Dyson Small Ball Allergy Upright Vacuum Review – Should You Buy It?

Written by James Hall | 0 Comments | Last Updated: March 24, 2021

Dyson Small Ball Allergy




Ease of Use


Cleaning Power







  • Decent all-round performance and strong suction
  • Excellent filtration system
  • Small Ball design is easy to manoeuvre
  • Powerful floorhead brush bar
  • Good value for money


  • Difficult to push on carpet on highest setting
  • Bin can be awkward to empty
  • No motorised pet tool

Thinking of buying the Dyson Small Ball Allergy? Make sure you read our in-depth review to find out whether it’s the right vacuum for your household!

The Dyson Small Ball Allergy is one of the company’s latest upright vacuums. It features a HEPA filter for better allergen retention, powerful brush bar motor, and Dyson’s popular “Small Ball” technology.

How does this vacuum compare to other upright models though? And is it worth buying? Keep reading our Dyson Small Ball Allergy review to find out.

Overview of the Dyson Small Ball Allergy’s Features

  • Powerful corded upright vacuum cleaner that’s designed for allergy sufferers
  • “Small Ball” technology makes the vacuum easy to turn
  • Direct-drive floorhead to remove more dust and dirt
  • Three airflow modes for different types of surface
  • Lifetime washable HEPA filter removes more allergens from the air
  • Long 9.4 metre power cord
  • Four tools, including a stair tool and mattress tool

Appearance & Design

The Dyson Small Ball Allergy Vacuum

In terms of appearance, the Small Ball Allergy looks similar to previous Dyson uprights. It’s largely grey, with splashes of red and purple to liven up the design. There’s a detachable dust canister, along with a quick-release wand for cleaning higher locations and Dyson’s Small Ball for manoeuvrability.

Speaking of the Small Ball design, this technology is more than just a gimmick. It really does make it easier to steer the vacuum around furniture and corners. It takes a bit of getting used to, but the manoeuvrability of the Small Ball Allergy is excellent compared to other upright vacuums.

A drawback of this vacuum is that it only has a 1.2 litre dustbin. This is a bit bigger than high-end cordless vacuums, but considerably less than the 1.8 litre capacity of the Dyson Ball Animal 2 (and much less than most cylinder vacuums.) It’s still bigger than the excellent Shark NZ801UKT’s bin, however, so it’s not tiny.

Another downside is that the combination of ball design and relatively thick floorhead make it tricky to clean under low furniture. This is an area where vacuums with a lift-out canister, such as the Shark NV681UKT Lift-Away, are often a superior choice.

Side Note: Dyson claimed they wouldn’t produce any new corded uprights after the release of their cordless V10 model. Fortunately, they seem to have quietly backtracked on this with the release of the Small Ball Allergy, which we think is a good decision!

Other Design Features

Cleaning up high

Like all Dyson uprights, the Small Ball Allergy is built with Radial Root Cyclone technology. This is a technology that captures dust in a way that doesn’t decrease in efficiency as the canister fills up. While this might not seem like the most exciting feature, it makes a noticeable difference when the dust container is close to full.

The Dyson has a 9.4 metre cord and 13.8 metre maximum cleaning radius. This is a bigger range than most uprights and provides plenty of freedom to vacuum multiple rooms. In fact, there aren’t many vacuums with longer power cords, aside from the Vax Air Stretch series which is specifically designed to have a wide cleaning radius.

Dyson calls the Small Ball Allergy a “lightweight” vacuum, although we don’t completely agree with this statement. At 6.9kg, it’s a bit below average for an upright, but certainly not the lightest on the market. On the plus side, it’s lighter than the Dyson Ball Animal 2, which is one of its closest competitors. It’s also significantly quieter than the DC40, which was one of Dyson’s previous flagship uprights.


As you would expect from a vacuum cleaner called “Allergy,” the Dyson has excellent filtration for a bagless vacuum. It comes with a washable lifetime HEPA filter that captures the vast majority of allergens, and has been certified by Allergy Standards Ltd.

We still think bagged vacs are a better choice for allergy sufferers, however, as they are much easier to empty without releasing allergens into the air. If you have allergies, make sure you ask someone else to empty the Dyson into an outdoor bin.

Emptying & Cleaning

The Dyson has a simple bin emptying system. You just detach the dirt canister, hold it over a bin, and press a button to release the dirt.

There’s no internal collar, however, which means that hair and other debris can sometimes need to be pulled out by hand. We also think that the buttons for removing and emptying the bin are surprisingly stiff, which is a strange oversight from Dyson.

Tools & Accessories

Stair tool


Unlike some cheaper uprights, which rely on suction power to turn the brush bar, the Dyson has a direct-drive motor in the Epicyclic floorhead. This powers the brush bar and allows it to dig deeper into carpet fibres.

