Dyson Digital Slim DC59 Animal rechargeable vacuum review

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You might be wondering, “Julie, what’s up with all of these vacuum reviews that you’ve been posting lately?” You’re not alone, I’m also wondering why I keep saying yes to vacuum review offers. Maybe it’s some deep seated need to make sure my carpets are clean. Nah… More likely it’s because I hate my 1000 pound 20 year old Kirby vacuum and I’m looking for a light weight alternative with a few tech bells and whistles. The Dyson Digital Slim DC59 Animal rechargeable vacuum ticks both of those boxes. It’s light weight and it has a rechargeable battery for cordless operation. But does it suck in a good way or a bad way? Let’s find out.

Note: Images can be clicked to view a larger size.

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Package contents

Dyson Digital Slim DC59 Animal rechargeable vacuum
Wall docking station
Crevice tool
Mini motorized tool
Combination tool
AC Adapter
Manual

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Design and features

Designed to look like a space weapon, the handle/grip section of the DC59 vacuum houses a V6 motor.  Notice the pistol grip and trigger. The DC59 has two buttons that control the vacuum. The main power trigger is located in the grip. This button has to be held down the entire time you’re sweeping, which seemed odd and awkward to me. Most vacuums that I’ve used in my life have a power switch that turns the unit on and then when you’re done, it turns the unit off. I can understand that Dyson went with this design in order to help conserve battery life, but I’m not sure how much it really saves. Especially because I found I was always accidentally activating the trigger just by picking up the vacuum.

dyson-d59-20The second button on the vacuum is the boost button which is located on the back of the motor. Pressing this button will provide 6 minutes of increased suction power. In other words, it will drain your battery very quickly.

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The DC59 has an interesting filter design. The filter is easily removed from the top of the motor unit. It’s recommended to clean it once a month by rinsing and allowing 24 hours of drying time.

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The dust cup is also located in the top grip section of the DC59. That’s right, there’s no need to replace paper bags with this vacuum. That means you will save money since you will not need to buy consumables. I’m not sure you’ll save much time in the long run though as the dust/dirt capacity for the cup is pretty small. If you look at the image above, notice that the only area where the dirt can accumulate is around that center spindle. There’s not a lot of room in there.

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But before you can start using the Dyson DC59, you’ll need to make sure the battery is charged. The base of the grip section houses the rechargeable battery which recharges in approximately 3.5 hrs using the included AC adapter. No, you can’t use the vacuum while it’s charging. Even if you could, the cord is too short.

Speaking of too short, battery life matches the cord length. At 26 minutes runtime, you better have a small to medium sized house and/or not a lot of areas that need to be vacuumed.

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At only 4.6 lbs, the DC59 is very light weight and manageable. It’s easy to carry from room to room and up/down stairs. I love that about it. Unfortunately it will not stand up on its own. You’ll need to prop it up against a wall or piece of furniture if you need to take a break while sweeping. It does come with a docking station that can be mounted to the wall.

The main hose is 27 inches long so it does provide for a long reach if you need to vacuum something off your ceiling or walls.

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The main floor tool has nylon and carbon fiber bristles. The nylon bristles help pick up ground-in dirt and the softer carbon fiber bristles help remove fine dust from hard surfaces.

A clear window that runs the length of the brush bar allows you to see any blockages.

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There are easy access panels in case you do need to clear a clog. There is one on the bottom of the floor tool…

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And another on the side that will let you remove the entire brush bar if needed.

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The DC59 comes with three other tools in addition to the main floor tool. There’s a narrow crevice tool and a mini motorized tool that is great for stairs and furniture. Also included is the combo tool shown above. This tool can be used like a wide crevice type of tool or a brush tool.

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There’s also a strip of material that helps remove pet hair and lint.

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To use the brush you just slide the section forward till it snaps in place.

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Vacuuming performance

The DC59 is easy to use. It’s so light weight that it takes almost no effort to push it around on carpet or hard surfaces. I tested the vacuum on medium height carpet, low height, hard wood floors and vinyl. I found it easy to glide across all surfaces and under furniture. The only issue I encountered was that sometimes the brush bar would stop if I would try to push it from a hard surface to a carpeted surface. To get it rolling again I would need to let off trigger for a second.

I used the DC59 every day for a week on my floors. I started getting disappointed with it from the very first session. I vacuumed the main room in the basement which is carpeted, then switched to the mini motorized tool and went over the couch. I think took the vacuum upstairs and began vacuuming the couch up there.

