Dyson V12 Detect Slim review: the best compact Dyson to date, now available in the UK

Dyson V12 Detect is the laser-guided son of the V11 AND a more affordable sibling of the V15

T3 Platinum Award
Dyson V12 Detect Slim with Laser Slim Fluffy cleaning head
(Image credit: Dyson)
T3 Verdict

The Dyson V12 Detect Slim might have a smaller dustbin and less power than the V15 Detect, but that’s also what makes it more affordable than its laser-lit sibling. Even with that lower suction, the V12 Detect Slim can more than hold its own, and the notably cheaper price may help suck you in…

Reasons to buy
  • +

    More affordable than Dyson V15

  • +

    Lighter and easier to maneuver

  • +

    Offers most of the perks of the V15

Reasons to avoid
  • -

    Small bin

  • -

    Wouldn't you rather have a V15?

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The Dyson V12 Detect Slim was overshadowed by its headline-grabbing, more expensive V15 Detect sibling but it’s hard to dismiss this relatively more affordable alternative. The V12 Detect Slim has slightly lower suction power, compared to the V15 Detect, but our tests prove it can hold its own. 

Perhaps more significantly, it has way more suction power than Dyson's other compact vacs, the Dyson Micro and Dyson Omni-Glide. Where are they what you might consider 'backup' vacs, Dyson V12 is more like the only vac you'll need, if space is short.

Despite Iacking the dynamic suction of the V15 when using the High Torque cleaning head, and having a bin size more in line with its compact siblings, the V12 Detect Slim is still among the best cordless vacuum cleaners you can buy. Especially if your home is more hard floor than deep pile carpet, the Dyson V12 Detect Slim is a great choice. It's also the best way for less credit-worthy Dyson fans to grab a vacuum cleaner with a laser in it.

I think the Dyson V12 can easily compete with the best vacuum cleaners, even on its lowest power setting. If you read our Dyson V15 Detect review and picture that, but smaller, that's what you're getting with the V12.

Dyson V12 Detect Slim with Laser Slim Fluffy tool

(Image credit: Dyson)

Dyson V12 Detect Slim: price and availability

Dyson V12 Detect Slim initially went on sale only in Asia-Pacific markets such as Australia, New Zealand and Japan, but it has now hit Dyson's native UK. 

Dyson V12 will set you back AU$1,199 for the Total Clean model, and AU$1,249 for the Absolute Extra. In the UK, where it is now available, you have only one option, the Dyson V12 Detect Slim Absolute. It costs £529.99. In the USA the Dyson V12 Detect Slim Absolute will set you back $649.

Dyson V12 Detect Slim motor

(Image credit: Dyson)

Dyson V12 Detect Slim: design and build

At first glance it’s easy to mistake the V12 Detect Slim for the V15, especially if the new Laser Slim Fluffy head is attached to the tube, but one large red button on the barrel hiding the radial cyclones sticks out like a sore thumb. This is the power button, replacing the trigger that’s been a common feature across all Dyson handsticks. This, at least in my humble opinion, is a better design as keeping the trigger pressed throughout an entire cleaning session occasionally makes the wrist hurt, particularly when trying to turn the vacuum cleaner in different directions.

If you’ve used a Dyson handstick before, you’ll notice that the dust canister looks really small. And it is, with a volume of just 0.35L, it's the smallest bin on any 'full-size' Dyson cordless to date – the Micro and Omni-Glide are smaller. The titchy bin is perfectly streamlined with the rest of the barrel of the handheld unit, with only 11 radial cyclones under the casing, as compared to 14 in the V15.

The smaller bin and barrel means the V12 Detect Slim is lighter than the V15 Detect. Where the latter is about three kilos, the former is only a touch over two kilos – making it a lot easier to use handheld and maneuver around the floor. It’s also 3cm shorter.

Everything else about the V12 Detect Slim matches up with the V15 – the digital display is the same size, which offers a graphical representation of everything the vacuum is sucking up, thanks to a piezo sensor that 'listens' to the dirt – no, really. The removable battery pack is also present, as are the V15 star head: the Laser Slim Fluffy for hard floors, High Torque cleaning head for everywhere and the new Hair Screw Tool, which sucks up pet and human hair without entanglement.

