Dyson V11 Absolute vs Dyson V7 Absolute: which cordless vac should you Absolutely buy?

Can Dyson's smaller, cheaper V7 Absolute steal some thunder from its state-of-the art sibling?

Dyson V11 Absolute vs Dyson V7 Absolute
(Image credit: Dyson)

Looking for a Dyson cordless vacuum cleaner but not sure whether to spend £599 on a bells-and-whistles V11 Absolute or its cheaper (and slightly older) £299 sibling, the V7 Absolute? You’ve come to the right spot because today we’re pitting these models against each other in a gloves-off tête-à-tête to see which one performs best and whether the V11 Absolute’s higher price is justified.

Take it away, Delvis…

Dyson V11 Absolute vs Dyson V7 Absolute: Design

These two vacs differ quite radically. For instance, when held vertically, the V11’s motor and dust housing is positioned in a straight line to create a smooth unobstructed airflow. Conversely, the V7 is like most cordless vacs and has its dustbin positioned horizontally. It also has a smaller bin (0.55-litres against the V11’s 0.76-litres), a less substantial filter system, a smaller capacity battery and a less powerful motor. 

The upshot it that the V7 is much lighter in the hand (it weighs just 2.32kgs against the V11’s much more substantial 3.01kgs) and you will come to praise this facet when using it in handheld mode, especially when cleaning above head height. Both models employ similar bin-emptying mechanisms which are a joy to use, though the V11 is marginally less, er, dusty.

Gtech AirRam MK2 vs Dyson V11 Absolute

The Dyson V11 Absolute sucks big time – but in a very good way

(Image credit: Dyson)

Dyson V11 Absolute vs Dyson V7 Absolute: Features

The V11 has all sorts of wizardry under its shell, including a Hyperdymium motor. No, we don’t know what that means either (nor do we care) but what we do know is that it runs at up to 125,000rpm and creates a whopping 185 Air Watts of suction – enough for absolutely any vacuuming task. By comparison, the V7’s older brushless V2 digital motor develops a more modest 100AW of suction power which, while substantially lower, is nevertheless still ample for all but the deepest pile carpet or car seat crevice.

The V11 comes with three power modes: Eco, Auto and Boost. Eco is fine for hard floors and gentle hand-held dusting duties, Auto features sensor-controlled suction power that increases and decreases depending on the type of flooring and Boost is for deep pile carpets and car cleaning. Naturally, each power mode has a bearing on battery consumption, but more on that later. Oh, and do not even attempt to play ‘adult games’ or pranks in Boost mode or it will likely end with an embarrassing visit to A&E.

The V7, by contrast, has just two power bands, normal and max. 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. 

Dyson V11 Absolute vs Dyson V7 Absolute: Tools for the task

Dyson V11 Absolute vs Dyson V7 Absolute

The Dyson V7 Absolute is a lightweight stalwart in handheld mode

(Image credit: Dyson)

Both systems come with a full gamut of tools for a wide range of cleaning tasks. The V11 ships with an unstoppable Torque Drive nylon/carbon brush head for both carpets and hard floors and a wide velvety roller brush for hard floors. It also comes with a mini motorised tool for sofas and awkward areas, a combination tool, crevice tool, soft dusting brush and a wand storage clip.

The V7 comes with a motorised Direct Drive brush head instead of a Torque Drive. Although Dyson says the Torque Drive head ‘provides 25% better performance’, truth is you probably won’t notice much difference because the Direct Drive appears to clean just as well. The V7 ships with the same assemblage of hand tools plus a bendy ‘Reach Under’ tool for getting deep under beds and sofas.

Dyson V11 Absolute vs Dyson V7 Absolute: The battery

Dyson V11 Absolute vs Vax ONEPWR Blade 4

The Dyson V11 Absolute has three levels of power and an excellent battery-management system

(Image credit: Dyson)

Big differences here. The V11’s battery is easily removable – just pull the latch and slide it out of its housing. You should reasonably expect to get about 60 minutes of use in Eco mode, 40 minutes in Auto and 15 minutes in Boost. These are all excellent figures that ensure complete cleaning of even large abodes on a single charge, and with no ‘range anxiety’ in the process.

