The reality is, in this age of social media the bandwagon effect is alive and well. More and more consumers are forming opinions about products based on hive-mind approval, as opposed to their own personal experiences with said product. At the end of the day, when it comes to any product, the best opinion is the one you form yourself after the personal experience – Facebook ‘Likes’ and trending Tweets be damned. Let’s face it, in recent years the Dyson brand has taken some heat. While there’s no doubt that Dyson’s marketing and branding efforts are brilliant, when it comes to the actual vacuums themselves, Dyson remains a polarizing figure for many consumers. Some of their models have been lambasted for being over-hyped, others are over-priced, and some are even touted as being unreliable.
You’ll be happy to know that we too chose to ignore public opinion when it came to testing and reviewing the Dyson DC39 Animal Canister Vacuum Cleaner. Our verdict? Well, read on to find out! Hint: our review ended up being posted on a site dedicated to showcasing only the best vacuum cleaners on the market.
Compared to most vacuum cleaning manufacturers, Dyson is a relative newbie in the industry. The British technology company was founded in 1993, and its freshness in the arena encouraged the company to take unconventional approaches to product development. The Dyson Ball™ is one such technology that helped Dyson products quickly go mainstream and become an object of desire for consumers.
The Dyson Animal series in particular, has a near cult-like following amongst pet owners, with many consumers swearing by its performance. As its namesake implies, Dyson’s Animal vacuums are specialized to tackle the cleaning challenges that owning a pet presents. The Dyson DC39 is a canister variant in this series, and the model’s biggest claims are excellent maneuverability and suction power. We put the DC39 through its paces to find out for ourselves.
If there’s one thing most people can agree on, it’s that Dyson takes unique design to a different level. That’s not to say this vacuum isn’t without its share of flaws (more on that later), but there are definitely innovative elements that make the Dyson DC39 stand out from the pack. On top of looking like a cool futuristic space pod (with a flexible antenna), the DC39 has a relatively small footprint. Although it’s actually a full-sized canister vacuum, there’s no bloat or extraneous body casing; everything has a functioning purpose, and after its runs, the Dyson was easily stowed away in our tiny closet space.
The Dirt Cup: The Dyson DC39 Animal is bagless, instead of relying on what the company likes to call ‘Radial Root Cyclone Technology.’ That marketing jargon is just another way of saying the vacuum cleaner spins the dirt/dust/hair up the canister(as a cyclone), through some vents (radial roots) and directly into the dust bin. More on how this performs in real-world applications later. The built-in HEPA filter is a nice additional safeguard for allergy sufferers, as it’s able to trap microscopic particles including mold, pollen, and bacteria.
Maneuverability: The second, and arguably biggest, selling feature of this Dyson canister vac is its maneuverability. Inevitably, there will be some readers who view the Dyson Ball as a gimmicky marketing vehicle. To you we only have one thing to say: give it a try yourself! Even the best traditional wheeled vacuums suffer similar limitations, such as a lack of tight navigation around obstacles. The Dyson DC39 cleverly overcomes this using a multi-pronged approach. Firstly, the vacuum itself rides on the Ball, which has a pivot point located near the center of the machine, allowing for a tighter turning radius. Secondly, the heaviest component of any vacuum – the motor – sits within the base of this Dyson’s Ball, contributing to a lower center of gravity and high stability. A nice bonus we found with using the DC39 is that the Ball’s smooth exterior worked well in not catching or digging into cleaning surfaces.
Triggerhead Tool: The last noteworthy feature of our Dyson test model is an air-driven rotating brush at the cleaning end. We especially appreciated the fact that it can be controlled by a button at the handle end, instead of bending down to change the settings as is the case with most traditional vacuums. In Dyson-speak this is known as the ‘Triggerhead Tool’, and in practice allowed for a seamless transition between cleaning surfaces: simply push the button on to activate the brush for carpet cleaning, or off for more delicate rugs and passes over the hardwood flooring.
Upon firing up the Dyson Animal for the very first time, we were pleasantly surprised by its relative quietness. According to Dyson, the Ball which houses the motor is ‘acoustically treated’ to dampen sound while the canister vacuum operates. The reality is that air forcefully being sucked into a hose is always going to make some noise, but in the DC39′s case, that’s all we could hear. Motor sounds were notably absent and having a conversation with the vacuum cleaner did not require scream-shouting sessions.
