Continuing my series on Dyson vacuums, we’ll look at the V7 MotorHead, and V12 Detect – two similar but vastly different options at opposite ends of the price spectrum.
The V7 MotorHead, with the release of the latest Dyson products, is one of the least expensive options available, while the V12 Detect is in the upper mid-level range.
Both are lightweight and versatile two-in-one stick vacuums, but the similarity ends there.
The V12 Detect has all the Dyson bells and whistles, albeit in a smaller package since it focuses on ergonomics more than power, while the V7 uses manual switches without any screen.
Which option is better? I’ve put both through a grueling series of tests to find out.
An overview of the Dyson V7 MotorHead and V12 Detect
Dyson V7 MotorHead
- Airflow: 49.68 CFM
- Dust bin size: 0.53 liters
- Sand on hard floor: 99.2%
- Deep Cleaning: 94.93%
- Weight: 5.45 lbs.
- Run time: up to 32 mins.
- Recharge: 3.5 hrs.
- Battery: 2100 mAh Li-ion
- Noise: 73.9 dB
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: 3-4 hrs.
- Battery: 2500 mAh Li-ion
- Weight: 5.2 lbs.
- Noise: 80.7 dB
* If you click this link and purchase, we earn a commission at no additional cost.
Introduction to the Dyson V7 and V12 Detect
Ever since Dyson unveiled the V10 onwards, most of the focus was power and cleaning performance, culminating with the soon-to-be-released Gen5 Detect, but there were a few detours along the way, which was the V12 Detect.
This variant is Dyson’s lightest of their latest “full-sized” options, utilizing a smaller motor, dustbin, and battery, improving its ergonomic feel over hulking V15 and Gen5 Detect models.
But before the V12, Dyson already had another lightweight option: the V7 MotorHead.
This model was released after the V8 as a cheaper alternative to the (then) top-of-the V8 Absolute with a smaller motor and battery – similar to what the V12 is to the V15. But the latter’s weight reduction was more dramatic.
Basic Features: Dyson V7 MotorHead
- A cheaper option than the V12
- The lightweight body is superb as a handheld option
- A non-complicated hygienic mechanism that’s straightforward to use
- Lots of sub-models for diverse consumer needs
- Larger dustbin than the V12
- The MotorHead option leaked badly during the fog test
- No Fluffy attachment (at least for this variant)
- Limited tools included
- Small dustbin
The Dyson V7 is as bare as they come, at least for current Dyson standards. It’s one of the last of the previous-generation cordless stick vacuums with a vertically aligned dustbin with a trigger and slide switch that was grandfathered into the Dyson V10.
One benefit of the vertically aligned dustbin is its compactness, making it lightweight, but at the cost of dirt volume, since adding any significant capacity will make it look awkward.
That’s why Dyson shifted to a horizontally aligned container in its latest products, namely the V10 to V15 Detect.
The model I have is the MotorHead – one of the cheaper alternatives, but it doesn’t have a post-motor filter, so it leaked badly during the fog test.
It doesn’t have an interactive screen or the middle setting in the V12, so there’s no middle-ground power option to balance run time and suction.
Also, it uses a smaller battery (only 2100 mAh). Thus the range is limited to around 32 minutes – still in line with Dyson’s 30-minute claim.
Unfortunately, the V7 battery doesn’t have a quick-release latch. Purchasing an extra battery to extend the run time is not practical.
Variants like the MotorHead only come with a standard brush roll, limiting it to cleaning carpets.
It can vacuum hard floors, but not as efficiently as a Fluffy tool.
However, there are sub-models with the soft roller tool, so potential buyers should carefully look at what’s available.
Also, don’t expect much with the tools – it doesn’t have much.
- Standard nozzle
- Crevice tool
- Combination tool
- Wall dock
- Extension tube
Fortunately, Dyson tools (except for the V12, Micro, and Omni-Glide) are interchangeable and widely available. Consumers could purchase specific tools, even ones for the V15, that will fit on the V7.
The Dyson V7 is a decent option with decent cleaning performance minus the bells and whistles, so it’s cheaper than the V12.
It’s a good cheaper alternative for consumers who don’t mind its run time, power, and feature limitations.
Feature-Rich: Dyson V12 Detect
- It possesses most of Dyson’s latest tech
- Lightweight version of the V15 Detect
- Green laser accentuates dust particles better than any stick vacuum I’ve tested
- Push-button power switch
- Some variants come with two detachable batteries
- Fully-sealed system
- Lots of tools out of the box
- It has the torque screw tool attachment, which is excellent at cleaning long hair
- More expensive
- Smaller dustbin
Before testing it, I thought the V12 Detect was only a variation of the V15 Detect with a push-button switch, but I was mistaken.
