One of the newest top-tier stick vacuums from Dyson, we initially thought that this product would be a shoo-in for an award, based on the performance of their previous models. However, we were quite mistaken. While the V11 Animal did do very well overall, its second-tier performance in our hard floor cleaning tests dropped it out of the running for the top spot, leaving the V11 empty-handed when it came to awards.
Dyson V11 Animal Review
Pros: Good at cleaning carpets, convenient
Cons: Didn’t do as well as we hoped with hard floors, expensive
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Our Analysis and Test Results
The V11 Animal finished just behind the Shark Rocket DuoClean and ahead of the Eureka PowerPlush. The PowerPlush is a little more convenient to use than the V11 due to its longer battery life. It also did a bit better at cleaning hard floors than the V11 and costs a bit less. However, the V11 has more cleaning modes and does a far better job at cleaning carpet. The Rocket is also quite a bit less expensive than the V11 and can't match it at cleaning soft floors but it does do significantly better at cleaning hard floors, all while being about the same in terms of convenience and ease of use.
In our quest to find the best stick vacuums on the market, we have extensively researched an enormous number of vacuums to identify which ones have the most potential. We then bought all these contenders to test head-to-head in four weighted rating metrics, with the V11's performance in each highlighted below.
Starting off, we began by rating and scoring how convenient it is to use each of these stick vacuums, with the performance in this testing metric accounting for 35% of the overall score for each product. We based this on how easily the V11 cleans other areas of your home besides the flooring, its weight, storage method, and its battery life. The V11 did well, earning a 7 out of 10.
This vacuum includes a wide variety of different attachments and fitting, letting you clean practically anywhere in your home — even the really hard-to-reach areas. All of the attachments use a single-button locking mechanism that is super easy to engage or disengage.
The V11 Animal is about average in weight for these products, weighing in at just shy of 7 lbs.
This cordless vacuum did earn some extra points for a solid battery life, improving a bit on its predecessors. The V11 lasted for about 12.5 minutes on its boost setting on the short-pile carpet and took about 3.75 hours to completely recharge when the battery was totally depleted.
Unfortunately, this vacuum is not balanced to stand on its own, so it either needs to be propped against or you need to use the included wall mount to store it.
Hard Surface Cleaning
After convenience, each vacuum's performance when it came to cleaning hard floors carried the most weight, accounting for 30% of the final score. We spread out rice, flour, cereal, pet hair, and oatmeal on a section of hardwood laminate floor, noting how quickly and easily each vacuum cleaned up the mess and if there was any residual debris that completely eluded the vacuum. The V11 did well, earning a 7 out of 10 but didn't match the performance of the top products, which largely contributes to it failing to claim an award.
This vacuum does not include a hard floor brush like other Dyson models, hindering its performance slightly. The V11 did about average at collecting the rice we spread out, getting the single grains and smaller piles without much difficulty. However, it also did tend to fling plenty of rice to the side.
It did a little better with the flour but still didn't do as well as the other Dyson models that have a hard floor specific brush. We tried out the V11 in all of its different cleaning modes for this test, finding the "Boost" mode to be the most effective at cleaning, as it was the only one that could pull flour out from the cracks between boards. Overall, it got the majority of the flour up, relatively easy.
The V11 did do an excellent job with the pet hair, collecting all of it without issue and did quite well when it came to sucking up Cheerios. It got all of the cereal on the first go but it only has enough clearance to pick them up between the notches on the brush head.
It finished out this test with a great showing in our final test: cleaning up oats. It didn't fling any to the side, like with the rice, and got the vast majority on the first pass. It doesn't do the best at cleaning them up in reverse but only left trace amounts behind.
Ease of Use
For our next metric, we focused on the ease of operating the Dyson V11, looking specifically at the different power modes available, the ease of cleaning under furniture and along walls, its maneuverability, and noise level. These account for 20% of the Animal's final score, with it earning a 7 out of 10 for its results.
This stick vacuum is about average in terms of noise, measuring in at 77 dBa on high and 64.5 dBa on low.
The V11 has an excellent reach when trying to clean under furniture, able to reach about 33" under our simulated testing "sofa" with the handle in the normal orientation. You can even make it further if you twist the handle but this isn't the most comfortable on your wrist. It also is highly maneuverable, with a swivel head.
The V11 Animal leaves a lot to be desired when cleaning in tight corners, but it does do well at cleaning along the edges and walls of a room.
You also have the option of three cleaning modes to use on the V11: Eco, Boost, and Auto. This lets you decide if you need to maximize cleaning power for stubborn messes or battery life if you want to clean a larger area with the Boost and Eco modes. Auto mode is a neat addition that should provide you with the best balance between performance and runtime, automatically adjusting power based on the amount of mess and the type of floor you are cleaning.
Our fourth and final metric assessed the carpet cleaning performance of each product, accounting for the remaining 10% of the score for each vacuum. We used the same sample messes as our hard floor metric, this time spreading them out on both flat and fluffy carpet for the V11 to clean. It did very well, earning an 8 out of 10.
This vacuum did exceptionally well at cleaning up the flour from the low-pile carpet, delivering one of the best performances we have seen to date. It gets over 90% of the flour in normal mode. If you increase the power with Boost mode, then the V11 leaves practically no flour behind at all.
It also did very well with the pet hair, only leaving one or two stray hairs behind on the flat carpet. For our remaining three tests in this metric, we tested the V11 on both the flat and the fluffy carpet, only omitting the fluffy carpet test with flour and pet hair since that is a bit much to ask of any stick vacuum.
It did a solid job at collecting Cheerios on both types of carpet, though it does tend to push them around for a bit on the medium-pile carpet before actually collecting them. Oddly enough, the V11 Animal did significantly better at sucking up the rice from the fluffier carpet than the flat carpet — opposite to how most vacuums did. It does a good job of getting the grains from the piles, collecting 95+% in only two passes. It tends to throw the rice to the side a bit on the flatter carpet and leaves more residual grains but still got the bulk of the rice.
The V11 did about the same with the oats, getting far more from the fluffy carpet than the flat carpet.
This vacuum tends to drag the oats around instead of collecting them when you pull the vacuum back towards you, same as with rice.
The V11 is an abysmal value, as it performed comparably to vacuums that cost substantially less.
While we initially had high hopes for the Dyson V11 Animal, we found it to be a slight disappointment, failing to snag an award. There are a handful of other vacuums that we would recommend over this one when it comes to performance, with quite a few being less costly as well.
— David Wise and Austin Palmer