Review: Two weeks with the Dyson DC31
According to its inventor James Dyson, the DC31 handvac has the fastest motor in the world at 104,000rpm &mdash five times as fast as a Formula 1 race car engine! That's cool, but what I really want to know is, does it bust dust cleanly and efficiently? I have been using its predecessor, the DC16, for about two years, and I'm sad to report that it has become virtually obsolete &mdash the suction is weak, the battery only lasts 2-3 minutes, and dust accumulates relentlessly at the nozzle. This review will not give an answer as to whether the newer DC31 will have a longer lifespan than that, but here's what I think of it so far after a couple of weeks of use.
The DC31 is lighter, smaller, and doesn't require a giant docking station. These are all great improvements. It definitely has a lot more power than the 16 ever had &mdash it swept up everything from dog hair to human hair to wood chip fragments without hesitation. The .09-gallon bin is small but easy to empty, you just push a lever down &mdash I actually prefer it small because it urges you to empty it more often, which prevents old dust from hanging out in there for too long.
There are two problems I wish Dyson would fix in their next iteration of a handvac, though: 1. This thing is still pretty loud. I would be willing to give up some of that motor power for a more quiet dust-busting experience. 2. This might sound nitpicky, but there are air holes in the top back portion that blow out a significant amount of air while the nozzle is doing all its high-power sucking. That's fine when you're bending down to vacuum the floor, but when you're working on a parallel or multi-tiered surface like on stairs or between furniture, this actually blows dust and hair away. Which is kind of annoying.
And then there is the meta problem of handvacs being inefficient to begin with &mdash they're nice for daily upkeep, and I like having one in the house, but a device that only cleans a couple of square inches at a time with a 10-minute battery life that makes lots of noise may be a dying breed of gadgetry.
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