Dyson continues to improve upon their technology, and the V12 Detect is the latest, which I’ll compare with the V15 Detect.
Before testing the Dyson V12, I thought the only upgrade was the push button switch. I was wrong.
It’s a lighter version of the V15 Detect with a smaller form factor, so it’s lighter, offering better ergonomics than the full-sized V10, V11, Outsize, and V15 options.
These upgrades address two issues that plagued Dyson’s full-sized alternatives.
It’s better than the Micro 1.5KG, Dyson’s lightest and most ergonomic option, with more than twice the run time and much better deep cleaning performance.
So without further ado, let’s first look at the spec comparison.
A quick overview of the Dyson V12 Detect and V15 Detect
Dyson V12 Detect
- Airflow: 58.74 CFM
- Dust bin size: 0.35 liters
- Sand on hard floor: 99.9%
- Deep Cleaning: 94.1%
- Run time: up to 63 mins.
- Recharge: 5.2 hrs.
- Battery: 2500 mAh Li-ion
- Weight: 4 pounds, 9.6 ounces
- Noise: 80.7 dB
Dyson V15 Detect
- Airflow: 73 CFM
- Dust bin size: 0.77 liters
- Sand on hard floor: 99.8%
- Deep Cleaning: 100%
- Run time: up to 84:19 mins.
- Recharge: 4.5 hrs.
- Battery: 3600 mAh Li-ion
- Weight: 6 pounds, 0.1 ounces
- Noise: 80.8 dB
* If you click this link and purchase, we earn a commission at no additional cost.
I used an anemometer to measure airflow through the extension tube and floor nozzle.
Noise levels were checked using a sound meter beside the vacuum, which is how you’ll use it – right beside the vacuum.
Lastly, I used 50 grams of sand for the “sand on hard floor” test and 100 grams on mid-pile carpet in the deep cleaning experiment.
- 1 Introduction to the Dyson V12 Detect and V15 Detect
- 2 Similarities between the Dyson V12 Detect Slim and V15 Detect
- 3 Ergonomic Comparison
- 4 Interface Comparison
- 5 Battery and Run Time Comparison
- 6 Airflow Comparison
- 7 Cleaning Performance Comparison
- 8 Noise Comparison
- 9 Maintenance Comparison
- 10 Spec Comparison
- 11 Where can I purchase the Dyson V12 Detect and V15 Detect?
- 12 Which Option Offers Better Value?
- 13 The Verdict: The Dyson V12 is a Compelling, Cheaper Option Versus the V15 Detect
Introduction to the Dyson V12 Detect and V15 Detect
Since James Dyson announced to the world that they’re discontinuing R&D for corded vacuums to focus on cordless, the past releases show he means business.
With each new iteration, Dyson seemed to increase power and performance, culminating with the V15 Detect, having the best cleaning performance of all cordless stick vacuums I’ve reviewed.
However, Dyson made a detour with the V12 Detect, offering a product with a smaller form factor and a push-button switch, solving two issues from the V15 series.
Lighter and Better Ergonomics: Dyson V12 Detect
- Lighter and more ergonomic than the V15 Detect (or any full-sized Dyson)
- Push button switch means there’s no need to squeeze a trigger
- Premium surface debris pick up
- Above average at deep cleaning carpet
- Some variants come with two detachable batteries, doubling the run time
- Has the slim laser roller with the green laser light, excelling at tracking dust
- A bevy of tools out of the box
- Fully sealed dustbin and filtration
- The smaller battery won’t run as long as the V15 or V11
- Tiny dustbin capacity (only 0.35 liters)
- Still expensive (even if it’s cheaper than the V15)
Dyson has been pushing the envelope with their product release, and with each new iteration, they add something (or two) new.
For the Dyson V12, these are subtle enhancements, namely the push-button switch and lighter frame.
The first upgrade is Dyson’s answer to consumers’ several-years-long plea to ditch the trigger, which Dyson claims is more efficient at power disbursement.
I’ve been a Dyson user for several years, and squeezing the trigger will cause finger and arm fatigue, especially in its handheld configuration.
You’ll need to switch hands to combat this constantly; using it for long stretches can be unpleasant.
Now it’s in the V12, and what a pleasant surprise!
The photo above shows the size difference between the Dyson V15 and V12 Detect models.
