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Dyson V15 Detect first look review

Dyson's latest vacuum features a laser to highlight 'hidden' dust, dust-sensing technology and an anti-tangle cleaning head. 

Dyson V15 Detect stick vacuum
Last updated: 16 June 2021
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CHOICE verdict

Anyone curious about how dirty their homes are will appreciate the Dyson V15 Detect's latest dust-detection technology, which illuminates dirt with a laser, and displays real-time numbers about the amount (and size) of dust being picked up. The new Dyson stick vac is great as a vacuum in its own right and has a genuinely useful anti-tangle cleaner head, but the novelty of the dust detection features may wear off after a while. It's also pricey, and for those with weaker hands or arms, the V15 may not be as easy to operate due to its top-heavy design. It's also heavier than most other stick vacuums.

Price: $1399 for regular model (Total Clean), $1499 for HEPA model (Absolute Extra).
Contact: dyson.com.au

Spending more time at home means more dust accumulating, and Dyson has introduced a cordless vacuum that uses a laser to showcase the huge amount of dust in your home. 

If that's not enough, it's also got a sensor that gives you actual data on how many microscopic particles it's picking up – and the new brush head has anti-tangle technology to prevent hair wrapping around it. 

We take a first look at the new Dyson V15 Detect vacuum to see whether these are gimmicky additions or useful tools to help make your home cleaner.

How does the Dyson V15 Detect compare with previous models?

The long-awaited swappable battery that Dyson released with 2020's V11 Outsize (now called the Outsize) is still present with the V15 Detect.

There are some new features we looked at with the V15:

Laser detection

A green laser angled at the corner of the hard floor cleaning head is designed to highlight 'hidden' particles of dust so you know where to target your vacuuming.

laser lights on vs off

Lasers on the Dyson V15 Detect highlight the dirt on your floor, but you get the best results with the lights off.

We thought it'd be an interesting feature to see just how dusty our homes can be, but in bright light you can barely see the laser. We had to turn the lights down or close the blinds to really make the most of the technology – and we don't recommend vacuuming in the dark! 

Also, if you have a surface that's textured or speckled, you may get confused between what's dirt or what's just a pattern on your floor. All in all, it's not something we'd use regularly – consider it a novel idea with limited appeal.

Dirt sensor

If data on your dirt is what you've after, then the Dyson V15 Detect delivers on this, showing you a breakdown of the dirt it's picking up according to size, ranging from 10 micron (0.01mm) through to more than 500 (0.5mm). 

We'd be here forever if we attempted to determine how accurate the sensing technology is, but the numbers on the LCD screen do increase as you vacuum, and as you'd expect, there's a huge amount of small particles compared with big ones. 

It's satisfying to see the numbers go up as you go, giving you the sense of your home getting cleaner (although, you could also look inside your bin at the actual dirt!)

Dyson V15 Screen

The Dyson V15 Detect visually displays the size and amount of the dirt it sucks up.

Anti-tangle brush head

This feature is genuinely useful, as untangling long hairs from your vacuum head is an unpleasant chore (which usually involves scissors). It works because of a comb-like design on the cleaner head that prevents most hair tangling around the bristles. 

Although it's not 100% effective, it works way better than its previous design. To test it, our expert tester scattered synthetic hair on a vinyl surface and found that most of it ended up in the bin rather than around the cleaning head. 

dyson v6 vs dyson 15

The V15's anti-tangle comb is a genuine improvement on previous designs, and worked well in our tests.

As I have long hair, I also took it home to try on both hard floors and carpet, and found barely any hairs wrapped around the head. We also compared it with the older V6 Dyson and saw a clear improvement.

Anti-tangle hair screw tool

For pet and human hair on upholstery and other small surfaces there's also a cone-shaped brush designed to 'spiral' hair off and into the bin, so you don't have to deal with it. 

We tried this out with an amount of synthetic hair and much of it was still attached to the end of the brush head like a piece of rope, but it was just a matter of pulling it off the end.

How well does it pick up dirt?

Dirt detection features aside, the Dyson V15 Detect performed very well in our initial tests – just as good as many full-size corded vacuums for carpet pick-up. 

There are three suction modes on its main cleaning head: Eco, Auto and Boost. The Auto mode is able to detect what surface you're vacuuming, and adjusts power accordingly. Its dedicated fluffy hard floor head also performed very well when collecting cornflakes, flour and potting mix.

Does it have a HEPA filter?

Vacuums with HEPA filters can help trap microscopic dirt so allergens can't escape back into the air. The model we tested, the Dyson V15 Detect Total Clean ($1399), doesn't have a HEPA filtration system. But if allergies are a major issue, there is a HEPA version sold on Dyson's website, the V15 Absolute Extra ($1449).

How do you empty the bin and release the filter?

It's easy to empty the bin into a garbage bag by pressing the red button. The twist-off filter, located at the back of the machine, is also easy to clean by washing it under warm water. It's recommended to wash the filter once a month.

How easy is the Dyson V15 to use?

When Dyson released its V11 Outsize in 2020, we measured its bin capacity as 1.6L, which is huge and required a couple of hands to steady it when reaching high places. The new V15 bin capacity measures in at 0.5L, similar to its regular-sized V11 model. 

However, at 3.1kg it's still relatively heavy compared with an average of 2.8kg for other stick vacs we've reviewed. It can get tiring to move on carpet, so if you have weak hands and arms we don't recommend it. (There is a smaller model, the V12 Detect Slim, that uses similar technology, but we've not yet tested it.) 

Note that you need to be squeezing the trigger during use; there is no on/off switch. Some people prefer a dedicated switch, so you may want to consider another brand, as Dyson stick vacs have this trigger mechanism (apart from the V12 Detect).

Dyson V15 Detect accessories

You get a range of useful accessories with the Dyson V15 Detect.

What about the battery?

There's a swappable "click in" battery so you can keep a spare one fully charged, but you need to buy an extra separately, which is an additional $249. Otherwise, Dyson says charging will take 4.5 hours.

On boost mode you get around 12 minutes of battery life. Eco and auto modes give you a lot more running time (and there's a countdown on screen to tell you how much time is left so you won't need to worry about the battery suddenly going flat). Battery life also depends on the surface you're cleaning – hard floors generally use less suction power than carpet.

What accessories do you get?

The motorised brush head, motorised soft roller head, mini power head, combination tool (dusting brush/crevice), crevice tool, crevice dust brush, wide dust brush, tool holder, battery charger and wall mount with tool holder and screws all come with the Dyson V15 Detect.

Do I need to upgrade my vacuum?

This is one of those investments that might appeal to you if you're keen on analysing the dirt in your home with extra gadgetry. If hair getting tangled on your current stick vacuum is a problem, then the new anti-tangle brush will be a welcome feature. It also performs well as a regular vacuum. 

However, the V15 Detect is a very expensive piece of kit at $1399 (with one battery, extras cost $249), and there are models we've reviewed which will still sufficiently pick up the dirt in your home, and are far easier to move around.

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