Dyson’s V-series cleaners get a middle sibling in the form of the V7, tested here in its pet-hair-busting Animal guise. A whole lot quieter than the V6 and slightly more svelte than the V8, it has most of the flagship’s main features.
Light, brilliantly balanced, great tools, superb suction and pet-hair cleaning capabilities that are better than even pet-specific mains-powered cleaners – the V7 Animal is the new cordless cleaner to beat.
On paper, at least, the new Dyson V7 cordless cleaners sit between the original V6 and the flagship V8 models. The V7 range draws much of its design from the newer V8 but is lighter, quieter and runs for longer in normal power mode. The key change is its smaller, lighter battery, and a jiggling of the suction power versus run-time ratio.
On normal power mode, the V7’s run-time is claimed to be around 30 minutes with the powered head attached, some 5 minutes longer than the V8. The trade-off is slightly lower suction power of 21AW (airwatts) compared to the V8’s 28AW in this mode. Punch both models up to Max power and they’ll run for about 6 minutes, the V7 delivering 100AW while the V8 has 15% more at 115AW. The old V6 also delivers 100AW on Max power for around 6 minutes, but its higher 28AW on normal power means it’s good for only 20 minutes run-time. Got all that? No, me neither – so here’s a comparison table.
MODEL WEIGHT NORMAL MAX BIN
Dyson V6 Animal 2.11kg 28AW/20min 100AW/6min 0.40 litre
Dyson V7 Animal 2.32kg 21AW/30min 100AW/6min 0.54 litre
Dyson V8 Animal 2.55kg 28AW/25min 115AW/6min 0.54 litre
Of course, the Animal version on test here is only part of a lineup that also features the flagship Total Clean model and the slightly more affordable Motorhead edition.
Knowing that we have two dogs as part of the incumbent test team, Dyson sent us the V7 Animal to review at a not inconsiderable £419.99 asking price. Ouch.
Starting with the main cleaner body, it’s essentially a slightly shrunken V8 with a smaller battery, which makes it lighter in the hand. The bin is the same 0.54-litre volume of the V8 models and emptying is achieved in the same way – namely pulling up the big red handle on top. This pulls the cyclone out of the bin to free the debris, and then opens the flap at the bottom to empty. It works well, and not once did we have fluff and hair stuck in the V7 that we had to dig out manually.
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Through the centre of the bin is the main lifetime filter that pulls out from the top and is fully washable. While the V8 and V6 models have a second rear-mounted cartridge filter, the V7 forgoes this extra filtration, so we’d expect dust emissions to be a little higher with this model. Charging is via a Dyson-designed wall-wart charger, which either plugs directly into the handle of the cleaner or into the convenient wall-dock supplied.
Switching it on and off is via a spring trigger. This doesn’t lock, so switches off the suction as soon as you release the trigger – the theory being that the spring trigger encourages you to stop the motor between cleaning duties (say, moving between areas) so best preserves run-times.
The V7 Animal certainly isn’t short of tools; it has five of them plus the tube. They clip on and off the cleaner with ease, are robust, well designed and very effective at their dedicated task.
The main business floorhead is the Dyson Direct Drive cleaner head. This offers an electric motor-powered brush bar that combines both stiffer nylon and softer static carbon bristles to cater for different sized debris. Suitable for carpets and hard floors, the head has a freely articulating neck, supporting rollers and it dismantles easily for cleaning.
For smaller areas such as the stairs, upholstery and the dogs’ beds, the Dyson Mini Motorised tool has a brush bar that’s similarly powered by its own built-in motor. This tool forgoes the articulating neck, but we can forgive this since its stiff bristles do a great job of picking up pet hair.
Three non-powered tools include a good-sized crevice tool with a unique nozzle shape and side vents designed to resist it sucking onto surfaces. The wide nozzle tool with a slide-down dusting brush is great for quick clean-ups. We left this tool attached to the body in the dock, ready to pounce on pet hair tumbleweed at the pull of a trigger.
The V7 Animal also comes with Dyson’s latest Soft Dusting Brush tool. This is an even better shape for dusting shelves and high-up surfaces than the main 2-in-1 tool, and features very soft bristles for delicate cleaning. My keyboard has never looked so crumb-free.
All the tools can be clipped directly onto the main handheld unit, or the funky purple extension tube. The clips are a work of plastic genius and feel easier to operate yet more secure than pretty much any other manufacturer’s tool-clip mechanism on the market. In addition, the clips are on the tools, rather than the tube or body, which makes removing and replacing tools with one hand easy.
