Dyson Outsize review: The stick vacuum big enough for a family home

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Stick vacuums are the ultimate cleaning toys. Their lightweight and cord-free design mean you can dash around the house completely unattached and uninterrupted, that is until the fun comes to an end when the battery dies halfway through the job.

While excellent for apartments and small spaces, stick vacuums have never really passed muster on a full-size house, something the geniuses at Dyson set out to remedy with their latest models, the Outsize Total Clean and V11 Outsize Pro.

These bad boys are made to muscle out the corded vacuum in your family home, with a significantly larger bin and cleaning head when compared to the other Dyson stick vacuums, as well as a longer run time.

Unsurprisingly, they also come with a more expensive price tag, with the Outsize Total Clean - previously known as the Dyson V11 Outsize - priced at $1,299, and the V11 Outsize Pro setting you back $1,349, however the latter is currently on sale. 

Dyson sale: $200 off stick vacuums

Dyson is currently wiping $200 off the V11 Outsize Pro which is reduced to $1,149, while the much earlier V7 cord-free model is also currently on sale, down from $599 to $399.

woman using the Dyson V11 Outsize Pro stick vacuum
The Dyson V11 Outsize stick vacuum is currently on sale in Australia with $250 wiped from the price. It's the same as the Outsize Total Clean but comes with more detachable heads excluding the new hair screw tool. Photo: Dyson

Catch.com is also discounting the Dyson Outsize Total Clean, formerly known as the V11 Outsize, by $200, so it's down to $1,099.

Navigating your way around the different Dyson stick vacuums can be a little confusing at first, but the Outsize and V11 models are the latest releases, followed by the V10, V8 and V7. 

The two Outsize models sit at the top of the price range because they're supersized versions of the other V11 vacuums, specifically designed to take on larger spaces.

So, is the Dyson Outsize worth it?

I gave the Outsize Total Clean a test run to find out, if you’re looking for the short answer, I’ve summarised the main points here, or read on for a more in-depth review.

  • The Outsize has a run time long enough to clean the average Aussie family home in one go, but if you want it to go even longer, you can purchase a separate click-in battery to get up to one hour and 20 minutes out of your vacuum in a single charge

  • It’s got a massive bin and cleaning head designed for large spaces, and while heavier than previous Dyson models, isn't unwieldy

  • It’s smart enough to sense when you move from hard floors to carpets and adjusts its suction power accordingly so it can get in and suck up all the hidden dust in your carpet

  • It’s actually really quiet for a vacuum, even quieter than the V10 which is the next model down

  • The Outsize Total Clean comes with a new ‘anti-tangle hair screw tool’ specifically designed to deep clean pet beds and suck up long human hair without having it tangle around the brush head

  • The V11 Outsize doesn't include the 'anti-tangle hair screw tool' but comes with more interchangeable heads than the Total Clean

The Dyson Outsize Total Clean stick vacuum laying down next to a Dyson v10 absolute plus stick vacuum to compare the sizes
The Dyson Outsize is a serious stick vacuum for a family home, here it is (above) compared to my V10 (below). It has a much larger bin and the multi purpose cleaning head is significantly longer. Photo: Yahoo Lifestyle

Is the run time really over an hour?

One of the major selling points is the machine’s run time, which is said to be up to one hour and 20 minutes.

The ‘up to’ is key here because to get that much out of the Outsize, you need to be using it on eco mode, (the least powerful of the three setting options it has) on hardwood floors, (which require less battery power than carpets) and swap out the battery for a separately sold back up battery pack.

That said, even without doing those things, the run time leaves little to be desired. Unless you live in a Chris Hemsworth-style mega mansion or have a fully carpeted house, you definitely don’t need an hour and 20 minutes to vacuum your home with a stick vacuum, especially considering all the time and energy you save not plugging and unplugging it from the socket, or dragging a heavy machine upstairs.

the top view of a dyson outsize showing the remaining run time in minutes and the three power modes
This button on the top of the vacuum lets you swap between three power modes; eco, auto and boost. The remaining run time adjusts depending on which mode you're using and whether you're vacuuming hard floors or carpets, as the latter requires more suction power and therefore gives you an overall shorter run time. Photo: Dyson

The run time without the separately sold replaceable battery, is 45 minutes to an hour on hard floors, and about half that if you’re only using it on carpet. I used the Outsize to clean my mum’s three bedroom townhouse that’s completely carpeted upstairs, my own two bedroom apartment (floorboards with carpeted bedrooms), and my car, in just one charge, and I still had a few minutes battery to spare.

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Just like the V11 models, the Outsize will tell you exactly how many minutes you’ve got left depending on which of the three settings you’re using and what surface you’re cleaning. You’ll get the maximum time while vacuuming on eco mode, but even using the auto setting, which I preferred, you get a generous 45 minutes on hard floors.

The third, and most powerful, setting is boost mode, and you’ll get a shorter run time when using this. 

I’ve yet to find a reason to switch from auto to boost mode, I deep cleaned our carpets and a dog bed using the auto mode and was shocked and disgusted by the amount of dust and hair collected in the bin afterwards. When I tried to swap to boost mode on some surfaces such as a thick rug, I found it was too powerful and wasn't letting me move the vacuum along.

