Opinions are rarely that divided at the Trusted Testing Department, but there was a distinct diversity of thoughts on the DC50’s merits when it came to stairs. In the positive camp, it weighs less than 5.5kg, so I had no problem lifting it from stair-to- stair using the main floor head to clean as it went.
The head is manoeuvrable enough to cover all but the most acutely angled steps and the cable is, at 7.5m, just about long enough to do an entire flight of steps if your plug socket is not too far away. If the handle stayed down when folded into the body, this method for stair cleaning would have been even easier.
Issues arise when you tackle stairs with the hose and wand. The turbine tool remains the gadget of choice for carpeted stairs, but neither the dusting brush nor upholstery tool are ideal for stairs with hard surfaces such as raw wood. Moreover, the limited length hose means there is no danger of getting from top to bottom, or visa versa, without moving the cleaner half way through or, as we discovered, the DC50 skidding around or falling over while you are cleaning.
I found a combination approach to stairs the best bet. With the telescopic wand and handle left behind you can carry the cleaner by the main body handle, using the hose and tools to tackle each step along the way. This makes for very quick and efficient stair cleaning as long as you are good for hanging onto 5.5kg of vacuum cleaner along the way.
I've been chasing my Collie dog and Labrador around with various cleaners for years and Dyson’s floor heads continue to get better and better when it comes to hairy hounds or fur-ball felines. The DC50’s large diameter brush bar and combination bristles seem to all but drag hairs out of carpet pile. It works very effectively on hard floors too where some floor heads will simply push hairs out of the way.
Of course this will mean the brush bar gets regularly entwined with hairs, particularly if you have pets with tresses like Julia Roberts (seriously, you should see our neighbour’s cat…). Not a problem as the head unclips from the cleaner with a single push button and splits in two for easy cleaning. It would be even better if the bar came right out of the head, but de-fluffing the bar is far from onerous.
Perhaps even more handy for pet owners is Dyson’s anti-tangle turbine tool. This uses two brushes that counter-rotate flat to the floor. Hairs are pulled from surfaces but rather than being drawn round and round into the body of the tool, they either break free and get sucked into the cleaner or stay on the face of the brushes.
This means cleaning them is as simple as stopping the tool and manually pulling the fur ball from the bristles without having to take anything apart. It works very well, and is particularly useful for pet beds, your animals’ favoured sofa spots or, in our case, the one stair our Collie dog always sits on to watch the world go by.
The only thing missing from the DC50 Animal’s pet credentials is an anti-odour filter system the like of which Miele include in their pet specific models. It’s not a deal breaker for most pet owners, but anyone who owns a Labrador and lives near a pond might want to consider the odour combating options. If that fails, I find a splash of Brut 33 on the filters often helps.
For smaller homes with limited storage space or those looking for a lightweight cleaner that will handle pets with ease, the DC50 Animal really cannot be faulted. It's light, compact, cleans well and easy to use.
But there are tradeoffs. It doesn’t feel as sturdy as Dyson’s other cleaners and the small bin and short reach could trouble some people. Given these facts, it might be worth considering a cordless vacuum cleaner instead, or a cylinder vac with a larger capacity as well, though all have their own pros and cons.
An excellent upright for anyone tight on space, but it’s worth considering your options before buying.