Dyson V11 absolute cordless vacuum review - The best gets better
The Dyson V11 absolute offers several essential upgrades from its predecessor, the Dyson V10, bringing to the party a helpful digital display on the back and more powerful and intelligent suction while retaining the same ergonomic design and excellent portability. If you’re looking for the best cordless vacuum that money can buy, the Dyson V11 is the gold standard for performance, reliability and design.
Mention the name Dyson and you’ll immediately recall two things – their range of hair care products like the Supersonic hair dryer and more likely, their renowned range of cordless vacuum cleaners. We had the pleasure of field testing the Dyson V10 last year which was a revolutionary design for its time. Now, we get the chance to put its successor, the Dyson V11 through its paces in a full-on review.
So what’s the difference between the Dyson V10 and Dyson V11?
For the uninitiated, the Dyson V11 cordless vacuum cleaner is a successor to the original Dyson V10 released last year and features several enhancements that make it more powerful and more intuitive to use than its predecessor.
Both run on a separate non-removable battery that is rated to offer about an hour’s worth of battery life in use on their Eco mode and essentially allow you to suck up all manner of dirt and crud without being tethered to a plug point though the V11 does it in a smarter, better fashion but more on that later.
Externally, both have a similar design with the battery pack set beneath a trigger-style switch. Both have a powerful digital motor set just behind a quick-release dust container with a port for attachments or an extension wand.
Both the V10 and V11 look very similar to each other with a form factor somewhat akin to a 60’s pulp sci-fi ray gun though we were assured that the design was coincidental and was primarily influenced by ensuring that the digital motor, dustbin and attachments were all in line for more efficient airflow and suction.
The V11 also has a similarly robust HEPA filter that can capture 99.97% of the particles in the air including tiny bits of pollen; handy if you have family members prone to hay fever or sinus problems.
The biggest difference externally is that the Dyson V11 has a rear-mounted mono LCD that gives you a wealth of information including remaining battery life, what power mode you’re using and if there is anything clogging up the vacuum. If anything does happen, the screen displays a short tutorial on what exactly to do to rectify the problem which is absolutely genius, allowing users unfamiliar with the V11 to rectify common issues without having to resort to consulting a user manual.
Under the hood, there’s quite a few upgrades with the V11 that allow it to have about 20% improved performance over the older V10 vacuum. For starters, it sports the beefed up V11 digital motor that uses a more robust ceramic shaft that’s three times tougher than steel to allow it to spin at up to 125,000rpm as well as redesigned S-shaped impeller blades.
More discerning users poring over the specs will note that it spins at the same rpm as the older V10 but the key benefit here is that the newer V11 digital is able to kick out more air watts (AW) – meaning that it has more airflow and thus, quite literally, sucks better. The Dyson V11 is capable of 185AW in Boost mode, while the V10 manages a respectable 150AW. It’s also quieter too on account of improved noise insulation around the motor.
The biggest upgrade with the Dyson V11 though is that it’s actually intelligent enough to adjust the suction power depending on what surface you use it on when you slap on the High Torque attachment. This means that more effective cleaning, especially when you use it on the hard parquet, tile or marble floors common in many Malaysian homes and equally effective suction when you transition onto rugs and carpets.
Dyson V11 absolute unboxing
In Malaysia, three packages for the Dyson V11 cordless vacuum exist, each differs in terms of what attachments they come with though they all have the same main Dyson V11 vacuum cleaner in each package. For the Malaysia market, you have the Dyson V11 Fluffy, the Dyson V11 Absolute and the highest end package dubbed the Dyson V11 Absolute+.
The entry level Dyson V11 Fluffy retails at RM2,899 and gets you in on the ground floor with 4 tool heads and 1 soft roller cleaner head with an extension rod done up in bronze. The Dyson V11 Absolute which is our test unit comes with an extension rod in a shade of metallic blue plus 2 extra tool heads for a total of six and an additional High Torque cleaner head for a total of two clocking in at a price tag of RM3,399 – that’s about RM500 extra.
