The V8 is so powerful it can replace a corded cleaner for most jobs, including picking up pet hair
- Class-leading suction power
- Superb floor head design
- Efficient pet hair pick-up
- Mini-tool for dog beds, upholstery
- Easy emptying bin
- Up to 40-minute run-time
- Wall dock charger
- Bin rather small for pet homes
- V8 Absolute better for hard floors
- Review Price: £449.00
- Multiple floor heads and tools
- Ideal for homes with pets
What is the Dyson V8 Animal?
Our fur-moulting, muddy-pawed companions have always necessitated the best in home vacuum cleaner technology. Big motors, powerful suction, dedicated tools and floor-heads with rotating brush bars are a must. So can Dyson’s V8 Animal cordless cleaner live up to the pet hair challenge?
A model down from our favourite V8 Absolute, the V8 Animal is just as powerful, offers up to 40 minutes’ run-time and features equally outstanding filtration. With its two powered heads and detail tools cleaning up with ease, the V8 Animal is a true “Best of Breed” for pet owners.
Dyson has since launched the Cyclone V10 Absolute, the first cordless vacuum that it claims can replace your corded cleaner. If you just want one vacuum, then that’s the model to look at. However, if you’ve got a corded cleaner that you’re happy with and want a cordless model for the majority of jobs and for convenience, you’re in the right place.
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Dyson V8 Animal – Accessories
The V8 is an evolution of the brilliant V6 cordless vacuum cleaner, which saw cordless cleaners rival mains-powered models for the first time. The V8 built on that with more power, better filtration and a longer run-time, which is now up to 40 minutes on standard power. Along with easier emptying and updated tools, what’s not to like?
The body of the V8 cleaner, with its pistol grip and trigger on/off switch, feels comfortable in the hand. The weight of the batteries below the wrist help to balance the motor above and the 0.54-litre bin in front. The main filter pulls straight out of the top of the cyclone area and a second post-motor filter can be found at the rear. The combination is said to capture particles down to 3 microns, but we didn’t have a ruler small enough to check. Both filters can be easily removed for washing.
A power-boosting “MAX” slider switch sits on top of the motor housing, and in front of that is a big red catch. Position the cleaner over the bin, pull the clip and the whole cyclone assembly pulls up out of the bin. As it reaches about half way out, the flap at the bottom of the bin opens to dump the contents. This is particularly handy for those with pets, as fur balls have a tenacious ability to become wedged in bagless cleaner bins between the cyclone and the bin itself.
The V8 Animal shaves £50 from the asking price of the Absolute simply by reducing the tool count over the flagship model – by one tool: the Soft Roller cleaner head. Those with a house full of hard floors would be better to fork out the extra for the Absolute model, since this head is superb for removing the finest dust from parquet and laminates. Otherwise, the main Direct Drive brush head, identical on both models, cleans both carpets and hard floors as well, so the Soft Roller head is far from essential.
In fact, the only other visual difference between the two models is the colour of the extension tube: orange for the Absolute; grey for the Animal. The Direct Drive head is the key for both general and pet-hair cleaning. It’s powered by a small motor inside the brush bar, creating a full-width head that promises edge-to-edge cleaning. The brush bar has a row of stiff nylon bristles designed to beat and clean carpets, plus a row of carbon filaments that pick up fine dust from hard floors.
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While we don’t usually advocate rotating brush bars for softwood floors such as parquet, the Direct Drive head’s nylon bristles are shorter than the carbon filaments. In use, the head’s small front wheels keep the nylon brush high, so that it barely touches the floor, while the carbon brush sweeps away merrily.
Switch to carpet – where the front wheels sink into the pile – and the nylon bristles beat deep into the carpet. The head’s rotating and pivoting ability give the V8 Animal a huge range of movement, allowing it to get deep under low obstacles too.
Yet perhaps the best features of this head for pet owners is the ease with which the bar can be removed for cleaning and detangling. Simply turn the coin-slot panel at one end and the bar slides straight out. The reverse operation is just as simple.
The same brush bar cleaning method extends to the Mini Motorised tool. At just over 14cm wide, this tool packs in its own motor, a tilting foot plate and a brush bar with twin rows of taller nylon brushes. Ideal for stairs, upholstery, pet bedding and in the car, it’s powerful and easy to use attached directly to the V8’s body.
For detail cleaning you also get Dyson’s good-size crevice tool and the combination dusting brush/flat tool. All of the tools attach to either the main cleaner body or the extension tube with positive-feeling click.The accessory list is complete with a wall dock and charger, so you can keep your V8 Animal ready to go all of the time.
Dyson V8 Animal – Charging and Run-time
You get only one built-in battery with the V8, and fresh out of the box our sample took a little over four hours to declare it was fully charged; the manual airs on the cautious side and says 5 hours. That’s going to be quite some time waiting if you run out of power mid-clean.
Yet the theory is that you won’t run out of power. Dyson claims around 40 minutes’ run-time in standard power mode and around 10 minutes in MAX mode using the non-motorized detail tools. Over several tests our V8 Animal hit very close to those figures.
Both the Direct Drive head and the Mini Motorised tools draw power from the main battery, so run-time drops accordingly. The V8 Animal ran for around 25 minutes on standard power and between 7 and 8 minutes on MAX mode with these tools attached. The variation in time will depend on the floor surface you’re cleaning. Getting the brush bars moving on deeper, thicker-pile carpets requires more juice than cleaning shorter-pile carpets and hard floors.
For heavy-duty pet hair cleaning we suspect most users will default to the MAX mode. While the standard mode did clean well, it was simply slower to pick up wound-in hairs in deep carpet. As a result, more passes were required. Given that, 7-8 minutes seems rather short for whole house cleaning.
