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(with apologies to the Rolling Stones)
It's not a Dustbuster(tm), because that's a trademark. And besides which, to put it in the same league as a Dustbuster(tm) would be unfair. No, the Dyson Root 6 should truly be called a handheld vacuum cleaner.
"Why?" I hear you ask... well let me tell you.
Dyson, as anyone that hasn't been living under a rock for the last 10 years will know, shot to fame with their revolutionary "bagless" Hoover(tm). Only you can't call it a Hoover(tm) because that's a trademark too. Bagless technology meant that there was no loss of power as the poor vacuum motor had to suck air through an increasing mass of dirt. It effectively meant that the suction power of a vacuum cleaner was increased. Not only that, but if you made the dust collection bin clear than you could see all of the dust and fluff whirling around.
Perhaps surprisingly, it was a fair few years before Dyson made the leap from "regular" vacuum cleaners to handheld ones. In fact, they only came on the market last year. I can only guess that it took them this long to perfect the design - or think up the marketing that would allow them to maintain their premium price-tag.
Regardless of the cause of this delay, Dyson finally got a handheld to market in the form of the DC16 Root 6 in "Steel & Yellow". Looking more like a hand-gun from Star Wars than a Dustbuster(tm), it's got a certain gadgety charm. In fact I'd be so bold as to guess that most are bought by men for no other reason than they do look remarkably like a Star Wars prop... what next, a feather duster that looks like a light-sabre?
Finished in a fairly tough mix of yellow and swirly grey metallic plastic (not a millimetre of steel in sight), it's got the now familiar cyclone "bit" of a Dyson but on a much smaller scale. It's also got the clear acrylic dust collector that everything swirls around in when it's in use. It's got a bright red trigger to blast the villains with and it even has a neat extending bristle-brush arrangement that clips out of the way when not in use.
It's surprisingly heavy (1.5kg) compared to other "handhelds" that I've used, but the cunning placement of the battery underneath the pistol-grip handle means that it's actually reasonably well balanced. For all it's weight though, the battery doesn't last very long. In fact, I suspect that the reason they call it the "Root 6" is that the battery barely lasts 6 minutes. Now this is an admittedly sensational sentence. Certainly, if someone told me they'd paid £100 for a handheld vacuum cleaner that only lasted 6 minutes I'd think they were a bit of a muppet. Fortunately for Dyson, I didn't know the battery only lasted 6 minutes before I bought it...
Actually, in the real world, 6 minutes is quite a long time to be using a handheld vacuum cleaner. Particularly one that's as effective as the DC16. Think about it for a moment - typical usage of a handheld vacuum cleaner (at least in my house) is to vac up the ad-hoc cereal spill, the crumbs around the toaster, the rice that inevitably spills out when you get the opened packet off the top shelf of the cupboard. Even giving the car a once-over. None of these jobs take a 6 full minutes of vacuuming. Not really. So unless you want to do all of the above, back-to-back, you should not be overly concerned by the 6 minute battery time. Given the neat charging station that it comes with, it's easy to keep the battery fully-charged, but if you do manage to run the battery down completely, it will take a rather lengthy 90 minutes (or more) to return to full charge.
The reason the battery only lasts this long is the ludicrously powerful motor that generates so much suction. And noise. Honestly, this is - without a doubt - the noisiest handheld vacuum I've ever tried. And I've tried at least 2 others. Don't use it while you're on the phone, you will nearly deafen the person on the other end of the line. Just ask my brother. If he can hear you. You'd be best off talking into his left ear.
Ergonomically, this is typical Dyson. All the bits you need to disassemble and clean are easily removable and go back together with the minimum of fuss. Also typically Dyson, any of the filters that you do need to clean will take days to dry properly. Speaking of which, it's worth noting that the DC16 is NOT a wet/dry handheld - if you try and vac up liquids, you'll most likely break it. The on/off trigger has a slight delay before it starts up the motor, as if it's making sure you REALLY want to use it before wasting the precious battery time. It also beeps at you. I'm not sure why, but it's comforting in a weird way. My only grips is the button to release the bottom of the dirt-chamber. It's really, really stiff. So stiff that I was worried I was going to break something (like my thumb!) when I first tried to open it. SInce then I've got the knack, but be prepared should you buy one... it will be worth doing some thumb exercises before trying to empty it of dust for the first time!
So I've owned by dust blaster for over a year now and we've been very happy together. It's helped me defeat the evil empire (of dust) on several occasions and it's even served in several campaigns in remote locations (the shed, the car, my tent). It's WAY more powerful than any other dustbuster thing I've ever owned which means it's far more effective than anything else. It's better balanced, doesn't lose suction and it even looks cool. Ok so it's only got a 6 minute battery life, but I've not managed to run it out yet in over a year of near daily use. So don't let that put you off unless you really do intend to vacuum an wntire room with it. In which case, I'd suggest getting a full-sized Dyson instead.
Recommendation then. Would I? Most definitely, and especially now that the price has come down a bit. At £85 on Amazon is still (dust) mite expensive... but it's out-performed and out-lasted all the other handhelds I've had so I think it's worth the money. Especially if you have laminate floors and frequently sweep all the dirt into small piles rather than going over the whole thing with an upright.
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