Note: This review was first published on 13 Feb 2021.
As we near the end 2021's first month, it’s time to sober up to one looming, inescapable annual event: Chinese New Year.
Specifically, the spring cleaning part of Chinese New Year.
Even if you’re don’t celebrate the festival, the beginning of the year is when many try to clean up the house and engage in once-a-year deep cleaning before heading into the new year in earnest.
This year, I’m armed with the Dyson Digital Slim as a companion. Launched last August, the Digital Slim is Dyson’s lightest handheld vacuum cleaner yet, and offers almost as powerful a suction as the V11 at a fraction of the weight.
The Digital Slim’s whole package weighs in at just 1.9kg, which is lighter than a lot of laptops. It’s also 20% smaller and 30% lighter than the flagship V11.
Compared to the V8 Slim – Dyson’s previous lightweight model – the Digital Slim is a full 250g lighter.
But all these numbers don’t prepare you for just how light the Digital Slim really is. When I pick it up, the vacuum cleaner weighs almost nothing compared to my own clunky handheld cleaner made by a competing brand.
It’s so light that I can easily lift it up to vacuum nooks and crannies along the ceiling without breaking a sweat. You might have seen such marketing images for much earlier Dyson vacuums, but they are honestly very tiring when you try to pick one up at a home electronics store and mimic the same stance. The Digital Slim, however, now makes that marketing a reality - at least for us Asians. This makes cleaning much more efficient than if I had to fiddle around with various attachments just to clean different part of the house.
And you can literally do just that, thanks to the Digital Slim's full entourage of accessories.The Fluffy Extra version of the vacuum cleaner ships with a whole package of knick-knacks, including:
If you fork out S$100 more for the “pro” version, you’ll get a slightly different group of accessories, including a floor dock that makes grab-and-go cleaning a lot more convenient. Without it, you’ll have to mount the vacuum on a wall with the included dock, which is a bit more of a hassle as it entails drilling.
It’s not immediately apparent which attachment does what, and the unit didn’t come with an instruction book. But for daily cleaning, the self-explanatory tools served me more than well enough. The mattress tool, of course, is great for removing dust and dander build-up, and the light pipe crevice tool helps me go after dust accumulating in the tiniest of spaces and corners.
Of course, it bears mentioning that the Dyson Digital Slim is an attractive bit of kit. Aesthetic considerations might be secondary in many household appliances, but if you’re more design-minded than the ordinary man on the street, the Digital Slim’s svelte footprint, premium materials, build quality, and unique colours definitely checks the box.
In the Digital Slim, Dyson promises no loss of suction despite its smaller footprint and lesser weight. To achieve this, Dyson is keen to talk up the engineering prowess that went into the vacuum cleaner, from the cleaner head to the 11 scrolled cyclones. Naturally, it still features Dyson’s trademarked Hyperdymium motor, which spins up to 120,00 rpm to 100 Air Watts of suction power (tested to international standards and third-party laboratories).
Without a doubt, Dyson delivers on its promises. The Digital Slim is one of the most powerful vacuum cleaners I’ve used, blowing even a competing German brand’s similarly priced model out of the water in suction power. And it accomplishes this with less noise and effort.
Its cleaning power goes beyond suction. The Digital Slim also tackles tight corners and small crevices more effectively, thanks to its well-designed cleaner head (which is quite a bit smaller than the usual Dyson vacuums) and other accessories. It is also adept at sucking up very tiny dust particles that were the result of a recent home renovation project, something which my other vacuum failed to do.
Overall, the floor just feels pleasurably cleaner after a Dyson once-over.
Because it’s so light, I feel more motivated to clean harder-to-reach areas that I may previously look into once every few months. In many instances, I don’t even have to swap out the attachments to make quick work of ceiling corners. Just lift, point, and suck.
The LCD screen and single control button on the Digital Slim makes is super easy to keep an eye on the battery life left and adjust suction power so I can balance between greater suction or better battery on the fly. This visual intelligent system first debuted on the pricier V11 model and I'm glad to see it wasn't left out on the Digital Slim.
At its weakest “Eco” setting, the Digital Slim can run up to 40 minutes. This is more than sufficient to suck down my two-bedroom apartment. As long as I return the vacuum cleaner to its dock after every use, I’ve never once ran out of battery, even on days when I switched to medium power for a more thorough clean.
Cleaning the bin is a cinch as well. A latch opens it easily and all the dust just spills out. You can then run it under a tap to rinse it clean, or simply dump it into a pail for disinfecting.
Despite all its strengths, the Dyson Digital Slim is not without its drawbacks.
If you live in a bigger home, the Digital Slim might not have enough juice to clean your home in one session. In this case, you might want to splurge for the V11, which has a larger battery. Or divvy up your floor cleaning schedule into different sections for different days.
I also found the 0.3L bin to be just a tad too small. It fills up pretty fast and needs to be cleaned out every other day.
The Digital Slim is incapable of standing on its own and has to be leaned against a wall every time you need both of your hands to, say, move a floor mat out of the way. It has a little rubber pad at the bottom of its handle to provide some friction, but I found myself knocking the vacuum over every so often just by engaging in cleaning related actions. In fact, it’s so light that I think a strong gust of wind would easily knock it over.
The trigger is also a little too sensitive, and I inadvertently press it when I try to move the vacuum. This uses up precious battery life. Perhaps a “safety” switch can be added to it in the next iteration.
Last but not least, Dyson neglected to devise a way for us to store all our attachments. Without a bag or a small stand to put the attachments away, I ended up stuffing them into a generic canvas bag. This isn’t ideal, as it could damage some of the brushes.
If you live in a modest-sized apartment, the Dyson Digital Slim is possibly the best handheld vacuum cleaner you can buy for everyday use, thanks to its combination of lightness, powerful suction, and versatile attachments.
Yes, the Digital Slim is expensive. It starts from a cool S$749 and goes up to S$849 with a bunch of different accessories. But this price range is also not unheard of in many other home appliance brands – Samsung, Karcher, and LG, just to name a few, all offer products at this price range, so an apples-to-apples comparison would be more appropriate if you’re shopping for a new handheld vacuum cleaner.
For its price, the Dyson Digital Slim offers an exceptional overall package of performance and handling, so I would say that makes it worth its price. The Dyson Digital Slim is available Dyson's online store, their Lazada flagship store, Dyson's Shopee Mall and in major departmental and electrical stores.