning the most popular brand of vacuum.

How odd – I’ve had several Dysons over the years but have never had a call offering service, with or without a discount.

Nope: never owned one and never will.

When the first Dyson uprights came out I knew 3 people who bought them and had them catch fire; that would have put me off even if I’d wanted one, but to be honest, my grandparents’ 1957 Hoover Junior, which uses a fraction of the electricity of the Dyson, and has a fully automatically adjusting carpet thickness / head height arrangement, has several times outperformed Dyson cleaners (and also Kirby cleaners – much to the humiliation of the Kirby salesmen!), so why on earth would I want to change?

My Hoover has coped with pet hair all it’s life, has picked up things it never should have after building and pluming works, including nails, screws, small pieces of wood chippings, plaster dust and odd bits of gravel (all by accident – I’d never deliberately try to Hoover them up) and has never yet broken down. I can still buy belts, bags and brushes in local shops and supermarkets and when I take the paper bag out I simply fold the top over and pop it in the bin – which doesn’t upset my hay fever – unlike bagless cleaners where you have to tip the waste out of the container, and if there is any breeze it blows all over at you – making me sneeze for days. Oh, and it’s very quiet and extremely lightweight too.

I’m sure James Dyson has tried his very best and I know his products appeal to many people, but I’m afraid I can’t see the attraction at all.

If I’m ever forced to buy a new cleaner it’ll be a Sebo, but it seems that mine is fairly indestructible so far.

James Dyson’s balls (pardon the expression) were better off on his BallBarrows, of which I have two, both in the family since he first marketed them, and both providing sterling service on the allotment and in the garden. Now they really WERE a fantastic invention!

I, too, know of people who have had vacuum cleaners for years, would never change them and good luck to them. I have had numerous vacuum cleaners over the years and they have never lasted very long. However, I now own a Dyson, I would NEVER change to a cleaner which needed a bag and I cannot understand the comment that the dust flies everywhere when bagless cleaners are emptied. I put the cylinder in a plastic bag before I release the dust – simple!

As for a Dyson not coping particularly well with pet hair. Why would I care as I have never owned a pet.

The one I own at present has brilliant suction, is easy to manoeuvre around furniture, is light weight and I can see when the cylinder needs emptying, it has never needed repair or maintenance and I do not need to spend money buying bags or filters. Sorry – I am a convert.

Don’t the modern Dyson’s need filters?

I have no “hands on” experience of anything after the DC02, but two friends of mine with more recent models (I don’t know which though) say their biggest gripe with them is that they do need filters, that the filters need changing almost as often as they have to empty the canister and that the filters cost an arm and a leg to buy. One of these friends says she washes the filters but the other lady says that the Dyson service engineer told her that anything other than replacing the filters would invalidate the warranty.

Since E Barber says no need to spend money on Filters I’m now wondering if the latest Dyson’s have got round this expensive situation.

E Barber

The only vacuums I’ve owned that have ever gone wrong are two Black & Decker “Dustbusters” – The reason for buying the Dyson DC35 in the first place was to replace the useless dustbuster. Every other vacuum I’ve bought since 1960 is still working.- never needed a new cable (what are people doing to damage the cables?) never needed new motors (never overworked them – an advantage of having a vacuum on each floor)

The DC35 is brilliant at cleaning my Venetian blinds (I have 12 to 14 ft ceilings and high windows- open book cases to the ceiling so it is good for those too.) no other vacuum is as good. But equally brilliant for removing dust from furniture – the car – edges – the stairs. Excellent range of accessories. Lightweight and easy to manoeuvre as no cable. I wouldn’t be without it.

All my vacuums are good at removing pet fur – I can have up to nineteen dogs at one time (I foster pet dogs for those normally poor and vulnerable who go into hospital and can’t afford the kennel fees – been doing it for years) So pet fur could be an issue. But my floors in general are laminated wood – the fur is removed from furniture easily.

As for bags – I’ve found that I can use them at least twice – too many people try to use their vacuums with the bags too full – putting far too much stress on the motors – maybe a reason for poor service life.

Never used the non portable Dyson so will not give an opinion on them – particularly as all my existing vacuums are still working well – with or without filters – with or without bags. The reason I was never attracted to the Miele is it is too expensive and had limited use for me.

So as a pet owner I am a firm convert to the portable Dyson.