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The entire cleaning session up to this point had only lasted about 15 minutes or so. The DC59 died not even halfway through sweeping the upstairs couch. I thought wow, the battery life on this thing is pitiful. But that wasn’t why it stopped. The DC59 will automatically power off when the dust cup is too full. It had filled to the max after sweeping only one room and a couch.  With a 0.12 gallon capacity, the dust cup is just too small. Especially if you happen to live with a 16 pound Maine Coon cat like we do.

Of course you can dump the dirt in a trash can and resume cleaning. That’s where I ran into disappointment #2.  Dumping the dirt from the cup almost always required me to reach in to pull out the fuzz that wrapped itself around the spindle in the center of the cup. Ick. Again, I will point out that I have a long haired cat. Families that don’t have pets will probably not have this issue. On the topic of cats in particular, I found that the DC59 only did a so-so job picking up spilled cat litter (the clumping type – Tidy Cat) on vinyl floors.

Last but not least, there’s annoyance #3. The DC59 blows air out the back of the motor housing. See the fins in the image above to the right of the trigger? Most of the time this isn’t a problem when you’re vacuuming floors. But when you are using the hand tools and bending over the vacuum, the air can blow up into your face which kinda creeps me out for some weird reason. It’s not blowing out dirt from the motor, but I just don’t like it…

Is the Dyson Digital Slim DC59 Animal the right vacuum for you?

Now that I’ve used the Dyson Digital Slim DC59 Animal rechargeable vacuum every day for the past week, I think I have enough info about it to form an opinion. I think the DC59 offers a mixed bag of good and bad vacuuming performance.

The bad:

  • The vacuum has a very short battery life of only 26 minutes give or take. If you have a large house, this will be a major issue
  • Small capacity dirt cup requires frequent emptying – especially if you have pets
  • Does not stand upright on its own
  • Can’t use with a cord
  • Have to hold the trigger down the whole time you’re using it
  • Pet hair tends to stick to the dirt cup requiring manual removal
  • Very expensive

The good:

  • The DC59 is very portable and easy to manage vacuum that works well on both carpet and hard surfaces
  • Does a great job picking up pet hair from carpet and furniture
  • Comes with hand tools including the very nice mini motor tool
  • Cordless
  • Doesn’t require bags
  • 2 year warranty

The Dyson Digital Slim DC59 Animal is the second full-sized rechargeable vacuum that I’ve reviewed in the past month. I thought I would really like this type of vacuum because it’s cordless. But after trying two such vacuums, I’ve changed my mind. Until cordless vacuums like the DC59 and Gtech AirRam have batteries that can last an hour or longer, they don’t offer a lot of benefit to people with medium to large sized houses. If the DC59 had hot swappable battery packs, I might rethink that conclusion.

The small dust cup capacity is also a big fail for me. I don’t want to empty the cup after sweeping every room. That’s just a hassle. I realize that I have a pet though, so my experience may not match the same experience in a pet-free home. The frustrating thing is that the DC59 actually does a really good job of picking up pet hair from carpets and furnitur. So it’s tough to say it’s not good for pet owners. Like I said, it’s a mixed bag.

Do to short battery life and small dust cup capacity, I can only recommend this particular vacuum for someone with a small home or apartment and no pets. 

 

Product Information

Price:$499.00
Manufacturer:Dyson
Pros:
  • Very good suction
  • Includes hand tools
Cons:
  • Short battery life
  • Small dust cup
  • Have to hold the trigger while sweeping
  • Blows air in face
Posted in: Home, Kitchen, Reviews

24 comments… add one

  • DStaal March 14, 2014, 4:43 pm

    I’m a little surprised the battery isn’t removable – it was on the earlier models.

    One thing though: I don’t think most vacuums this size are really intended for whole-house cleaning. I have one of the predecessor models of this, and I bought it for (and use it for) spot-cleaning: Picking up bits and corners, or spills and such. It does that well, and it’s design choices make sense then: I rarely hold down the trigger for more than half a minute, and it’s dust cup will hold months worth of use. It’s nice to have the brush and the long reach to do many of those spots, but if I want to vacuum the whole floor (or the whole house), I’ll get out my full-sized upright.

