Best Cordless Vacuum Cleaner 2020
Dyson V11 Absolute review
Powerful, efficient and with little touches that make a huge difference, the Dyson V11 Absolute outperformed all other cordless vacuum cleaners we put through testing.
- Cleans right up to the edge
- Effective on hard floors and carpets
- Has tools for pretty much everything
- Easy and clean emptying of dust bin
- Can be used as a handheld
- Only one filter that needs to air dry after washing
- Need to keep power switch held down at all times – tricky if you suffer from conditions such as arthritis
- Three cleaning modes
- Torque cleaner head automatically detects floor type to optimise suction for either carpets or hard floors
- LCD screen – duration of charge reported in real time
- ‘Point and shoot’ hygienic bin emptying
- Drop-in docking – attach the dock to the wall and drop the vacuum in to charge
- Transforms into a handheld vacuum cleaner
- Four-stage filtration system to capture allergens
- Type: Cordless
- Weight: 2.97kg
- Capacity: 0.76l
- Runtime: Up to 60 minutes
- Charge time: 4.5 hours
- Suction: spins at up to 125,000rpm (powered by a Dyson Hyperdymium™ motor)
- Dimensions: 26.1 × 25 × 12.9cm
- Warranty: Five years
- RRP: £599.99
What’s in the box?
- V11 Absolute cordless vacuum cleaner
- Torque drive motor head
- Soft roller cleaner head for hard floors
- Mini motorised tool
- Combination tool
- Crevice tool
- Quick-release mini dusting brush
- Wand storage clip
- Docking station
"I love it. So easy to use, cleans really well and the carpets have never looked so fluffy! It does need emptying pretty frequently, but it's quick and easy to do this."
What is the Dyson V11 Absolute like to assemble?
The Dyson V11 Absolute cordless vacuum cleaner is easy to unpack and to assemble. Packaged using paper and cardboard with nary a plastic bag in sight, it's quick to get everything out of the box for assembly, including the vacuum cleaner's two heads and its four additional tools.
To assemble, you simply click three of the parts together, which means you're set up in less than 30 seconds.
The instructions are in diagram form and our tester, Alison, found them clear and easy to follow despite not really needing them for set-up.
There’s a really useful five-year guarantee with the V11 Absolute should anything go wrong. You'll also find online videos and a live chat option on the Dyson website for help and support.
The website also has troubleshooting information, details of spare parts and accessories, guides and manuals, a webpage to book repairs and servicing, and contact details – so you get plenty of aftercare with a Dyson too.
Dyson's V11 Absolute takes a whopping four-and-a-half hours to fully charge for up to 60 minutes of runtime. You’ll need to fully charge the vacuum cleaner before first use, which means you won't be able to get going straight away.
The vacuum also comes with a docking station, which needs to be screwed into the wall. If you do choose to use the wall-mounted dock (our tester didn't), you'll need to consider where to place it as it will need to be positioned next to a plug socket.
While the dock allows for more efficient storage (it also stores the additional tools) and means the Dyson can be left to charge without getting in the way, also bear in mind that it will mean that the vacuum is always on display when charging.
You can, of course, charge the battery without using the docking station. Just attach the handheld section to the accompanying charger.
What's the V11 Absolute like to use day-to-day?
Moving seamlessly between floor types, the Dyson V11 Absolute is a breeze to use on a day-to-day basis. The suction adjusts automatically depending on floor type to ensure optimal battery life and efficient cleaning – there's 185 air watts of suction power in boost mode.
This means that all you'll need to do is switch on the vacuum cleaner and go. There's no need to grapple with buttons or switches in order to find the correct power setting for your specific cleaning needs.
This was a welcomed change for Alison when compared to other vacuum cleaners she tested like the Vax Blade 4, which consistently required the use of a boost mode (particularly for carpets) that quickly depleted the battery.
With the Dyson, battery length is shown on its LCD screen in actual minutes so you know exactly how long you have left – it shows three times depending on the level of power you’re using.
You can choose between eco mode (which gives maximum runtime), auto/medium mode (which automatically alters the suction power for carpets and hard floors), and boost mode for ingrained dirt. This is accomplished using the selection button on the display screen.
It’s also easy to change the vacuum heads and to attach and remove the tools as needed – they simply click on and off. You can attach the crevice tool and the combination tool to a clip on the vacuum's cleaning tube, but you’ll have to carry anything else around with you as there's no carry bag provided.
Alison appreciated the amount of tools included with the V11 Absolute – something for every eventuality – which she didn't always see with other vacuums on test. In comparison, the cordless Hoover H-Free 500 only came with an integrated two-in-one dusting tool, and the similarly-designed Bissell Icon 25V only a two-in-one brush and crevice tool.
With the V11 vacuum, you can tackle all floor types, high corners, skirting boards, upholstery, pet bedding and stairs – and our tester even used the soft dusting brush to dust the fireplace. You can also clean curtain rails, ceilings and light fittings if you need to.
Alison found the mini motorised tool useful for pet bedding, the dusting brush great for blinds, curtain poles, light fittings and skirting boards, and the crevice tool a must for upholstery, for reaching the spaces between kitchen appliances and for other hard-to-reach nooks and crannies.
