We Tested the Dyson V11 Animal Vacuum Cleaner

By
Jeneva Aaron
Jeneva has over years of passion for home decorating and cleaning. She is the founder and CEO of thehousewire.com where she provides honest and objective reviews on home and cleaning products.
Learn more about The Housewire’s Editorial Process
Updated May 18, 2022

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We purchased the Dyson V11 Animal cordless vacuum cleaner so we could put it to the test. Keep reading for our in-depth product review.

Dyson is known for making vacuums with powerful suction that can take care of animal hair and pet messes around your home. But which model is the right one for you?

If the Dyson V11 Animal is a purchase you’re considering then you’ve come to the right place.

I’ll guide you through everything you need to know about this cleaner, from how it handles pet hair on the sofa to crumbs in the kitchen. So read on for our in-depth review.

The Test in a Nutshell
Dyson V11 Animal Cordless Vacuum Cleaner

PROS Of Dyson V11 Animal
  • Excellent cleaning on a range of surfaces
  • Includes a mini motorized pet tool
  • The sleek design makes it easy to store
  • It requires minimal upkeep
CONS Of Dyson V11 Animal
  • Very short battery life in Boost mode with a long charge time
  • The dirt canister is small and a bit basic

What’s in the Box?

5
Whats_in_the_box

Opening the box of the Dyson V11 Animal is somewhat overwhelming as there are so many pieces! But I do love how the original packaging is fully recyclable.

You get:

  • High torque cleaner head
  • Wand
  • Dirt compartment
  • Lint screen
  • Filter
  • Instruction manual
  • Mini motorized tool
  • Crevice tool
  • Stubborn dirt brush
  • Combination tool
  • Wand storage clip
  • Wall-mounted charging station and manual
  • Charger

Flimsy Yet Versatile Design

3
Flimsy_Yet_Versatile_Design

The plastic construction of the V11 doesn’t feel as sturdy as I’d hoped for from a premium vacuum. At least the metal wand makes it feel a tad more robust, and piecing the parts together is a simple process.

If you want to take the vac apart or swap tools over, it’s easy to do this by pressing a button and removing the nozzle that’s in place. The new accessory slots into position with a satisfying click.

And like most stick vacuum cleaners, I was able to remove the wand and use the Dyson V11 Animal as a handheld vacuum.

To me, it’s a smart design feature that allowed me to clean more than just my floors. This is super handy if you’ve got pets nesting all over the place. Or small children like I do.

The LCD screen is one of my favorite features of the V11. I find it not as complicated as some of their other models but still shows you the key info: Battery life and what cleaning mode you’re using. You can choose between Eco, Auto, and Boost mode, but more on these later.

But I was disappointed with a few design elements though, including the lack of headlights on the floorhead. I expected it to have some sort of light given it’s a premium vac with the price to match.

I’m not a fan of Dyson’s trigger system, either. Yes, it might help to extend the battery life, but I’d rather not have to keep it pressed down.

Surprisingly Heavy to Maneuver

3.5
Surprisingly Heavy to Maneuver

Despite weighing under seven pounds, I find that the V11 feels heavy to push around in stick mode. The weight balance isn’t quite right, so it led to an arm ache before long while I was using it.

But it’s not all bad!

I noticed that the handle is at a comfortable angle to hold, and it’s easy to reach the controls on the handle when changing cleaning modes. The slim design and swivel head also made it easy to navigate the vacuum around my furniture and in tight spaces.

My main struggle for this cordless vacuum is getting under furniture. The handle is too bulky to lay it flat on the floor, so I had to crouch to blitz the crumbs behind the sofa.

Dyson v11 tested on pet hair

As for using it as a handheld, it feels lightweight and well-balanced. During my tests, it was a breeze to tackle all sorts of cleaning thanks to the cordless design, including clearing crumbs from my car and pet hair from the couch.

Tackles All Kinds of Dirt on a Range of Surfaces

4
Tackles All Kinds of Dirt on a Range of Surfaces

I can’t knock the V11’s ability to tackle a range of dirt on all kinds of floor types, from hardwood to area rugs. It reaches pretty much everywhere around my home, as well as in my car thanks to the cordless handheld setup.

And it’s amazing how much pet hair it picks up (and my dog sheds pretty much)! The high torque cleaner head sweeps it up from all floor types, while the mini motorized attachment defuzes my upholstery.

As well as pet hair, it tackles debris of all sizes on the surfaces I could test, including low pile carpet, high pile carpet, and bare floors.

And though it doesn’t come with a special hard floor brush, it still copes with my hard floors the best. That’s not to knock how it handles other surfaces though, as I found it exceptional on my carpets too.

