Dyson V10 Review: Absolute vs. Animal vs. MotorHead

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The Cyclone V10 Absolute is one of Dyson’s most expensive stick vacuums. Can it replace a full-sized upright? Is it worth the high price tag?

I’ve put this cord-free stick vacuum to a series of grueling tests to see how it performs and if it will live up to the hype and you’ll see all of the results in this review.

James Dyson says that Dyson is no longer releasing new upright vacuums and will focus their efforts on cordless stick vacuums. The release of the Dyson V11 less than a year after the V10 proves that they are serious.

Can the Dyson V10 Absolute replace an upright?

Cord-free vacuum with upright performance?

The V10 Absolute is one of the most potent cordless vacuums available now capable of cleaning embedded dirt on short bursts. One thing limiting it is the battery. On its higher power settings, it won’t run as long to make it a viable alternative to an upright for truly deep cleaning carpets in the whole home. But it can do the job in high traffic areas. The V11 somewhat addresses these issues but this newer version is even more costly. One advantage it has over a full-sized upright is its portability with its interchangeable tools and its ability to clean under furniture.

Pros

  • Outstanding run time of up to 61 minutes based on our tests
  • It has a larger dust cup size of 0.76 liters
  • The fully-sealed system keeps fine dust particles and allergens in the bin
  • Excellent pick up on bare floor and carpet
  • Can clean embedded dirt on medium pile carpet

Cons

  • Very expensive option
  • More top-heavy design
  • Some complaints about quality control

Table of Contents

Introduction to the Dyson V10 Absolute

Dyson V10 Absolute Review

The V10 is a complete redesign from the previous Dyson V8. Gone is the dust cup that is aligned vertically and now replaced with a horizontally aligned bin that provides better airflow.

This change makes it possible to make the dust cup size larger – up to 0.76 liters of dry dirt which is almost double the V8’s capacity of 0.54 liters.

Having the larger bin means you don’t need to empty as often as the V8, but it’s still smaller compared to the Shark ION P50.

Like all Dyson cordless vacuums, the V10 has a bevy of interchangeable tools (more on that below) that give it the ability to clean the whole home.

It can be used in different configurations – from handheld to a stick vacuum configuration for cleaning floors, upholstery, stairs and much more.

What are the improvements that the Dyson V10 has over the V8?

Here’s a quick overview of the improvements that V10 has over the V8. If you want a more detailed comparison please click on this link that compares these two models in detail.

  1. Larger dust cup: The Dyson V10 has a larger dust cup with a 0.76-liter capacity while the V8 can hold up to 0.54 liters of dry dirt.
  2. Runs longer: This vacuum will run longer (up to 61 minutes) thanks to the larger cell Li-ion batteries while the V8 will run up to 42 minutes.
  3. Better airflow: The new configuration of the V10 gives it better airflow with up to 45 cfm at the wand. It is an improvement over the Dyson V8 that produces 41 cfm.
  4. Deep cleans better: Having better airflow and agitation translates to superior deep cleaning performance where the V10 scores 94.4% compared to the 92% of the V8.
  5. Torque Drive tool has adjustable gates: The new torque drive head has adjustable gates that allow it to clean larger debris such as Fruit loops.

Most Versatile: Dyson V10 Absolute

The Dyson V10 Absolute is this line’s most versatile option. It has the most tools that come in the package but also is the most expensive. It is the variant you’d want to have if you live in a medium or large home with a mix of hardwood, tile, and carpet because it has both the soft roller and direct drive tools for the task. If you don’t mind spending for something that’s versatile and efficient, it’s an excellent option.

Related: You can also find the best Dyson deals to get the best price possible on various Dyson products.

Great for Carpet: Dyson V10 Animal

The Dyson V10 Animal comes with the same toolset as the V10 Absolute with the exception of one thing – the soft roller head which makes it a great option if your home has a lot of carpet.

