Product Review: Dyson DC31

This handheld cleaner gets the job done.

I was given the chance to review a new handheld vacuum cleaner this month, jumping on the opportunity when I learned that the product was cordless and made by Dyson. Dyson is a manufacturer of household vacuum products, known for their chic design, suction ability, portability and premium price.

The product I was given, a Dyson DC31, is the subject of this review. And, no, this isn’t a paid endorsement–my findings are my own.

What is it: The Dyson DC31 is a sophisticated three-pound cleaning machine. About the only thing it has in common with other handhelds is its size and type of battery used. Powered by a rechargeable 22.2 volt lithium-ion battery, the DC31 maintains its suction power until it runs out of juice.

Who makes it: Dyson, the maker of vacuums and similar innovative products, has designed the DC31. James Dyson is a British engineer who invented the first bagless vacuums in the late 1970s which employed “cyclonic separation” to extract dirt. A variation of that technology is evident in the Dyson DC31.

How it works: It’s magic! Seriously, the Dyson DC31’s digital motor utilizes a compressor fan and neodymium magnet, rotating at 104,000 revolutions per minute. On a regular setting the DC31 operates for 10 minutes; for tougher assignments you can choose a high power setting which will give you six minutes of operating time.

Where I used it: Two very dirty cars of mine needed a thorough vacuuming, long neglected projects I must admit. I had to recharge the battery three times over three days to complete the work as both cabins had more stuff in, on and around the surfaces than I care to admit. With each use I chose the higher setting in order to pick up every piece of dirt, wrapper and other debris on, under and between the seats. At all times the suction was strong and consistent; the handy brush and crevice tools made sure that I vacuumed up everything. Spotless!

Why this product? Dyson products are expensive, but for good reason. You get a quality product with a solid plastic container, accessory tools, a reusable filter, easy to clean out debris bin and a two-year warranty on parts and labor. Priced from $219, the Dyson DC31 is at the top end of the handheld vacuum spectrum. For $50 more you can get a handheld version called the DC31 Animal — that model includes a motorized brush bar, ideal for cleaning up in homes where an animal is present.

The bottomline: The Dyson price will be beyond what some consider worthy of a handheld vacuum, but that is to be expected. Price considerations aside, this device lives up to everything that it says it can do. Under normal conditions I’d be able to quickly vacuum out both cars on one charge, but accumulate a little extra dirt and you’ll have to wait the 3.5 hours for a full recharge.  No cords and belts to deal with and a reusable filter make this product worthy of your consideration.


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Author: Matthew Keegan
Matt Keegan has maintained his love for cars ever since his father taught him kicking tires can be one way to uncover a problem with a vehicle’s suspension system. He since moved on to learn a few things about coefficient of drag, G-forces, toe-heel shifting, and how to work the crazy infotainment system in some random weekly driver. Matt is a member of the Washington Automotive Press Association and is a contributor to various print and online media sources.

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