Whole Dog Journal's Blog September 27, 2010

Vacuum of a Pet Owner’s Dreams

Posted at 04:27PM - Comments: (30)

So, two days before my birthday, a large box, addressed to me (not The Whole Dog Journal) is delivered to my front door. It’s been sent from an “expediting” company; there is no return address or name of the person who sent it to me. It’s a vacuum – actually, it’s THE vacuum, the one that’s been lurking on my internet searches and Amazon.com wish list: The Dyson Animal DC 23.

I ask my husband. “Aw, honey, did you buy me a vacuum for my birthday?”

“Are you crazy?” he responds. “You can’t buy a wife a vacuum for her birthday! I’d never live it down!”

He had a point – but I was conflicted. This was the vacuum of my DREAMS! My sister (the one with three little dogs) has had a Dyson Animal upright model for years, and she raves about it. She’s talked several of her friends into buying one, and they’ve raved, too. But ouch! They are expensive!

I didn’t know where the Dyson came from, but I couldn’t take the suspense any longer. I opened the box, and assembled the pieces, including the “turbine head.” I took it right to my living room, the room with the patterned Berber carpet, mildly woven with Otto hair, the hair/rug combination that has previously resisted every other vacuum’s suction. My husband said, “What if it was a mistake? What if it’s not really for you?” I couldn’t be stopped. I turned the Dyson on and started vacuuming. And it was like a miracle.

The amount of hair (and dust) that the Dyson was able to get off the rug was incredible – and a little embarrassing. I had just vacuumed a few days before. Otto hangs out with us in the living room only in the evenings for a few hours, as my husband plays guitar or we watch a movie. But a look at the transparent canister told the tale: There was a TON of hair in there. I couldn’t believe how much. It made me want to vacuum our tweedy fabric couches, immediately. And so I did, with the “mini turbine head” attachment. And I almost fainted when I saw the debris and hair I’d recently been lounging on, concentrated in the vacuum’s canister.

Please don’t get me wrong: I keep a pretty clean house. My dog is not allowed on my couch, though our ancient cat is permitted to be anywhere she’s comfortable. If I see a dust bunny floating down the hall, I whip out a vacuum, a broom, a mop – whatever it takes to get the floors looking clean again. But the Dyson was able to clean our rug and sofa to a level no other vacuum has been able to.

Long story short: It was no mistake. The birthday connection was just a coincidence. The Dyson company sent me (and, probably, many other pet publications) the Animal DC 23 to review, no strings attached. (In fact, it took them a week to send me an email that explained the arrival of the vacuum.)

In a normal Whole Dog Journal product review, we’d take several products of a similar type and compare them to each other. But I don’t see any other vacuum coming into this house or my office for a long time. They will have to pry the vacuum wand out of my cold, dead fingers. I love this vacuum.

Look for a less passionate, calmer review in an upcoming issue of Whole Dog Journal. In the meantime, you can find more detail about the DC 23 at dyson.com.

Comments (30)

We bought a Dyson DC-39 (canister) earlier this year online from Walmart. (It was delivered to the door). It has been GREAT, compared to my former Euereka canister bought only a year before (and that conked out, despite a repair). The Dyson is UNBELIEVABLE what/how much in one sweep, it will pick UP. I did NOT choose the upright, because I needed a lighter-weight model, since I have fibromyalgia. My husand had to correct me, as I tried to put too MUCH pressure on it when pushing over the carpet. Instead of trying to push a manual "lawn mower" it GLIDES & weighs VERY little. Easier for me to take up the stairs, too. We also bought the allergy kit, with more heads. We LOVE it!

Posted by: Betsy | February 13, 2013 12:38 PM    Report this comment

One Doberman, one Pound puppy (Boxer / Shep mix?), and one stray (Rat Terrier / Chihuahua?) mix. A real broad range of coats, and one Miele S5 cannister gets it done around my house.

Posted by: JERRY S | November 12, 2010 7:07 PM    Report this comment

wow wish I could afford it!!

Posted by: soberdog | October 21, 2010 7:46 PM    Report this comment

I don't think we'll ever own another vacuum. With 3 dogs and 3 cats the fur is relentless, regardless of how well we feed them, they still shed, and we would be buried alive in animal fur if it wasn't for our Dyson. My mom also has severe allergies and she's able to coexist with them all without too many problems, and I have no doubts that it'd be a zillion times worse if we didn
t have our Dyson.