And the weight variance confirms this as the V15 (6 pounds 0.1 ounces) is more than a pound heavier than the V12 (4 pounds 9.6 ounces).
The pound plus may not sound much on paper, but for stick vacuums, every ounce matters, especially in handheld mode, where you’ll probably use this vacuum half the time.
This weight reduction improves the V12’s ergonomics tremendously, especially with the push-button switch.
Of course, there will be compromises with the size reduction, primarily with the dustbin size (and dirt volume).
The V12 can only hold up to 0.35-liters of dry dirt, more than half less than the V15, but it’s a compromise you must be willing to live with for better usability.
Another downgrade is the smaller battery, shortening the run time to around 63 minutes, which still exceeds the claimed 60-minute figure.
The last downgrade is the lower airflow output (73 CFM vs. 58 CFM), downgrading its deep cleaning performance to above-average instead of premium-level.
Premium Performance, Premium Cost: Dyson V15 Detect
- A premium level performance at deep cleaning carpet
- Extended run time at over 80 minutes from one battery
- Large dustbin capacity (0.77-liters)
- Excellent embedded debris pick up even in the auto setting
- One of the best at cleaning long hair strands (almost nothing wrapping on the brush, even with 13-inch hair)
- The slim laser roller is excellent at tracking dust
- Premium cost (more expensive than most high-end upright vacuums)
- The top-heavy design and the trigger can be tiring to use for long stretches, especially on carpet
- Loud motor
On top of the Dyson, food chain is the V15 Detect, their flagship and (currently) best-performing stick vacuum.
It’s got the highest airflow, thus having the best deep cleaning performance, factoring in the run time (over 20 minutes) in the auto-setting.
This variant was Dyson’s first with the slim laser roller attachment.
It’s another innovation by Dyson to help consumers clean their homes with better efficiency.
The next innovation is the hair screw tool, the best handheld tool (hands down) for cleaning long hair strands on upholstery.
Dyson has since added this tool to their newer releases, like the V12 Detect.
Like any full-sized Dyson product, it performs exceptionally well, especially on carpet, but the heavy motor and battery make it top-heavy.
And this can be an issue in its handheld configuration.
Also, it’s harder to push on the carpet with the gates fully closed, which brings me to the next point about the V15 – the high torque attachment with the combs.
This tool is highly efficient at cleaning hair because of the combs that prevent hair from tangling on the brush roll.
Another advantage of this tool is the two adjustable gates’ usability on hard floors since the gates provide enough leeway for large debris to fit.
It also provides better agitation, with the improved brush having additional protrusions underneath the bristles.
Similarities between the Dyson V12 Detect Slim and V15 Detect
Next, we’ll look at the similarities between these stick vacuums, and there is a handful.
1. A horizontally aligned dustbin
The Dyson V12 retains the same horizontally assigned dustbin as the larger V15 with the same trombone-style lever.
However, the V12’s dustbin is much smaller (more than) half-less than the V15 (0.35 vs. 0.77 liters).
2. Detachable batteries
These models have detachable batteries, making it easier to extend run time by purchasing an extra.
Some sub-variants come with two batteries plus two extra chargers, which I’d encourage consumers to look at before purchasing.
The additional charger doubles the run time, and you get an extra charger to recharge simultaneously.
3. Versatile two-in-one functionality
The Dyson V12 and V15 offer two-in-one versatility with their interchangeable tools. You could use these products as a stick or handheld vacuum.
One advantage of the V12 is the lighter frame plus the push-button switch making it more pleasant to use above floors.
4. Sealed system
Consumers will benefit from the sealed system (dustbin and filter), as both didn’t leak during the fog test.
The sealed system prevents allergens from seeping through the filter and exiting the exhaust.
One reason I don’t advise buying cheap cordless stick vacuums is the lack of filtration.
5. Slim roller attachment
One reason to purchase the V12 is the slim laser roller with the green laser light that accentuates dust better than any LED-equipped nozzle, and I’ve tried a bunch.
Dyson has slowly rolled out this feature to other models like the Outsize, making vacuuming dust more efficient because the green light reveals everything.
6. Torque screw tool
Another innovation introduced by Dyson in the V15 is the torque screw tool, changing how you clean hair using a cordless.
