Dyson V11 Absolute Vs Animal Vs Torque Drive – Which Should You Buy?

Written by James Hall |

Not sure which version of the excellent Dyson V11 to buy? This article compares the Torque Drive, Animal, and Absolute, to help you make the right choice.

The Quick Pick...

Dyson V11 Absolute

Winner: Dyson V11 Absolute

All versions of the Dyson V11 are excellent cordless vacuums. But if you want the full V11 experience, then we recommend spending a bit more to get the Absolute version. This model is the only option that includes both the excellent Torque Drive (with automatic suction adjustment) and Soft Roller floorheads, making it the most versatile choice.

If you don’t have hard floors, or want a cheaper alternative, then the Dyson V11 Torque Drive is still a brilliant vacuum. It doesn’t include the Soft Roller floorhead, but has the Torque Drive floorhead that can make use of the V11’s automatic suction adjustment.

We don’t think the V11 Animal is quite as good as these other two models. While most features are the same, it only has a direct-drive floorhead, rather than the new “High Torque” floorhead. There’s also no automatic suction adjustment mode, which is one of the V11’s stand-out features.

The Dyson V11 is our top pick for a cordless vacuum, so it’s safe to say we’re big fans! In fact, it currently has the highest rating we’ve give any vacuum (at the time of writing), due to its excellent cleaning performance and next-generation features.

Like all Dyson cordless vacuums, however, it’s easy to be confused by the various versions. There are currently three standard models (not including the larger V11 Outsize which we’ve reviewed separately) – Absolute, Animal, and Torque Drive – and many people struggle to know which to buy. As the V11 is a premium vacuum that costs more than £500, this isn’t a decision to take lightly!

So, to help you choose the best V11 for your needs, we’ve put together an in-depth comparison of the Dyson V11 Animal, Torque Drive, and Absolute.

What’s the Same?

Dyson V11 Comparison

At a basic level, all versions of the Dyson V11 are really the same cordless vacuum cleaner. They have the same motor, design, battery, and canister – the only difference is the included floorheads.

This doesn’t mean they provide identical performance though, as the floorhead is a crucial component of any vacuum cleaner. The High Torque cleaner head is also necessary for some of the V11’s advanced features (more on that in the next section,) but it isn’t included with all models.

Even so, the vast majority of features are shared by the Absolute, Animal, and Torque Drive. Some features that are common to all versions of the V11 include:

  • Dyson’s Hyperdymium motor. This is Dyson’s latest motor that can spin up to 125,000 RPM. It’s a powerful motor that’s a key reason for the V11’s excellent cleaning performance.
  • Up to 60 minutes battery life with a 4.5 hour charge time. All versions of the V11 provide up to an hour of run-time, although this is only on the lowest power setting and without a motorised tool. We found that the V11 still provides decent battery life even when in its “Medium/Auto” mode though.
  • LCD screen. One of the stand-out features of the V11 is the LCD screen. This shows an estimate of the remaining battery life, depending on which tool and mode you’re using. It also displays the current suction power and error messages.
  • Redesigned bin alignment. Dyson models before the V10 had a bin that was at right angles to the vacuum’s suction tube. Newer vacs, including the V11, have a bin that’s aligned with the motor and cyclone, which maximises suction power. The realigned bin is also larger than the V8, at 0.76 litres.
  • Excellent filtration. If you suffer from allergies, then the Dyson V11 is one of the best cordless vacuums for retaining allergens. It’s designed with Dyson’s whole-machine filtration system, along with a HEPA filter for removing more small allergens.
  • Three suction modes. The V11 has three suction modes: Eco, Medium/Auto, and Boost. While all versions of the V11 have three modes, only models with the High Torque floorhead can use the vacuum’s automatic suction adjustment system. The “Auto” mode just becomes “Medium” when you’re not using the High Torque tool.
  • Hygienic bin emptying. Unlike many cheaper cordless vacuums, the V11 has an internal collar to physically push out dirt, dust, and hair. This makes it much less likely that you’ll need to pull out clumps by hand.
  • Handheld mode. All Dyson cordless vacuum cleaners can be used as a handheld by detaching the main tube, and the V11 is no exception. This makes all three versions of the V11 great for cleaning stairs and car interiors.
  • Mini motorised pet tool. All versions of the Dyson V11 include a mini motorised pet tool. This is brilliant for cleaning stairs, upholstery, and car interiors. All models also come with a dusting brush, combination floor nozzle, and crevice tool.

