Can’t afford the all-conquering Dyson v11 Absolute or even its marginally cheaper siblings, the V10 and V8? Fear not, because Dyson’s starter model, the V7 Absolute, is a cracker in so respects, not least for its superiority when it comes to waving it around the home in handheld mode.
No, it's not as good at floor cleaning as the V11 – read our Dyson V11 review for more on that – but its much more compact, and so considerably better for doing shelves, spills and the boot of your car. The V7 is essentially a cheaper, less powerful version of the Dyson V8 Absolute. Which is fine for most users, because it is still powerful enough to lap up most handheld duties, has same usual wealth of Dyson attachments, and you save a bit of money. It also looks an awful lot like the V8, so nobody will know you have skimped a little. In short it's one of the best cordless vacuum cleaners you can buy, in its sub-£300/$300 price bracket.
Want to find out more? You’ve come to right place because we’ve dug the little v7 Absolute out of the cupboard to give it a belated run through and tell you why this little sucker is one of the best mid-priced cordless vacs on the market.
Dyson V7 Absolute review: Design
Manufactured from high-grade injection moulded plastics that are much stronger than first glance suggests, Dyson vacs simply look the business. As is the case with most stick vac models in the Dyson range, the v7 Absolute is distinguished by the colour of its main suction tube, in this case an eye-catching orangey gold.
The Dyson v7 Absolute is of the stick variety so it can’t stand up on its own. This isn’t a deal breaker by any means though it is a bit of a faff to store away unless you mount the supplied docking station to the wall.
Unlike its larger brethren, the v11 and v10, the v7 Absolute has its 0.55-litre dustbin positioned horizontally when viewed in an upright position. Apparently the in-line design of the v10 and v11’s dust collectors produces a straighter airflow, but this writer’s not sure how much of a difference this makes to their performance. What I do know is that the v7 is much lighter in the hand than the v11 (it weighs just 2.32kgs) and is therefore easier to wave round when in handheld mode. Put another way, it feels less cumbersome when cleaning tight areas like down the side of the car seats or holding it in the air to clean cobwebs off the ceiling.
Dyson V7 Absolute review: Tools for the task
The V7 comes with an excellent assortment of tools for every household task. Whether it’s carpet, hard floor, shelves, stairs, sofas or pet beds, this multifaceted stalwart has it covered. The motorised Direct Drive is the head of choice for the majority of floor tasks because it’s fitted with alternate rows of carbon and nylon bristles that dig deep into thicker pile carpets and rugs, lifting anything that lurks beneath the surface with unswerving efficiency. And mostly right to the very edge. Although the Direct Drive is equally adept on hard floors, your best bet in this instance is to fit the accompanying motorised soft roller head, which buffs wooden and tiled flooring as it sweeps.
When it comes to using it as a handheld vac, the v7 isn’t short of helpers. The clever combination tool is perfect for most handheld duties – sweeping the skirting boards, cleaning the car, that kind of thing – while the soft dusting brush is perfect for lower-powered shelf care. Got pets or need a small, efficient tool for doing the car seats? That’ll be the quick-release mini Motorhead tool. This little boy is superb at collecting pet hair from beds and it makes a fair fist of dealing with hairy car seats of the velour variety. Since the v7’s main hand unit is quite tall, Dyson has also seen fit to include a clever articulating Reach Under attachment that allows the user to vacuum under beds and shallow furnishings without having to crouch. A simple crevice tool completes a tidy and undeniably useful package. Now all you need is a bag to store them all.
Dyson V7 Absolute review: Bins & filters
We love Dyson’s bin emptying systems, partly because they’re extremely efficient but also because they’re tactfully mechanical, like ejecting a shell from a shotgun, or something like that.
This model doesn’t incorporate the v11’s all-conquering system of levers and latches but it’s still a hoot to use. Simply pull up the red tab and the airflow housing disengages from the dust collector while a lid below automatically opens to let out all the crap its collected. It works brilliantly every time, even when filled with clingy pet hair.
Where the V11’s filter system comprises a large, washable filter assembly that is said to capture '99.97% of particles as small as 0.3 microns’, the V7’s is more like a slim spongy tube that you pull out and run under the tap, or whack against something outside if you’re mid clean. If rinsing, always be sure to thoroughly dry the filter before reinserting.
Dyson V7 Absolute review: Battery
Battery consumption is one of the key ingredients to look out for when sourcing a cordless vac and, although this model isn’t too bad, it still performs a little below average. In fact it runs flat in about 30 minutes in normal (High) mode and just 6 minutes in Max mode. This latter figure is poor by any standards so only use Max mode for quick spurts when necessary.
The V7 Absolute’s battery is screwed into its housing though it can be removed for replacement using a slim Philips screwdriver. This is something you may need to do a few years down the line if the battery starts showing signs of not holding as long a charge. On the plus side, the battery system is ‘fade free’, so it will go on providing full suction power right to the bottom of the tank.
Dyson V7 Absolute review: Performance
Where the v11 and v10 boast three power levels – including an automatic mode that adjusts suction power according to the floor surface – this model has just two. Normal is equivalent to just above Auto on the V11 and is a good settings for hard floors. The Max mode is nearer the V11’s Boost setting but it chews battery reserves quickly, like six minutes quickly.
For its size and keen price, the v7 is a commendable performer on all surfaces. It’s a doddle to push around and it steers like a rally driver on a tight, twisty country road. Yes, the battery will give up the ghost after about 30 minutes in High mode but in the real world this isn’t actually too bad. Indeed, the only user it’s not very suitable for is someone with more than two bedrooms and two living rooms. For flat dwellers it’s a shoo-in.
Handheld mode is this vac’s pièce de résistance – it’s just so easy to pick up and play. Just be sure to keep use of the Max button to a bare minimum or you may need to recharge mid session.
Dyson V7 Absolute review: Verdict
If you can’t afford the Dyson v11 (from £499), the v10 (from £399) or even the v8 (from £349), then we have no qualms in recommending this cracking cordless stick. For a shade under £300, it performs like a trouper, is light in the hand and is generally a joy to use.