It's a spring thing
Dyson, The Animal has lost its bite

Let's start this review off by just saying I don't like my Dyson. It's rubbish. (It was really hard to avoid saying "it sucks" there, but I somehow managed it).

So now you know how I feel, is there any point reading on? Well I think so as it would be unfair to make such a bold statement and not explain it.

The background to buying the Dyson is that we have a couple of cats, one a long haired Ginger Tom and one a short haired, let's call him a White Tom so he doesn't feel left out in the name game. We had a navy blue living room carpet at the time, which goes really well with white cat hair and Squidgey, the cat in question casts like he's on a mission. I mean handfuls of the stuff fall off him constantly. Pet him and you are surrounded in a cloud of white. Yet his hair never thins, it's thick and lush! As I run my fingers through my thinning hair I long for his secret! Neelix, the Ginger Tom is nowhere near as bad, but being longhaired it soon adds up.

Cleaning the carpet was quite a chore. The then current vacuum cleaner was useless, it just kind of smeared the hair about the carpet, so you had to use a rubber brush to scrape it into piles, or get down on your knees with a rubber glove and pull it together into piles, dispose of it, then use the vacuum cleaner to finish off. It was hard work and I really felt sorry for my wife as she struggled with it daily. ;) (Disclaimer: I did it sometimes!) Something had to be done so we looked around for a new vacuum cleaner.

A couple of friends had Dysons and seemed pleased with them. We even tried one and it was good so we handed over our ill gotten gains and purchased a Dyson DC07 Animal. It arrived a few days later and we unpacked what can only be described as an extra from some '60s Sci-Fi B movie. The DC07 range is quite an update on the original model. For one thing it uses Root8Cyclone technology! I think that means there are 8 mini tornadoes trapped inside of it instead of just one. It comes with a lifetime hospital-level HEPA filter with bacterial killing properties, which must be good for allergy sufferers but not so good for bacteria. Brush control allows you to switch off the brushbar to protect rugs and delicate floors. Dysons are bagless so running costs should be low with no bags to replace and it is easy to empty, a gentle pull on a trigger type mechanism opens the bottom of the clear plastic bin. Just remember to wait until you are outside before releasing the catch! The motor is 1200 watts but Dyson prefer you to use "airwatts" so the quoted 260 airwatts must be good! The Animal version comes with an extra "turbo" tool, which fits onto the end of the extendable hose and is for confined spaces, furniture, stairs etc. It would also be good for use in the car.

Anyway, we put it all together and gave it a try. Oh my, was it good. It grabbed onto the carpet like it wanted to rip it off the floor; the hair never stood a chance and I worried about the colourfastness of the blue dye in the carpet. There was a satisfied glance between my wife and I, the cats ran for cover, the carpet came up pristine. It removed stuff from the carpet that was probably there from the carpet factory. What usually took nearly an hour was over in five minutes. We got a dog.

"Now that is all going fantastically well" I hear you say, "why do you think it is rubbish?" Well it wasn't long before the filter needed washed. I checked the instructions, removed the filter cover and tried to take the filter out of its casing. Tried is the word. I pulled, pushed, twisted, grunted, strained, gasped and wept but it wouldn't budge. Now I'm a big guy, I could crush a grape easily but try as I might that filter was going nowhere. On the plus side it was the best workout I'd had in years but to no avail. I emailed Dyson who were understanding and sent out a new filter right away. Of course I had to get the old one out to put the new one in so there was no option but to pry it out with a kitchen knife, (where would we be without kitchen knives?) It still took considerable force. The kitchen knife bent and bent and finally the filter gave up. I had a good look at it and the housing and there didn't seem to be anything wrong! With trepidation I inserted the new filter and tried to remove it and thankfully it decided to work within its design parameters. I scowled at the old one.

All was well again. Despite Squidgey and Neelix's best efforts the house and home remained hair free.

One day while using the extension hose there was a distinct loss of suction. Dysons don't lose suction so something was wrong. On investigation I discovered the hose had split just inside the plastic connector. Neelix, Squidgey and new arrival Charlie the Border Collie sensed their moment and went into casting overdrive. The carpets started to change colour. An email went off to Dyson who again responded quickly and sent out a new hose. All was well again. Later there was another lose of suction. Dysons don't lose suction, (subliminal message alert). On investigation the hose underneath the machine was found to have a split in it. Another email to Dyson, another quick reply and another new part was sent out. By this time the standard warranty was nearing its end. Thankfully I had taken out an extended warranty. I don't usually do this but it seemed not too bad a price at the time and they let you pay it monthly. I'm glad I did.

This week, three and a bit months out of the standard warranty the Dyson went up in a puff of smoke. It made a loud grinding noise from the motor, turned off, smoke coming from the base, followed by a pungent smell of burning electricals. An email, then phone call to Dyson later and it's been picked up and sent off for repair. The Animal has lost its bite. The post woman said, "Not another Dyson, I always seem to be picking these up." I can see the pets scheming in the corner.

Back it came. The cats and dog never raised an eyebrow this time. They knew as I did that they were winning. They may have lost a few battles along the way but they were going to win the war. I plugged in the Dyson, and nervously switched it on, expecting another bang. Off it went, like 10 brand new ones. The animals skulked off into the corners to work on their new strategy, we got on with keeping the house clean and thought about a hamster.

Over the last couple of weeks there was another loss of suction. Dysons don't lose...yeah whatever. It's now March 06 and the replacement hose split. Yip the hose that is a replacement to the original one has also split. Once again Dyson responded quickly and sent out a new one immediately but that's it on to its third main hose, second hose underneath, second filter housing and second motor...sigh.

There's a rhyme that goes something like "When she was good, she was very very good, but when she was bad she was horrid." I think that sums up our Dyson DC07 Animal and I am afraid the latter outweighs the former. For such an expensive item its build quality and reliability is "horrid." It shouldn't break down so often or need so many parts in such a short period of time and no amount of fast customer care changes that. I would never buy another. It's a Miele for me next time.

Now where's that rubber brush?

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