Announcing the end of development for corded vacuum cleaners was kind of a big deal by Dyson, a company literally built by an obsessive concept of a corded vacuum like no other.
But its 2019 and the British brand has proven its ability to keep homes clean in more ways than one so they know a thing or two about kicking up some dust and sucking it up rather quickly.
Their annual refreshes are introduced with much fanfare and while we’ve been tracking them since the V8 days, but it’s time to welcome their net generation of cordless vacuums where, believe it or not, the motor isn’t even the talking point! The piece-de-resistance this time around is actually an innovation that is sure to trickle its way to the rest of the line - a smart display.
Design: Individual and futuristic
Although the basic form factor remains similar to the V10, the Absolute Pro variant of the V11 that we have on review absolutely shines, quite literally in gold! With a muted sheen that gives it enough gravitas to be proudly displayed out in the living room instead of being tucked away into the corner of the janitors closet. It may not be everyone’s taste and the difference in the glossy gold on the shaft and the matte gold on the cyclone casing doesn’t go unnoticed but overall, it does make for a very futuristic and sci-fi like gadget that won’t be mistaken for anything else but a Dyson. Job done, then.
Everything Dyson engineers do, they do for a reason and the V11 carries on that tradition with perfectly colour coded bits that let you know that purple is for filters and red toggles are for access points like the bin release, attachments and trigger. The quality of the construction is faultless and so is its structural rigidity, as I experienced a few months back at their Malaysian factory where the actual testing of these machines happens. Thousands of rounds of banging against real-world objects, dropping on the floor from a height of a metre, continuous battery tests…all of it instills the sense of confidence that you’re getting what you pay for. Especially when you pay such a dear sum for a seemingly peripheral household appliance.
The Absolute Pro variant comes with its own storage stand and charging cradle that is itself a brilliant piece of engineering. It installs as easily as attaching the tools on the V11, with a similar latch mechanism and makes for an elegant stand with room for an extra attachment.
The charging cable can be neatly tucked in a recessed channel on the back, allowing you to simply drop in the V11 after a cleaning cycle and pick it up for the next round, all charged and ready to go without a trace of ugly wires sticking out. the solid, circular base is heavy and offers the perfect counterweight to the suspended V11 and is quite the conversation starter. Not bad for a vacuum cleaner, eh? There’s a wall-mounting bracket as an option too but the stand is so much cooler!
The biggest design change on the otherwise familiar form factor is the circular LCD screen fitted at the back of the filter case, perfectly in view at all times while using the V11.Now, a screen on a vacuum cleaner might sound about as essential as a bathtub in hatchback but it does make a lot of sense once you get in action. Battery life on cordless machines has been the biggest challenge and while previous generations of Dyson cleaners had LEDs to indicate charge level, they could spring a rude surprise on you mid-cleaning. Instead, the new display gives you a real time read-out which is dynamic, hence it takes into account which modes you’re switching to and from and displays the remaining cleaning time available constantly.
As before, the maximum run time is about an hour in Eco mode but that can drop to below 15 minutes on Boost mode and anywhere in between if you use the Medium or Auto setting. Logically, Auto mode is where you should leave it at since that is the second biggest change to the V11 compared to the previous generations. The new High-Torque cleaner head uses DLS (Dynamic Load Sensing) to monitor the pressure on the brush bar 360 times a second so it can automatically adjust the motor speed depending on the surface it’s gliding over.
The two-fold benefit of this cleaner head is that it’s smart, obviously, but also that you don’t need to switch to the soft brush cleaner head for hard floors anymore. Well, not for short bursts of casual cleaning anyway. Replace the High-Torque head with another attachment and the Auto mode is replaced with the Medium mode which is clever on Dyson’s part. Even though the battery is 20% bigger than on the V10, the overall run time thought is not improved much due to the increased motor speed of the V11.
It now spins at a mind-numbing 125000 RPM, picking up more stubborn dirt and doing it more silently as well, thanks to its triple diffuser tech that manages airflow inside the cyclone assembly in a more streamlined fashion.
Performance: Still trumps the competition
No other vacuum cleaner looks as inviting as the V11 Absolute Pro does. Period. The fact that you voluntarily want to pick it up and give your home a spit shine is in itself, a huge plus but thankfully, there’s more good news. And some bad. But let’s start with what’s changed first. The much-hyped High-Torque cleaner head is finished in matte gold as well and has the stiff nylon bristles for deep cleaning carpets and the softer carbon-fibre filaments for harder floors and it works well across the board, sucking up everything in its path even in Auto mode. I did try using the Boost mode on my lounge carpet and the results were shocking. Just a quick 2-min sweep around the room and the dust-bin collected enough fine dust to fill up half a soda can! This was dust that was completely invisible to the eye and just a couple of days after being swept over by a Dyson V8 Absolute, mind you. So there’s no contesting its ability to pick up fine, sand-like dust from the pores of your carpet and the hard floors is just a piece of cake for it even in Eco mode. Thanks to the patented Cyclone mode, it is more than adept at shocking you with its ability to separate fine dust from all the debris it picks up from your surroundings. More on how Cyclone tech works can be found here.
