Cordless stick vacuums are the future. Up until early 2017, my go-to vacuum was a Henry Hoover. Despite his charming, smiley face I’d often find myself frustrated as he toppled over while coming round a corner or once again got himself tangled up in the cord.
Then I tried the V6. Dyson has been set on eradicating all inconvenience from the hoovering world since the company was first launched in the 80s. However more recently I found their “innovative” fan to be weak, overpriced and well, a bit pointless. Similarly, their hairdryer left a lot to be desired. This left me thinking that perhaps the company had lost its magic. Boy, was I was wrong.
The cordless stick design of the V6 is convenient and light yet keeps the powerful suction of more traditional models and the V8 has only improved on this. Both largely remove the pain and irritation of doing the hoovering. Once you’ve used one, you will never go back to a corded design.
The big question is should you go for the V6 or dive deeper into your wallet to buy the newer V8. With all the versions on offer it can be tricky, but don’t worry we’ll break it down for you.
If you’re in a rush (or can’t be bothered) to read our full review then here’s a quick overview.
Basically, the V8 has a more powerful motor which gives better suction, though the V6 is no slouch. The V8 also gives you about 20 minutes more cleaning time in standard mode. If you live in a large house or have lots of difficult carpets/floors so need more suction, then the V8 will be better for you. Otherwise, the V6 is a perfectly competent model.
Here’s a breakdown of the stats at a glance for the most popular versions of each model:
|Dyson V6 Animal||Dyson V8 Absolute|
|Price||See Today's Best Price||See Today's Best Price|
|Motor||V6 (325w)||V8 (425w)|
|Run Time||20 mins||40 mins|
|Charge Time||3.5 hours||5 hours|
|Direct-Drive Cleaner Head||Yes||Yes|
|Soft Roller Cleaner Head||Yes||No|
|Bin Capacity (Litres)||0.4||0.54|
|Bin Type||Standard||Quick Eject|
If you’re reading on then you’re going to get a fully detailed, blow by blow account of how each model performs, which means you are an obsessive consumer, a glutton for punishment and exactly the sort of person we like here at The Grade.
The V8 wins hands down in the suction department, as its motor can generate 425w of power, a full 100w greater than its stablemate. This 30.7% difference in engine power may seem huge, but not all of this translates into suction performance. In fact, the V8 can generate up to 115 airwatts of suction, while the V6 can go up to a max of 100 – so, just a 15% increase.
For comparison, the Dyson Ball Compact Animal produces 128 airwatts, which means the V8 is now right up there with medium sized corded machines (bigger models can go over 200 airwatts).
Does the difference matter though, or is it just something to boast about to the neighbours? The answer is it doesn’t really matter which one you go over 115, as that’s the rating at which you can pretty much handle any type of surface. However below this and you might struggle to deal with, for example, particularly deep shag carpets, and in such cases the V6 might not be for you.
It should also be noted that the figures quoted so far are only in the “Max” mode, which drains your battery significantly more quickly (see below). In standard mode, the V6 reaches 24 airwatts, and the V8 just a few more. It sounds like a big gulf, but it’s more than adequate for general hoovering and having a quick spruce.
Both the V6 and V8 have Dyson’s latest patented cyclone technology which arranges 15 cylinders, arranged over two layers, to produce a centrifugal force to suck dust up into the bin. Obviously, with neither model do you need a bag.
Cleaner Heads And Accessories
How well a vacuum handles different types of floors is mostly down to the cleaner head that they use and their accessories. So much depends on what comes in the box.
However, the V8 and V6 have different heads and accessories depending on the version you opt for – and all these versions are priced separately. You almost need a degree to know what heads go with which models, so we’ve pulled a few bullet points on what comes with each, and we explain the different types of head below.
- Standard – This is just called the “Dyson V6” in the shops. It comes with the basic motorised head only. You also get the docking station, a rigid crevice tool and Dyson’s combination tool (basically a brush and rigid crevice tool in one). It’s the no-frills model and yet often other versions are cheaper, so we would give this one a miss. It’s white.
