Once the whole Christmas period is over and the New Year starts, I always like to have a good clean up at home to get rid of the bits of stray glitter from Christmas baubles that have found their way into the carpet and the dust balls that are quietly accumulating under our sofa – a combination of general dust and cat hair from our moggies.
This year, after the fake tree was boxed up again and the tinsel relegated to the loft, I was happy to break open the box to this little baby – the Dyson Smallball Animal! This brand new offering from the always excellent and innovative Dyson brand is their lightest and smallest upright and it packs something of a punch!
The Smallball Animal launched this week and has a pretty appearance with its purple and grey exterior with the iconic see-through chamber at the front so you can observe all the dirt as you clean up! It has a lot of power, easily helping me cut through the mess in my large family home, but it would be just as useful in an apartment, flat or other smaller living space as it has been designed for homes where space is at a premium.
I put this machine through its paces and here is the low down to help your purchasing decision if you are looking for a new vacuum cleaner!
Tester: Me- Nadine. I live with my husband (a builder who brings in a lot of dust on his clothes!) and my two children (a teenager and an 8 year old). We also live with two black cats and their cat hair from their constant licking is always floating around!
Assembly: First I assembled the product from the box. It was minor assembly required- just attaching the brush bar at the front and also the handle, but it did take me a few read throughs of the instructions to be sure I was doing it right! I am always too worried to force something into place in case I break it but the Dyson is tough and once everything was clipped together, it was great!
Some design features have changed if you are familiar with earlier Dyson models. I have the Dyson DC25 at home which is an older and heavier machine, and on the DC25 to attach the focussed nozzle to the flexi hose, you have to clip it into the expand pipe which is a straight metal hose. You can also remove the straight metal hose and attach the nozzle directly to the flexi hose by removing the straight pipe for more adaptability. With the Smallball Animal, the design works by attaching the nozzle straight to the flexi hose by simply pushing a button to release the straight hose and it glides out of the way so you can fasten the nozzle to the flexi hose. It’s kind of like cutting out the middle man! It means you can get the nozzle onto the flexi hose in a couple of steps less than with previous models.
In use: When I was cleaning the floor, I noticed how much the vacuum glided around the room, on both my carpet and wooden floor surfaces. The brush bar has a nice, small head which makes it easy to manoeuvre and get under furniture and the power cable is extra long so you can reach all around the home without constantly plugging and unplugging. Being a Dyson product and therefore well thought out, you can be assured that this long cable stores neatly on the back of the upright and there is a cable clip to tie up the loose end neatly for storage.
Stairway challenge: A part of any good clean is going up the staircase and this machine made it so easy. It was light to carry – The Dyson Smallball weighs just 5.5kg compared to an average upright vacuum cleaner which weighs a hefty 7kg. Plus the nozzle attachments are easy to swop about as you go. Here is the dust collected after just one clean of my home (I feel the need to issue a disclaimer of my housewifery skills here! I was cleaning less in the week leading up to this trial so I could really put the machine to the test hence there is loads of dust in this chamber!!)
Dusting on high!: As part of my thorough clean, I wanted to reach into the corners of the rooms to get those spider webs before my 8 legged friends get a foothold and move in. It was easy to reach where I needed to and suck up the stray spider silk and as I was enjoying myself, I did each room this way too! I have to confess, I normally just run a vac around the floor of the rooms in my home and only do more of a deep clean when I feel compelled to – at springtime for example!
Pros, pros, pros and cons: This whole post is littered with the pros of the Dyson, from its light weight to its smaller easier size and also that it is 30% quieter than previous Dyson models which I haven’t mentioned until now. However to present a balanced view I have to give you the cons too. Or should I say ‘con’ as there was only one thing I found that I could class as a negative. Even then, it depends upon how you look at it.
I was giving my fabric sofa cushions a clean too using the nozzle with the long brush hairs attached so you can suck up the dust without having the rest of the fabric get drawn up into the nozzle too. As I was cleaning the crumbs off my sofa and reached the flexi hose further along the sofa to get the further away crumbs, the body of the Dyson tipped over a bit. I can’t decide if it was that the suction was so powerful that it caused the body to tip, or that the body is so lightweight that it tipped, but either way, the tipping was down to one of those things (I wouldn’t say I was ‘over-reaching’) so how can you blame a vacuum for having strong suction and a lightweight body? For being too good at its job?! So there you have it – the downside!
Recommended for: The Dyson Smallball Animal would work really well in more compact homes, single person households for example or due to its ease to carry around, it would suit an elderly person. We are a family of four energetic people and it worked well for us but I can also see the benefits for less able people. If you have a larger home you’ll benefit from one too as you’ll have more ground surface to cover. This machine is as lightweight and easy to manoeuvre as you can get so your arms won’t ache!
Thank you to the team at Dyson for sending us the Smallball Vacuum to review so I could test it out and bring you my thoughts. The Smallball Animal costs £400 and comes with a free 5 year guarantee. You can learn more about Dyson products here: www.dyson.co.uk