Posted by: KAYLA D | October 19, 2010 11:58 AM    Report this comment

I am a long time animal owner and Rainbow user. I have tried bagless and the Meile with the hepa filter. For getting carpeting, wood floors, upholstery even beds really clean I have found that the Rainbow out performs the others. Also when dealing with fleas they go into the water and are drown. My dogs are Newfoundlands, Rottweiler, German Shepherd..Lots of hair.

Posted by: bodyke@yahoo.com | October 1, 2010 8:23 PM    Report this comment

I have the older Animal Dyson (3 1/2 yrs old now) and it still works really well, but i really hate having to empty the canister the dust really sticks very well to plastic! So i recently bought a Miele and I love it - great suction - better than Dyson, the head is long and flat so you can get it under furntiture - better than the Dyson which has bulky head, and it swivels so you can vacume very easily in tight spaces - best of all it has a bag! no more dust flying around!

Posted by: zela | October 1, 2010 8:56 AM    Report this comment

I haven't tried a Dyson but I love my Rainbow. My mother-in-law hated it so they gave it to us. I really love it, it cleans everything. I love this vacuum although I would never had paid the money to buy one myself, I think they're way too expensive to buy a new one.

Posted by: Kelley D | October 1, 2010 3:54 AM    Report this comment

No Dyson here, just a 14-year-old Rainbow D4-SE, which uses a pan of water in which to collect the dirt, hair, and debris, including sticks and redwood needles, that accumulated in my house. This vacuum not only picks up the dirt and dog hair, it cleans the air, sucks up water, and can be used to wash the carpet. With an elderly Golden Retriever, a young Lab, four cats, a chicken who sometimes gets into the house, and a dusty dirt road, I need all the help I can get. I love this machine's ability to not only pick up everything and freshen the air but take care of life's smelly messes. The fact that it has a small beater brush attachment makes cleaning the sofa and chairs a snap, and it works like a champ in the car, too. It never loses suction because all the junk goes into water rather than a bag and you can empty it down the john, water your plants, or put the dirt you pick up back where it came from. Rainbows aren't cheap - they're priced like the Kirby - but I'll never go back to a standard vacuum, with or without a bag.

Posted by: LucyB | September 29, 2010 2:45 AM    Report this comment

Already asked but not answered, what is the price of this wonderous machine?
My Oreck has been a disappointment. Those of you with Rotties know how much this "short haired" breed sheds!! Nancy, Belated Congrats on your Birthday. I
LOVE your publication. WDJ sets the bar (HIGH). leaving all others in the dust.

Posted by: Deborah T | September 28, 2010 9:43 PM    Report this comment

After replacing "regular" vacuums, well ... REGULARLY (as in, once a year), we broke down and sprung for the Dyson Animal -- BUT we got it at Kohl's with a 30% off coupon, AND free shipping! :-) Still expensive, but worth every penny!

We currently have two coat-blowing Belgians (one Malinois, one BSD), four cats, a guinea pig, always at least one foster dog (breed varies) and visiting dogs, plus a teenage girl who brushes her hair like she's getting paid to do it. So, no lack of fur/hair at our house ... and the Dyson handles it with ease.

I love that it's super-easy to clean: Just remove the canister, pop out the round filter (and wash it if necessary), and then dump out the nasty bits. I also wash the canister about every other use in hot water and a mild bleach solution, to avoid the doggy-odor build-up that can occur.

I also love the fact that it's very "intuitive" -- i.e., we never once had to RTM :-)

My only quibble with the Dyson is that the hose is stiff and unwieldy, and is hard to stretch out beyond its "compressed" length. Other than that, though, I wouldn't trade this baby for anything! Definitely my dream vacuum!

Posted by: DancesWithWords | September 28, 2010 6:24 PM    Report this comment

With my 6 dogs (clean and always groomed show dogs) I have found that my little Kenmore canister does a better job of getting out the dog hair than my Dyson. Within a year of purchase the Dyson was covered in duct tape-covering tears in the ever tearing hose and covering areas exhausting dirty air from the canister. The beater brush can't survive one round of vacuuming without turning the unit over and cutting off all of the hair. And most of my flooring is wood! Redeeming quality-bagless, but I will never buy another.

Posted by: JAN C R | September 28, 2010 6:07 PM    Report this comment

Amazing what we look for in a vacuum. My canine breed of choice is the poodle so I do not have a shedding problem. However I foster rescue house rabbits. You should see the look on the sales person's face when I ask them if their vacuum can handle hay.

BTW - We have had and love our VAX utility vacuum for years. We also have two Roombas to handle every day traffic.

Posted by: Furrykids | September 28, 2010 4:58 PM    Report this comment

I love my Sebo K3 vac for keeping my wall-to-wall carpets aussie, border, golden and 3 cats fur free.