- Flexi – Same as the standard, but you get a stubborn dirt brush, flexi-crevice tool and an “up top tool” for cleaning on top of cupboards.
- Animal – Same as the standard but has the rigid crevice tool, and mini-motorised tool (designed to remove pet hair). It’s purple.
- Animal Extra – You get the improved Direct Drive cleaner head with this one. In terms of accessories you get the same as the standard Animal version, but with the stubborn dirt brush thrown in. It’s grey.
- Fluffy – You get the motorised cleaner head and the soft roller cleaner head. It has the mini motorised, combination and rigid crevice tool. It comes in a fetching blue colour that is our favourite out of the lot.
- Absolute – You get the Direct Drive head and the hard floor cleaner heads in the box. It has the mini motorised, combination and rigid crevice tool. It’s pink.
- Total Clean – You get the Direct Drive head and the soft roller cleaner head. It has the mini motorised, combination and rigid crevice tool. It’s red.
V8 Options: Absolute vs Animal
The V8 only has two versions, so is much more simple to understand:
- Animal – Has the Direct Drive cleaner head only. It also comes with the mini motorised tool, combination tool and rigid crevice tool. It’s grey.
- Absolute – Same as the animal, but also has the Soft Roller. It’s yellow.
Which Head Do I Need?
The Direct Drive head comes as standard with certain versions of the V6 and V8. It has a hard, spiral nylon brush that is designed to be driven hard into soft surfaces. The sweet spot of this type of motorised head is carpet and deep, soft surface cleaning, where it can easily handle all types of muck.
It has some carbon fibre filaments to remove dust from hard surfaces, but when using it in the kitchen or on wood floorings you can tell that this type of cleaning in a bit of an afterthought. It’s not that it performs poorly, it’s just that other heads do a much better job.
Other models come with standard “motorised cleaner head”. Yes, in our testing we could see this performed less well than the direct drive head, but we didn’t think the gulf was 150% as Dyson claims.
If you are looking to save a bit of cash, and let’s face it who isn’t, then opting for a model with this head is a good option. If you want the absolute best then go for the Direct Drive.
For hard floors, the best option is the “soft roller cleaner head”, which is exactly what it sounds like.
It’s made from soft nylon and the whole roller touches the floor and as such it performs incredibly well on solid surfaces. If you have hard flooring throughout your home then we really would recommend going for this option.
If you only have a hard floor in your kitchen then it’s probably not worth shelling out the extra for a version that includes this.
There is also the “hard floor cleaner head” which looks much more like an old school hoover attachment and concentrates the vacuum’s airflow to help get in between crevices on wooden floors. While it is excellent for this, we generally prefer the soft roller.
Which Is Easier To Handle?
You might think that the above-mentioned jump in power for the V8 would lead to a significant jump in weight. In reality, this isn’t the case. The newer Absolute model comes in at just 2.61 kg, which is about half a kg heavier than the standard V6 model but actually 90g lighter than the V6 Animal.
In the hand, it feels pretty featherweight. To put it into context a newborn baby weighs 3.5kg on average, so this is about two-thirds the weight of that. In our review, we found that using one hand to get to a cobweb in the corner of the ceiling was a doddle.
Both the V8 and the V6 really come into their own when cleaning the stairs, and we couldn’t really tell any difference in manoeuvrability. For the car, both convert easily to a handheld vacuum, and again you can’t really put a fag paper between them. However, if you have pets we would definitely recommend getting a version with the mini motorised tool as this makes it super easy to hoover up stray hairs.
Bin Capacity, Cleaning and Maintenance
The V8 has improved on the bin capacity of the V6, going from 0.5 litres, about the capacity of a standard coke bottle, to 0.64 litres. The improvement of a third in bin volume means you might get round another light vacuum without having to make a trip to the trash. However, you will find it much more frequent than a standard corded vacuum. This is a real drawback with handheld vacuums.