    • Julie Strietelmeier March 14, 2014, 4:53 pm

      @DStaal I just did a double check and as far as I can tell, there’s no easy way to replace the battery and nothing is mentioned in the manual about it. As for your spot cleaning comment. If I’m going to spot clean, I’ll use a hand vac or a good old manual broom. I don’t really see why someone would spend $500 on the DC59 with the intent of using it for just spot cleaning. :)

  • DStaal March 14, 2014, 5:02 pm

    I’ll admit I didn’t spend $500 on mine. ;) But I consider mine a hand vac, with a long-reach attachment. (The Dyson hand vacs are the same vacuum, with different attachments. The difference between the DC58 and the 59 is that the latter comes with the motorized head, the long wand, and the wall-mount charger. So this is their hand vac, with a couple of extra tools you can put on it.)

  • DStaal March 14, 2014, 5:34 pm

    (Oh, I should mention: It’s really obvious the battery is replaceable on mine. There’s a clearly labeled button in the handle, as well as the charging port being inset. I can also find replacement batteries on the Dyson website, where they don’t list any for this model.)

  • John March 15, 2014, 12:27 am

    Julie
    I’m a big fan of yours and The Gadgeteer but I had to write to put forward an alternative view. I have had the DC59 for 6 months (came to Australia before the US) and before that had the DC 44 and before that DC35 and before that DC16. Okay I’m a bit of a Dyson fan boy but not without reason. As the first post mentioned its ‘horses for courses’. The DC 59 and its predecessors were never designed for whole house cleaning. It’s really a ‘convenience’ vacuum. For instance there are parts of my place that get more use and therefore dirt than others. eg the hall, kitchen.
    rather than get the big heavy vacuum out every time I can quickly run over it with the DC 59. I can do this daily and it takes seconds. What’s more and most importantly it does a great job. Without doubt the DC59 is the most powerful of all the Dyson handhelds and it really matches the power of some non cordless models. If you can afford it, its the only one to get.
    I think the most important thing to convey which is really the part you missed is that this does not replace your normal corded vacuum. Its an companion vacuum which has its place and in my place now gets used considerably more than my corded model. Now I understand the cost issue but for those for whom convenience and time are more important then you probably cant do better than the Dc59. Its brilliant and a real time saver.

    • Julie Strietelmeier March 15, 2014, 9:24 am

      @John I appreciate your comments, but show me where Dyson says that the DC59 vacuum is just for spot cleaning and touch ups? I’ve not yet found where they claim it’s only a companion to a corded vacuum.

  • John March 16, 2014, 8:40 am

    Julie, I think a little common sense is required. The ‘cordless’ category has and will probably always have its limitations, namely power duration and dirt collecting capacity. There are many on the market and I’m sure if you called any of the manufacturers they wouldn’t be selling them as whole house vacuums. The point is, if you are looking at this category, the DC59 does what its designed to do better than any other on the market.

  • Jon March 16, 2014, 8:59 am

    Hi Julie

    I second John’s comments. We have a dog and a cat and polished floor boards – a bad combination unless you enjoy living with pet pet hair tumble weeds! I don’t have the time to use our big vacuum everyday and found that brooms and electrostatic mops left hair behind (and in the case of the mops getting the hair off the mop was a huge hassle). We have a DC44 and have found it perfect for a quick daily once over in high traffic areas – leaves them looking just as good as with the big vacuum with 1/10 the effort.

    I don’t think anyone looking at one of these cordless Dyson vacuums sitting along side their higher capacity corded brethren could reasonably think they were designed to be used in the same way. This is obvious enough that I wouldn’t think that the makers would have thought to state this on the box.

    Keep up the great work!

    PS The DC44 originally had a removable battery pack, but this turned out to be a minus as it would work itself loose during vacuuming and the machine would cut out. Dyson replaced our motor unit and battery (under warranty) with ones that looked the same but included a screw to secure the battery in the unit. They obviously decided not to make the same mistake with the model you reviewed.

  • DStaal March 16, 2014, 3:58 pm

    I don’t think ‘corded’ vs ‘cordless’ is really the cut-off: There are still occasional handvacs and stickvacs that have cords, after all. But if you look at it just about every vacuum manufacturer has two major categories with two minors in each: The ‘spot-vac'; handvacs and stickvacs, and ‘main-vac': uprights and canister.

    This is Dyson’s stickvac – and like a fair number of stickvacs, it’s convertible to a handvac.

    The cut-off to me is really about how it’s intended to be brought to the point it’s going to be used: Spot-vacs are designed to be carried to and from the dirt, and used immediately. Weight is a major design consideration (if not *the* major design consideration) and it’s expected that the entire weight is going to be in the user’s hand. Main-vacs are designed to be rolled around the house, and carried only occasionally. Weight is only a minor design consideration, and under normal use the weight is resting on the ground.

