Dyson Outsize Absolute review

This cordless vacuum is a buy worth considering. The suction power is brilliant on carpets, the XL floorhead transitions well across all floors and the large bin can handle a satisfying amount of debris. Here's what else we thought about it during testing, and one year on...
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  • Vacuuming is no longer a chore with the Dyson Outsize Absolute. I know this is a bold statement but I have been using this cordless vacuum as our main vac around the home for the past year and if I could rate it higher than five stars, I would.

    Without giving too much more away at this stage, I’ve been giving this vacuum cleaner a run for its money in our (now) 3-bed Victorian home which has carpets and hard flooring for it to transition over. Boy has it been challenged. Alongside what you expect to be vacuuming the Dyson Outsize Absolute has also been challenged with various dried foods courtesy of my one-year-old, and a new wool carpet which stayed fluffy for the first month-or-so after being fitted.

    The vacuum cleaner is one of three new releases launched by Dyson in 2021. With a 25 per-cent bigger floorhead, 150% bigger bin and a runtime of up to 120 minutes this was music to our ears. I’m sure I’m not alone in asking for these requirements in a vacuum so when I saw these impressive features mentioned I couldn’t wait to get my hands on one.

    Intrigued to find out if this is the vac for you? Keep scrolling to find out how it performed then, head over to our best vacuum cleaners buyers guide where you will also see this cordless vacuum featured, so you know you’re onto a winner.

    Ideal Home’s rating: 5 out of 5 stars

    Reasons to buy

    • Massive dustbin
    • Big floorhead
    • Incredible suction
    • Easy to handle

    Reasons to avoid

    • Top heavy
    • Too powerful for use on small rugs

    Dyson Outsize Absolute Cordless Vacuum Cleaner

    Image credit: Dyson

    Product specs

    Max. run time: 120 minutes
    Bin volume: 1.9 litres
    Suction power: 220AW
    Weight: 3.56kg
    Dimensions: H930 x W200 x L310mm

    In the box: High Torque XL cleaner head, Lazer Slim Fluffy cleaner head, click-in battery, hair screw tool, quick release mini soft dusting brush, combination tool, crevice tool, wand clip, docking station and charger.

    Who will the Dyson Outsize Absolute suit?

    Large family homes with or without pets. The XL cleaner head transitions well across carpeted and hard flooring, and the Lazer Slim Fluffy cleaner head is useful if you want to vacuum wooden flooring with care.

    Testing the Dyson Outsize Absolute

    We live in a 3-bed Victorian property which means steep narrow staircase, high ceilings and exposed original pine floorboards. Throw in some new wool carpet which runs up the stairs, across the split-level landing and all three bedrooms and you’ve got a challenging environment for any vacuum cleaner (and I) – plus plenty of crumbs, courtesy of a one-year-old.

    Unboxing

    Photo credit: Future Plc / Jennifer Oksien

    The Dyson Outsize Absolute was packaged in a long and slim cardboard box, which was easy enough to get through the front door. The protective, outer delivery box revealed the smart Dyson-branded box which housed the product all neatly arranged. I’m pleased to report that there was ZERO PLASTIC packaging used (a big consideration from me) with tissue paper and cardboard used as a substitute.

    It looks like Dyson have also moved their user manuals to online, too, reducing its environmental impact. They’ve included a QR code that can easily be scanned with your smartphone to access everything you need to register and maintain your new vac. It took just a matter of seconds for me to do this.

    Setting up

    The Dyson Outsize Absolute arrived with 20 per cent of its (up to) 120-minute runtime, or so it claims. This is clearly marked on a label attached to the bin. For the purpose of this review (and out of curiosity) I made the most out of this to see if there really was 20 percent / 15 minutes of charge to one battery, and there were so happy days. We didn’t get very far, though, so on with a full charge it was before equipping it with some accessories and setting some challenges.

    The battery very conveniently clips on / off for charging so it can be either charged when the vac is mounted to the wall or can do it separately. The additional battery can be charged up at the same time, too, if you need since an additional charger is also thrown into the box. Each battery has an expected runtime of 60 minutes, so with two batteries you can expect to achieve the advertised 120 minute runtime. Happy days.

    What is the Dyson Outsize Absolute like to use?

