Dyson V8 Animal Review – Is This Cordless Vacuum Cleaner a True Upright Replacement?

Written by James Hall | 0 Comments | Last Updated: October 4, 2018

Dyson V8 Animal

8.8

Value

6.0/10

Ease of Use

9.0/10

Cleaning Power

10.0/10

Features

10.0/10

Accessories

9.0/10

Pros

  • Excellent suction for a cordless vac
  • Easy to use and highly mobile
  • Great with pet hair
  • Effective on carpets, hard floors and stairs
  • Hygienic bin emptying system

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Bin emptying system feels flimsy (although it does the job)
  • No soft roller cleaner head for hard floors

The Dyson V8 Animal is the basic version of the V8 series – if a £300+ vacuum can ever really be called “basic.” It’s marketed as a powerful cordless that can rival corded models for suction power and cleaning performance. It also features Dyson’s detachable handheld design and direct-drive cleaner head.

How does the V8 Animal compare to other cordless vacuums though? And does the performance justify the high price? Keep reading our Dyson V8 Animal review to find out.

Overview of the Dyson V8 Animal

  • Powerful and fade-free suction due to the V8 motor and two tiers of radial cyclones
  • Dyson’s direct-drive cleaner head for brilliant carpet pickup
  • Hygienic bin emptying system which pushes dust and dirt out of the canister
  • Converts to a handheld vacuum for above-floor cleaning
  • Miniature motorised tool for cleaning hair on sofas, car interiors or stairs
  • Excellent filtration system to keep allergens trapped in the canister
  • Docking station for charging and storage

In-Depth Look at the Animal’s Features

Dyson released the V8 series in 2016 as an upgrade to the popular V6. It’s designed to improve on the V6 in several ways, including a more powerful boost mode, longer 40-minute run-time, and a redesigned emptying system. While it’s no longer the “top dog” in the Dyson cordless series – the V10 Cyclone takes that crown – the V8 is still one of the best cordless vacs and is cheaper then Dyson’s newer model.

In fact, the Dyson V8 Animal is the only V8 model that’s currently in production, as Dyson has discontinued the Absolute and Total Clean (as of April 2018). Don’t panic if you wanted the V8 Absolute though – the Animal is the same core vacuum, just without the soft roller cleaner head (more on that in a moment).

Aside from the lack of a hard floor tool, the V8 Animal is everything you expect from a Dyson cordless. It’s powerful, has a detachable handheld mode, and is designed for all-surface cleaning. It’s also expensive – although the price has dropped since the release of the V10 Cyclone.

While the V8 Animal’s name indicates it’s designed for pet owners, the vacuum doesn’t provide additional hair cleaning performance compared to the V8 Absolute. Both models have the direct-drive floor head and pet turbo tool, so the “Animal” and “Absolute” names are slightly misleading.

That doesn’t mean the V8 Animal isn’t great at cleaning pet hair though. A pet vacuum needs to have powerful suction, a brush bar to remove hair from carpet fibres, and a turbo tool for sofas and car interiors. The V8 Animal ticks all these boxes – and more.

Appearance & Design

Above floor cleaningDyson cordless vacuums all have similar designs, and the V8 Animal is no exception. It’s a stick vacuum with a detachable handheld mode (sometimes called a “handstick” design), lightweight design and several accessories. The stick and handheld modes also make it a versatile vacuum.

As you would expect from a portable cordless vac, the V8 Animal is mobile and lightweight. Weighing just 2.61kg, it’s one of lightest cordless models we’ve reviewed and considerably lighter than an upright or cylinder. The tools are also easy to attach when needed.

Despite the seemingly top-heavy design, Dyson has done a decent job of balancing the body of the V8. It feels comfortable to hold and the battery placement balances the weight of new V8 motor.

The standard direct-drive cleaner has a mini “ball” joint. This isn’t the same as Dyson’s true “Ball” models, but makes it easy to whip around furniture and other obstacles.

It’s this combination of mobility and lightweight design that makes the V8 such a joy to use. It’s far less hassle to start cleaning with the V8 Animal than a regular upright, yet you get a similar level of performance.

A downside is the dust capacity. With a bin size of just 0.54 litres, the V8 Animal needs to be emptied regularly – although this is an issue with nearly all cordless vacs. The lack of a hose can also make it difficult to clean awkward or high locations, as you’ll need to hold the entire vacuum up or sacrifice reach with the handheld mode. It’s brilliant for cleaning stairs though.

One thing to note is that the V8 series uses Dyson’s trigger system. The trigger must be held when vacuuming, which increases  run-time but may get tiring during long cleaning sessions.

Like many Dyson models, the build-quality feels a bit “cheap” – especially considering the high price. This is more of an aesthetic factor though, as the Dyson V8 is a durable vacuum that’s built to last.

