Dyson Cyclone V10 vacuum review: Bigger isn’t always better

By | March 6, 2018

The Dyson Cyclone V10 is the most powerful and capable of all of Dyson’s handheld vacuums — perhaps of all handheld vacuums, period. It’s also not for everyone.

Dyson is so confident in the Cyclone that, with its release, the company says it will halt all new designs of its stand-up vacuums. It’ll still sell the existing products — there will always be a customer who simply prefers a stand-up vacuum over a handheld — but Dyson really thinks it’s nailed it this time: It contends this vacuum’s performance is as good as, if not better, than any vacuum cleaner you plug into a wall.

The Dyson Cyclone V10 is 20% more powerful then its predecessor, the V8. It also looks a lot like a ray gun.

The Dyson Cyclone V10 is 20% more powerful then its predecessor, the V8. It also looks a lot like a ray gun.
Image: Dustin Drankoski/Mashable

After using a Dyson-supplied review unit for a week, I’d have to agree, but I’d add that performance and convenience aren’t the same thing. While I found the Cyclone V10 to be powerful and, frankly, awesome-looking, I also thought it was too heavy to serve as a go-to vacuum for smaller jobs.

TL;DR review

Who it’s for: It’s large weight, versatile heads, and robust battery means it’s best suited for big houses, or those times when you want to do all the vacuuming.
Who it’s not for: People in small apartments — or any apartment — will likely find the Dyson Cyclone a tad intimidating to pull out for any old mess. Whereas the current generation of Dyson stick vacuums, led by the V8, are compact and lightweight enough to grab at a moment’s notice for a sudden Cheerios spill, picking up the Cyclone V10 feels like a commitment. For apartment dwellers, it’s probably overkill.
What it has going for it: What makes Dyson’s new flagship vac tempting for everyone are its multitude of improvements over previous designs, like the new bin that’s 40 percent bigger and points forward for easier dumping, the robust battery that lasts up to 60 minutes, and three-speed switch for cranking up suction power when you need it. It also looks more like a badass ray gun than any previous Dyson handheld.
However, the $499 starting price will give anyone pause, and in this case it’s a good thing. Customers wanting a powerful handheld vacuum that can handle virtually any size job should take a good hard look at themselves and their homes and ask themselves: How much vacuuming do I do anyway? This is one powerful vacuum, but sometimes ultimate power is just too much.
Review continues after summary

Dyson Cyclone V10

The Good

Long battery life Excellent variety of modular heads Eye-catching design Easy to use and clean

The Bad

Bulkier than most handheld vacuums Pricey

The Bottom Line

The Dyson Cyclone V10 is the most powerful, capable, and expensive handheld vacuum you can buy, but it’s relative bulk means it’s better for big jobs than casual clean-ups.

Ease of use

😎😎😎(out of five)
The Dyson Cyclone comes in three different packages: the V10 Motorhead ($499), which sports a smaller-size bin and the bare minimum of accessories, the V10 Animal ($599), which has the 40 percent bigger bin and more accessories, and the V10 Absolute ($699), which is the same as the Animal but includes a soft motorhead for extra gentleness on hardwood floors.
Despite their futuristic design, Dyson cordless handheld vacuums are very intuitive to use, and the Cyclone V10 is no different. It’s shaped like a gun, and there’s only one button where the trigger is, so there’s no mistaking how to hold and operate it. The first time you pull it out of the box, you’ll be tempted to pull the trigger and start sucking up stuff — and why not? It’s shipped with a partial charge, so all you need to do is slap on one of the multitude of modular cleaning heads and you’re good to go.
The first time you pick it up, though, you may be a little surprised by the weight. The V10 weighs 5.9 pounds, which is just 0.2 pounds more than the most recent top-of-the-line model, the V8. But it’s not just the extra ounces: In this new design, the bin faces forward, whereas every pervious Dyson handheld had it facing downward, just in front of the trigger handle.
While there’s a lot to be said for the forward-facing design — mostly that particles don’t need to be redirected 90 degrees at the end of their journey — it has the unfortunate effect of throwing off the vacuum’s center of mass. While resting on its battery base, the V10 has a tendency to tip forward if it’s disturbed in the slightest, and you certainly can’t put it down with any kind of cleaning head inserted and not expect it to tip over.

The new Dyson V10  is very front-heavy, meaning it has a tendency to tip over.

The new Dyson V10  is very front-heavy, meaning it has a tendency to tip over.
Image: Dustin Drankoski/Mashable

The tipping isn’t such a big deal, but the awkwardness of the weight is. With so much of its weight in the front, the V10 tends to put more strain on your wrist (instead of your arm) as you move it around. Whereas I could wield older Dyson models like the DC59 Animal, complete with sticks and heads, with ease, I got more of a workout from the Cyclone V10. Some might find that to be a good thing, but generally I prefer my household chores to by as physically unchallenging as possible.
The last thing I’ll say about the size: It makes the V10 slightly harder to tuck away in a closet or cabinet. If you think of a handheld vacuum as something you like to whip out at a moment’s notice, that’s probably not going to fly with the V10. You’ll need to give this thing a permanent base of operations in your home, but, like previous Dysons, it comes with a wall mount to make it easier to create that space.
At the same time, the larger size gives the V10 a major advantage over previous designs: a significantly better battery. The V10’s battery is 2,600 milliamp-hours, a whole 500 mAh over the DC59. The V10 also flips the charging port from the back to the front, which, considering the wall mount has the vacuum pointing down, makes way more sense.