If you do not listen to Which, you deserve to buy a Black & Decker, I have found that they are not very good.

Harvey says:
6 September 2012

We bought a Dyson upright and whilst it did pick up well, it was very heavy and not easy to use. After a couple of years the flexible hose cracked making the cleaner useless. We replaced it with a Miele cylinder, a much better machine in every way.

Rupert Mitchell says:
10 June 2018

I find the Dyson upright both clumsy to use and extremely troublesome when it comes to cleaning the filters and the actual cleaning brush head easily blocks up. I much prefer my Miele and would never go for a Dyson again.

When I first saw Dyson cleaners in shops I decided that they looked rather fragile for domestic use and that was confirmed by friends’ experiences and what I read in various places. Which? was not impressed by the reliability of the brand and (from memory) did not give any Dyson ‘Best Buy’ status until the company provided an extended warranty.

I must highly commend Dyson for providing a 5 year warranty, though I have not studied the terms & conditions. Extended warranties are the only sensible way forward in view of the difficulty of making a claim under the Sale of Goods Act.

As an asthmatic who is allergic to dust, I want mine trapped in a decent quality bag and not have to hold my breath to empty a Dyson cyclonic wonder. I will stick with my Miele cleaner which works fine after ten years and did not come with any hype other than a recommendation from Which?

Valerie says:
6 September 2012

I owned a Dyson vacuum cleaner once; I will never buy a Dyson device again. It was too deep to get under furniture; I had to undo the entire cable before being able to use the extension attachment; when winding up the cable, unless you wound it anti-clockwise (so it helped if you were left-handed), the plug was left dangling with nowhere to tuck it in; I seem to recall that the switch was in a silly place too. In addition, the machine clogged up very easily and was extremely fiddly to clear. There were so many instances of things being ill-thought out.

The Which? reports do not cover such issues of usability and I wish they would.

It died within two years of purchase, the shortest life by far of any of my vacuum cleaners; I’ve had the replacement Panasonic for years. I was very disappointed: I liked the idea of the eccentric inventor making good.

It does seem as if all modern cleaners, whatever make, with the exception of Sebo, are very heavy and very bulky (and often very silly shapes). One of the reasons I like my grandma’s old Hoover is that it is so light and so streamlined – it glides under almost all furniture effortlessly and can be used to clean the stairs in ‘proper’ (upright) mode (and indeed was designed to do so and the book shows exactly how to hold it to do so). All the modern ones I see in the shops are such silly shapes and sizes that they’d never go under the furniture and I seem to think that most stop the brushes from rotating and / or lift the brushes off the floor when the handle is fully upright, so no good at all for cleaning the stairs except with the hose – thus suction only, thus not as deep a clean.

Reading reader review’s on Which? vacuum test reports it seems that weight and poor manoeuvrability are major issues with most modern cleaners, and especially so for older or less able users. In this day and age of equality and accessibility you’d think that there would be a push for manufacturers to go for light, streamlined and manoeuvrable, rather than heavy, bulky and awkward.

In chicken and egg style, I wonder if Dyson made the silly shapes first and everyone else followed or whether other manufacturers made silly shapes and Dyson just decided to beat them at their own game?

Dyson remains a must-have domestic brand it seems. We recently did some de-cluttering and put some unwanted furniture and appliances into the local auction house. Amazingly, the Dyson vacuum cleaner sold for over £120; it was over six years old and although I had stripped it down, cleaned it up and presented it well for sale with accessories, manual etc, it certainly looked well-used. Our biggest objection to the Dyson was the dreadful noise made by the motor, and it did grind its teeth a bit as it digested dust.

Maybe it was wanted for use in a period play. I cannot think of any other reason why someone should pay that amount for a secondhand vacuum, particularly one that many condemned as unreliable at the time.

Well done, but to really clean up at an auction, an iconic but useless Sinclair C5 would have been better. 🙂

I own a Dyson hand held vac for quick clean ups and also car interiors I find it excellent and very reliable I also own a Miele mains power vac for general cleaning that also is excellent except like all such vacs it has yards of cable trailing behind it. My issue is it is now 2012 and the boffins at all these companies have not yet devised a battery driven vac with the power and versatility of a mains driven vac.I know there are one or two on the market that have made considerable progress in that direction.But they are still not a replacement for the mains powered vac. When such vac arrives on the market and does not cost the same as a small car.I for one would probably be interested.Pending a Which? test of course.

