If the idea of turning your next house cleaning session into a rave sounds like a good time, then boy do we have a vacuum for you.
The Dyson V15 Detect is one of Dyson’s latest cordless vacuum models, and arguably, its most satisfying ever. That’s because an unofficial alternate name for the V15 Detect is the “Dyson laser vacuum.” Yep, it comes with a freaking laser.
The laser illuminates dust and other particles you can’t see with your naked eye — and it actually really works. Every time I’ve attacked my floors with the V15, the green laser has revealed a disgusting amount of debris, making me reflect on the amount I apparently live in my own filth. The vacuum itself is powerful and efficient — going back over a spot I just vacuumed with the laser shows that the detritus is no longer there.
That’s not the V15’s only fun feature, though. While only one head gets the futuristic laser, the V15 comes with seven attachments in total (including another full-sized head), two of which contain an “anti-tangle comb” meant to keep hair strands from getting caught in the head. It also has an LCD screen on the top of the vacuum that displays the amount of dust particles of different sizes. Apparently, even vacuums are smart now.
The Dyson V15 Detect does what Dyson vacuums do, which is clean effectively with a sleek, powerful, easy-to-maneuver product. The anti-tangle heads have stood up to the tumbleweeds of hair I let accumulate in my house — for purposes of the test, I swear! The laser makes me disgusted, and then satisfyingly confident that my floors are dust-free. Cleaning hardwood and carpet, emptying the chamber, charging, and switching between attachments are all intuitive and truly satisfying.
But some of the flashiest aspects fall just a bit short. For one, you can really only see the laser if it’s nighttime, and best of all, if you have all of your lights off. Not the most practical! Though still definitely fun.
Then there’s the LCD screen. It’s cool in theory, but the novelty of quantifying my clean wore off pretty quickly, especially since there isn’t a way to track cleans over time. Eventually, the numbers lost all meaning.
Except for the biggest number of all, which is the price. The base model of the V15 costs $699.99, while the V15 Detect+, which comes with HEPA filtration, is $749.99. But honestly, for the gratification that an evening of laser vacuuming delivers, it might be worth it.
Okay, let’s talk about the freaking laser beam
Did Dr. Evil design this vacuum? If so, bravo. Because if there’s one feature that can get you excited about vacuuming, it’s a laser.
The V15 comes with two full-sized heads. The first is the “Laser Slim Fluffy” head, which is specifically designed for hardwood floors. Obviously, this is the one that comes with the laser.
The laser’s role is simply to show you, under a super-bright spotlight, the filth you live with that you can’t see. It doesn’t actually play a role in the cleaning, except perhaps to make sure you get every last particle while going over your floors. It’s green simply because Dyson said it illuminates the stuff on your floor best.
The laser’s role is simply to show you, under a super-bright spotlight, the filth you live with that you can’t see.
And it works. I took a photo of my living room floor, which is gray vinyl. I could not see any dust or hair. Sure, these are forgiving floors, but I can usually tell when it’s time to vacuum.
Then I shined the laser on it. The Horror. The absolute gross, icky, shameful horror. There was hair, dust, unidentified objects. I have a dog who sheds. But I had no idea she was doing so much damage.
This story has a happy ending folks. Going over the spot with the vacuum just once got rid of most of the visible debris. And the laser has the serious upside of increasing your feeling of tangible accomplishment after vacuuming. Usually, when I vacuum, it’s a mindless task where I wonder if I’ve actually done anything. But getting to see the before and after under the illuminated microscope probably makes me do a better job, and enjoy the experience more.
Just one teeny, tiny downside to the laser vacuum: The light doesn’t really work during the day. The green laser just doesn’t stand up to sunlight. At night, with the lights on, it definitely does the job. But the optimal way to laser vacuum? Lights out, baby. Do it in the dark.
Anti-tangle actually works
My personal vacuum is a Dyson V7, and one of the most frustrating things about it is the strands of hair that get caught in the vacuum head bristles. When it all becomes too much and stops being an effective vacuum because of the blockage, I have to get in there with scissors.