Performance

⚡⚡⚡⚡⚡(out of five)
Like other Dysons, the V10 comes with a whole bunch of different cleaning heads, including:

  • a short adjustable brush for countertops and furniture
  • a large carpet-cleaning motorhead with a rotating brush
  • a large hard-floor motorhead with a fabric rotating brush
  • a smaller motorhead for deeper cleaning of upholstery
  • a small static brush for corners and edges
  • a thin stick for hard-to-reach nooks and crannies
  • an extension stick that fits all the heads and turns the V10 into a stand-up vacuum

From the top: The Dyson Cyclone V10 with hard-floor motorhead, extension stick, thin stick, small static brush, short adjustable brush, small motorhead, large carpet-cleaning motorhead.

From the top: The Dyson Cyclone V10 with hard-floor motorhead, extension stick, thin stick, small static brush, short adjustable brush, small motorhead, large carpet-cleaning motorhead.
Image: Dustin Drankoski/Mashable

You’ll use some more than others. I used the short brush almost religiously, and I mostly used the head meant for carpet cleaning on both carpets and hardwood floors. I almost never used the smaller rotating brush, but if I had pets it might be a different story.
The carpet-cleaning head (also called the direct-drive head) has a nifty new feature: two tiny doors in the front that can let in larger pieces of gunk (like Cheerios) if you leave them open by sliding the physical switch to the “+” position. For when you want that extra insurance against picking up bigger debris (like Lego pieces), just leave them closed.

The carpet motorhead (left) has tiny doors in front to let in larger debris when you want to. The hardwood motorhead (right) fits under most furniture.

The carpet motorhead (left) has tiny doors in front to let in larger debris when you want to. The hardwood motorhead (right) fits under most furniture.
Image: Dustin Drankoski/Mashable

The grab bag of heads is one of Dyson’s strengths, not just because of the variety, but also because they’re very well-designed: The larger heads, for example, both have joints that rotate in two directions, letting you make maneuvers like come at edges from an angle, or get down low to vacuum under furniture.
Dyson says the V10’s motor is 20 percent more powerful than the V8’s (150 “air watts” instead of 115). I’ve never used a V8, but I’ve used a Dyson DC59, and I was struck by how much quieter the V10 is (at least in its lowest-power mode) than the older model. Clearly Dyson’s engineers are also steadily improving their muffling technology, too.
The V10 is the first Dyson handheld with three power levels instead of two (one dot, two dots and “MAX”), and the switch up is a big improvement, too. Not only is it clearly labeled, but since it’s not a simple toggle (like the rear button on the DC59), you’re far less likely to accidentally engage the higher level without knowing. At higher power levels, the vacuum gets noisier, though that’s to be expected.

The power switch shows the three levels of suction.

The power switch shows the three levels of suction.
Image: Dustin DRankoski/Mashable

Power and maintenance

🔋🔋🔋🔋🔋(out of 5)
The most welcome upgrade in the Dyson Cyclone V10 is the larger battery. Dyson rates the run time as follows:

  • Extended: 60 minutes
  • Increased: 40 minutes
  • Maximum: 6 minutes

Due to interruptions, I didn’t keep a precise time when I vacuumed my entire 2,000-square-foot house from top to bottom, but the Cyclone got through the whole thing without giving out. I was in Extended mode, and, once I was done, just turning on Maximum power for even a couple of seconds exhausted the last of the battery. Generally I found Dyson’s estimates to be slightly conservative.

Charging time (from empty to full) is rated as 3.5 hours. I also very much appreciated the new battery indicator, which is split into three sections, so you at least have some idea of how much vacuum time you have left.
One advantage of the front-facing bin design is that it’s slightly less awkward to empty — Dyson calls it “point and shoot” emptying — and it’s just as easy to re-seal. The filter is shaped differently than previous Dyson handhelds, but it’s still simple to clean: just run it under the tap for a few minutes. (You only need to clean the filter every three months, Dyson says.)

The bin on the Dyson V10 is 40% larger than its predecessor.

The bin on the Dyson V10 is 40% larger than its predecessor.
Image: Dustin Drankoski/Mashable

Final score: 4.3 (out of five)

The Dyson Cyclone V10 has the power and features to clean an entire house, plus furniture, in one go, and that’s clearly what it was designed to do. But just as an SUV is bigger and more capable than a sedan, the smaller ride is more appropriate for a lot of situations.
On the other side, though, are the huge, plug-in vacs — the minivans and buses in this analogy. If you’re used to those, an SUV would be an exhilarating breath of fresh air, and V10 certainly has the goods to be an ample replacement for a stand-up model for all but the largest houses. Just be sure it’s not more vacuum than you need.

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