    I used this vac as the main vacuum cleaner throughout our home. I love it. And my mum has been equally impressed when she has taken it for a spin every now and then. After using plenty-a vacuum cleaners the most distinct feature(s) to the Dyson Outsize Absolute is the XL floorhead, large bin and incredible suction. The bin size and suction power is more comparable to the corded canisters I’ve reviewed so to have these featured on a cordless vacuum is a big selling point, especially when you are predominantly vacuuming carpet.

    There are three three cleaning modes – Eco, Auto and Boost – which I ran through when vacuuming the different floor types throughout our home. Each makes a noticeable difference to the sound output, remaining battery, and the suction, although this didn’t seem to affect debris removal. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the ‘Boost’ mode used up the most juice which gives a runtime of just five minutes, compared to the 120-minute lifespan on Eco.

    The suite of attachments caters for all household needs, although my feeling is that most households won’t use all of them but they’re still good to have – just in case. I used the following attachments:

    • High Torque XL cleaner head
    • Lazer Slim Fluffy cleaner head
    • Combination tool

    Vacuuming carpets

    Photo credit: Future Plc / Jennifer Oksien

    I used the Dyson Outsize Absolute on old and new carpets. On the old, the vac lifted the trodden down pile and made it look a lot more pleasing to the eye. On the new wool carpet, it helped to de-fluff the thicker pile and keep it looking as-good-as new. I kept it on Auto mode which meant that the floorhead cleverly sensed and adapted to the slight variations in our floor levels (another old property thing). And another thing to note is that the brushbar didn’t get in a tangle with my hair which seems to fall anywhere and everywhere throughout the house. Although anti-hair wrap isn’t a feature which Dyson shouts about, in my experience of using it this is a great bonus to find out and is certainly something which I would like to know before buying a vac so you heard it hear first.

    It does gets a bit tricky to vacuum the carpet on the stairs, however. The 1.9 litre bin is fab for housing all the debris the Dyson Outsize Absolute has sucked up but it is heavy. Making the climb up the steep, narrow stairs with a weighty bin, long wand and XL floorhead takes a bit of balancing although this is achievable. If you need to make it a little easier to manoeuvre, I found that the wand can be unclipped so the bin can be plugged in directly to the floorhead.

    Hardflooring

    We have porcelain tiles and original pine floorboards (and rugs) to the downstairs of our home so the floorhead really needed to adapt to the variations. And it did. The XL floorhead did this seamlessly by adjusting the suction, and no damage was caused on the soft pine flooring.

    Image credit: Future Plc / Jennifer Oksien

    If, however, you want to clean around any rugs or vacuum hard flooring with more care then the XL floorhead can be unclipped and attach the Lazer Slim Fluffy Head. It has the added feature of being able to detect any particles that you don’t always see. I found that this only works in low light levels and alongside the skirting. It also felt really top-heavy with the big bin at the other end, and I was also used to the larger floorhead when I came to use this fluffier attachment so didn’t get the same good vibes.

    Vacuuming rugs

    Photo credit: Future Plc / Jennifer Oksien

    The suction is mega so if you’re needing to vacuum small rugs then the ‘Eco’ mode would be better suited. On ‘Boost’, the vac wanted to suck up the rug let alone the debris. And on ‘Auto’ mode the rug moved with the vac. Can you tell this was a bit of trial and error?

    Larger rugs are no problem because they should have the weight and size to withstand the Dyson Outsize Absolute. I used ‘Auto’ mode to vacuum away rice crispies, crumbs and other dried foods thrown on the carpet around the hair chair. The rug didn’t move and everything was sucked up without hesitation or too much effort.

    Above floor cleaning

    While I was really impressed with vacuuming the floor, using the Dyson Outsize Absolute as a handheld vacuum enters into a different ball game. As I’ve said earlier on in the review, the bin is big and heavy which makes using it somewhat cumbersome.

    I kept the wand attached to clip on the combination tool when reaching up to the picture rails and around the door frames. It just didn’t have the flexibility I needed so didn’t get very far, although the brush part of the tool felt like it was doing something. The weight is also noticeable after a few minutes of use, and I like to think that I have some good upper body strength. This is something to keep in mind if you’re after a lightweight vacuum cleaner because if you are, then this may not be the vacuum cleaner for you.

