Sunday, August 25, 2013

Dyson DC29 Multi-Floor Vacuum Review

Need a vacuum: Hoover or Dyson?
I've been wanting a new vacuum cleaner for a while. I narrowed it down to a Hoover WindTunnel T-Series UH70120 for CAD$ 140, but I've always wanted a Dyson. It's highly touted by satisfied customers and the Dyson marketing department. Twice the suction? A ball? A ridiculous price tag to make it seem like you're part of an exclusive snobby club? What's not to like?
Dyson DC29 packaged
Go with the Dyson
Yes, the marketing worked its magic and I wanted the "best damn vacuum money can buy". There was a sale over the last week that brought the price down for a Dyson DC29 from the regular CAD$ 500 to CAD$ 400, so I just splurged.

FYI: If the DC29 sounds weird, I think it's a Canada-specific model from 2009-ish. It is not available on the website -- not even from third-party sellers. However, the DC29 is available from practically every major Canadian retailer that I frequent. My guess is that it's the equivalent of the Dyson DC25 Ball All-Floors. Canada has its own Animal models, and the DC29 has the ball, so it's not a DC33.

How to justify a $400 vacuum over a $150 vacuum?
What sold me, aside from the marketing and brainwashing, was the warranty and support. After going through dozens of Dyson reviews, what I noticed was pretty consistent acclaim for the service and support provided by Dyson. Also, the warranty and repair process seemed simpler -- I read of some people just being sent replaceable parts.

Other manufacturers did not appear to be as good. I read about people being asked to send 20 lb vacuums across the country or just being left hanging. Whether any of it was actually true or not, I don't know.

The 5-year warranty on the Dyson was also a great selling point. Cheaper Hoovers that I was looking at only had a 2-year warranty. That helped justify a price increase of x2.5, which took me to around $375 ($150 x 2.5). If I had to replace a $150 vacuum 2.5 times, it would still be cheaper, obviously. However, I was also thinking that a vacuum with a 5-year warranty wouldn't die as quickly or often. This, and the belief that the Dyson is the "be all" of vacuums, helped me justify the difference.
Fully-assembled Dyson DC29 with wand extended
I bought by Dyson DC29 from a Best Buy. It shipped through Canada post and required a signature. Sucked for the person who had to sit home and stalk the mailman. The package isn't that heavy, but it's bulky. Amazon says that a DC25 is around 20 lb with a 11.7" x 11.4" x 38.9" box -- that's over 3' long. My box seemed longer. Anyways, I usually get tired carrying 10 lb boxes home from Ikea nowhere near as bulky, so I'm glad I shipped it.

The box was fabulous and not a typical boring brown cardboard box. This box was made to sell the product on the showroom floor. Why don't I have a picture? Because I'm lazy. It had opening instructions that required only two flaps on the ends to be pulled up after laying the box on its side. The box was not sealed very securely lengthwise, so it just flipped up. Check out the first photo to see what it looked like inside after I opened the flaps.

All items were wrapped in plastic with cardboard holding everything in place. I didn't need a knife or scissors to get everything out, which was a nice surprise.
Dyson DC29 Brushbar
Assembly itself was very easy -- in retrospect. Having never had a Dyson, I didn't know how things worked and what went where. There were pretty good colored diagrams in the concise manual included, but I was still slightly lost.

The brushbar was not that easy to snap on because I had the body resting at a weird angle, and the articulating brushbar mount kept rolling around. I had the worst time putting on and taking off the wand/handle because I didn't know how it worked. Good thing I'm not that strong because I snapped the handle/wand into the body, then couldn't get it back out -- there was a bit of prying. It turned out that I had to pull the metal wand all the way out/up before it would release from the body. No force was necessary.

And finally, I spent some time familiarizing myself with the removable parts like the filters and hoses in case I'd ever need to unclog something. Not a bad idea considering this was the first and last time the vacuum would be so clean. Unfortunately, I spent a good 15 minutes trying to figure out how to disconnect a section of hose because I thought I saw that it was removable in the manual. It turns out that I was screwing around with the wrong hose. Fingers crossed that I didn't break anything!

But does it work?
Most definitely, yes, and amazingly well. Okay, I've only used it once for half an hour, so it worked for the first time with pristine filters and storage bin. I'll describe my first experience in some detail below. But first some background info.

Last vacuum
For the last year or two, I was using a relatively cheap Hoover that was heavy and could only roll comfortably straight. This vacuum was always stored on the second floor of the house -- I had to carry it up and down a flight of stairs dozens of times, so I'm very familiar with its weight. The Hoover always worked fine in that the vacuum function was operational. Suction wasn't the best. I always had to roll over the same section of floor or carpet a few times, and it still missed things. Clumps of dust or fabric stuck on the carpet occasionally required be to bend down, pick it off the carpet, then drop it back down to be picked up by the vacuum. Sometimes I just gave up and ignored it if that didn't work. To be fair, it was a well ripened vacuum with old filters and a well-used storage canister.

New Dyson
My new Dyson DC29 did not have most of the issues. A lot of this probably had to do with the fact that this was a pristine new vacuum with fresh filters. I only had to roll over the carpet once and it looked cleaner even after I mashed by face up against it to do a close inspection.

Movement was made easier with the ball and articulated brushbar. However, the ball only rolls forward and backward and not side to side. This meant that I couldn't move the vacuum easily side to side, but it did move well diagonally, which made reorienting the vacuum much smoother. Overall, I found the Dyson to be easier to move where I wanted. It also felt slightly lighter than the Hoover I'm used to. There are probably specifications that confirm that.

What I didn't care for too much was the wand. I loved it when using it as an upright vacuum. However, when I pulled out the wand and put on the attachments, it felt like movement was really awkward. The wand seemed too long and the extendable hose didn't extend too well. It will probably get better as I use it more and get accustomed to it. I haven't had a chance to fully extend the hose and check out the suction yet.

Beside the power button is a switch to turn on and off the brushbar, which I've heard makes vacuums work better on regular, non-carpeted floors. Cheaper models I've looked at don't always have the ability to turn off the brushbar. The Hoover only has a height-adjustment for the floor brush, and can't be completely turned off, I believe.

On a final note, the two attachments are good. They snap/click onto the wand, and I believe the hose minus the wand too. I especially like the two-in-one attachment with the brush that can be retracted.

Noise was fine. I didn't notice it being louder like I've read in some reviews. However, I took an SPL meter and measured the noise using a C-weighting from about a foot away. The same thing was done with the Hoover a while back and I think I only got a noise level in the upper-70s at one foot away. In comparison, the Dyson DC29 is 82 dBC (SPL meter never calibrated after purchase) in the video from around a foot away. And this is with the Dyson standing still with the brushbar off.

It probably gets louder when the motor's actually under a heavier load and the brush is active -- the brush got really loud when I didn't turn it off when rolling over hardwood floor. Oh well, that's why I wear ear protection whenever I vacuum.

Love it so far. The Dyson DC29 works great with new pristine filters and feels well designed. Was it worth $400 + tax? No idea. I justified the price tag through its 5-year warranty and perceived durability. Give me a few years to get back to you on this one. It's made in Malaysia, by the way.

Dyson DC29 Vacuum Cleaner Electricity Usage

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