Suction Power & Cleaning Performance

Let’s start with what you really want to know: the V8 Animal is a very powerful cordless vacuum cleaner. It’s powered by Dyson’s V8 motor that provides up to 115 air watts – although in “regular” mode this drops to 28AW. There aren’t many cord-free models that can match it for raw suction power, especially when on “MAX” power mode.

Like all V8 models, the Animal comes with Dyson’s direct-drive cleaner head. This has a powered brush bar for digging deeper into carpet fibres and removing more dirt and dust.

The combination of brush bar and powerful suction make quick work of household mess, including dust, dirt and hair. It’s also a versatile vac that can be used anywhere in the home.

The “MAX” power mode provides an boost in suction for stubborn patches or dirt or hair. This is useful, but reduces run-time to around 7-minutes, so it’s an option to use sparingly. The “MAX” mode also greatly increases the noise of the vacuum – although the extra power is instantly noticeable.

Carpets

Unlike many cordless vacuums, which are only useful for quick cleans, the V8 Animal rivals many corded models for carpet cleaning performance. You’ll be surprised (or horrified) at how much fluff, hair, dust and dirt it can pull out of carpets that other vacuums simply miss.

This is partly due to the excellent direct-drive cleaner head. The brush bar contains nylon bristles that are stiff enough to dig into carpet pile to stir up stubborn dirt and dust. The small motor in the floor head also provides enough power to turn the brush bar even in thick pile carpets.

The head is also great for edge cleaning, as the strong suction power and wide brush bar allow the vacuum to clean right up to walls or skirting boards.

Hard Floors

Cleaning on hard floors

One of the drawbacks of the V8 Animal compared to the Absolute is that it doesn’t include Dyson’s soft roller cleaner head for hard floors (a similar tool was also included with the V6 Fluffy). We’re big fans of the soft roller at Spotless Vacuum, so we were surprised that Dyson stopped selling any V8 model that includes it as standard.

With that said, you can buy the soft roller separately for around £60-£70, which is similar to the difference in price between the Absolute and Animal. If you add the soft roller to the V8 Animal, there’s no difference between it and the Absolute.

Fortunately, the direct-drive cleaner head included with the V8 Animal still does a great job at cleaning hard floors. It’s capable of picking up both small debris and larger items (such as cereal or cat litter), although it can occasionally push big objects around on the first pass. It’s also effective on almost any type of hard floor, including tiles, laminate and parquet.

For those worried about the brush bar scratching hard floors, the direct-drive’s nylon bristles are shorter than the carbon bristles. This has the effect of ensuring the more abrasive nylon doesn’t fully touch the floor. Even so, if your home has lots of hard floors – especially delicate surfaces – we recommend getting the soft roller.

Stairs

The combination of handheld mode, lightweight body and cordless design make the V8 series great for cleaning stairs. The turbo tool is also handy for removing more dust, hair and dirt and from carpeted stairs.

A word of warning though – the turbo tool doesn’t have the same bristle combination as the direct-drive head, so there’s a risk of scratching polished hardwood floors when using it. Instead, use the direct-drive cleaner head when cleaning wood stairs.

Pet Hair

Cleaning up pet hair

The V8 Animal’s direct-drive cleaner head is brilliant at removing both short and long hair from carpets. This is a task many cordless vacuums struggle with, but the V8 Animal makes light work of pulling up hair from carpets in both standard and MAX power modes.

You’ll probably want to switch to MAX power mode when cleaning pet hair from hard floors though. The extra suction helps pickup more loose hairs, so it’s worth the reduction in run-time.

The V8 Animal also comes with a mini motorised tool for cleaning sofas and other awkward areas. Like the direct-drive floor head, this has a motorised brush bar for getting rid of pet hair and stubborn dirt on upholstery or car interiors.

One of the downsides to this highly effective hair pickup is that the roller can get tangled faster than other vacuums. This is a consequence of the excellent performance, but is something to watch out for – especially if your home has lots of long pet or human hairs. Dyson has made removing the roller relatively easy though, so it’s simple to untangle.

Battery Life

The V8 Animal has a maximum run-time of 40-minutes. This is only achievable when you’re not using a powered tool though. If you attach the direct-drive cleaner head or turbo tool, the run-time drops to around 25-minutes, while it only lasts 7-minutes when in boost mode.

This is still a significant upgrade from the V6 series, which only lasts 20-minutes on a single charge. The 25-minute run-time of the Animal with direct-drive head provides plenty of time to clean most homes, while the boost option is great for spot cleaning or tackling tough pet hair.

With that said, we think many people will want to use the “MAX” mode whenever they are tackling pet hair in carpets or on hard floors. The seven minute run-time isn’t really suitable for this – unless you’re willing to clean “little and often.”

