When I tried out the Dyson V10 Absolute vacuum last year, I was astonished at just how far cordless vacuum technology had come. Prior to my tests, all the cordless vacuums I’d used were either light on power, battery life, or both. In any case, they never stacked up to some of the more powerful corded vacuums I’d used. The V10 was the vacuum that finally broke through, demolishing the cleaning performance of not only all the cordless vacuums I’d used, but even the most heavy-duty traditional vacs too.
Never one to rest on their laurels, Dyson released the Dyson V11 Torque Drive cordless vacuum almost a year to the day after the V10. And just like last year, they were nice enough to send us a sample of their new vacuum so we could test it out. I eagerly snapped up the sample they sent and took it home to get some cleaning done.
What’s New with the Dyson V11?
Let’s say you’re already familiar with the Dyson V10 and other past Dyson cordless vacuums, maybe you even own one. What’s so different about the V11 that you should give it a second look or be compelled to upgrade? At a glance, it looks almost identical to last year’s model, right down to its size and design.
One upgrade from last year’s model is immediately apparent: the new LCD screen at the top of the vacuum. I’ll admit the idea of adding a screen to a vacuum seemed a little gratuitous to me at first blush. That was before I actually used it. In practice, the V11’s color LCD display makes every aspect of operating the vacuum easier, from vacuuming to maintenance. The screen feeds you real time performance reports while you clean, displaying the current cleaning mode, remaining run time, battery power, charging status when plugged in, and maintenance alerts for when it’s time to clean filters or remove a blockage.
At first, I was sad to see that the soft roller head that was included with the V10 Absolute is not included with the Dyson V11 Torque Drive. As someone with an apartment covered in hardwood flooring, the soft roller head was an essential piece of my cleaning process. My sadness abated when I discovered that the V11’s new Dynamic Load Sensor (DLS) technology eliminated the need for tweaking settings and swapping heads. The DLS is embedded within the included High Torque cleaner head, automatically controlling the motor position 360 times a second to detect the brush resistance and set the motor speed for the appropriate surface (i.e. hardwood floors vs carpet).
Dyson’s intelligent features may have automated a lot of the cleaning process, but that’s not to say they’ve taken away all your control; the V11 can be switched between three modes: Auto, Boost, and Eco. Auto takes full advantage of the DLS, adapting the suction power as you clean across different surfaces. Boost mode, according to Dyson, yields twice the suction of any cordless vacuum, making it the perfect option for stubborn dirt and debris. And Eco, the low power setting, is optimized for stretching as much battery life out of the V11 as possible, offering as much as an hour of cleaning time.
Dyson added brains to the V11 with the DLS, but it didn’t skimp on the brawn. The Dyson digital motor in the V11 runs at the same speed as the digital motor in the V10 — up to 125,000 rpm — but in fact helps generate 20% more suction power than the V10. It achieves this by working in tandem with the improved battery Dyson threw in the V11. This new battery has larger high-capacity cathodes compared to the V10, which delivers a significant boost in power over the previous generation model.
Unboxing the Dyson V11
Besides the intelligent High Torque cleaner head, the Dyson V11 Torque Drive packs in a number of other attachments. In the box, you’ll find the mini motorized tool for cleaning small surfaces, combination tool (a 2-in-1 brush and wide nozzle), crevice tool for cleaning gaps and edges, mini soft dusting brush for delicate surfaces, and the stubborn dirt brush for digging out difficult patches of dirt and debris.
In addition to the attachments, you’ll also find the wand, a wand storage clip for keeping the crevice and combination tools attached to the V11, a wall-mounting docking station for more convenient charging, and, of course, the charger itself.
With so many options for cleaning, the mind fills with possibilities about where to even start. I figured I may as well start with the basics, so I outfitted the V11 with the High Torque head and set about cleaning the floor in my apartment.
My apartment’s flooring, outside of the kitchen and bathroom, is all hardwood, which made for an easy point of comparison between the new High Torque head and the old soft roller head. After cleaning my apartment multiple times over with the Dyson V11, I’m happy to report that the High Torque attachment worked just as well for my cleaning needs. Even under close scrutiny, I struggled to find any leftover dirt or other detritus that the V11 may have missed.
Of course, just running over hard flooring doesn’t test the other half of the High Torque head’s capabilities, so I did a little bit of vacuuming on carpet at the Newegg offices to test its cleaning performance. Once again, the V11 and High Torque attachment passed with flying colors, as it was able to clean up a carpeted storage room covered in dirt and other small bits of debris, leaving it spotless. Based on my testing, I’m left to conclude that the DLS technology Dyson boasts about isn’t some ploy to include less attachments, but rather is a step forward in intelligent cleaning. Unlike my regular upright vacuum, there was no fiddling with the height necessary when I switched from cleaning hardwood to carpet (though you can still manually adjust height on the High Torque head if you need to further fine-tune your cleaning), nor was there any need to change attachments like on the previous Dyson cordless models. In other words, a little bit of smarts from the DLS goes a long way in taking the hassle out of cleaning
Switching between the Dyson V11’s three cleaning modes is as easy as pushing the button beneath its LCD screen. As you clean, a running estimate of remaining battery life is displayed on the screen. Before I did any cleaning, I charged the V11’s battery to full, and then did the bulk of my cleaning in Auto mode. At the end of my time testing out Dyson’s vacuum, I still had an estimated battery life of 10 minutes in Auto mode, 6 minutes in Boost, and a whopping 22 minutes in Eco. That’s after cleaning my entire apartment once, spot cleaning it a second time a week later, cleaning my car, vacuuming the carpet at work, and the bit of cleaning I’ll describe in the next section. I found the battery indicator on the screen to be almost pinpoint accurate: once I drained the battery to an estimated 5 minutes remaining in Boost mode, I set a time on my phone for five minutes and continuously ran the V11 over some carpet in Boost mode. In the end, the battery died just six seconds before the timer ran out, making the Dyson V11 more accurate at measuring battery life than most other electronic devices I’ve used. You can likely attribute this to the innate system monitoring and altitude sensors embedded in the vacuum, which measure battery capacity four times a second. Whatever the reason, I believe the results speak for themselves.
