We’ve reviewed various Dyson products here at the Gadgetnutz labs and the latest to go through our rigorous testing is the Dyson V8 Absolute cordless vacuum cleaner. For this review we decided to take a different approach by going for a long-term review, based on 1 year of usage, as opposed to a review that is based on just a few days or weeks of use. We thought this approach was more fitting for the Dyson V8 Absolute due to the relatively high price of the product, the fact that it’s a type of product that is expected to be used for years and because a shorter review period would miss key details that only long-term-usage can reveal.
The review will focus on 4 key question: does the V8 Absolute have the suction power to rival corded vacuums? Is the battery life enough to clean a medium sized apartment with a single charge? Third, is it easy to clean and maintain? Does it have enough suction power to rival a corded vac? And lastly, considering Dyson products are bought for their design as much as their utility, we will also focus on the question: Does it get scratched or damaged easily with regular use? These 4 questions will help us come to a conclusion and answer the most important question of all when considering a cordless vac: Is it a worthy replacement of the traditional vacuum cleaner?
The following are our findings after 1 year of use.
The Dyson V8 Absolute
So, what is the Dyson V8 exactly? Dyson sells 4 types of vacuum cleaners: the full-size upright models, their medium sized cylinder/canister models which consists of their popular Dyson Ball, their smaller stick cordless vacuum cleaners and handheld models. The Dyson V8 Absolute is a 2-in-1 device that’s first and foremost a stick cordless vacuum cleaner, but if you remove the wand, it doubles as a pretty powerful handheld vacuum.
The V8 Absolute and the V8 line
While Dyson have never given an official explanation, it’s safe to say that the “V” in “V8” stands for vacuum(cleaner). The second word used is typically an indication of the intended use and/or the included accessories and will vary by country or region. The “Absolute” name indicates that this specific model includes 2 floor cleaning heads (one for hard(wood) floors and one for carpets) and almost all accessories (more on this later on) and will set you back €399/$450. In recent years this name had been reserved for their very best model with the most accessories, however V8 vacuum cleaners with the “Absolute Pro” name have started to pop up in some countries and includes even more accessories. In the Netherlands and Germany for example, the Absolute Pro model of the V8 (€429/$485) also includes a carrying bag, the up-top adapter and a flexible crevice tool. Strangely, Dyson has opted not release this model in the US and Canada. The V8 also comes in the base Parquet version (Europe) (€349 /$399) which also includes all of the accessories and just the Soft roller cleaner head to clean hard(wood) floors, while there’s also an Animal version (€349/$399) which also includes all of the accessories, but comes with the Direct drive cleaner head for carpets and is sold in the US.
Considering the fact that most consumers tend to have a mix of carpeted areas and hard(wood) floors, requiring both cleaner heads, I would recommend skipping the base Animal and Parquet versions and getting one the Absolute models instead. Both the base come with a single floor cleaning head and buying an additional cleaning head would cost either $75.99 for the Direct drive and a whopping $111.99 for the soft roller. This will put you at a price well above the Absolute, which at the time of writing is now even selling for $375 in the US.
When comparing the Absolute and Absolute Pro, there’s a small increase in price of just €30 (about $33) and yet you get an additional $85(US)and a shocking €134 (Europe) worth of useful extras, making the Absolute Pro the best value in the V8 line up. If you’re lucky enough to live in a country where they sell the V8 Absolute Pro, that’s the one to get! For this reason, Dyson should consider releasing the Absolute Pro models worldwide and simply drop the Absolute, to simplify the lineup.
Speaking of simplifying, Dyson should also consider simplify their naming convention: with names such as Parquet, Absolute, Absolute Pro and Animal things can get quite confusing as to what is included. Dyson should consider keeping the Abolsute Pro for the model with both cleaner heads, and use “Vx Carpet” for the model that comes with the Direct drive cleaner head and “Vx Floor” for the models that include the soft roller. This way it’s easier for the consumer to understand what’s included.
True to its absolute name, the V8 Absolute comes a with wealth of included accessories. Included in the package was the Soft roller cleaner head, a Direct drive cleaner head, the Mini Motorized tool, the Mini soft dusting brush, Combination tool, crevice tool and wall charger. Despite having such an impressive list of accessories, the thing that surprised me the most was the inclusion of the docking station, which serves as convenient way to charge and display the unit. Dyson should continue including the docking station as it has become an essential part of using and displaying the product. It’s also one important reason to get the V8.
The soft roller is meant to be used on hard floors, while the Direct drive is designed for use on carpets.