The Dyson DC39 did an admirable job of following us around, as we put the canister vacuum through its paces. Its notably lightweight, and coupled with its previously mentioned maneuverability, we found the DC39 effortlessly glided behind us as we briskly covered a variety of uneven surfaces and around sharp corners, with no tipping to be had.
Our first stop was the bedroom, which in our case is dominated by low pile carpets. Here, the Dyson DC39 was impressive. Its relatively small size was almost deceiving, compared to the powerful suction it was able to deliver. Seemingly clean carpets were quickly betrayed by the amount of dust, hair, and grime that were shot into the see-thru dirt holder as we set about vacuuming. As the proud owner of an ever shedding Doberman, we were especially impressed with how readily the Dyson Animal picked up the short, coarse hairs that tended to cling to carpeting, despite multiple pass-overs with several other rival vacuum cleaners.
After our positive experience with the carpet, transitioning to vacuuming hardwood floors was somewhat anti-climatic, as it made us realize the Dyson DC39′s biggest flaw. In our test, we used the canister vacuum on the kitchen’s hardwood to pick up onion skins and random food particles. Although the DC39 did eventually get the job done, several passes over the same surface area had to be made before the floor was sufficiently clean. That being said, when it came to cleaning finer debris, such as dust, hair, and sand, Dyson’s performance reverted back to being thorough and precise.
Regarding high pile carpets and rugs, by the very nature of their design, canister vacuums will never truly replace upright cleaners as the dirt removal champs, but this Dyson held its own. Suction power was sufficient for cleaning the majority of the dirt that was present, but again became a mediocre performer when it came across larger debris such as dead leaves.
It didn’t take long for us to realize the Dyson DC39 Animal Canister’s Achilles heel isn’t an inability to perform on a variety of surfaces – in fact, it tackles carpets and hardwood equally well. No, Dyson’s biggest flaw happens to also be it’s the biggest selling point: its design. The DC39′s inability to capture larger particles and clumps is directly the result of the narrowness of its vacuum head. From an engineering standpoint, the narrow opening (compared to more traditional vacuum cleaners) causes a greater pressure differential, which in turn means greater suction; however, in a real-world application, the feature can prove to be limiting, as the narrow passage acts as a bottleneck for larger debris to get stuck in. Also, we found the brush located on the head could be quite finicky at times and would stop spinning if it wasn’t cleaned properly – although this could have been specific to our test model.
Our final qualm has to do with the vacuum cleaner’s dirt container. We found it interesting that Dyson advertises its HEPA filter as something to help eliminate microscopic dirt – which it does quite well – however, that feature loses its effectiveness when it comes time to empty the dirt container. Because dirt is not stored in a sealed bag, emptying the canister after use can be a messy ordeal, and some debris inevitably ends up escaping back into the environment.
If you require an appliance that provides deep cleaning that picks up fine dirt and dust particles, and/or you happen to own pets, the Dyson DC39 Animal canister vacuum should be on your shortlist. With a sleek, lightweight design, and powerful suction capability, the DC39 is able to deliver a more thorough level of clean compared to many of its competitors. The triggered button at the top of the handle also makes the job of transitioning between carpets and hard surfaces that much more convenient. However, we would not recommend the use of this vacuum if you require something to pick up larger debris such as dead leaves, spilled chips, etc, as the Animal is a mediocre performer in this department – it gets the job done, but depending on what’s being cleaned, can require multiple passes over the same area. Like most Dyson models, the DC39 isn’t the cheapest vacuum cleaner on the block, but features like its HEPA filtration, significantly reduced noise levels, and 5-year parts and labor warranty make a compelling case for value.
Phenomenal maneuverability; lightweight; acoustically treated for low noise levels; excellent suction power for fine dust and dirt particle pick up on a variety of floor types; designed with pet owners in mind; built-in HEPA filter; excellent warranty coverage.
Lackluster performance for pickup of large pieces of debris – narrow vacuum head design causes clogs; bagless dirt container isn’t foolproof against dirt escaping when being emptied; pricer than most rival vacuum cleaners.