The V12 is a smaller version of the V15, filling the gap previously missing in its product line – a lightweight stick vacuum.
The photo above shows the size difference between the V12 and V15, which is massive.
And the weight variance is significant, making the V12 much better with its ergonomics.
Another plus for the V12 is it possesses all of V15’s tech, including the laser slim roller, Piezo sensor, and torque screw tool, but at a lower cost.
Again, it’s a smaller version of the V15 Detect without the bulk.
Unfortunately, it’s not all roses for the V12. The reduced bulk means it holds less dirt, is less powerful, and won’t run as long.
These are unavoidable consequences because of downsizing the frame.
Don’t expect V15-level cleaning performance, especially on carpet, but on hard floors, it’s excellent because of the laser slim roller attachment.
The bright green laser accentuates dust as particles (really) pop, making it easy to track.
Another inherited feature is the Piezo sensor, showing the debris quantity picked up through the LCD screen.
It’s the same as the V15, but with a red button. Underneath the Piezo readout is the run time status.
Other features inherited from the V15 are the torque screw tool and detachable battery.
The torque screw tool is a recent Dyson innovation with a tapered brush roll, helping untangle long strands and funneling them into a holding area and then into the dustbin.
Even with this much hair, nothing wrapped on the brush.
It’s one of the best tools I’ve tested at cleaning (really) long hair strands on upholstery.
Despite the battery downgrade, the run time is (still) excellent, exceeding 60 minutes with the slim roller tool, which doubles to over 120 minutes in options with two batteries.
The Dyson V12 represents a significant upgrade over the V7 in every facet, but these enhancements won’t be cheap.
Are you willing to spend on these? Answering this will determine your choice.
Similarities between the Dyson V7 and V12 Detect
Next, we’ll look at the similarities between these products, starting with their versatility.
1. Two-in-one Versatility
Both are versatile options in different configurations as a handheld and stick vacuum.
One advantage of the V12 is it has more tool options out of the box, and consumers can use it in more layouts – even for cleaning underneath furniture.
Always check the inclusions before purchasing any of the V7 or V12 models.
2. Hygienic System
Another similarity is the hygienic system, where there’s a mechanism for pushing debris out of the container.
It’s a stape with all Dyson products, starting with the V8, and every variant released after has it.
However, one issue is hair sticking on the inner walls of the dustbin, and this isn’t a Dyson problem but a universal one across different brands.
Differences between the Dyson V7 and V12 Detect
Next, we’ll look at the variances, and there are plenty.
The obvious one is the dustbin alignment – look at the photo below.
Even with the downsizing, the V12 retains the horizontally aligned dustbin, while the V7 has a vertically aligned container.
Though the V12 container looks bigger, it holds less (0.35 vs. 0.53 liters), so the V7 has the advantage with dirt volume.
2. Power Switch
Another variance is the power switch – the V7 uses a trigger, and the V12 has a push-button switch above the motor, so consumers don’t have to squeeze a trigger continually.
3. Suction Levels and Control
Accessing different power settings is different with the V7 and V12.
The V7 uses a more traditional slide switch to toggle between two settings, while the V12 has a red button underneath the interactive screen for the same purpose.
Only the Dyson V12 Detect has a detachable battery, and some sub-variants come with two batteries and chargers, enabling folks to charge both simultaneously.
Unfortunately, the V7 doesn’t have a detachable battery, and consumers need to remove some bolts to remove it.
From the V10 onwards, all Dyson cordless vacuum products use a single filter behind the motor where the pre and post-motor elements are fused.
The V12 used the same filter design as the other next-generation Dyson products and didn’t leak during the fog test.
The V7, at least the MotorHead variant, only has one filter – the primary one sitting in the middle of the cyclones.
It doesn’t have a post-motor HEPA filter. Thus, it leaked during the fog test.
Allergy sufferers can opt for other variants with a post-motor filter like the “Allergy” model, but these will be costlier – just an FYI.
There will be variations with the nozzles included out of the box, particularly with the V7.
The V12 Detect I purchased (the Slim Absolute Extra) comes with two – the laser slim roller and standard brush roll similar to the Dyson V8, while the V7 MotorHead only has the standard brush roll.
Here’s a close look at the Dyson V7 Motorhead attachment.
These nozzles are similar in size and brush design, so there’s not much variance in cleaning performance.
There isn’t much variance in the handheld weight between the V7 and V12.
The V7 is (actually) lighter than the V12 Detect by a few ounces.
It weighs only 3 pounds and 0.4 ounces without any tools, while the V12 is a touch heavier at 3 pounds and 4 ounces, giving the V7 the edge in ergonomics in any configuration.
One advantage of the V12 is the push-button switch, so there’s no trigger to squeeze, which can be helpful in specific tasks (particularly above floors).
