Dyson DC31 Animal takes a bite out of Spring Cleaning

Everyone I’ve ever talked to that owns a Dyson vacuum cleaner is madly in love with it. They compare it to a Mac when they say “yes, it’s over priced, but you get what you pay for.” When the opportunity arose to review their new hand held unit, I had to give it a go.

Once my review loaner unit arrived, I had a chat with the Canadian PR type from Dyson, who told me all about the new DC31. In the process, he wanted to ensure that I knew to review the Animal as a rechargeable hand held that was designed to be used for touch ups and not as a traditional vacuum.

The 104,000 rpm digital motor apparently eats through a charge of the lithium ion battery within about 8 minutes, perhaps even as little as 5 with the motorized brush bar in place. I’ll be honest, I was less than enthused at the thought of an expensive hand held vac with that little endurance.

All I can assume is that prior reviewers had been less than objective in their evaluation of the Animal, as it performed flawlessly in our house, with the battery lasting much longer than 8 minutes. In fact, beginning with a full charge, I laid a serious beating on the Animal and it kept coming back for more.

I began in the truck and sucked up the salt and sand remnants of Winter from the passenger’s front foot well. The DC31 was still going strong, so I moved to the living room and gave the couch and the love seat a thorough cleaning. With 3 kids and a dog, you never know what you’re going to find beneath the cushions. Surprisingly, there was still juice left so I mounted the brush bar attachment and headed to the carpeted stairs. I made it to the very last step before the battery gave up the ghost!

All this from a tool that is intended just for touch ups. The absolute best use we found for the Dyson was for a quick sweep around the big desk in our home office. With 2 computers running constantly, monitors, external drives and a printer/scanner, our office is a haven for dust. With the Dyson on hand, I was giving the space a once over daily because it was easy. Our office has never been so clean. Now of course the fuzz is beginning to build up on my computer vents again!

I would hazard a guess that this is probably the best hand held vac on the market, though I haven’t tested any of the others. At any rate, it more than lives up to the Dyson name. The Dyson DC31 Animal is far from inexpensive, retailing for $279 here in Canada, and $269 south of the border. But like any premium product, the perception of value is governed by the consumer’s wallet and consumers love their Dysons. We love this one too and were sad to see it go.


  1. says

    Hey Gary,

    Yeah the Dyson Animal is a great product isn't it? It picks up everything that you throw at it! And I agree about those who whine about the battery life….those who complain are probably trying to do the job of an upright with a hand held. I use it what it's meant for, and have never had the battery run out on me.

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