The Dyson V8 Animal is a cordless miracle worker. Our furry friends, both big and small, pose a lot of challenges to home cleaning devices. Cats, in particular, reach every spot of your home and leave hair, dander, and whatnot behind. Much research has gone into ever more capable vacuum cleaner technology, so much so that it’s hard to compare today’s vacuums to those just ten years ago.
To suck up all the accouterments that come with our pets, a vacuum needs to have powerful motors and a selection of heads and tools for all kinds of purposes. With that in mind, one question remains: how well does the Dyson V8 Animal suit its name and can a compact like this hold its own against its bulky competitors?
It is related to the Dyson V8 Absolute, the prime model of the V8 line. But the cordless V8 Animal proves to be just as strong. This vacuum gives around 40 minutes of run time before needing a charge.
Its filtration system is of high quality as well. It has 2 powered cleaning heads and finer tools that make cleaning nooks and crannies easy. In our view, this makes the Animal V8 a serious contender for any pet owner’s attention.
Features of the V8 Animal
Following the V6, the V8 is the logical and outstanding next step in the Dyson cordless family. The recent Dyson cordless models are the first vacuum cleaners to challenge traditional corded models. The V8 has more power, great filtration, and a better battery for a longer running time overall. Emptying the dust bin is much easier and the updated tools also work well. We had a hard time finding anything we did not like!
The V8 features a pistol grip with a trigger power switch, making it feel natural and comfortable to use. The balance is maintained with the batteries set under the wrist, offsetting the motor right above and the 0.57 quarts sized dust bin located in the front. At the top of the canister, you can pull out the primary filter. A secondary filter is located in the rear of the motor. According to Dyson, the filter captures particles as small as 3 microns. We found it easy to remove the filters for cleaning.
One of the most elegant features of the V8 is the ability to empty the canister directly into the trash can. Furballs from pets tend to wedge themselves between the canister and the cyclone motor. Since the vacuum is compact, be aware that the canister is understandably small and fills up quickly. There is a line on the canister that indicates when you need to empty it to not overfill it.
It’s a good thing the emptying the canister is so easy! Position the canister’s bottom over the trash bin, pull up once on the large red clip at the top of the motor housing. This will release the motor and it will slide up and out of the housing. Pull a second time and the bottom of the canister will release and flip down, dumping the contents directly into the trash. No more fishing out dusty hairballs with your fingers!
There is usually a $50 price difference between V8 Absolute and the Animal only because the Absolute comes with one extra tool, a cleaning head that features a soft roller. This tool is marvelous for hardwood floors, as its ability to remove even fine dust and debris is superb. However, the primary vacuum head also does a good job of cleaning all floor types. Hence the soft roller is not essential, especially if you are going to be mostly vacuuming carpeted areas and need to deal with pet hair.
While the Absolute has an orange extension tube, the Animal is grey. Visually, there is no other difference between the two models. The main cleaning tool, both for pet hair and general vacuuming, is a head called the Direct Drive. Due to a small motor on the inside of the brush, the head provides suction all the way across its length. It even cleans the little crevices between the edge of a carpet and the wall. Its nylon bristles are stiff and twist around the brush to beat the carpet threads and release particles of dirt and dust from the carpet. The head also has carbon filaments that enable it to pick up the fine dust off hardwood floors.
Parquet floors and other softwood floors don’t usually support the use of a rotating brush. However, in the case of the Direct Drive tool, its carbon filaments are not as long as its nylon bristles. The wheels of the head hold the bristles high enough to not scrape along the softwood floor while the carbon filaments happily whisk away minute debris.
When used on a carpet, the wheels sink down and the bristles touch it, beating into the fibers to release dirt and hair. The exceptional pivoting of the head allows for a wide range of motion and it also goes low to clean under furniture.
A nice feature of this vacuum head is that you can remove to clean it of pet hair. Turn the panel on the end of the bar and it will slide out. Putting it back in is quick and easy as well.