The Dyson V12 Detect is better in this category because the interactive screen shows the Piezo readout and run time status.
It’s similar to the V15 Detect, but with a (slightly) smaller screen and variation with the button shape (and color).
The Dyson V7 has no screen, only an LED indicator at the base for its status.
It’ll flash when the battery is low, but there’s no way of knowing how much is left because it’s a single LED setup.
Run Time Comparison
One potential deciding factor between the V7 and V12 is the range (or run time), where the V12 has a considerable edge because it uses the latest Dyson battery technology.
|Dyson V7 MotorHead|
|Non-powered||32:43 mins.||N/A||5:45 mins|
|Cleaning nozzle||27:58 mins.||N/A||7:07 mins|
|Dyson V12 Detect|
|Hard floor||63:00 mins.||37:50 mins.||N/A|
|Carpet||42:00 mins.||27:31 mins.||6:25 mins.|
The V12 advantage is two-fold. First, it runs nearly twice as long as the V7 with the slim roller attachment (63 vs. 32 mins.) and nearly quadruples it for variants with two batteries.
Second, it has the auto setting absent in the V7 – balancing run time and suction, most helpful on carpeted surfaces.
The V7, with its smaller battery, isn’t designed for extended range but only for tiny homes for spot cleaning purposes.
|Dyson V7 MotorHead|
|Wand||29.64 CFM||N/A||49.68 CFM|
|Cleaning Head||26.28 CFM||N/A||37.92 CFM|
|Dyson V12 Detect|
|Wand||27.43 CFM||32.23 CFM||58.74 CFM|
|Cleaning Head||24 CFM||28.52 CFM||48.38 CFM|
Surprisingly, there isn’t much variance between the V7 and V12 in the lowest setting. The V7 (actually) has more in this setting (26 vs. 24 CFM), but the variance isn’t much.
However, the V12 has more airflow in the max setting and has the auto setting, increasing suction when it detects more debris through the Piezo sensor.
The V7 doesn’t have this setting; consumers are forced to use the max setting to clean embedded dirt on carpets, significantly cutting the run time.
An auto setting also preserves battery service life because less heat is generated.
|Model||Dyson V7 MotorHead||Dyson V12 Detect|
|Hard Floors (Surface Test)||81.75%||99.8%|
|Sand on Hard Floor||99.2%||99.9%|
|Carpet (Surface Test)||99.97%||99.45%|
There isn’t much variance with the cleaning performance of these products, at least on carpet.
But the V12 Detect picked up more debris on hard floors thanks to the slim roller nozzle.
One reason is the soft roller tool that’s more efficient at debris pick-up on this surface compared to V7 since the latter doesn’t have the Fluffy attachment.
It shouldn’t be a deal breaker since consumers can purchase a soft roller if needed.
Which option is better on hard floors?
The latter is better between the V7 MotorHead and V12 Detect since it has a slim roller nozzle – a more efficient tool on hard floors.
It got more sand on this surface, an indicator I use for hard floor cleaning performance.
Surprisingly, even without the Fluffy tool, the V7 was decent at cleaning sand (99.2%).
Nonetheless, the V12’s other features make it more functional, like the green laser – one of the best at accentuating almost-invisible dust particles, even in dark areas.
This feature is absent in the V7, though the V15’s laser slim roller will fit in the V7, so it’s another option once it’s available.
Edge Cleaning Comparison
There’s not much variance with the V7 and V12 cleaning edges. Both were proficient at cleaning this area.
The V7 was excellent even at cleaning pet litter, getting most of it.
Likewise, the V12 only needed a few passes to clean this area.
Hair Wrap Comparison [Hard Floors]
One of the biggest surprises in this comparison is the hair wrap test, where the V7 MotorHead was unexpectedly good despite not having an active anti-tangle system.
- 5-inch strands: 100%
- 7-inch strands: 99%
- 9-inch strands: 100%
- 11-inch strands: 88%
- 12-inch strands: 88%
It got a high percentage even on longer strands (nine inches and above). Another advantage of this variant is hair doesn’t wrap on the axles since there’s no gap.
The Dyson V12 was also excellent in all the experiments, picking up between 92% and 100%, even with 13-inch hair.
- 5-inch strands: 96%
- 7-inch strands: 100%
- 9-inch strands: 92.5%
- 11-inch strands: 98%
- 13-inch strands: 100%
One issue with the V12 is the gap on the axle, which is a hair wrap magnet.
You can see in the photo above that there’s a noticeable gap, and removing hair can be tedious.
Which option is better on carpets?
Another surprise in this comparison is how close these Dyson cordless vacuums are to cleaning carpets.
There isn’t much variance with the surface debris experiments (99.97% vs. 99.45%), with the advantage going to the V7.
