Dyson V11 cordless vacuum hands on review

This vacuum sucks (really well)

What is a hands on review?
Dyson V11 cordless vacuum
Image credit: TechRadar

Early Verdict

While we were very impressed by the V11’s built in sensors, LED display, and suction power, we did find it a little heavy during cleaning. Even so, there’s a lot of very promising tech built in to this smart vacuum.

For

  • Sleek build
  • Powerful suction
  • Smart sensors
  • Helpful LED display

Against

  • Can feel heavy after a while
  • Expensive

After releasing the Cyclone V10 cordless vacuum in 2018, Dyson stopped making corded models entirely, demonstrating its confidence in cordless stick vacuum cleaner. 

One year later, Dyson has launched the V11, which according to the company, boasts “20% more suction power”, as well as a handy LCD screen that displays the remaining run-time and “machine performance in real time”.

So, was Dyson right to ditch the cordless vacuum? We spent a short time with the V11 – read on for our initial thoughts.

Price and availability

Starting at $599.95 / £499.99 / AU$1,099, the Dyson V11 certainly doesn’t come cheap – but here’s where things get a little complicated. Dyson has elected to launch different models and prices in the US, Europe, and Australia, so for simplicity, we’ve outlined the prices and availability of each model by territory below:

United States

In the US, you can get two different models of the new cordless vacuum. Both come  with the new High Torque cleaner head (more on that later) and a range of additional cleaning accessories.

The cheapest is the $599.95 Dyson V11 Animal, which comes with seven additional accessories but doesn't include the LCD display screen. US customers can also get the Dyson V11 Torque Drive, which comes with eight additional accessories and the LCD display screen for $699.95 – this is the model we tested for this hands on review. 

United Kingdom

UK customers will also be able to choose from two versions of the V11 – both come with the LCD screen, but only the more expensive model has the Torque Drive cleaner head.

The cheapest model available in the UK is the Dyson V11 Animal, which comes with eight additional accessories but doesn’t have the Torque Drive cleaner head – this model costs £499.99. 

If you want the Torque Drive cleaner head, you’ll have to pay £100 more for the Dyson V11 Absolute. 

Australia

Australian customers have even more choice, with three different models of the V11 up for grabs. All three come with the Torque Drive cleaner head and LED display screen, differing in terms of the included cleaning accessories.

The Dyson V11 Torque Drive costs AU$1,099 and comes with no additional accessories, while the Dyson V11 Absolute costs AU$1,199 and includes a soft roller head for cleaning delicate hard floors. 

Lastly, you have the Dyson V11 Absolute Pro which costs AU$1,249, and comes with a soft roller head, an extension hose, a mattress cleaning tool, and a flexible crevice tool for getting into all those nooks and crannies around your home.

Image credit: Dyson

Image credit: Dyson

Design

The Dyson V11 looks very similar to its predecessor, the V10, with a sleek, stick-style build that should look fairly unobtrusive in most homes when slotted into the wall-mounted charging dock. 

Like the V10, the new Dyson V11 features an “in-line configuration” where the motor, bin, and cyclone array are all aligned, meaning “air is drawn into the cyclones in a straight line” – which Dyson says creates “powerful Dyson suction”.

Another similarity is the front-facing barrel, where you can attach your cleaning accessories directly. New to the V11 however, is the ability to clip your accessories onto the vacuum itself – a useful touch if you find you often lose attachments or forget to use them on hard to reach areas of your home.  

Behind the barrel you’ll find the V11’s cyclone array, which consists of 14 cyclones in total; Dyson says that they generate “forces of more than 79,000g to fling microscopic particles into the bin”, including pollen and bacteria.

The bin itself has changed as well, and is “40% bigger” than that of the V10, which means you can go for longer between emptying it out.

The biggest change to the design of the new V-series vacuum is the inclusion of an LED display on the top of the barrel. The display itself is bright and colorful, and with crisp images that displays your selected vacuuming mode and the remaining runtime. 

Image credit: TechRadar

Image credit: TechRadar

Features and performance

With any cordless vacuum, battery life is a huge consideration – after all, how annoying would it be to run out of juice halfway through cleaning the stairs?

