Product: Dyson DC31 Animal Hand Vacuum
Rating: Strong Recommend*
There's lots to love about inviting pets into your life and into your home, but pet hair and litter aren't amongst them. We've got two cats in our apartment, so that entails a regular schedule of sweeping, vacuuming and picking up debris related to sharing our home with our fur-covered overlords. But we've recently adopted the use of a cleaning appliance which has knocked off at least 25% of the time we previously spent cleaning around the house, thanks to its unbeatable performance as the ultimate handheld pet vacuum.
I've had a love and hate relationship with Dyson products: I love the technology behind their products, but I've never been so hot on the uber-Transformers industrial design of their cleaning appliances. The Dyson DC31 Animal Hand Vacuum doesn't change my opinion in this regard, with a purple and dark gray form factor which flaunts its high tech mechanics as a macho aesthetic statement. But once in hand, any doubts were sucked up and away by the undeniable performance and ergonomics of the DC31.
The DC31 is called the Animal for its intended use, engineered specifically for pet owners who have to deal with a mixture of hair, debris and occasionally the option to utilize the vacuum as a deterrent for bad behavior. But the moniker also refers to the power-performance of what often feels like a high powered weapon in hand; cleaning with the DC31 is an exhilarating feeling similar to using a power tool, except this one rids you of a mess instead of creating one. Ergonomic comfort is excellent, and the DC31 did a top notch job reaching inbetween crevices, under furniture and around our cats' litter boxes...well engineered for daily use and proving us wrong about our initial impression based upon appearances alone.
The high pitch whir of the motor spins at a rate 10x faster than a 747 jet engine, which cuts down cleaning time significantly (I spent less time going over a spot thanks to the 104,000 rpm power of cyclonic fury). The trade off is the DC31 can only be used for 6-10 minutes at a time: 10 minutes with normal 38 watts setting and 6 minutes using the 65 watts power setting. It's the price you pay for instant gratification.
Cleaning and emptying the unit is fairly easy. A red switch opens a bottom trapdoor, emptying the main canister. The canister itself only holds a modest amount of material and I'd recommend emptying it outside, since like any non bag model, a small plume of whatever you cleaned is likely to appear upon emptying [cough cough]. An additional filter needs to be cleaned after several uses to keep the vac operating in tip-top shape, but the whole cleaning process won't take more than a couple minutes unless you want to get meticulous.
The Dyson DC31 comes with debris nozzle, crevice tool and motorized brusher. All three have proven to be useful around the house, unlike with some other vacuum accessories which get relegated to the "never use it" accessories pile. The motorized brusher is our favorite, perfect for removing pet hair from upholstery and carpet in just a couple of swipes. The crevice tool is adept for litter box duty, while the debris nozzle is proficient for kitchen surface and floor clean up.
At $269.99 (you can save a little bit online), this handheld vacuum doesn't come cheap and is more of a luxury than a necessity. But if one wants a way to cut down on cleaning time daily as a pet owner, there isn't a better cleaning appliance we've yet used than the DC31. It won't replace your full size vacuum, but as a Robin to a full size vacuum Batman, the DC31 makes for an excellent sidekick for any pet household, purple outfit and all.
Pros: Performance is best we've tested, solid construction, motorized brushbar excellent at removing pet hair, form factor allows for easy reach around household.
Cons: Loud, only 6-10 minutes use time, Michael Bay weaponry style design not for everyone, price, low capacity
Apartment Therapy Media makes every effort to test and review products fairly and transparently. The views expressed in this review are the personal views of the reviewer and this particular product review was not sponsored or paid for in any way by the manufacturer or an agent working on their behalf. However, the manufacturer did give us the product for testing and review purposes.