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Dyson V8 Absolute vs. Dyson V6 Animal: Stick Vacuums Square Off

Aug. 10, 2016
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2016 has been a year of new releases for Dyson: The brand has introduced a robot vacuum, a reimagined hair dryer and a reconfigured stick vacuum.

The Dyson V8 Absolute is one of these new products, and the fresh cordless cleaner is shaking things up. The V8 is bringing more than just a new name and number to Dyson’s line of V6 sticks. It has a longer battery life, a bright new appearance and an improved bin-emptying mechanism.

To find out how the new release compares with the brand’s pre-existing sticks, we’re putting two vacuums head-to-head. In one corner is the new Dyson V8 Absolute. In the other is the Dyson V6 Animal.

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The V8 Absolute costs $100 more than the V6 Animal, so it’s worth your while to explore the differences before you decide on one or the other. While the V6 is tailored to take on smaller tasks, the V8 can tackle a larger area and more surfaces.

But first, let’s get one thing straight before the Dyson names start making your head swim. For this comparison, we’ll focus on the new Dyson V8 Absolute and the Dyson V6 Animal. The Animal is part of the V6 line, which also includes the standard V6, the V6 Absolute and the V6 Motorhead, each of which has slightly different characteristics. Our references to the V6 will refer to the V6 Animal.

Now that we have that out of the way, let’s see how they stack up.

 Dyson V8 AbsoluteDyson V6 Animal
Cord lengthCordlessCordless
Weight5.75 pounds5 pounds
Run time40 minutes20 minutes
Bin volume0.14 gallon0.11 gallon
Direct-drive cleaner headYesYes
Soft roller cleaner headYesNo
Converts to hand-held cleaningYesYes
Tools includedYesYes
Buy on Amazon
Buy V8 Absolute
Buy V6 Animal

Round 1: Mechanicsv8-absolute

Aside from color, these two vacuums look almost identical. The V8 Absolute has a bright yellow, purple and red stick with the handle and motor at the top. This motor mechanism doubles as a hanger that keeps the vacuum secured in its charging station when it’s not in use. The V6 Animal is configured much the same way, except for its bold purple color scheme.

The V8 weighs 5.75 pounds and has a 0.14-gallon bin for collecting debris. The V6 weighs in at a more manageable 5 pounds, but its bin is slightly smaller, at 0.11 gallons. This could mean you’ll need to empty it more frequently.

Both can transform into a hand-held vacuum for up-close cleaning. Just separate the slim stick from the motor portion and attach one of the accessories for more detailed jobs, like in the car or between the couch cushions.

» MORE: Dyson V6 Absolute vs. Dyson V6 Motorhead

Round 2: Cleaning and maintenancedyson-v8-absolute

The new V8 has an edge on the V6 in the cleaning ring. The V8 is equipped with both a direct-drive cleaner head and a soft roller cleaner head. The former is designed for digging deep into carpet, while the latter targets dust on hard flooring.

The V6 Animal has just one cleaning head, the direct-drive. This makes it well-suited for mostly carpeted homes but slightly less equipped for homes with mostly bare floors or a combination of both carpet and hard flooring.

When it comes to cleaning the machine itself, users will also notice a difference. The V6 features push-button bin emptying. Simply push a button at the vacuum’s handle to release the dirt and clear the bin. The V8, however, introduces a new hygienic dirt ejector that’s designed to make the emptying process less messy. With this model, users pull up on the top of the bin to release its contents below without touching the bin itself.

» MORE: Dyson V8 Absolute review

Round 3: Batteryv6-animal

A stick vacuum’s cordless design can be both its biggest asset and its biggest detraction. Freedom from cords offers an ease of cleaning that can’t come with being attached to a power outlet, and constant plugging and unplugging can be a pain. But cordless models are battery powered, and batteries can last only for so long.

For the V8, that equates to a 40-minute run time — double that of the V6. A longer battery life is desirable for homeowners with lots of floor space to cover; if the battery runs out, you’ll have to pause your cleaning while you wait for it to charge up again.

Round 4: Accessories and pricedyson-v6-animal

Advanced features and convenience come at a price. The Dyson V8 Absolute retails for $599.99 from Dyson. The V6 Animal sells for $499.99 from Dyson.

But when it comes to accessories, these two are the same. Purchase the V8 and you’ll get a mini motorized tool, combination tool, crevice tool and soft dusting brush. The V6 Animal comes with the same four tools.

Consumers looking for a deal have several options:

  • Wait for manufacturer sales. At Dyson, these generally are seasonal events, such as for spring-cleaning or back-to-school.
  • Look on Amazon. We’ve frequently seen vacuum discounts at the online marketplace.
  • Shop for a certified refurbished model from a reputable seller if you want to pay considerably less than you would for a brand-new device.

V8 vs. V6

In the battle of Dyson V8 versus V6, there’s a different winner for every consumer. Because of its longer battery life and dual cleaner heads, we recommend the V8 Absolute for larger homes with multiple floor types. The V6 Animal is a better fit for smaller spaces, and for $100 less, it shares many of the V8’s design features and accessories.

If you’re still not sure whether a stick vacuum will do the job in your home, check out NerdWallet’s picks for the best Dyson vacuums, including reliable uprights and canisters.

Courtney Jespersen is a staff writer at NerdWallet, a personal finance website. Email: [email protected]. Twitter: @courtneynerd.