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I used a S$999 Dyson V8 vacuum cleaner for a month. This is what I learned

By Alvin Soon - 3 Mar 2018
Launch SRP:

Handles like a race car

Note: This article was first published on 13th July 2017.

The Dyson V8 is the most fun I’ve had with a vacuum cleaner, it’s also the most expensive one I’ve ever used. It is Dyson’s newest cordless vacuum cleaner, with more suction strength than its predecessor, the V6, and double its battery life.

The V8 also costs a pretty penny, at S$999 for the V8 Fluffy Pro and S$1,099 for the V8 Absolute Plus. Both editions ship with the same vacuum, but the Absolute Plus has more accessories, including a direct-drive cleaner head for deeper carpet cleaning.

I’ve used the V8 for a month while I moved, which means I made it clean up many unnameable things. This is what we’ve learned about each other.


Looks like a cross between a Fast and Furious car and a Bayformer

Specifically, a car from the Tokyo Drift movie.

You’ll either love or hate the way the V8 looks, with its exposed innards and bright colors. I think it’s rather attractive in its own way, but not because I love multi-colored glowing keyboards and Japanese car decals.

It’s because I appreciate how intentional its design is. The loud colors are there, for example, to communicate. Red indicates parts you can manipulate, like the red trigger and the attachment points. The blue parts, like the filters, can be cleaned. Nothing about the V8 is superfluous.

Jokes aside, its design is fully functional. The red, for example, indicates parts that you can press and pull.

The one part that looks out of place for this thousand-dollar machine is the sticker that they paste on the extension tube indicating its edition. It’s like if BMW sells you an expensive car then pastes a sticker of the model on the bonnet. For something that costs this much, it’d have been nicer for Dyson to either etch the model name on the surface or leave it out altogether.


The V8 handles like a race car

For a 2.6kg handheld, the V8 handles very well.

If most vacuum cleaners handle like pick-up trucks, the V8 handles like a road-hugging car that responds to every nudge of the wheel.

The V8 weighs 2.6kg, the same as a light dumbbell, which sounds daunting when you think about hauling it through the entire house. For my part, I found it to be fine once I got the hang of it, but heaviness is subjective and I can’t say it’d be a comfortable weight for everyone.

Using it as a handheld cleaner was also fine for me. The one body part that did get tired wasn’t my bicep, but my finger. Continuously holding the trigger down to activate the vacuum got tiresome — it would have been nice to have a trigger lock of some kind.

The V8 also doubles as a handheld portable vacuum.

The V8 offers a lot of tools for the cleaning aficionado. The Fluffy Pro comes with five attachments, the Absolute Plus comes with three more, plus an adaptor and extension hose. I tested the Fluffy Pro, but Dyson recommends the Absolute Plus, which comes with a direct-drive cleaner head, for people with deep carpets or pets.

You can also snap attachments onto the extension tube for added reach.

The soft roller cleaner head, which ships with both, is likely the one you’ll use most of the time, and it’s highly maneuverable. It can rotate parallel to the ground (but the canister gets in the way), and smoothly to the sides, making it easy to get to those tough spots. The other attachments give you quite a bit of flexibility to reach into odd spaces and get the cleaning that you want doing, and there’s even a mini motorized tool that you can use to clean beds with.

The soft roller cleaner head swivels around smoothly, making it easy to get the corners.

If the names of these attachments confuse you, don’t worry — they are confusing, and the manual doesn’t help. The V8’s instruction manual doesn’t contain a description of each attachment and what it’s best used for. I couldn’t find any descriptions on Dyson’s website either, I had to email Dyson to find out. 

Which part is best for what? Neither the manual nor the website gives you a clue.

The V8 can last up to 40 minutes on a full charge if you use the crevice and combination tool, up to 30 minutes with the mini motorized tool and soft roller cleaner head, and up to 25 minutes with the direct-drive cleaner head. Turn the V8’s suction power on to maximum effort, however, and you get a flat seven minutes, regardless of the attachment you use.

‘Max’ stands for ‘nitro,’ if we’re going along with the race car metaphor.

I was worried that 30 minutes with the soft roller cleaner head might be too short to complete a full sweep, but I never ran out of juice when using the V8. For a complete sweep of my 1,400 square foot flat, I averaged a cleaning time of 20 to 25 minutes, which is under the Dyson’s maximum run time (just vacuuming, no dusting). It also means that if you have a bigger place than mine, you should probably not get the V8.

Because the V8 takes 5.5 hours to fully recharge, Dyson recommends you plug it in and leave it, which made me worry about increasing my power bill. However, Dyson tells me that the V8 is clever enough to stop charging once it’s done, and doesn’t draw any power once idle.

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  • Design 9
  • Features 9
  • User-Friendliness 9
  • Performance 9
  • Value 8.5
The Good
Design makes it easy to maneuver
Powerful suction for deep cleaning
Lots of attachments for flexible cleaning
The V8 itself is easy to clean
The Bad
30 minutes runtime (with motorized heads) will be short for some
Takes 5.5 hours to fully recharge
Expensive, seriously
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