Dyson. Just the mere mention of the name conjures up a litany of emotions, though we suspect the most common feeling associated with it is "eh, too expensive for a vacuum." For years now, Dyson has managed to make an otherwise drab sector exciting, with its array of vacuums (and hand dryers, to be fair) being amongst the only ones out there that gadget nerds could actually get into. The eldritch designs, promises of never-ending suction and stratospherically high price tags have helped Dyson garner an almost cult-like following, but at long last, it seems the outfit is looking to slide into homes of the somewhat less affluent. Granted, $399 for a vac ain't exactly cheap, but considering that the DC23 Turbinehead is the outfit's cheapest canister ever, we couldn't help but give it a spin. Head on past the break for a few impressions.
Dyson DC23 Turbinehead unboxingSee all photos
If you've never used a Dyson, get ready to be weirded out upon unboxing this beast. Without a doubt, the design here is unorthodox through and through, and it looks absolutely nothing like the $49 Hoover you're currently wasting your time with. By and large, the vac is sufficiently compact, though the tall handle does make it seem a touch ungainly when everything's assembled. Granted, you can always disconnect it in order to store the whole contraption underneath a bed, and anyone who has back troubles will definitely appreciate the lengthy handle's ability to give you full control without forcing you to bend over and push.
To be frank, we're not vacuum experts, but we're probably coming at this from the same angle as the general consumer. We set out to discover one thing: is this Dyson, even at "only" $399.99, worth the coin? We've grown frustrated with sub-$100 vacuums for years now. After a handful of trips around the carpet, suction slowly fades until you're forced to run over a particle of dirt eight times in order to get it off of the floor. You know the feeling, we're sure. After using the DC23 as our main vac for a few weeks now, we can safely say that the suction today is as good as the suction on day one. Will it really suck as much in five years as it does today? We'd surmise that it wouldn't, but you can rest assured that it'll perform at a high level for far longer than most generic competitors.
As far as usage is concerned, we generally loved it. The telescoping handle enabled us to run about without any back pains, and the auto-recoiling AC cable kept us from having to wind things up on our own once the job was done. The canister itself is delightfully light (the entire unit weighs 19.5 pounds), though we can't say we were in love with how it drug along behind the handle. If you don't mind tugging, you can definitely keep it close, but we were expecting a somewhat more elegant solution for having the canister trail the brush bar. We should also point out that the the aforesaid bar is shorter than we expected, which was both a blessing and a curse. On one hand, the length was essentially the same as each of our steps, enabling us to use the bar itself to easily vacuum the stairway. On the other, this kept us whisking about for longer periods in the den, as it didn't cover as much ground as our cheaper, less sucky options.
Dyson also throws in a stair tool, brush tool and crevice tool, all of which proved to be handy in their respective situations. We should also note that the DC23 had no issue sucking up pet hair on hard and carpeted surfaces, which is historically difficult for "regular" vacuums. In fact, the pet hair pickup was probably the most impressive aspect in our minds. If you've got a Fido or two hanging around your crib, and you're already thinking of putting 'em on Craigslist just to rid yourself of the hair problem, the DC23 just might be the lifesaver those canines have been longing for.
All told, there's no question that the DC23 Turbinehead is worth every penny if $400 ain't no thang. Of course, it won't magically remove stains (that'll take some carpet cleaner, kids), but it will do wonders on picking up dirt, debris, dust and all sorts of other garbage you never knew resided in your carpet. It's easy to maneuver, it picks up practically every strand of pet hair it runs over and it's remarkably easy to unload when the time comes. If you're looking to buy a vacuum that'll do the job for a few years to come, it's probably worth forking out for this. If you'd rather buy a new $79 special every dozen months, we certainly can't stop you. In the long run, the DC23 is probably a sound investment, and hey, you could always go in halvsies with the neighbor to save a little cheddar.