Review: Dyson V6 Car + Boat Vacuum
Cars are meant to be used. That means you’ll find crumbs in every crevice, dirt on every fabric surface, and all sorts of other garbage just about everywhere else. Short of getting your car near an outlet (easy if you have a house, trickier in an apartment without parking) and bringing down a full-sized canister vac — which doesn’t address hard-to-reach places due to bulkiness — Dyson’s V6 Car + Boat Vacuum aims to make a name for itself with powerful suction, a boatload of accessories, and a battery good for 20 minutes of cordless use. Yachts probably get dirty too but sadly we don’t have access to one on which to test. We’ve also frankly never owned a Dyson (unless Jake Dyson’s CSYS Task Light counts?) so we used it to clean a couple of cars, not to mention around the house a whole lot, to see what sort of performance this cool looking handheld vac could muster. Read on for our take.
Where looks are involved the V6 is hard to top. It’s made of handsome red and grey plastic and from what we can tell the base vacuum looks quite a bit like their other V6 models suited to other tasks like cleaning dog hair or your bed (technically it’s identical to most of them minus the combination of included accessories, though the mattress-cleaning V6 stands apart thanks to a special post-motor filter absent in this and other models). Hold it like you would a pistol. Two buttons keep operation simple: a trigger spins up the motor and one click of the other (on the back end) turns on Max mode, which increases suction if the default isn’t cutting it. Inside, it’s got Dyson’s digital motor V6 that spins in the whereabouts of 110,000 rpm and two-tier Radial cyclones to boost airflow. Dyson claims it’s quieter than the previous model and we’ll have to take their word for it. A red lever right behind the canister also releases the door beneath the bin, emptying all collected garbage. Lower down on the back there’s a port for plugging in the adapter for a recharge, which comes in grey plastic identical to vacuum’s and tops up the battery in about three and a half hours.
What sets it apart from the other V6 models are six accessories in matching grey that come with it, including a long and narrow crevice tool, a combination tool with retractible brushes, two brushes — one soft for dusting, one stiff to loosen dirt — plus a mini motorized tool complete with a spinning brush for carpets and upholstery. Also included is an extension hose that fits between the vac and the chosen accessory (note: it won’t work with or provide power to the mini motorized tool). Snapping these accessories on and off is smooth and easy thanks to a button release right on top of where they fit in, and they stay solidly in place.
Hold the trigger and this thing screams; let go and it stops instantly. It’s actually on the tolerable side until you flip on boost mode: when you do, it’s not deafening but still rather unpleasant to the ears in a high pitched sort of way. Fortunately it rewards you with plenty of suction. We took the vacuum and a bag of its accessories to a car and got to work. Can’t say we used all five attachments to their full potential, but the ones that really stood out were the thin crevice tool, which basically extends the tip of the vacuum and concentrates its suction for loose but hard to reach dirt, and the mini motorized tool (the small carpet tool with spinning brushes). The V6 provides electricity to power the latter, spinning its brushes fast to detach dirt and hair from carpets. We ran the motorized tool-equipped vacuum up and down the fabric panels in the trunk to get it back to a seriously clean state, and it demonstrates how ridiculous the suction of this vacuum can get — Max mode or not — sticking hard enough to the panel above the spare tire to partially lift it. The downside to using this tool is that the battery drains about twice as fast.
If we had to choose another go-to accessory it’d be the combination tool. Its bristles are not as stiff as one brush nor as soft as the other, and retract when you just need a plain extension. Admittedly, their sizes and angles are all a bit different so we could understand some vehicles benefiting more from one or another, or even perhaps all three. For the tightest to reach spots when the bulky-ish handheld becomes a liability the extension hose performs admirably, extending and flexing to reach nearly anywhere (but by consequence occupying both your hands, since one needs to grip the vacuum and hold down the trigger).
It’s not a cheap vacuum by any metric — and this includes price. Battery life is decent for most jobs at 20 minutes though filthy carpets could be cut it short since the mini motorized tool pulls more power from the battery to spin its brush. Admittedly we rarely saw the subtle flashing low battery warning, which is on the battery itself, and thus the vacuum would cut out on us unexpectedly. Its large range of accessories helps suit the vacuum to various jobs, angles, and tough to reach spots in cars and boats (and frankly at home too). It also needs to be reiterated that suction is tremendous. Fortunately there are also no bags to replace (like most vacuums in this category), and the lone filter, which is accessible by pulling the purple cap on top of the vacuum, is washable under cold water, which should be done once a month or so. If you can spare the cash you’ll get a rock solid handheld vacuum tailored to your vehicle but well suited to much more.