Dyson added some improvements to the DC39, but we're not sure it's enough to warrant its price.
As is usual with Dyson vacuums, the Dyson DC39 ($499.99 MSRP) has a lot to live up to given its price tag. The DC39 has garnered attention due to its new "Radial Root Cyclone" technology, which Dyson says makes the vacuum more likely to pick up microscopic dirt particles. It's also the first Dyson canister model to include its famous ball design and the company claims this gives the machine a lower center of gravity and greater user control.
So, how does this translate to real cleaning performance and usability? We found that the results were mixed. For a compact canister, the the Dyson DC39 was great on hardwood and pretty good on short carpet. Unfortunately, the vacuum didn't fare as well on long carpet and it had some issues with large debris getting lodged in its undercarriage. Whether it works for you depends on what sort of vacuuming you plan on doing.
Design & Usability
Ease of use will be a big chunk of the reason customers are willing to drop $500 on the Dyson DC39.
There's a lot new to Dyson's latest canister vacuum. Its "Radial Root Cyclone" technology is meant to maximize suction during cleaning and pick up dirt that other vacuums don't. And it now uses the familiar Dyson ball design, the first canister vacuum to do so. For the most part, the Dyson DC39 handles well. We had little issue moving around corners with the canister in tow, but vacuuming on high pile carpet was more difficult. It often got stuck in the carpet fibers, which prevented it from gliding smoothly. You shouldn't have too much trouble cleaning walls or shelves with the Dyson DC39 because of its 7.5 foot hose reach. The wand itself is 2.5 feet, so you'll also be able to reach under your couch, table, and other hard to reach places.
At 21.5 feet, the Dyson DC39's power cord is a bit below average but gets points for having an automatic retraction button, though sometimes it will start to pull back in when you don't mean for it to do so. There are four controls on the Dyson DC39: power (long red button on the left side of the canister), power cord retraction (long clear button on the right), power brush on/off (silver button on the handle), and the silver button that releases the dirt container below the power button. Dirt is released from the container through a trap door on its bottom, with a washable HEPA filter located inside that can be pulled out easily. An added bonus? Most canister vacuums have some heft to them, but the Dyson DC39 weighed in at just over 16 pounds.
Features & Performance
If you have hardwood and short carpet, the Dyson DC39 won't disappoint. The same can't be said for high pile.
The Dyson DC39 comes with two cleaning tools, a pet hair brush and crevice tool, that can be attached to the extension wand after unhooking the nozzle head from the end of the wand. Pet hair came up surprisingly easily, with very little getting stuck in the power brush, and hard wood floors came out almost perfectly clean.
It was all downhill from there, though. Short carpet cleaning was barely passable, but our long carpet might as well have not been vacuumed at all.
The debris test produced decent results, with proportionally better performance on hard wood floors, but we ended up having to pull pennies and dimes out of its intake valve the first few times we ran the test. Luckily, the DC39 is designed well and it was not a problem to unhook its different compartments to find the source of the clog. For a small canister vacuum, the Dyson DC39's 0.65 gallon capacity isn't too shabby, either.
Dyson improved the DC39, but we're not sure it's enough to warrant its price.
The new technology that Dyson introduced with the Dyson DC39 sounds great and seemed to be very well thought out. The problem is that in some areas, the "Radial Root Cyclone" feature had a chance to work, and in others it didn't. The DC39 has weight (16 pounds), hose size, and portability working in its favor and it helps that you can turn the power brush on and off. It's certainly an upgrade from the DC26 in performance, but we still find it hard to recommend spending $500 on this vacuum.
The only area where it was truly great was with hardwood, and there are plenty of vacuums that do well there. Think about it this way: for $500, you could buy this, or two Kenmore Progressive 21514s, a vacuum that outperformed the Dyson DC39 in every single category.
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