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Dyson DC34 Animal review

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Dyson DC34 Animal
  • Dyson DC34 Animal
  • Dyson DC34 Animal
  • Dyson DC34 Animal
  • Dyson DC34 Animal
  • Dyson DC34 Animal
  • Dyson DC34 Animal
  • Dyson DC34 Animal
  • Dyson DC34 Animal
  • Dyson DC34 Animal
  • Dyson DC34 Animal

Summary

Our Score:

8

Pros

  • Much more powerful than other handhelds
  • Very easy to empty and clean
  • Motorised brush is surprisingly good on carpets
  • Easy handling

Cons

  • Quite bulky so not easy to fit in tight spaces
  • Expensive

Key Features

  • Powerful bagless suction
  • Up to 15mins battery life
  • Three accesories including motorised brush head
  • Manufacturer: Dyson
  • Review Price: £150.00

Introduction

Although its tried diversifying over the years by moving into and out of the washing machine market and even reinventing the desk fan with its Air Multiplier, Dyson is still best known for its vacuum cleaners, and nowadays there are plenty to choose from. The Dyson DC34 Animal is one of the company's cheapest models – second only to the non-Animal DC34 – though for good reason: it's a handheld. Claimed to be the most power handheld vacuum cleaner in the world, Dyson reckons it has twice the suction power of any other.

Design and Features

Powerful it may be but what the DC34 Animal isn't, though, is particularly small. As with all Dyson's it uses bagless cyclone technology for its suction so has to incorporate a relativity large cylinder section. Add the handle, battery pack and an accessory on the end and it takes up a fair bit of space - 205 x 115 x 322 mm (HxWxD) to be exact.

Dyson DC34 Animal

This larger than average-handheld size has its issues when it use, which we'll come back to later, but the more immediate issue is storage. Many handheld vacuum cleaners come with wall mountable charging and storage cradles. Not so the DC34 Animal. Instead you will need a fairly deep shelf on which to store it and its accessories. And you'll want it to be reasonably accessible too, as the charger plugs in using a conventional plug rather than an easy docking system.

So far so not-particularly-convenient, but there's still plenty to like about this cleaner. For a start, you get three genuinely useful accessories included. One is the eponymous Animal, a motorised brush head which is about four inches wide and designed specifically to – you guessed it – help picked up animal hair from carpets. Without this accessory you have a standard DC34 which comes with the same two other extras: an 8in long crevice tool and so called combination tool. The latter is either a wide angled tube with incorporated short bristled brush, or you can slide forward the longer brush element to provide a reasonable size brush tool – great for general purpose dusting-style hoovering.

Dyson DC34 Animal

Not only do all the accessories feel like they're actually designed by someone that knows what it is you want from each one – i.e. they work – but the way they attach to the main body of the cleaner is pleasingly easy. Rather than a friction fit, they use a proper clasp mechanism that makes it really easy to change the tools yet holds them securely when in use.

Dyson DC34 Animal

The “designed by someone that knows...” line could easily apply to the rest of the design. We could take or leave the actual styling – it's funky enough but isn't exactly a work of art – but what does appeal is that form follows function. The balance of the thing is just right with the weight being towards the back where you hold it. The gun-style upright grip is also very comfortable in use, as is the really light to the touch trigger that only activates after it's held down for half a second or so (actually, we're not entirely sure if that delay is a good or bad thing).

Dyson DC34 Animal

The key selling point for any Dyson vacuum is pretty well taken care of too. Namely, it's easy to empty the 0.35l bin without getting messy. There's one slight downside which is that the flap that flips open upon pressing the large red slider on the left edge does so towards you rather than away from you. As such it takes a bit of practice to not tip everything all over yourself or miss the bin.

Dyson DC34 Animal

Press the other red button on the bottom and you can remove the whole clear cyclinder in order to clear out any stubborn detritus. If you find the cleaner starts to become smelly or less effective you can also clean out the replaceable filter – something you should only need to do every few months. Press the purple button on the top and the whole thing spilts in two to easily access the filter.