The main problem is the amount of power used by vacuum cleaners. That is not a huge problem with mains-powered vacs but an effective portable with a large battery pack would be heavy and /or expensive and still have a short running time.

I use two separate vacuum cleaners in my house – a Numatic Henry vacuum cleaner for the floorboards downstairs, and a Vax Mach Air upright bagless vacuum for the carpets upstairs.

The combined cost of these vacuums is almost half the cost of one upright Dyson, and I certainly wouldn’t swap them! Both my vacuums had numerous, positive customer reviews and with such a low price tag, I couldn’t resist. They’re both sturdy, easy to use and affordable. Dysons look great and I came very close to buying one, but on reflection, I feel like they may be a little over-priced.

In view of the high prices, perhaps a new strapline could be “Dyson takes you to the cleaners”.

There is something to be said for having more than one vacuum cleaner for different purposes in a large house (I don’t have either but have have family that do). One of the early multi-coloured Dysons would not look out of place in the nursery, though it might do elsewhere.

I like it takes you to the cleaners, I just think there bonkers priced

LOL! I like Wavechange’s suggestion but I have to tell you that in Sheffield there is already an infamous Vacuum Cleaner Shop, which is known over most of Derbyshire and South Yorkshire for it’s strapline “XXXX for cleaners” which is universally changed by everyone who has ever tried them to “XXXX take you to the cleaners”, so I’m afraid that one’s already taken.


Dyson vacuums are nothing but glossy marketing – their performance drops after the filters clog – very quickly. Emptying the dust bin releases a cloud of dust everywhere (no matter how careful you are, you can’t see it!) – no good if you have allergies! Dysons and other bagless vacs clog up inside with dust and the filters need regular washing and drying just to make the cleaner work reasonably well.

I’ve used and owned Dysons and I can only say they are flimsy, awkward and cumbersome to use, poor build quality and nothing but heavily marked over-priced rubbish.

My Mum was pleased the day she got her Miele (bagged) cylinder vacuum and got rid of her previous bagless vacuum. Bagless vacuums, including Dysons, cannot perform anywhere near as well as bagged vacuums. I will *never* swap my bagged Bosch cleaner and when in years to come it dies, I will buy another bagged vacuum that’s a “Which? Best Buy”.

I would advise anyone to definitely consider a Miele cylinder vacuum and not to waste your money on a Dyson vacuum or any other bagless vacuum. I have heard that the upright (not cylinder) Miele vacuums are heavy, but apparently they perform much better than other uprights. If you have asthma, you would *definitely* be better off with a *bagged* “Which Best Buy” vacuum, which scores top marks for allergy filtration.

Finally, I don’t care about buying bags. They last a long time if you allow them to fill up before replacing, because the performance doesn’t drop very much until the bag is getting really full. I’d rather pay for a pack of dustbags, than own a poor-performing bagless vac, which needs its filters washed every other week! With bagged vacuums, you replace the filters about once a year – in fact, I replace them about once every 3 years.

We have Coca Cola, Windows, Big Macs and Dyson vacuum cleaners. I would not thank you for any of them (though the Coca Cola might be useful to remove limescale from the toilet) but you have got to be impressed by the market share the companies have achieved.

You are absolutely right about loss of suction due to blockage of filters in Dyson and other bagless cleaners. I believe they are allowed to continue to market ‘no loss of suction’ because there is a significant benefit over bagged cleaners.

I have a Dyson portable – works well – had all the extra accessories I needed in one package (particularly for Venetian blinds). It is light and effective. Battery power is limited – but does the job.and is quiet.

I have four other vacuums – one for each floor – and a high capacity “industrial” one for building work – All but the Dyson are old – The Goblin cylindrical one dates back to the 1960s

All vacuums lose their suction if what they use as filters are clogged – some use the paper bag – I have two which use cloth bags which clog slightly and require washing occasionally.- but all work well.

I don’t know whether Dyson cleaners are good for asthmatics who are allergic to dust.

It’s not just the effectiveness of a vacuum cleaner filter that is important, but the direction of flow and speed of the exhaust air, since this disturbs dust in the room. My Miele is good because the exhaust is through a large slot facing upwards rather than across the carpet. It does not have a HEPA filter but the one provided is very effective.

