Delivering the suction power of a plug-in cleaner on a cordless model, the Dyson Gen5detect is a powerhouse of a vacuum cleaner. Incredible pick-up means you can clean your house fast, while it’s the neat touches that make this vacuum cleaner a joy to use: it senses how much dirt there is, adjusting power on the fly, and its integrated 2-in-1 tool puts the handheld cleaning power where you need it. The price may be hard to swallow for many, though.
- Super powerful suction
- Clever integrated crevice tool
- Automatic power adjustment takes guess work out of cleaning
- Can’t use crevice tool at the end of the wand
- TypeThis is a cordless stick vacuum cleaner.
- Battery lifeIn my tests, the Auto mode delivers around 26 minutes of cleaning power – enough to tackle a home.
- PowerTops out at a massive 369AW in my tests – the most powerful cordless stick vacuum cleaner that I have ever tested.
Where do you go after releasing arguably the best cordless vacuum cleaner of all time, the Dyson V15 Detect? The answer is a more powerful model, with longer battery life and a nifty integrated 2-in-1 crevice tool with the Dyson Gen5detect.
Genuine plug-in levels of performance crammed into a cordless stick vacuum cleaner is impressive, but there’s no escaping the high price.
Design and features
- Clever built-in dusting and crevice tool
- Floor heads for carpet and hard floors
- On/off button rather than a trigger
Think of the Dyson Gen5detect as a refinement of the V15 Detect, and you’ll know what to expect. In almost every way, the new model is an improvement over the old one, starting with the way that it’s used.
While the V15 Detect had a trigger that had to be held in, the Gen5detect switches to a simple on/off button on the back. It’s the same type of control as introduced with the V12 Detect and, in my opinion, a big improvement. Holding a trigger can be tiring, particularly for anyone with limited hand movements. On/off buttons are far easier to use.
As with the most recent Dyson models, the Gen5detect has a large LCD at the back. Using the piezo sensor inside, the screen shows the live particle count, so I could see exactly how much dust was being collected, as well as battery life in minutes.
This screen is also used when there’s an error, such as a blocked airway; an animation shows how to deal with the issue, which saves faffing about searching online.
There are three power modes on this vacuum cleaner: Eco, Medium and Boost. Attach either the Digital Motorbar (carpet) or Fluffy Optic (hard floor) heads, and the vacuum cleaner switches the Medium mode to Auto mode, adjusting power on the fly based on how much dirt is detected. I find that this automatic mode takes the guesswork out of which power mode to use.
I would like Dyson to find a way to combine the two floorheads into one tool, as with the Shark Stratos IZ420UKT. Not having to switch heads when moving between carpet and hard floors is far more convenient, particularly if you have a combination of hard floors and rugs.
The Fluffy Optic is as impressive here as it was when first introduced. Using a green laser, this floor head highlights dirt on the floor, making it visually easy to find any dirty patches or spots missed. It is an excellent cleaning tool, but also a touch disgusting; my hard floors looked clean until the laser showed just how much cat hair was blowing around. Still, at least I knew that I’d picked it all up.
Unbox the Dyson Gen5detect for the first time and there would appear to be one important tool missing: the crevice tool. Never fear, rather than it being a separate tool, Dyson has hidden the two-in-one dusting and crevice tool inside the main wand. Just hit the release button, and the main handheld tools are ready and available to go.
It’s a fantastic idea, and one that saves quite a bit of time trying to swap accessories around, making cleaning quicker and faster.
I do have some minor complaints. First, while the two-in-one tool will connect to the wand, the wand then can’t connect to the vacuum cleaner. If you like using your crevice tool around the edges of the room, then you’re out of luck. Secondly, when the wand is removed, it pulls the brush down over the crevice tool. Given that I use the crevice tool the most, I’d prefer not to have to slide the brush back.
Finally, you can remove the wand while the vacuum is running; reattach it and the vacuum cleaner keeps going, but doesn’t automatically provide power to a floor head. Instead, the Dyson Gen5detect must be turned on and off, which is a little frustrating.
Otherwise, the box contains a Low reach adaptor, which gives an angled joint to make it possible to clean under sofas, beds and other furniture without having to bend down.
There’s also a Combination tool for dusting and detail work, plus the Hair screw tool for cleaning sofas, pet beds and the like.
Previous Dyson vacuum cleaners shipped with an accessory clip that attached the wand, letting me carry around my favourite tools; that’s not available here, presumably because Dyson felt that integrated 2-in-1 tool negated the need for this.
There is a wall dock that will take two accessories, as well as providing power for the vacuum cleaner. It’s a similar design to the dock on previous vacuum cleaners and one I really like: I just drop my vacuum cleaner in, and it starts to charge.
A removable battery makes it easy to swap out the power pack, should the one you have develop a fault or fade with age.
The Dyson Gen5detect weighs 3.5kg, which is a touch heavier than the V15, although not so much that you’d particularly notice.
Given that there’s the built-in crevice tool, the extra weight is a fair trade off. Weight is well balanced, and it’s easy to go from cleaning carpet to raising the vacuum into the air to clean around the ceiling.
I was sent the Prussian Blue/Rich Copper variant, which is a Dyson exclusive; buy from another retailer, and you’ll get the Purple version (also available as a choice via Dyson).
There’s a massive 0.77-litre bin, which is more than enough to take all the dust in a whole-home clean. There’s the same eject mechanism, as on previous Dyson cleaners: stick the head in the bin and then use the slide-eject mechanism to cleanly dump. Sometimes, particularly after dealing with pet hair, I needed a couple of pumps to dump everything, but I still managed this without making a mess.
There’s a single filter at the rear, which unscrews and can be rinsed under a tap, taking 24 hours to dry. If you want to keep cleaning, then buying a spare filter, so you always have a spare one is not a bad idea.