I’d say high pile carpets are the vac’s weakest area, although it still tackles these better than many other stick vacuums do. The rotating brush bar on the Dyson V11 torque floorhead digs into my carpet’s fibers for a deep clean, just not as deep as I’d get with a corded upright.

Strong Performance

4
Strong Performance

The V11 vacuum has some nifty tricks to deliver a decent performance. In particular, for me, is the addition of the Auto mode.

This uses DLS, or a dynamic load sensor, to detect the floor type and then intelligently optimizes suction to suit. It’s the best way to strike a balance between efficient performance and battery life, and it’s a real game-changer as far as I’m concerned.

Boost and Eco mode still have their place for light or deep cleaning, but the Auto setting is a breeze. In this mode, I could observe that the vacuum handled both small and large debris with relative ease.

Although it struggled the most with fine dust on hardwood floor surfaces, and larger pieces on high pile carpet.

I also noticed that the vacuum could leave some small particles, like flour, behind on the tiles in my kitchen. A couple of passes should whipped away the last bits, but be prepared to use the Boost mode to tackle crevices.

This power mode removed pretty much anything in my home, but it drained the battery alarmingly fast.

That said, the V11 keeps powerful suction even when the battery is dipping and the dust cup is filling. But expect to find hair wrapped around the brush roll, as there isn’t any sort of anti-hair wrap function.

Disappointing Battery, but Not the Worst

3
Disappointing Battery, but Not the Worst

Seeing as cordless stick vacuums rely on battery power, I was hoping for more from the Dyson V11 Animal. Even with the battery-saving trigger system, I was disappointed to discover that it only manages a little under 10 minutes using the cleaner in its Boost setting.

All the ads say you can get an hour from it, but this is the maximum battery life I could have when using it in handheld mode and with eco mode for suction power. In reality, I got about 40 minutes of actual run time on hard floors and less than this on carpets.

It doesn’t sound so bad until I tell you it took over four hours to recharge! And, unlike some other Dyson cordless vacuums, the V11 Animal doesn’t come with a second battery.

Imagine if you need to use the Boost option regularly and you have to wait four hours for less than 10 minutes of run time! So I recommend you save this setting for quick clean-ups.

Of course, we still have the option to buy another battery and extend the run time. But they cost a fair amount and it’s not a cheap cordless vacuum in the first place.

To me, the main saving grace for the battery is the LED screen on the handle. There’s an indicator on there to show you how much battery is left and lets you know when it’s time to recharge.

I find that the docking station is also a convenient way to charge and store your vacuum at the same time. Providing you want to install the wall mount that is.

Small Dirt Capacity That Could Get Messy

3
Small Dirt Capacity That Could Get Messy

Even for a cordless stick vacuum, a 0.12-gallon capacity is on the small side. And the problem with a small dirt bin is regular emptying!

To be honest, I spent more time heading over to the trash for emptying and less time cleaning. On the plus side, it does make the vacuum more compact for storage.

I do like that I can see how much debris is in the canister, and the indicator that lets us know when it needs emptying is a bonus.

It’s also a pretty straightforward process to empty the dirt.

First, I take the wand off so I can remove the dust cup. Then I hold the cup right over the trash can and press the lever to open the trap door, which releases the dirt.

It’s a more basic system than the “point and shoot” you find on some newer Dyson models, which uses a collar to push any clumps out. But with the V11 Animal, I need to get my hands in there to manually pull out any debris left behind.

I advise you to wipe the canister down with a damp cloth to stop any odors from forming. It worked pretty well so far for me. And make sure you tap any dust off the lint screen to keep optimum performance.

If you suffer from allergies, you might want to do this bit outside. While large debris drops out, fine dust does float back out if you’re not careful.

Simple Maintenance

5
Simple Maintenance

I haven’t got any major complaints when it comes to looking after the Dyson V11 Animal. I found it easy to keep the vacuum in tip-top shape with some simple regular maintenance.

As a general rule, I cleaned the filters once a month. But there’s an indicator light that lets you know if your vacuum needs some extra attention, like blockages.

This happened to me one time. A piece of paper was blocked in the hose. And I found it really practical to be warned about this issue.

When it’s time to clean the filters, you’ll see that they’re straightforward to access and remove. Dyson recommends washing them under running tap water and leaving them to dry.

It took me about 24 hours for them to dry completely, and I couldn’t use the vacuum in that time.

Still, don’t get tempted to try and speed it up with a hairdryer or similar as this could damage the filters and void your warranty. If you don’t want to wait 24 hours, you can order an extra set of filters from the Dyson website.