What I wasn’t too happy with was the agility of the High-Torque head in movement. Compared to the dedicated soft-brush head, it offers extra resistance due to its rubber padding, limiting how quickly it can change direction. In usage terms, this means you might get tired more quickly if you’re constantly using this head over the dedicated ones. The slightly heavier weight of the V11 itself doesn’t help either and although the ergonomics and weight balance are otherwise spot on, Dyson stubbornly refuses to offer a trigger lock mode for the sake of extended battery life. But when you know that you have a job at hand, having a trigger lock mode would be so much easier on the finger. This feature really should’ve been added in this latest iteration and Dyson needs to listen to its users as much as their engineers. The slight weight gain over the V8 doesn’t help its case either.
Switching between attachments is as simple as ever, with an easy release and swap mechanism but on the Absolute Pro version we have, it goes a step further by adding a small plastic clip that can be attached to the long shaft and can store two other attachments like the crevice tool and the soft dusting brush, for example. This reduces the need to go back and forth to the tool bag while you’re on a cleaning spree and something that I had to live with in the previous generation.
The recent triple launch event of the new innovative products by Dyson held at Singapore also shed light on why dust is such a big deal. And it’s not just dust. As per the ‘Indian Household Hidden Dust Study 2018’ conducted by FICCI Research and Analysis Centre (FRAC) on behalf of Dyson, dust mite and cockroach allergens are present even in the cleanest of homes.
Unbelievable it may sound, since we Indians are obsessed with making everything bright and shiny, our traditional cleaning methods don’t suffice in removing dust and other allergens.
Allergens, especially cockroach saliva, faeces and shredding body parts are in all homes. It’s only when you use something as powerful as the V11 on your mattresses do you see a visible difference in the dust built up over the years.
Allergies are as common as a common cold these days, and besides a relatively more sedentary lifestyle, hidden dust is one of the major causes of it. Dr. Vikram Jaggi, Director
of the Asthma Chest & Allergy Centres is confident that in his experience, “Dust mite and cockroach allergens are common triggers of all-year round allergy and asthma symptoms. Most of the times, the problem is too small to notice – while the home might appear clean, it is the dust and dirt that can cause allergic reactions”.
The study carried out by FRAC in 100 urban homes across three major cities in India – New Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru just confirms his claim further. Hidden dust samples collected for analysis from carpets, mattresses, sofas and cars revealed cockroach, dust mite, and dog allergens and bacteria were present in these homes despite the daily cleaning ritual of sweeping, mopping and dusting. Since traditional cleaning methods may leave high quantities of dust on surfaces, they can trigger allergy and asthma symptoms.
Scary facts, aren’t they? So yea, hidden dust should be a BIG deal. Thankfully there’s the Dyson V11, the cordless carpet companion that performs the crucial function of keeping our various surfaces as clean as they look.
There’s a marked improvement in the noise levels of the machine as well and it now sounds quieter and more refined than the V8 or even the V10. When I first saw the multiple anechoic chambers at Dyson’s UK and Malaysian facilities, I was a bit surprised at the investment but it clearly manifests in the products they make. The V11 has a sophisticated spinning sound, free of any annoying high-frequency whine and even when you release the trigger, it shuts the motor with a satisfying “vacuum-seal” sound reminiscent of sliding doors in sci-fi movies! A by product of all the obsessive research into acoustics and damping also translates into zero vibrations in your hand while using the V11 in any position or with any attachment. It always feels refined and smooth, without any grating sounds, without any harshness to any moving parts.
As always, even the air that is output from the back of the filter is purified through a HEPA filter that Dyson claims captures 99.97% of particles as small as 0.3microns. This means that while the V11 helps clean out the obvious dirt from your floor, mattresses, furnishings and carpet, it will also do a small bit for the air around itself. Mind you, it doesn’t double up as an air purifier for the whole room. For that, you’ll have to cough up for another Dyson product.
Cleaning the bin is easier than ever, especially if you’re upgrading from the V8 or earlier editions. Now, you simply open the latch and point the dirty end into your trash can (rather than over it) and eject. It makes for a cleaner task overall and also helps in increasing the bin capacity on the V11 by 40% compared to the V8, so lesser trips to the trash can.
Battery: Marathon cum sprinter
The 7-cell nickel-cobalt-aluminium battery has been upgraded too and since its microprocessor controlled, a lot of the run time will depend on what surface you’re cleaning with what type of brush.
Overall, in my usage I could easily extract a combined run time of 20-25 minutes using bursts of Boost mode and larger areas in Medium or Auto mode. It’s the charging time that hasn’t improved all that much, with a 4.5 hour top-up time. Perhaps a quick-charge option would be the next upgrade where you don’t have to wait overnight in between a big clean-up operation.
Dyson V11 Absolute Pro Verdict: Should you get one?
By no means inexpensive, the V11 is at the cutting-edge of engineering and hence justifies its cost in multiple ways.
For one, it does deep clean your furnishings like no broom or maid ever could. Its wide range of included attachments can work on anything from your bedroom to your car. Its refinement is palpable and tangible the moment you hold it and start swooping up bugs around the house and lastly, it gives you the mental peace that you can throw a house party and not be left alone at the end of it.
It’s always ready to spring into action thanks to its charging station and powerful motor to clean almost any dry waste even from the hardest to reach places. It might be a substantial investment but one that you will also value through the years as something you can’t live without.