    • Julie Strietelmeier March 16, 2014, 4:03 pm

      Great comments so far. I’m still in the opinion that if someone buys this particular vacuum and spends $500, that it should be able to run more than 26 minutes at a time and have a dirt cup that will at least have the capacity to let me sweep more than one room.

      If we go corded vs. cordless. I would compare the Shark Rocket which I recently reviewed, with the DC59. The Shark wins in my opinion. Bigger capacity dirt cup, no worry of it running out of juice in the middle of a room and significantly less expensive.

  • DStaal March 16, 2014, 4:22 pm

    It’s in line with the pricing on their other vacuums, compared to other manufacturers: A stickvac costs as much as the low end of the uprights, larger uprights cost more. Dyson is known for costing a lot – I looked for deals on discontinued and refurbished when I bought mine.

    And this was the Dyson I thought you should compare the Shark Rocket to, so thanks. ;)

  • Anna March 17, 2014, 3:54 pm

    I have a lower numbered model and I too just use it as a hand vac, albeit the most powerful hand vac I have ever had. I use it for spot cleaning (dog hair on the sofa, the floor in the small bathroom, the steps, the kitchen after the messy cook — me — dropped stuff on the floor during dinner prep, etc.) I like it very much except for having to hold the trigger down during use.

  • John Kes March 29, 2014, 7:11 pm

    I got a Kenmore bagless canister vacuum for <$200 on sale. The hose and motorized brush are fairly light, and the corded motor and filter are on wheels so is easy to drag around. I agree that for $500, you should get good cleaning and long battery life.

  • Valeri Johnson April 30, 2014, 8:03 pm

    I clean houses and needed something small to drag around. I really liked my dc35 and I had 6 batteries to keep me powered through the job. However, when I cleaned it one day it just stopped working. Since I didn’t have much time to recover I bought the dc59. It has great suction in general, and awesome suction in MAX. MAX does run the battery down fast and it isn’t *easily* replaceable. I have just talked to support and they are replacing the dc35 body for me and he did say that I could “screw” off the battery on the dc59. I can only find one place that sells batteries and they are a hundred bucks, so that might not happen for awhile. I vacuum first, plug it back in, and finish the vacuuming the last thing. I usually make it through the cleaning. I totally agree with the other issues: small waste cup and stuff sticking in the top of the cup, short battery life, and always in the way button. However I am also annoyed that the small brush from my dc35 doesn’t fit the dc59 because it really did an awesome job on animal hair. I’m going to have to spend $70 on the new turbine tool I guess.

  • Sandi May 10, 2014, 8:50 pm

    I have this vacuum and I HATE it!! I should have returned it to Best Buy. Got it on sale for $300. It does not have good suction!! The piece with the rotating brushes does not get deep down into carpets. Then hairs get twisted around the brushes and it stops rotating! The smaller attachment works better but it is so small it takes forever!! I have literally thrown this vacuum it has aggravated me so much. At times it cuts out during vacuuming for no reason. I will never buy another dyson, ever! Spent a lot of money for a POS!! Looking for something new right now. In the 70’s I had an Electrolux, Silverado. Best vacuum ever. Wish I could find another one that works like it did. The only good thing I can say about this Dyson is that it is light weight. I’d rather have something that can actually suck up the dirt, even if it is heavier!!! Did I say I hate this vacuum?!!!

  • DStaal May 11, 2014, 2:27 pm

    @Sandi – If it cuts out while vacuuming (and it’s not running out of battery), it sounds like you have a defective vacuum. You should call Dyson and ask for a repair.

    I’m guessing it wouldn’t solve all your issues with the vacuum, but it should at least get it to operate normally.

  • Garrick @Cordless Vacuum Guide May 15, 2014, 5:00 am

    I think Dyson’s marketing was a little bit misleading, it claims upright suction but if you look at the specs it only has 28 air watts in normal mode which is the same as the DC44, though it leaves other cordless vacuums in the dust with 100 air watts (in boost mode) at the expense of run time. If I owned the DC44, I would not upgrade just yet.

    The new Black and Decker BDH2000PL Pivot has more power at 35 air watts and it costs just under $80 (2 year warranty) so this is an alternative if you’re looking for an affordable handheld.

