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Dyson DC44 Animal review

Gordon Kelly

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Reviewed:

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  • Recommended by TR
Dyson DC44 Animal

Summary

Our Score:

8

User Score:

Pros

  • A potential two-in-one hybrid device
  • Superb cleaning performance
  • Long battery life
  • Comfortable & well balanced as a full size vacuum

Cons

  • Won't replace vacuum in a large property
  • Much more expensive than a dedicated portable vacuum
  • Charge dock feels cheap

Key Features

  • 104,000rpm motor
  • Cylcone Technology
  • 20 minute battery life (eight minutes on max)
  • Four bundled cleaning heads
  • Bagless design
  • Lifetime filter
  • Manufacturer: Dyson
  • Review Price: £279.99

'Evolution not revolution' is a phrase that has become all too familiar in recent years and it would seem to fit the 'DC44' perfectly. Both visually and numerically the handheld vacuum appears to be the logical successor to Dyson's 'DC35', so we were rather surprised to hear the company thinks it will change the way we look at vacuuming forever. And it just might…

Design

None of this comes through at first sight. Sit the DC44 before the DC35 and it is quite hard to tell the difference. Aside from a more matched colour scheme the DC44 looks identical to its forebear and has the same dimensions (205 x 115 x 322mm) and weight (1.33Kg).

Construction is also the same. It's made from hardwearing, but primarily plastic materials with a gun-style trigger that's pressed and released to start/stop operation. The removable battery sits horizontally underneath the trigger and there is a clear plastic bin for dirt which empties unceremoniously by flipping open at the bottom when the vertically mounted red release catch is pushed - careful you aim it the right way as it opens towards you!

Meanwhile the bulbous head of the DC44 hides Dyson's patented 'cyclone technology' which uses centrifugal forces to spin dirt around the sides of the bin as it is collected to avoid it clogging up the filters and reducing suction. Behind the cyclones is the motor (more of which below) and at the front is the nozzle where appropriate accessories can, with consummate ease, be snapped in to tackle different cleaning tasks.

3

What differentiates the DC35 and DC44 from the DC34/DC34 Animal (yes, Dyson hasn't made this easy) is the inclusion of the long motorised brush attachment and a proper wall-mountable charging dock, additions which explain the hefty step up in price.

The wall mount allows the DC44 and the large hose to hang out of harms way to save space, and it also holds up to two nozzle accessories (a strange point, being as three are included). Unfortunately the dock is a somewhat underwhelming moulded plastic unit that feels cheap and makes a rather disconcerting cracking sound each time the DC44 is taken out - a method which is no more sophisticated than giving it a good yank. While we're sure it has passed Dyson's famously rigorous stress tests, it feels like the first thing that would go in any warranty claim.

Features

All of which leaves us feeling a little non-plussed, but the revolution comes not from the outward design. What excites us are the breakthroughs Dyson has made with the DC44's performance. The motor still spins at a mind boggling 104,000RPM (and maintains two power modes: standard and max), but Dyson claims it now delivers twice the power at the cleaner head to drive bristles deeper into the carpet with more force.

2

The second part of this one-two punch is the increased battery life over the DC35 which gets a 25 per cent bump from 15 to 20 minutes on standard power and from six to eight minutes for the max mode. This change comes from swapping the Lithium-ion battery for nickel manganese and altering its chemical composition to create a higher discharge rate. The result is a battery akin to those used in Tesla electric sports cars.

Ultimately why this combination of more power and greater battery life excites Dyson is because it believes they push it through the threshold where it breaks the divide between handheld and traditional vacuums. It claims whereas previous models were essentially handheld vacuums with the bonus of being able to add an attachment to have a go at carpets, the DC44 is a serious do-it-all machine which can replace both full size and handheld machines. As such hopes are high that it can redefine how people picture the home vacuum.

Dr J S

November 24, 2012, 6:32 am

Overall a good review that I'd read as confirmation this would be a good buy. I already have a Dyson cylinder cleaner (if that's still the correct term) but it's too much hassle to clean the wooden floors on a daily basis that's necessary with having two long haired cats.

