We currently recommend the entry-level Dyson V8 series, as well as the top-tier Dyson V15 series, which has consistently outcleaned every other cordless stick vacuum we’ve tried.
However, the new Dyson V12 Detect Slim, released earlier this year, offers many of the features we love on the V15 for about $150 less. After spending about eight hours testing the V12 on a mix of rugs, tiles, vinyl floors, and hardwood floors—generously covered with cat and bunny fur, kitty litter, and bunny poop—we’ve concluded that the V12 Detect Slim is worth considering as an alternative to the V15, especially if you can find it for $500 or less.
Dyson V12 Detect Slim
This new cordless vacuum has many of the same clever features as the pricier V15, such as a laser headlight, a particle counter, and auto-adjusting suction. And it’s more comfortable to use.
We’ll be conducting more testing, and we’ll share our full impressions of the V12 and other new cordless stick vacuums soon. In the meantime, here’s everything we like about the V12 Detect Slim—and everything we don’t.
Dyson finally ditched the trigger
We have long complained about the discomfort of Dyson’s trigger-style switches, which you have to squeeze while vacuuming—it’s particularly bothersome if you have hand or wrist pain. The V12 trades that uncomfortable feature for a simple on/off button. You are now free to switch hands while navigating around table legs and litter boxes! This is a huge advantage over the V8 and V15 series.
It’s light and nimble
At 5.2 pounds, the V12 is skinnier and slightly lighter than the V8, our current runner-up, and much lighter than the V15 Detect, which weighs 6.8 pounds. Like the V15’s motor, the V12’s is positioned vertically on top of the stick (as opposed to perpendicular to it, as on the V8). This design helps the V12 feel more balanced and easier to maneuver.
|Model||V8 Absolute||V12 Detect Slim||V12 Detect Slim Extra||V15 Detect|
|Weight||5.5 pounds||5.2 pounds||5.2 pounds||6.8 pounds|
|Run time||40 minutes||60 minutes||60 minutes||60 minutes|
|Charge time||5 hours||4 hours||3.5 hours||4.5 hours|
|Bin capacity||0.14 gallon||0.1 gallon||0.1 gallon||0.2 gallon|
|Included tools||Detangling Motorbar cleaner head, Fluffy cleaner head, crevice tool, hair screw tool, combination tool, up-top adapter, stubborn dirt brush, mattress tool||Detangling Motorbar cleaner head, Laser Slim Fluffy cleaner head, crevice tool, hair screw tool, combination tool, wand clip||Detangling Motorbar cleaner head, Laser Slim Fluffy cleaner head, awkward gap tool, wand clip, hair screw tool, combination tool, extension hose, scratch-free dusting brush||Torque drive cleaner head, Laser Slim Fluffy cleaner head, combination|
Dyson V8 Absolute
The Dyson V8 is better than nearly all other cordless vacuums (besides other Dysons) at deep-cleaning rugs. Though the trigger-style power switch and built-in battery can be frustrating for some people, this vacuum has had excellent reviews from owners over many years. Try to wait for a sale, when it costs less than $400.
*At the time of publishing, the price was $280.
Dyson V15 Detect
If you want a cordless vacuum that fully replaces a plug-in, a high-end Dyson is as close as it gets. The Dyson V15 is actually better than lots of plug-in vacuums at cleaning rugs. Owners love the auto-adjusting suction.
A laser and display that show debris
Do you need a laser on your vacuum? Probably not, but as we note in our guide, in typical Dyson fashion the laser is part gimmick and part actual innovation. The V12’s green laser headlight, which illuminates your path and helps reveal dirt and debris, is a bit less powerful than that of the much pricier V15. But we found that it’s still bright enough to reveal dust in hard-to-see areas.
Although the laser struggled to detect dirt on patterned vinyl flooring, it did come in handy in dimly lit areas such as beneath tables, on dark hardwood floors, and on tiles between the sink and tub. You might be surprised, and slightly grossed out, by the amount of dust and hair that it illuminates, not to mention hidden stains that you’ll wish you could unsee.
Like the V15, the V12 features an LCD screen with a particle counter, which estimates the size and type of particles the vacuum has sucked up. It will tell you, depending on particle size, whether you live in a pollen-, skin-flake-, dust-mite- or flea-ridden home. (My house? All of the above!) But all jokes aside, is there anything you can actually do with this information? Not really, aside from wallowing in how gross the world is. The only practical feature on the LCD screen is the run-time countdown, so you can race against the clock to make your little corner of the world a cleaner place.