Worth mentioning is the Mini Motorized tool which is basically a small version of the Direct drive which can be handy for mattresses or upholstery and in my opinion makes the optional mattress tool obsolete.
The crevice tool is a thin plastic extension that’s meant for reaching between small gaps and corners, while the Mini soft dusting brush is perfect for computer keyboard and other electronics.
Lastly, the Combination Tool basically combines the crevice tool and the Mini soft dusting brush into one tool that can effortlessly switch between the two functions. Only item missing, which I think they should have included is an extension hose. While you can always buy this separately, including this would have been a welcome add-on to the included smaller accessories like the crevice tool and soft brush. Plus, considering the price, this is something we’d expect as part of the package.
The V8 vs the rest
When compared to the rest of their cordless vacuum cleaners, the V8 sits in the middle of the pack, slotting between the V11 and Cyclone V10, V7 and V6.
The V6 is their entry model with about 20 minutes at the standard power mode or 6 minutes on max, which is suction power of about 100 Air Watts. The V6 also has the smallest dust bin (0.4L/0.11 gal). At the time of writing, Dyson seem to have discontinued the V6, however you might be able to get this model at some resellers who are trying to get rid of stock for deeply discounted price, making it a good value for those on a budget, smaller homes or apartments. One step up, you’ll find the V7 which will get you a larger 0.14 gal/0.5 liters bin, a longer standard mode at 30 minutes, while the max mode is still 6 minutes at 100 Air Watts. The V8 shares the same 0.14 gal/0.5 liters bin as the V7, however it has a longer 40-minute operating time and a max mode of 7 minutes at 115 Air Watts.
The V10 and V11 can instantly be recognized by their larger, elongated and horizontally placed 0.2 gal/0.76 liters bin. The V10 adds three suction modes, as opposed to just two modes on the previous models. It’s maximum operating time is 60 minutes on the lowest setting, 23 minutes on the higher mode and 8 minutes on max at 150 Air Watts. The V11 has the same 60 minutes operating time on the lowest setting and 12 minutes on max with a suction power of 185 Air Watts). The third mode, the so called auto mode, will adjust power according to the required load. This models also adds a circular LCD display to display the current mode and estimated run time.
The V8 Absolute is instantly recognizable as a Dyson vacuum cleaner with its mix of bright accent colors and gunmetal grey base, the use of exposed functional parts as design elements, the prominently displayed Dyson cyclone and the use of clear plastics to show large parts of the inner workings (like the Bin and soft roller cleaning head). The design can neither be categorized as streamlined nor modern, but is instead mostly functional, choosing to show exposed functional elements such the cyclone assembly and going for well-defined and sectioned parts, elements that other manufacturers typically would try to cover up with smooth pieces of shiny plastic.
Also, worth noting is how they use not 1 but 2 accent colors: purple and red. Continuing the functional theme, these colors have a specific purpose: the color red is used for all buttons or parts that the user is expected to press or push like the trigger to start the vacuum cleaner or the release button for the various interchangeable parts. The color purple is used for parts that contain the washable filters. If that wasn’t enough, the wand is done in a gold-like yellow that really stands out. All of these elements come together in a design language that I can only describe as something that looks like a prototype that you would expect to see in a lab, yet has all the refinement of a high performance, upscale and mature product line. Even stranger is how these functionality-first-aesthetics actually come together and looks really good. Dyson is one of very few manufacturers that has aced this playful, functional, almost prototype look and somehow managed for it to look good in the process.
While Dyson’s vacuum cleaners clearly ace this playful, colorful and functional look, it’s also clear that this design language won’t fit with all home décor and also seems to break with the more modern, streamlined and yet functional design language used on their recent fans, heaters and purifiers. These fans drop this colorful look with its clearly defined parts and goes for a more streamlined look where parts flow into each other and uses various metallic and glossy plastic surfaces. Here they’ve also adopted a more muted color palette that should work with most homes: White/Silver, Black/Nickel and Iron / Blue. This is the direction Dyson should things when it comes to the design language used on their stick vacuum cleaners: a White/Silver model , a Black/Nickel version and an Iron model with just one accent color like their blue, dark pink or purple. They should also go for a more streamlined look, that drops the heavy lines and sectioned of parts. This makes sense since Dyson’s cordless vacs aren’t just vacs, but are considered by many as part of the décor and supported by the inclusion of a dock or stand (v11). Personally, I’m really excited to see a Silver and White model or a fully matte dark grey or matte black model. In short, the vacs should drop the heavy use of colors and look more like the recent purifiers. Dyson, make it happen!
