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A Dyson vacuum transforms your life

The Dyson stick vacuums are a revelation that has forever redefined what vacuums are for me.

A while back my family got a Dyson vacuum.

It’s not often that a product turns out to be so much better than incumbents that it entirely reinvents what you imagine the product can be, but Dyson stick vacuums, and the v11 in particular, does just that.

My family has owned and used the v11 for several months, and I’ve liked it so much that I’ve also purchased a refurbished v8 as well for another, smaller location and where cost was more of a concern. I’ll address the v11 in particular since it’s the flagship stick vacuum that Dyson makes.

I am not exaggerating when I say that the second it was charged and ready to go I tried it out and loved it so much that I proceeded to vacuum the entire house until the battery ran out (at least 40 mins alternating between the regular and eco modes). Since that first use, I’ve done this on several other occasions with nearly equal enjoyment. Maybe I’m just weird, but it really has transformed how I think about this task.

Having used more traditional “canister” vacuums in the past (the kind with a rolling boxy unit connected by a hose to a stick and head), the first thing you notice is how great it is to simply hold the entire vacuum in your hand, without worrying about dragging a floor unit behind you like a sort of ball and chain.

The second thing you notice is that this vacuum has an backlit LCD screen on the back of the thing. It feels more like a computer than the vacuums you’ve come to know previously.

The marketing and product CMF is uninspiring for how great the underlying technology is here. I guess it’s an unexciting space but on the contrary, I often feel like some of the best design opportunity exists in places you’ve come to expect something awful. When it’s not just not awful, but actually exciting like this is, it’s a home run.

Not so great

  • Handle isn’t very ergonomically friendly and given the vacuum’s weight, your hand can easily become cramped. Presents a possible accessibility issue for people with arthritis, too.
  • Trigger is very easy to press and there’s no safety, meaning that when you’re carrying it around it tends to activate unexpectedly with an unintentional trigger press
  • Metal tube doesn’t telescope to be any shorter
  • Would be nice to have a light perhaps
  • Single button on back of unit makes for potentially unintuitive interface, but you basically never need to interact with it
  • It can feel a bit plasticy at times, particularly in the points where two pieces connect. These can get creaky and hard to operate over time.
  • Multicolored design can feel juvenile and unconsidered rather than fun and different
  • That you need to remove and clean the air filter (and how to do this) could be more obvious. And it takes forever to dry.
  • Packaging could probably be less wasteful
  • Plastic can be irregular in color, particularly in the graphite colored areas, such that the molding process is evident (you can see swirls from when the plastic was liquid)

Great

  • Practically everything else

★★★
Category-defining and comparatively incredible

Material Culture

A Dyson vacuum transforms your life

A while back my family got a Dyson vacuum.

It’s not often that a product turns out to be so much better than incumbents that it entirely reinvents what you imagine the product can be, but Dyson stick vacuums, and the v11 in particular, does just that.

My family has owned and used the v11 for several months, and I’ve liked it so much that I’ve also purchased a refurbished v8 as well for another, smaller location and where cost was more of a concern. I’ll address the v11 in particular since it’s the flagship stick vacuum that Dyson makes.

I am not exaggerating when I say that the second it was charged and ready to go I tried it out and loved it so much that I proceeded to vacuum the entire house until the battery ran out (at least 40 mins alternating between the regular and eco modes). Since that first use, I’ve done this on several other occasions with nearly equal enjoyment. Maybe I’m just weird, but it really has transformed how I think about this task.

Having used more traditional “canister” vacuums in the past (the kind with a rolling boxy unit connected by a hose to a stick and head), the first thing you notice is how great it is to simply hold the entire vacuum in your hand, without worrying about dragging a floor unit behind you like a sort of ball and chain.

The second thing you notice is that this vacuum has an backlit LCD screen on the back of the thing. It feels more like a computer than the vacuums you’ve come to know previously.