However, the comment about the wall dock being the first thing in a warranty claim is a little inaccurate. If it's making an horrendous cracking noise every time you remove the vacuum, then clearly (also being a man, I'm equally as guilty of this on a regular basis) you need to RTFM as they say (politely: consult the manual). There's an accompanying small leaflet that contains basic pictures: it shows clearly that whilst the cleaner is just pressed into the wall dock to engage it, it requires a small upward movement followed by a tilt towards you in order to remove it. If you do this, it'll be silent when being removed - and there'll be no need for a warranty claim which is likely to fail if you've broken it by not reading the manual properly ;-)

Keep up the good reviews.

Scott Strand

January 29, 2013, 10:33 pm

great peice of kit if you like spending half your life unblocking the cyclone entry which is too small and untangling the motorised head that is too narrow and stops turning when a few hairs get wrapped around it.
Mine's going back asap!

A Mutov

April 7, 2013, 4:46 am

Piece of overpriced Junk, like all Dyson products. Avoid, you will regret it.

DirtyDen

April 16, 2013, 12:20 pm

I've just bought one and it's the best vacuum I've owned. I used it one day after cleaning with a VAX (quite expensive and less than a year old), and it picked up loads of extra dust and cat hair. The fact that I can clean my car with it as well (thanks to the free £57 accessory kit) is a bonus :-)

@Scott - If you read the manual, you would know that you can simply slide the roller brush out of the motorised head to clean it. You cant do this with my VAX and I have to resort to cutting off hair and other bits with scissors.

@Mutov - Clearly you have never owned one, so why comment?

Paul Edgar

April 18, 2013, 8:59 pm

After two replacement heads and batteries, we gave up and returned the unit. Dyson folks were cooperative, but the batteries just don't hold up. Way too expensive for two months interrupted use. Worked well when it worked.

Bruce Taylor

June 21, 2013, 3:23 am

What an awesome display of the decline of intelligence in our society. First a review from someone whose main complaint revolves around not knowing how the product is supposed to be used (lift it up before you remove it from the wall), and then the comments from people who either are lying about the product, have unreasonable expectations, or got a broken unit. I have three Dyson vacuums. One is 6 years old, one is 3 years old and I have the DC44 for six months now and I have not had one problem, nor have I had to replace the battery or heads. Why were you replacing batteries? Do you know they are only meant to last 8 minutes on MAX? My DC44 had a lot of hair wrapped around the head and I didn't even notice any performance issues. I noticed it and cleaned it off easily by removing the bar from the housing (one big plastic screw). I have never used this "portable, short duty, battery operated" vacuum long enough to even have the batter run out. It's not to be used as a regular vacuum. It is for quick jobs.
I love it.

Gus

September 16, 2013, 3:13 pm

We returned our Dyson.
It's a very good machine with quality written all over it but suffers from 2 shortcomings (1 minor).
1. To charge for 5.5 hours and only get 20 minutes use is unworkable (for us). We were running quickly before the machine ran out of power.
2. Only a minor issue, but the top end of the machine (where the motor is) is heavy. An enhancement to keep the trigger on all of the time would solve this issue.
We shall certainly buy another when the power time is resolved.

Stebby

October 25, 2013, 10:19 am

Well I'm not sure what I was really expecting to be honest, because I would say that reviews seem to be equally good and bad. In my opinion, which I'm entitled to of course, these are the good points:
1) It's quick to grab for small jobs.
2) It's light.
3) It's fairly good looking.
4) It's good for the car.

5) Even a man can use it (husbands idea buy one anyway)
Bad points:
1) It's way too expensive but I bought one anyway.
2) Hair tangles around the bar of the power head very quickly (I have long hair so does my dog).
3) It doesn't pick up dog hair as well as I was expecting seems to need going over the same area twice, which in turn uses more battery power.
4) The option to hold the switch in or leave switch on would have been good for arthritic fingers.
But overall it's not bad I suppose.

