SingleMum.com.au Family Product Reviews | Barbara Bryan | 16 August 2014
SingleMum.com.au reviews Dyson's latest top-of-the-line vacuum cleaner...
Dyson have a great reputation in vacuum cleaners for a reason - they suck like a jet-engine, which is terrific for clean-freaks like myself. I owned a Dyson for many years, and although there were a few small issues (the turbo head died in five minutes, for example - apparently this was a common fault), overall it was a great vacuum cleaner. Guaranteed never to lose suction, that's certainly true for long periods with Dysons, which is a-okay with me. However four years of family vacuuming later, my old faithful Dyson was becoming tired, and it was time for an upgrade.
With such longevity, it seemed good economics to me to buy the newest and best Dyson home-vacuum available, so without many questions I purchased a Dyson DC54 Animal large vacuum cleaner. At $900, it wasn't cheap, but keeping in mind how long-lived and reliable they are, hopefully it would be just as worth it as the last model had been for me. This model was named "Animal", and I hoped that this related to it's ability to suck like a crazed elephant. Later I read the instruction book and realised it meant it was supposed to suck up animal hair - well, okay, that's good too - we have a long-haired dog and cat.
I was eager to see how Dyson had improved what was already a great vacuum cleaner. It was easy to assemble and fire up, and away we went. The suction did not disappoint - possibly it would suck paint off the walls. Some elderly folk may even find it unusable, it sucks so hard, but this is what I love - hurrah!
Let's get something straight - the Dyson C54 blocks up - frequently. To make matters worse, the connectors on this Dyson model are difficult to disconnect - the buttons seem to face the wrong way, and are a two-hand job. "Oh, who cares?" says you, but when you are unblocking this thing EVERY TIME you vacuum, you actually do care, as you find yourself breaking nails and pinching finger tips and palms trying to yet again disconnect everything to find the darn blockage. Some parts of the pipes are completely un-viewable and inaccessible unless you push a wire or similar through it to check for blockages. The turbo head requires a small coin to remove it - another annoyance - to access the very small inlet beneath it which again, frequently blocks up as it is so narrow. This is a vacuum cleaner people, not a water filter - give it clearance to suck some stuff up!
I'm not talking huge objects that cause the blockages either, but tiny things - hair pins, a plastic Barbie shoe, perhaps a tiny chip of wood from the fire - it's impossible to predict what will have you swearing on your hands and knees next after realising you've been vacuuming for five minutes on half-suction. I quickly learned that you must not vacuum up anything bigger than dust, and this alone is irritating when you just want to vacuum the little bits of rubbish or food up - kids are messy, Dyson designers!
Then comes the worst thing of all - emptying the (bag-less) dust chamber. This is marketed as easy, and theoretically, it is - you disconnect the rubbish chamber from the vacuum cleaner - no problem - and then you go to the rubbish bin and the bottom flips open and all the dust falls into the bin - great! Or is it? No - no, it is not!
No matter how meticulously and regularly you empty what is a very small allowance and narrow area for dust (are they kidding?), it jams up the side of the thing. I have been trialling / using this machine for four months and still not managed to empty the Dyson C54 without having to poke up the sides of the receptacle with sticks or my fingers trying to dislodge dust and dirt - piece by piece, dust cloud by dust cloud it comes out - usually all over my face. Yes, you can hit another awkward button and take the chamber cover completely off - another cloud of dust later, you splutter your way through scraping it all out and then the onerous task of getting it back on. Then it's off to the shower with me. I dread emptying this vacuum cleaner, and it must be done at least once or twice a week with our busy family household.
The Dyason DC54 Animal really IS great for vacuuming up pet hair. This turbo head is awesome and reliable, and works great. Thanks to the new ball design, the whole vacuum pulls along effortlessly, and pivots beautifully too. The cord retractor is just as brilliant as the last model - it would possibly pull along leashed horses it's so strong. But somehow, all this doesn't make up for everything else that is a big fat pain that I am going to have to deal with for years to justify the significant financial outlay.
Sorry Dyson, this vacuum cleaner is great at sucking up dust for short periods, but not much else, and is a mother's and father's nightmare to maintain. I wouldn't recommend this model to other mums, I'm afraid. Hopefully Dyson will take feedback on board and improve the layout on the next model, but really, they should have got these integral vacuuming features right by now - it's not all about the engineering Dyson, it's also about the machine's application as it applies to mums!
Postscript - We sent our review to Dyson for feedback - they replied:
"We wouldn't anticipate frequent blockages in normal use, but as with any vacuum, picking up items such as hair pins and toy parts could cause increase the risk of a blockage. DC54 hasn't been designed or tested for this purpose, and for this reason we would advise against using your vacuum to pick these up..."
So on that note, I'll leave it to Aussie mums and dads to decide what really is reasonable to expect a vacuum to vacuum in normal household use - as for our household? Well, I'm afraid we're still paying the price for buying this top-of-the-line model Dyson.
This product review is personal opinion. It may not be reprinted, reproduced, or retransmitted in whole or in part without the express written consent of SingleMum.com.au. This article contains only general information, and prices are applicable to the period the article is dated only. Read the full Singlemum.com.au Disclaimer here