Review: Dyson V6 Total Clean

I know some people find cleaning therapeutic.  I’m not one of those people.  I know some people keep things tidy and in order.  I’m not one of those people either.  However, this isn’t to say that I don’t like the house being clean and tidy.  I do, very much, I just struggle to keep everything that way.

My problem is that I tend to create a mess by only dealing it with every few weeks when things get unbearable and / or I simply have too because of people coming round.

This happens with my vacuuming.  I have lots of hair and have a cat who also has lots of hair.  He also has two cardboard scratch boxes.  Most of the flooring I have in the house is hard and flat (either wood, stone or flat carpet tiles) and these things tend to show up hair and shredded cardboard and allow it to quickly get distributed everywhere.  I hate the mess, but carrying and pushing a massive, heavy vacuum cleaner around the house is just off-putting.

To attempt to remedy the situation, I recently purchased a Dyson V6 Total Clean.

Dyson v6 Total Clean (Moo for scale)

Dyson v6 Total Clean (Moo for scale)

What is it?

The V6 Total Clean is part of Dyson’s range of handheld cordless vacuum cleaners.  A feature of full size vacuums that stops me from using them as often as I need is their size and plug.  Especially when my back is hurting, I don’t want to or can’t carry it round the house.  So I’d made a decision I wanted a cordless handheld.

In Dyson’s range of V6 motors (the V8 came out after I purchased mine), there’s the Absolute, Total Clean, Fluffy and Animal.  As far as I can gather, the Absolute is the best, but you pay for it and it was out of my budget.  After that, differentiating between them is fairly difficult and Dyson’s site doesn’t help.  I chose the Total Clean because it came with two cleaner heads and wasn’t just designed for animals and just for hard floors.  It felt like an all-rounder.

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Price

As with all Dyson products, you pay a premium for them.  I paid £300 for mine, which apparently represents a saving of £130.  However, the Total Clean is exclusive to Curry’s and Dyson’s own website and I’ve never seen it advertised at that full price.

Let’s be honest.  This is expensive.  For the price, this has to be a vacuum that is more than good and more than better than rivals from other manufacturers.

In the box

I didn’t realise quite how much you get with these vacuums.  You have the main handheld motor part with the 0.4l compartment that collects the dust and rubbish.  It has what I’ll lovingly call “the stick” that connects the main bit to the cleaner head.

With the Total Clean, you get two cleaner heads.  One is a “direct drive” cleaner head for carpets.  This is basically a tube covered with bristles, but which also contains its own motor which pushes the tube in to the floor for better cleaning.  The other cleaner head looks like a paint roller.  It’s fluffy and is for use on hard floors.

Three cleaning tools come with the vacuum, the most useful of which looks like a smaller version of the standard cleaner heads and is great for cleaning sofas, mattresses, car seats etc.

The tool on the left is to clean curtains, and was purchased separately.

The tool on the left is to clean curtains, and was purchased separately.

Tools modelled by Moo.

Tools modelled by Moo.

You get a dock for wall mounting and a charger.  It’s all wrapped in plastic and padded with cardboard and, for such a small unit, seems to have an awful lot of packaging!

First impressions

The Total Clean looks impressive.  It’s as plastic as any other vacuum and I’m not sure if the sculpted chrome bit on the top needs to be as sculpted as it is, but it does look futuristic and I did feel a bit like RoboCop holding this for the first time!  The stick is a lovely matt red.

It’s possibly heavier than I expected, but that’s not to say it is heavy – it’s not, at 2.8kg.  Just don’t expect it to be feather light.  With the weight does come a certain sense of durability and build quality does look impressive.

Performance

As I said before, with the price tag comes certain expectation.  The Total Clean more than meets this expectation for me.  Performance is brilliant.  The heavily cat haired rug in my living run came up as new, albeit I did need to push the magic “MAX” button on the back of the unit which increases suction four fold, proportionally killing the battery by the same amount.

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Hair, cat litter, dust and shredded cardboard are dealt with with the minimum of fuss.  There are plenty of videos showing the performance elsewhere online, so I won’t post my own.

To test performance I vacuumed my study carpet with my upright vacuum, a 12 year old Vax effort that still did a job.  I then went over the carpet again with the Total Clean and filled its collection tank.  It’s that powerful.

Usability

This is the important test for me.  The great thing about a handheld is that you can use it anywhere.  It’ll do floors (obviously) but is also great for getting cobwebs from ceilings, stairs and taking outside and doing the car’s footwell.  It’s size means it also excels at being able to go under beds and sofas.

I do have a few issues with the Total Clean here, though.  The first is that there’s no battery indicator light.  There’s one when the vacuum is on, but it never tells you when the battery is nearly flat.  There’s no drop off in performance either (a positive, because no-one like suction to drop off over time!), the vacuum just cuts out when the battery is dead, and that’s annoying.

Battery performance is pretty much the 20 minutes (6 minutes on max mode) that is advertised but I don’t really like partially charging batteries, so not knowing how much usage I have is an annoyance.

When I was using the carpet cleaner head, it did feel a little bit like I was damaging it when I pulled the vacuum back.  I don’t know if this is normal or whether you’re only supposed to push this vacuum when using it this way.

The other annoyance is something I hadn’t thought of.  With so many accessories and alternative cleaner heads, the Total Clean would really benefit from using the docking station to store everything.  I don’t have anywhere to wall mount a vacuum, so I’m having to keep everything in cupboards and get them out and carry them round the house when I’m using the vacuum.  Not a major issue and one inherent with all handhelds rather being exclusive to the Dyson, but still slightly irritating.

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Conclusion

The Dyson V6 Total Clean is an excellent vacuum cleaner, but to conclude I have to answer two questions.

The first is whether the price premium is worth it.  In my house of hard floors, I’m yet to be convinced it is, if I’m honest.  Yes, performance is excellent, but I also like to mop my hard floors when I do a proper clean so I’m not sure the Dyson is worth the cost over and above a competitor.  It’s hard to really put a price on the convenience of doing the stairs and not having to get out my fluffy duster.

The second question is whether I keep my house cleaner.  The answer here is a resounding yes!  The ability to pick up the cleaner, vacuum where needs doing and put it away again with the minimum of fuss is great.  I can vacuum the lounge in the time it takes my iron time to warm up to smooth my shirt in the morning, and that includes getting it out and putting it away.

That’s where the Total Clean excels.  It’s a part time, casual cleaner.  The lack of a battery indicator means that doing the whole house in detail in one go is probably not going to happen.  For someone like me though, who needs encouraging to keep on top of things, the Total Clean is a brilliant tool.

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