While there are differences between the V6, V7 and V8 in terms of performance, externally they look identical with their downward firing 2-tier radial cyclone unit (vertically placed), while the digital motor is horizontally placed vertically. The V10 and 11 does look better in my opinion with both the digital motor and radial cyclone placed horizontally.
The Dyson V8 Absolute consists of 6 main parts: The main body, battery pack, bin, cyclone, wand and a single interchange tool or cleaner head. One of the first things I noticed on the V8 was the use of the durable, thick plastic that Dyson usually uses on all of their vacs and fans. You might be asking what’s the big deal with regular plastic which can be found on almost all products out there. I’m not sure if Dyson is using some special composition or if they apply some sort of protective layer, but just like every single Dyson product I’ve used before, it somehow never scratches or doesn’t shows any dents or damage for that matter. In the end, it’s still a vacuum cleaner and while doing work around the house I will sometimes accidentally bump it against something or something else will fall on it. Despite all of this, after one year of use, the V8 still looks brand new. A wipe down with a damp cloth is enough to keep it looking new as dust would accumulate between parts. A vacuum is not something you’re expected to purchase every year or two and I’m glad to report that V8 is true to the Dyson tradition of manufacturing very durable products that can go through regular use and still look brand new.
Another fact that I like is how effortlessly everything can come apart and easily be cleaned with a damp cloth. Another bonus is how easy the filters can be removed.
The main body + battery Pack
The main body is done in a fairly glossy dark grey plastic and houses thebattery pack and the rear HEPA filter. The filter can be easily identified by its purple housing and can be easily removed with a single twist. At the top you’ll find a switch that allows you to change between regular and max mode.
The trigger can easily be recognized by its red color and has a satisfying springy action. One feature I do miss here is a so-called lock or hold function that allows you to vacuum without the need to constantly having to hold the trigger in. Also missing is the ability to switch to max mode via the trigger itself. With the current design, you first need to stop, hold the vac properly to not drop and then flick the switch to change modes. Dyson should consider adding a hold function and a two-stage trigger (or a second trigger for max) to more easily switch to max mode.
The handle is wide and comfortable to hold and does the job well, however I do see some room for improvement. Dyson should consider a more ergonomic handle that’s more contoured to the human hand. On the back of the handle you’ll find the opening for the charging cable.
The main body sits on the battery pack which doubles as base when you put the V8 on the floor. Based on the specs on the battery pack, Dyson is using 21.6 V/ 2800mAh 65W Lithium Ion battery which is smaller than I expected. It seems like a very efficient system considering it’s able to drive such a powerful motor for about 30 to 40 minutes.
However, I’ve seen Li-ion batteries with bigger capacities that takes less space, which is why I Dyson should push their limits and at least double the capacity . On the battery pack you’ll find 3 blue LEDS that indicate the charge level. 6 LEDS would have been more accurate, however this does the job. The charger is on the large side, but is attractive with it’s bulbous design and the cable is long enough to do the trick.
The radial cyclone unit + bin
The radial cyclone unitis a two-tier unit that basically houses the 15 cone shapes that create small vortices that attaches and push dust and dirt in the bin. The cyclone also attaches to the body and uses it as a way to slide up and down. A single red lever attached to the cyclone allows you to slide the cyclone out of the bin, automatically triggering a latch to open, dropping the content of the bin. It’s an ingenious mechanism that works incredibly well. One could argue that in some ways it’s even better than the one on the V10/V11 since you don’t need to remove the wand to use it.
The bin looks small, but should be enough for regular cleaning for small apartments to medium size home. Larger home or heavy-duty cleaning would require a larger bin and would be better served by the Dyson ball. Finally, on the top of the cyclone you’ll find the other HEPA filter.
The wand + cleaner heads + tools
The want comes in a gold-ish yellow and has a matte finish. When trying to vacuum under my bed which is quite low, I found myself accidentally hitting the wand against the bed and scratching the wand. As I wasn’t accustomed to this from Dyson products, I decided to try a wet cloth to wipe the cloth and try to buff out the scratches. To my surprise it worked! Not only does it look like brand new once again, but I like the fact that these scratches were easily removed. Apparently, the wand uses some kind of a material or coating that will seem to scratch, however upon closer inspection the material is never always left on the surface and can be easily removed.
My only concern with the wand and the general design comes from the situation where I’m trying to clean under low furniture like my bed. My previous vacuum cleaner was a Dyson DC-26 which had a long flexible extension which attached to a wand. This allowed me to more easily turn the wand and reach under my bed. However, due to the nature and small size of portable vacs, there’s the limitation of being forced to directly attached the wand to the rest of the unit. This means that when cleaning under low furniture you’ll almost have to hold the main body close to the ground in order to reach certain places. In my opinion this can improved by having a two-piece wand that has a lockable articulating ball in the middle. This would allow you to change the angle of attack from left to right/up and down, making it easier to reach underneath low-sitting furniture.
