Dyson DC44 Animal Cordless Vacuum Review
This is the second time I’ve given a Dyson vacuum a try, and the second time I’ve been let down. I was so excited to move into the world of lithium ion cordless vacuums and, for $300 on sale, I expected this thing to deliver, big time.
I knew what I was getting into in terms of battery life, and I wasn’t disappointed by that. It’s also quieter than I expected and comes with a tool for pretty much every job, plus it has a washable filter. Great great and great, but that’s really where the positives end.
So let’s get into the things I really wasn’t okay with at this price.
First, the dust cup fills up quickly (it’s smaller than you might imagine), and emptying it is never as simple as “push the button over the garbage can.” There’s another step called “stick your fingers in there and pull out the hairy, dirty mess, because more than likely it’s stuck,” which is pretty gross and takes away some of the appeal of the “one-touch” emptying. Of course, there’s always the fact that you’re releasing a lovely allergen dust cloud back into the air, if you’re sensitive to that kind of thing.
Next, the floor tool with the brushes — the one most people will probably use the most often — is absolutely terrible for any kind of larger debris such as cat litter or cat food, pieces of cereal, etc. My #1 priority for my stick vac is to effectively clean up after my cat including the litter pellets and dry food she slings around my tile floors on a daily basis. For this, I end up using the crevice tool, but then this becomes the same as a glorified Dustbuster, really.
Third, the attachments are just kind of a pain to manage. With a total of 7 attachments (including extension tube) in the box (Costco model) and 2 spots to hold extra attachments on the charger, you’re left with 3 or more loose attachments you have to manage. I find switching attachments to be a little bit of a pain as you have to line them up perfectly in order to snap them together — sometimes they’re a bit finicky. And especially with the crevice tool, the fit is a little looser than you’d expect from the “BMW of cordless vacuums.”
Finally, everyone already knows you have to hold down the power button to use this vacuum. I knew that before buying it. But the button is harder to press and hold than it should be, and the shape of the button, while not discriminating against lefties, is far from comfortable. I just find using this thing for more than a minute or so to be a great wrist/grip workout and an exercise in discomfort. Plus, while you’re using an attachment like the (Costco) flexible hose extension, you’re certainly going to want both hands available. Heck, sometimes having both hands available while using something like the pet hair attachment can be nice, too (one to provide leverage at the brush head, one to hold the pillow you’re vacuuming, for example).
At the insanely high price (as far as cordless/stick vacs go), I expected to enjoy using this thing a lot more. It looks cool, but if what I really need is just to pick up cat litter and cat food, I can get a different vac that will be just as effective for 10-20% of this one’s price. If you DO buy this, at least wait until it’s on sale at Costco so you can get the extra attachments for no extra cost. You might also consider a refurbished DC35, which is essentially the same as the DC44 with a couple minutes less run time on the battery and without the pet hair powerhead, easily had for $199 or less (when Amazon has it in stock).
Even though I really didn’t want to get another cordless vacuum that didn’t use a lithium ion battery, I ended up using a 20% coupon at my local Bed Bath and Beyond and picking up the black version of the 14.4 volt Dustbuster for $32. It does great on the cat food and litter, stays on without holding down the button, and has decent battery life. That’s almost a 90% savings Dyson’s sale price. I wish it had a lithium battery, but that option more than doubles the price, and it’s just not worth it.
- Decent suction, especially on MAX
- Great battery life (as long as you’re realistic with your expectations)
- Don’t have to remove filter to empty dirt cup
- An attachment for practically everything
- It’s nice that a cordless vacuum comes with 2 different powered brush heads (although I can’t help but wonder if these could somehow be combined)
- Dirt cup is still nasty to empty (all that crud on your hands and back into the air)
- Powered floor tool is horrible at picking up anything substantial, e.g. cereal or pet food
- Attachments can be finicky and there are a lot of them to manage (base station doesn’t hold them all)
- Have to hold down the power button the entire time. I knew this going in, but the button is a little hard to press and uncomfortably shaped
- Price is wayyyy too high for a vacuum with such large drawbacks!
If you found my review helpful and wish to purchase this cookware from Amazon, please check out the Dyson cordless vac page. Alternatively, you can check out the much cheaper Dustbusters, including the lithium ion version, here. I get a small percentage from each sale I refer. And yes, I really do love Amazon. I do as much of my online shopping as possible from there. In fact, here’s my Amazon review for this product — please mark it as helpful!