Dyson V8 Absolute review: a compact cordless vacuum cleaner

Suction like a wired machine, better battery life, and the greatest bin emptying mechanism EVER

T3 Platinum Award
T3 Verdict

One of the best cordless vacuums you can buy from Dyson, the Dyson V8 Absolute is great for many households. It's super light and compact, making it easier to maneuver round the house. Its cleaning is amazing, and it looks stylish, although its battery life could be better.

Reasons to buy
  • +

    Light and compact

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    Great cleaning on all surfaces

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    It's even pretty stylish

Reasons to avoid
  • -

    Battery life on max power

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    Quality still costs

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The Dyson V8 Absolute cordless vacuum cleaner, like the 360 Eye robot vacuum cleaner from the same brand, is not cheap. Unlike the 360 Eye, we unreservedly recommend the V8 Dyson cordless vacuum despite the £499.99 price tag.

Why so, you ask? In our review of its predecessor, the Dyson V6, we proclaimed it to be the King of the Cordless Vacs, but noted that it did have a few flaws. Well guess what? Dyson's only gone and fixed those flaws.

The result is not just the best cordless vacuum you can buy but, for many households, it'll just be The Best Vac (quite a lot of) Money Can Buy. (And with a Dyson deal to drop the price, it's increasingly more affordable.)

Dyson V8 Absolute: improvements over Dyson V6

Okay, so little things please little minds, and for all the other improvements made from the V6 to the V8, this film, which we think will probably not be distracting the BAFTA panel, is the most important, for us.

In every previous Dyson handheld, emptying the little bin involved flicking the dust, fluff and crap out with a chopstick or similar. No longer. The entire motor and filter rises majestically from the bin - incidentally, wiping the filter mesh clean as it goes - as the little trapdoor pops open. Everything falls out; you can now go back to eating with that chopstick. Or maybe not.

Dyson V8: cleaning power and battery life

This is another improvement over the V6 and perhaps the key one. Suction - in conjunction with the fanatastical roll call of cleaning heads for hard floors, carpet, miscellaneous surfaces, 'crevices' and upholstery - is now good enough to render corded vacuum cleaners redundant in many homes.

Perhaps not if your house is palatial and massive, or has acres of deep carpet (not that the V8 struggles with carpet at all) or you only clean it once per month. But for those in smaller houses, flats, and people who clean little and often, this is the only vac you'll need.

Depite the cleaning power being noticeably boosted over the V6, battery life is actually slightly better. On normal suckage setting, you get between 25 and 40 minutes of cleaning. On maximum, you get seven. Those figures are all higher than the V6.

We grant you that those times still don't sound amazingly lengthy, and it's certainly advisable to plug the Dyson V8 in to recharge after use. That's not a hardship, thanks to the space-economical wall dock that Dyson provides.

But then, ask yourself realistically how often you spend more than seven minutes vacuuming, let alone 40. Put it this way: I've never run out of juice whilst using it, other than when I've forgotten to leave it on charge.

Dyson V8 Absolute: other uses

The great thing about the V8 is that it's not just for floors. It's so light and easy to handle, with attachments to make it work as everything from a next-gen upright vacuum cleaner to a compact, car-type vac, that you can use it to suck dust off of pretty much any damn thing you come across.

It will do ceilings, shelves, sofas, curtains, worktops, cars, yachts, ornaments… On the lower speed setting, with the short, soft brush head I've even used it to remove stray follicles from my shirt and the back of my neck after a haircut.

The spongey head provided is great for general cleaning of hard floors and tiles, while the brush head does a great job on carpets. The other heads do everything else, while the long extender tube lets you get your clean on with harder to reach areas, as well as, obviously, the floor.

Dyson V8: verdict

It's been a long road to get the Dyson handheld to this point. The early models, starting with the DC16 all the way back in 2007, already looked good and did a job, but they were underpowered, short-lived and a bugger to maintain.

The V6 was approaching being the finished article but the V8 takes the handheld, cordless concept over the finishing line. Everything about it seems to have been (re) thought through, from the filters that you just pull out and rinse with water to the brilliant waste bin emptying mechanism to the vivid and exciting metallic orange/cobalt blue colour scheme (it's okay, there are more muted options).

At just shy of 500 quid, it's certainly not cheap. No sir. In fact it's more than all of Dyson's wired models, and the same as no fewer than five Henrys.

So what? For its versatility, always-available nature, its style and ease of use, this Dyson V8 is Absolutely worth the investment.

We can't say with total certainty that it'll last for years, but the last four Dyson handhelds we've had are all still working, in various new homes, so that inspires confidence in its potential longevity.

Want cheaper options?

Can't say I blame you. The V8 Animal is £449.99 and exactly the same as the V8 Absolute, except you don't get the spongey Soft Roller head for hard floors. The non-spongey head is perfectly adequate on hard floors, between you and me.

Meanwhile, the various versions of the older but still very good Dyson V6 can now be had for under £300.

Check out the best prices on the V8 below:

Duncan Bell

Duncan is the former lifestyle editor of T3 and has been writing about tech for almost 15 years. He has covered everything from smartphones to headphones, TV to AC and air fryers to the movies of James Bond and obscure anime. His current brief is everything to do with the home and kitchen, which is good because he is an excellent cook, if he says so himself. He also covers cycling and ebikes – like over-using italics, this is another passion of his. In his long and varied lifestyle-tech career he is one of the few people to have been a fitness editor despite being unfit and a cars editor for not one but two websites, despite being unable to drive. He also has about 400 vacuum cleaners, and is possibly the UK's leading expert on cordless vacuum cleaners, despite being decidedly messy. A cricket fan for over 30 years, he also recently become T3's cricket editor, writing about how to stream obscure T20 tournaments, and turning out some typically no-nonsense opinions on the world's top teams and players.

Before T3, Duncan was a music and film reviewer, worked for a magazine about gambling that employed a surprisingly large number of convicted criminals, and then a magazine called Bizarre that was essentially like a cross between Reddit and DeviantArt, before the invention of the internet. There was also a lengthy period where he essentially wrote all of T3 magazine every month for about 3 years. 

A broadcaster, raconteur and public speaker, Duncan used to be on telly loads, but an unfortunate incident put a stop to that, so he now largely contents himself with telling people, "I used to be on the TV, you know."