Close up photo of the dust bin of a Dyson Outsize stick vacuum full of dirt after deep cleaning carpet and a pet bed
This is the bin after cleaning three carpeted rooms, a carpeted hallway and staircase, a thick rug and a pet bed - note the dense layer of dust at the bottom. The shocking thing is that the house had been vacuumed a week prior with an old Dyson V7 stick vacuum. Photo: Yahoo Lifestyle

It’s big but not too big

This model is a far cry from the lithe stick Dysons of the early days with their pea sized bins.

The Outsize’s bin is 1.9L - compared to the tiny 0.5L bin on the V7 - and is specifically designed to cater for a family home, however it's just as easily emptied into your rubbish with the same slide and release mechanism that the models have.

The all-purpose, High Torque XL cleaner head is also significantly larger than the one that comes with the other V11, V10, V8 and V7 models, meaning it covers more floor space in less time.

It’s also got this crazy inbuilt technology only available in the V11 and Outsize series, that senses when you move from hard floors to carpets, and adjusts the suction power accordingly.

I asked a Dyson engineer about this magic, and they said it’s thanks to a “Dynamic Load Sensor system, which is unique to the High Torque cleaner head”.

“It can intelligently detect brush bar resistance and automatically communicates with the motor and batteries’ microprocessors to change the suction power between floor types,” they said, “This enables carpets to be deep cleaned and runtime to be extended on hard floors.”

The other thing to note is that it’s only this intelligent, multi-purpose head that’s supersized - the fluffy, floorboard-specific head that comes with the Outsize is the same size as the one in the other models.

side by side photo of the bin on a Dyson V11 stick vacuum and the Dyson Outsize Total Clean and Dyson V11 Outsize Pro stick vacuum
Left is the bin on a standard V11 and right is the 1.9L bin on the Outsize Total Clean and V11 Outsize Pro. Photo: Dyson

Another important point in terms of size is the weight of this machine. At 3.56kg, the Outsize is half a kilo heavier than the standard sized V11 Absolute Extra and Complete Pro, and is almost a kilo heavier than the V10 Cyclone, but it isn’t unwieldy or difficult to use because of that.

It’s actually really light when you compare it to a standard corded vacuum, with Dyson’s corded big ball Cinetic Animal vacuum weighing in at a much more hefty 7.64kg.

The difference between the Outsize Total Clean and the V11 Outsize

The Dyson V11 Outsize Pro and the Dyson Outsize Total Clean are essentially the same vacuum with different accessories, with the major difference being that the Total Clean comes with fewer heads but includes a new anti tangle hair screw tool that isn’t currently available with any other Dyson.

So, what’s so special about this new tool? Well, it promises to eliminate the need to pull clumps of hair from the brush head, no matter how long or how thick the hair, be it human or of the pet variety.

It uses a conical brush bar that spirals hair off and into the bin without getting stuck in the head, with a Dyson engineer telling me it was “designed with the knowledge that human and pet hair have natural oils that stick to dust, creating matted balls of dust in your home. When hair is spun, it naturally tightens and therefore gets stuck on traditional brush bars, instead of going into the vacuum bin, this causes blockages and is messy and frustrating to deal with.”

a side by side photo of the anti tangle hair screw tool that comes with the Outsize Total Clean, and the equivalent tool that comes with the V11 Outsize Pro and other V-series Dyson stick vacuums
Left is the new anti tangle hair screw tool and right is the equivalent tool that comes with the V11 Outsize Pro and other V-series Dyson stick vacuums. Photo: Yahoo Lifestyle

“Inspired by the Archimedes screw – a spiral tube hoisted at an angle used in Ancient Egypt to lift water from the Nile – the cantilevered, conical brush bar encourages hair to ‘migrate’ and be sucked into the bin through a single airway," they explained.

In the few weeks I’ve been testing it, I’ve used it to pick up dog hair from a Maltese Shih Tzu and my own, shoulder-length hair from the bathroom, with no complaints so far.

Unfortunately the tool is only currently available with the Outside Total Clean and can’t be sold separately in Australia, like it is in the US, despite being compatible with other Dyson stick vacuum models.

While it doesn't have this specific tool, the V11 Outsize Pro comes with more in the box, including a mini motorised tool (which is the older version of the hair screw tool), a mattress tool, flexi crevice tool and extension hose that isn't included with the Total Clean.

There's also a difference in colour, with the Total Clean being red, and the V11 Pro being gold.

The newest Dyson stick vacuum, coming soon to Australia

The Outsize is the biggest and most powerful of Dyson’s stick vacuums currently on the market, however later this month, they’ll be launching the Dyson V15 Detect, which is said to be even more intelligent, but it remains to be seen whether it'll be large enough to handle a standard Aussie home.

Here’s what Dyson has said about it so far:

“The Dyson V15 Detect is the most powerful, intelligent cordless vacuum, capable of detecting, removing, sizing and counting microscopic dust for scientific proof of a deep clean. Laser dust detection illuminates dust particles invisible to the eye, with a precisely-angled green laser integrated into a Fluffy cleaner head – so you don’t miss a thing.

“Acoustic Dust Sensing provides reassurance that you have deep cleaned. The LCD screen shows the size and number of particles, displaying real-time scientific proof of a deep clean by counting and measuring microscopic dust particles with a piezo sensor, which automatically increases suction power across different floors types and dust amounts.”

It’s been developed by a global team of 370 engineers and has a five-stage filtration system that promises to help create a ‘healthier’ home. I find it hard to see what’s left to be improved on from the V11 and Outsize models, but I guess we’ll find out when this new model launches in Australia on May 27.

Dyson provided this author with a vacuum for the purpose of this review

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