Tip: Want to read more details about the V11? Check out our in-depth review of the Dyson V11 Absolute.

What’s Different?

As you can tell from the list above, most features of the V11 are common to all versions. There are a few key differences though, so let’s take a look at the unique features of each model.

The most expensive version in this comparison is the Dyson V11 Absolute. At the time of writing, the V11 Absolute has an RRP of £600, which is £100 more than the V11 Animal.

What makes the Absolute so much more expensive though? The main reason is that the Absolute comes with the new High Torque floorhead. Aside from providing more power, the High Torque floorhead is capable of responding to the V11’s “Dynamic Load Sensor” technology, which automatically adjusts suction depending on the floor type.

The Absolute is also the only V11 version to include Dyson’s Soft Roller floorhead for hard floors. As the name suggests, this has a soft brush bar that we’ve found to be excellent at picking up dirt and hairs on harder surfaces.

In contrast, the V11 Animal is the cheapest version, with an RRP of £500. It only includes Dyson’s direct-drive floorhead, not the High Torque floorhead.

Aside from not being as powerful as the High Torque head, the direct-drive tool also doesn’t include Dyson’s Dynamic Load Sensor. This means the automatic suction mode is replaced with a “Medium” mode, so you’re missing out on a core new feature of the V11.

Finally, the V11 Torque Drive provides a middle ground with an RRP of £550. It does include the High Torque floorhead, meaning it can access the full range of the V11’s technologies. In fact, the only difference between the Absolute and Torque Drive is that the cheaper option doesn’t include the Soft Roller floorhead.

Is the Soft Roller really worth an extra £50? The answer depends on the types of floor in your home.

While the Torque Drive is great for both carpets and hard floors, the Soft Roller is brilliant at preventing scattering and picking up both large and small debris from hard floors. It’s also more delicate on surfaces that are prone to scratching. So, if you have lots of hardwood floors, then it’s probably a good idea to pay extra for the Absolute.

Summary of Key Differences

Here’s a quick summary of the Dyson V11 Absolute Vs Torque Drive Vs Animal:

  • Dyson V11 Absolute (Read Full Review). Most expensive option, but includes both High Torque floorhead (for all surfaces) and Soft Roller floorhead (great for hard floors.) Capable of automatically adjusting suction when in “Auto” mode and using the High Torque floorhead.
  • Dyson V11 Torque Drive. Middle option that only includes the High Torque floorhead (for all surfaces.) Also capable of automatically adjusting suction in “Auto” mode.
  • Dyson V11 Animal. Cheapest option, but comes with Dyson’s direct-drive cleaner head, not the new High Torque attachment. This is still an excellent floorhead, but is less powerful and isn’t capable of using the V11’s Dynamic Load Sensor for automatic suction adjustment. Instead, you just get a “Medium” mode rather than “Auto.”

Which V11 Should You Buy?

The V11 is an excellent cordless vacuum cleaner. Regardless of which version you choose, the vacuum will provide powerful suction, a versatile design, and up to 60-minutes run-time.

Which V11 vacuum is the right choice though?

While the V11 Animal is an excellent vacuum, the lack of High Torque floorhead makes it hard to recommend over the Torque Drive or Absolute. It just doesn’t meet the very high standards set by the other models in the V11 range. It also lacks automatic suction adjustment, which is a key new feature of the V11.

For the complete V11 experience, we recommend the Dyson V11 Absolute. This is the only model that comes with both the High Torque and Soft Roller floorheads, so it’s brilliant for cleaning any type of floor. This is also the model to buy if your home has lots of hard floors, as the Soft Roller is superior to the High Torque for cleaning hard surfaces.

If you don’t think you’ll use the Soft Roller, then the V11 Torque Drive is a great alternative. This model has all the features of the Absolute, including the Torque Drive floorhead with Dynamic Load Sensor to automatically adjust suction, but for around £50 less. It’s also probably the best choice if your home is mainly carpet, as the Soft Roller is only for hard floors.

We hope this Dyson V11 Animal Vs Absolute comparison has helped you make the right choice for your home. If you have any questions, please let us know in the comments form below.

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