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02 December 2010 @ 07:44 pm
Dyson DC17 Animal - Quick Shot Review  
 I should be working on homework, but I don't want to.  So, let me tell you all about my new vacuum, instead! 

Yes, I took the plunge, and bought a Dyson.  I did a lot of research first.  Even though one of my best friends has one and loooooooooooooves it like super-special dark chocolate, maybe more, I did not take her word for it.  I researched, and wow, Kirby fans are legion, and they hate Dyson!  Aside from that, though, there also appear to be a small number of Dyson owners who have experienced issues with their vacuum, namely, marking up expensive hardwood or vinyl floors.  This frightened me enough that I was very, very cautious the first time I ran mine over our fake hardwood.  However, I have no idea what happened with these other people, because several times I accidentally ran over the not-Pergo or vinyl with the roller bar lowered, and not so much as a scuff to be seen!  So, no such problems like that for me.

But let's get down to the review.  For the last seven years, my husband and I have been using a Eureka "The Boss" Smart Vac we received as a wedding gift.  It's been a great vacuum, and one of my favorite features was its ability to go from carpet to hardwood with no problem.  However, of late I have noticed a distinct lack in the particular area of picking up pet hair.  We have a husky/lab mix, and a bengal cat.  Both have very soft, white undercoats that shed and get on everything, everywhere.  We have dark throw rugs throughout our house, and that white shows up.  Of late, our Eureka had been leaving behind pet hair stubbornly stuck to the nap of our area rugs.  It's still a decent vacuum, still picks up everything else, just doesn't quite get all the pet hair I would like it to.  Then there's the expenses of owning it: 

Vacuum bags - approximately $8 per month, as we go through one 3-bag package per month or so.  Maybe two months, if we're being lazy and either not vacuuming much, or not changing the bag.  

Hepa filter - $10, and we didn't change ours anywhere near as often as one should.  About once a year, if I remembered.  However, I did try to remember this, as we have several frequent house guests who are allergic to either dogs or cats.  It's just not one of those items you think about too often.  

Belt - we had to replace this once in the last seven years.  I think it cost about $6 for a package of two.  

So, not a lot of expenses, really, but still, the filters were kind of expensive, which I'm sure contributed to me not changing it as often as I ought to, and the bags were honestly a pain.  Nothing like going to vacuum, realizing you're out, and the old bag is full and smells of dog - yuck!

Here is the new Dyson, beside the old Eureka.  If you look up top, you can just see some of my husband's Lego Star Wars on the DVD shelf:

 As you can see they are roughly the same size, just proportioned differently.  I don't have figures, but weight-wise, the Eureka is noticeably and significantly heavier than the Dyson when picking them each up side by side, one handed.  

Which I find rather humorous, since one of the main "complaints" I read about this Dyson was "it is heavy".  Maybe these people have always had small vacuums, but the Dyson did not seem all that heavy for a vacuum to me.  In fact, it maneuvers extremely easily for a vacuum that is in what i would call a 'medium' weight range.  Perhaps this is due to the two separate motors the Dyson uses, but whatever the case, it is really kind of a joy to use.  

Well, okay, let me qualify that by saying: you cannot push this vacuum exactly the same way you manhandle a regular vacuum around the floor.  There is something in the design that I believe Dyson did to keep it from picking up area rugs with the suction, which also makes it very easy to "shove" it into locking back to the upright position, if maneuvered in the same way I used to use my Eureka.  This is more a technique thing, and hard to describe.  It was frustrating for the first ten minutes, then I got the hang of it and apparently adjusted my technique, because it stopped happening.

I ordered a refurbished version of this vacuum.  Honestly, I doubt I'm going to want to ship mine off to a repair center unless something goes drastically wrong.  Otherwise, I'm a pretty fair "do-it-yourself" person to figure out what might be going wrong.  So, losing the five year warranty and gaining a six month one wasn't a big deal for me.  Saving $235 right now, was.  It arrived looking brand new in the box.  I mean, literally.  No scuffs, no dirt, stickers still in place from the factory, sealed warranty and manual, etc.  The directions for where/how to put the accessories are a little lacking, but pretty easy to figure out.  So, let's get to using the thing.

As to the most important aspect, suction 5/5:

I vacuumed this morning with my Eureka, then when the Dyson arrived this afternoon, I vacuumed again.  On one area rug, approximately 2 feet by 8 feet long, I picked up about a fist sized ball of hair that my Eureka missed.  That's a LOT.  I was pleased and impressed.  I continued on through the house, and whether real or psychological, I was left feeling that my floors were very clean.  Certainly, there was zero smell, whereas my Eureka, even with a new bag, seems to stir up enough dust that there is a faint scent of it in the air.  The Dyson just smells....clean, when you're done.  

Emptying the canister 4/5:

Couldn't be easier.  Depress the switch to release it, pull it out, hang over/into garbage bin, depress the switch that opens the bottom, and knock it against the side once or twice to get any stubborn bits out.  Done.  No bag change, which was always a pain in the rear for me.  There is also something eminently satisfying about looking at the clear canister and seeing everything you've picked up.  I don't particularly like housework, but I enjoy the feeling of accomplishment from it, and that lends itself to that feeling.  The one drawback is that yes, there is a puff of dust from emptying the dirt.  No biggie for me.  I always had that from the bag whenever I changed it, too.  That's just vacuums!

Hepa filter 5/5:

The hepa filter on this is a lifetime filter.  It actually has two filters on it.  One you never deal with, and a second that you rinse under water every six months, let air dry for 24 hours, pop it back in and you're good.  Very nice improvement for me, over the $10 filter I had to remember to buy.

