- Excellent suction power
- Brilliant Musclehead tool for hard floors
- Tangle-Free Turbine tool works well
- No filters to block or clean
- Great detail tools
- Huge, easy-to-empty bin
- Cable and hose could be longer
- Turbine tools reduce suction power
- Review Price: £449.99
- Filter-free Cinetic technology
- Self-righting stability
- Two turbo-powered floor heads
- Dyson Musclehead floor tool
- Easy-emptying large bin
- Articulating handle
What is the Dyson Cinetic Big Ball Animal?
Resisting the urge to sing the “Weebles Wobble But They Don’t Fall Down” advert from the 1970s – it’s on YouTube – Dyson’s Big Ball cleaner is an innovative, self-righting cylinder cleaner featuring the company’s Cinetic filter-free technology. The Animal version tested here comes with a host of floor heads, including one of our pet-favourites, the Tangle-Free Turbine tool.
It packs in outstanding suction, offers the cleanest emptying of any bagless we’ve tried, and delivers cracking carpet and hard-floor cleaning thanks to great tool design. Scratching around for negatives: the hose and cable could be a little longer, and the price remains eye-watering. However, if we wanted a fabulous do-it-all bagless cylinder cleaner then the Cinetic Big Ball Animal would be it.
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Dyson Cinetic Big Ball Animal – Accesories
Packed like some sort of giant puzzle in the colourful box, the Big Ball Cinetic Animal certainly isn’t short of features or accessories. The large, ball-shaped main cleaner is a hefty 6.1kg and sports one of the largest bagless bins we’ve seen at 1.6 litres.
The spherical shape of the unit and low-centre of gravity mean that wild, high-speed cornering manoeuvres will still flip the beast over – but it rights itself almost immediately.
Dyson’s Cinetic technology uses small flexible nozzles at the end of the multiple air cyclones, which stop even fine dust passing through the cyclone and out the other side. As such, there are no filters to block or subsequently wash. Does it work? Oh yes. With a significant A-rating for dust re-emission on the energy label, the Cinetic technology is right up there with the very best HEPA-rated filter cleaners in this respect.
Dyson’s claims of being maintenance-free and suffering no loss of suction are absolutely spot on. On the downside, the system uses rather more power than a simple cyclone and filter, so this model has a 1400W motor and an energy efficiency rating of E.
And speaking of power, the non-variable on/off power switch and cable-rewind buttons are rather flimsy-looking clear plastic mouldings. We were sure they’d break, and promptly gave the machine some seriously un-domestic abuse – including kicking the buttons from the side – to prove our point. We failed to even scratch them…
Disappointingly, the cable is rather short at 6.5m, and with 1.5m of fairly stiff hose, the pair don’t provide a huge cleaning reach in themselves.
Conversely, the handle, chunky extending tubes and the crevice tool with dusting brush are mighty long at 1.6m, providing good reach to high-up cobwebs. The handle is a genius work of engineering in that its attachment to the hose is fully articulated. As you move around cleaning, the hose doesn’t try to tug or twist the handle out of your hand.
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The two main floor heads can loosely be categorised as the carbon fibre Turbine head for carpets and the Musclehead for hard floors – although both can actually handle either floor type.
The Musclehead is a wide head with several pivoting and articulating sections, from the neck to the floor-plate. Together they achieve unrivalled freedom of movement. This includes cleaning with the extension tubes almost flat to the floor, allowing you to get well beneath low items of furniture, such as sofas.
A pair of foot switches raise and lower a central section for carpets, reducing the contact force of the many silicon blades for hard floors.
The same outstanding articulation can be found on the Turbine head. The brush bar itself has a row of stiffer nylon bristles to agitate particles from carpets, and a row of soft carbon bristles to pick up the finest dust from hard floors. A single coin-turn end cap allows the bar to slide right out for easy cleaning.
The bar is powered by the airflow rather than a motor, and that has its drawbacks. The speed of the brush varies with flooring resistance (albeit to a lesser extent than many we’ve tested) and it doesn’t have the sheer grunt on deep-pile carpets of a motorised bar.
It does use up some of the airflow suction power, and the connecting belt from the turbine means the bar doesn’t cover the full width of the head. It’s a very effective tool but we can’t help but think that, at this price, it should be one of Dyson’s even better motorised heads – such as those found on the V8 cordless.
The Animal specification completes the main tool lineup of this model with the Tangle-Free Turbine tool. As a household with pets, we’ve long held this tool in high regard. Its contra-rotating brushes, spinning parallel to the carpet, pick up pet hairs with aplomb and are very easy to clean afterwards.
Again, since this is a turbo-powered tool rather than motorised, the speed varies and suction power is a little diminished – although over such a small head, not by much.
If none of those tools fit the bill, you also get the combined crevice tool/dusting brush and a bijou upholstery tool. Both of these clip to the handle or extension tubes for easy access mid-cleaning.
Not so much an accessory as a feature, but this model also comes with Dyson’s five-year guarantee. We tested this service using an unnamed secret agent (okay, my mum) and an older Dyson cylinder cleaner with a faulty cable rewind. She was incredibly impressed with the level of customer service and the speedy in-home repair, all under guarantee.
Dyson Cinetic Big Ball Animal – How does it clean carpets and hard floors?