The Mini Motorized tool has the same simple cleaning method. Only 5.5 inches (14 cm) wide, this little tool has a motor, a foot plate that can tilt, and a double row of tall nylon brushes on its brush bar. This little powerhouse attaches directly the body of the V8 and is ideal for cleaning stairs, upholstery, bedding, and vehicles.
The final tools included with the Animal are the dusting brush and the crevice tool. These are a good size and attach with a satisfying click directly onto the tube or main housing, along with all the other tools. And of course, being a cordless vacuum, a docking station and charger are included to keep your Dyson ready for any mess, hairy or not.
The V8 has an inbuilt battery. Our initial charge took a just over four hours right out of the box. The manual cautiously keeps the full charge time at five hours. That is a long time to wait if the battery runs out midway through your vacuuming session. But that is the nature of cordless vacuums and it is usually quite a feat to exhaust the battery in one go.
In the standard mode, the V8 is supposed to last 40 min. In the much stronger MAX mode, it should run for 10 min, if the tools being utilized are not motorized. In our tests, the V8 Animal indeed reached these numbers. While the MAX mode seems to deplete the battery very quickly, you only need it for short bursts.
Of course, there is variation in these figures depending on what type of flooring you clean and which tools you use. The Mini Motorized tool and Direct Drive tool draw power from the battery as well. Using either of these automatically decreases the running time. Thick pile carpets will use more battery life, as they are harder to clean and will drain the battery quicker. On standard mode, our Dyson V8 Animal lasted about 35 to 37 minutes. On the MAX mode, it only took about 10 to 12 minutes before it needed recharging. In both cases, we used the motorized tools.
For deep cleaning pet hair out of carpets and upholstery, we expect many people to stick with the MAX setting. We find 10 minutes insufficient for cleaning an entire home, but that is only if you waste the battery life. If you stick to standard mode, 35 minutes should be enough. It just takes more passes of the vacuum to collect all the pet hair wound into the carpet fibers.
One of the advantages of the trigger power switch is that when you release it, the vacuum turns off and saves on power. That means even the little moments you take your finger off the switch will save on power, which quickly adds up. Standard power switches are usually left on between vacuuming rooms. The trigger switch on the V8 helps to consolidate the limited energy it has so that you can complete your entire task. In fact, it even reduces your overall energy usage, since you are naturally more conservative with this vacuum than a corded one.
Does the V8 Animal Suit Its Name?
The suction power of all the V8 models is outstanding for cordless vacuums. It leaves nothing behind, even if you sometimes need multiple passes on carpets when cleaning pet hair in the standard power mode. Couple that with the motorized tools and you’ve got an impressive amount of cleaning power. The noise levels aren’t much different from a typical corded vacuum like the Ball Animal 2, which runs at about 75 decibels.
What happens when the V8 goes from standard to MAX power mode? The suction and air flow of the V8 gets better than a lot of corded vacuum cleaners. It’s perfect for pesky bits of pet hair that resist cleaning. Of course, it is also much louder than standard mode, moving to 85 decibels. While in MAX mode, our V8 picked up 21% more dirt on the same carpet cleaned while in standard mode.
On carpets, the Direct Drive head produces amazing results. One time we cleaned a carpet of a mix of powder and granule with a single pass of the V8. Periphery cleaning on the edges of carpets was also impressive, clearing the floor of any debris no matter at which angle we aligned the vacuum head.
The medium strength of standard mode was balanced by the power brush bar, which working in concert with each other still produced highly satisfactory cleaning results, with a lot more life left in the battery.
Having used the soft roller brush that comes with the V8 Absolute, we did regret not having it with the Animal. It is just so great for hardwood floors! Fortunately, the Direct Drive head still manages incredible cleaning results on various floor types, like tiles, parquet, and laminate. There never seems to be any need to use MAX mode when cleaning a hard floor.
