I recently got to test drive the new version of Dyson’s vacuum cleaner (the DC28 Animal) that’s specifically designed for pet owners.

Dyson engineers spent three years developing DC28 Animal with advanced Airmuscle technology. It combines three technologies: a powered cam, a pneumatic actuator, and a high-torque clutch – each precisely adjusting the cleaner head to thoroughly clean every floor surface. And, like all Dyson vacuums, it doesnt lose suction.

I’ve always coveted the Dyson, but we’ve been waiting for our Oreck to give out before buying another. The Oreck is a good vacuum, very lightweight, and we’ve been happy with it. But I’ve been yearning for a Dyson if for no other reason to eliminate the need for vacuum bags. We always seem to run out of them at the least opportune moments.

Before the Dyson arrived, I prepared by saving up a couple of typical cat cleaning problems, including cat hair that’s super-glued to furniture, and cat barf. I hoped these would provide an industrial strength test.

I’m not really set up to do a fair side-by-side comparison with the Oreck, so this review is based on my impressions of the Dyson vs. a solid scientific A-B test.

With that said, this is one incredibly powerful vacuum. It sucks nearly everything in a single pass. The cat hair on the furniture was history in about 30 seconds.

“Rocky’s Lair” is an old settee that we leave for the cats to sleep on, and our Tuxie, Rocky, sometimes lives on it for weeks at a time. We put down blankets, but Rocky’s fur finds its way onto the back.

This has always been hell to clean. Vacuuming doesn’t work. We’ve resorted to using a wet terrycloth, scrub brush, lint-roller and spot-vacuum combo that takes about 20 minutes and never gets quite all the hair. Here’s what it looks like pre-Dyson:

And here’s the post-Dyson shot. The Dyson not only removed the fur, but it did so in only a single pass. Bam! Gone! I could hardly believe my eyes:

Next challenge: cat barf. We always seem to have some on hand, so I put the Dyson to the test. Bye bye, barf, it was gone!

I didn’t expect to get any big revelations, though, when doing routine vacuuming. The house had been vacuumed thoroughly five days earlier: how much dirt could there be to pick up?

And indeed, when attacking everyday vacuuming tasks, it was hard at first to tell whether the Dyson performed significantly better than the Oreck. I could feel the powerful suction as I vacuumed the cat’s bedroom and the hallway, but I wasn’t sure how to tell if the Dyson was doing a better job… until I realized that the cyclonic dirt canister was full. Here’s the dirt sucked up from one small bedroom and a hallway (the dollar bill is only there for scale):

Pretty disgusting, eh?

It was apparent that, although our Oreck was good at sucking up surface dirt, there was a whole other universe of dirt living within the carpet that the Oreck hadn’t touched, and a lot of it was cat fur.

So it’s safe to say that Dyson doesn’t stop at surface dirt. Pacman-like, it gobbles every dirt molecule, dust mite and cat hair from deep within the carpet and padding. This is a big boon to allergy sufferers and asthmatics like me who willingly suffer a permanent case of the sniffles for the privilege of having cats in the home. In fact, Dyson upright vacuums meet or exceed standards for effectively removing allergen-containing dust from carpets and are the first to be certified “asthma & allergy friendly.”

We vacuum once or twice weekly, and change the Oreck bag once a month or so. I continued vacuuming the entire house, and had five canisters of dirt at the end of the cleaning… roughly the equivalent of about 1-1/4 Oreck bags. Subsequent vacuumings turned up less far less dirt, so I can only conclude that the first Dyson pass through the house got all the dirt the Oreck had failed to touch.

The only real quibble I have with the Dyson is that when I use the hose attachment, it’s a little uncomfortable from an ergonomic standpoint because the hose end offers a lot of resistance and doesn’t stretch out very far. I believe it’s a function of the newness and stiffness of the hose (or quite possibly, user error). It’s a very small quibble, though, and it would not stop me from buying the Dyson.

Also, if you’re petite or frail, keep in mind that this is one big vacuum (it weighs 20 lbs), and requires a bit of muscle to maneuver. This is the kind of vacuum that Tim Allen’s character on Home Improvement would love to own. I can practically hear him barking his approval.

BONUS POINTS:

  • The sound did not phase the cats. More power does not translate into more noise.
  • It arrived packed in a long narrow packing box that makes a purrfect cat tunnel AND the vacuum box, for a bonus cat tunnel.

We give it Five Stars.

DYSON DC28 ANIMAL UPRIGHT VACUUM CLEANER

Retail Price: $599.99 (Free shipping direct from Dyson)
Web: Dyson.com
Order by phone: 1-866-MY-DYSON

Specifications
Dimensions 42.1 in. x 13.5 in. x 14.3 in. (H x W x D)
Weight 20.61 lbs.
Suction power 245 AW
Bin capacity 0.61 gal