This is a good point, Wavechange, which I had never thought of before at all, and it probably accounts for the fact that when I use my semi-industrial “Aqua vac” type cleaner, which has triple filtration in the exhaust, in the workshop (with it’s very tiny exhaust nozzle which blows a strong jet of air out) I often end up sneezing for ages but when I use my Grandma’s old Hoover, which has just the two-layer paper bag inside a cloth outer bag, I never have any problems at all. It’s possibly down to the fact that the paper bag inside a cloth bag diffuses the exhaust air into imperceptible draughts all around the whole bag, rather than a concentrated stream.

Made me think that one has – cheers!

Dust mites are a common and well known allergen but many are allergic to common moulds such as Aspergillus fumigatus and Cladosporium herbarum which are very common in the environment and found in dust. House dust does not affect me much but that in sheds and garages is a much bigger problem. I assume that this is because they are not heated and hence damper, so the dust contains more mould. If your workshop is unheated, that could be a factor.

Due to my dust allergy, vacuum cleaners are one domestic appliance that I have not much experience of dismantling, though I have helped others extricate motors and replace flexes. A really obscure allergen is carbon dust in the exhaust from motor brushes. Any grit that bypasses the bag acts as an abrasive when it passes through the motor to provide cooling. My Miele cleaner has a motor protection filter to pick up grit. I know I’m affected by high speed lab centrifuges that wear brushes fast because they run at up to 20,000 rpm.

Best of luck with the research. I have had lots of skin tests for allergies but doing my own investigations has helped a lot more.

Brian says:
7 September 2012

Just buy one Miele or six Dysons. The choice is yours. I admire Mr Dyson – he certainly can sell!, but I think his ‘hoovers’ are total crap.

Brian Hastings says:
7 September 2012

We have had several Dysons, and succumbed to the initial fun of seeing what you suck up, unique at the time. They have been adequate but not excellent. We have converted to Miele thanks to Which and our experience of their home laundry appliances. They have been superb although I have not been sold on the cylinder design, my wife loves it. i know Miele make uprights too but have not tried them. We are unlikely to return to Dyson for the main cleaner

The one Dyson that excels is the one now called the “stick”, the DC35. It really is great for quick pick ups and tidying. Its power flags quickly but as long as you do not think it is a substitute for an conventional vacuum, without any effor tit does the job like no other. no bending down , cordless, and docks in its charging station. Like all Dysons though, it is not cheap, but we would miss it if we did not have one.

Angus Shapland says:
7 September 2012

No better in action than my old Hoover (with a headlight!) pain to empty and dreadful build quality – never again!

Isabella Denholm says:
7 September 2012

When I considered buying a new vacuum cleaner, I went to our local repair shop and asked, which makes come in most often — the answer was: Dysons.
Hence I bought a Miele (not a single one had been repaired in this shop for 5 years!) = happy housewife!
One of my friends is in the ‘Dyson club’ and uses her 20 yr old cleaner when her ‘pride and joy Dyson’ is out of action. — Still, she is in the’ Dyson club’, and I am not!

A Dyson club? I suppose this is inevitable given the number of enthusiasts. I suppose it is appropriate that Dyson went on to make fans for the fans. 🙂

I think more people should do what you did isabella: when I bought a washer a few years ago I used all manner of on line reviews and Which? test reports to help me to choose, and also went to innumerable shops to see the machines on offer, but when I found it was a disaster I contacted a local reconditioned washer shop to see if they had a better, older, machine and if they wanted the bad one for repair and resale and instantly found that the brand I’d bought was one that they refused to touch in any way as they had had so much trouble with them.

It hadn’t occurred to me before that to try asking repairers views on a new product, but if I ever need to buy a new major appliance again I’ll certainly be doing what you did before I start looking at reviews and Which? reports.

I wonder why Which? don’t do the same and use the info to help to balance their reliability statistics? Any ideas Which? peeps?

Alice says:
7 April 2013

I guess it depends on the price of the products. If they are really cheap the repairmen will never see them because if they fail the owners would rather throw them out than repairing them. This repairman method is useful if you are comparing two similarly priced products but no more.

Swindon Fred says:
7 September 2012

Is it right that you can still compare a vacuum cleaners in your best buy from 2008 to 2012?
is are these machine still availabe without changes so the comparisons of ‘%’ earned from the tests are valid?

