The Dyson Cyclone V10 vacuuming under a dresser.
Photo: Dyson

With spring cleaning right around the corner, Dyson is rolling out a new line of impressive-looking stick vacuums.

Today, the manufacturer launched three new models: the Dyson Cyclone V10 Absolute, $699, the Cyclone V10 Animal, $599, and the Cyclone V10 Motorhead, $499. Each will be available online at dyson.com or through Best Buy, Bed Bath & Beyond, Target, and Amazon starting March 13th.

It’s been two years since Dyson introduced its V8 series, the V8 Animal and V8 Absolute, and three years since the V6 Cord-Free hit the market. For at least a year, all three have remained at the top of our stick vac ratings for models that weigh less than 6 pounds.

The Cyclone series, Dyson says, has been in development for three years, and the company filed 19 patents to create the line. Dyson mentions that some retailers will carry the V6 and V8 stick vacuums through September, but those lines will eventually be phased out. However, the V7 Motorhead, V7 Animal, and the Cyclone V10 series will be available for the forseeable future.

The Cyclone V10 Series

With the Cyclone V10 series—the Absolute, Animal, and Motorhead—Dyson is trying to stick it to the lightweight stick vac competition, with claims that the Cyclone V10s have the suction power of a corded upright vacuum and can pick up 25 percent more dirt from carpet than the Dyson V8 Animal. Dyson also claims that the battery of the Cyclone V10 series can last up to an hour when the vacuum is in use—a marked upgrade from the 40 minutes of battery life the V8 promises.

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At $699, the top-of-the-line Cyclone V10 is roughly twice as much as our top-rated bagged upright vacuum, and four times the cost of our top stick vacuum that weighs more than 6 pounds.  

So far, the only differences noted between the three V10s are that the Animal and Absolute come with extra attachments, a bigger bin, and a function Dyson calls Brushless Direct Drive, a brushless motor that Dyson claims doesn’t wear out as fast as a conventional motor and doesn’t emit carbon dust when the brushes in the motor wear down.

Consumer Reports rented the Cyclone V10 Absolute directly from Dyson ahead of the company’s launch. We’ll formally test the Dyson V10 series in our labs once it hits the market and we can buy the same units at retail, just like we do with all the products we test. Stay tuned for the full results.

Until then, our test engineers have a few first impressions. In the lab, they walked through a few of the manufacturer's claims to see how the Cyclone V10 Absolute performs, compared with the V8 Absolute, which we have in the lab from previous testing, and with standard upright vacuums.

Claim: 25 Percent More Carpet Pickup

Dyson claims that the V10 can pick up significantly more dirt than its predecessor, the Dyson V8 Animal. We ran both the V10 Absolute and the V8 Absolute through two rounds of the embedded dirt test we normally reserve for uprights. (We determined that the V8 Absolute is similar in power and function to the V8 Animal.) This test is important because it takes into consideration how well a vacuum’s brush roller interacts with the carpet as well as the power of the motor.

The Cyclone V10 did pick up roughly 25 percent more embedded dirt than the V8 Absolute. However, this doesn’t mean that the Cyclone V10 is powerful enough to replace your upright vacuum.

“If we are to compare the performance of the V10 to the performance of an average upright model in our ratings, both the V10 and V8 would score a Good, or a 3, in our carpet test rating,” explains Susan Booth, who oversees Consumer Reports’ vacuum tests. In other words, if we were to rate these stick vacs against the standard upright market, they’d sit, at best, near the middle of the pack for carpet cleaning.

The three new Dyson Cyclone V10 stick vacs.
Photo: Dyson

Claim: Suction Power of a Corded Upright

The Cyclone V10 is a cord-free stick vac. If you're familiar with stick vacs, you know that battery-powered models are often less powerful than their corded rivals simply because they run on limited juice. Dyson is claiming that the Cyclone V10 has as much suction power as a corded upright, which would truly be a first in the stick vac category.

Normally, CR does not perform suction tests on stick vacuums because these generally less-powerful vacuums can’t handle the test. We created a modified version of our suction test for the Cyclone V10, using less wood flour than we normally do because of a stick vacuum’s smaller bin capacity.

The verdict? Our engineers found that the Cyclone V10 has about 20 percent more suction power than its V8 predecessor. The Cyclone V10 would score a Fair rating, or a 2 out of 5, if it were compared with the rest of the corded uprights in our tests. So yes, technically it’s as powerful as a less powerful corded upright. But it can’t compete with a full-sized upright.

Claim: Up to 60 Minutes of Cordless Power

We tested this claim with a simple scenario: Without doing any actual vacuuming, let the vacuum run at a constant power setting until the battery dies. None of the tested run-times lived up to Dyson’s claims.

At the Cyclone V10’s max power setting, the stick runs for an average of 6 minutes. At medium power, the Cyclone V10 runs for about 28 minutes. On the lowest setting, the Cyclone V10 runs for 52 minutes, still 8 minutes shy of the “up to 60 minutes” claim.

A reminder: The vacuum didn't brush up against any surfaces; it was simply running on a steady power setting for as long as it took the battery to run down. If it were being used to clean, these times would likely be lower.

Since this story was first published, a rep from Dyson contacted CR and said that the "up to 60 minutes" claim only applies to use with tools. We took this claim, which is printed on the box, at face value: We ran the V10 with the powerhead, precisely how, in our view, most consumers would use the vacuum (and how we typically test for run time). After we spoke with Dyson, we ran the same test with tools, and the battery did, in fact, run for 60 minutes.

Final Thoughts (for Now)

The Cyclone V10 is certainly more powerful than the V8 Absolute, which currently sits at the top of our ratings for stick vacuums weighing 6 pounds or less. But, can it replace your corded upright vacuum? Not based on our first impressions. And just think, you can get a great corded upright for hundreds less than the price of the new Cyclone V10.


Editor's note: This story has been updated with new information from the manufacturer regarding run-time, and to reflect that Dyson's V7 stick vacuums will remain on the market; Dyson's V6 and V8 lines will be kept at some retailers through September, but will eventually be phased out.