So I was very excited about the V15’s “High Torque Cleaner Head,” which comes with an anti-tangle comb. This is the head you can use on carpet or rugs, and it has a large opening to suck up bigger pieces of debris. The comb has “56 polycarbonate teeth” that Dyson says “prevents tangling around the bristles, so hair is sucked into the bin.”
Essentially, the teeth and suction force the hair to one side so the strands go straight up to the bin, without going round and round the head and becoming a rat’s nest. Another attachment, the hair screw tool, also has this anti-tangle feature and is specifically designed for vacuuming areas where hair accumulates, like upholstery.
Please forgive the way I had to put this to the test. I let hair accumulate in my house for a couple weeks, in the bathroom and hallways and bedroom. There were fur-balls from my dog, rogue strands in the bathroom corners, general ick everywhere.
Then, I set the V15 on the mess. While some hair stuck to the outside of the vacuum head, I could not see any tangled or trapped strands in the head itself. While it’s hard to say how well the anti-tangle tech will work in the long term, it has remained hair-free after a few weeks of use on the carpets and rugs in my home. Hallelujah!
Its smart features are fun, but are they necessary?
While the laser and the anti-tangle comb are the main attractions for the V15, it also comes with some smart features that Dyson says makes it efficient, and lets users see that efficiency in action.
A piezoelectric sensor is able to very rapidly detect changes in pressure, and communicate those changes with electronic signals. One of those sensors comes on board with the V15. So as it’s vacuuming, it counts and understands the size of the particles it is sucking up.
There are two applications for this tech. The first is practical. Dyson says the V15 automatically adjusts its power output depending on the friction it’s encountering. So when it hits a big hairball, for example, it can juice the engine to suck that baby up. But if it’s just doing routine, semi-clean floors, it can operate with less power.
I wasn’t able to notice a difference. But the vacuum actually *sounds* different from my V7. It’s extremely reactive, sort of like a nice car that goes from zero to 60 faster than a sedan. And I have noticed that I don’t need to go back over spots the same way I do with my V7. I also have not had any issues with battery life after cleaning my whole home (it promises 60 minutes of battery life). And you can adjust the power settings yourself by clicking the button at the top and choosing Eco, Medium, or Boost.
The vacuum takes that piezo sensor data and actually displays it on an LCD screen, showing how many particles of different sizes you’ve vacuumed up. This was neat, at first, for the same reason as the laser. Quantifying those particles made me feel accomplished, and increased the satisfaction of the clean. But honestly, after the first few vacuums, I stopped paying attention to it. I think this would be cool if there was a companion app and a way to track your dust over time. But that’s not a reality yet.
One other great mechanical feature of the vacuum is the chamber. To empty my V7, I open the chamber and have to tap it to get all the debris out. I even go in there with a chopstick sometimes. It’s gross. But the V15 comes with the “point and shoot” system that was first introduced in the V10. It basically treats the chamber like a reverse push pop: you pop open the lid, and then a piece in the chamber pushes down on the debris all the way to the bottom of the bin, so it goes right in the trash. This isn’t a smart feature, per se, but it’s definitely a boon.
To Dyson, or not to Dyson?
Every Dyson product has one big con: The price. At $700, it’s many hundreds of dollars more expensive than other cordless stick vacuums. Outlets like Consumer Reports also recommend that a cordless stick vacuum be a supplement to a stand-up vacuum, which makes that price tag even harder to swallow.
I don’t think I need a second vacuum. My home is not huge, and I do not have a ton of carpet and rugs. But I can clean the whole house on one charge with the V15. The multiple heads mean I can attack any challenge, whether that’s a spill on a carpet or a dark bathroom corner.
The biggest pro is how much more fun the laser makes vacuuming. What’s the point of having a nice vacuum if you don’t use it regularly? Maybe the novelty of nighttime laser cleans will wear off over more months and years of use. But right now, vacuuming with the laser — at night, maybe while also listening to house music — is an activity my partner and I jump to do.
Bottom line: The V15 is an excellent vacuum cleaner with some fun toys that turn house cleaning into a party. Whether it’s worth the hefty price tag is up to you.