    Image credit: Dyson

    What else can you clean with the Dyson Outsize Absolute?

    The Hair Screw tool is an anti-conical brush brush which picks up long hair and pet hair. I didn’t have a use for this to try at home but if you have pets, then this may be a useful attachment for taming the hair left behind from any four-legged friends you have roaming. Another attachment that the Dyson Outsize Absolute comes with is a crevice tool which, as the name suggests, is for use on crevices (or small, tight spaces to you and I). And if you’re getting into that much detail with your cleans, the quick-release mini soft dusting brush could help to clean delicate surfaces and fabrics on your sofas and curtains.

    Storage and maintenance

    Image credit: Dyson

    Being cordless, the Dyson Outsize Absolute doesn’t take up much space at all. The docking station can be wall mounted to keep it securely out of the way and also has a few handy spaces to store attachments. Any attachments which don’t make it onto the docking station such as the Combination and Crevice tools can be stored on the wand of the vac, with the wand clip. The additional battery will need to be stored elsewhere, and maybe even some attachments if you’d prefer for those not to be displayed.

    General maintenance is pretty simple, too. Aside from emptying the bin either after every use or when the Max debris level is reached (your choice), you may just want to wipe the vac down with a damp cloth to keep it looking nice – especially if it’s on display all the time. It’s important to regularly clean the filters with cold running water and you may feel that the attachments and brushbar could benefit from a rinse, too, whilst you’re stood at the sink.

    How does the Dyson Outsize Absolute rate online?

    Looking at the Dyson Outsize Absolute reviews on the Dyson website, 84 per cent of reviewers would recommend it to a friend. They seem to echo what I have found that it is HEAVY and with several comparisons made to the Henry Hoover for suction and quality. Reviewers also feel that the XL floorhead would benefit from having the lazer as a feature. And something which I have yet to come across is blockages – something which several reviewers have posted comments about. On the plus side, the suction is AMAZING, it’s easy to use and easy to store. Lovely.

    Over at John Lewis it has received 4.6 out of 5 stars from customers. The battery life and cleaning power is all so very positive. The size and problem with blockages, however, is something which a handful of reviewers have made a note of.

    Ideal Home’s verdict: is the Dyson Outsize Absolute worth the money?

    At £700 it is an investment, some may say that it is expensive. It is THE most expensive Dyson vacuum cleaners you can buy at the moment but you will be WOWed. This is the main vacuum cleaner I use throughout my home which offers really stiff competition to the other vacuum cleaners I’m reviewing. The suction power, XL floor head, battery life and bin size is simply amazing for a cordless vacuum cleaner. And as with all Dyson products, you know you’re buying something which is real quality.

    I did find it somewhat cumbersome when using it as a handheld vac for the more detailed cleaning, however, but since I tend to use this to vacuum carpet it is something which I can live with. And although I like / need to have the bigger bin, I appreciate that this may not be for everyone since this is what weighs it down.

    Photo credit: Future Plc / Jennifer Oksien

    One year on

    I’ve been putting the Dyson Outsize Absolute to the test for one whole year (plus a few months). It’s great. It is my main vac. There was an interval of me having no vac though because the first initial product sent out to me to review stopped working. The problem? Brushbar stopped spinning. There was some suction but it wasn’t as great as it once was. This was an issue which happened about 10 months into owning the Dyson Outsize Absolute. After four phone calls to the customer care team and one conversation which I can remember having with the product engineer, it was diagnosed that there was some sort of signal failure from the control panel to the floorhead/s.

    A replacement part was put on order in December 2020 which was dispatched (and I rejected) in April 2022. I lost track of whether this was a system glitch or the replacement part was out of stock but in the end I received a completely new vacuum cleaner. This is not an issue which I have read before in reviews so I’m not sure what caused it, nor if it’s necessarily a common fault. I’ve had the replacement vac for a few months now and so far, so good.

    About this review – and our reviewer

    Jennifer (Jen) Oksien is our Large Appliances Editor. She has reviewed countless vacuum cleaners and other home appliances, and enjoys the satisfaction of a clean and tidy home.

    She was sent this product to review in a home setting which is where we like to test all products. We are not given any compensation for our reviews but we may be allowed to keep it, meaning we can test it over a greater length of time.

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