Review: Dyson V8 Absolute Nails the Cordless Vacuum

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Dyson has been the vacuum cleaner of choice around my house for over a decade. We used to go through vacuums on a yearly basis, thanks to three kids and an extended family of pets—always with a pair of large-ish, long-haired dogs in the mix. My wife recently became enamored with a Dyson V8 Absolute cord-free model during a demonstration at a store and despite reservations about power and battery life, we decided to take the plunge.

Dyson V8 Absolute Review
The Dyson V8 Absolute includes the cord-free vacuum and a boatload of accessories and attachments. (Photo by Brad Moon)

Does It Have the Needed Power?

We’re down to two dogs at the moment, but they are prolific shedders. Through the lead-up to Christmas, floors had to be vacuumed daily (at least) and 20 minutes after they were done, big clumps of fur would be everywhere.

The Dyson V8 Absolute’s Direct Drive Cleaner Head made short work of the dog fur—along with the salt, sand, and other junk tracked in from outdoors—on carpet, laminate, and hardwood. The V8 Absolute also includes a Soft Roller Head that’s designed to get every last bit of dust off hard floors. It worked great, but we typically leave the Direct Drive Cleaner Head on as it also does a very good job and works on all floor types. Another bonus with this drive head is that it has suffered virtually no accumulation of tangled dog hair, something I’m always cleaning out of the power heads on our other vacuums.

As a handheld with the included Mini Motorized Tool, it tore through the dog fur on stairs and furniture.

On the toughest spot—a front door mat that collects both dog fur, and all the dirt, sand, and salt from three kids coming and going—I switched on max mode for a truly impressive boost in power. This thing cleared the mat in half the time it takes with my Animal upright. That power boost does come at the cost of battery life, though.

The Dirt Bin

With Dyson vacuums, you don’t change bags, you empty a dirt bin. The V8 Absolute’s has a new ejector mechanism that makes it easier than ever, with no need to touch anything. Pulling up the lever opens the bin and pushes the dirt out in one motion.

One downside to this vacuum is the dirt bin size. To keep the vacuum light, it’s smaller than on an upright. When vacuuming the entire house, I usually have to empty the bin twice.

Dyson V8 Absolute Review
The Dyson V8 is easy to operate with one hand, but the dirt bin does fill up quickly, at least in my house. (Photo by Brad Moon)

Battery Life

The replaceable battery (you can even buy third-party versions on Amazon) is rated for 40 minutes on a charge. But… if you use a motorized head, that is reduced to 25 minutes. And on max mode, that drops to just seven minutes. However, the vacuum only runs when you pull the trigger, which helps to extend actual run time. And I’ve had few situations where max power was needed. In our house, there’s no problem doing a top to bottom vacuum with power to spare. In the month we’ve been using it, I think there has been maybe one situation where the battery ran out before we were finished.

Recharging the battery takes about five hours.

Flexibility

This is one flexible vacuum. Dyson includes a half dozen tools in the box, along with a wall-mountable charge station. Tools connect and remove easily and it takes just seconds to convert from a handheld to a stick vacuum. It’s light and well balanced, easily used with one hand.

Can One Cordless Vacuum Replace Two Uprights?

We live in a split level house, so there are four levels. Dragging a vacuum up and down the stairs is a pain, so we keep one on the main floor and one in the basement to minimize the lugging. The cords are still a pain, though, with a lot of plugging and unplugging as you move around.

The Dyson V8 Absolute is very light at just over five pounds. No cords. Since it proved powerful enough to get the job done, it absolutely replaced both of our Dyson uprights, which have been in a closet for the past month.

Dyson V8 Absolute Review
The V8 Absolute in stick mode tackling the dreaded front door mat. (Photo by Brad Moon)

Can the Dyson V8 Convince Teenagers to Vacuum?

This is the tough one. They still don’t like vacuuming, but there is far less pushback about doing it now. The fact that the cord-free design saves time and is far less hassle for moving around goes a long way there. There was also a bit of a cool tech factor that had them fighting to vacuum at first, but that only lasted a few days…

Should You Buy It?

As I said, I’ve been a Dyson user for quite a while now. I appreciate the engineering that goes into their products and the resulting performance. I also appreciate the design of their vacuums that makes it easy to disassemble them if necessary—and it is necessary when your kids vacuum up pens, pencil crayons, and other large objects. I’ve also been able to easily replace worn parts like hoses.

The V8 Absolute shows every sign of delivering the same sort of long-term experience I’ve seen with our other Dyson vacuums. We’ve truly hit the stage where a Dyson cordless vacuum can be your only vacuum.

The only reason I wouldn’t recommend it is if you have a house large enough that 40 minutes of runtime won’t be sufficient. If you don’t have hard floors or don’t care about the difference the Soft Roller Head makes, save yourself some cash and get the V8 Animal instead, though. It’s identical to the V8 Absolute, other than the fact that it lacks that additional power head.

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