The V7’s battery isn’t as readily removable though it can be changed by unscrewing it from the main unit. In terms of battery usage, this model runs it flat in about 30 minutes in normal (High) mode and an alarming 6 to 7 minutes in Max mode. This latter figure is poor by any standards so only use Max mode for quick spurts when necessary.

Dyson V11 Absolute vs Dyson V7 Absolute: Filtration

The V7 has a much more simplified filter system than the V11 though Dyson claims that it is ‘certified asthma and allergy friendly’. 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. Always be sure to thoroughly dry any filter before reinserting.

Dyson V11 Absolute vs Dyson V7 Absolute: Performance

Dyson V11 Absolute vs Dyson V7 Absolute

Dyson V11 Absolute

(Image credit: Dyson)

The Dyson V11 Absolute is a true all-rounder with excellent battery economy features, including a minute-by-minute countdown displayed on the rear of the filter holder. When used with the Torque Drive head, this vac performs immeasurably well on all surfaces, even deeper pile carpet. It also cleans right to the edge. While the soft roller brush performs superbly well on wood, tile and stone flooring, it isn’t suitable for carpet so either stick with the Torque Drive for everything or remember to swap over when it comes time to do carpets and rugs.

Dyson V11 Absolute vs Dyson V7 Absolute

Dyson V7 Absolute

(Image credit: Dyson)

For its size and much lower price, the V7 is also a commendable performer on all surfaces but it’s not quite up there with the V11 for suction power. It also missed some scattered debris that the V11 had no issue with. The biggest problem with the V7 is its disappointing battery consumption. Thirty minutes is below the 40 minute average for a cordless vac so it probably won’t be suitable for homes with more than two bedrooms – unless you don’t mind putting it back on a two-hour charge. The Max setting is especially disappointing given that it runs out of puff after about seven minutes.

Nevertheless, when it comes to handheld mode, the V7 trounces the V11 for weight, practicality and efficiency – as long as you only use Max mode sparingly. This model is simply better suited for cleaning the car, dusting shelves and removing cobwebs. Crucially, you can hold it in the air for much longer periods of time.

Dyson V11 Absolute vs Dyson V7 Absolute: Verdict

If you have a large home with two or more bedrooms, a conservatory and one or two living rooms, then the V11 Absolute will suit you down to a T. This cordless stick vac is simply matchless on all floor surfaces. Yes, it feels quite large and weighty in handheld mode, but it performs every task you throw in its path with consummate aplomb. Its battery consumption, too, is pretty impressive, especially when used in Auto mode.

On the other hand, the V7 Absolute costs half the price of the V11 and it’s much nicer to use in handheld mode. Although its floor performance isn’t quite up to the V11’s benchmark level, it’s still well worth a punt if you have a smaller home with two bedrooms or fewer. However, bear in mind that you will only get about 30 minutes of running time out of each charge – and just six minutes if using the far more powerful Max mode. 

Money no object? Get the V11 Absolute – you won’t be disappointed. But if you’re on a tighter budget and have your heart set on a Dyson, then the V7 Absolute will certainly suffice. Just be mindful that there are other brilliant budget vacs out there – the Vax ONEPWR Blade 4 and Gtech AirRam MK2 (standard or K9), for instance – that may be even more suitable for your requirements.

Looking for some other Dyson V11 Absolute comparisons? 

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Dyson V11 Absolute vs Vax ONEPWR Blade 4

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Derek Adams

Derek (aka Delbert, Delvis, Delphinium, Delboy etc) specialises in home and outdoor wares, from coffee machines, white appliances and vacs to drones, garden gear and BBQs. He has been writing for more years than anyone can remember, starting at the legendary Time Out magazine – the original, London version – on a typewriter! He now writes for T3 between playing drums with his bandmates in Red Box (redboxmusic).