Dyson V12 Detect Slim with Hair Screw Tool

(Image credit: Dyson)

Dyson V12 Detect Slim: battery life

As with the V15 and V11 models, there’s a maximum of 60 minutes of runtime on a single charge when using the V12. That’s in the battery-saving Eco mode – the lowest power setting – and using non-motorized tools. As you increase suction power, the battery life consequently decreases, and the remaining runtime is displayed on the digital display, counting down the seconds.

Even on the lowest suction setting, a Dyson is capable of doing a stand-up job, and 60 minutes is more than enough to get a two- or three-bedroom home cleaned. I always think of Dysons as being more for cleaning 'a little and often', and the 5-20 minutes you'll get with a mix of the Eco and Turbo modes is also more than enough for that.

If you still think that’s not sufficient, you can always pick up an extra battery pack from Dyson, keep that fully charged and swap out when necessary. To charge up from empty to full takes about 4.5 hours.

Dyson V12 Detect Slim power button

(Image credit: Dyson)

Dyson V12 Detect Slim: performance

When we were first introduced to the Dyson V12 Detect Slim, it was only mentioned in passing during the official announcement for the V15 Detect. All we were told was that it was slimmer and had less suction power compared to the flagship – which makes sense given that V15 is clearly 3 better than V12. However, if you think of it as a powered-up V11 – which was, itself, certainly no slouch – you soon realise that this is a very capable cordless vac.

Sure, it’s not as powerful as the V15, but the V12 Detect Slim has plenty of suction power, and will get hair and fur off your carpets, even on the lowest power setting. It will take a few back-and-forth moves if the job is a particularly nasty one, but you have a full 60 minutes to go over a carpeted floor if necessary. If it’s just an everyday clean, even on a high-pile carpet, Eco mode is more than sufficient.

On hard floors, well, it’s the same story as the V15. Even on the low setting, with the Laser Slim Fluffy attached, you can actually see the surface get cleaned up thanks to the built-in laser that highlights the dust on the floor. Of course, you can also see how much is getting sucked up on the display, although I didn't find myself looking at this much. 

One issue I did find with the Laser Slim Fluffy cleaning head is that its casters don’t move very smoothly when trying to change direction. It’s smoothest when going backward and forward. 

The High Torque cleaning head, on the other hand, moves marvellously on any surface – tile, rug, wood, thick carpet. As a result, I found myself using that more often than the Slim Fluffy. Strangely, the High Torque does not feature a laser, but I can live with that.

As we mentioned in our V15 Detect review, the Hair Screw Tool is the best attachment to come with the new Dysons. Its innovative design makes it a low-maintenance attachment perfect for beds – yours or your pets’ – and furniture. However, make sure you move away any cables you might have lying around as it happily rolled up a phone charging cable lying on a couch and sucked it straight into the canister during my testing.

Dyson claims that the V12, like the V15 flagship, has reactive suction power – increasing automatically when it senses dirtier areas. I didn’t encounter any such dynamism while testing the stick, not even when using the High Torque head on hard floors and carpets – something the V15 does. Perhaps the floors weren’t dirty enough – I am a bit of a clean freak – but the most important thing to note here is that whatever the V12 was tasked to do, it did remarkably well.

Dyson V12 Detect Slim cordless vacuum cleaner

(Image credit: Dyson)

Dyson V12 Detect Slim: verdict

If you want the best of the V15 in a slimmer form with a slimmer price tag, you really can't go wrong with this stick vac. The Dyson V12 Detect Slim wins big points for being a relatively affordable alternative to the more expensive flagship. Sure, you may find yourself emptying the small bin often, but is that too much of a chore?

Admittedly you can get a bigger bin for the same price in the V11 range, but you’re going to miss out on that fancy Laser Slim Fluffy tool that’s great for highlighting the dust on the floor. The Hair Screw Tool will work with the V11 too – a must-have if you’re a pet owner – but you’ll have to buy it separately. So right there is a great argument for getting the V12 Detect Slim if you’re looking for a great new vacuum cleaner.

Sharmishta Sarkar

Sharmishta is T3 sister site TechRadar's Managing Editor for APAC, and contributes to T3 on occasion, particularly if any local Aussie product testing is needed. She's a keen photographer, managing Digital Camera World for the APAC region, and also helps produce two of Future's photography magazines in Australia. She loves trying to find ways and means to make her home (and life) smarter and, when she's got time to herself, she can usually be found with her nose buried in a good book... erm, ereader.