This variant is also capable of cleaning bare floor thanks to the adjustable gates. It does need a little coaxing to fit larger bits of debris to either gate. I believe this option is better since the torque drive head is very decent on hard surfaces.

Cheapest Option: Dyson V10 MotorHead

The Dyson V10 MotorHead is the cheapest option of all the variants in the V10 line. It has the same motor and battery as the other models but with a smaller dust cup – almost half less. It also has the least amount of tools of all the V10 variants so it does not have as much versatility. It does have the direct-drive cleaning head that works well on carpet. This vacuum will be suitable inside smaller homes with carpet.

Other big-name brands like Shark and Bissell have blatantly copied the design from Dyson.

What I’m talking about is a vacuum where the motor and bin sits on top, with a removable wand and the main cleaning tool that will clean floors.

Dyson was the first to come up with this idea and the V10 still uses this design with some minor tweaks.

There are three different V10 options and choosing one will depend on your needs at home.

  • Dyson V10 Absolute: The most expensive option that comes with the torque drive and soft roller attachments that will clean carpet and bare floors respectively.
  • V10 Animal: Has the same tools as the more expensive Absolute version but minus the soft roller brush.
  • V10 MotorHead: This model is the least expensive, but also has the least number of tools and smaller dirt capacity.

How does the Dyson V10 Absolute Clean?

The Dyson V10 Absolute comes with two attachments for cleaning floors. On the left is the soft roller cleaning head that works great on hard floors and on the right is the torque drive head that is an excellent tool on carpet.

Like earlier model Dyson vacuums, the V10 is built on the concept of adaptability. Its biggest strength is the ability to clean different parts of the home with efficiency.

V10 does it with a myriad of tools that help it clean different surfaces.

First, we’ll look at the two primary floor cleaning tools that make it one of the most effective cleaning tools on the carpet and different types of hard floors.

The soft roller cleaning head

Here’s a close look at the soft roller cleaning head of the V10 Absolute. Notice the large clearance in front that allows this tool to pick up larger bits of dirt.

Dyson was the first brand to utilize this type of brush roll.

Unlike a traditional brush that uses bristles, a soft roller has a cloth-like covering with grooves spiraling around that help grab dirt of various sizes.

The big clearance in front of this tool allows it to gobble up larger bits of dirt.

It is one of the best innovations that any manufacturer came up with and has changed how vacuum cleaners deal with hard surfaces.

This tool does things that a traditional nozzle cannot do such as cleaning up huge piles of dirt.

Torque drive attachment

The torque drive head has two gates (green arrows pointing at it) that give it enough space for large debris such as Cheerios to fit through. However, it cannot clean a big pile of it the way the soft roller attachment can.

Another improvement in the Dyson V10 over the V8 is the torque drive head that has better agitation and comes with adjustable gates.

The additional power and gates do two things. First, it makes the V10 Absolute better at cleaning embedded dirt on the carpet.

Second, the gates allow the torque drive tool to pick up large debris such as cheerios.

It won’t do better than the Shark’s Duo Clean head at extra-large debris pick up but it’s an improvement over the V8.

Other tools

Aside from the two main cleaning heads, the V10 also comes with other attachments that allow you to use it in different configurations.

Mini-turbo brush: This tool is a miniature version of the torque drive that comes with a motorized turbo brush. It is a handy device for cleaning flat surfaces such as stairs and sofas. The stiff bristles also will come in handy for dealing with pet hair on upholstery in the home or vehicle.

Crevice tool: Very useful in picking up dirt on tight areas such as spaces between the cushions and around the seats inside the vehicle.

Combination tool: It is a combination of a brush and upholstery tool for cleaning areas such as the vents or keyboards. Pulling the brush tool portion back reveals an upholstery tool that’s useful for picking pet litter any large bits of dirt that may not fit on the crevice tool.

