Dyson V6 Absolute Review

Back in 2011, I reviewed the Dyson DC35 handheld vacuum cleaner. It was purchased by my husband, and I fell in love with it. When I was asked to review the new and improved Dyson V6 Absolute, I jumped at the chance. I just love a new vacuum!

Our home has a combination of hard floors and carpets, and with a 4 and 6 year old running around, vacuum cleaners have to work hard in this house. First off, let’s compare the V6 with my old DC35 (which is still going strong).

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The first thing I notice is there are more and smaller cyclones.

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As someone who used to oversee the operation of cyclones in a minerals processing plant, this got me interested! Cyclones work by forcing air and particles (ie dirt) to spin, heavier particles drop to the bottom and fine/lighter particles will float to the top. The smaller the cyclones, the better the efficiency (the less fine particles float to the top), but if the cyclones are too small, larger particles will block the bottom of the cyclone. Dyson have improved their high performance cyclones to reduce the reliance on a filter, that can clog and reduce vacuum suction.

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The new design is sleek, with a metallic look (although it’s mostly plastic), and a red extension pole (does this make it vacuum faster?).

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The Absolute comes with three heads – one designed for hard floors, one for carpets and another smaller head, designed to remove pet hair and ground-in dirt, plus a crevice tool and brush/combination small tool. Interestingly, the manual didn’t describe when to use each head, and I had to refer to the box to work out which one was which. I’m thinking of labelling them, in the off chance someone else in the house decided to vacuum (wishful thinking!).

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The vacuum comes with a cradle that holds the two small attachments and the main unit. It can be hung on a wall, but mine just sits on my laundry bench, not taking up much space.  The hose and larger heads are stored in the cardboard at the back.

Let’s see how this baby goes tested in a typical Aussie house!

Bedroom Disaster Zone Spring Clean

The first big test was spring cleaning my daughter’s bedroom. She loves to play with all her toys at once, and her room is always a mess. It’s been a while since it’s had a proper vacuum! I may have lost it this morning when we were running late for school and she couldn’t find her shoes (sitting in the middle of her bedroom amongst all the toys). All the toys got removed (more on that in another blog post!), and it was time for a deep clean. Here’s the before of the carpet – piles of sand, sparkles, and ripped up bits of tissue everywhere (mermaids eat tissues, apparently!).

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Using the direct-drive cleaner head and normal power, I gave the carpet a good going over. I could hear the sand, and other small items rattle their way up the pipe, and all visible signs of dirt were gone. Here’s the booty in the vacuum (I both love and am mortified with seeing how much dirt I vacuum up!).

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I then used the Max power mode, to see how much more dirt could be extracted from the carpets. It wasn’t much more (but the carpets are fairly old and worn in her bedroom!).

The Sandy Shoe Test

The next test was the sandy shoe test. Since Perth is basically one giant sandpit, every playground in the city has sand under the equipment, including our school. There’s an unwritten law that every child must extract as much sand as they can into their shoes from each visit. Somtimes I wonder how there’s still room for my son’s foot. Here’s a typical amount:

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The kids don’t take their shoes off at the front door as they spend most of the afternoon playing in the backyard, so I often find little sand mountains in their bedrooms or the play room.

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For this test, I took a typical amount of sand from one of my son’s shoes, and weighed it (48g).

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I vacuumed the floor of his bedroom to have a “clean base” and tipped the sand onto the carpet. For good measure, I walked over it a few times (because it can take a few days for me to spot the sandpit).

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Starting with an empty vacuum, I vacuumed up the spill, then weighed how much I vacuumed up.

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End result: 3 grams less sand than what I tipped on the floor. Hmm, that’s pretty good, but I was hoping for better. Then I realised I only used normal power mode, and should have used Max. I put the vacuum onto Max, and had another go:

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This time around, I hit 49 grams – one gram more than I actually tipped onto the carpet. Impressive! The V6 Absolute passed the sandpit test!

The Peanut in the Corner Test

One thing I hate when vacuuming is when a slightly larger item, such as a peanut gets pushed around the house and not sucked up. Dyson claims the design of the hard floor head solves this problem. I put it to the test with the hardest of all challenges – the peanut stuck in a corner (I hate when vacuums don’t get stuff in the corners!)

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I was sceptical about this challenge, and wish I took a video of it. I tried twice from one angle to pick up the peanut (along the right-hand wall in the picture) without success. I then went along the left-hand wall, and bam! The peanut was gone.

The V6 Absolute passed the peanut in the corner test.

Under the Dining Table Test

Do your kids eat like cookie monster? I’m always onto them about eating with their mouth shut, leaning over their plates etc, and still there seems to be a coating of crumbs (and stray sand still leaking from their shoes) under the dinner table after each meal or snack (even if it’s food that doesn’t drop crumbs – they truly are amazing!). I swear my son deliberately tips crumbs off his plate when leaving the table.

It’s hard to photograph because we have cork floors that are naturally good at hiding the mess (yay!), but here’s what it looks like:

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I’m not a patient vacuumer, that happily goes over each section of floors 4-5 times to make sure everything is picked up. I go with the “let’s get this over with” and vacuum as quickly as possible. With the V6 Absolute, I’ve found I rarely need to go over the same spot twice on my hard floors. Everything just gets picked up – big or small. Carpets sometimes need two or three goes, but it still just works.

The V6 Absolute passed the under the dining table test.

The 6 Year Old Test

My next test was to see if my 6 year old could use it. I’d really love for him to vacuum his own room (well, actually, the whole house), and clean up his sandy messes. Since the vacuum cleaner requires you to hold down the trigger to use, I wasn’t sure if his hand was big and strong enough to do it. Well, here’s the video (apologies for the crazy cheerleader/attention-seeker!):

No problems at all there. He loves wandering around the house vacuuming, and I don’t have to worry about a trailing barrel banging into the furniture (I remember my Mum telling me off for that!).

My 4 year old has used the DC35, so I’m sure she could use this one too, but I’m too nervous to get her to try just yet (it’s still a new toy!).

The V6 Absolute passed the 6 Year Old Test.

The Downsides

OK, so it’s passed all the tests I’ve thrown at it, but what are the downsides?

Battery life: the battery lasts 16-20 minutes in normal mode, depending on which head is used. This is enough to give the house a quick clean (I often finish before the battery runs out), but may not be enough for a good deep clean. The battery only lasts 6 minutes in Max mode, in which time I can clean two bedrooms. As shown with the sand test, normal mode picks up most dirt and dust, and I use Max every now and then. The battery takes 3.5 hours to recharge.

Another downside is you have to hold the trigger down to use the vacuum. I got used to it pretty quickly, but someone with arthritis in their hands would find it difficult. Dyson have designed it this way to make it quick to turn on and off, to preserve the battery.

Emptying the vacuum cleaner is a bit dusty. I empty it straight into my outside bin. I have to empty after each use, but I guess that just means it’s working well!

Summary

The Dyson V6 Absolute passed all the tests I threw at it with flying colours. It’s a sleek looking vacuum cleaner that does the job. It comes with a range of attachments that meet all my vacuum cleaning needs. It’s a handheld that can do the job of a full-sized vacuum cleaner.

Disclosure: I received a free Dyson V6 Absolute vacuum cleaner for review purposes. All opinions are my own.

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