Further complicating things is the the fact that the Soft roller cleaner head lacks the articulating ball you get with the direct drive cleaner head. When reaching under low furniture it can swivel 180 degrees from left to right, however there is no way to lock this, which resulted in it swiveling to the right when you actually needed it to go to the left. An articulating ball on the soft roller head would solve this issue and ideally it should have a locking mechanism.
Another feature I missed on both cleaning heads are lights to illuminate the way underneath the furniture. Ideally you should also be able turn these off. I’ve seen products similar product from competing manufacturers which did have the built-in lights and Dyson should do the same.
The station is extremely hand and a nice way to save space and display the V8. One nice feature is that the docking station allows you to attach two tools.
The problem is that these opening are placed too close to each other, resulting in most tools being too wide to leave room for a second tool or cleaner head. This could have easily been resolved by placing each accessory holder at a 45-degree angle. Dyson seems to have repeated same mistake on the newer V11 dock.
Performance and Daily Use
The V8 was my first experience with a cordless vac and it can be best described as going from a corded phone to a cordless phone: it completely changes how you use it and what you can do with it, however battery life is a constant concern.
With a corded vac I would typically have to pull the heavy unit out of the storage room and get tons of stuff out of the way. Afterwards I would attach a cleaning head and wand, extend the cord and hope for a wall outlet nearby. The cord also meant that I would be limited by where I could go and that I constantly needed to be aware of where the cable was so that I or others would not trip over it. A larger vac also meant that many of us would require a small handheld vac to use in the car or when you dropped a box of cereals, since a full-size vacuum cleaner would be too heavy and too much of a hassle. With the V8, it’s always sitting in the dock, easily accessible, fully charged and you basically pull it out of the docking station and you go. It might sound corny, but the V8 did make cleaning a lot easier and even a bit fun: no cables make a huge difference and the light weight means that I could more easily clean a room in a shorter time. All of this convenience means that I’m never going back to a corded vac again and I suspect this would be the case for almost all home users. The only usage scenario where I don’t see cordless vacs being useful is for professional use, where battery life simply would not be up to task.
Perhaps the biggest change came from the fact that due to low weight and high performance, it doubled as a powerful and versatile duster/cleaning device for other surfaces. With the included accessories I could one moment be dusting the TV, cabinets and speakers using the soft brush and another vacuuming the couch and pillows using the mini motor head. This meant that that with this one tool I could basically clean all surfaces, not just the floor or carpets. This is something I could never do with a regular vacuum cleaner since cables, size, weight and included accessories would have been limiting factors. Simply put, if you regularly do dust around the house using a traditional duster, you’ll want the V8.
Despite all the benefits, as mentioned before, low sitting furniture is one Achilles heel of the V8 and one area that needs to be improved.
Other than low sitting furniture, you should keep battery life in mind when considering the V8. Unlike a corded vacuum it won’t run forever and you’ll have just 40 minutes. For a small apartment to large home this would be enough when you’re only vacuuming the floors or carpets. However, the problems come from V8’s ability to clean all surfaces, which will require a longer run time. On top of that, certain chores like vacuum the couch or thick carpets would require the more battery draining max mode. This meant that in some case the battery would run out before I could clean my entire apartment. This also means that cleaning all surfaces in medium to large homes simply would not be possible. In my case I adopted the habit of cleaning room by room and taking a break while it charges, instead of going for the entire apartment in a single sweep. To answer the question: Is the battery life enough to clean a medium sized apartment with a single charge? It depends on whether you’re cleaning just the floors or carpets or all surfaces. In the latter case, be prepared to clean your house room by room and taking breaks while the battery charges. Also worth mentioning is to charge from 0 to 100% will take a fairly long 5 hours. Dyson should consider using some sort of fast charge technology.
Another area of concern was whether such a small machine could have the suction power to rival a full-size vac. To be honest I was skeptical as I unpacked the device and thought there was no way this could offer the same performance as my trust ol’ my DC-26. I was not only pleasantly surprised with the performance of the unit, but also impressed by how quiet it was.
It had enough power to tackle dirty capes carpet or floors in one sweep. The true power of the V8 became apparent when I tried the Mini Motorized tool on what seemed like a clean couch and mattress and was shocked by all the dust it had picked that I simply did not see. In short, it has the power to rival many midsize vacuum cleaners far larger than the V8.
