Dyson Ball Animal 2 Review
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Dyson Ball Animal 2 is a high-tech, performance vacuum. It cleans well, handles well, and does an excellent job collecting pet hair. However, it didn't quite measure up enough and is quite costly. Apparently, all the fancy cyclonic separators and other top-of-the-line features aren't cheap.
Carpet cleaning is by far the most important of our tests and comprised 35% of the total score for each vacuum. This metric evaluated each vacuum's ability to collect oats, flour, cereal, and rice. We repeat the test on both low-pile and medium-pile fluffy carpets. The Animal 2 did well but was outshined by a few other exceptional models.
The Animal 2 did very well in our rice collection test on low-pile carpet, taking two passes to get 99% of the rice and a final third pass to collect some residual fragments and dust. It performed similarly in the fluffy carpet, again requiring a couple of passes to clean the mess. When it came to flour collection, a challenge for most models, the Animal was a bit of a disappointment.
Performance improved in our cereal collection test. This model did a decent job collecting Cheerios from flat carpet, getting nearly everything in a couple of passes, and then grabbing the remainder with a couple more. It did a similar job on fluffy carpet but tended to push the cereal around before picking it up.
This vacuum did fine on flat carpet, though it left some crushed oat dust behind after four passes. It performed similarly on fluffier carpet, with all of the large flakes collected after four passes. No matter how many times we tried, crumbs and fragments embedded in the carpet refused to be sucked up.
Ease of Use
We weighted this metric next in terms of importance, and it accounted for 25% of the total score. Testing for this category consisted of evaluating how easy it was to transition between different flooring types, each vacuum's maximum reach, noise levels, and how closely it could clean next to an edge or under furniture. This was not the best metric for the Animal 2, though it certainly wasn't the worst of the bunch.
The Animal 2 did exceptionally well in our edging test, collecting almost all debris, and performed even better than some of the most premium models.
The Animal 2 did just below average for the furniture under reach test. This model reached 6 inches under our simulated box sofa. The maximum reach is just a cut above average, measuring in at 32' with 30' of that being cord length.
Unfortunately for your eardrums, this vacuum is a little loud, especially when on the carpet. Our SPL meter read 76 dBa, which is among the louder readings in our product lineup, though not by much.
The Animal did well here. To assess this, we rated and compared the pushing and pulling effort, maneuverability, and ease of cleaning a flight of stairs. Altogether, these three tests accounted for 20% of the total score.
It was quite easy to clean a flight of stairs with the Animal 2. This model has a nice long reach and could clean 12 stairs before needing to be moved. However, this vacuum is heavy at 16 pounds. Still, it excelled in our maneuverability tests. We cleaned around a set of typical furniture, noting where each vacuum got stuck or missed spots. The Animal is one of the easiest upright vacuums to maneuver and only takes moderate to mild effort to push or pull — only slightly hampered by its weight.
Hard Surface Cleaning
The Ball Animal 2 did very well in our hard surface tests but was not as good as the best models we tested. We once again used rice, flour, oats, and cereal, conducting each of these tests on a section of laminate hardwood floor. This vacuum automatically adjusts the height for hard floors, and we turned the brush off for all of these tests.
The Animal 2 did a perfect job in the rice test, picking up all of the debris on the first pass. However, it did not continue this performance with our flour test, a tough one for many of our contenders. It collected all of the flour off of the floor's surface but left plenty of residual debris in the cracks — even after multiple passes.
The Animal resumed its solid performance in our cereal test, collecting all of the Cheerios in two passes. We were somewhat skeptical at first, as the vacuum initially piled them up instead of sucking them away, but it shifted partway through and collected every Cheerio. This vacuum also cleaned up the vast majority of the oats in only a few passes, requiring only a few more tries to finish the job.
The final metric in our tests, pet hair, accounts for the remaining 10% of each total score. We tested pet hair performance by spreading 5 grams of pet hair from a local groomer onto a medium-pile carpet and pressing it in with a floor roller. True to its name, the Ball Animal 2 did exceptionally well in this test, collecting 98.2% of the hair.
Should You Buy the Dyson Ball Animal 2?
While the Dyson is a fairly decent vacuum, it doesn't perform as well as you'd hope for the incredibly high price. We'd expect premium performance at such a premium price, and the Dyson Ball Animal 2 simply does not deliver. We do not recommend this model, as it was outperformed by significantly less expensive models.
What Other Upright Vacuums Should You Consider?
The Ball Animal 2 is a premium-priced model that fails to deliver premium performance. A better alternative would be to consider the Shark Vertex or the Shark APEX DuoClean Zero-M. They are both a considerable amount less than the Dyson, but both are exceptional vacuums that outperform the Dyson handily. Additionally, the Shark Navigator Lift-Away Professional is a great model to consider that outperforms the Dyson at a much more reasonable price point.
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