There’s only so much that can be done to innovate on the classic cordless vacuum. You can improve its battery life and ergonomics, but boost the suction too much and the cleaning head just sticks to the floor. But Dyson is refusing to let the evolution of the vacuum stagnate. The company just brought lasers into the mix, and while it might sound like gimmicky, it actually makes a mundane chore surprisingly satisfying.
Although the company has made strides in upgrading all kinds of household appliances and turning them into must-have gadgets, the Dyson brand remains synonymous with vacuum cleaners. Back in 2014, the company released its first battery-powered vacs that were as effective at cleaning as traditional corded models. They were so popular that four years later, with the Dyson Cyclone V10 model, the company announced it would no longer make corded vacs. In recent years the company has made minor improvements, like boosting battery life, suction power, and making them easier to maintain, but the new Dyson V15 Detect introduces two key upgrades that feel almost as innovative as when the company first cut the cord.
Unless you sell and demonstrate Dyson vacuums for a living, the new V15 Detect looks nearly identical to the models released over the past few years. Does that mean Dyson has perfected the design and ergonomics of its cordless cleaners? Not quite. I’d still much prefer an on/off switch over a trigger button that needs to be constantly squeezed, but they’ve come very close. When the vacuum is running, however, its most notable feature is easy to see.
Two cleaning heads are included with the vac. The one designed for hard floors features a fluffy spinning brush bar, and a new button on the back activates a green laser that produces a wide spread of illumination in the cleaning head’s path. This makes tiny particles, from dust to dirt, glow like every single one of them is a bright green LED.
The effect, even in a brightly lit room with the sun pouring in, is very noticeable, and it genuinely makes it easy to see if an area has already been properly cleaned. Is it absolutely necessary for effective cleaning? Of course not, but pushing the vacuum across an especially dirty patch of floor that lights up like a Christmas tree, and then pulling the vacuum back to reveal that every little glowing speck is gone, is incredibly satisfying. It’s been a few weeks and the novelty of the feature has not worn off yet. Instead, it’s even made a 5-year-old repeatedly ask if they can vacuum the floors to watch the dirt disappear. If that’s not a giant leap for vacuum-kind, I don’t know what is.
The V15 Detect kit includes two cleaning heads, but the alternate High Torque cleaner doesn’t feature the laser illumination feature. It’s designed for use on carpets where dirt and debris end up buried and hidden in the fibers. The cleaning head still features a neat trick of its own, which makes maintaining the vacuum itself less of a chore.
As effective as spinning brush heads are at agitating carpet fibers to help release dust and dirt, they’re just as effective at getting wrapped up with long hair. In past Dyson models, the only way to deal with a build-up of hair was to remove the spinning bar and yank it all off by hand—which is still kind of a pain. On the V15's High Torque spinning head, you’ll find what Dyson calls an Anti-Tangle Comb: a series of teeth that run the length of the bar that help to dislodge long hairs before they get permanently tangled in the bar’s bristles. It’s not a perfect solution—a few resilient hairs have so far managed to successfully wind their way around the bar—but it means you won’t have to dismantle and remove it for a thorough cleaning quite as frequently.
Like Dyson’s most recent cordless vacs, the V15 Detect features a small screen on the back with a simplified interface that you can navigate using a single button. The vacuum can be switched between three cleaning modes: Eco for when you want to prolong battery life, Boost for when you want the maximum level of suction, and Auto, which has traditionally changed the power level on the fly based on the type of floor you were cleaning.
On the V15 Detect, however, you also get a status screen that’s similar to what Dyson’s air purifiers use to report the level of particulates in the air. Dyson has upgraded the V15 with an acoustic piezo sensor that can measure the size and quantity of dust and dirt as it tumbles into the vacuum’s storage bin. As you can see in this photo, the majority of the dirt on my floors was very tiny dust particles, indicating that it might be time to change my furnace filter or get my ductwork cleaned. But the feature isn’t just about letting users know what’s mucking up their floors.
The sensor also improves the V15's ability to automatically step up or reduce its cleaning power in Auto mode. I tested the new laser feature using salt dumped on the floor from a grinder, which resulting in larger flecks of dirt than are normally found on my floors. When I cleaned up the mess, I could hear the V15 automatically increase its suction power to deal with the larger particles, and then reduce it again once the floor was clean.
I’ll admit to rarely using the Auto mode on older Dyson cordless vacuum models, but I’m now a convert. Dyson promises up to 60 minutes of cleaning time with the V15, but unless you’re tasked with tidying up the clean rooms at a factory making microchips, your mileage will vary (and will probably be much less). However, when sticking to wood and tile floors in my home, it ran for well over 50 minutes, which is more than enough time for a decent cleaning. If that’s not enough for your sprawling McMansion, the V15 Detect also uses the same easily swappable batteries as the Dyson V11 Outsize, so you can always keep a backup charged and ready to go for longer cleaning sessions.
The one thing that hasn’t changed with the new Dyson V15 Detect, which is currently available in the U.S., Canada, and Europe, is the price tag: $700 is expensive, there’s no sugar-coating it. As with Apple products, there’s certainly a Dyson tax that comes into play, and if the corded vacuum you’ve relied on for years still works just fine, then by all means don’t worry about upgrading. But as a premium experience, the Dyson V15 Detect includes some genuinely compelling upgrades that not only improve the vacuum’s performance and run-time, they also manage to make the chore less of a chore.