Welcome to T3's review of the new Dyson Gen5Detect, a beast of a cordless stick vacuum that outperforms everything in our current guide to the best cordless stick vacuums.
Dyson is no stranger to quick turnarounds so it doesn’t come as a surprise that only a year elapsed between the 2021 launch of its V15 Detect – a stick vacuum that we heaped a million virtues upon – and this newer flagship model which was officially unveiled in May 2022.
Like the current V15 Detect, one of this model’s biggest USPs is the laser-equipped hard floor head that illuminates every spec of dust in its path. Unlike the V15, this model has a more powerful motor capable of sucking up the entire contents of a lounge – including the furnishings – and a full HEPA filter that eradicates all particles down to a virus-sized 01.microns. It’s also the first Dyson vacuum to not have an on/off trigger and the first to feature a built-in crevice tool.
Lot’s of new stuff to consider then, but is it that much better than the cheaper V15 Detect?
Dyson Gen5detect review: price and availability
The Dyson Gen5Detect is available in two colour schemes – Prussian Blue/Rich Copper and Iron /Purple – and retails at £849.99. You can purchase it directly from Dyson or John Lewis & Partners, Argos and AO.
Dyson Gen5detect review: Design
For the first time in Dyson history, the company’s designers have done away with a trigger and replaced it with an on/off button on the rear. This is a major bonus that you will almost certainly come to appreciate when using it. It means you won’t inadvertently turn it on when carrying it around or while emptying its 0.77-litre bin, you won’t have to constantly bend the index finger, and your fingers won’t get sore as a result of having a plastic separator rubbing against them. In fact, the area occupied by the fingers is now just one long smooth unimpeded handle with a slightly cushioned top section for the hand’s soft area above and between the thumb and index finger. As a result, it feels more natural in the hand and a lot more comfortable. But it’s still not perfect.
And this brings me to the overall design ethos of every Dyson stick vac on the market. For me, the perfect stick vac is one I can use with a straight, relaxed arm and a pendulum action that requires only moderate muscle power. As a result, I’ve had a good think about which muscle groups are used when I use a Dyson like the V15 Detect or Gen5detect and it’s mostly the shoulder, forearm and especially the wrist.
While it’s not a major issue, I personally think the ergonomics could be radically improved if the whole package was turned on its head (ie upside down) with just a rounded multi-grip handle on top and the motor housing, cyclones, dustbin and battery beneath – a bit like the Miele Triflex and most Roidmi and Vax vacs. This would lower the centre of gravity and allow one to vacuum with a straight arm using a back-and-forth pendulum action which would produce far less fatigue on the shoulder, forearm and especially the wrist and top of the hand that currently rubs against the Dyson’s clunky filter housing. I’ve actually tried this concept by cack-handedly holding the Gen5 upside down and I sense that it would feel much more comfortable and less tiring when used for longer periods in the pile. But what do I know?
Dyson Gen5detect review: Power
I honestly don’t think there’s a cordless vacuum anywhere that can compete with this beast for raw suction power. I haven’t a clue what an air watt is – nor do I care – but this one has 262 watts of air ramming through its cyclones, developing a level of suction strong enough to suck carpet off the floor.
But do we actually need this much suction power when the brush head in Auto mode sticks to the carpet and the brush roller stops spinning? Sure, you can get around this on most medium-pile carpets by opening the air vent on the front of the roller head but if using the Gen5 on deeper pile carpet you will most definitely need to lower the power from Auto to Eco for a more effortless clean. To date I’ve used the Gen5 on all types of flooring – from hard to medium to deep pile – and it’s performed impeccably well in all disciplines.
In the vast majority of cases, you will use this vac in Auto mode which automatically ramps up the power whenever the brush head’s front sensors detect more dirt on the floor. Auto mode works brilliantly on all hard floors, especially if used in conjunction with the softer laser-equipped Fluffy Optic cleaning head.
Although you’ll hardly ever use it, the Gen5 also comes with a Boost mode which unleashes the full power of the newly designed motor – 280AW, according to Dyson. This is the mode to use to clean out the car, the edges of a carpet, filthy corners of a room or down the back of the sofa.
Dyson Gen5detect review: accessories
The Gen5detect comes with two main cleaning heads, plus an amazing anti-tangle Hair Screw tool for removing hair from pet beds, fabric sofas and carpeted stairs. Most cordless vacs are fitted with LED headlights and they’re very useful if vacuuming in darker areas. However, no LED equipped stick vac can hold a candle to this model’s front-mounted laser beam which highlights every speck of dust in its path. It is truly a remarkable innovation that will revolutionise the way you clean your hard floors.
However, the laser is only fitted to the fluffy hard floor head and not the main Digital Motorbar head which cleans both hard floors and carpets while detangling any hair it collects – it’s an absolute Trojan at collecting pet hair. The fact that this single head performs all floor duties with such aplomb makes me wonder why manufacturers insist on providing different floor heads when just one will do. Either way, it would be good to see Dyson also equipping the Motorbar head with a laser detector so we can dispense with the fluffy head altogether.
Now here’s a real coup. When you press the big red button on the suction tube to remove it, a crevice tool with integral brush head magically appears. This cracking innovation speeds up the whole process of switching between stick and handheld. In fact it’s stuff like this that keeps me coming back to Dyson.
The main visible difference between this model and its sibling the V15 that I have resting next to it is that the new Gen5’s improved filter housing is noticeably wider than its extra centimetre in diameter suggests. However, it’s what goes on beneath the filter’s Prussian Blue livery that really pulls out all the stops. According to the blurb, the Gen5 is equipped with a HEPA³ filter capable of trapping ’99.9% of viruses’ or particles as small as 0.1 microns, and that’s a major plus for allergy sufferers – and hypochondriacs.
The Dyson Gen5detect’s removable battery housing is longer than the V15s – 4.5cm to be precise – and this is probably why the new model weighs 400 grams more than the V15, which is something you might notice, especially when it’s used in hand-held mode. On the plus side, this new larger battery will now provide 70 minutes worth of vacuuming oomph as opposed to the V15’s 60 minutes.
Dyson Gen5detect review: detailed dirt statistics
If you like tech that gives you real-time feedback, you will love the Gen5detect’s improved rear-mounted LCD monitor which now gives you accurate stats on everything that’s swallowed. The display is divided into four colour-coded bars – microscopic, fine, medium and course – that move up and down independently as you clean. No, I don’t know of anyone who stares at a display while they clean the floor but I guess some users will find it useful. Along with real-time stats, the LCD monitor also displays the remaining run time in minutes and seconds.
Dyson Gen5detect review: Verdict
Taking the Dyson Gen5detect’s improved filtration process, increased suction power, marginally better running time and integrated crevice tool out of the equation, I’m still not sure there are enough improvements to warrant spending about £150 more than the lighter V15 Detect, which has more than enough power in the suction department and the same amazing laser-powered dust detection. However, if you like the idea of a premium Dyson vac that doesn’t use a tirgger system to turn it on, the Gen5Detect is clearly the model for you.