Even with deep cleaning, the V7 got a (slightly) higher average (94.93% vs. 94.1%).
One reason could be the seal behind the brush roll – the V7 uses a felt seal compared to the V12’s rubber squeegee.
Hair Wrap Comparison [on Carpets]
Not surprisingly, the V12 Detect is the better alternative to cleaning hair on carpets, thanks to its higher airflow in the auto and max settings.
It was excellent, even up to nine-inch strands, but struggled with eleven-inch hair, only picking up 30%.
- 5-inch strands: 96%
- 7-inch strands: 100%
- 9-inch strands: 92.5%
- 11-inch strands: 30%
The Dyson V7 is a notch lower than the V12, only picking up a high percentage with five and seven-inch hair but not as good with nine-inch strands.
- 5-inch strands: 100%
- 7-inch strands: 99%
- 9-inch strands: 38%
Please note that neither of these options has an active anti-tangle system, so I wouldn’t recommend any for cleaning large quantities of hair.
|Model||Dyson V7 MotorHead||Dyson V12 Detect|
|Low||64.1 dB||70.1 dB|
|Max||73.9 dB||80.7 dB|
The Dyson V12, with its more powerful motor, is predictably noisier, exceeding 80 decibels in the max setting, compared to the V7, which only maxed at 73.9 dB.
Related Dyson Comparisons
- Dyson V7 vs. Outsize – Lightweight or Upright-Like Capacity
- Dyson V7 vs. V10
- Dyson V8 vs. V10 – Much Closer Than You Think
- Dyson V10 vs. V11 Comparison
- Dyson V12 Detect vs. V10 Absolute
- Dyson V12 Detect vs. Outsize
- Dyson V12 vs. V8
Like most Dyson products, the V7 and V12 need TLC to function efficiently for years. Consumers will be spending a few hundred dollars for these stick vacuums, so it makes sense to maintain them to ensure longevity.
I’ll enumerate the components you need to clean and the recommended intervals.
Click here to access all the Dyson maintenance tips articles.
- Primary brush rolls: Clean the nozzles to remove hair and dust accumulation on the brush and axles. Dyson brushes are detachable, making this task easier.
- Dustbin: Empty the trash container after every cleaning cycle to prevent performance degradation and the external filter from clogging and dust mites from breeding.
- Filter: Dyson recommends washing the filter monthly under running water without any detergents to maintain suction performance.
- Battery: Avoid using the max setting for extended stretches to avoid overheating the battery and cutting short its service life.
Where can I buy the Dyson V7 and V12 Detect?
These Dyson cordless stick vacuums are available in online stores like Amazon. Check the links below for the latest pricing information.
Disclaimer: I’ll earn a commission if you purchase through any of the links above, but at no extra cost, so it’s a win for us!
Which Offers the Better Value?
Considering the price variance, I’d lean towards the V12 Detect because it has all the latest tech of the V15 in a more compact package.
While it doesn’t clean as well as the V15 Detect, folks will enjoy most of its benefits, and the cleaning variance isn’t that much, particularly with surface debris.
Only select V7 variants like the MotorHead is significantly cheaper than the V12, but the price variance of models with the post-motor filter isn’t much.
4 Reasons to Choose the Dyson V7
- Cheaper: The V7 MotorHead is much cheaper than the V12 Detect.
- Larger dustbin: Surprisingly, this model has a larger capacity dustbin (0.53 vs. 0.35 liters) even with the vertically aligned container.
- Not as noisy: The weaker motor means it won’t be as loud.
- Better ergonomics: Its lighter frame gives it a (slight) advantage with ergonomics.
- Above-average cleaning: Another surprise with the V7 is its higher carpet cleaning test scores.
5 Reasons to Choose the Dyson V12 Detect
- Latest Dyson tech: The V12 possesses most of the V15’s features but in a compact frame.
- Tracks dust: This variant is perhaps the best cordless stick vacuum I’ve tested at tracking almost-invisible dust, even in dark areas.
- More tools: Consumers will get more tools out of the box, including the latest attachments like the torque screw tool.
- Runs further: Dyson’s latest battery used in the V12 Detect is more energy dense, enabling it to run longer.
- Detachable battery: The quick-release latch makes it easy to remove the battery. Variants with two batteries also have two chargers.
The Verdict: The Dyson V12 is the Better Option
Despite the price variance, the Dyson V12 offers better value considering what you’ll get out of the box.
Consumers will enjoy the benefit of Dyson’s latest technology, including the laser slim roller, Piezo sensor, and torque screw tool, enabling consumers to vacuum their homes more efficiently.
The Dyson V7 is a decent option, but its features are dated, and options with the post-motor HEPA filter aren’t far off the V12 (prices, to be specific), which is a deal-breaker for me.