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Should you buy a Dyson vacuum, hair dryer or fan?

Is the cult brand worth the hype and higher price? Our expert reveals how they compare against other brands in our tests. 

dyson vacuum cleaner fan and hair dryer
Last updated: 17 December 2019

Dyson makes popular and stylish machines, but do they live up to the marketing hype? And how do they really compare against other models in the market? 

They're questions we know shoppers ask all the time – which is why CHOICE experts rigorously test Dyson products in our certified labs to find out the answers. 

If you're considering dropping cash on a Dyson vacuum cleaner, fan or hair dryer, check out our expert's take on each product – and how they rate against other brands' models on the market.

Stick and handheld vacuum cleaners

Cordless stick vacs are one of the most popular types of vacuum cleaner these days, and for good reason – they're very handy for quick cleans around the house. For some homes (especially smaller ones with mainly hard floors), a good stick vac may be the only vacuum cleaner you need.

Dyson dominates the stick vac market even more than the barrel and upright market, and it's a product area where Dyson can really deliver. 

Its V11 stick vac is a top performer in our tests, and previous products including the V6, V7, V8 and V10 have also scored very well. Current models we've tested range from $599 to $1299. 

Stick vacuum cleaner - Dyson V8 Absolute

Our tests show Dyson is still the pick of the sticks.

Dyson's small motor technology is part of its success in this area. The company has spent a great deal of time and money developing these compact electric motors and implementing them in its stick and handheld vacs, as well as in other products.

It may have spearheaded the stick vac revolution, but other companies are catching up when it comes to cleaning performance. Our tests reveal rival brands have produced some very good (and often cheaper) stick vacs that – like Dyson's – have also earned  'CHOICE Recommended' status. 

Dyson may have spearheaded the stick vac revolution, but other companies are catching up

Handheld vacs are less popular these days, as most stick vacs double as a handheld vac. For that reason, we now focus on testing stick vacs. Dyson handhelds (priced from $299) have performed well in past CHOICE reviews and are very similar to the base motor unit you'll get with the stick vac models.

CHOICE verdict

Dyson stick vacs perform strongly and are definitely worth considering if your budget allows. See our full test reviews to compare specific Dyson models against other brands for price and performance. 

Barrel and upright vacuum cleaners

There's no doubt that Dyson's research and development into bagless technology has paid off. Dyson is the biggest-selling vacuum brand in Australia, bagless models are very popular, and most other brands have had to follow up with similar models of their own. 

And yet when it comes to Dyson's barrel and upright vacs, its test results are a mixed bag (pun intended). 

When it comes to Dyson's barrel and upright vacs, its test results are a mixed bag

Ranging in price from $499 to $849, several of its current vacs we've tested rate good to very good overall and earn 'CHOICE Recommended' status. On the flipside, another model scored just OK overall and struggled with cleaning carpet.

Unlike stick vacs, this category is far more of a level playing field. Our lab testing has regularly found other brands that rival Dyson's big barrels, and even outperform them in the cleaning stakes. Some are just as expensive, but others are far more affordable.

Dyson Big Ball Origin barrel vacuum cleaner

Mixed bag: While some Dyson barrel vacs performs well, others don't.

Interestingly, Dyson announced in 2018 that it's focusing only on cordless models and not developing any new corded vacuum cleaners. Its current range of corded barrel and upright vacs will continue to be sold into the future, probably as long as Dyson sees a market for them.

CHOICE verdict 

For barrel and upright vacuum cleaners, most Dyson models are solid performers, but you can find better (and cheaper) options from other brands. Check our full test reviews to compare. 

Fans and heaters

Dyson's bladeless tower fans may look as if they're from the future, but how do they rate against more conventional towers and old-school pedestal fans? 

In our lab test of 50 popular fans, our experts found that Dyson fans rated well for cooling – which they should, given that they cost a hefty $500 and more. Nevertheless, only one model scored highly enough for us to recommend it. 

Our testers found a big range of fans from other brands that outperformed Dyson models – and by some margin

By comparison, our testers found a big range of fans from other brands that outperformed Dyson models – and by some margin. Many are much simpler in design, but in terms of sheer air flow, blew Dyson away. And with several costing less than $100, they're a fraction of the price. 

Dyson Pure Hot Cool Link fan heater

Dyson's Hot + Cool models double as a heater, making them useful all year round.

That said, the Dysons do flaunt extra features that may entice you, including safe bladeless design, a low-speed night mode and phone-app control (the Pure Cool TP04 only). 

Dyson's Hot + Cool editions also double as heaters, which extends their use all year round and makes their price more palatable. Some models also act as air purifiers, although our lab tests found they underperformed in this regard compared with dedicated purifier units. 

CHOICE verdict

Dyson fans and fan heaters are good performers and worth considering. But if you just want a basic fan to create a breeze, you can buy a cheap pedestal fan for less than a tenth of the price. 

Dyson Supersonic hair dryer

The Supersonic performs well, but is expensive at $549.

Hair dryers

Priced at a hair-raising $549, the Dyson Supersonic hair dryer makes use of the small motor technology found in other portable Dyson products. In this hair dryer, the motor is in the handle, which helps give the dryer a comfortable balance and feel in the hand.

Our hair dryer reviews found that the Dyson performs well and rates highly for ease of use. But it's not the only good performer out there: we've recommended some other models that rate just as well, if not better, and cost a slice of the price.

CHOICE verdict

The Dyson hair dryer is a good performer and easy to use, but there are equally good models from other brands for much less. Check out our hair dryer reviews to compare the Supersonic against the rest.

We care about accuracy. See something that's not quite right in this article? Let us know or read more about fact-checking at CHOICE.

Stock images: Getty, unless otherwise stated.