  • j. borzacchiello May 24, 2014, 1:29 pm

    Very Poor battery time
    Blows hot air in your face
    Very small collection bin
    Very hard to find battery for the dc59 and other parts that are very expensive for plastic
    Good for a 2 room house or motor home …. not much bigger

  • joey888 May 26, 2014, 12:48 pm

    Awesome pick up , very easy to manuever , light, well built. battery could be longer run time or shorter charge time , collection canister could be bigger a little,parts are pricey for just plasic, $379.00 is what I paid 2 wks ago
    $499.00 is too much but if you research E Bay you can find a great deal better than retail stores

  • Kevin.R.WISE June 24, 2014, 6:24 am

    //

    I live in far outback Queensland and at least 700 Klms from the nearest
    discount retailer of substance. The cheapest I have seen the D59 animal stick so far advertised is $538. Can someone e keep me updated as to the cheapest price going as I have time to wait for a month or two before
    applying for a veterans yearly grant to buy something of this nature for
    the yearly splurge on something that would otherwise not be brought;.

    //

  • Andrew July 18, 2014, 1:13 pm

    I recently bought a DC59 Animal, and I love it. I have mostly slate floors with some carpeted rooms, and I was getting sick and tired of lugging the big vacuum all over the house every few days.

    You have to understand that this is not intended to deep clean an entire house in one go. It just isn’t that kind of machine. I usually grab mine a couple of times a day while doing general tidying etc, and now I rarely use the mains vacuum at all – the Dyson keeps the place looking spick by just running it for literally a few seconds over the high traffic spots or anywhere I notice a bit of fluff or grit.

    It’s great for toast crumbs and coffee grinds etc on the bench, it works really well on cobwebs, bugs, and all the other detritus that blows in on a daily basis, tops of cupboards, backs of couches, entertainment centres, under fridges. It does a pretty good job on the carpet, but my mains machine does better – if and when I can be bothered.

    Yes it was expensive, and yes the dust tank could be bigger, but I’d hate to be without it now.

  • Daniel July 28, 2014, 7:19 pm

    I totally agree with Dstaal and Andrew on the effectiveness of this vacuum cleaner.

    We purchased the Dyson DC59 Animal some months ago for around the mid $400 mark and it has been the best investment. It is not a cheap investment but will save frustration and anger at using a substandard competitor hand held. I agree that some things aren’t worth spending money on such as handbags and shoes but this is worth every dollar spent. I would rather invest this larger amount of money once than spend smaller amounts several times because a substandard device has failed.

    Dyson has really engineered this vacuum well and thought about all aspects of a typical user down to the point of disassembling the unit to find blockages. It has never lost suction and keeps the house tidy in between the larger cleans which requires the larger Dyson unit.

    The build quality is second to none and design is very sleek.

    This unit is so much better than the traditional broom as it doesn’t sweep the dust from one area to another but it actually captures it.

    Buying a cup of coffee a day would cost you double this by the end of the year. That’s how I think of it anyway so the return on investment is great with 2 year warranty.

    I’d hate to be without it also but worth skipping the coffee every second day if you drink coffee, which I don’t.

  • CatalystTGJ November 1, 2014, 9:43 pm

    In case any folks on this thread aren’t aware of this detail, emptying the canister is easier to do when one simply removes the whole thing from the vac. for those that don’t know how, simply pull the red slider down which opens the canister, release the slider, and then while pulling gently in a foward and downward direction on the canister, pull the slider down again. The canister will now easily separate from the cyclone component. The contents will typically free fall from there, so obviously do this over a trash receptacle. This is in the manual (page 6, top left, but no text), but who reads those?! Also, if you’re getting animal hair going up into the cyclone component itself, you’re going to end up clogging the tunnels. End result of this will lead to the need of total disassembly of the cyclone to get to the coned shaped hair blobs that will eventually end the Vac’s ability to be a vac. Most likely this happens from vacuuming anything wet or damp plus animal hair. These are strictly dry vacs. it’s not a good indicator to find hair entering the bottom of the cyclone, so this probably indicates vacuuming beyond the canister’s capacity. Emptying it more frequently hopefully will remediate this problem. Not having hairy animals would as well. :-) when they pass on, consider a replacement pet, such as a naked mole rat. Your vac will work better, provided you can stand the sight of a naked mole rat. :-)

  • Jen December 6, 2014, 6:02 pm

    Took a new unit out if the box, plugged it on, charged, but can’t:
    1) detach unit from wall mount – which is nor mounted yet!
    2) turn it on . albeit the wall mount is still attached.
    We’re old .. the instructions that came with it are not user friendly.

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