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So, how does this translate to real cleaning performance and usability? We found that the results were mixed. For a compact canister, the the was great on hardwood and pretty good on short carpet. Unfortunately, the vacuum didn't fare as well on long carpet and it had some issues with large debris getting lodged in its undercarriage. Whether it works for you depends on what sort of vacuuming you plan on doing.

The "Radial Root Cyclone" technology may sound fancy, but our data shows that it's really just a one-trick pony—and one that doesn't do the best tricks in the show, for that matter. Take a look and see why this Dyson, despite being a handy little machine, may not be the best choice for your cleaning needs.

Hard wood vacuuming was this machine's greatest strength, pulling up 94.4 percent of dirt. It's not the best we've seen, but it's still quite effective. Short hair carpet only yielded 77.8 percent—not terribly good—while long hair carpet lost a measly 10.4 percent. That's hardly worth the effort of vacuuming at all! It's ironic, then, that this machine proved to be very good at picking up pet hair.

The debris test offered up proportional results based on floor type. It picked up nearly 80 percent of debris on hard wood, while only snagging 59 percent on high carpet. It did manage to get most of the lighter debris, such as pasta and rice, but it had trouble with dimes and pennies; they kept getting stuck in the hose, though removing them wasn't a huge hassle given the user-friendly design of the vacuum.

Ease of use will be a big chunk of the reason customers are willing to drop $500 on the .

There's a lot new to Dyson's latest canister vacuum. Its "Radial Root Cyclone" technology is meant to maximize suction during cleaning and pick up dirt that other vacuums don't. And it now uses the familiar Dyson ball design, the first canister vacuum to do so. For the most part, the handles well. We had little issue moving around corners with the canister in tow, but vacuuming on high pile carpet was more difficult. It often got stuck in the carpet fibers, which prevented it from gliding smoothly. You shouldn't have too much trouble cleaning walls or shelves with the because of its 7.5 foot hose reach. The wand itself is 2.5 feet, so you'll also be able to reach under your couch, table, and other hard to reach places.

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We had little issue moving around corners with the canister in tow.

At 21.5 feet, the 's power cord is a bit below average but gets points for having an automatic retraction button, though sometimes it will start to pull back in when you don't mean for it to do so. There are four controls on the : power (long red button on the left side of the canister), power cord retraction (long clear button on the right), power brush on/off (silver button on the handle), and the silver button that releases the dirt container below the power button. Dirt is released from the container through a trap door on its bottom, with a washable HEPA filter located inside that can be pulled out easily. An added bonus? Most canister vacuums have some heft to them, but the weighed in at just over 16 pounds.

The was in the middle of the pack in noise produced, but a bit more than average in energy usage.

The average noise level for most vacuums is about 75 decibels, and the just about hit that number on the nose. Also, you don't need to worry about the doing major damage to your electricity bill. Still, we'd like to see less than 1227 watts used for such a small vacuum.

If you have hardwood and short carpet, the won't disappoint. The same can't be said for high pile.

The comes with two cleaning tools, a pet hair brush and crevice tool, that can be attached to the extension wand after unhooking the nozzle head from the end of the wand. Pet hair came up surprisingly easily, with very little getting stuck in the power brush, and hard wood floors came out almost perfectly clean.

It was all downhill from there, though. Short carpet cleaning was barely passable, but our long carpet might as well have not been vacuumed at all.

Pet hair came up surprisingly easy, with very little getting stuck in the power brush.

The debris test produced decent results, with proportionally better performance on hard wood floors, but we ended up having to pull pennies and dimes out of its intake valve the first few times we ran the test. Luckily, the DC39 is designed well and it was not a problem to unhook its different compartments to find the source of the clog. For a small canister vacuum, the 's 0.65 gallon capacity isn't too shabby, either.

Dyson improved the DC39, but we're not sure it's enough to warrant its price.

The new technology that Dyson introduced with the sounds great and seemed to be very well thought out. The problem is that in some areas, the "Radial Root Cyclone" feature had a chance to work, and in others it didn't. The DC39 has weight (16 pounds), hose size, and portability working in its favor and it helps that you can turn the power brush on and off. It's certainly an upgrade from the DC26 in performance, but we still find it hard to recommend spending $500 on this vacuum.

The only area where it was truly great was with hardwood, and there are plenty of vacuums that do well there. Think about it this way: for $500, you could buy this, or two Kenmore Progressive 21514s, a vacuum that outperformed the in every single category.

Meet the tester

Patrick Ouellette

Patrick Ouellette

Staff Writer


Patrick Ouellette is a valued contributor to the Reviewed.com family of sites.

See all of Patrick Ouellette's reviews

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