Posted by: Deb | September 28, 2010 4:25 PM    Report this comment

Where I have an older Dyson, I too love the way it picks up hair, but not its weight, bulkiness and inability to go under most furniture. I do know if you REALLY want one, and you live near a Bed, Bath & Beyond Store, you can use one of there 20% off coupons on the vacuum - even though it states you can't. At least my local store takes them. In most cases that will save you over $100.00

Posted by: Pat C | September 28, 2010 3:24 PM    Report this comment

But 2 other questions...1- where are people getting their Dyson Animals - online, or in most retail stores like Orchard supply or Sears? And what does the animal run these days, $-wise?

Posted by: Jean James | September 28, 2010 2:48 PM    Report this comment

Whoops, sorry for the dupe!

Posted by: Jean James | September 28, 2010 2:40 PM    Report this comment

Oh darn...I wish I had heard about the Dyson Animal DC 23 a few months ago! [But then the upright is probably out of my price range at this time, and I only have one small wall-to-wall carpeted room in my cabin and a "Flokati" Greek long-haired area rug in the LR that a vacuum wouldn't work on anyway, a rug that by the way is perfect for dogs because its cozy, hides dog hair and stains and is small enough to hand vacuum in between trips to the dry cleaners twice a year for a wash] Anyway, back to the vacuum...My old, heavy lug of a vacuum was beginning to growl pretty fiercely and needed replacing, and between the vet hospital where I worked and late night television, the brand name Oreck kept surfacing. So I mulled it over for a number of years, yes years because there's sooo much out there to choose from, when one day I was going through the daily mountain of my post office mail--most of it animal advocacy organizations, when I noticed the Humane Society of the U.S. envelope said "Special offer for your Home." I opened it and lo and behold - a special offer from Oreck, via the Humane Society: "50% off an Oreck XL Upright with Direct Suction"-the Oreck XL Deluxe model. Well, it was meant to be, AND after lugging that immense motor on my old vacuum up and down the stairs for years, I was sold on Oreck not only for their high quality standards, but that you get that quality and straight forward design in an INCREDIBLEY light-weight vacuum, at about 9 lbs. For now it suffices! But thanks Nancy, and belated Happy Birthday!

Posted by: Jean James | September 28, 2010 2:36 PM    Report this comment

I also have a Dyson Animal and I LOVE IT. I have two Chesapeakes and it's unbelievable the amount they shed. The Dyson picks it all up, no problem. I also did the same test first vacuuming with my old one and then the Dyson Animal and I had the same results. Just the other day I accidentally vacuumed up a "stick". It was so easy to take apart and get the stick out. I also got it back together again, no problem and believe me I am not mechanically inclined. I rave to everyone I know about my Dyson!

Posted by: gabriele k | September 28, 2010 1:36 PM    Report this comment

Question: We have parrots, as well as dogs and cats. Does anyone know how well the Dyson Animal works on bird fluff?

Posted by: Catherine C | September 28, 2010 1:29 PM    Report this comment

I have 3 Giant Schnauzers...don't believe the "they don't shed" nonsense. I got a Dyson animal a couple of months and first vacuumed with my old Oreck and then used the Dyson. The amount of hair and dirt it got up after I had just vacuumed was amazing. I LOVE my animal and gladly set the Oreck out on the road and was happy to see it go. I've got hardwoods, tile and rugs and all surfaces are handled beautifully by my big bad Animal!

Posted by: BD Malone | September 28, 2010 12:51 PM    Report this comment

I bought a refurbished Dyson ball a couple years ago and am amazed at how well it cleans. I might mention that I have 3 German Shepherds (they shed constantly), a Corgi (another heavy shedder), and my little Pom. NOTHING cleans as well as, or maintains suction like a Dyson. I will never have anything but a Dyson.

Posted by: borange01 | September 28, 2010 12:30 PM    Report this comment

I had the same experience! Bought a Dyson Animal on the recommendation of friend with 3 Australian Shepherds and 3 Maine Coon cats. It is incredible how much hair and dirt the thing picks up without removing half the nap of your carpet or upholstery along with it. I have 1500 sq feet of hardwood with area rugs, and the Dyson handles that easily. Then I haul it upstairs, where I have another vacuum but....., and use it on the wall-to-wall carpet.

Consumer Report's bashing of the Dyson Animal didn't affect me. I totally reject their dog food reviews, too. I have different preferences than they use in their ratings for dog food, vacuums and some other products; I weigh the variables differently than CR does for some products - and dog food and vacuums are two of those products - and come up with different selections.