By way of comparison, the Dyson DC40 Animal has a bin capacity of 1.6 litres and the DC41 Mk2 can pack in a whopping 2.1 litres. Dyson’s smaller hoovers, such as the Small Ball Animal, only have capacity in the region of 0.8 litres. So, if you’re used a small upright cleaner, the jump shouldn’t be too much.
The pain of reaching full capacity every week is offset by the ease of emptying the bin and here the V8 has again seen improvements. On the V6 there is a push button which opens the container and releases the contents. It’s pretty simple, but sometimes bits get stuck (even after repeated banging on the side of the bin) and you have to get your hands messy, or at least a bit dusty. The V8 instead has an ejector that forces the dirt out of the bin. It’s not revolutionary, but it is the sort of incremental improvement that Dyson excels at – and it means no more grimacing and running to the nearest tap when you’ve finished the hoovering.
The reason cordless vacuums have only just made it onto the market is that up until recently battery technology has just not been up to the job.
However, improvements in this area have been rapid. As such the V8 has now doubled the capacity of the V6, giving you 40 rather than 20 minutes of standard operation time.
These timings do not take into account “Max mode”. This can be activated via a big button on the back, which lights up when you press it. It gives you about 4 times the suction power and is really useful for difficult rugs etc, but it runs down the battery much more quickly. When in this mode, the V6 will only last 6 minutes and the V8 12 minutes.
Frankly, we found we didn’t need it for more than 5-second bursts and generally the standard power setting gave use all the force we needed. For a medium sized house, the earlier generation is more than adequate. If you have more than 5 rooms, lots of tough, deep carpets or are just the sort of person who isn’t happy unless they’re really sucking up every last bit of dirt then go for the V8.
We were expecting performance to drop off as we reached the end of the battery’s power – like happens with an electric razor or toothbrush. This was not the case. Both the V6 and V8 use fade-free lithium-ion batteries. This means they keep performing right up to the point that they cut out. It’s a great feature, though does mean it’s a bit abrupt when you run out of power.
Both come with a charging station that you can attach to the wall. It looks really modern (though it’s less attractive when you have a full bin!).
Charging time on the V8 is 5 hours and only 3.5 on the V6. This really doesn’t matter if you’re using the docking station – unless you are an obsessive-compulsive cleaner.
The V8 is much quieter – in fact, it puts out around half the decibels. This has been achieved by a change in the air flow paths through the machine, making them wider and thus reducing the din. There’s also acoustic felt and closed “closed cell foam” put into the machine. It’s great if you have kids and want to clean up downstairs after they’ve gone to bed.
Dyson has obsessed over sound so much that they have even redesigned the post-motor filter to reduce sound further.
However, this hasn’t compromised the quality of the air filtration. Dyson has always been way ahead of other manufacturers, but with the V8 they have taken it to another level and the V8 now removes 99.97% of dirt particles.
When it sucks in the air, it can now capture any dust particles that are 0.3 microns or smaller. The air in your living room will generally contain particles of this size just floating around. This means that the air it pumps back into the room is actually cleaner than the room in sucked in. So the V8 actually acts as an air purifier! Great news if you have asthma or allergies.
The V6 can’t quite claim the same unless you opt for the Absolute, Fluffy or HEPA version (which is only available in the USA), but filtration is still way above other cordless offerings currently on the market.
Both come with a 2-year warranty, but just don’t forget to register your machine.
Is the V8 worth the extra money? Personally, we would currently go for the V6 Total Clean at £249 because you get both the Direct Drive and soft roller cleaner heads and can save about £150 off the V8.
If you’re just after the convenience of a handheld model then go for the Dyson V6 Animal – it’s only £199 at Currys and while it doesn’t have the latest heads, it still does a good job.
If you’ve got a bigger house though you can’t get away from the battery capacity issue. There’s no way around it, you’re going to have to go for the V8.