Soft dusting brush: An excellent tool for cleaning more delicate furniture such as lampshades or Venetian blinds. I like using this tool inside the car’s dash with the flexible hose attachment that you can purchase separately.

Extension wand: This tool is what gives the V10 the flexibility to be used as a stick vacuum or handheld vacuum. All of the attachments are usable with this aluminum tube if there’s the need for the extra reach.

Charging dock: Dyson adds this contraption for storage purpose since the Dyson can’t stand on its own. It has slots that can hold two other attachments. However, you’ll need to drill holes on the wall. If that’s not ideal, there are storage pods available on Amazon that does not require any drilling.

Charger: This plug can be directly plugged on the vacuum or the dock to charge the vacuum.

How long will the battery run?

The official number by Dyson is 60 minutes. In my tests, it exceeded those numbers a little bit at 61 minutes and 59 seconds but that’s using the crevice tool in the lowest setting. On the highest power setting, the V10 will run for 5:07 using suction-only tools, 5:42 with the torque drive, and 9:22 with the soft roller attachment.

Please refer to the table below to see the test results.

Power settingLowMediumHigh
Non-motorized tools (e.g. crevice tool)61:5931:335:07
Mini turbo brush52:3627:389:08
Torque drive46:4525:375:42

These figures are impressive considering the amount of power the motor has.

Cleaning Test

Before I go through all the details, please watch this video where I share most of the cleaning tests I did with the V10 on hard floor and carpet.

One of the biggest strengths of the V10 Absolute is its ability to clean dirt from different types of surfaces. It does not matter if its carpet or hard floor, this vacuum will do the job.

Let’s look at how this model will perform on each surface in detail but first the test results.

Overall

97.21%

Hard Floor

98.84%

Carpet (Surface Pickup)

98.4%

Carpet (Deep Cleaning)

94.4%

Hard floor cleaning test

I tested the V10 on several types of debris on hard floors, to be more specific, laminate hard flooring and it did a fantastic job at picking up surface debris. Let’s look at the before and after photos to see how the soft roller tool did on cleaning hard floors.

Quaker Oats

98%

Coffee

98.2%

Quinoa

100%

Pet Litter

100%

Quaker oats on hard floor

Dyson V10 cleaning test on hard floor cleaning Quaker oats
The soft roller job of the V10 did a fantastic job at cleaning Quaker oats on hard floor.

Coffee grounds on hard floor

Dyson V10 cleaning test using coffee on hard floor
The soft roller was also outstanding at picking up fine coffee grounds.

Quinoa on hard floor

Dyson V10 cleaning test using quinoa on hard floor
One of the toughest to clean on hard floor is quinoa because of its solid texture that’s similar to rice, but the V10 was able to pick up all of it.

Pet litter on hard floor

Dyson V10 cleaning test using pet litter on hard floor

For the cleaning test, I used three different debris – fine coffee grounds, quinoa, and quaker oats. The V10 Absolute’s soft roller brush didn’t have any issues with cleaning these types of debris.

It was child’s play for this cordless stick vacuum. If there’s one issue for the V10, it would be cleaning a big pile of Fruit loops as the size of it will clog the nozzle.

Carpet cleaning test

To test how effective the new torque drive head is, I tested on it performs on coffee grounds, quaker oats, and quinoa.

Here are some photos I’d like to share on how the V10 did on the tests.

Low pile carpet test results

Quaker Oats

98.4%

Coffee

95.8%

Quinoa

100%

Pet Litter

98.8%

Quaker Oats on low pile carpet

Dyson V10 cleaning tests using Quaker oats on low pile carpet
The V10 did an excellent job at cleaning quaker oats on low pile carpet.

Quinoa on low pile carpet

Dyson V10 cleaning test using quinoa on low pile carpet

Pet litter on low pile carpet

Dyson cleaning test using pet litter on low pile carpet

Coffee grounds on mid pile carpet

Dyson V10 cleaning test using coffee grounds on mid pile carpet
Even on med pile carpet, the V10 picked up most of the fine coffee grounds.