While the floorhead isn’t as flashy as those found on Dyson uprights (there’s no Soft Roller, for example,) it does a good job on all surfaces. The corded design also provides more suction than a cordless vac, which is why the floorhead doesn’t need to be as advanced.

Other Tools and Accessories

Dyson uprights have a detachable wand for cleaning higher locations. This is easy to remove and provides plenty of reach, while also allowing you to quickly attach and detach tools.

There are also four non-motorised tools included with the Small Ball Allergy. These are a combination brush and crevice tool, stair tool, mattress tool,  and a soft dusting brush. The combination tool is probably the most useful, but we like that Dyson has included tools that don’t usually come with upright vacs.

Unfortunately, this model doesn’t come with a motorised pet tool. There’s onboard storage for one or two tools, but you’ll need to store the others separately.

Suction Power & Cleaning Performance

The floorhead

The Dyson Small Ball Allergy can generate excellent suction power due to its corded design. This means it’s great at picking up everything from hair to larger debris.

It also has three airflow modes, adjusted via a slider on the floorhead, allowing you to reduce the suction on carpets and rugs so it’s easier to push.

Let’s take a closer look at how it performs at some of the most common house cleaning tasks.


When on its highest suction setting, the Dyson Small Ball Allergy is great for cleaning carpets. It has excellent pickup and the brush bar is effective at removing dirt, dust, and hair that’s caught in carpet fibres.

A downside is that it can be very difficult to push on carpet when set to its highest airflow mode. Reducing power helps with this, but also decreases the vacuum’s pickup performance. The result is that using the Dyson can feel like a balancing act between making the vac easier to push and mediocre performance.

For this reason, we don’t think the Small Ball Allergy matches the best carpet vacuums on the market, although it’s certainly no slouch.

Hard Floors

With its strong suction power, it’s no surprise that the Dyson is a decent choice for cleaning hard floors. It’s powerful enough to pick up larger debris, and is also capable of removing dust from between floorboards. The vacuum also provides strong performance on laminate.

A useful feature is that you can switch off the brush bar when on hard floors. This is handy for avoiding scattering and preventing delicate floors from being damaged.


Vacuuming stairs is often cumbersome with an upright, and that’s the case with the Dyson. The hose isn’t quite long enough to reach up stairs, so you’ll need to clean from the top and bottom. There’s also no motorised miniature tool, which means you need to rely on suction alone.

With that said, it provides enough power to do a decent job when using the hose, and the stair tool is useful for getting right up to edges.

Pet Hair

The Dyson Small Ball Allergy does a decent job of picking up pet hair from carpets and hard floors. On carpets, in particular, the powerful brush bar is able to remove plenty of hair in a single pass.

We don’t recommend this vacuum for pet owners though. Instead, look for a model with a mini motorised tool, as this is essential for removing hair on furniture, stairs, and car interiors.

Price & Value for Money

With an RRP of around £200, we think the Dyson Small Ball Allergy provides excellent value for money. It’s not the most advanced upright on the market, but it’s a great all-rounder with powerful suction.

The vacuum is also covered by Dyson’s standard five-year guarantee.

Specification Table

Price Range££
Cord Length9.4 metres
Capacity1.2 litres
Motorised Pet ToolNo

Comparison With Other Vacuums

Dyson Small Ball Allergy Vs Dyson Ball Animal 2

The Dyson Ball Animal 2 (not to be confused with the Dyson Small Ball Animal 2 – see below) is a pricier alternative to the Small Ball Allergy. One of the big differences is that it has a pet tool, making it a better choice for people who need to vacuum lots of hair. It also has a wider cleaning radius, due to the longer power cord and hose.

If you have pets and your budget can stretch to the Ball Animal 2, it’s definitely an upgrade on the Small Ball Allergy. With that said, both are excellent vacuums.

Dyson Small Ball Allergy Vs Dyson Small Ball Animal 2

As you would expect, the main difference between these two vacuums is that the Small Ball Animal 2 comes with a pet tool that’s more effective at vacuuming hair. Aside from that, the two vacs are very similar.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where Can You Find the Best Price for the Small Ball Allergy?

It’s worth shopping around for the best price. You can find the vacuum on a number of online stores, including Argos, Currys, and AO. Dyson also sells the vacuum directly.


The Dyson Small Ball Allergy is a decent upright vacuum cleaner without being outstanding. While we don’t think it’s the best on the market in terms of performance or features, it provides good value for money and does a good job on most surfaces.

There are some drawbacks though. The vacuum can be very difficult to push on thick carpets without reducing the suction power. There’s also no motorised pet tool and the bin can be annoying to empty.

Even so, if you’re looking for a relatively inexpensive Dyson upright that provides strong all-round performance, it’s a great choice – especially if you don’t have pets.

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