Dyson’s First Cordless Vacuum With Swappable Batteries Is a Proper Replacement for Corded Vacs

Illustration for article titled Dyson’s First Cordless Vacuum With Swappable Batteries Is a Proper Replacement for Corded Vacs
Photo: Andrew Liszewski (Gizmodo)

In 2018, Dyson released its V10 cordless vacuum and said goodbye to corded vacs forever. But while cleaning without wires is undoubtedly more convenient, batteries still limit how long a vacuum can run between charges. It’s an unfortunate downside, and one the new Dyson V11 Outsize specifically addresses by finally introducing batteries that can be easily swapped.

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Running out of power in the middle of a clean isn’t the only problem cordless vacuums are known for. Powering an electric motor, particularly one that spins fast enough to generate suction, is hard on a battery’s longterm lifespan. As a result, I’ve had a couple of Dyson cordless vacuums lose the ability to hold a charge, and replacement batteries, which aren’t covered under the warranty after the first year, cost well north of $100. Given how expensive Dyson’s products are to begin with, it was a frustrating thing to experience after just a couple years of use. By comparison, I’ve been using one of the Dyson Ball upright corded vacuums at home for over 10 years now, and it still works perfectly.

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The Dyson V11, introduced in 2019 as a replacement for the V10, helped minimize some of the challenges of a cordless vacuum by introducing an automatic mode that adjusted the suction power based on the floor surface, and a countdown timer letting the user know just how much time they had to clean before the battery would die. The new Dyson V11 Outsize takes those ideas several steps further with bigger batteries that can be swapped out on the fly, a dustbin that’s 150 percent larger, and a cleaning head that’s 25 percent wider. The V10 may have killed off Dyson’s corded vacuums, but two years later the V11 Outsize might actually be the first proper replacement for them.

If you’re familiar with Dyson’s recent cordless vacuums (like the V10 and V11) the new V11 Outsize will seem monstrous by comparison. The larger dustbin is huge, allowing for longer cleanings before it needs to be dumped. It uses the same vertically oriented design as its two predecessors, but I found the release mechanism to actually be more reliable and much easier to use on the new V11 Outsize. The bin isn’t quite as large as the ones included on Dyson’s now extinct upright corded vacs, but it’s much easier to empty by comparison.

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The V11 Outsize’s cleaning head is wider than what you’ll find on the V10 and V11. In fact, it’s the same size as what Dyson used to include on its corded vacuums so you can clean a larger area with less travel. That’s a welcome upgrade if you’re in a house with large rooms, but I did find I wasn’t able to squeeze the cleaning head into tighter areas, necessitating the need to switch to a smaller accessory to reach those areas.

I’d be tempted to switch back to using the V10's smaller cleaning head were it not for the fact that the V11 Outsize’s also includes a new mechanism that makes it very easy to open and remove the spinning brush bar inside for cleaning off longer hairs and anything else that gets tangled up. It’s such an improvement that I’m hoping the new locking mechanism is a design that Dyson uses on future cordless vacuums as well.

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With last year’s V11 Dyson switched to a clear filter cover so that it’s easy to see when it’s filthy, clogged, and in need of a cleaning.
With last year’s V11 Dyson switched to a clear filter cover so that it’s easy to see when it’s filthy, clogged, and in need of a cleaning.
Photo: Andrew Liszewski (Gizmodo)

The V11 Outsize also carries over the see-through filter cover of the V11, which was a big improvement over the V10. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve showed friends or family how dirty the filter on their Dyson cordless vacuum was because they had no idea where it was, or that it was even removable. The clear cover on the V11 Outsize makes it easy to see when the filter is dirty enough to need a cleaning, which, ideally, should be well ahead of when the vacuum itself has to let you know.

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The batteries on the V11 Outsize are easy to release and remove, but they’re heavy, so make sure you’ve got a free hand to catch them.
The batteries on the V11 Outsize are easy to release and remove, but they’re heavy, so make sure you’ve got a free hand to catch them.
Photo: Andrew Liszewski (Gizmodo)

But of all the V11 Outsize’s upgraded features, it’s the ability to easily swap the battery that finally makes this Dyson cordless vacuum a viable alternative to the company’s discontinued line of corded cleaners. With the $800 version (the better bargain) you get two batteries in the box, which easily connect and disconnect to the bottom of the V11 Outsize’s handle using a simple release button. Depending on how you’re holding the vacuum, however, you’ll want to exercise some extra care because the batteries are heavy, and gravity really wants to introduce them to your floors.

