Make us your home page

Dyson develops 'tomorrow's vacuums': lightweight, cordless

More than a decade ago, Dyson, the British company known for its line of powerful and expensive vacuum cleaners, quietly began working on an ambitious project to displace its own best invention.

Dyson's traditional vacuum cleaners have long been acclaimed for their dirt-sucking prowess. But the company believed that its vacuums were too large and bulky, and were held back by an annoying electrical cord plugged into the wall.

Dyson has since spent hundreds of millions of dollars and hired several hundred people to design, build and start selling what it hopes will become the standard vacuum cleaner of tomorrow — a lightweight, cordless machine that works as well as a corded upright.

Its newest such model, the DC59 Motorhead, is tiny, weighs under 5 pounds and has a slender hot pink and purple body. It's extremely maneuverable and comes with a bevy of attachments that allow it to be used in a variety of modes. It is powerful, capable of sucking up everything from the prodigious mess my children make at dinner to the more intractable horrors they've caked into the carpets and upholstery of my car.

By its own admission, the company has not yet realized its vision of a cordless vacuum that can fully replace an upright. The DC59's battery allows for only about 20 minutes of cleaning between charges (and only six minutes on its higher-powered "boost" mode). Because charging takes two to three hours, the machine is unsuited to cleaning an entire suburban McMansion. For that, you'll still need an upright.

Yet what the machine lacks in longevity, it more than makes up for in accessibility. Because it is as small and easy to use as a broom, you might find yourself reaching for it several times a day, which is about a billion times more often than I hunt down my old-fashioned vacuum.

In this way, the DC59 seems more like a couple of other battery-powered devices that do not look as powerful as full-size machines, but that have nevertheless taken over the world: smartphones and tablet computers.

Your phone can't do as much as your computer, but because it's right there in your pocket and starts up in a flash, you might spend a lot more time on it than on your PC.

The DC59 offers the same wonderful trade-off — very good cleaning without the headaches of a bigger machine. It's the iPad of vacuum cleaners.

Unfortunately, the DC59 has an iPad-like price tag, too. At more than $500, it costs substantially more than most full-size vacuum cleaners, including some lightweight cordless models that also clean quite well.

Hoover's cordless Linx, for less than $200, is one such rival. Many tests, including mine, show that the Linx performs about as well as the Dyson. On the down side, the Hoover does not offer the Dyson's useful attachments, its battery lasts only about 15 minutes, and it is a couple of pounds heavier.

Dyson develops 'tomorrow's vacuums': lightweight, cordless 07/27/14 [Last modified: Sunday, July 27, 2014 5:50pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, New York Times.

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. One of the best places for investing in a rental house is in Tampa Bay

    Real Estate

    Two Tampa Bay ZIP Codes are drawing national attention.

    . If you're looking to invest in a house to rent out, few places are better than  ZIP Code 34607 in Hernando County's Spring Hill area, according to ATTOM Data Solutions.
 file photo]

  2. Tampa Chamber of Commerce announces small business winners


    TAMPA — The Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce selected the winners of the 2017 Small Business of the Year Awards at a ceremony Wednesday night at the David A. Straz, Jr. Center for the Performing Arts. More than 600 attendees celebrated the accomplishments of Tampa Bay's small business community.

    Vincent Cassidy, president and CEO of Majesty Title Services, was named Outstanding Small Business Leader of the Year by the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce.

  3. International array of artists chosen as finalists for pier project

    Local Government

    ST. PETERSBURG — A diverse group of six artists will compete for a chance to install their work at the city's multimillion-dollar Pier District, expected to open in early 2019.

  4. Gourmet food fight between top chefs raises $200,000


    ST. PETERSBURG — The chefs came armed with their secret ingredients — pork rinds, truffle butter, pork bellies.

    (From left to right) Chefs Ryan Mitchell, Michael Buttacavoli, Ted Dorsey and Matthew Brennan compete during Tampa Bay Food Fight at The Coliseum in St. Petersburg on Tuesday. The event features chefs from the Tampa Bay area and benefitted Metropolitan Ministries. EVE EDELHEIT   |   Times
  5. HSN star Joy Mangano promotes new book: Inventing Joy


    ST. PETERSBURG — After more than 30 years, Joy Mangano knows a thing or two about promoting products. Now she's promoting herself.

    Inventor and entrepreneur Joy Mangano is releasing her first new book, Inventing Joy on Nov. 7. [TIERRA SMITH | Times]