A Decent Dyson for Light Work

by Jason Dyck
(last updated December 7, 2009)

The Dyson brand has become synonymous with unusual designs and advanced technologies. James Dyson's special design of bagless vacuum cleaners has become very fashionable in recent years, and those vacuums have won awards and certifications from prominent organizations for their quality. I got a chance to try the smallest of the Dyson family, the DC31. It is a cordless (battery powered) handheld unit about the size of a small pitcher, and roughly shaped like one. All the buttons, switches, etc., are clearly marked. The DC31 comes with a crevice tool and a hybrid tool for debris and dusting: the brush part slides back and forth along the shaft, locking into either position. This model also includes a dual speed control. The lower speed gives better battery life and still picks up most things, while the high power setting delivers superior suction for heavy duty jobs.

(For more information on Dyson vacuum cleaners, see their website at http://www.dyson.com.)

Wanting to put the vaunted Dyson technology through its paces, I tackled my staircase which had been the recipient of some tough love by my two toddlers. I also used the DC31 on a few other jobs around the house since then as well. Here are my thoughts on its performance:

  • Ease of use. For quick clean up jobs, the DC31 is great. It maneuvers easily and the grip is comfortable. Emptying the canister is very easy. For long jobs, like the job I did on my stairs, the vacuum's weight becomes uncomfortable. Most of the weight sits well in front of the handle, so after a while it puts a strain on the wrist and arm to hold it up. The speed control button on the back is easy to see and easy to use with the thumb of the gripping hand.
  • Maintenance. The canister is easy to take care of. There are few internal corners where dust and debris could build up, so it requires cleaning less often, and the door in the bottom for emptying it is simple to open and close. Changing and cleaning the filter are also easy. The DC31's filter is made of washable materials, so you don't have to buy a new one very often; just a run through the sink will do the trick. The filter is easy to find, remove, and replace. The battery is even easier, clipping into the bottom of the handle in a manner reminiscent of a power tool battery pack.
  • Pros. The Dyson DC31 has a well-powered motor in it, and it keeps that power going clear through till the battery is drained. As advertised, the vacuum will not lose suction as the job goes on. Without a bag, and using their cyclone technology, the fullness of the holding canister has no effect on the suction. Likewise, the battery level will not affect suction either. The power remains the same right up until the end when the machine simply shuts off. The vacuum is easy to use and to maintain, which are big plusses.
  • Cons. The price of a Dyson vacuum means it will not be for everyone. The DC31 is a very nice machine, and it does its job well, but at $219.99 it is not for those with small budgets. As I mentioned before, it can get very heavy over long jobs. Which leads to my last complaint: battery life. I actually had to finish my stairs with my upright vacuum because the battery on the Dyson did not last long enough to finish the job. It has an estimated battery life of ten minutes on low power and a little over five on high power. Good for quick clean ups, but not for lengthy work.
  • Overall experience. The Dyson DC31 is a very solid little vacuum that delivers very good power in a small, effective package. It does virtually everything I want out of a vacuum. It is especially suited to small clean ups: dusty window sills, spilled flour or sugar, and the like. If the price is not an issue for you, then this vacuum will not disappoint.

Author Bio

Jason Dyck

Jason has been a cook, a hotel clerk, a website developer, a landscaper, a dance instructor, a financial auditor, and the list goes on. He holds Associate degrees in English and Social Science. Jason lives in Utah with his wife and two sons. ...

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