Medium pile carpet test results

Quaker Oats

98%

Coffee

96%

Quinoa

100%

Pet Litter

98%

Quinoa on mid pile carpet

Dyson V10 cleaning test using quinoa on medium pile carpet

Pet litter on mid pile carpet

Dyson V10 cleaning test using pet litter on medium pile carpet

For most of the tests, V10’s torque drive head was outstanding at picking up surface dirt. Though I noticed on a few occasions that the brush kicked some of the debris backward, but it was picked up on subsequent passes.

One issue with the low profile head is its tendency to snowplow large piles of dirt, but it will eventually pick everything up as you push forward.

Dyson V10 snowplow effect

The adjustable gates did help at minimizing this issue to some extent, providing a pathway for dirt to pass through.

With the gates closed, this stick vacuum was able to pick up an average of 94.4% of fine coffee grounds on medium-pile carpet in two deep cleaning tests.

It did leave a nasty stain since the carpet I’m using is beige, but most of the dirt ended up inside the dust cup.

Hair wrap test

Another test I did with the Dyson V10 is the hair wrap test using one gram of five-inch long human hair. The goal of this test is to see how well the torque drive brush can handle reasonably long strands of hair.

Dyson V10 hair wrap test subject

I used a digital weighing scale to weigh 1 inch of human hair.

Take note that there is a margin for error for these tests but it’s a good baseline on how well vacuums can handle hair.

I then spread the strands of hair on medium pile carpet to see if it will wrap around the brush.

Dyson V10 hair wrap test

The torque drive attachment did an excellent job at resisting tangles, at least from five-inch long human hair. One factor is the large-diameter brush that resists tangles better than smaller brushes even without the anti-wrap contraption.

There were only minimal tangles if any after several passes.

Dyson V10 hair wrap test results

There were just a few strands that barely wrapped around the brush. The rest of the hair went inside the dust cup.

Dyson V10 hair inside the dust cup

I didn’t weigh the few strands of hair left because it wouldn’t register on the scale. So for this test, the Dyson V10 passes with flying colors.

How easy it is to use the Dyson V10 Absolute?

Next, let’s look at how easy it is to use the V10, to be more specific, we’ll look at its ergonomics.

Ergonomics

The Dyson V8 and V10 don’t differ much when it comes to weight with just a 0.1 difference.

However, the new design of the V10 shifts some of the weight to the upper part of the vacuum making it more top-heavy.

Using this to clean above the floor will be more tiring on the arm than the smaller V8. But it isn’t as bad as the Roidmi NEX’s looping handle.

Trigger switch

Dyson V10 ergonomics and switch

The V10 uses the same trigger switch as the earlier generation Dyson vacuums. Squeezing it for extended periods can be tiring on the wrist and arm.

Whether or not this is a good feature will depend on your preference.

Other brands like Tineco utilize the same trigger switch but these vacuums come with a lock that can hold it at the on position without having to squeeze.

Dyson has not made the change in the V10 or the V11.

Power settings

On top of the trigger is a slide switch that toggles between the three power settings – low, medium, and MAX. Dyson started to use this type of switch starting with the V8. It’s much easier to use than the button design in the V6.

The addition of the middle setting is something that I like very much because it provides an excellent balance between power and duration.

Maneuverability

Dyson is one of the best when it comes to how their product swivels and the V10 works great at maneuvering around and underneath furniture.

The ball machinery that they use is genius in that it’s easy to clean without having to spend a lot of time digging through nooks and crannies.

The soft roller tool has a smaller “roller” at the back and two tiny wheels up front. Mobility won’t be an issue since the main roller bar helps propel this tool forward.

If you’re having a hard time using the torque drive tool on rugs, this is a good alternative at least for cleaning surface dirt.

The torque drive head two tiny wheels underneath that will require some cleaning periodically but since this tool is used mostly on the carpet, it is a non-issue when it comes to maneuverability.