One difference I did notice with regular corded Dysons vacs is that it has a lower threshold when it comes to when it cuts of the power when the load becomes too much. Many vacs have a load sensor and will cut the power when the load becomes too much, for example when the opening get blocked by a piece of cloth. They basically do this to protect the motor. I bought the separate mattress tool to dust curtains and I noticed that the V8 will cut the power faster when it becomes clogged by a piece of curtain, when compared to the DC-26. This isn’t in no way a con, but is something to consider.
Finally, is it easy to clean and maintain? As mentioned before, I love the fact that the V8 absolute is very durable and still looks like new after 1 year of use. It’s also important to know that I haven’t taken any special care either to keep it looking like this. Another plus is that the unit has two HEPA filters that only need to be washed once a month and never need to be replaced. The one thing I really dislike is the need to regularly buy filters and bags. While the initial price of the unit is relatively high, it’s a huge bonus not having to worry about bags and filters. The filters are easily removed and clearly marked and only require a rinse under regular water and airdried for about 24 hours. Other than that, the soft roller also requires a rinse now and then and can also be airdried for about 24 minutes. Personally I haven’t gotten to clean the roller as it doesn’t look dirty to warrant the cleaning. The rest of the unit requires a simple cloth to keep it looking spotless. When it comes to cleaning and maintaining the unit it scores a perfect 10.
This review revolved around 4 key questions. To summarize, does the V8 Absolute have the suction power to rival corded vacuums? In short, it has the power to rival many midsize vacuum cleaners far larger than the V8 and it doubles as pretty powerful handheld vac.
Next we focused on the question of whether the battery life is enough to clean a medium sized apartment with a single charge? It depends on whether you’re cleaning just the floors/carpets or all surfaces. In the latter case, be prepared to clean your house room by room and taking breaks while the battery charges. Also, worth mentioning is fairly long charge time of about 5 hours. Dyson should consider using some sort of fast charge technology. In case you’re using it just for carpets and floors, the battery life will be enough to clean even larger home.
Third, is it easy to clean and maintain? V8 absolute is very durable and still looks like new, even after 1 year of use. I liked the fact that the unit has two HEPA filters that only need to be washed once a month and never need to be replaced, meaning no additional costs for bags or replacement filters. Other than the filters, the soft roller also requires a rinse now and then and can also be airdried for about 24 minutes. When it comes to cleaning and maintaining the unit it scores a perfect 10.
We also focused on the question: Does it get scratched or damaged easily with regular use? The Dyson V8 Absolute continues Dyson’s tradition of using durable, thick plastics that somehow never scratch or show any dents or damage. A wipe down with a damp cloth is enough to keep it looking new as dust would accumulate between parts. While scratches did appear on the wand, these were easily removed with a wet cloth.
Ultimately, is it a worthy replacement of the traditional vacuum cleaner? The answer would be a definite yes. If you try the V8, there is no way you’re going back to a traditional vac, especially due to low weight and high performance, it doubled as a powerful and versatile duster/cleaning device for other surfaces. On top of that it looks good, has a handy dock, includes many usefull accessories and it performance incredibly well. On the other hand, it’s not perfect, as low furniture, battery life and the lack of lights on the cleaner heads are things to keep in mind. Also the price is admittedly steep. These are however minor gripes that don’t get in the way of the Dyson V8 Absolute, it gets a 9.3 out of 10.
Included Docking Station
Lots of included accessories + both cleaner heads
Functional playful aesthetics
Durable plastics that don’t show scratches or damage easily
Easy to clean and take apart
Filters can easily be removed. No purchase of new filters necessary.
Scratches on the wand can easily be removed with a wet cloth
Makes cleaning easier,
Double as a handheld vac to clean all other surfaces, not just floors or carpets
Consider releasing the Absolute Pro worldwide and dropping the Absolute.
Simplify the naming convention: Vx Absolute, Vx Carpet, Vx Floor.
Drop the colorful look and design: and go for a more streamlined look similar to the recent purifiers. We would love to see a White/Silver, Black/Nickel, Iron/One accent color, matte Black or matte Grey versions.
More ergonomic handle
Wand should be a two-piece with an articulating, locking ball in the middle
No extension hose included
No lock or hold function for the trigger + switching to max mode should be more easy
No lights on cleaner heads to light the way (Should be able to be turned off)
Accessories holder on docking station sit too close together and should be placed at 45-degree angles.
Battery life is not enough for all-round cleaning (not just floors) for an entire mid-size or large home.
Soft roller cleaner head lacks the articulating ball you get with the direct drive cleaner head: under low furniture it lacks control