The top end V11 Absolute+ differs in that it comes with a posher looking gold extension rod versus the Absolute’s blue and the Fluffy’s bronze extension wand, and has a handy floor dock so you can leave it standing up in the corner while charging it for RM3,699.
The most unique and newest attachment for the Dyson V11 absolute remains the High Torque cleaner head as it’s the first of a new generation of attachments that have a Dynamic Load Sensor (DLS) sensor built in that constantly samples what surface it’s working on with a roller brush resistance, which then allows the V11 to dynamically adjust its motor speed and suction capabilities for best effect. The other powered attachment with the V11 absolute is a soft roller cleaner head akin to the one on the V10 that is optimised for hard floors.
The rest of the kit are meant for specific situations like a quick release combination tool with bristles on the end, a crevice tool for corners, a mini motorised tool that’s like a cut down version of the larger soft roller head for really tight spaces (great for pet hair on sofas) , a quick release mini soft dusting brush (handy for blinds and fans) and a stubborn dirt brush. You also have an extension wand that allows you to use the Dyson V11 absolute at waist height.
All these attachments snap in and lock without any serious muscle work required and detach just as easily with a press of a button. You can also ditch the aforementioned extension wand and simply plug an attachment head straight into the V11 for use in smaller spaces like car seats and the like.
Combined with its cordless capabilities, the V11 absolute is a versatile vacuum indeed as you can go clean up in places that a traditional corded vacuum wouldn’t be able to work in like attics, ceilings, cars seats and other nooks and crannies far away from a plug point.
Getting our test unit of the V11 absolute out of the box was a relatively simple affair with everything within it securely stored in cardboard partitions to avoid jostling or denting. It’s not designed for you to put it back together again though as the intricate cutouts and partitions just aren’t able to be reassembled again by a mortal man but the package does offer a storage clip and a docking station that you can mount on a wall that you can plonk unused attachments on so that you don’t lose the lot.
Dyson V11 user experience
Getting it up and running was simply a matter of plugging it into the mains for a full charge of the built in battery. Unfortunately, they’ve yet to install hot swappable batteries so once you’ve exhausted a charge, you’ll have to take a breather and hook the Dyson V11 back for a recharge again with the whole affair taking a good 4 or so hours for a full charge.
The rest of the set up was as straightforward as it gets as you simply have to hold it up, snap in whichever attachment you need for the job and then pull the trigger to suck up whatever dust bunnies or crud crosses your path with extreme prejudice. There’s a bit of a learning curve for users to figure out which attachment is ideal for which cleaning scenario but that’s nothing that a bit of hands-on experience can’t solve.
After you’ve filled up the dust bin, you simply have to point it at a trash can and slide the release trigger to dump everything out. The dust isn’t fully compacted so some debris may fly out but it’s otherwise a fuss-free process. This time around, they’ve also improved the tension in the dust bin release trigger and it’s a lot smoother to actuate.
When fully loaded with the extension wand and attachment, the Dyson V11 weighs close to 3 kilos but is still light enough for use for most people with a two-handed grip. For tighter spaces, you can remove the extension wand and just put the attachment directly into the V11.
Over the course of several months, the Dyson V11 was put through its paces around a series of hardwood floors, an assortment of rugs, several marble tiled floors as well as the interior confines of a somewhat dusty SUV that hasn’t been cleaned since Obama was president. The results were impressive indeed.
When we toggled it to maximum power in Boost mode, it thoroughly and efficiently cleaned up all manner of debris from fine hairs, dust, dirty, cookie crumbs all the way to tangles of cat hair as well as other unmentionable detritus without needing more than a single pass. Unfortunately this drains battery life rapidly and you’ll eke out about ten minutes or so of usable power before having to head off to the charging dock.
