Dyson DC65 Animal Vacuum Cleaner Review
The Dyson DC65 Animal is designed to induce random acts of cleaning.
In 1978, James Dyson started tinkering around with vacuum cleaners, and the world of housecleaning changed forever. Sir James is now a household name, and his flagship product is the Dyson DC65 Animal (MSRP $599.99) a bagless, upright vacuum that rolls around atop a convenient, swiveling ball.
People looking for an elegantly designed vacuum will find one in the DC65: Hoses slink into handles, and dirt empties with the touch of a button. Unfortunately, the Animal's style didn't match its performance when compared to other vacuums in its price range. It generally had trouble getting dirt out of carpets, and while the iconic ball gave the DC65 a tight turning radius, it also blocked the body from reaching under furniture.
A tool for every situation
The Dyson DC65 Animal has more tools than the average vacuum. It comes with a brush tool for hair and upholstery, as well as a soft dusting brush that allows you to apply suction on delicate surfaces like lamp shades. Dyson also decided to put a twist on the telescopic wand, which has a head that can be angled to more easily clean the tops of shelves. Finally, there's a stiff bristle brush for ground-in dirt.
It should be noted that many of the attachments cannot be held onboard. We fear that many customers will lose them in the back of a closet.
Surprisingly agile for a vacuum so heavy
The Dyson DC65 Animal weighs only 16.9 pounds, which is light for an upright. The iconic ball on the DC65 allows this vacuum to have a very tight turning radius. In fact, much of the engineering of the DC65 appears to have gone into how it handles, and it shows.
That care in engineering is also apparent in some of the details. For example, the power and bristle buttons are placed up top, within arm's reach. The dust bin empties from the bottom with a push of the button—so you don't have to tip it over and shake.
While in operation, the DC65 glided over carpet and hardwood floors. That big ball also gives the Animal enough mass to push through even higher-pile carpets. What the ball doesn't give is a lower profile. As a result, this Dyson has rather poor furniture clearance. You'll end up hitting the ball on the underside of a couch before you can get the carpet clean underneath.
While some operations may be straightforward, other design choices may leave consumers initially confused. One particular idiosyncrasy: You pull the hose attachment out with the handle towards your body, so it's instantly ready for use. While sometimes it's good to avoid the status quo, Dyson has created an Animal that may take some time to tame.
Price and performance don't see eye-to-eye
Getting right to brass tacks, the DC65 has poor cleaning performance for its price range. At $500, it's easily outperformed by other vacuums from Miele and Kenmore. That's not to say the performance is bad—indeed, it's better than a lot of other vacuums out there. It just isn't in line with the price.
The DC65 did well picking large debris up off normal carpet and hardwood floors. However, it struggled to pick up fine grain dirt in deep carpet during our testing. In fact, it left more than 80 percent behind.
On normal carpet, the DC65 fared much better. It picked up 67 percent of all the dirt we left out for it. Even with that marked improvement, however, it lagged behind other vacuums that cost less. For example, the Kenmore 31150 did a better job in all performance tests, but only retails for around $300. We also found the Dyson easier to use, so you should factor that into your calculations as well.
For in-depth performance information, please visit the Science Page.
Superb Form and Function
The Dyson DC65 Animal is a beautiful creature, but its performance alone doesn't justify its price. Whether it's cleaning dirt out of normal carpets or getting food debris off bare floors, the Animal didn't match the cleaning power of other vacuums in its price range.
There are, however, some bright spots: The DC65 has far better handling than most uprights, as the ball it sits atop can pivot around corners with ease. Beyond the handling, it's clear a team of designers spent time and effort making this model look appealing.
Still, there's something to be said about a vacuum that looks and feels good. After all, if a vacuum is so burdensome to use that it stays in the closet, that's almost the same as not owning a vacuum at all.
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