Dyson have already revolutionised the way vacuum cleaners fundamentally clean. Now they have done it again with the Animal DC series and the higher end variant of all these that we've been testing and are reviewing today, the Dyson DC44 Animal MK2 Digital Slim. All of these are the cordless range of vacuums from Dyson, and we believe we're now witnessing a clear vision of what this company think future vacuum cleaners will function and look like. Currently this series of cordless cleaners is aimed at being used for quick tasks and as an urban cleaning solution.
Even though the Dyson DC44 Animal is boldly different to the other vacuums the company makes in visual aesthetic appearance, it has the instantly recognisable Dyson stylings, with a familiar glossy grey rugged plastic exterior, dynamic lines and a translucent cylinder. So its design, which includes a neat wall mountable charging cradle, is no embarrassment when others see the Dyson DC44 Animal hanging on your wall.
Modes & Suction
Two modes of suction are here, regular suction and boost mode, the latter selectable by pressing the max button on the back of the cleaner which will glow green to alert you that you're in this mode. Regular suction is remarkably strong, by comparison to other handheld cordless vacuum cleaners we've sampled, it smokes them. And when the boost is enabled, it's in a new league and comparable to mains powered cleaners including those from Dyson. The Root Cyclone technology ensures no loss in suction by allowing the cyclone to spin the air and collected waste around the bin.
The bin isn't massive, but that isn't so much of an issue due to it being so easy and simple to empty. Dyson have cleverly made sure that you can't empty the Dyson DC44 unintentionally by equipping a spring loaded latch, which once pulled down with some force will flip the floor of the cylinder bin open and all the waste collected will fall into your bin. We can't imagine this process being any simpler.
A helpful range of tools are also included within the box, which turn the Dyson DC44 Animal into a cleaner capable of cleaning hard floors, carpets, shelving, upholstery and much more. Included is a long blue aluminium wand pole to which all the accessories can be attached, or they can be attached directly onto the cleaner without the pole. The tools included are a crevice tool for cleaning tight gaps and narrow spaces, a hybrid brush that converts into a nozzle when the brush is pulled back, a mini motorised tool and a motorised articulating cleaner head. Even more specific tools can be purchased separately. The last two accessories draw power from the battery and we found that they impacted the overall twenty minute usage to around seventeen minutes.
With standard suction the battery will last for a constant twenty minutes, on the max mode it will last for a constant eight minutes. The battery doesn't fade when in use, the Dyson DC44 Animal draws energy evenly, so once the juice is gone it won't work again until the battery has further charge (to fully charge takes around five and a half hours). The removable nickel manganese cobalt battery has a rated capacity of 2,000mAh. Interestingly the capacity is little more than the capacity of the battery found within the latest iPhone 5. We're confident that Dyson can greatly increase the capacity, but overheating of the motor or nickel manganese cobalt battery may be a reason why they haven't done this.
Twenty minutes definitely won't be enough to clean a large country house, although it could possibly stretch to clean a smallish apartment. But this isn't the intended type of usage the Dyson DC44 Animal has been crafted for, it's made to be whisked out quickly for spot cleans and to get into those nooks and crannies that are easier to get to without a restrictive cord. These are circumstances where we've found it to be highly convenient. And it's positively the definitive appliance to clean the carpets and upholstery in a car. Holding and operating the Dyson DC44 Animal is extremely stable and remarkably light and compact, weighing just 2.3kg. The centre of gravity is located towards the grip which makes holding and operating the cleaner on the floor, along shelves, and even getting to those cobwebs in the corner of the ceiling, simple and comfortable.
Dyson haven't intended this cleaner to be operated for a constant twenty minutes, so the power button which fires the whopping 104,000rpm Dyson Digital Motor, has to be held down throughout operation. This is comfortable when using the Dyson DC44 Animal for a few minutes, but durations of ten-twenty minutes can become a little finger fidgety. However, this design encourages maximum battery runtime; when we paused cleaning to manoeuvre to another angle or area we tended to also take our finger off the trigger button, thus optimising energy life.
Motorised Tools Performance
We vigorously tested the articulating cleaner head coupled with the wand, which transforms the Dyson DC44 Animal into a traditional upright, only its V-Ball leads to very free flowing and airy 180 degree manoeuvrability. It glides over hard floors and thick carpets due to its self-adjusting soleplate, plus it's compact and short so it cleans under tables, chairs and other tight spaces. We were concerned that because this setup was so light it wouldn't have enough mass to suck up dust, hair and fine debris, but we were very wrong.
Because the head has anti-static carbon fibre filaments that spin exceedingly quickly, they easily remove fine dust from hard floors. And the rotating stiff nylon bristles remove dirt and debris that is embedded into thick carpets swiftly. When compared with the cordless upright AEG Ultrapower Plus cleaner which we reviewed a little while ago, this exceeds it when the boost is enabled. Those who have pets will find the Dyson DC44 Animal a godsend for removing hair from furniture and floors; its suction strength when coupled with the mini motorised tool is a far superior solution than a traditional hose with a crevice or brush tool.
In summary this is a very interesting product. If the Dyson DC44 Animal had triple or quadruple the 20 minute battery it currently sports, we would confidently say that this would be a cleaner many could use as their sole vacuum due to its strong suction and efficient included tools. But as it presently stands, this is a household appliance that is brilliant for quick tasks and odd jobs. We have to commend Dyson on what they've managed to achieve in such a compact ultra nimble package. The Dyson Digital Motor definitely deserves the most praise, but the smart bin and the no loss in suction Root Cyclone technology also deserve great acclaim.