Battery life is appreciably good with endurance comparable to its predecessor. On the more economical Eco mode, the Dyson V11 is capable of performing beyond the hour markof battery life though it doesn’t work as hard as the high-powered Boost mode and isn’t as effective as Boost mode; this mode is best for a casual clean-up over the weekend or less dusty places around the house.
The fact that the battery is capable of holding up to more than an hour’s worth of run-time makes the V11 more impressive against other similar cord-free vacuums and conventional vacuums in the market today. Of particular value is that the V11 was incredibly handy to clean up car seats and the boot with a full charge allowing us to clean a good portion of a car from several years of built-up dust, leftover chip crumbs, takeout food and other unmentionables.
The High Torque head worked as it says on the tin, dynamically ramping up the suction when we started using it on a carpet and then reducing it when transitioning to tile flooring and it does save a bit of effort having to swap attachment heads. The head also has a slider that adjusts the suction somewhat by lowering or raising two little gates in the housing. Lowering them offers a better seal and more suction especially on hard flooring.
This also has the side benefit of saving a bit more on battery power rather than wasting it by maxing out the power on inappropriate flooring or having to swap attachment heads.
The rear LCD readout is quite a game-changer indeed as it gave a better idea of how much battery life is left in the V11 and more importantly, if the airflow was impeded or blocked by something like an errant wad of clumped tissue papers.
Despite all of the impressive technologies, the V11’s weight remains a concern at 3.05kg. It’s about best wielded two-handed but it’s easy 360-degree swivelling High Torque and soft roller head as well as the ability to ditch the extension wand still makes it a very practical vacuum to use.
Dyson V11 absolute conclusion
As it stands, the Dyson V11 offers slightly improved cleaning performance over the V10 with better suction power but the key benefits are in terms of functionality with the addition of a handy rear LCD readout and an intelligent High Torque head.
Short of industrial cleaning scenarios which are unlikely to occur in a domestic situation, the Dyson V11 absolute tackled everything thrown at it with deft aplomb. It managed to deal with challenging debris that would give other vacuum cleaners pause including bits of gravel, clods of fine dirt, long hair from human and cat alike as well as other bits of dust, dirt and debris whose origins we don’t even dare to contemplate. By and large, you’ll likely be using it in Eco and Auto modes and resorting only to Boost mode in less explored areas of your domicile.
The charging time for the Dyson V11 absolute is a bit on the long side at 4.5 hours for a full charge but for the most part, users including ourselves handily worked around it by cleaning in short spurts and working on other chores while it was charging.
If you’re already an owner of the V10, it’s well worth a look if you need something more powerful that can tackle different flooring and need that LCD display on the back. For those who have yet to own anything from Dyson, this is hands-down one of the best cordless vacuums that money can buy. It doesn’t come cheap but it’s built to last and its ability to work cordlessly away from the mains means you’re able to get more cleaning done.
What we liked Informative rear LCD readout, ergonomic design, excellent performance and intelligent suction feature
What we didn’t Non-removable battery,heavier, no trigger-lock
We say The Dyson V11 absolute offers several essential upgrades from its predecessor, the Dyson V10, bringing to the party a helpful digital display on the back and more powerful and intelligent suction while retaining the same ergonomic design and excellent portability. If you’re looking for the best cordless vacuum that money can buy, the Dyson V11 is the gold standard for performance, reliability and design.
Price RM3,399 for Dyson V11 Absolute, RM2,899 for Dyson V11 Fluffy, RM3,699 for Dyson V11 Absolute+
Suction power 185AW
Run time 60 minutes/4.5 hours charge time
Attachments high torque cleaner head, soft roller cleaner head, quick-release combination tool, quick-release crevice tool, quick-release mini motorised tool, quick-release mini soft dusting brush, quick-release stubborn dirt brush
Accessories charger, docking station, wand storage clip
Size/Weight 250 x 261 x 1286mm / 3.05kg
To purchase the Dyson V11 absolute visit the Dyson demo outlets at The Gardens mall and Mid Valley Southkey. To purchase online visit their official store here.
Review unit courtesy of Dyson