Superb suction power, great tools, filter-free performance and a huge bagless bin – can you guess how this machine performed in our tests? In another set of practically perfect results for Dyson, the Cinetic Big Ball Animal made light work of carpets, rugs, laminates, tiles and parquet.
There’s plenty of airflow and suction power through both heads, yet neither really stick down or become difficult to move. If they do start to become a little sticky on certain floor coverings, a trigger on the handle relieves just enough suction to keep things moving without significantly reducing dust pick-up power.
The main Turbine head is properly multi-purpose and, while it doesn’t pack quite the suction grunt of the Musclehead, it’s very good over carpets and hard floors alike.
In our carpet test it showed a clean sweep in a single pass, with very good – if not quite perfect – edge cleaning too. It works well on laminates and flat surfaces, too, with the multiple texture brushes working their magic. The suction lost to powering the turbo-brush bar means it isn’t so good for sucking up deep dirt from tile grouting grooves or between bare floor boards.
In which case you can switch the Musclehead into its hard floor mode. This delivers 100% of the Big Ball’s suction power to the floor, and its clever arrangement of silicon-rubber blades ensures this all goes into pulling up dirt from deep within any textured or cracked surface.
On the downslide, the blades did push a few particles from our spilled oats test out in front of the head on the first pass, but it collected them on the second.
Out on open smooth floors, such as laminates and parquet, the Musclehead is a proper cleaning animal. You can see dirt and debris being pulled into the head an inch or so either side of its cleaning path, resulting in outstanding edge cleaning on hard floors too.
The crevice tool is superbly long and fitted with some clever suction-release vents, should you get stuck to soft furnishings or curtains. The slide-down dusting brush is soft, flexible and just about the right size for, well, dusting in fact. From ceiling cobwebs to manoeuvring around ornaments on the window ledge, it gets our thumbs up.
The upholstery tool (yes, we nearly forgot it) isn’t too shoddy, either. It’s a little on the small side for our liking, but the air-release channels at the side strike a good balance between cleaning power and sticking to fabric. For tougher sofa coverings we’d default to the Tangle-Free Turbine tool; for delicate suede and cotton upholstery, however, this small tool does the job.
Dyson Cinetic Big Ball Animal – How does it cope with pet hair?
Out on open carpet, on the rug where our two dogs spend most evenings, the larger Turbine floor head offers very respectable pet-hair pick-up. The brushes don’t extend too far below the tool’s floor plate, so don’t dig really deep into the pile, but the result is a good de-fluffing of your carpet in only a couple of passes.
With this tool, the Big Ball cleaner completed our 30cm test patch of mixed Collie and Labrador hair in 10 seconds – which just gets into our specification for official “pet-specific” vacuum cleaner status. Ironically, we also tried the Musclehead on a similar test patch. It took only a few seconds more to clear the area, its extra suction nearly making up for the Turbine tool’s brush bar.
The real star of the show here is the Tangle-Free Turbine tool. While too small and not articulating enough to use easily on large areas of open carpet, its pet hair performance on rugs, mats, the dog’s bed and upholstery is top-notch. It also cleaned our test patch in 10 seconds, its superb pick-up making up for its much smaller size.
While these are pretty respectable pet-hair cleaning results with all three heads, none is really stand-out exceptional in its own right when it comes to our furry friends. I can’t help thinking that a motor-powered rotating brush bar floor head – such as Dyson’s own Direct Drive head, supplied with its cordless models – would elevate the Big Ball’s pet-hair cleaning performance from good to outstanding.
Where this model does score over Dyson’s V6 and V8 cordless models is bin capacity. The huge 1.6-litre bin means you can clean a large area before it needs unloading, and the powerful cyclone does a good job of compressing furball tumbleweed into a dense mat that drops out of the bin with ease.
Dyson Cinetic Big Ball Animal – How easy is it to use on the stairs?
While the 6.5m mains cable and 1.5m hose are only average in length, the flexible handle and long extension tubes go some way to make up for the otherwise slightly restricted reach. We managed to cover all of our stairs by leaving the cleaner at the bottom and working half-way up, then doing the opposite from the top.
If you do want to carry and clean, the Big Ball is no feather-weight. Yet it does have a remarkably compact footprint, making it easy to place down on each step. The articulating handle reduces the propensity for the hose to tug the cleaner off the step.
There’s no choice to be made when it comes to tools for the stairs; the Tangle-Free Turbine tool is just about perfect. It’s small enough to use on carpeted steps and the vertical uprights, and easy to get into corners and move around, thanks to the articulating handle. It cleans well, too, thanks to the rotating brushes and great suction.
Since the crevice tool, dusting brush and upholstery brush will be clipped to the handle or tubes, switching to these for detail cleaning is equally efficient and effective. This is a great cleaner all round for stairs, banisters and those awkward areas that spiders like to call home… briefly.
Should I buy the Dyson Cinetic Big Ball Animal?
The Cinetic Big Ball Animal is an outstanding cylinder cleaner in its own right, and the Animal suffix adds the excellent Tangle-Free Turbine tool. This makes it even better at cleaning pet beds, upholstery and stairs.
Outstanding tool design, great suction power and the inspired filter-free Cinetic technology put this model up there at the top of its game.
However, we reckon it could be better still. With a longer cable, more flexible hose and motorised tools, the Big Ball would be unbeatable. Maybe next year…
An outstanding cylinder cleaner: it’s versatile, accomplished, easy to empty and there are no filters to clean.
Score in detail
Cleaning performance 9