Is easy to empty the dust cup?

One of the issues with the Dyson V6 variants is the lack of the hygienic system. This makes disposing of dirt a messy chore.

Dyson improved the design in the V8 and came up with a design that pushes the dirt down when you pull the lever.

The V10 retains the same principles in the V10 but the change in orientation changes a few things.

Unlike the V8 where the bin is aligned vertically, the horizontal direction of the V10 dust cup means you’ll have to remove the wand before emptying the bin.

It has more of a “point and shoot” approach where you point the vacuum on the bin before pushing down the lever.

Yes, it has an extra-step but most of the contents come out of the bin which is what matters in my opinion.

Cleaning muck that stays inside won’t be an issue because the bin can be disassembled.

Maintenance costs

The good news is the filter inside the Dyson V10 is what you call “lifetime” filters which means it does not need to be replaced during the duration of ownership.

Part of upkeep is washing the filter to keep it clean and to maintain the performance of the vacuum.

Dyson V10 replacement filters

Dyson recommends washing it once every 30 days. But if you live in an area with a lot of dust or sand, it is a good idea to clean more often.

There are replacement filters available just in case you want to buy something extra and minimize the downtime while waiting for the filter to dry.

Replacement batteries

So far there are no available replacement batteries for the Dyson V10. James Dyson said that new Li-ion batteries in the V10 will last at least 15 years. Whether that is true or not, only time will tell.

But history shows that eventually, manufacturers will sell aftermarket batteries since these models are popular.

Brush roll maintenance

Another area that needs upkeep is the two cleaning heads. The more you use these tools, hair and dust bunnies stick on the bristles and the axles of these tools.

Fortunately, removing the brush is easy on the torque drive head but the soft roller bar isn’t detachable so you’ll have to clean it as is.

Noise levels

To measure noise, I used an anemometer to measure the decibel level from about three feet away.

Here are the results of different power settings:

  • Low: 62.1 to 64.1 dB
  • Medium: 69.2 to 71.6 dB
  • Max: 74.5 to 76.7 dB

It will be at its noisiest with the torque drive tool attached because of the vibrations from the spinning brush. The soft roller tool will be less noisy.

How big is the Dyson V10 Absolute?

The V10 Absolute has substantial length at over 49” long and 9.8” wide.

  • Weight: 5.9 pounds
  • Length: 49.2″
  • Width: 9.8″

Any long term concerns?

One primary concern with the Dyson V10 would be durability.

Consumer Reports notes that they removed the V10 from their stick vacuum recommendations because of quality control issues as reported by consumers.

For normal use, I don’t see this as an issue at all because Dyson does use quality materials in their vacuums.

One weak spot I do see is the Torque Drive where special care must be taken when removing the brush roll.

The bracket that holds the brush can snap off if you pull too hard so make sure that it is fully unlocked before removing it.

Another area of concern is the battery, but the V10 battery is removable and aftermarket options will be available if you look historically at the previous generation V6 and V8 options having a multitude of replacement batteries available.

Product Specifications

ModelDyson V10 Absolute
Brush roll on/offNo
Battery2,600 mAH Li-ion
Charging time3.5 hours
Battery lifeup to 61 mins.
Net weight5.9 pounds
Width9.8"
Overall length49.2"
Battery indicatorYes
Filter typeLifetime washable
Dust capacity0.76 li
Powerup to 50.3 cfm
CordlessYes
BaglessYes
Warranty2 years
PriceCheck Price

Does the Dyson V10 offer exceptional value?

The price tag of the Dyson V10 may scare off some people, but don’t let it dissuade you from considering this option.

With the V11 out in the market, the V10’s prices have gone down which is good news for consumers.

This vacuum offers outstanding performance regardless of surface and can be a viable standalone vacuum inside small homes.

The soft roller and torque drive cleaning head do an excellent job surface debris pick up and deep cleaning carpet.