The tapered brush forces hair towards a holding area above it then gets sucked towards the inlet and into the dustbin.
Even this much hair wasn’t a problem for this tool.
After picking up all the hair, nothing was wrapped in the brush.
If you have pets, this tool is one of the best at cleaning hair on any fabric upholstery.
7. Piezo sensor and interactive display
Both have the piezo sensor that measures debris size in microns, reflected in the display behind the motor. The V15 was the first with this technology, and the V12 has this feature too.
It shows four debris sizes: 10, 60, 180, and 500 microns.
- 10 microns: e.g., allergens (like pollen)
- 60 microns: e.g., microscopic dust (like allergens)
- 150 microns: e.g. dust mites
- 500 microns: e.g., sugar
Differences between the Dyson V12 and V15 Detect
Now, let’s look at the differences starting with the size.
1. Size and weight variance
You can see in the side-by-side photo above the size discrepancy between the V12 and V15. The V15’s body is noticeably larger than the V12’s slimmed-down frame.
And the V12 is more than 20% lighter (4 pounds and 9.6 ounces) versus the V15 (a little over 6 pounds), improving its
2. Power switch
The next difference is the power switch, where the V15 retains the trigger switch you’ll need to squeeze continually for power versus the V12’s push-button switch.
I like the push-button version because it’s less tiring and offers better usability, especially in its handheld configuration.
3. Dustbin size
With its downsizing, the biggest drawback is the halved dustbin capacity (0.35 vs. 0.77 liters).
There’s no way around it. Using a smaller frame will entail some compromises, and this is one of them.
4. Battery capacity
Another downgrade of the downsizing is the battery capacity. The V15 uses Dyson’s latest and largest battery technology – a 3600 mAh seven-cell battery, which runs for over 80 minutes.
The V12’s battery is smaller (2500 mAh), so it won’t run as long (up to 63 minutes with the laser slim roller).
5. Non-interchangeable tools
Unfortunately, the Dyson V12 and V15 tools aren’t interchangeable, so you cannot attach the high-torque attachment of the V15 to the V12 since the latter has a smaller connecting port.
The V12 is another category on its own, and I’ll be interested in what improvements Dyson provides in future releases.
While the V12 and V15 use the same design principles with the motor and dustbin on top, the weight disparity favors the V12, making it ergonomically more appealing.
Add the push-button switch; it’s easier to use above floors.
It feels noticeably lighter, and not squeezing a trigger makes it less tiring (to use) than the V15.
Again, the one-plus-point disparity is huge for top-heavy stick vacuums like these, where every ounce counts.
I’m guessing it’s why Dyson released the V12 to address these issues.
There isn’t much difference between the V12 and V15 interfaces. Both use similar interactive screens behind the motor, showing information like the run time left on the battery and the piezo sensor output.
One variance is the button, but both have the same function of toggling between the power settings.
Another function of this screen is to show the error codes when they pop up.
It will show the error and inform consumers how to fix it through a graphic illustration.
Battery and Run Time Comparison
Again, the Dyson V15 utilizes the full-sized 3600 mAh li-ion battery with a max run time of over 83 minutes with the slim roller attachment, while the V12 uses a smaller 2500 mAh battery, cutting the run time down to 63 minutes.
|Dyson V15 Detect|
|Hard Floor||84:19 mins||41:30 mins.||N/A|
|Carpet||56:58 mins||17:23 mins||11:02 mins|
|Dyson V12 Detect|
|Hard Floor||63:00 mins||37:50 mins||N/A|
|Carpet||42:00 mins||27:31 mins||6:25 mins|
One plus with the V12 is it runs much longer than the Micro 1.5KG, it’s a better alternative than the Micro 1.5KG for cleaning larger homes with carpet.
The V12 did run longer in the auto (or middle) setting, but the V15 picks up better (100% average), offsetting any run time advantage.
Next, we’ll look at the airflow comparison between the Dyson V12 and V15, easily won by the latter by over 20% in the max setting.
I used an anemometer for these experiments to check airflow at the wand and cleaning nozzle.
|Dyson V15 Detect|
|Wand||34.55 CFM||42.38 CFM||73 CFM|
|Cleaning Head||29.98 CFM||36.32 CFM||69.19 CFM|
|Dyson V12 Detect|
|Wand||27.43 CFM||32.23 CFM||58.74 CFM|
|Cleaning Head||24 CFM||28.52 CFM||48.38 CFM|
The Dyson V15 had higher results from the lowest to the highest setting across the board.