The design with the motor above your hand and the battery pack below gives the Dyson V-series cleaners the best in-hand balance of any handheld on the market. The even lighter battery on the V7 improves on the feel further still. It’s super-comfy in the hand and makes its fairly bijou 2.3kg weight feel even lighter than it is.
The V8 was already the best functionally designed cordless cleaner on the market – and, thanks to its hushed tones, lighter weight and great balance, we reckon the V7 is even better.
As with all Dyson handheld cleaners, the power is offered in two stages – normal and Max – and is selected with a slide switch on top. Run-times for the V7 Animal are promised at 30 minutes and 6 minutes respectively.
The built-in battery charges in 3.5 hours, either freestanding directly connected to the wall charger or sat in its excellent wall dock. The battery isn’t removable, though, so there’s no chance of grabbing a spare battery for an extended cleaning session.
The two motorised floorheads also draw their power from the battery pack, with power plugs built into the tool connectors and cables neatly hidden in the main tube. Our run-time tests are all using the powered tools, but expect to get an extra 10-20% run-time if you’re simply using the dusting or detail tools.
The battery did indeed charge from flat in around 3.5 hours with an LED indicator that’s orange when fully expended, blue while charging, and goes out when the unit is fully charged.
Heading around the house with the Direct Drive floorhead attached, we cleaned for a near textbook 30mins 30secs on average from a single charge on normal power. Several test sessions on various floor surfaces resulted in very little variation – from hard floors (31 minutes) to carpet pile so deep that you could loose a tribe of pigmies in it (29.5 minutes).
That’s a significant amount of cleaning time if you consider that is actual cleaning. The trigger makes you switch off when you’re moving between rooms, straightening the cushions or answering the door. Thanks to the lithium battery and Dyson’s control electronics, you get full power right up until it cuts out too.
Set the V7 to Max power with the Direct Drive floorhead and there’s a significant boost in suction. We managed just shy of six and a half minutes in this mode, and half a minute or so more with the non-powered tools attached. You’ll be surprised at the amount of cleaning you can get done in that time – and it’s great for quick spills or smaller areas such as the stairs.
With practice you can easily get around a medium-sized room in that time and, having had the V6 and V8 on long-term test for many months now, we tend to default to quick clean-ups on the highest power setting. It’s a little and often approach to house vacuuming and it really works.
Dyson V7 Animal – How noisy is it?
From the first pull of the trigger, the V7 is markedly quieter than the V8, and the pitch tone is much softer and less aggressive than the jet-engine-like V6. We measured the V7 at 61-62dB in normal power mode at arm’s length and a very reasonable 64-66dB on Max power.
Given that Dyson’s motor is spinning at over 120,000rpm, and the machine delivers mains-like suction power on this higher setting, that’s mighty quiet. Those figures are way, way down on the previous models and make this cleaner very pleasant to use indeed.
For comparison, we measured the V8 at 75dB on Max power. As decibels are measured on a logarithmic scale, that 10dB difference is huge.
On the down side, we suspect that much of that saving comes from removing the rear post-motor filter of the V6 or V8. This is replaced on the V7 with a foam baffle to reduce noise. We can’t say we noticed any more dust in the exiting air than the other models, but the engineering would suggest the V7 isn’t exhausting air quite as clean and dust-free as its siblings.
Dyson V7 Animal – How does it clean carpets and hard floors?
A simple hand over the nozzle test on both normal and Max power modes demonstrates everything we’ve come to expect from Dyson’s V models: great suction and high airflow.
With the main Direct Drive floorhead fitted to the down tube, this handheld turns into a versatile upright stick cleaner. The fully articulating neck of the head allows you to navigate around the floor with ease, and the motorised bar and rollers ensure it moves freely over hard floors and carpets alike. Even on its ample suction Max power mode, the stick-down effect is handled well.
A single pass on our carpet test area on Max power gave a good account of the V7’s carpet cleaning abilities. The mix of carpet powder, baking powder and talcum powder was well cleaned in just one pass, leaving behind only a few finer grains of the heavier carpet powder. Give it a couple of passes as per normal cleaning and the V7 Animal cleans brilliantly on this setting, getting remarkably good edge cleaning results too.
On normal power mode a few more passes were required to fully deep-clean the carpet, and there were noticeable grains of the heavier carpet-cleaning powder deep in the pile. A good mains cleaner (or the V7 on Max) will do a better job of deep-cleaning deeper-pile carpets, but with a little and often approach, normal power proved fine for daily dust, debris and pet-hair cleaning.
Switching to hard floor, the V7 Animal’s normal power mode is ample to pick up loose dust and light debris with the Direct Drive floorhead or dusting tools for hard-to-reach areas. However, our spilled oats test did present the V7 Animal with a small challenge on the normal power setting. With the lower airflow, one or two oat particles escaped the clutches of the suction and were flicked out of the back of the floorhead by the brushes.
