I’m old enough to remember the beige Eureka Forbes vacuum cleaner from my childhood, with its awkward brown dust bags and suction unit on wheels that one had to drag from room to room without accidentally pulling the power cord out of the socket.
It’s almost hard to believe how we went from there to the Dyson handheld vacuums of today, the kind that shoot out laser beams to illuminate and capture otherwise hidden dust particles and in turn expel air cleaner than what we normally breathe in our cities.
Peak adulting indulgence as the Dyson V15 Detect Extra is, but what benefit does it deliver for a not insignificant Rs. 65,900 and should you save a few bucks and get an older model like the V11/V12 instead?
Call it iconic or unchanging, the basic space-blaster design of the Dyson handheld has remained the same over the past few generations - motor, bin, air cyclones, LCD and all - although the unit has gotten heavier (3.1kg) with a larger 0.77-liter dust collection bin. The weight does show when you hold it overhead to clean the blinds and top shelves, but for most other cleaning tasks, it’s easy to hold and use.
First time setup is easy, once you’ve waited about 4.5 hours for the machine to fully charge – grab the vacuum, snap in the attachment you need and off you go. One continuing irritant – there is no continuous on feature, which means you have to hold the power trigger the whole time you’re cleaning to keep the suction activated. The Dyson Omni-glide and the V12 Detect Slim have, in the past, provided a dedicated power button, but not on this model.
As you start using it, the LCD on the rear starts displaying particle counts in addition to your selected cleaning/suction mode (Eco, Medium or Boost), remaining runtime, and filter maintenance information - the particle count resets after each charge session. In Auto (medium mode), the vacuum will auto adjust the suction power based on the level of dust being detected by the piezo sensor, though this only works on some of the attachments.
Under the hood, the V15 Detect Extra gets a major upgrade on its Hyperdymium motor, which now generates 230 air watts, or about 50% more suction than the V12 Detect Slim we last tested.
The laser-illumination on the cleaner head casts a beam of green light in front of the cleaning head to reveal dust particles that would ordinarily not be visible, while an acoustic piezo sensor uses sound to count and display the number and type of dust particles being collected in real-time – this isn’t some vanity metric to show you just how dirty the room you just cleaned was. Instead, it informs the vacuum cleaner to automatically increase suction power when an increased amount of dust particles is detected. The dust collected goes through a five-stage HEPA filtration process, capturing a claimed 99.97% of particles all the way down to 0.1 microns (such as pet dander and soot).
It's the sheer number of attachments that are present in the box that warrants a clear understanding of what is best suited for which type of cleaning. Aside from the illuminated cleaner head for hard floors, you get an anti-tangle High Torque cleaner head (for all floors), an anti-tangle hair screw tool (for long hair and pet hair on beds and seats), a combination tool (with a brush and wide nozzle to switch between), a flexible extension hose (for maneuverability) and a 26-inch wand (stick) that detaches in a click to reveal a crevice tool/dusting brush for quick spot cleaning. As with all Dysons, there’s a charging dock that can be wall mounted, and a storage clip lets you attach two accessories for easy access.
New and exclusive to the V15 Detect Extra are the scratch-free dusting brush and the awkward gap tool. I found the 8100 ultrafine brush tips on the former work quite like a makeup brush in texture to avoid scratching gadgets and delicate glass showpieces. The awkward gap tool, appropriately named for its 22-degree angle, is great for tight spaces in the car and home and works well, if only for a small niche (quite literally!).
Both these attachments add that extra bit of versatility to the already exhaustive set of capabilities, and if you own a previous V8, V10 or V11, you’ll be able to use any of its attachments with the V15, though not vice versa for some of the powered attachments that are engineered specifically for this model.
In terms of suction power, the V15 Detect Extra is among the most powerful Dysons I’ve tested, which translates into some really therapeutic deep cleaning sessions, particularly on couches, carpets and bed mattresses. It pulls out dust from clean-looking cushions and even floors that have just been swept – bear in mind though that Dysons don’t do well with water spills, so this can only be relegated to dry vacuuming duties.
The attachments work as advertised – the dust detecting laser helped surface dust under the bed and in corners that would ordinarily be ignored, and the anti-tangle heads were great in picking up long hair strands and safely depositing them into the bin without tangling in the rollers.
Battery life is a claimed 60 minutes of running time, which varies based on power mode, dust level and which attachment you use. I found that Eco mode lasted just under an hour in typical use, while Boost dropped it down to about 10 minutes. It’s par for the course for any recent Dyson vacuum, but a good step up from the 30-35 minutes on the V7/V8 series of the past. If you have a large home and intend to use this as your primary vacuum, you might want to consider purchasing an optional extra battery.
Yet, at ₹65,900 a pop, it’s a lot to pay, even for those used to Dyson’s premium pricing. Dyson vacuums are unquestionably the most versatile on the market, with attachments for all manners of surfaces, and the V15 Detect Extra outshines its predecessors with some big feature and power upgrades that make the investment feel almost worth it.
Of course, there are a dizzying array of Dyson options you can consider outside of the V15 series – V12 Detect Slim, V11 and V8 – which can be a bit perplexing for a Dyson newbie. Buying the latest gets you the newest features like lasers and LCD screens, but what if you just want to spend a lot less?
The V8 can be had for half the price ( ₹32,900) of the latest V15, and it comes with three motorized attachments, one of which has the detangling comb for dealing with long human/pet hair. The V12 Detect Slim ( ₹52,900), on the other hand, is recommended for smaller spaces like studio apartments, and what it lacks in suction power and bin size as compared to the V15, it makes up by being lightweight and easy to stow away (not to forget, the laser detection and the dedicated on/off button).
Dyson often runs festive promotions where you can pick up the V11 Absolute Pro ( ₹45,900) with its swappable battery, 185 air watts of power and a 60-minute run time for a steal.
Tushar Kanwar, a tech columnist and commentator, tweets @2shar.