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Dyson Cinetic Big Ball Review

Price:   $500 List
Pros:  Exceptional at picking up pet hair, handles great
Cons:  Expensive, can get clogged relatively easily
Bottom line:  This vacuums performance seemed disproportionately low to its price
Editors' Rating:   
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Manufacturer:   Dyson

Our Verdict

Similar to the Dyson Ball Animal 2, the Cinetic Big Ball is an excellent vacuum. However, this model also comes at a premium price that doesn't quite align with its performance. This model did great at collecting pet hair and handles great, but its overall cleaning performance just felt a little weak, especially with its exorbitant price.


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Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results

Review by:
David Wise and Austin Palmer

Last Updated:
Wednesday
July 12, 2017

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This premium, bagless canister vacuum did very well in our tests, but failed to distinguish itself. Unfortunately, this model comes at a premium price — a bit of a hard swallow for good, not great performance.

The Dyson Cinetic Big Ball.
The Dyson Cinetic Big Ball.

Performance Comparison


To rate and rank these products, we bought the top models on the market today and put them through an exhaustive barrage of side-by-side tests. These tests were grouped into five weighted rating metrics — Carpet Cleaning, Hard Surface Cleaning, Pet Hair, Ease of Use, and Handling — with the following sections providing more detail about how the Dyson Cinetic performed in each metric.

For such a pricey vacuum  this model didn't do too well at cleaning carpet.
For such a pricey vacuum, this model didn't do too well at cleaning carpet.

Carpet Cleaning


Meriting the highest weighting overall, our Carpet Cleaning metric accounts for 35% of the total score for each vacuum. We spread a set amount of Cheerios, oats, flour, and rice on a section of both low-pile and medium-pile carpet, basing scores on how much residual debris there was and how many passes it took to acceptably clean the carpet. The Dyson Cinetic Big Ball did about average compared to the rest of the pack, earning a 5 out of 10 for its performance.

For the rice cleanup challenge, the Dyson Cinetic failed to impress. It took two passes on the low-pile carpet, collecting most of the debris, but didn't do as well as many of the upright vacuums. It took about eight passes to satisfactorily clean the medium-pile carpet and the cleanup vacuum still collected much more residual debris than the Bissell Zing or the Miele.

The rice proved a challenging foe for the Cinetic Big Ball.
The rice proved a challenging foe for the Cinetic Big Ball.

Moving on to the flour test, the performance of the Cinetic markedly improved. This model tied for the top vacuum with the Shark Rotator in the low-pile carpet test. It carried this performance into the fluffy carpet test, tying for the third place position overall.

The Dyson Cinetic did the best of the entire group at the flour on flat carpet test.
The Dyson Cinetic did the best of the entire group at the flour on flat carpet test.

Moving on to the next test in the lineup, we tasked each vacuum with collecting Cheerios. This proved to be an insurmountable obstacle for the Dyson Cinetic. The Cinetic crushed up the Cheerios, clogging its intake. This caused its performance to plummet. In addition, the crushed Cheerio dust resolutely stuck in the low-pile carpet, refusing to be picked up even after 10+ passes. Performance did not improve in the fluffy carpet, once again clogging and scoring the worst of the entire group.

The Cheerios proved too much for the Cinetic Big Ball  clogging it almost immediately.
The Cheerios proved too much for the Cinetic Big Ball, clogging it almost immediately.

After that abysmal performance in the Cheerio test, the Dyson Cinetic rebounded slightly in the final test of this metric: oatmeal cleanup. This model did about average, taking a decent number of passes, but only leaving some minuscule oat fragments behind.

The Cinetic Big Ball took the most work to push or pull out of the canister vacuums.
The Cinetic Big Ball took the most work to push or pull out of the canister vacuums.

Ease of Use


For our next metric, we compared the noise level, maximum reach, and the ease at swapping between floor types, as well as each model's prowess at cleaning in close to edges and under furniture to determine scores. The Dyson Cinetic Big Ball did reasonably well, earning a 6 out of 10 in this metric, which was worth 25% of the total score.

The Big Ball did a mediocre job at cleaning in close to an edge, taking forever to collect all of the rice, repeatedly dropping rice everywhere and making a mess.

It took a very long time to get it this clean.
It took a very long time to get it this clean.

This vacuum did do a little better at cleaning under our simulated sofa, reaching all the way under without any difficulty.

This model had a decent maximum reach — on par with the middle of the group, as shown in the chart below.


This model also ranked in the middle in terms of noise, measuring in at 70-81 dBa on the SPL meter, depending on what surface is being cleaned. Finally, this model automatically adjusts when transitioning from a hard to soft floor, but doesn't give the option to turn the brush off. However, it does give the option to reduce suction, preventing the brush from clamping down so hard to the floor that it made it difficult to push or pull.

This vacuum didn't have a very long reach.
This vacuum didn't have a very long reach.

Handling


Our Handling metric, consisting of rating the pushing and pulling effort, the ease of cleaning a flight of stairs, and the maneuverability of each vacuum, made up the next largest portion of the overall score — 20%. The Cinetic Big Ball scored very well, tying for the runner-up position with its score of 7 out of 10.

This model did an acceptable job at cleaning a flight of stairs, though it was bested by every other canister vacuum in the test. The Big Ball could only reach 7 stairs before needing to be moved, paling in comparison to the 12 steps of the Shark Navigator. This model reached as far as the rest of the canister vacuums, but is substantially heavier than the others, as shown in the following chart.


The Dyson Cinetic Big Ball is the most maneuverable out of all the canister vacuums, in spite of its weight. It's a little more work to pull the main body, but it will right itself if flipped over — an exceptionally handy feature. Even though this model is on the heavy side, it still doesn't take that much effort to push or pull, on par with the lighter upright models.

This model pushed the oats around  rather than collecting them.
This model pushed the oats around, rather than collecting them.

Hard Surface Cleaning


Our Hard Surface Cleaning metric accounted for 10% of the total score, consisting of a similar set of tests as our carpet cleaning metric. We spread oats, flour, cereal, and rice on a section of hard floor, then assessed how each vacuum did at collecting it.

The Cinetic Big Ball did well at collecting rice, similar to the other canister vacuums, even performing a little better. This model wouldn't push the grains around too much and would always collect them eventually. Moving on to the flour test, the Big Ball did amazingly well, tying for the top score of the entire group with the Shark Rotator. It even collected flour from between the planks of the hardwood floor.

This model did excel at collecting flour.
This model did excel at collecting flour.

Unfortunately, the Big Ball didn't maintain this performance into our cereal collection test. This vacuum started destroying the Cheerios, crushing them and immediately clogging up, causing the Big Ball to fail this test. A similar thing occurred in the oats test, with this model performing the worst of the canister vacuums. It just ended up pushing the oats around, but it would pick up small amounts.

Pet Hair


For the final metric in our test, Pet Hair, we spread 5 grams of hair donated from a local pet groomer into a section of medium-pile carpet. We used a floor roller to press the hair in, then compared the performance of each model. This metric accounted for the residual 10% of the total score. The Cinetic Big Ball did well very well, tying for the top score of 9 out of 10. This model collected 92% of the hair, rivaled by the 94% of the Dyson Ball Animal 2 and the 96% of the Shark Navigator Deluxe.

Value


This model is a poor value, costing the most of the entire group and scoring in the second-tier.

Conclusion


The Dyson Cinetic Big Ball is a premium, top of the line canister vacuum loaded with features and technology. Unfortunately, this high-tech model fell a little flat in our test, bested by much less expensive vacuums that cost less than half of its retail price.
David Wise and Austin Palmer

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