On the plus side, the trigger style on/off switch does save power and increase actual cleaning time. This is because you’re inclined to let the trigger go as soon as you pull away from the area you’re cleaning. A standard switch might even get left on as you walk between rooms. That 7-8 minutes is all proper cleaning time.
Dyson V8 Animal – How does it clean?
Suction power isn’t something the V8 Animal is short of. Even in standard mode the suction is impressive for a cordless cleaner and, when combined with the motorised tools, makes for very effective floor cleaning. The V8 Animal isn’t too noisy either, running at around 75dB or about the same as a quiet mains-powered vacuum cleaner.
Switching to MAX mode is like hitting the Nitrous and Turbo at the same time. The noise, power and suction go through the roof. Put your hand over the end of the crevice tool on MAX mode and both the suction power and air-flow rate eclipse most entry-level mains-powered cleaners. At 83-85dB, it’s actually louder than many mains-powered cleaners.
On open carpets using the Direct Drive floor head, cleaning results are exceptional. The carpet test was cleared of the powder/granule mix in a single pass. The head also showed exceptional edge cleaning, irrespective of which side of the head was against the wall
In standard power mode the lower suction is well countered by the powered brush bar, and the two work well to achieve decent cleaning results and long run-time. There’s no denying the extra cleaning power in MAX mode, however. We cleaned the same carpet for a second time on MAX mode and removed a further 20% volume of dirt.
On hard floors, we did miss the Soft Roller head for its amazing cleaning and floor-polishing effect. Yet we also agreed that, had we never used the Soft Roller, the Direct Drive head still produced excellent results over parquet, laminate and riven tiles.
A single pass effectively cleared our spilled oats without leftovers or flicking particles away. The head’s open front and flexible plastic bar at the rear are a very effective design for hard floors, and there was never any great need to step up to MAX mode
Dyson V8 Animal – How does it cope with pet hair?
This was the acid test for the V8 Animal and it passed with flying colours The Direct Drive floor head never failed to amaze in how it lifts pet hairs from carpets, irrespective of whether the cleaner is on standard or MAX power mode.
Willow, our Collie, has long hairs that seem to coil their way into carpet pile like little cork screws, while Poppy’s Labrador coat sheds heavyweight, oily hairs than can stick down. We created several test patches by mixing both types of hairs and rubbed them into the carpet to ensure they were nicely ground in.
In standard mode the area was cleaned in 8-10 seconds, and on MAX power mode it was closer to 6-7 seconds. That’s a spectacularly good result, and up there with some of the very best mains-powered pet-specific vacuum cleaners.
Switching to the Mini Motorised tool, we attacked the sofa on which Willow sits when we’re not looking. Here the results were just as impressive – even more so since the loose covering of the sofa demands lower suction power or the tools simply lift the fabric. Standard power mode proved ideal for the task.
Clearly, clearing up pet hairs on carpets and fabrics is more about tool and floor head design that sheer suction power. Both motorised heads are truly outstanding at pet-hair cleaning over carpets and fabrics, and the easy to remove bars make for the simplest cleaning out afterwards too.
On hard floors we did knock the power up to MAX mode, which allowed the sheer suction to drag in loose hairs and fur balls. This would obviously reduce run-time, but equally it sped up the actual cleaning process. Again, this would be an excellent result by any other comparison… if we hadn’t previously used the V8 Absolute’s Soft Roller head. That was truly outstanding for pet hair and debris pickup over hard floors, even in standard power mode.
The problem is the V8’s bin capacity. Or, more specifically, the bin capacity relative to how efficient the cleaner and floor heads are at picking up dirt. In a typical pet-centric household, particularly those with larger animals such as dogs that shed a lot of hair, that bin fills up really quickly.
Arguably, this isn’t a major issue since the V8 is easy to empty – but we found that a 25-minute (standard power) cleaning session around the ground floor resulted in us having to empty the bin twice and again at the end.
Dyson V8 Animal – What is it like to use on the stairs?
Just like the V8 Absolute, the V8 Animal transpired to be a superstar at stair cleaning. It’s light, cordless, powerful and the Motorised Mini-tool is pretty much the perfect tool to tackle carpeted stairs. It’s quick and efficient, easy to navigate around corner steps, and in MAX mode the V8 Animal outshines many corded mains-powered cleaners.
If you have polished wooden stairs then we’d advise against using the Mini Motorised tool since its stiff bristles could easily pick up a granule of dirt and scratch the soft floor surface. Instead, we suggest using the main Direct Drive head attached directly to the cleaner body. It’s effective, but it can be a little more unwieldy due to its larger size.
For detail cleaning, the dusting brush and crevice tool are exceptionally well designed. The dusting brush bristles are soft and long, so ideal for dusting around shelves or cleaning out PC vents and keyboards. The crevice tool is a decent length, a good shape, and has a row of air-relief channels that help to stop it sticking down with the V8’s suction power. For chasing fur balls in corners, behind pot plants, under radiators and on floor-level shelves, it works wonders.
Should I buy the Dyson V8 Animal?
If you’re a pet owner, then yes – you should definitely buy a Dyson V8 for its outstanding cleaning performance and superb cordless versatility.
The question is which model should you buy? While we love the V8 Animal for its great pet-hair cleaning on carpets, most hard floors and furnishings, if you have a lot of parquet and laminate then the Dyson V8 Absolute with its Soft Roller floor head is a better option.
An outstanding pet-specific cordless cleaner, only bested by Dyson’s own V8 Absolute for hard floors.
Score in detail
Cleaning performance 10