We have a few vacuum cleaners in our main house and our holiday property including Dysons ands VAxs and find each one does something well, and other thing less well. The dysons are all very average, often not well made, heavier than they need to be and certainly over priced and over hyped. Mr Dyson (on his advert) says he thinks things hould be designed properly, but I have yet to buy one of his products which is designed very well. They have all broken and while often not difficult to fix, do not strike me as well designed with some obvious weak points in the mechinical design.

hdm2310 says:
7 September 2012

I have owned 2 Dysons. The first i bought about 15 years ago which was the original upright design (mostly grey with some parts yellow) and i was impressed with it at the time.

About 5 years ago I “upgraded” to the latest upright model (blue and grey) which had more mouldings above the dust collector suggesting an improvement in design.

This is the last Dyson product i will buy.

I have no way of measuring its performance compared to my old one, although i din’t notice any improvement at the time i bought it, but i have since noticed that the quality of the materials used (various plastics) is much inferior. This may result from their moving productiion from UK to China, but from the beginning varoius parts of the cleaner have broken off. The corrugated hose (at the back of the handle) has been replaced twice and does not connect correctly to the socket in which it is supposed to be secured . Enough on this subject except to say “No More DYSON products in my house”.

New Dysons are guaranteed for 5 years, which is probably better than most makes. It has been more than a year for quite a while.

My impression was that the older models were more fragile but I have not bought one.

Whilst I’m not fan (pardon the pun) of Dyson cleaners (see my earlier contributions) I have to say that I am very surprised (impressed but still surprised) at how many people have tried them and found them poor.

Until now I had always had the distinct feeling that I was in a very tiny and isolated minority in never having owned, and always disliking, these machines.

I’m pleased to see how many Miele users there are who are happy – Miele’s “Immer besser” strapline and their promise that they still operate on a policy of building an excellent appliance and then costing it, rather than the other way round, which is exactly what Hoover used to do before they were sold out to Candy, is very much in keeping with my idea of how manufacturers should operate, so I’m pleased that it’s working.

I’m also surprised that there are no Sebo owners raving about how excellent their cleaners are – I’d have thought, from what I know of Sebo (which isn’t too much) and from the Which? reviews that Sebo’s would also have been knocking Dyson’s into a cocked hat.

I think Dyson has a bit of a cult status, helped by its odd-ball appearance. 🙂

Maybe the equivalent of a Dualit toaster. There are better and cheaper products. (In the same way that I have praised Dyson over their extended guarantee I commend Dualit for using safer, sheathed elements, even if the cost of replacement is as much as a cheap toaster.)

There are people who like vacuuming and are forever doing it, presumably because the results are rewarding or they are house-proud. If you spend over the odds on a product, you may feel the need to justify the purchase, if only to yourself.

Angus Shapland says:
8 September 2012

Until i retired a year ago I had a Sebo for my carpet tiled machinery showroom where it had to deal with normal dirt plus mud and grit from landscape gardeners’ and tree surgeons’ boots! Never missed a beat,did an excellent job and as far as I know is still going.

Good point Wavechange – it never ceases to amaze me how many people (male and female) own GHD hair straighteners priced at about £100+, and at college a good many students bring them to college with them and are forever getting told off for plugging in and needlessly “ghding” their hair, just to show off to their mates, many of whom ask to handle the straighteners and coo over them in fixated awe, as if they were a precious jewel.

I’m useless for advertisers: I largely ignore all adverts and always walk away form the TV and do something else in the commercial breaks, but when I do have the misfortune to see an advert for a product that I just might use I immediately make a conscious decision to use another, less promoted brand. I guess, though, that this is a very eccentric way to treat adverts and probably most people are fearful of not having a fashionable vac or hair straightener or toaster and go out to buy one just to impress their friends?

Honestly, who on earth comes to visit and wants to see you r vac or hair straightener or toaster?!?!?!

Elizabeth McAndrew says:
8 September 2012

My niece works long hours and I help her out with housework. She has had three different Dysons through the years. I would not have a Dyson free of charge. In my opinion the popularity of the Dyson is due to great marketing and advertising. They should include the fact that one spends half their time, while using it bending down, picking up items as small as apple seeds and in some instances, feathers. I often wonder why you never include the Henry vacuum in any of your reports. I have had the same one before, during and after the above three models that my niece has