Maneuverability 5/5:

I already talked about this above.  It is super easy to maneuver around the floor.  It drives like it weighs half as much as it does, and IMHO, it's not a super heavy vacuum, as I was led to believe.  (Seriously, with all the "Kirby love" out there, I wanted to ask everyone complaining about weight if they'd ever tried to use a $2000 Kirby.  All metal construction!  Yeah, not my favorite vacuum, however awesome it might be at sucking.)

Attachments TBD:

I haven't used these much yet.  I did use the hose, and it worked great.  I'll try to update this review once I've really delved into the attachments.  I do like that they fit on the machine, for the most part.  The DC17 Animal does come as a package with some 'extras' not meant to fit on the vacuum itself, but the usual attachments are all right there.  

Build 4/5:

If I could change one thing about this vacuum, I would put the upright release button on the back, by the handle, instead of on the front, where you have to reach around with your foot to depress it.  That's kind of a pain, and I wonder what genius engineer thought it up.  But in the long wrong, pretty small potatoes.  I've seen people whine about the plastic construction "I'm not paying that for a machine built out of plastic parts".  Okay.  You go play with your metal Kirby that takes a linebacker to comfortably maneuver around the room.  I'm very happy over here with my "plastic" Dyson.  Now, when I say plastic, there is nothing cheesy looking or feeling about this machine.  It looks cool, it feels substantial, I have no complaints except what I've already mentioned, currently.

Price 5/5:

This is another common complaint about the Dyson.  Is it a $200 vacuum?  No.  It's never tried to be.  You want "too expensive", try a $1000-2000 Kirby.  People that complain about the price kind of kill me.  These same folks probably have no problem buying the latest ipod/iphone to hit every few years, but they balk at buying a $500 vacuum that theoretically will be the last they'll ever need to buy.  You get what you pay for, and I feel the usual $550 price tag for this, if it does indeed do everything it says, for as long as it says ("Dyson never looses suction, ever.") is reasonable.  At $315 for the refurbished model, well, that's like buying two of the "disposable" Hoovers, or whatnot, most of us use for a few years, and then have to replace. If this vacuum lasts me 10 years, I'll have gotten my money out of it.  My friends still have the one they got five-six (?) years ago, and say they don't see any need to get another.  Hopefully, I'll feel the same when the time comes.  

It may seem like I'm kind of harsh on Kirby in this review.  Well, yeah.  Are they great vacuums?  Sure.  My f-in-law still has one he bought in the 70's that runs and works at least as well as my Eureka.  That said, I knew a Kirby salesperson once, and a friend of mine bought one a few years back that I've played with.  Here's the thing with Kirby:

I do not dispute they're great vacuums.  I do, however, think they are seriously overpriced.  Especially considering how expensive the bags and whatnot are ($2-2.50 per bag!!)  The salespeople rely on commission for their income, hence the huge price tag, and the haggling that often takes place during purchase.  A lot of videos and reviews comparing Dyson to Kirby are out there, that place Dyson in an unfavorable light.  I take these with a HUGE grain of salt.  Dysons are not sold on commission.  They are not sold through "vacuum stores" or door-to-door salespeople.  They are marked with a price, and that is the price all retailers who get them carry them at, period.  Some of the people posting those reviews rely on the sale of vacuums that are not Dyson for income, not exactly an unbiased point of view.

My friend that bought a Kirby two years ago?  Well, first off, it looks almost EXACTLY like my f-in-l's machine from the 70's.  Wow, not much has changed with these machines in forty years.  Second, it has this attachment that can supposedly clean your carpets, too, ala an actual with water/cleanser carpet cleaner.  Except it's so complicated and hard, my friend has never been able to use it.  She even had the salesman come back to her house to show her, and he couldn't get it on right either!  Not exactly a great feature.  All her attachments, including the hose, are in a bag somewhere in her garage.  A pain to find, pull out, put on, and then finally use.  Also, it is too heavy as a vacuum for her elderly mother to use, nor can her eleven year old son easily vacuum as part of his chores.  

And lastly, after a mere two years, her Kirby cannot pick up the dog hair on her area rug, exactly like my Eureka.  She pulled it out the other day and showed me.  She must have run the thing over that rug at least ten times, and still, dog hair.  It still has powerful suction, picks up everything else lickity-split, it's just...not...I don't know, the roller bar isn't aggressive enough?  The suction isn't enough?  I have no idea.  I'm going to take my Dyson over there and we're going to test it to see if it will pick up the hair.  If it does, she's going to sell her Kirby on craigslist and get a Dyson.

kistha on December 3rd, 2010 08:26 am (UTC)
Right around 7 years, two cats then we added a dog.

Love this vacuum.
rhienellethrhienelleth on December 3rd, 2010 05:58 pm (UTC)
Yes, and Mau's have at least double the white (silver, whatever) hair that my bengal does!
Vanzettivaznetti on December 3rd, 2010 02:53 pm (UTC)
I love our Dyson, although it's nearly 15 years old. It still vacuums up hair like a dream. (I am tempted by the new rollerball version, though.)
rhienellethrhienelleth on December 3rd, 2010 06:01 pm (UTC)
15 years! Nice! You must have one of the first ones to be introduced? Oh, wait, you're in the UK, aren't you? I forget they started over there several years before being intro'd to the US market.

I have heard, btw, that in head to head tests, the rollerball Dyson is more maneuverable than the not-rollerball, but does not have quite as much suction...I have no idea if this is actually true. I can't imagine Dyson intro-ing something that was less than capable, however.