Dyson V15 Detect Absolute review: vacuum-cleaning royalty for a king’s ransom
Dyson’s cordless stick vacuum cleaners need little introduction, and have a history of being both the best and most expensive models money can buy. The Dyson V15 Detect Absolute is the latest generation to join the clan and, as you’d expect, it’s more powerful and feature-packed than any model Dyson has launched to date.
There’s nothing new about the shape and size of the V15, which is very similar to. However, it introduces anti-tangle technology to two of its motorised heads, which prevents the rollers becoming clogged with long hair.
There’s also a laser mounted on the hard floor motorised head, which highlights even the tiniest dust particles so you can see how clean, or dirty, your floor still is. Lastly, the V15 now counts the particles it collects, so you can keep tabs on how much dust and filth it’s picking up.
Dyson V15 Detect Absolute: What you need to know
At first glance you’d be forgiven for questioning whether anything has changed, because the Dyson V15 looks so remarkably similar to its predecessors. It measures 249 x 267 x 1,260mm (WDH) with the wand and motor head attached, and it weighs 3.08kg.
There has been an incremental power boost in the main vacuum unit over previous models, which I’ll get to in a minute. However, the headline innovations in this vacuum cleaner are mostly at floor level.
The most dynamic of these is laser dust detection. Think of this as a dust torch and you’ll be most of the way towards understanding how it works. When it’s switched on it beams a green blade of light from the front of the motorised soft roller head. This then highlights dust particles, allowing you to see how much more cleaning you need to do.
There are also two new anti-tangle heads, which work in slightly different ways to keep your carpet brushes free from tangled hair. The main floor head, which Dyson calls the High Torque Cleaner, combs hair out of its brush as it goes, lifting hair away from the roller and passing it through to the vacuum tube.
The smaller motorised head is now called the Hair Screw Tool and is designed for smaller jobs like upholstery, stairs and mattresses. It’s a conical brush, twisted into a corkscrew shape, which uses centrifugal force to encourage hair to roll off the brush and into the vacuum tube.
Dyson V15 Detect Absolute: Price and competition
For once, the latest Dyson isn’t the most expensive vacuum in the range. At £50 more, that honour falls to the V11 Outsize, which has a bigger dust collection bin and a wider cleaning head than the V15. If you have a large house and a lot of floor to cover, the V11 Outsize is probably a more sensible choice, although it does lack the anti-tangle attachments and dust-detection technologies.
If you can’t stretch to £600 for a vacuum, that’s completely understandable, and stepping down in price doesn’t mean compromising on quality. The, despite its age, is still a worthy contender at £349.
For the real bargains, you need to walk away from the Dyson stable entirely and check out its cordless rivals. Both theand did a good job of cleaning in our tests and prices on those start at a very reasonable £169.
For a smaller, lighter model that doesn’t cost as much as the Dysons, thecosts a mere £224, and comes with plenty of handy accessories and a useful second battery.
Dyson V15 Detect Absolute: Design and accessories
The Absolute in this Dyson’s name lets you know that this is the model that comes with all the extras and the box is certainly overflowing with attachments. I’ve already mentioned the three motorised floor heads, but there’s also a selection of other accessories: a crevice tool for getting into nooks and crannies; a soft brush tool for agitating and collecting dust on delicates; and a handy combination tool, which can either be a brush or a simple angled tube.
These additional tools can be attached directly to the main unit to make a handheld vacuum, or can be attached to the extension tube for reach.
Lastly, there’s all the equipment you’ll need to hang it on a wall, and a storage clip that lets you attach two accessories to the extension tube’s barrel.
As for the design, that follows the same template that has been in place since the V10. The main vacuum unit containing the device’s motor and cyclones sits above a pistol grip handle. The 0.76-litre dust collection bin is mounted forward of this, between the motor and any attachment you might be using. There’s a button on the rear for swapping between the various modes and an LCD display above it.
The Dyson V15 Detect Absolute doesn’t have the heft of the V11 Outsize’s 3.5kg, but it still passes the 3kg mark comfortably. Coupled with the powerful suction, I found this was still a considerable weight to push around, particularly on thicker carpet. If you want something lighter and more maneuverable, the Eufy HomeVac S11 Infinity would be our pick.