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What’s missing from the V11 Outsize is a convenient way to charge the vacuum and the extra battery from a single power outlet.
What’s missing from the V11 Outsize is a convenient way to charge the vacuum and the extra battery from a single power outlet.
Photo: Andrew Liszewski (Gizmodo)

What’s missing from the V11 Outsize, and this is surprising given how focused Dyson is on design and usability, is an elegant way to charge both the vacuum and an extra battery at the same time. As with all its cordless vacs, the V11 Outsize includes a mountable bracket so you can hang and charge it on a wall when not in use. But it can only charge and hold the vacuum itself. To charge the other battery, Dyson includes a second charging cable that plugs into another outlet. To expedite charging times I understand why two separate chargers are included, but a central spot to dock everything would have been a welcome inclusion, even if it monopolized two neighboring power outlets.

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There’s an obvious downside to making everything bigger in a gadget like this to improve performance and battery life, and yes, the V11 Outsize does feel heavier and a little harder to wield than the V10 or V11 cordless vacs, but not prohibitively so. Dyson has improved the ergonomics here and there to make the V11 Outsize more comfortable to hold for longer cleaning sessions, like adding some padding around the handle, but even with the extra weight I still find it more comfortable to use than the Dyson Ball upright. It’s easier to maneuver, easier to schlep from room to room, easier to empty the dust bin, and when you’re done, just plopping it in the wall charger without having to wind up a power cord first might be the best reason to go cordless.

The V11 Outsize’s countdown timer goes a long way to reducing battery life anxieties.
The V11 Outsize’s countdown timer goes a long way to reducing battery life anxieties.
Photo: Andrew Liszewski (Gizmodo)
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As for the promised 120 minutes of run-time using a pair of batteries? As I said earlier, that’s highly optimistic and under extremely ideal conditions. On a low pile carpet, with the Outsize set to its self-adjusting ‘Auto’ mode, I got around 25 minutes of cleaning time for each battery. Switching to the vacuum’s most powerful ‘Boost’ mode, on the same carpeting, reduced each battery’s life to about 12 minutes. That’s not far off from how long the V10 would run on its various settings, so it’s not like Dyson has introduced any groundbreaking battery innovations with the V11 Outsize. But at the same time, being able to easily swap out a dead battery for a charged one is a game-changer for this product line.

So should you get one? If you live in an apartment, even a larger one, the smaller Dyson V11 is probably still the better choice for you. With a bit of planning, and spreading your cleaning out across multiple days, you can save yourself $130. If you’re in a house, however, and you’re determined to go cordless, the V11 Outsize will undoubtedly serve you better, just make sure you spring for the $800 version which includes an extra battery and charger, and maybe even pick up a third battery (an extra $150) if you plan to spend an entire day cleaning. If you’re planning to spend this much on a vacuum you can probably afford it.

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That’s expensive, there’s no arguing that, particularly when after a couple of years of use you will probably find yourself having to replace multiple batteries that no longer hold a charge. Dyson’s products have always been expensive, and its cordless vacuums are especially so. If you’ve got the money to burn, or, like myself, tend to fall on the obsessive side of keeping your floors cleaned, the convenience of having a vacuum hanging on the wall, always at the ready, might help you justify the cost. Going cordless just makes it so much easier to stay on top of every last spill or errant crumb. But if you can live with a cord, it’s hard to make a case against Dyson’s upright vacuums which can still be found for less than $300. They’ll run for years (over a decade in my case) without costing you anything more than the electricity they use.

README

  • The first Dyson cordless vacuum that genuinely solves range anxieties with easily swappable batteries.
  • A larger dust bin and cleaning head make the V11 Outsize the first genuine cordless replacement for Dyson’s upright corded vacuums.
  • Dyson claims the V11 Outsize will run for up to 120 minutes using two batteries, but that’s under optimal conditions. In reality you can expect to deep clean carpets for about an hour before both batteries die, but that’s further reduced to about half an hour at maximum power.
  • The larger battery and dust bin make the V11 Outsize heavier than the V11, but it’s still easier to maneuver than Dyson’s corded upright vacs.
  • Extra or replacement batteries are $150 each (eventually they will need to be replaced) but swapping batteries is a very simple process.
  • The larger cleaning head features a redesigned mechanism for accessing the brush bar, making it now very easy to clean.
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DISCUSSION

I have a V6 or V8 (can’t remember which at the moment and too lazy to go upstairs to check) and have ~2,220sqft to vacuum. I’ve have never had an issue with the runtime on a charge, with the exception of when my battery died after a few years (it was a simple replacement). People have issues with runtime either have significantly large homes or they’re running the Dyson in ‘boost’ mode unnecessarily.