The V8 and Pet Hair
Animal hair and dander is the primary reason most people are looking to buy this vacuum. In our tests, the V8 has never failed to lift fur from any carpet. Whether in standard mode or on MAX mode, the amount of pet debris collected is very effective.
As always, in order to test the V8’s ability to clean pet hair, we’ve used the vacuum in multiple real households. One of our dogs has long hairs that love to twist themselves into the fibers of our long carpet pile. Our Labrador, on the other hand, has a heavy, oily coat that sticks to everything.
Vacuuming in standard power mode cleaned our fur infested test patches in 8 to 9 seconds. On MAX mode it only took about 6 to 7 seconds to do the same. It is an amazing result and competes with the best corded, pet-specific vacuums out there.
Going to upholstered couches, we switched to the Motorized tool and gave the areas our dogs like to sit on a good sweep of the vacuum. We found the results equally impressive. Standard Mode was just the right amount of suction power, seeing as how we didn’t need to tear the fabric off the couch.
Of course, when it comes down to the cleaning ability of the V8, it isn’t relying solely on suction power. The design of each cleaning head and tool and how they are used plays a big role. Each motorized head accomplished an impressive task of removing all pet hair and debris from the carpets and furniture, and cleaning those out was also simple with their clever design.
Next, we took the Animal on a cleaning quest of hardwood floors. For this test, we used the MAX mode a lot to see what would happen. It may use more power and reduce the running time, but it also cleans more quickly.
We could literally see the hair and debris being drawn into the vacuum. The results were great, except when compared with the soft roller head that comes with the V8 Absolute, which is even better. If you don’t mind the higher budget, the Absolute is a more complete choice you might want to pick over the Animal.
The one drawback of the V8 is the size of its canister. It is rather small to begin with, and because of the excellent cleaning job, it gets full rather quickly. This is especially true of homes with very hairy pets that like to shed.
However, this is certainly no reason against the V8, because emptying the canister is so easy. Just be aware that in a 30-minute cleaning period in standard mode, there was a total of 3 trips to the garbage to empty the canister.
Vacuum on Stairs
Cleaning stairs is where corded vacuums are no fun at all, especially if they are bulky! The slim & lightweight V8, however, is a joy to use on stairs. It is not only designed to tackle large amounts of pet hair, but to do so with a maneuverable head and body. The Mini Motorized head is perfect on stairs. It fits into corners and effortlessly picks up everything in its path. For wooden stairs, we recommend the Direct Drive head over the Mini to reduce the chance of scratches.
As for cleaning the smaller areas of our lives, the crevice tool and dusting brush do a great job. The bristles of the dusting brush are lengthy and supple, perfect for cleaning ceiling fans, keyboards, and various vents and shelves. The long crevice tool catches all those pesky, unsightly fur balls in corners and behind objects. It fits well underneath low objects like radiators and has some built-in air channels that keep the tool from sealing against the wall or floor due to the suction.
Is the Dyson V8 a Good Purchase?
In one word: yes. You will be happy with this vacuum cleaner. It is outstanding at picking up pet hair and the cordless, lightweight, powerful motor is skillful in cleaning everything else. This vacuum is only trumped by its sibling, the V8 Absolute, and the newer V10 (which is more expensive). This vacuum can replace a corded vacuum and do an outstanding job.
- Suction power
- Outstanding floor head design
- Pet hair is no issue
- Mini-tool for smaller areas
- Dust bin is effortless to empty
- Up to 40 minutes of battery life
- Wall mounted charing station
- Small dust bin because the V8 is compact
- The V8 Absolute is gentler on hardwood floors
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The V-Series possibly has the sleekest vacuums on the market today.
Watch this quick video by Dyson to get a better idea of this vacuum.
There is a tool for every circumstance. Dyson is known for including a lot of great accessories with its vacuums.
The V8 is so light and slim, it feels like using a motorized mop.
You can turn the V8 into a handheld vacuum.
The wall-mounted charging station makes storing of the V8 easy and efficient.
We love the crevice tool!