Dyson Small Ball Vacuum Cleaner Review
Dyson's smaller upright is a great vacuum for its size—but not for its price.
Edge cleaning tests measure how close to the wall the Small Ball can get. We place a wooden barrier alongside carpet to represent the trim along a wall, and pour talcum powder to visualize what is and isn't cleaned. The Small Ball is able to clean flush against the wall from both the front and the side—meaning suction is distributed evenly throughout the brush head. Dyson's unique drive system is to thank, as vacuums with drive belts mounted on the left or right just can't get that close.
Our carpet tests are split across high-pile and short-pile carpet. To simulate the dirt that's in your own carpets at home, we blend a mix of sand of various sizes and talk. Then, we pour it on the carpet and tamp it down with a roller—like your feet do. We then run each vacuum over the entire surface once, the same way you clean your own home.
On average, this Dyson picked up 43.2% of the dirt off the short-pile carpet. Although that's good for vacuums in general, it doesn't measure up to competitors in this price range. Pickup results on the deep carpet lowered the Small Ball's ranking even more. It vacuumed up only 12.9% of the testing dirt, and while all vacuums struggle with this test, the Small Ball's performance placed it near the back of the pack.
Bare Floor Cleaning
The bare floor test is intended to reflect cleaning scenarios in your kitchen, and we simulate that by leaving out pieces of uncooked macaroni and rice. This is where the Small Ball stumbled the most: It only picked up 45% of the macaroni and 65% of the rice. The brush head is simply to low to the ground to pick up large debris, so you'll need to take out the hose and spot clean instead.
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