If you’re in the market for a cordless vacuum, Dyson should be on the top of your list. Of the hundreds of vacuums we’ve tested in our labs, Dysons makes the best cordless units that can even hold a candle to a full-sized competitor. The major downside is the extremely high price tag, at times $500 more than other cordless options. But in terms of value, the Dyson V8 and V10 provide the most bang for your buck. However, there are differences between the two generations you need to know about before purchasing.
Note: For the sake of comparison, we’re going to be discussing the V8 Absolute and the V10 Absolute unless stated otherwise.
Design and battery life
The Dyson V10 has an elongated body, allowing the dust bin to be 40% bigger and 20% more battery life compared to the V8. Oddly enough, being able to hold 40% more dirt only translated to about 5% more weight. That doesn’t mean the V8 is tiny and weak. It can hold 0.5 liters worth of dirt and has a seven-minute battery life on high, and a 40-minute life on low.
However, during testing, we did notice that the V10 is more unwieldy. Having its weight more evenly distributed meant it didn’t work as well as a counterbalance to the heavy brush heads.
When we test cordless vacuums, we lay out 20 grams of dirt, each speck measuring between 300 and 425 microns—the kind of stuff you’d track in on your feet. We give each vacuum a chance to go over the testing carpet once before measuring how much each picked up.
In this test, the V10 and V8 actually came out neck and neck. The results showed that the V10 only picked up about 1% to 2% more dirt than the V8. You could make the argument that since the V10 has significantly more battery life, the difference becomes more pronounced over time.
Animal vs. Absolute vs. Motorhead
One of the biggest questions consumers have about Dysons relates to the difference between the Animal, Absolute, and Motorhead designations. Aside from some cosmetic changes, the different model names denote what attachments come with each vacuum. Typically the Motorhead comes with the fewest attachments, the Animal is in the middle, and the Absolute comes with everything under the sun.
For example, the V10 and V8 Absolute come with three motorized brush heads: one for carpets, one for hardwood, and one for upholstery. The V10 Motorhead only comes with the carpet cleaning brush head. The V8 Animal comes with everything the Absolute version has except for the hardwood floor cleaner.
Which should you buy?
It comes down to how you vacuum. If you’re the type of person who vacuums once or twice a week, the V8 is best for you. It might have a weaker battery and a smaller dustbin, but it’s cheaper and has similar suction power. However, if you clean once a month or every other week, you’ll appreciate the longer battery life and a bigger bin.