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Dyson DC50 Animal Review

Pros

  • Good cleaning
  • Easy to manoeuvre
  • Hygienic bagless cleaning
  • Easy to store

Cons

  • Small capacity bin
  • Somewhat flimsy feel
  • Short hose limits reach

Key Specifications

  • Review Price: £349.00
  • Compact, upright vacuum cleaner
  • 0.8-litre bagless dustbin
  • Handheld pet hair tool
  • Retractable handle

What is the Dyson DC50 Animal?

When Dyson big ball upright cleaners are just too much for the smaller home (or smaller user), the DC50 condenses the latest Dyson tech and features into a compact and bijou package. Weighing in at well under 6kg, the ball system allows the cleaner to be turned on the spot and the main floor head automatically adapts to different carpet piles.

With storage always an issue in smaller homes, the DC50 feature a telescopic handle/wand arrangement making it around 30% more compact than Dyson’s full-size uprights for storing. It’s quiet, easy to empty and for those with pets the DC50 demonstrates its Animal credentials with a compact turbine tool just for pet hairs.

Dyson DC50 Animal 17

Dyson DC50 Animal – Accessories

The DC50 comes in the smallest box I’ve ever seen for a fully-features upright cleaner – it’s properly compact. Assembly simply requires clipping the floor head to the body and the handle to the flexible tube, so there’s no problems there either.

The main body, ball and the bin of the DC50 is notably smaller than other Dyson uprights and that limits the bin to a rather meagre 0.8 litres. That’s still double the size of the Dyson V6 Absolute and other Dyson cordless vacuum cleaners, but it’s tight all the same.

Regular emptying is essential, particularly if you do have pets trooping around the home with dirty paws and moulting like an old fur coat.

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Dyson DC50 Animal 7

The DC50’s main floor head is easily removed for detangling those pet hairs from the main beater bar too. There are two washable filters on-board, which Dyson recommends giving a monthly rinse and spruce up.

This model also comes with Dyson’s innovative turbine tool, with its contra-rotating brushes to pick up pet hairs without them wrapping around a traditional beater bar. I have had great success with this tool in previous models, and it remains our reference tool for stair cleaning carpets in home with pets.

You also get a good sized crevice tool with slide down dusting brush and a tiny little upholstery tool which looks about the right size for a sofa in a dolls house.

Dyson DC50 Animal 19

Two of the three tools clip to the main body and, by pressing a release clip, the main wand and handle slides down into the cleaner to reduce storage height to just 77cm. Sadly you can’t lift from the handle when it’s in this position as there’s no lock, but there’s a dedicated handle for that job.

Dyson DC50 Animal – Cleaning

If you are used to the solid feel and well balanced stability of a full size Dyson upright, then the DC50’s compact dimensions and rather flimsy feel come as a bit of a surprise. There is clearly a trade-off between keeping the weight and size down versus robustness and overall stability, and it shows.

Everything from the handle to the ball and wheel assembly exhibits a large degree of flex when manhandled, which doesn’t exactly inspire confidence. Still, as we are yet to break anything on a Dyson test cleaner thus far, we assume the company knows how to make its plastics user-proof.

The concerns fade when the DC50 is fired up, the powerful suction, superbly designed floor head and ball manoeuvrability make it both efficient and a joy to use. It turns with the lightest twist of the wrist, the head steering in the direction indicted, and the floor head very effectively adapts to different carpet heights.

The beater bar can be stopped altogether for sensitive hard floors, but we found the main beater was extremely gentle on hard surfaces anyway and the carbon bristles make for super removal of dust and fine powder from parquet and laminates. The machine’s overall lightweight translates directly to making the cleaner feel ‘nippy’ around the home, doubly so as this test comes straight after using Miele’s tank-like U1 upright, and its notably quieter than most full size Dyson uprights too.

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Dyson DC50 Animal 9Before
Dyson DC50 Animal 11After

As I have come to expect from the brand, cleaning efficiency was first class, whether you ran the cleaner over short pile carpets, deep pile rugs, hard floors or tiles. Edge cleaning on the carpet test was excellent with virtually no powered residue left in the dip at the skirting in just a single pass. Likewise, my test using dry porridge oats on deep-grouted floor tiles posed little challenge for the DC50 as it efficiently pulled all the particles from the tile gaps with ease.

Dyson DC50 Animal 13Before
Dyson DC50 Animal 15After

The wand and hose unclip from the main body in a single movement, but here things are not quite as perfect. The hose is very short at just over a metre fully extended and, with the fairly limited length telescopic wand, I could only just get to our 2.4m high ceilings to tackle cobwebs. If you have an older Victorian house with high ceilings, the spiders are going to be up there laughing at you. Moreover, the DC50’s slim line style and light weight don’t make for great stability when the hose and wand are being used and it took a tumble a couple of times.

All that said, once again the cleaning results with the hose and tools was superb. The crevice tool is longer than supplied on most compact cleaners and its dusting brush bigger too. The anti-tangle turbine tool is excellent and it is only the upholstery brush design I struggled with. At just 9cm wide, it is going to take you a whole lot of arm action to clean a three-piece suite.

Dyson DC50 Animal – Stairs

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.

Dyson DC50 Animal 3

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.

Dyson DC50 Animal – Pet Hair

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.

Dyson DC50 Animal

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.
Dyson DC50 Animal 21

Should I buy the Dyson DC50 Animal?

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.

Verdict

An excellent upright for anyone tight on space, but it’s worth considering your options before buying.

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Type Upright

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