Dyson's Gen5detect Absolute stick vac improves on some of the novel dirt-analysing and detection technologies introduced in 2021's V15 Detect, and its actual performance is impressive on both carpet and hard floors using the supplied vacuum heads. There are some welcome features, including an integrated crevice/dust tool that fits into the regular wand, saving you from constantly swapping over these frequently-used accessories, and Dyson's famous trigger mechanism has been replaced by a traditional on/off button so your hand doesn't need to constantly squeeze the trigger during operation. While the vac is easy to use, the longer, larger battery means it's not as light or nimble as many other stick vacs we've tested, and it's more difficult to use in handheld mode. At $1499 the Gen5detect has some interesting features, but there are cheaper models out there that perform well without the bells and whistles.
Dyson's latest cordless vacuum, the Gen5detect Absolute, taps into the trend of keeping dust and dirt at bay through using technology that tells you how well you're cleaning and how much dirt is on your floor. We took a hands-on look at the $1499 model to see whether it'll revolutionise your cleaning methods (or maybe just make vacuuming the house a bit more interesting).
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At $900 more than the median price of a stick vacuum ($599), not everyone will want (or even need) to invest in this high-end product. So how is it different to most other stick vacs?
Integrated crevice tool
The crevice tool fits into the main wand, so it won't go missing and doesn't need to be constantly swapped over.
Our expert tester was pleasantly surprised by the Gen5detect's new built-in handheld crevice/dust tool that slots into the main wand when not in use. This means you can go from regular to handheld mode by simply removing the wand, as the tool remains attached (and vice versa).
The new feature works intuitively and is very practical, and you can still remove both attachments at the same time by using the button at the top of the wand when you need to empty the bin.
Dirt detection, 2.0
Similar to its V15 Detect predecessor, Dyson's new Gen5detect has a green optic LED light placed on the corner of its hard floor cleaning head to illuminate dirt and dust that may not be easily seen with the naked eye. The main gripe we had last time was that the laser was barely visible with the lights on or the blinds open. Dyson has stuck with this technology, saying it's 're-engineered' the function to be twice as bright and cover more of the floor.
This time around, we could see an improvement on the dirt illuminated in a fairly bright room. But a lot more dust is still revealed in the shadows, such as under a desk or in a corner. Speckled floors may also be deceptive upon first glance, with markings being mistaken for dirt.
A green optic LED highlights hard-to-see dirt on your hard floor. The light is brighter than the V15 Detect's laser in bright conditions, but you still see more in the dark.
Dyson's main brush heads have an anti-tangle 'screw' design to minimise long hairs being caught up and making them easier to clean, and we found they work well. Apart from this, there's a soft roller head, mini brush head, combination tool (dust brush/upholstery), built-in combination crevice/dusting brush tool, battery charger, and wall mount with tool holder and screws.
Yes, it has a washable HEPA filter. A HEPA filter will trap allergens down to at least 0.3 microns in size, preventing them from going back into the air (the Gen5detect even claims to capture particles down to 0.1 microns, such as diesel soot). The LCD screen will tell you when it's time to wash the filter, but this is generally around once a month with regular use. It does not have a 'self-emptying' function and you'll still need to empty the dust into your bin.
A bar graph on the vacuum's LCD screen shows you how clean your floor is getting in 'real time'. As you vacuum, three fluctuating bars relating to small, medium and large particles move higher and lower depending on how much debris is being removed.
The longer you vacuum, the lower the bars eventually become. While we can't vouch for how accurate the sensor is, we did notice it knew when we were picking up larger or smaller fragments of dirt with the bars decreasing as our cleaning progressed. It's a bit gimmicky, but more useful than the previous iteration which only showed you how much dirt you'd cumulatively picked up (it still shows this in addition to the 'real time' stats).
Our initial experience is that the feature works best on hard floors. When using it on carpet, the vacuum seemed to always sense 'dirt' was being picked up even when kept in one area for a while.
The battery, which uses 10 lithium-ion cells, is visibly longer than other Dyson stick vacs we've tested, and it adds to its weight as a result. The manufacturer claims the vac has a 70-minute runtime, but this is in eco mode on a hard floor. In reality, it would be far less on carpet using full power (our initial observations were just under 12 minutes in this mode).
The battery can also be easily swapped over with another, a feature now common with higher-end stick vacs. At the time of writing we couldn't find spare batteries for sale on the Dyson website, but as a comparison, the batteries for other models don't come cheap (it's $199 for the V15 Detect battery).
Much like other Dysons we've reviewed, it's easy to move the head across the carpet. When using the main brush head, which works on hard floors and carpet, the unit adjusts the suction depending on the surface it's on and gives you an estimated runtime on the LCD screen. You can also easily switch between boost, eco and medium suction modes if needed.
But at 3.5kg, this vacuum is on the heavier side – by comparison, the V12 Detect Slim is just 2.2kg – so when it's converted to a handheld unit, it may become more tiring over time. The new on/off button on the back of the unit means you don't need to keep your hand on a trigger anymore, which helps reduce strain. You can easily swap hands if you need to without interrupting the suction process, but you can't press the button with the same hand you're holding it with as it's too far away.
Emptying the bin is OK and the filter's easy to clean, and the LCD screen will alert you when the filter is ready to be washed.
Handheld mode could get a bit tiring after a while as the unit is quite heavy.
The Dyson Gen5detect will definitely pick up your dirt and performs impressively. Full scores and features are now available to members in our stick vacuums review so you can easily compare your options.
While the Gen5detect could be a good substitute for your traditional corded vacuum, you'll be paying a lot more for it. And there are plenty of stick vac models we recommend that costs hundreds of dollars less. But if you're in the market for a new vacuum and can't do without dirt-detecting tech, this is an innovative model worth considering.
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