Ben

November 27, 2013, 10:22 pm

Thanks for the review! I found this Dyson DC44 Animal Review very helpful too.

wendy

January 2, 2014, 10:23 pm

I had a dyson DC44 which I brought in july 2013, I had to return it in Dec 2013 as it became faulty, having had previous dysons I can without doubt say the DC44 is by far the worst product I have purchased, I was very disappointed with the power, hair entangled around the head and awful to disentangle, having to keep finger on the switch gave me blisters and not very helpful for arthritis/joint disability, I would not recommend the DC44 to anyone, there are far better dyson models to choose from.

pam bristol

January 3, 2014, 2:12 pm

having bought the DC44 because I needed a light weight vacuum ,I was really pleased with it ,now only 3 months later I am very disappointed ,although fully charged it keeps cutting out ,which is really annoying have lost faith in this product and would not recommend the dc44

Karl Yeager

January 17, 2014, 7:15 pm

Love it, have had it for a year now and use it daily. We use it across of the house while removing traces of two Australian Shepherds...lots or fur. I get a good 20 minutes per charge and that's all I need for touch ups and Chihuahua patrol. For the cost, it is pricey but you get what you pay for. Our other whole house vac is a Tri-Star so this is way cheaper than a second TS.

Jason Moore

March 2, 2014, 2:51 pm

For $50 maybe a good buy, but not $200. Just doesn't hold up to the value. We've had the Dyson for about 4 months. We use for our kitchen floor and our laundry room which also houses the kity litter. At first it was very good and 20 minutes was good. It crushed in the car. Awesome and very happy.

But after 4 months, the power starts doing this stutter thing and won't stay on . We have used it quite a bit and I suppose the battery may be going. The problem is that it needs 5 hours to charge and they give you a very nice mounting bracket so we leave it hung up and plugged in all the time so it''s ready to go when we need it. Maybe a spare battery would solve the problem but they are very expensive and at this point, I don't think it's worth the investment. For a guy who struts his intellectual knowledge and presents him self as the next Thomas Edison or Steve Jobs, this product is very dissapointing for $200. I mean, that's more than most non dyson standard upright vacuums on the market. When I spend $200 on a small secondary vacuum, I think it's fair to have high expectations and this falls short. I think it's a flashy package and features that look super cool. 'Do some research and be warned on this vacuum.

PCBob

April 14, 2014, 4:40 pm

I have had the unit for about 3 months and love it. But there are always things that could be better.
1. There is no switch to keep the unit running while cleaning and holding the switch for a while makes your finger sore.
2. The noise is quite loud on high and hopefully they can make a quieter motor in the future.
3. There's no mention that you can clean the part of the vacuum that holds
the dirt. I have taken it off the main unit and washed out quite a bit
of dirt and let it dry without issues. (no mention of this in manual)
4. I did have an issue with the unit when the power switch is depress and the unit would work for a few seconds and then the power light on the unit would flash slow and the unit would shut off. I contacted Dyson support and they are very good and are sending me out a replacement battery.
5. That's it above, other than those minor issues it's the best vacuum that
I have ever purchased. Worth all the money it cost. The favorite saying
is that you get what you pay for and I got more than I paid for.

I called Dyson to tell them that there DC-44 sucks in a good way and not a bad way.

Good going Dyson on having a great unit.

Thanks Dyson

Brian G

November 9, 2014, 5:34 pm

We just experienced the "stutter" issue and found that the filter element needed to be washed and cleaned as well as the vacuum head was clogged and once it was cleaned out, it worked fine again. It's actually pretty clever in the sense that the unit is telling you that there is an issue.

One way to test it is to disconnect the unit from the vacuum so that just the filter is exposed and trigger the unit. If it stays on like normal, you know it's not the motor head.

Overall the unit works great and gets small rooms and quick sweeps of the area decently clean. Can't replace my Dyson upright for deep cleans but like others have stated, this unit does great for what it was designed to do.

jzlondon

July 21, 2015, 10:16 am

I have a larger house, but something like this is perfect.

Why? Because, like many people with large houses, I have cleaners and in my case they bring their own equipment. So my vacuum is only for occasional use.

jzlondon

July 21, 2015, 10:18 am

The Flynn effect would seem to suggest that you're wrong about society's intelligence declining.

Timblewee

March 1, 2016, 3:44 pm

I agree, I have one of these on each floor and they're fine for a quick once over if you spill something. My cleaner tells me she loves them because they are so light.

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