I’ve used the Dyson V11 for more than a year and I’m still impressed by how easily it picks up cat kibble, hair, and dust
- The Dyson V11 Torque Drive Cordless Vacuum (usually $699) improves on previous cordless vacuum models with a more powerful digital motor, adaptive cleaner head, longer battery life, and LCD screen.
- There's no getting around it — it's an expensive vacuum. My yearlong experience with it, however, has shown me the V11 is an extremely efficient, thorough, and worthwhile cordless option.
- If you're still trying to decide which type of vacuum is best for your needs, check out these guides: the best vacuums, the best robot vacuums, and the best vacuums for pet hair.
Dyson's cordless stick vacuum cleaners are the rare breed of cleaning tool that can spark lively debates over family dinners. For every person who would rather funnel hundreds of dollars to a different device or appliance, there's another who can't imagine life without their Dyson vacuum.
The latest addition to the lineup of powerful, lightweight, and sometimes contentious vacuum cleaners is the Dyson V11 Torque Drive vacuum ($699), and it's Dyson's most advanced cord-free device yet.
It launched in 2019 as the final product of more than 300 engineers' work and 32,500 prototyped parts. The model features the company's most powerful cleaner head and longest-lasting battery, plus a new LCD screen and a more hygienic bin-emptying design.
What makes the Dyson V11 Torque Drive so special?
With the main Torque Drive cleaner head, the vacuum weighs less than seven pounds and is approximately four feet long. It comes with five additional cleaning attachments: three tools (mini motorized, combination, and crevice) and two brushes (mini soft dusting and stubborn dirt) that you can switch out for the Torque Drive head.
The big deal about this high torque cleaner head is that it can detect differences in floor surface and automatically change the suction power when appropriate, saving overall run time. This system, called the Dynamic Load Sensor (DLS) and unique to the V11, senses resistance at the cleaner head's brush bar — say, for example, when you run the vacuum from a hard floor onto a carpet — and adjusts accordingly.
The cleaner head itself has stiff nylon bristles to remove stubborn dirt from carpets and anti-static carbon fiber filaments to catch all the dust hiding in small crevices. The brush bar spins 60 times a second as it sucks up the dirt and dust in its path.
The other obvious difference with the V11 is the LCD screen at the top of the handle, which lets you switch between cleaning modes (which differ by suction strength and run time), informs you of remaining run time, detects blockages and shows you how to clear them, and sends reminders to clean the filter.
On Auto mode, the V11 adapts to and deep cleans a variety of floor types with a balanced amount of suction power. Eco mode is made for lighter, longer cleans, while Boost mode provides up to five minutes of super-powerful, intensive cleaning.
On a full, 4.5-hour charge, the V11's battery lasts around 60 minutes, though the actual run time may vary depending on which power mode and attachments are used and what type of floor you use the vacuum on.
After you're done vacuuming, you can push down on the bin's red lever to open the bin and empty its contents directly into your trash can without touching any of it.
What it's like to clean with the V11 Torque Drive
For the past three years, I've lived with three other people and one cat. Accordingly, the floor is always covered in hair of all types and textures, dirt and dust from wearing shoes indoors, food bits, and other mysterious particles. It's as fun and appealing to clean as you'd expect it to be. While traditional brooms and Swiffers are fine for small day-to-day cleaning necessities as they come up, I've found they just don't cut it for the larger cleaning tasks required by my apartment.
To say the Dyson V11 Torque Drive merely "cuts it" would be an understatement — it provided the easiest, most efficient cleaning experience I've had in a long time, maybe ever. I've used the vacuum for one year and it's made a big difference in the tidiness of my apartment.
The vacuum is easy to maneuver thanks to its light weight and pivoting head, and its digital motor, which is 20% more powerful than the Dyson Cyclone V10, helps to quickly and smoothly suck up particles. I'm often simultaneously disgusted by and fascinated with how much it picked up from the corners and crevices of my apartment, from cat kibble to hair to dust. When I want to target hard-to-reach areas or tight spaces, switching out the cleaning heads is as easy as unclicking the current one and clicking in a new one.
The fully sealed filtration system captures more than 99.9% of particles as small as 0.3 microns (a human hair is around 70 microns) and keeps them in the 0.2-gallon bin, which is then easy to empty. Because it empties straight down when you push on the side lever, you don't have to struggle with a lid, flip anything over, or otherwise risk dropping an entire bin of dust and dirt onto the ground.
However, it's not perfect.
Over time, I've discovered that hair, in particular, can get stuck inside the bin. In these cases, I push the side lever back and forth a few times to de-jam it, or I put a glove on to take the hair clump out manually. I don't love doing the latter activity, which contradicts Dyson's claims that the vacuum is more hygienic, but I still love the vacuum overall and at least I know it's picking up everything it should.
As for noise, the vacuum is more "high-pitched whirring" than "deafening roar." Thankfully, you won't have to deal with the noise for too long since the vacuum is so efficient and thorough.
The vacuum's LCD screen was more useful than I expected
Dyson incorporated the screen into this new vacuum to help reduce "run time anxiety," which is apparently common among its current users who tend to overestimate cleaning time and battery usage, and don't like not knowing how much battery is left.
The screen counting down my available minutes really did help me allocate my time more wisely, and it showed me I wasn't actually cleaning for as long as I thought I would. During my first test run cleaning my entire bathroom and living room floor, I was surprised to see the real vacuuming part only took 10 minutes.
It still helps me manage my time today even after one year — I've never exhausted the vacuum's entire battery (which can last up to 85 minutes on Eco mode). Plus, I tend to keep my vacuum plugged into the charger whenever it's not in use, so I'm always cleaning with a full battery.
The bottom line
The V11 Torque Drive isn't cheap, but you'll be the most excited you've ever been to clean your home if you have it on hand.
If you don't want to spend $700, you can still get one of Dyson's older models (like the V8 Animal we reviewed here or the V10 we recommend in our buying guide) and be pretty happy with it. However, the V11 Torque Drive has so many cool new features that the upgrade will be worth it. You'll spend less time chasing dust bunnies and stressing over the battery life of your vacuum, and more time enjoying a clean home.