- Doesn’t get tangled with hair
- Hugely impressive pick-up
- Power settings should be chosen carefully
I started measuring how much power the Dyson Gen5detect has, measuring its suction power in AirWatts (AW) at the unit. AirWatts combine a vacuum cleaner’s lift (suction) and airflow to give a more accurate impression of how powerful they are.
In Eco mode, I measured power at a gentle 30AW, upping to a powerful 75AW on Medium. On Boost, I measured power at a staggering 369AW. That’s the best I’ve ever seen from a cordless vacuum cleaner, and puts the Gen5detect on a par with some plug-in models.
Why is so much suction important? Well, it’s particularly useful when using handheld tools to suck up mess: more power means that the tool doesn’t need to be put as close to the mess, and you can do a clean sweep in less time.
I put rice on a desk in a line, then put the crevice tool at the end of a tape measure to see how far away from the tool it can collect the mess. Here, I managed a suck rice up from just over 3cm away, when on maximum power – again, the kind of performance I’d expect from a plug-in model.
Next, I moved to my standard tests. First, I sprinkled 20g of flour onto my test carpet. I then ran the Dyson Gen5detect through the middle of the mess (backwards and forwards) on Auto to see how it coped.
At first, the Digital Motorbar head stopped moving as soon as it made contact with my test carpet. As my test carpet has a rubber backing, which blocks air flow, the Gen5detect’s suction was too powerful, and the motorised brush shut down to protect itself. I found that I had to drop the vacuum cleaner to Eco mode to get it to work on this test carpet.
Regular carpet has a fabric backing and is sat on underlay, which allows more airflow through the carpet fibres. I then switched to regular carpet to complete the tests. However, given the power in the vacuum cleaner, I found that I had to adjust the gate on the front of the carpet brush at times.
On Auto mode, I single pass forwards and backwards was enough to remove most of the dust in the cleaner’s path.
Next, I tackled the mess at the bottom with Eco mode (clean sweep), and then tried to tackle the top with Boost mode, but I found the Gen5detect too hard to push.
The redesigned tools maximise contact with the floor, but the huge amounts of suction can make the cleaner difficult to move. Far from being an issue, it shows that the lower power modes are enough and Boost mode is something that you’ll rarely need.
After my tests, I weighed the bin and found that 98.25% of the flour had been collected, which is very impressive, and the best result I’ve seen from a vacuum cleaner. I didn’t see any trace of flour left, so the ‘missing’ dirt will be in the vacuum cleaner head or wand.
Next, I placed 10g of flour on the edge of my carpet tiles. Running the cleaner down the skirting board, with the vent fully closed, I managed a clean sweep. Here, my measurements show that 95.3% was collected, the highest that I’ve ever seen.
To test the anti-tangle capabilities, I put lengths of human hair onto the carpet, then let the cleaner pass over the top. Nothing was caught around the brush at the end.
I had a similar result with my pet hair test. Combing cat hair into the carpet, I found that the Gen5detect picked it all up, without tangling any.
Moving to the hard floor, I sprinkled 20g of rice onto the hard floor then used the Fluffy head in Auto mode. Here, I got a clean sweep with 100% of the dirt ending up in the bin.
Battery life is very good, with Dyson saying the Gen5detect will last up to 70-minutes. That is without a motorised head. On standard settings with the Digital Motorbar attached, I measured battery life at 57m 31s on Eco, 35m 36s on Medium, and 9m 28s on Boost.
However, it’s Auto mode that this vacuum cleaner is likely to be used in. To test that, I vacuumed the test lab, which hadn’t been cleaned in a week, to get a rough estimate of real battery life. I found that the Dyson Gen5detect lasted 26m 13s. That’s actually very good, as the quality of the clean means that a lot of distance can be covered; there’s enough power for me to clean my three-bedroom house. It takes 4.5 hours to fully charge the vacuum cleaner.
I measured sound at 72dB on Auto mode, which is about right for a cordless: quite loud, but not painfully so. Impressively, the Boost mode only hit 75.3dB, which is quite quiet.
Should you buy it?
You want the best cordless cleaner:
The highest suction, the best cleaning results and excellent battery life, this cordless cleaner has the power of a plug-in.
You want a better value cleaner:
This model is hugely expensive and you can buy a cordless cleaner that cleans almost as well for less.
The Dyson Gen5detect has a staggering amount of power. In fact, its Boost mode is so powerful that it’s unlikely that you’ll need to use it. In fact, the quality of the tools and contact they make with the floor means that Eco mode was often all I needed, switching to Auto for a deeper clean.
What the Gen5detect delivers is the power of a plug-in with the convenience of a handheld, adding that extra bit of flexibility with the integrated crevice tool. If you want the best, there’s not another vacuum cleaner that can touch this one for power.
That said, it is quite expensive, and the V15 Detect is still a great alternative and a few hundred pounds cheaper. If you want value, the V15 is the better choice; if you want power, the Gen5detect is for you. Check out alternatives in my guide to the best cordless vacuum cleaners.
How we test
We test every vacuum cleaner we review thoroughly over an extended period of time. We use industry standard tests to compare features properly. We’ll always tell you what we find. We never, ever, accept money to review a product.
Find out more about how we test in our ethics policy.
Used as our main vacuum cleaner for the review period
Tested for at least a week
Tested using tools to measure actual suction performance
Tested with real-world dirt in real-world situations for fair comparisons with other vacuum cleaners
You might like…
This is built into the wand, ready for action whenever you need it.
In Automatic mode, I found that the battery lasted for around 26 minutes. Given the power of the cleaner, that’s enough time for me to clean a three bedroom house.