A second pass usually secures a clean sweep and we decided for a small oats spill such as that we’d be using the Max mode anyway. Needless to say, ramp up the V7 to Max power, and the suction is fantastic and all particles were cleaned up in a single pass.
Close to skirting edges over hard floors, the Max suction pulls in debris from a centimetre or so out from the head too. You can see dust and pet hair full balls being sucked in as you go along. The brush’s carbon bristles also do a very good job of extremely fine dust.
We tested the theory with talc, which tends to leave a fine residue stuck to hard floor surfaces that even brush heads with hard bristles cab struggle with. The V7 vacuumed the loose powder with ease and the soft bristles polished off the dust residue from the floor.
Both of the dusting brushes work well at their designated dusting duties, but we really like the new Soft Dusting Brush. This is at a great angle for windowsills and runs flat to the wall if you are reaching up high. The crevice tool is just about the perfect size and the nozzle design does a good job of resisting suction stick-down on all but really loose materials.
On normal power mode the V7 delivers more suction than most other cordless cleaners on the market, and the powered floorheads are extremely good at turning that suction into effective floor cleaning. If you need tougher cleaning, the 6 minutes of mains-like cleaning power on Max mode is a superb bonus.
For cordless versatility and effective cleaning results all round, we just can’t fault the V7 Animal.
Dyson V7 Animal – How does it cope with pet hair?
Having used the Direct Drive floorhead and the Mini Motorised Tool on previous Animal iterations of Dyson’s handhelds, we knew furball tumbleweed and pet hairs ground into the carpet didn’t stand a chance.
The Direct Drive floorhead’s stiffer rows of bristles drag hairs from carpet pile with ease and there are no areas on the head’s base for hairs to become stuck. The majority are sucked straight into the bin, with a few longer pet and human ones becoming wrapped around the brush as per usual. The bar pulls out of the floorhead with ease, making detangling easy.
The real star of the V7 Animal show is the Mini Motorised Tool. Its stiff bristles pull pet hairs from even knotty-pile nylon carpets and its smaller form factor concentrates suction power for even better cleaning. The powerful motorised bar never slows under load – as air-powered brush bars often do – so it keeps driving away, even if the tool is sticking down to surfaces such as the dogs’ beds.
One issue we always have with cordless cleaners and pet hair is the size of the bin and the frequency of emptying. The V7 Animal’s 0.54-litre bin is already capacious by handheld cleaner standards, but has a couple of interesting tricks to reduce emptying frequency too.
The cyclone action tends to compress pet hair into a more compact size, allowing you to get more fluff in the bin. Plus, you can push the bin to its fill limit thanks to the pull-out core when emptying. While most over-filled bagless bins will require you to poke about to pull out compressed furballs, the V7’s emptying system always dumps its contents cleanly – even if you run it until the bin is fit to burst.
Given the great balance in the hand, the cordless convenience for getting to those pet-hair-coated areas in the back of the car, easy emptying and its sheer hair-cleaning gumption, there’s no better pet-hair vacuum cleaner on the market – cordless or mains powered!
Dyson V7 Animal – How easy is it to use on the stairs?
Powerful suction, a powered brush bar floorhead and smaller powered tool, lightweight, cordless and well balanced in the hand – that’s pretty much the wish list all ticked off for stair-carpet cleaning.
So no surprise then that the V7 is properly brilliant on stairs. It handles well, cleans superbly and is quiet while doing so. We can do a large flight of awkwardly shaped carpeted steps on Max power with ease in the allotted 6 minutes if we need more serious cleaning gumption too.
The main floorhead’s fairly soft-bristled brush make it safe for use on softwood hard floor steps, but you might find the larger dusting tools even easier if you’re cleaning simple dust, dirt and pet hairs.
There really isn’t any other cordless cleaner on the market that gets even close to the Dyson V7 Animal’s cleaning power, convenience and versatility on carpeted steps. Well, okay, other than the V6 and V8.
Should I buy the Dyson V7 Animal?
We’ve been big fans of Dyson’s V6 and then V8 models, and the V7 Animal simply builds on the versatility and convenience of the breed. Performance is just as good with the same superb design, fabulous engineering, ideal pet-hair tools, and excellent features throughout. The V7 simply trades a little suction power for longer run-times than its siblings, and lighter weight than the flagship V8.
If you really want to max-out your cleaning power then the V8 packs a bigger punch for a shorter time, but the V7’s lightness, beautiful balance in the hand, and 30 minutes of run-time on normal power make it comfortably the very best lightweight handheld on the market today.