On Monday I told you a little bit about the Dyson DC35 Digital Slim vacuum that I was sent to review as a Walmart Mom. I also told you that it retails at Walmart for $299.
Now I know some of you may have had a bit of sticker shock when I mentioned the price, and thought “How on earth does a $299 stick vacuum, not even a regular vacuum, fit into a frugal living blog???”
The fact is, being frugal doesn’t always mean buying the cheapest thing. Sometimes a cheaper item is, well, junk. Buying a well made item that performs well and lasts a long time can be the least expensive option in the long run.
That’s why I buy LL Bean backpacks & lunchboxes for my kids, Dansko Clogs & New Balance Sneakers for myself, and we paid thousands of dollars for replacement windows when we moved into our house.
On the flip side of that, it hurts my heart to pay hundreds of dollars for something. I hem. I haw. I wonder. I read online. . . and still sometimes I don’t buy because I’m not SURE. . . and I hate to “waste” the money.
So when I get the offer to review what to me is a high dollar item like this Dyson DC35 Digital Slim I see it as an opportunity to really help out my readers-to give a true opinion, with pros & cons, of the item so you can make an educated choice.
So, now that you’ve heard my rational, on to the review.
Here is the official description from the Dyson website:
-Dyson DC35 Multi Floor – the most powerful cordless vacuum.
-Powered by the Dyson digital motor.
-Detachable long-reach wand cleans up high, down low and in tight gaps.
-Dual power mode gives 15 minutes constant high suction or 6 minutes on MAX power for tougher cleans.
-Ideal for quick, flexible cleaning on all floor types, stairs, upholstery and inside the car.
The DC35 weighs about 5 lbs, is energy star rated and is made with carbon fiber:
Carbon fiber has anti-static properties and the brushes on the Digital Slim™ reduce the build up of static charges while attracting fine dust for improved pick up. The brush bar also has stiff nylon brushes to pick up ground-in dirt from carpets.
Before I get into my observations, I want to make sure you understand that the Dyson DC35 is a stick vacuum–not a full sized vacuum. When I think of a stick vac, I usually think of something replaces my broom-that does quick pick ups of the daily dust, dirt & crumbs that 2 kids and a dog drag into the house, and (if you are lucky) can do an “in between” sort of spot cleaning on the rugs.
Of course, since my entire downstairs is hardwood floors (well, the kitchen is linolenum) with just a few area rugs, I have lots of area that can use a stick vac!
When I took the Digital Slim out of the box there really wasn’t much in the way of assembly. There was the motor unit, a long wand, the power head, two tools (crevice and brush), a wall mount unit and a cord. To put it together in the stick vac mode, you snapped the wand onto the motor unit, then the power head on that. Easy to do, not a lot of pressure required, and it only fits on one way so it would be impossible to put it on “wrong”.
I plugged it in to charge (it’s cordless, remember). The information said it takes 3.5 hours to charge fully-but since it was brand new I just plugged it in and left it overnight.
One of the interesting things to me about how this vacuum operates is that it doesn’t just have an “on/off” switch, but instead has a sort of “trigger” power button-the power only runs when you are pushing down on the button.
At first I was using the button like a trigger on a handgun (yeah-I know. Remember, I was in the Army). I was pushing with the pad of my pointer finger. This caused my hand and forearm to get tired very quickly!
I found that if I wrapped my hand around the handle, almost in a fist, so that the trigger was between my second and third finger I did not have that fatigue or engage the muscles in my forearm.
Now this unit is billed as having 12 minutes of power on regular, 6 on “Maximum”-which doesn’t sound like a lot. Because of the trigger switch, you can only engage the motor when you are actively vacuuming-and you can release pressure and save the battery when you are not (ie pulling out the coffee table, or moving from room to room). I was worried that the time would not be enough, but by not leaving it running every single second I had no problem vacuuming all 5 of my downstairs rooms-which included pulling out all the dining room chairs etc.
One of the “big deal” engineering points about the motor is that it has full suction for the entire time that it is running-the battery doesn’t do like most other machines, where it fades away getting less & less powerful as time goes on. I did an experiment after recharging the battery fully and ran it nonstop until it ran out. I lasted 8 minutes and 49 seconds going full gung ho-then completely cut off
On to performance.
The vaccum worked well, picking up debris with no problem from hard surfaces. It did very well on my low pile carpets too (sorry folks-I don’t have any high pile to try it on).
Unlike a full vacuum, there is no power train that helps to pull the machine forward, your arm and shoulder are doing all the work. (note: this is true as far as I know with all stick vacs) One thing I did notice with the Dyson Digital Slim is that on certain carpets in certain directions I felt a very noticeable “drag” while I was trying to push it forward, in one case I had to vacuum in a different direction. I actually think this is because the rotating brush is pretty powerful, and the way the carpet was woven in that direction was catching against the brush. When I moved perpendicular to that, I had no issue.
Emptying the dirt cup (or whatever you call it) is super easy. I love it when things have a good design! You simply take the motor unit over to your trash can, push on the little red lever and the BOTTOM of the cup drops out, releasing the grime into your trash can.
No lifting, turning, banging or removing anything. Then you just flip it back closed & you are ready to go again!
I swapped out the long wand for the crevice tool and hit the stairs.
Actually the brush attachment probably would have made more sense. Or you can even attache the power head straight to the motor unit.
Again, worked like a charm.
Overall I really like this machine. It looks cool, works well and has several configurations which should make it a workhorse around the house. It appears to be durable, and I have great hopes that at the price it goes for, the reputation of Dyson as a company and with the engineering that has gone into it will last a long time. If anything does go wrong it has a 2 year warranty (note to self, send in the little card ASAP).
Issues to consider when considering purchasing this unit:
1. The trigger power button. If you are arthritic, have carpal tunnel etc this type of switch which needs constant pressure may not be for you. I would go to the store and try holding it and squeezing the button for a while to see how it feels before purchasing it.
2. The weight. Remember, the motor is up high, near your hand, so you are holding up that weight. Although 5 lbs is very light, and most consumers should have no problem with this (even my kids were fine) if you have any type of medical issue that would preclude you from holding 4-5 lbs for 5-10 minutes you may not want this, or ANY stick vac.
3. The battery life. I found the 12 minute time frame to be more than equal to the tasks I have in my home for the Dyson DC35 Digital Slim. However if you need a machine that will vacuum for long stretches of time, this (or again, any cordless stick vac) is probably not for you.
So there you have it! But I’m not done. . . Dyson has challenged me to see how many different ways around the house I can find to use the DC35 Digital Slim. I’ll be bring you those ideas sometime soon. In the mean time enjoy this cool video Dyson made for the Walmart Moms telling us about the engineering that goes into creating their products. It’s pretty cool. . .they even have a lab where they grow their own dust mites so they can test the effects the vacuums have on them.