I can't wait till I can afford to buy another Dyson Animal for the upstairs so I can stop hauling it up and down!

Posted by: CAROL M | September 28, 2010 12:19 PM    Report this comment

I agree! The Dyson is the best. I had a Kirby for years - and also very expensive and HEAVY. When I moved to my new house and had to pick up after three Rotties, I decided to treat myself to a Dyson Animal DC 23. I looked at the Consumer Reports ratings and Dyson did not do very well. I couldn't understand why not as I had friends raving about their older Dysons. I took a chance and I'm glad I did. Sure it's expensive but it takes no time at all to get my house clean. I have a mixture of carpet and hardwood floors and the Dyson does a magnificent job in the whole house. I'm sold!

Posted by: Rochelle | September 28, 2010 12:09 PM    Report this comment

Just got the Dyson DC-25 (regular not animal) and it's AMAZING! Hardest working Vacuum I've ever seen. I have three short hair dogs and Only two carpeted rooms, BUT the dyson works on my laminate floors better then a broom! Will never go back to a normal vacuum!

Posted by: PawsOfChange | September 28, 2010 12:07 PM    Report this comment

I have a Dyson, (not the animal model) and while it has incredible suction, it is clunky, doesn't manuever well or fit under any piece of furniture nor does it work particularly well on non-carpeted surfaces. So in essence, you need a second vacuum cleaner to get to all the spaces the Dyson won't reach. A Dyson costs far too much money to only vacuum a portion of my house and for me to require a "back-up" vacuum to get the missed spaces. In my review it's a great basic premise with poor engineering and design.

Perhaps the ball works better...

Posted by: YIKMDLF | September 28, 2010 11:42 AM    Report this comment

I absolutely agree with Nancy! I had the same experience the first time I used my Dyson -- you can not believe how much they pick up from rugs that have already been vacuumed with other brands. Yes, they're expensive, but worth every penney. My only problem is that I have two Borzois and their very long hair gets wrapped around the brushes. But that happens with any vacuum.

Side note: I also purchased an iRobot Roomba and I love it as much as my Dyson. My boys have free run of the house (inside and out) and they drag in leaves, mulch, etc. all the time. I let the Roomba run around during the week to keep things tidy between Dyson vacuumings. I absolutely love it!

Posted by: JUDY M | September 28, 2010 11:38 AM    Report this comment

I agree that the Dyson does provide amazing suction but, I hope you live somewhere that can service it. We have the older Dyson Animal, I believe the model is DC17, and it did work great for about two years and then plastic parts started to break and we had to drive 100 miles to the closest service center or mail it 500 miles and be without it for who knows how long. We have since converted to Simplicity Synergy which is more expensive then the Dyson but, it is made in America with metal parts and any vacuum repair shop should be able to service it. The suction doesn't match the Dyson but the brush power really digs in deep to carpet and more that makes up for the suction difference. If you do plan to review vacuums I would be very interested to see a Simplicity or Riccar in the line up as they are great vacuums built right here in the USA.

Posted by: Heidi R | September 28, 2010 11:24 AM    Report this comment

I have had a Dyson Animal for years now. I have 2 Labrador Retrievers that I train for hunt tests. They bring in a lot of dirt. The Dyson constantly amazes me when I seethe amount of hair and dirt it picks ip every time I vacuum. To justify buying one, I had borrowed a friend's Dyson. I first vacuumed my carpet using the old vacuum, and immediately re-vacuumed, using the Dyson. It was as if I hadn't vacuumed at all! The amount if dirt and hair that it had picked up was amazing. I went out and bought one that very day.

I would like to buy the newer variety "ball", because it is fits under tables and cabinets better than the original design. But I am getting ready to buy new carpet. When I get my new carpet, I will buy one. I will have to justify to my husband why I should buy a new one when my old one works so well. After many years, mine still works as goof as it did the first time!

They are worth every penny!

Posted by: Jennifer E | September 28, 2010 11:22 AM    Report this comment

The DC 23 did not receive very good ratings from Consumer's Reports. In fact there were a number of other vacuums that got a better "pet-hair" rating and had a lower cost. All you can accurately report is that the DC 23 is better than your old vacuum.

Posted by: Steve S | September 28, 2010 11:13 AM    Report this comment

With five constantly shedding Dalmatians in the house I wouldn't be without mine. Have had it a couple of years. Nothing prys dog hair out of furniture like this Dyson!!! Worth every penny....

Posted by: Linda M | September 28, 2010 10:51 AM    Report this comment

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