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I like using handheld vacuum cleaners, maybe not like using but find it easier to get out for those small spills rather than having to drag out the upright monster that hides under the stairs. Anyway, there are many many hand held vacuum cleaners on the market these days, with some being as cheap as chips, so to speak, whilst others can make a bit of a dent in your bank balance. It is the latter of the type that I am going to talk about today, due to the fact that over the passed few months I have had the good fortune, sort of, to have been using a certain well known hand held vacuum cleaner which has one of the best brands written on it and when you hear the name you instantly think of quality suction and long lasting equipment. Then brand I am talking about is in fact called Dyson, you know the name, with this particular cleaner being called the Dyson DC34.
As I said, I, and the wife, but not the kids as they are a pair of lazy little imps, have been using this for a while now and decided that I had enough experience with it to allow me to give my honest opinion, so here is it.
But first, allow me to get the technical bits out of the way with…
It’s a bagless handheld cleaner which is famous for never losing suction no matter what. It has a 40 air watt which is powered by a 14.8 volt motor, which is powered by the 22.2 volt battery. The battery itself is litium-ion which, according to the leaflet, claims to charge around three time faster than normal batteries. It takes around 3.5 hours to fully charge and from this you get around 15 minutes of average cleaning power or just 6 minutes on full power. It’s not the smallest of machines, with the main unit being about 220mm high by 320mm wide and 115mm deep, although it weighs in at a very lightweight 2kg, (approx), which makes it easy to handle for the full length of its battery life. The actual dust container holds up to .35 litres of ‘dust and stuff’, which doesn’t sound a lot but it is a hand held device not a full size unit.
That’s the basics of this handheld that some people may be interested in, such as size, power and weight.
So, once out of the box I was ready to give it a test run, but first I had to charge the battery up fully so as to check that it’s claims of how long the battery takes to charge and how long a full charge last was true, and it pretty much was. Charging it was a matter of taking the battery, slotting the charger into a little ‘port’ in the battery and setting it on charge, which took just under the 3 and a half hours it claims, although this could be down to the fact that the battery had a bit of charge in it from the factory tests. But during my time using it it has never taken more than 3.5 hours to fully charge.
NOTE: To charge the battery you do have to take it out of the unit, and then simply slot the charger connector into place in the battery. There is a little light on the charger plug which tells you the battery power situation, whether it is fully charged or not, even letting you know if the battery is failing to charge for some reason.
Once the battery is fully charged it then slots into place underneath the handle itself of the unit, (so for the little boy inside you it’s almost like sliding a magazine into a pistol, and I bet you treat it like a gun sometimes…). The claim that you can get 15 minutes of ‘normal’ power and 6 minutes on full power are a little on the excessive side. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying it’s a lie, I’m just saying that when they did the tests they must have used another type of machine or even a bigger battery as I have never had near 15 minutes on normal power, more like just over ten minutes, to be honest. And as for the 6 minutes of full power, well, I’m lucky to get four minutes, but mainly get around three minutes, which is a bit of a let down if the spill I’m wanting to clean is left half done due to the fact that I’ve got to put the battery on charge for another 3 hours just to finish the job, in fact it’s quicker to get the upright out rather than wait for the battery to charge, which defeats the purpose of the need for a handheld vacuum cleaner. But, regardless of how much charge is in the battery the suction power doesn’t alter at all really, in fact, the only reason you do know that the battery needs charging is when the LED indicator starts flashing, or the thing just stops, which it does.
It does look a little on the strange side as well, almost as if someone threw an industrial power drill into a bucket, tossed in a mini vacuum cleaner, left them to mate, then pulled out what they had made, creating this strange, yet very powerful sucker indeed. The motor is above the handle but doesn’t get that hot as to force you to drop it on the floor to save yourself from a scolding and the handle is very comfortable to hold, with the trigger being in the perfect position to pull with your finger. As i said, it’s not the smallest of hand held cleaners, in fact its quite a beast in itself, albeit an orange/yellow and silver beast. The orange/yellow bit is being the suction section, whilst the silver bit is the heart of the beast, which you hold from beneath. But apart from the orange/yellow and silver there is a bit of red, not a lot, just a bit, such as the trigger itself and the catch which you flick to empty the dust chamber. I have seen it in a blue colour and a purple one too, although they may do them in a multi choice of colours for all I know, but the orange one is the one I have.
There are a few attachments which come with this unit, with each attachment clicking into place using a sturdy, yet simple button which is situated just above the main units hose, the one which is attached to the filter housing itself. Each attachment clicks into place and has it’s own job to do, with the combination tool having a brush on the end and a wide nozzle which slides out from the middle of the bristles. The there’s the long crevice tube which, as the name states, is for getting into those crevices. Finally there’s the motorized brush which has a spinning brush in the middle, this is designed for getting deep into carpets to clean things like hairs and the like. This motorised brush works when the air gets sucked through it, forcing the brush hot spin, and doing so does tend to drain the battery a little faster. The motorised brush tool does sometimes get bunged up, especially with long dog hairs or even the odd show lace or two, but it’s easy to unclog it with a twist of the locking catch at the end of the unit, then pulling the entire ‘spinning’ centre out. The ‘clogging’ can then be pulled away with ease and then you push it back into place and re-lock the catch… job done.
Emptying the dust chamber is a simple matter of pressing a button and releasing the base of the see through bucket, allowing it ‘flop’ open on the single hinge. But do open it over a bin as the dust does drop out. There is a washable filter in the middle of the device and to get to this is another click of a button on the top and sliding the front and back section apart. Then just run the filter under running water and let it dry properly before replacing it back into place. But, according to the instructions, you have to let it dry for at least 12 hours before replacing it into the unit.
NOTE: You can buy extra attachments for this, although I haven’t bought any of them as yet, such as a wide flooring tool, a soft Dusting brush, a bendable extendable hose and more, which all clip into place to aid in cleaning the dirt from around your home.
As for the price, this is where it gets a bit ‘gob smacking’, as this hand held cleaner sells for between £110 and £150, yes you read it right, a massive hundred and fifty pounds for what is essentially something that sucks up a bit of dirt for a short period of time. We were given this as a gift from a friend who’d ‘up grade’ to a different modal, so we didn’t actually have to pay for it, which is lucky for me really. But would I have paid £150 for it? NO, not for the few minutes you get from the battery, even if it’s a powerful unit indeed and can suck a splinter out of you finger, (almost), but £150 is really steep indeed, even if it is a Dyson. I may have bought one if the price was below the hundred pound mark but even then I’d have had to think hard about it, mainly due to the fact that there are much cheaper handhelds on the market which will do the same cleaning, maybe taking a little longer to do so, but the battery lasts a bit longer.
In all, a powerful handheld bagless cleaner which never loses suction, but on the downside the battery doesn’t last long enough to clean up all some messes and the price is a bit on the eye watering side.