Before I begin this post, I feel I should restate this from my about page: ‘If you see reviews of restaurants/books/products/etc here, know that they are entirely spontaneous and were not requested, paid for, or influenced by their subjects. I do not accept free products or services for review.’ Since, you know. I do wax on about my Dyson a lot and I could see how one might think that I have gone to the dark side. So I just wanted to make sure that we all know that I’m not receiving compensation or consideration from Dyson and I actually doubt that they know I exist. Since my vacuum is registered in Mr. Bell’s name because I do that to avoid spam.
So. The story, for those of you just tuning in, is that last year, I had to replace my old vacuum. It was a tough decision in part because I couldn’t find a lot of reviews on long term vacuum performance, and that’s really what is most important to me. As a general rule, a vacuum, no matter how much it costs, is going to work reasonably well right out of the box. But the question is, in a household with three cats run by someone with extreme sensory issues who vacuums twice a day, will that vacuum still work in six months? A year?
I’m generally pretty hard on technology and appliances, which is why I decided to start doing this series. In addition to reviewing the vacuum when I first got it, I’m periodically checking in with an update. I figure it might come in handy for someone somewhere trying to make a decision about buying a vacuum (perhaps even a regular reader). Dysons are infamous for being rather expensive and it’s legitimate to ask if they are really worth it; how good does a vacuum have to be before you are willing to spend a month’s rent on it?
The short version of the update: My vacuum, the Dyson DC17 Animal, is still every bit as awesome as it was when I first bought it and I am currently experiencing absolutely no buyer’s remorse. In fact, I’ve recommended Dysons in general and this one in particular to several people since I bought it.
It might be helpful, for those pondering a vacuum purchase, to get a quick overview of the Dyson uprights. Basically, they make ball vacuums, which are smaller and designed to be lighter and easier around corners, and regular uprights (like mine). They also make regular and Animal versions, and the Animal is supposed to be better for households with animals. Specifically, the Animals come with some extra attachments. The regular vacs cover more ground and have bigger canisters and, rumour has it, also suck more (in a good way), which is why I went with one rather than the ball even though the balls are very lovely to look at.
One thing I’ve noticed in common about a lot of Dyson owners: We are excited about our vacuums. It’s not universal, of course, but most of the time if I mention that I have a Dyson, the response I get from people who own one is ‘yay! Aren’t they awesome?!’ or something along those lines. I think that tells you something. When a vacuum cleaner has a cult following, it sort of suggests that the manufacturer is probably doing something right.
In my last review, I didn’t really mention the attachments. That’s because I wasn’t really using them. I shoved them grumpily in the closet and that was about it. Recently, however, I started actually using them, and. Wow. These things are awesome. You attach them to the hose, which pulls out quite conveniently, and unlike a lot of vacuum attachments, they maintain very robust suction, which is pretty awesome.
And they’re also. Cool. So cool. I vacuumed under the bed! Without moving it! I just sort of stuck the wand under there and waved it around. There was a lot of gross stuff under there. Under the bed normally gets vacuumed when I have a furniture rearranging day. It should happen more often. The Dyson definitely facilitates that. The hose also fits under bookshelves, that one cabinet without the kickplate that gathers up dust like you would not believe, and behind the water heater[1. Yes, having a water heater indoors is not up to code, no I am not going to complain about it to the landlord, I am just going to hope it never explodes.]. About once a week I do a serious vacuuming and I bust out all the attachments and go hog wild and dart about the house chortling. It’s good fun.
The suction is still stupendous. I’m impressed that the fine dust[1. A combination of crap from the Mill Site, dust mites, skin, etc.] has not clogged it at all. I haven’t washed the filter again after the incident that happened last time. I think I’m going to wait for one of those elusive hot summer days to do it and hope it dries in one day if I leave it on the porch.
As I noted when I first bought it, despite the fact that it is heavy, the Animal moves very smoothly. It pretty much steers itself unless it decides to try and eat the carpeting, in which case it grumbles and growls and has to be forcibly yanked back.
I have not attempted cat vacuuming with the Dyson. I’m really afraid that the suction is so strong that it might cause injuries. This seems to be causing some discontent so sometimes I wave the wand around the pillow while Mr. Bell sits on it to get him to stop giving me those mournful looks. If there’s one thing I think the vacuum could really use, it would be a cat vacuuming attachment that diffused the suction to make it safe for use.