But, the airflow advantage only translates to better deep cleaning performance since the V12 had excellent surface debris pick up despite the lower airflow.
Cleaning Performance Comparison
|Model||Dyson V12 Detect||Dyson V15 Detect|
|Hard Floors (Surface Test)||99.8%||99.85%|
|Sand on Hard Floor||99.9%||99.8%|
|Carpet (Surface Test)||99.45%||100%|
While the Dyson V15 Detect has the higher overall score, the results were very close outside the deep cleaning experiments.
One factor dragging down the V12 scores is the deep cleaning test results, which only picked up (slightly) over 94%, while the V15 was perfect at 100%.
Outside the deep cleaning experiment, the rest of the scores were close with paper-thin margins (under 1%).
These results reveal that the V12 Detect, outside cleaning embedded debris, is as good s the V15 in other aspects.
Though the lack of the gated brush roll may hamper it when cleaning large dirt piles on carpet, but it’s not something this vacuum was built to clean up.
Which option is better on hard floors?
It’s really close. One barometer I use is the sand on hard floor test, and both picked up nearly perfect scores.
- Dyson V12 Detect: 99.9%
- Dyson V15 Detect: 99.8%
Here’s a before and after shot for the Dyson V15.
And the V12 Detect.
There isn’t much difference with these with sand pick-up on hard floors, so it’s a wash.
Consumers can’t go wrong with either option, but they must consider other aspects like run time, ergonomics, and dustbin capacity before making the final choice.
Edge Cleaning Comparison
Again, it’s even as both picked up debris in this area with excellent efficiency in only a few passes.
Here’s a before and after shot of the Dyson V15.
And the Dyson V12.
The slim roller attachment has enough agitation and airflow for picking up dirt to the edges, especially on hard floors.
Hair wrap (on hard floors)
The Dyson V12 was better overall, even with long 13-inch strands with nothing wrapping visibly on the roller.
- 5-inch strands: 96%
- 7-inch strands: 100%
- 9-inch strands: 92.5%
- 11-inch strands: 98%
- 13-inch strands: 100%
However, you’ll notice the results weren’t even across the board because hair tends to wrap on this axle, which is the biggest Achilles heel of this tool.
The Dyson V15 Detect was also decent, but there was visible hair wrapping on the roller in the twelve-inch experiment.
- 5-inch strands: 100%
- 7-inch strands: 100%
- 9-inch strands: 100%
- 11-inch strands: 100%
- 12-inch strands: 80.6%
Unlike the V12, where hair wrapped on the axle even on shorter hair, the V15 didn’t have this issue until I tested it on twelve-inch hair.
Nonetheless, it’s one trouble spot that consumers need to check, especially folks who have pets or need to clean long hair.
Which option is better on carpet?
It’s a two-pronged answer on this surface.
Both did well at cleaning surface debris (100% vs. 99.45%), but the V15 is (much) better at picking up embedded dirt on carpets because of its higher airflow and better brush roll design.
It picked up a tidy 100% in the deep cleaning test versus the V12’s 94.1%.
Even in the auto (or middle) setting, it (still) picked up 100%, which is its most significant advantage over the lighter V12 Detect.
If there’s one sticking point when choosing between these products, it’s deep cleaning.
Folks who need to deep clean carpet, should lean towards the Dyson V15 Detect.
Hair wrap (on carpet)
Another advantage of the V15 Detect is its better resisting tangles on carpet with the combs and chunkier brush roll.
- 5-inch strands: 100%
- 7-inch strands: 100%
- 9-inch strands: 100%
- 11-inch strands: 99%
- 12-inch strands: 98%
You can see in the photos (above) that hardly anything is wrapped on the brush.
The high airflow, chunky brush, and combs helped keep hair off the brush.
In comparison, the V12 didn’t do as well, and the cap is eleven inches.
- 5-inch strands: 96%
- 7-inch strands: 100%
- 9-inch strands: 92.5%
- 11-inch strands: 30%
Almost nothing wrapped from the five to nine-inch experiments, but it only picked up 30% at eleven inches.
