Something of a surprise to see, the Dyson Small Ball Allergy is a new plug-in vacuum cleaner, built to deal with homes that have allergy sufferers. This vacuum is very powerful and it comes with a smart set of accessories, including a brush to deal with your mattress. It’s also one of the easiest vacuum cleaners to move around, making it a great choice for any home. Only the slightly fiddly bin emptying gets in the way, but that’s a minor irritation that you can easily live with.
- Easy to manoeuvre
- Powerful suction
- Lots of tools
- Bin is fiddly to empty
- Review Price: £199.99
- Upright vacuum cleaner
- 1057 x 384 x 281mm, 6.9kg
- Motorised floor head, combination tool, stair tool, mattress tool, soft dusting brush
- 1.2-litre bin
- Mains powered
Although Dyson had said that the V10 cordless cleaner marked the end of new corded cleaners, we’ve got a new plug-in model: the Dyson Small Ball Allergy.
Certified asthma and allergy-friendly, this is a lightweight vacuum cleaner designed specifically to keep allergens out of the air. Easy to manoeuvre and powerful cleaning make this an attractive upright, but it is a bit fiddly to empty.
Design and features
- Neat and compact with plenty of attachments but the bin is a bit fiddly to empty
- Powerful and easy to move around
- There’s lots of reach and the wand is easy to remove
- The bin is fiddly to empty
As the name suggests, the Dyson Small Ball Allergy is a compact upright vacuum cleaner (1057 x 384 x 281mm). It weighs just 6.9kg, so it’s fairly easy to pick up and carry around when you need to move it.
There’s a small amount of assembly required to get the vacuum cleaner ready for use, including inserting the wand into the flexible extension tube and clipping the handle into place. I think the join between the handle and tube could be a bit neater, but that’s a minor complaint.
The direct drive motorised floor brush clips into the front of the vacuum. There’s a slider on the front to adjust airflow through it, which is helpful if the vacuum feels as though it’s stuck to the floor and you can’t push it around. You can also turn off the rotating brush bar when on hard floors; there’s no soft roller option here, as traditional suction power should prove enough for picking up debris on hard floors.
In the box, you get a range of accessories. The combination tool is the one that you’ll probably use the most, and gives you a crevice tool and brush all-in-one, letting you get into small areas. Dyson also provides a soft dusting brush for gently dusting on surfaces, picking up and removing dirt; a stair tool; and a mattress tool, which is built for cleaning mattress (a big source of allergens) as well as upholstery.
On-body, the Dyson Small Ball Allergy has a single clip designed for the combination tool, although you can slide one additional tool onto the top of this. That means that you should only have to find a home for two remaining tools.
The 1.2-litre bin clips onto the front of the vacuum cleaner. If you’re going to pick up the Dyson Small Ball Allergy by its handle, make sure that the bin is clipped in properly. Dyson says that the bin is easy-empty with a one-click action to open the bottom of the bin to let the dust drop out. I found that the bin was very stiff, and the eject button only partially opened the bottom, and I had to use a hand to open the bin fully. I suspect that over time the action will get smoother. Most dust came out alright in the bin, but I needed to give it a bit of a shake to get out everything.
The top of the bin also contains the washable filter, which you can pull out and clean under a tap. You should give it 24 hours to dry before using the vacuum cleaner again.
Using the vacuum cleaner is easy. In upright mode, you just turn on the button, then pull the handle back to slide away the stabilising wheels (these let you store the vacuum upright). This action kicks the brush bar into life, although you can turn it off using the button.
Dyson’s ball technology is absolutely brilliant, letting you easily slide the vacuum around where you need to get it. As the Dyson Small Ball Allergy is so small, it should fit around most furniture easily enough. If you need a lightweight cleaner, then you’ll struggle to find one that’s as easy to use.
To use the handheld tools, you just have to pull out the extendable hose. If you want reach, you can pull out the wand, letting you get up high; if you want flexibility, you can remove the wand and attach tools directly to the hose.
Using the hose alone, I found it easy to clean stairs, tackle a mattress and even clean up a sofa. It also makes getting into smaller areas easy.
- Exceptionally powerful, this vacuum should get most waste in a single swipe
- Plenty of suction power
- Picks up dirt from hard floors and carpets easily
- Does well with pet hair
One of the advantages of a corded vacuum cleaner is power, and the Dyson Small Ball Allergy is no exception. It has a 700W motor, providing 90AW of suction power. So, what does this actually mean?
To find out, I used our standard test loads of dirt. Starting out on carpet, I used a teaspoon of flour, spread right up to the skirting board. Using a single sweep, with the brush bar turned on, the vacuum got all of the dust right up to the edge.
Carpet test: Dirty carpet (left) vs Clean carpet (right) – move slider to compare
My test carpet often makes itself home to one (or more) of my four cats, meaning that hair gets embedded right into the fibres. Running the Dyson Small Ball Allergy over the patches of hair pulled everything out, leaving it perfectly clean.
Pet hair test: Dirty carpet (left) vs Clean carpet (right) – move slider to compare
Next, I wanted to see how the Dyson Small Ball Allergy performed on hard floor. This time, I used larger debris, spreading a teaspoon of rice onto the floor. I then gave the vacuum a single pass, but this time the brush bar was turned off. Swiping through the mess, I was left with a clean corridor, although a couple of grains of rice avoided being collected on the first sweep: nothing that a second sweep couldn’t fix, mind.
Hard floor test: Dirty carpet (left) vs Clean carpet (right) – move slider to compare
As I’ve come to expect from Dyson vacuum cleaners, the Small Ball Allergy is a powerful performer, cable of dealing with any mess quickly.
There’s a 9.4m power cable with this vacuum cleaner, which should mean that you can clean an entire home using a single power socket, although those with larger houses may need to use a couple.
I measured the vacuum cleaner at a maximum of 78.9dB, which is loud enough to be heard but not so loud as to be truly deafening. Cordless cleaners tend to be quieter, but you’re sacrificing pure suction power to get the noise down.
Should you buy the Dyson Small Ball Allergy?
A new Dyson plug-in vacuum cleaner is something of a welcome surprise. If you have a home with allergy sufferers, this vacuum cleaner’s certification and range of tools will help give you that extra comfort and indoor health. Even if you don’t have particular allergy sufferers, then the Dyson Small Ball Allergy is still a great vacuum cleaner. It’s well priced and powerful, making short work of all of our tests – it’s one of the easiest cleaners to manoeuvre, too.
Sure, there are some more flexible cleaners overall, such as the excellent Shark NZ801UKTDB, which has a more extensive toolset and its clever lift-away mode, although this model is a bit heavier to move around and not quite as nimble, and you can see other vacuum cleaners in my guide to the best.
Then, if you want to go cordless, there’s the excellent Dyson V11, which is powerful enough to clean an entire home, although it’s more expensive and lacks the Small Ball Allergy’s certification.