To address this, the Dyson V11 has three different battery modes: auto mode, boost mode and eco mode. Eco mode is best for long cleaning sessions, and gives you up to an hour of cleaning time; however, it’s suction is less powerful than Boost mode, which is designed for cleaning ground-in dirt (but will drain your battery life fairly quickly.)

Auto mode on the other hand, uses the built in sensors on the High Torque cleaner head to detect brush resistance, allowing the V11 to change the suction power to suit carpets or hard floors in real time. This means you don’t need to change the brush head for different types of floor.

The cleaner head detects the brush resistance “up to 360 times a second” according to Dyson, which is then communicated to the motor and battery microprocessors, which makes for a pretty accurate reading of your floor.

Image credit: TechRadar

Image credit: TechRadar

When we tested the Dyson V11, we tried alternating between a carpet and a wooden floor, and you can feel (and hear) the difference in suction power as you switch between the two. This difference is instant, which means you don’t have to think about which mode will work best on different parts of your home.

The cleaner head is able to detect brush bar resistance up to 360 times a second. This is then communicated to the motor and battery microprocessors, resulting in changing suction power as the vacuum glides between hard floors and carpets, thus removing the need to change cleaner heads for different floor types.

The High Torque cleaner features a mixture of stiff nylon bristles that are designed to drive out ground-in dirt from carpets, as well as soft anti-static carbon fibre filaments, which work to collect dust from hard floors.

We tried vacuuming fine salt as well as larger pieces of cereal from both carpet and wooden floors, and found the suction to be really powerful – the Dyson V11 had no problem with sucking up larger chunks of debris as well as very fine particles.

This is partly thanks to the new V11 motor, which is apparently “20% more powerful” than the V10, spinning at 125,000 revolutions per minute. The motor also has a triple diffuser built in, to reduce noise – we were impressed by how quiet the V11 was compared to traditional corded vacuums.

Image credit: TechRadar

Image credit: TechRadar

Although the V11 is undoubtedly lighter than most corded vacuums, we didn’t think it was particularly light either. Saying that, we were using it with a full bin, so we will be sure to test the heaviness of the vacuum thoroughly when we come to do our full review. 

As well as display which battery mode you are using, the LED display will tell you when it’s time to change the filter and if it’s not connected properly.

Also, if there’s an airway blockage somewhere, the display will play a demo of how to take the vacuum apart to fix the problem – a Dyson spokesperson told us this is one of the most common reasons for customers phoning its helpline, so this could prove a very welcome addition indeed. 

As the release of the Dyson V11 is part of the company’s effort to tap into the wellness trend, a lot of importance has been placed on the vacuum’s filtration system. 

As it’s fully sealed, Dyson says the filtration system “captures 99.97% of particles as small as 0.3 microns”, while expelling “cleaner air” in its place. As we couldn’t exactly see this in action when we tested the V11, we’d be interested to know whether those with allergies to pollen or dust find their conditions improve after using the vacuum around the home – though it’s important to note that Dyson make no such health claims.

Image credit: TechRadar

Image credit: TechRadar

Early verdict

Overall, the Dyson V11 is a very impressive cordless vacuum. While it hasn’t changed much in terms of design from its predecessor, the inclusion of new battery modes, and LED display, and improved filtration and suction could make it a worthy upgrade. 

We were impressed by how well it handled both fine and larger bits of debris, and we liked how quickly it was able to switch modes when changing between carpeted and hard floors. 

One downside of the V11 is that it did feel a little heavy, and we can imagine it becoming quite tiring to use after awhile – you can’t simply leave it standing while you take a break like a corded vacuum, as it needs to be docked in the charging port, otherwise it will topple over.

The LED display looked bright and crisp, and we found the information it displayed to be genuinely useful – having an estimated runtime before the vacuum needs recharging is a really useful feature. 

However, we’ll need to carry out our full review process before we can give a verdict on the efficiency of the battery life, but we’ll be sure to update this review as soon as we know the outcome.

What is a hands on review?

Hands on reviews' are a journalist's first impressions of a piece of kit based on spending some time with it. It may be just a few moments, or a few hours. The important thing is we have been able to play with it ourselves and can give you some sense of what it's like to use, even if it's only an embryonic view. For more information, see TechRadar's Reviews Guarantee.