Please note that the V12 uses a similar design brush roll to the Dyson V8 Absolute without any combs, so that it won’t do well with extremely long strands.
All Dyson products will be noisy due to their high airflow, but it’s bearable in the low setting.
|Model||Dyson Micro 1.5KG||Dyson V12|
|Low||74.0 dB||70.1 dB|
|Max||78.5 dB||80.7 dB|
Again, I used a sound meter beside the vacuum, which is the most practical setup because you’ll be using it this way.
The results are very close, ranging between 70 and 80 decibels.
These vacuums require some TLC to function efficiently long term.
Any additional friction will cause unnecessary wear and performance degradation you don’t want when spending on an expensive stick vacuum.
Fortunately, cleaning Dyson stick vacuums isn’t rocket science – it’s simple.
- Brush roll: Hair accumulates on the axles, especially the slim roller attachment. Check this area once a week and remove any buildup.
- Dustbin: Empty it after every cleaning cycle to prevent dust mites from breeding and to maintain performance.
- Filter: Dyson states that these filters are washable, but the HEPA portion uses a paper element, so consumers will need to replace it eventually. Do a visual check once a month and clean it under running water. I’d recommend purchasing an extra filter to prevent any downtime.
- Batteries: Dyson’s lithium-ion batteries are excellent at keeping their charge even when unplugged. So charge them as needed (only takes 2 to 4 hrs), and unplug when full. Avoid using the max setting for extended periods because it overheats the battery quickly and shortens its life span.
- Torque screw tool: There’s not much maintenance needed for this redesigned tool since hair doesn’t tangle on the brush. Consumers can check it once a month and wipe off any dust buildup.
- Other attachments: Use a clean microfiber towel clean the tools from dust and debris accumulation.
Where can I purchase the Dyson V12 Detect and V15 Detect?
The Dyson V12 and V15 are available in online stores like Amazon. Check the links below for the latest pricing information.
Disclaimer: I will earn a commission if you purchase through any of the links above. But at no additional cost to you, it’s a win-win for us!
Which Option Offers Better Value?
The Dyson V12 is cheaper and offers 95% of the V15’s performance without the premium cost, so it offers better value.
It’s lighter with a more compact frame and thus has better ergonomics.
However, the V15 Detect is the better option for folks who want something cordless for cleaning carpets or large area rugs.
5 Reasons to choose the Dyson V12 Detect
- Cheaper option: As I’ve said earlier, the V12 Detect is cheaper but offers most of the benefits of the V15 in a more compact package.
- Premium surface debris pick-up: There isn’t much variance between the V12 and V15 with cleaning surface debris.
- Better ergonomics: The lighter frame makes the Dyson V12 better with handheld ergonomics.
- Above-average run time: Despite the downsized battery, it still ran past 60 minutes with the slim roller attachment.
- Lots of tools: Consumers will get a bevy of tools from the V12 Detect.
4 Reasons to choose the Dyson V15 Detect
- Deep cleans carpet: The V15 Detect is the undisputed king (at least for cordless vacuums) with deep cleaning carpet, picking up 100% even in the auto setting.
- Superb run time: It ran past the 80-minute mark with the slim roller attachment from one battery.
- Larger dustbin: The V15 (more than) doubles the V12 dustbin capacity (0.77 vs. 0.35 liters)
- Better standard brush roll: The V15’s high-torque attachment (or its standard brush roll) is better overall on carpets, especially in resisting tangles from long hair strands. Also, the two adjustable gates enable it to clean large dirt piles better than the V12 standard brush.
The Verdict: The Dyson V12 is a Compelling, Cheaper Option Versus the V15 Detect
I’m sold on the Dyson V12, especially the upgrades Dyson in, particularly the push-button switch, which is a welcome sight for consumers.
The lightweight frame and new power switch make it more ergonomic and easier to use for longer stretches than the heavier V15 Detect.
If you don’t need to clean carpets, I’d suggest getting the V12 Detect over the V15 because of these improvements, plus the cost savings.
The Dyson V15 Detect is excellent for specific applications like deep cleaning carpets or long hair strands.
Go for the V12 Detect if you want to save money, but don’t mind the compromises (downgraded deep cleaning and shorter run time).