Dyson Ball Animal 2 Review
Pros: Great at cleaning carpets and hard floors, nimble, fantastic at picking up pet hair
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Our Analysis and Test Results
The Dyson Ball Animal 2 is a high-tech, performance vacuum. It cleans very well, handles great, and true to its name, does an excellent job at collecting pet hair. However, it wasn't the best overall in the test and failed to win an award. In addition, it is also exceedingly costly — all of those fancy cyclonic separators and other top of the line features aren't cheap.
To truly see which vacuum came out on top and sucked away all the competition, we bought the top models available today and put them through a series of side-by-side tests to award the winners. Each product received an overall score from 0-100 based on its performance in our five rating metrics — Hard Surface Cleaning, Ease of Use, Handling, Carpet Cleaning, and Pet Hair — each weighted proportionately to their importance. The following sections provide more detail about how the Dyson Ball Animal 2 performed and why it only merited the runner-up position.
Carpet Cleaning is by far the most important metric of the test, comprising 35% of the total score. This metric consisted of evaluating each vacuum's ability at collecting oats, flour, cereal, and rice — both on the low-pile flat carpet and medium-pile fluffy carpet. The Dyson Ball did well earning a 7 out of 10, tying for the runner-up position with the Shark Rotator and the Miele Compact in this metric.
The Dyson 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, but it only took two passes — no final cleanup pass required!
The Dyson Ball Animal 2 was a bit of a disappointment in our flour collection test, doing an overall mediocre job. It did average at collecting flour on both low and medium-pile carpet, about on par with the Hoover.
The Animal 2's performance did improve in our cereal collection test. This model did an exceptional job at collecting Cheerios from flat carpet, practically getting everything on the first pass and getting the remainder with a second. It did a little worse on the fluffy carpet, tending to push the cereal around rather than collect it.
This vacuum finished out this performance with an alright score at collecting oatmeal. It did fine on the flat carpet, though left some crushed up oat dust behind. A similar instance occurred in the fluffier carpet, with all of the large flakes collected after two passes, but plenty of crumbs and fragments were embedded in the carpet that refused to be sucked up — even after 8-10 passes!
Ease of Use
Ranking next in terms of importance, our Ease of Use rating metric accounted for 25% of the total score. This consisted of evaluating how easy it was to transition between different flooring types, each vacuum's maximum reach, and its noise levels, as well as how closely it could clean next to an edge or under furniture. The Animal 2 scored reasonably well, earning a 6 out of 10 — tying for the runner-up position with the bulk of the pack.
Out of all the models, the Dyson Ball Animal 2 makes it the easiest to switch between hard and soft flooring. This model automatically adjusts the height, as well as having an option to disable the rotating brush.
This model did well in our edging test, pretty much collecting all of the rice — though it was surpassed by the Kenmore.
For the furniture test, the Animal 2 did about average. This model reached 5.5"-6" under our simulated box sofa — about half as far as the top models, like the Shark Rotator.
The maximum reach of this model was about average, measuring in at 32' - 30' of that being cord.
This vacuum is a little on the loud side, especially when it is on carpet, reading 76 dBa on the SPL meter — the third-loudest of the entire group.
Tying for the second highest score of the entire group, the Ball Animal 2 did very well in our Handling metric. To assess this, we rated and compared the pushing and pulling effort, the maneuverability, and the ease at cleaning a flight of stairs. Altogether, these three tests accounted for 20% of the total score.
It was actually quite easy to clean a flight of stairs with the Animal 2. This model tied for the longest reach of the entire group with the Kenmore Elite, able to clean 12 stairs before needing to be moved. However, this vacuum is a little on the heavy side.
This model did excel in our maneuverability test, tying for the top score overall. We cleaned around a set of typical furniture, noting where each vacuum got stuck or missed spots. This is one of the easiest to maneuver upright vacuum, only matched by the Shark Rotator — a bit of an unfair matchup, as the Rotator has the lift-away feature to increase maneuverability.
Finishing out this metric with a decent score, the Dyson Ball Animal 2 only took moderate to mild effort to push or pull — slightly hampered by its weight.
Hard Surface Cleaning
The Ball Animal 2 did well in the Hard Surface Cleaning set of tests, but not the best — once again finishing runner-up to the Shark Rotator with its score of 7 out of 10. We once again used rice, flour, oats, and cereal as our test messes, 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 Ball Animal 2 did very well 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. The Ball Animal 2 collected all of the flour off of the surface of the floor, but left plenty of residual debris in the cracks — even after multiple passes.
The Dyson Ball Animal 2 resumed its solid performance in our cereal test, collecting all of the Cheerios in a single pass. We were somewhat skeptical at first, as the Dyson initially piled them up instead of sucking them up, but shifted part way through and collected every single Cheerio. This vacuum finished out our test with a solid score, cleaning the vast majority of oats in a single pass, with only a light cleanup pass required to finish the job.
The final metric in this test, Pet hair, takes credit for the remaining 10% of the total score. True to its name, the Dyson Ball Animal 2 did exceptionally well in this test, tying for the top score with its 9 out of 10. This vacuum collected the second highest amount of hair, only rivaled by the Shark Navigator Deluxe. We tested this by spreading 5 grams of pet hair from a local groomer out on medium-pile carpet, then pressing it in with a floor roller.
The Dyson Ball Animal 2 collected 94% of the hair, just lagging the 96% of the Navigator.
The Dyson Ball Animal 2 isn't a great value, offering a second-tier performance at a premium price.
Loaded with technology and other features, the Dyson Ball Animal 2 is priced as a top of the line, premium vacuum. However, it is hard to recommend this model when it was outperformed by a substantially less expensive model.
— David Wise and Austin Palmer