The marketing and product CMF is uninspiring for how great the underlying technology is here. I guess it’s an unexciting space but on the contrary, I often feel like some of the best design opportunity exists in places you’ve come to expect something awful. When it’s not just not awful, but actually exciting like this is, it’s a home run.

Not so great

  • Handle isn’t very ergonomically friendly and given the vacuum’s weight, your hand can easily become cramped. Presents a possible accessibility issue for people with arthritis, too.
  • Trigger is very easy to press and there’s no safety, meaning that when you’re carrying it around it tends to activate unexpectedly with an unintentional trigger press
  • Metal tube doesn’t telescope to be any shorter
  • Would be nice to have a light perhaps
  • Single button on back of unit makes for potentially unintuitive interface, but you basically never need to interact with it
  • It can feel a bit plasticy at times, particularly in the points where two pieces connect. These can get creaky and hard to operate over time.
  • Multicolored design can feel juvenile and unconsidered rather than fun and different
  • That you need to remove and clean the air filter (and how to do this) could be more obvious. And it takes forever to dry.
  • Packaging could probably be less wasteful
  • Plastic can be irregular in color, particularly in the graphite colored areas, such that the molding process is evident (you can see swirls from when the plastic was liquid)

Great

  • Practically everything else

★★★
Category-defining and comparatively incredible

Updated continuously • Last edited on
11.17.23
No items found.
Material Culture

A Dyson vacuum transforms your life

No items found.
Updated continuously •
Last edited on
11.17.23

A while back my family got a Dyson vacuum.

It’s not often that a product turns out to be so much better than incumbents that it entirely reinvents what you imagine the product can be, but Dyson stick vacuums, and the v11 in particular, does just that.

My family has owned and used the v11 for several months, and I’ve liked it so much that I’ve also purchased a refurbished v8 as well for another, smaller location and where cost was more of a concern. I’ll address the v11 in particular since it’s the flagship stick vacuum that Dyson makes.

I am not exaggerating when I say that the second it was charged and ready to go I tried it out and loved it so much that I proceeded to vacuum the entire house until the battery ran out (at least 40 mins alternating between the regular and eco modes). Since that first use, I’ve done this on several other occasions with nearly equal enjoyment. Maybe I’m just weird, but it really has transformed how I think about this task.

Having used more traditional “canister” vacuums in the past (the kind with a rolling boxy unit connected by a hose to a stick and head), the first thing you notice is how great it is to simply hold the entire vacuum in your hand, without worrying about dragging a floor unit behind you like a sort of ball and chain.

The second thing you notice is that this vacuum has an backlit LCD screen on the back of the thing. It feels more like a computer than the vacuums you’ve come to know previously.

The marketing and product CMF is uninspiring for how great the underlying technology is here. I guess it’s an unexciting space but on the contrary, I often feel like some of the best design opportunity exists in places you’ve come to expect something awful. When it’s not just not awful, but actually exciting like this is, it’s a home run.

Not so great

  • Handle isn’t very ergonomically friendly and given the vacuum’s weight, your hand can easily become cramped. Presents a possible accessibility issue for people with arthritis, too.
  • Trigger is very easy to press and there’s no safety, meaning that when you’re carrying it around it tends to activate unexpectedly with an unintentional trigger press
  • Metal tube doesn’t telescope to be any shorter
  • Would be nice to have a light perhaps
  • Single button on back of unit makes for potentially unintuitive interface, but you basically never need to interact with it
  • It can feel a bit plasticy at times, particularly in the points where two pieces connect. These can get creaky and hard to operate over time.
  • Multicolored design can feel juvenile and unconsidered rather than fun and different
  • That you need to remove and clean the air filter (and how to do this) could be more obvious. And it takes forever to dry.
  • Packaging could probably be less wasteful
  • Plastic can be irregular in color, particularly in the graphite colored areas, such that the molding process is evident (you can see swirls from when the plastic was liquid)

Great

  • Practically everything else

★★★
Category-defining and comparatively incredible

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