Dyson V15 Detect Absolute review: Cleaning performance
In terms of suction power, this is Dyson’s most powerful vacuum to date. Dyson vacuums cut out if their airways are blocked, so measuring suction is problematic using our usual vacuum pressure gauge. At the Dyson V15 Detect Absolute’s maximum setting, peak suction reached 31kPa, at which point the vacuum cuts out.
That’s higher than we recorded even on the V11 Outsize, and it probably goes higher. We also attempted to measure the airflow using an anemometer, but again the vacuum’s most powerful setting causes such a violent updraft that it maxed out our measurement device. In summary, I can safely say that this is the hardest-working vacuum cleaner I’ve seen to date.
This translates well into cleaning power. On a short-pile carpet, in a single pass of the High Torque motorised head on standard power, it collected 92% of a measured spillage of Cheerios. Those that weren’t collected tended to be scattered by the powerful spinning brush, so I performed the test again on the V15’s lower-powered Economy setting, and it collected 96% of the spill.
Second passes in both tests quickly picked up the remainder. It was just as good at picking up flour, transferring 96% of our test spillage to the collection bin, although we couldn’t see any residue left behind.
I tried both the large floor heads on Cheerios spills on a hard floor and the result in each test was perfection. The Dyson V15 Detect Absolute collected 100% of the spilled material; an exceptional performance. I kept the soft head on for the flour test and it gathered every last gram.
The new floor heads are brilliant. The dust-detecting laser on the soft roller head is phenomenal at picking out microscopic dirt. I’m having some building work done as I write this and heading out into the hall and seeing how much otherwise invisible dust there is on the floor at the end of the day is nothing short of astonishing. One pass of this floor head, however, and it’s all gone.
I also tested the anti-tangle heads in typical problem areas around beds and dressing tables, and found that they work very well. I couldn’t find a trace of hair on the rollers, despite collecting a significant tangle in the collection bin.
Operating the V15 requires you to hold down a trigger so you can’t accidentally leave it running. It has three power modes: Economy, Max and Auto, the latter adapting automatically to the surface you’re cleaning. You select between the modes using the button on the rear of the main vacuum unit.
Here, a colour LCD screen shows which mode you have selected and how long the cleaner has left before the battery will run out. During cleaning, it also displays information generated by the last of the Dyson’s new features: its acoustic dust sensor.
This “listens” to dust particles bouncing off it as they pass, both counting and categorising them by size, then displaying what it has collected in a bar chart on the screen. I have to admit I don’t see the benefit of this. Dyson argues it helps reassure you that a deep clean has occurred but arguably you get that from seeing the collection bin fill up with muck.
Dyson V15 Detect Absolute review: Battery life, emptying and filters
On Economy mode, I found the battery lasted 50 minutes, while you’ll only see 11 minutes of cleaning on the maximum setting. Recharging the battery takes around 4hrs 30mins. The Dyson V11 Outsize lasts longer in its low power mode (nearly 1hr 20mins), but slightly less time in maximum power mode (9mins 8secs).
To empty the V15’s collection bin, you have to remove any accessories. Then you can simply hold the unit over your bin and pull down the lever to open a trap door in the bottom, which ejects the dirt. It’s a reasonably straightforward process that works well but it can be a bit of a fiddle to remove the accessory you’re using mid clean just to have to clip it back on again.
There’s only one filter and it’s washable – just soak it in running water. However, you do have to leave it to dry for 24 hours before you pop it back on the vacuum.
Dyson V15 Detect Absolute review: Verdict
Dyson has done it again. This cordless stick vacuum cleaner tackled everything we threw at it, with cleaning power that’s just as good as its previous models, and backs this up with a slew of new and worthwhile features.
The three redesigned motorised heads are all eminently useful. Anti-tangle rollers aren’t new to vacuuming, but it’s good to see Dyson finally embracing the technology, and the dust-spotting laser leaves you in no doubt your hard floor is clean. The Dyson V15 Detect Absolute is the best cordless vacuum you can buy right now.
There’s no denying it’s expensive, though, and if you can live without the new features, you can still pick up one of the older models, such as the V11 (£499) or the V10 (£399), and get almost as good a clean. You will have to detangle the rollers every now and again, though. Alternatively, cordless sticks such as the Vax Blade 3 or the Eufy HomeVac S11 do a decent job, too, for less than a third of the price.