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Dyson V8 Absolute – Battery Life

While the wall-mounted charge dock has grown a little to accommodate the V8’s larger battery, the actual mains charger remains the same. This suggests the 21.6V/400W battery in the V8 is going to take a little longer to charge than the 21.6V/350W battery in the V6. Sure enough, the full charge from absolutely flat was 4 hours – around 30 minutes longer than the V6, although almost an hour less than the manual suggests at 5 hours.

Dyson promises 40 minutes of run time on standard power mode without the powered tools, and 25 minutes with, and we can’t argue with those figures. We consistently achieved between 39 and 43 minutes of cleaning time with the passive tools, which meant several trips around the home going over the same rooms time and time again. Boring, but it did prove a point on just how much run time you actually need. Not 40 minutes in our case, that’s for sure.

The powered tools all draw energy from the same battery pack, so the run time is suitably reduced when using these tools. With the Direct Drive head over carpet we consistently averaged around 24 minutes of run time on the fairly deep-pile carpets throughout the upstairs of the house. Over short-pile carpets and hard floors neither tools have to work quite so hard, turning in between 25 and 26 minutes of run time and in line with Dyson’s claims.

Dyson V8

The maximum power mode proved to be something more of a flexible proposition for run time depending on tool. With the passive tools we had well over 10minutes of run time, which is enough to get every cobweb in the house – twice. This dropped to between 7 and 8 minutes with the power tools engaged, which was again about what Dyson claims.

If anything the maximum power mode is a bit of a sledge hammer and for 99% of home cleaning duties the standard power mode is more than enough. Moreover, as we said of the V6 models, the unique trigger on/off switch actually makes quite a difference to the effective cleaning time.

With machines that have a traditional on/off switch you tend to leave them running while moving between areas to be cleaned, spying cobwebs or pausing while something on TV catches your eye. Not so the Dyson models, as you simply let go of the trigger when you’re not actually cleaning, maximising the realistic cleaning time.

Dyson V8 Absolute – Stair Cleaning

Cordless, powerful, easy to handle and coming with a compact powered brush tool, the Dyson V8 scoops top slot for our best stair-cleaning vacuum to date. And it stole that honour from the V6. With no cables to trip over, a very effective powered tool and mains-power-level suction in max power mode, it just can’t be beaten on carpeted stairs. It is quick and efficient, easy to navigate around corner steps and, with the dusting brush in your back pocket, easy to switch to cobweb-busting halfway up.

The Mini Motorised Tool is a great little device for stairs. It is compact enough to be manoeuvrable and get into corners of turning stairs and the tilting base plate means it is easy to keep flat contact with the floor. The angle is, however, limited to about 40 degrees from the floor, which stopped it being of any use under low obstacles. Of course, you do get the Direct Drive and Soft Roller floor heads, both of which will articulate very close to the floor for getting under such obstacles, so it’s a moot point really.

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The dusting brush and crevice tool are both superbly well designed and feel solid enough to last a lifetime of cleaning abuse. The dusting brush bristles are a little softer and a little longer than the original tool supplied with the V6, both of which we found aided dusting surfaces such as shelves, window ledges and the PC keyboard.

The crevice tool features a row of suction relief vents and a business-end tip with two flats at different angles – both of which help to reduce the propensity for the tool to grab at the surface and stick down. While Jackie was fairly nonplussed with these little touches, as an ex-engineer I can only salute Dyson’s fantastic attention to design detail that pervades throughout this entire cleaner.

Dyson V8 Absolute – Pet Hair

The V8 had already secured top billing in our vacuum cleaner hall of fame even before we chased the dogs around the house for their assistance in testing. The V6 was a real star for pet-hair cleaning and the V8 Absolute has more power, higher airflow and the complete suite of Dyson’s best floor tools.

The Direct Drive floor head demonstrates a superb ability to lift tenacious hairs from carpets, even curly hairs from nylon pile floor coverings. Our test patch of mixed Collie and Labrador hair rubbed vigorously into the carpet (as previously noted, RSPCA, we rubbed the hair, not the dogs) the V8 cleaned up in a superb six seconds. That is right up there with the best pet-specific mains-powered cleaners. The bar does tangle and wind hairs around itself like most heads of this type, but it is very easily removed for cleaning thanks to the coin-turn end panel.

The Soft Roller head is even better for pet owners with lots of hard floors around the home. The design of the fluffy covering and integrated scraper bar means that not only does it clean very well but also that very few hairs get wrapped around the bar – far less than on the Direct Drive head. We happily cleaned the entire lower floor of Chez Stevenson, covering laminate, tiles and parquet coverings, and the Soft Roller head was universally outstanding at clearing pet hairs and other debris without tangling.

The only issue stopping the V8 from being a one-stop cleaner for pet owners is the bin capacity. If you have a house full of animals that shed hair like a herd of Alpacas on a hot day, that half-litre bin is going to be full long before the battery runs out of charge. As emptying the bin is even easier on this new model, it’s hardly going to be a major issue, though.

Related: Best Cordless Vacuum Cleaners
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Should I buy the Dyson V8 Absolute?

The Dyson V8 Absolute is still an excellent cordless vacuum cleaner – there’s no doubting that. It excels in every possible way and sets a very high bar. Dyson V6 owners needn’t upgrade, as they’re still excellent cleaners, but the V8 is a significant improvement all the same.

Since launch, the price has come down significantly, making the V8 Absolute a much better buy. The only thing you really have to weigh up is, what do you want a cordless vacuum cleaner for? If you want to switch completely and use a cordless vacuum cleaner for all jobs, then you should turn to the Dyson V10 or Dyson V11 instead, as these models have the power and runtime that you need.

However, if you have a plug-in cleaner that you use for a deep clean, but you want a cordless cleaner for day-to-day use, the V8 is an excellent choice. It’s powerful enough to deal with pet hair and other regular household muck, but it doesn’t quite have the longevity or power to keep a house spotless if used as the only cleaner.

None of these observations are a particular complaint of the V8, but a fair appraisal of its qualities and abilities. If you decide that the V8 is the best bet for you, then there are a few models to choose from, all at the same price. The Animal version is designed for pet hair, with a hard-bristle brush. If you’ve got pets and want to deal with a lot of fur, this model makes sense. The Absolute versions come with a soft roller, which makes them a better choice if you’ve got lots of hard floors.

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