We currently recommend the entry-level Dyson V8 range, as well as the high-end Dyson V15 range, which has consistently outperformed all other cordless stick vacuums we’ve tried.
However, the new Dyson V12 Detect Slim, released earlier this year, offers many of the features we love about the V15 for about $150 less. After spending about eight hours testing the V12 on a mix of carpet, tile, vinyl, and hardwood floors—generously covered in cat and rabbit fur, cat litter, and rabbit poop—we’ve come to the conclusion that the V12 Detect Slim is worth considering. as an alternative to the V15, especially if you can find it for $500 or less.
Dyson V12 Detect Slim
This new cordless vacuum has many of the same smart features as the more expensive V15, such as a laser spotlight, particle counter and automatic suction adjustment. And its use is more convenient.
We’ll be doing more testing and will share our full impressions of the V12 and other new cordless stick vacuums soon. In the meantime, here’s everything we like about the V12 Detect Slim – and everything we don’t.
Dyson finally pulled the trigger
We’ve long complained about the discomfort of the Dyson’s trigger-style switches, which you have to press while vacuuming – especially annoying if you have hand or wrist pain. The V12 replaces this inconvenient feature with a simple on/off button. Now you can freely switch hands while going through table legs and trash cans! This is a huge advantage over the V8 and V15 range.
It is light and nimble
At 5.2 pounds, the V12 is thinner and slightly lighter than the V8, our current runner-up, and much lighter than the V15 Detect, which weighs 6.8 pounds. Like the V15 engine, the V12 sits vertically on the rod (as opposed to perpendicular to it, like the V8). This design helps the V12 feel more balanced and easier to maneuver.
|Model||V8 Absolute||V12 Detect Slim||V12 Detect Slim Extra||V15 Detection|
|Actual price||350 dollars||500 dollars||500 dollars||650 dollars|
|Mass||5.5 pounds||5.2 pounds||5.2 pounds||6.8 pounds|
|Running time||40 minutes||60 minutes||60 minutes||60 minutes|
|Charging time||5 hours||4 o’clock||3.5 hours||4.5 hours|
|Storage capacity||0.14 gallons||0.1 gallon||0.1 gallon||0.2 gallon|
|Tools included||Motorbar Cleaning Head, Fluffy Cleaning Head, Crevice Tool, Hair Screw Tool, Combination Tool, Top Adapter, Hard Dirt Brush, Mattress Tool||Motorbar Cleaner Head, Laser Slim Fluffy Cleaner Head, Crevice Tool, Hair Screw Tool, Combination Tool, Wand Clip||Motorbar Cleaner Head, Laser Slim Fluffy Cleaner Head, Awkward Gap, Wand Clip, Hair Screw Tool, Combination Tool, Extension Hose, Non-Scratch Dust Brush||Torque Drive Cleaner Head, Laser Slim Fluffy Cleaner Head, Combination|
Dyson V8 Absolute
The Dyson V8 is better than almost all other cordless vacuums (except other Dysons) at deep carpet cleaning. Although the trigger-style switch and built-in battery may be frustrating for some people, this vacuum has received excellent reviews from owners over the years. Try waiting for a sale when it’s under $400.
Dyson V15 Detect
If you want a cordless vacuum that fully replaces a plug-in, the high-end Dyson is as close as it gets. The Dyson V15 is actually better at cleaning carpets than a lot of plug-in vacuums. Owners love the automatic suction setting.
Laser and debris display
Do you need a laser on your vacuum cleaner? Probably not, but as we note in our guide, in typical Dyson fashion, the laser is part gimmick and part genuine innovation. The V12’s green laser headlight, which lights your way and helps spot dirt and debris, is slightly less powerful than the much more expensive V15. However, we found that it was still bright enough to detect dust in hard-to-see areas.
Although the laser failed to detect dirt on patterned vinyl floors, it came in handy in dimly lit areas like under tables, on dark hardwood floors, and on the tile between the sink and tub. You might be surprised and slightly scared by the amount of dust and hair it shines through, not to mention the hidden stains you’d rather not see.
Like the V15, the V12 features an LCD screen with a particle counter that estimates the size and type of particles the vacuum has picked up. Depending on the size of the particles, it will tell you if you live in a home full of pollen, dander, mites or fleas. (My house? All of the above!) But all jokes aside, can anything really be done with this information? Not really, except to wallow in how gross the world is. The only practical feature on the LCD screen is a run time countdown, so you can race against time to keep your little corner of the world cleaner.
The Laser Slim Fluffy cleaner head illuminates dirt in the dark. Yuck! Photo: Sabine Heinlein