Robin

February 2, 2013, 1:17 am

I have a feeling that the thing that will eventually see the demise of Dyson, unless steps are taken to remedy it, is the unreliability of their products and their repair/parts costs. My full size Dyson vacs motor packed in after 18 months and the most economical way of repairing it was to fit a third party motor myself. My DC16 handheld has echoed every second hand one being sold on E-bay, i.e. battery failure - and with a replacement battery costing £50 hardly worth renewing. However, I did so but then shortly after purchasing the new battery, the plastic fan in front of the motor broke. Dyson do not have this as a spare part (shame on them) and the only way of repairing it is to buy a complete motor assy. at £56! Instead I bought a different handheld for £49,99 and, for the car, found it better than the Dyson had been. It's perfect for just vaccing up a few crumbs too. My Dyson washing machine was replaced with an LG Direct Drive after the Dyson had broken down twice in 2 years and eventually became too expensive to repair. What a waste of money the Dyson purchase had been! The LG is now 5 years old, cost £200 less than the Dyson and is still going strong. Unless I hear of some miracle improvements in reliability and a big reduction both in purchase price and repair costs I shall avoid Dyson products in future.

Robin

February 2, 2013, 2:05 pm

I have a feeling that the thing that will eventually see the demise of Dyson, unless steps are taken to remedy it, is the unreliability of their products and their repair/parts costs. My full size Dyson vacs motor packed in after 18 months and the most economical way of repairing it was to fit a third party motor myself. My DC16 handheld has echoed every second hand one being sold on E-bay, i.e. battery failure - and with a replacement battery costing £50 hardly worth renewing. However, I did so but then shortly after purchasing the new battery, the plastic fan in front of the motor broke. Dyson do not have this as a spare part (shame on them) and the only way of repairing it is to buy a complete motor assy. at £56! Instead I bought a different handheld for £49,99 and, for the car, found it better than the Dyson had been. It's perfect for just vaccing up a few crumbs too. My Dyson washing machine was replaced with an LG Direct Drive after the Dyson had broken down twice in 2 years and eventually became too expensive to repair. What a waste of money the Dyson purchase had been! The LG is now 5 years old, cost £200 less than the Dyson and is still going strong. Unless I hear of some miracle improvements in reliability and a big reduction both in purchase price and repair costs I shall avoid Dyson products in future.

Marcia

April 18, 2013, 11:32 pm

HOW DO CLEAN THE CLEAR BIN??? CAN YOU DETACH IT??

Nala15

September 17, 2013, 9:40 pm

I have had a dyson cleaner now for well over 10years never had any thing go wrong with it and its used every day of the week and works just as good as the day it was brought

Peter

December 11, 2013, 4:47 pm

My DC 34just keeps stoping when you are using it. In spite of repeatedly cleaning the Filter, It still continues to do it

Die-son

December 23, 2013, 11:23 am

I bought my DC34 Animal a year ago- it soon started just 'stopping'- and the motorised brush head did too independently of the main motor. I called the help line- they diagnosed a faulty battery, which they replaced FOC (it arrived by parcel post the next day!) The machine was better- for a while. but now occasionally stops again, as does the motorised brush head. It's really annoying, but what to do? Just like most 'digital' things- when they are performing well they're great- when not they are a particularly nasty type of junk! My first hand-held Dyson last 10 years!

Bev

January 8, 2014, 11:18 pm

My DC34 Animal keeps stopping. I took it back to point of purchase only to be asked questions like did I realize that it had to be charged up? Did I realize that I had to keep my finger on the trigger? etc. The woman waved it around in the air and it kept going, so she said there was nothing wrong with it. Over time it has continued to get worse. Now I have trouble getting it start at all, I rang dyson and they told me about a black button behind the filter that I needed to push in, that makes no difference at all. I am totally disappointed with this product. I am in need of a new stick vacuum and also a "big vacuum" but am now wondering about dyson. Has anyone else had this problem??

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