Dyson estimates that it takes approximately 5 hours to fully charge the V8’s battery. This is probably on the conservative side, as we’ve found it takes just over four hours. Either way, you’ll want to make sure you don’t need to recharge in the middle of a cleaning session!

Filtration

Filtration system

The V8 has both pre and post motor filters, along with the cyclonic technology.

The filtration system that comes with the V8 Animal does a great job of preventing dust, pet dander and other allergens from escaping. This is due to the combination of cyclonic action and both primary and post-motor filters.

Of course, the Dyson is a bagless cordless vacuum cleaner, so allergens can escape when you’re emptying it. There aren’t many bagged cordless vacs on the market though, so the V8 Animal is one of the best for people with allergies. Just make sure you empty it outside.

Emptying & Cleaning

One of the biggest complaints we had about the V6 series was the messy emptying system. Dyson’s previous cordless had a simple trap-door for emptying the dust canister, which meant fluff and hair often got stuck and needed to be pulled out by hand.

To address this issue, Dyson has included a collar emptying system with the V8. When you pull up the lever, a silicone collar pushes out the contents rather than relying on gravity.

The new “hygienic emptying system” is a definite improvement compared to the V6, but it’s still a bit fiddly. The lever can also be stiff – especially when you first use it. Most importantly, however, the collar does a decent job of removing dust, dirt, hair and fluff so you don’t need to pull it out by hand.

This is vital, as the V8 sucks up an astonishing amount of dust, dirt and pet hair. Be prepared to empty it multiple times when cleaning your home – especially if you have a pet that sheds a lot.

Tools & Accessories

The V8 Animal comes with a wall-mounted docking station. You don’t need to use this – the vacuum can be charged using a standard cord – but it’s great to know the vacuum is always ready to go.

Aside from the direct drive head and turbo tool, the V8 comes with crevice and combination tools. These are easy to attach to either the extension tube or main body.

Price & Competitor Comparison

There’s no denying  the Dyson V8 Animal is an expensive vacuum cleaner. It’s cheaper than its closest competitor – the Dyson V10 Cyclone – but doesn’t include a hard floor head or the new features of the V10. It’s also pricier than most other cordless vacuums.

A good example is the Gtech AirRam K9. This is Gtech’s entry into the cordless pet vacuum market – and it can often be found for £70-80 cheaper than the V8 Animal. The Gtech isn’t as powerful or as effective as the V8 Animal, however, and also doesn’t come with a handheld mode.

For these reasons, we think the V8 Animal provides excellent value for money if your budget can’t stretch to the V10 Cyclone. It’s not cheap, but the performance and range of features justify the high price tag.

FAQ

How Does it Compare to the V10 Cyclone?

The V10 Cyclone is Dyson’s top cordless vacuum – but it’s more expensive than the V8 series. How do the Animal versions compare?

The V8 Animal is cheaper and lighter than the V10 Cyclone Animal. It’s not as powerful though – Dyson estimates the Cyclone provides 20% greater suction power. The V10 also has a 60-minute maximum run-time and three power modes, compared to the V8’s 40-minute run-time and two modes.

With that said, the V8 Animal is an excellent cordless vacuum cleaner. If you don’t want to pay extra for the V10 Cyclone, it’s perfectly capable of whole-house cleaning.

Note: Several other companies also produce “handstick” cordless vacuums, including Hoover and Shark. These have similar features and are often cheaper, but we’ve yet to find one that can match the performance of the V8 series.

Dyson V8 Animal Vs Gtech AirRam Mk2 – Which Should You Buy?

We’ve written an in-depth comparison of the AirRam Mk2 and V8 series here. In short, the V8 is the better vacuum with more suction power and greater versatility. The AirRam Mk2 is cheaper and effective for floor cleaning though – but we don’t recommend it for pet hair.

Where Can You Buy the Dyson V8 Animal?

Dyson sells the V8 on its official site, although this isn’t always the place to get the best price. In the UK, it’s worth looking on sites such as Amazon, Tesco, Currys and Argos to find the current cheapest prices. Ebay can also be a good option if you’re looking for a second-hand or refurbished model at a big discount – although you may not get the box or manual when buying a used model.

Verdict

As you’ve probably guessed from this review, the Dyson V8 Animal is one of our top recommendations for a cordless vacuum cleaner. It combines the cleaning performance of a corded upright with the versatility of a cordless – plus it’s highly effective on almost any surface.

There are a few drawbacks though. The biggest is the price, as the V8 remains one of the most expensive vacs on the market. You’ll also need to be prepared to empty it regularly – although this is to be expected from a cordless vac.

Even so, the V8 Animal is easy for us to recommend and provides brilliant performance. In fact, it’s one of the best all-round vacuums on the market right now – although it has a high price tag to match. Click here to view its price.

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