Easy Storage

4
Easy Storage

Storing the Dyson V11 Animal in my closet is a breeze, but there is one major flaw.

The slimline design means it can fit in small spaces, like my hallway closet. Even with the handle and floorhead still attached, it’s only around 10 inches at its widest point.

Plus, I could store two tools on it and there’s even more space on the docking station for a couple of extra accessories. I hate rummaging around trying to find where I’ve left my tools, so this is a huge boon for the Dyson V11 Animal.

And since it’s cordless, I didn’t have to worry about storing a cord! Even with the best intentions, cables never stay neatly wrapped away in my house. They always spill out, causing a tangled trip hazard.

Now for my major flaw with the Dyson V11: It doesn’t stand up on its own!

Sure, I can use the wall-mounted docking station, but not everyone wants to. If you’re one of these people, you’ll have to find something for the vacuum to lean against instead.

It’s not a deal-breaker for the V11, but it’s these little touches that make premium vacuums worth the money. And it’s something that Dyson has overlooked.

Packed With Accessories

4
Packed With Accessories

As with most Dysons, the V11 Animal comes with a whole range of accessories for getting into every nook and cranny. They make the vacuum super versatile and the lightweight makes them easy to carry around with me.

And this is for me a real plus.

I find it really simple to swap accessories around by pressing the button and popping them on and off. I used them with the wand to get extra reach for above-floor cleaning. And I was also able to attach them straight to the main unit in the handheld mode.

The Dyson V11 Animal comes with four attachments, including a mini motorized pet tool, crevice tool, and stubborn dirt brush. The motorized tool is my favorite, as it’s super versatile and great for cleaning my carpeted stairs and upholstery.

The others are fairly standard, but they still bring a whole host of flexibility to my cleaning sessions. You can find other Dyson vacuums with an even bigger selection, but you only want to pay for the ones you’re going to use.

As for replacement parts, I didn’t need any. The filters and components are all designed to last as long as the vacuum itself, so I hadn’t any notable recurring costs.

But if you do want replacement parts, you can order them from Dyson’s website.

Not My Favorite Dyson

In a nutshell, the Dyson V11 Animal is another strong contender from this popular brand, but I don’t think it’s worth the eye-watering price tag. It’s still a great vacuum, but other options are just as good (if not better) in a more affordable price bracket.

The somewhat flimsy plastic, small dirt capacity, and long charge time are other reasons why I don’t love it. But they can’t detract from the superb cleaning performance.

I’d say this vacuum is best for pet owners who want to spend a bit more to get a well-known and reliable brand. There’s no denying that it handles pet fur exceptionally well, after all.

But it’s one to avoid if your home is full of lots of thick carpets and you don’t want to splash the cash. While it does offer decent cleaning, large debris is an issue and you’re better off looking at corded options for extra power.

Of course, anyone looking for a long run time with powerful suction should also look elsewhere. But that’s true for all cordless stick cleaners.

Alternatives

If you want a Dyson but don’t think the V11 Animal is the vacuum for you, then it’s worth checking out these other options.

Dyson V8 Animal

This is an older, cheaper model that still offers impressive cleaning power on a range of floor types. It also has a bigger dirt compartment and a longer battery life while weighing more than a pound less than the V11.

And if you’ve got animals, this version still takes care of shedding fur while also benefiting from a HEPA filter.

Dyson Cyclone V10 Animal

The V10 is another older Dyson model, but that doesn’t mean it can’t match the performance of the V11. It delivers strong overall cleaning power when it comes to everyday dust busting and chores.

It’s also quicker to charge, which is one of my biggest gripes with the V11, and it comes with even more tools and accessories.

Our Final Verdict onDyson V11 Animal Cordless Vacuum

Design
6
We were disappointed by the plastic construction which doesn't feel sturdy and the lack of advanced features such as headlights. But the LCD screen is a real plus!
Surfaces
8
We love its versatility. From hardwood to carpets, we could clean any surface. The mini motorized tool is also one of the most powerful on the market.
Performance
8
We found it very powerful, even on eco mode. It left some particles of flour during our test. But we were overall satisfied by its performance!
Maintenance
10
This vacuum is one of the easiest to maintain. The design makes it easy to take the vacuum apart and clean each piece. We had to wait 24 hours to dry, but it wasn't much of an issue.

Specs

Product NameDyson V11 Animal Cordless Vacuum Cleaner
Product BrandDyson
SKUB07NXJDBL8
Price599.99
Weight6.68 pounds
Product Dimensions49.65 x 9.84 x 10.28 inches
Warranty2 years

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