The Dyson V11 in…The Crumb Conundrum
Last year, I spent a lot of time describing how each tool with the V10 performed, and while I could take the same tact again this year and monotonously drone on about how, surprise, each of them are great and did an amazing job of cleaning my apartment, car, and work space, I’m going to actually get a little more personal this time around and show you how well the V11 worked for me.
Let me preface this with a small (at least that’s what I intended when I began writing this bit) anecdote. I’m a man of few vices, but one thing I like to enjoy after a hard day’s work of writing Newegg Insider articles is a tasty Nature Valley Oats n’ Honey bar. Believe me, dear readers, when I tell you that every day I look forward to unwrapping the crinkling green and yellow packaging of those sweet bars and taking my first surgery, but guilt-free (it has “Nature” in its name, it’s obviously healthy!), bites. There’s only one little thing that hampers those few minutes of snacking bliss: those bars shed crumbs like, uh, whatever type of dog sheds a lot. Now my nightly snacking ritual involves laying down an elaborate quilt of paper towels to catch whatever fragments may rain down as I enjoy those sweet, sweet Nature Valley bars.
Despite my best efforts, after cleaning up the patchwork quilt of crumbs I’ve left in the wake of my treat, I inevitably see that a few crumbs somehow snuck through the cracks and found their way embedded in my cheap lousy area rug. This wouldn’t be a big deal if it weren’t for the fact that every effort I’ve made at getting those crumbs out has been thwarted at every turn. My poor personal vacuum didn’t stand a chance—in fact, I made the mistake of running it straight over the rug, which resulted in lifting the rug off the floor and creating some shaggy patches. My vacuum’s crevice tool didn’t fare any better, and so I’ve been left to handpicking out each little crumb I discover.
You could suggest that I just eat my tasty snack somewhere else where it’s easier to clean the crumbs, like the other 90% of my apartment that’s bare hardwood flooring. But to that I say, I shouldn’t have to refrain from snacking where I want just because my vacuum isn’t up to the task! Dyson apparently agrees with me, because the V11 was just what I needed to restore a sense of cleanliness to, for lack of a better term, my snack nook.
So, with that all out of the way, I’m going to show you a before and after comparison of the rug to demonstrate how well the Dyson cleans out stubborn crumbs. At least, that’s what I had in my mind. After examining the set of photos I took, it dawned on me that just showing a picture of a crumb-covered rug and another picture of a clean rug really wouldn’t illustrate the cleaning power of the V11—in fact, how could I even prove that the Dyson vacuum even did the job? So, for the sake of proving to all of you just how effective the V11 was at cleaning up my messes, I went to the trouble of dirtying my freshly cleaned rug by eating one of my beloved snack bars directly over it. For proof, here’s the smoking gun:
With the rug freshly sullied, I set about producing a more convincing piece of evidence to the Dyson V11’s stellar suction and cleaning capabilities. So, if you want to see the conclusion of this incredibly long-winded tale, take a glimpse at the video of me cleaning my crumb-encrusted floor with the V11 and its mini soft dusting brush attachment.
Not only did the Dyson V11 do a great job of cleaning my rug, it managed to do so with just the mini soft dusting brush attachment (and even with me awkwardly cleaning while holding my phone in my other hand to record the process). While I’m sure the stubborn dirt brush would have performed similarly well, based on the excellent job it did cleaning dirt off the floor of my car, I used the soft dusting brush because of its specialization in cleaning delicate fabrics, and rightly assumed that the brush could clean my rug without making it any shaggier.
I should also mention that the V11 was perfectly capable of cleaning out all the crumbs in Auto mode. I never needed to engage the Boost mode for even the most stubborn embedded bits of debris. That’s especially impressive when you consider that the Auto mode of the V11 still produced enough suction to dislodge and suck up stubborn crumbs that other vacuums failed to clean. Now, writing after my testing period, I miss the V11 already.
A Cordless Vacuum With Smarts
Beyond adding more power and battery life, I couldn’t think of any ways Dyson could improve on what they achieved with the V10. But the intelligent cleaning offered by the DLS and LCD screen makes cleaning so much easier than it already was on the previous model that I was once again awed by the ingenuity of Dyson’s design. One of the main drawbacks to going with a cordless stick vacuum from other brands is the battery power and suction capabilities, however Dyson has solved the riddle more than twice over. The Dyson cordless vacuums have been powerful for years, but with the Dyson V11, harnessing that power is now easier than ever.
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