The only real issue she experienced during testing was having to continuously hold down the power button. This is to preserve charge so that you’re only using power when you’re actually vacuuming. While we can see the point of this, Alison has arthritis in her fingers and holding the switch down became uncomfortable after a time.
The vacuum is really manoeuvrable overall with a vacuum head that swivels to get into corners and under furniture, although there are unfortunately no lights to see those darker spots.
The V11 Absolute also transforms into a handheld vacuum cleaner as required, which is naturally one of its best features.
What about runtime?
When it comes to runtime, Alison found that there was plenty of time to vacuum the whole house, which included three double bedrooms, an upstairs bathroom, a hallway, living room, study, dining room, kitchen and utility room. One charge lasted for a thorough clean throughout, which we were really impressed by.
Her house also boasts a variety of floor types – tiled flooring, carpet, wooden floors and lino, all of which the Dyson cleaned beautifully. There’s no loss of suction as the battery depletes either – something that was an issue with the cordless Gtech HyLite during testing. The Dyson's Radial Root Cyclone™ technology also flings dust straight into the bin so as to not clog the filter.
When you’ve finished vacuuming, just drop the machine into the dock where it will charge ready for the next use. You can clearly see when the vacuum is fully charged – the display will show 100% so you can then choose to switch off the plug socket and avoid any wasted electricity.
How well does the Dyson V11 Absolute vacuum carpets?
Our tester couldn’t fault the Dyson’s performance on carpets. The main head allowed her to reach the very edges of each room, and there were plenty of tools to make this even easier.
Large debris (rice, spilled cereal and dried leaves) were whisked away in no time, and smaller debris (toast crumbs, washing powder and sugar) vanished in just a couple of swipes.
The Dyson also cleans rugs thoroughly and, in auto mode, the suction adjusts automatically so you can avoid sucking up the rug itself.
How well does the Dyson V11 Absolute vacuum hard floors?
As with carpets, the Dyson gets right up to the edges and pulls in loose dirt and debris on all types of hard floor.
Cornflakes, rice and leaves were gone in a single sweep, as were sand, toast crumbs and washing powder, leaving Alison's floors look spotlessly clean. In comparison, the Bissell Icon 25V left large bits of debris behind.
How does the Dyson V11 Absolute cope with pet hair?
The tools included really help to tackle pet hair, especially the mini motorised tool and the crevice tool, which means it's quick and easy to spruce up your upholstery and your pet bedding.
Mud, dirt, sand and hair were easily removed from Alison's dog beds and the vacuum successfully pulled hair free of carpets and rugs as well, picking up both cat and dog hair much more efficiently than the Vax Blade 4.
How does the Dyson V11 Absolute manage on stairs?
As it’s cordless and handheld, there’s no need to tug at any cords or balance the Dyson precariously on stairs. As a result, Alison found the V11 Absolute much more efficient on stairs than other vacuums she tested.
The tools help you to throughly clean the stairs – use the torque head or mini motorised head for the main stair area, then the crevice tool for the edges. You can then tackle the skirting boards using the dusting brush.
While the Dyson does feel a little heavy when used as both a stick vacuum and as a handheld (likely due to where the weight is concentrated), at just 2.97kg it’s still lighter than other lightweight cordless vacuum cleaners we tested, including the Bissell Icon 25V (3.17kg).
How loud is the Dyson V11 Absolute?
This is a powerful vacuum and, as a result, one of the noisier machines we tested. In eco mode it comes in at 71 decibels, on standard mode it's 74.6 decibels, and on boost mode it reaches 84.6.
That said, unless noise is a particular issue for you, the advantages of this vacuum cleaner more than outweigh its volume levels.
The Dyson also won't disturb or upset any nervous pets.
How easy is the Dyson V11 Absolute to keep clean?
As with all cordless vacuum cleaners, the V11's bin capacity is small (Alison needed to empty it after only two rounds), but Dyson claims it's actually 40% larger than those on its V8 machines.
Nevertheless, the V11 Absolute is easy to empty and to clean. To empty, you simply push the bin lever to sweep everything out – and we mean everything. Dyson calls this ‘point and shoot’ emptying and that describes it exactly.
One of the least messy bagless vacuum cleaners Alison has ever used, alongside the similarly tidy Gtech AirRam Mk2 K9, the V11 Absolute is also ideal if you suffer from allergies. It has a six-layer filtration system that Dyson claims traps 99.7% of particles.
It’s easy to get to the filter to remove and replace it for cleaning, but you do need to rinse it thoroughly before leaving it to air dry, which could potentially leave you without the use of a vacuum for up to a day.
That said, when the filter needs cleaning, a message will appear on the Dyson's LCD screen, so there's no danger of leaving it so long that you ruin the motor – something that Alison has unfortunately done in the past.
The brush bars are also easy to remove and clean. Unlock, slide them out, rinse under running water and allow them to air dry – although, as with the filter, this does mean your vacuum might be out of action temporarily.
"There's no denying that this is a serious piece of kit."
Is the Dyson V11 Absolute good value for money?
With an RRP of £599.99, the Dyson V11 Absolute is nothing short of expensive. But it's really, really effective and, quite simply, performed better than all other vacuum cleaners on test. How's that for praise?
Still, £599.99 is a good chunk to invest but, if you can afford it, buy it. If you can’t, then our recommended buy, the Hoover H-Free 500, is your next best bet.
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All prices correct at time of publication
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