It won’t last as long as the V11 but it’s less expensive.

Considering that this product is can be used as a handheld, there’s no need to buy a separate unit for cleaning areas above floors.

Dyson backs all of their cordless vacuums with a 2-year warranty. Extended warranties are also available on Amazon.

5 Reasons why you should buy the Dyson V10 Absolute:

  1. Runs for more than an hour: In the lowest setting, using suction-only tools, it will run for up to 61 minutes – more than enough time for daily vacuuming tasks.
  2. Capable of cleaning embedded dirt: The upgrade in power and agitation enables the V10 to clean embedded dirt even on medium-pile carpet. However, it can only do it for 5-minute bursts.
  3. Large dust cup than the V8: It can hold up to 0.76 liters of dirt which almost doubles that of the V8.
  4. Fully-sealed system: The V10 has a fully sealed system that can block up to 0.3 microns of dirt. This feature is proven in a fog test where it was able to keep the fog from seeping through the exhaust.
  5. Powerful motor: The new V10 motor not only is more powerful but also more efficient thanks to the new dust bin configuration.

Click here to learn more about the Dyson V10 Absolute.

The Dyson V10 Absolute is a huge step forward in James Dyson’s vision of cord-free stick vacuums replacing bulky uprights.

It’s got power, maneuverability and, interchangeability – three things you’d want from a stick vacuum that doesn’t have a cord.

The attachments that come with this is varied enough and capable of cleaning almost all dry areas inside the home and vehicle.

It’s got enough power to deep clean small sections at a time. This variant does not have the extended deep cleaning performance of the Dyson V11, but it’s considerably cheaper so if that is a deciding factor then this may is a good alternative for such.

Purchasing replacement filters and batteries won’t be an issue in the long run since it is a popular item there will be a bevy of aftermarket options.

Our Pick as the Best Cordless Stick Vacuum
  • Ergonomics - 92%
    92%
  • Surface Cleaning - 98.62%
    99%
  • Deep Cleaning - 94.4%
    94%
  • Quality - 93%
    93%
  • Design - 94%
    94%
  • Value - 89%
    89%
94%

Summary

The Dyson V10 Absolute is a huge step by James Dyson in their quest to make cord-free stick vacuums a standalone cleaning tool for homes. It’s got a lot of power both in terms of suction and airflow which translates positively to cleaning performance tests where it scored high. It has a wide range of attachments that will help any homeowner clean not just floors, but other parts of their home and inside the vehicle. Another impressive thing about the Dyson V10 is its run time where it tops out at 61 minutes and 59 seconds. Even with the Torque Drive attachment on the medium setting, the V10 will run for up to 25 minutes.

5 thoughts on “Dyson V10 Review: Absolute vs. Animal vs. MotorHead”

  1. Is not it enough to sweep the ceramic floor and laminate floor with the V10 Motorhead?
    What’s the difference between Dyson Cyclone V10 Absolute (Copper) and Dyson Cyclone V10 Animal (Purple)?
    I know the difference accessory.
    What are the technical differences beyond this?

    • Spec wise both are the same. The only difference are the tools that come with it.

  2. Different strokes for different comes. Taner doesn’t understand the need for
    the Absolute. I wish they sold an Animal variant that just had the soft roller head. I have no carpets whatsoever in my house. Just hardwood floors and ceramic tile. We use a Motorhead on the oak floor downstairs, as it’s cheaper and more durable. But we only use a Roomba with soft rollers upstairs, since it’s Brazilian Cherry (very hard, but easily scratched).

    So Dyson forces me to choose between V8 Absolute (too-small bin) and V10 Absolute (too expensive, useless direct drive head).

    Thank you for your comparison though, Garrick.

  3. What am I missing? I did not see any information on the Cyclone V10. Isn’t that the fourth V10?

    • Judy,

      The Cyclone V10 is the same as the V10 Animal

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