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Hands on: Dyson V15 Detect review

It's shaping up to be the most powerful Dyson handstick yet

What is a hands on review?
Dyson V15 Detect
(Image: © Dyson)

Early Verdict

Dyson's latest flagship cordless vacuum cleaner takes floor-cleaning innovation to the next level. With a way to see what you're cleaning, and an ingenious way to measure it all, it's perhaps the most "scientific" (the word Dyson uses) way to approach vacuuming. The addition of automatic suction power changes and a powerful motor, the Dyson V15 Detect is shaping up to be the ultimate cleaning machine.


  • Dynamic suction power
  • 60-minute battery with motorized tools
  • Redesigned Fluffy tool with laser


  • Expensive
  • Small bin capacity

Towards the end of March 2021, Dyson quietly unveiled its latest cordless vacuum cleaner – well, in the US at least. At the time, all we got to see were press images and a press release. From these materials, the Dyson V15 Detect seemed to have potential as another great innovation from the popular brand, with its laser lights illuminating microscopic particles on the floor.

We were really curious to see how it worked in the real world, and we finally got to spend some time with the new Dyson flagship cordless vacuum cleaner.

The brief given to the company's engineers was to find a way to "scientifically" prove a home was cleaned. What they came up with were three different technologies – two of which work hand-in-hand – to tell you exactly what you've cleaned off your floors and how well you've done the job.

Dyson V15 Detect vacuum handstick with lasers

The redesigned and renamed Laser Slim Fluffy tool (Image credit: Dyson)

Dyson V15 Detect: price and availability

Without any fanfare, Dyson announced the V15 Detect in the US at the end of March 2021, and it's now available to buy direct from the manufacturer or from select stores for $699.99. A model called the Dyson Outsize Absolute+ is also available – which ships with the new laser-lit Fluffy tool and offers 120 minutes of battery – for $899.99.

It took over a month to cross the Pacific, but the Dyson V15 has officially been announced in Australia as well, with the new flagship available to buy from May 27. Two different models of the V15 will also be available for purchase Down Under – the standard model called the Dyson V15 Detect Total Clean will cost AU$1,399, while a V15 Detect Absolute Extra – which comes with a newly designed filter and a free-standing dock – will set you back an eye-watering AU$1,469.

While it's still a no-show in the UK, Dyson is allowing interested customers to sign up for updates via its website. We've been told, however, that the V15 Detect will set potential buyers back £599.99 when it finally goes on sale. Whether two different models will also be available to buy in the UK is as yet unclear, but we'll update this review as soon as we know more.

Dyson V15 Detect

The new Hair Screw Tool for a tangle-free clean (Image credit: Dyson)

Dyson V15 Detect: design

True to Dyson aesthetics, the V15 Detect is a beautiful machine to look at, physically resembling the Dyson V11 models... with just a few small, yet significant, differences.

The main difference is the new Fluffy tool. While its footprint is still the same, it's a lot slimmer than what we've seen in previous models. It also has a small switch on the top to turn on – you probably guess it – the laser diode embedded into one side of the cleaning head. The diode has been placed at a precise angle and a very specific height. Thanks to a custom-designed lens (which is only marginally bigger than a grain of sugar), the laser emits light at an angle that reflects off solid particles and illuminates them.

The new Fluffy tool – now called Laser Slim Fluffy – has quite a low profile, so it can potentially squeeze into narrow spaces under your furniture. It also has a couple of rows of 'teeth' that remove entangled hair or fur. Most importantly, it's washable, so you can keep it at peak performance no matter what floor you need to clean.

While you can't see the piezo sensor, it's the next headline act of the V15 Detect. This tiny sensor, housed within the vacuum's handheld unit, can measure acoustic vibrations from even microscopic particles as small as 10 microns. As dust and debris get sucked in, they reverberate off the sides of the vacuum, and the piezo sensor uses those changes in vibrations to measure not just the size of the particles, but also the number.

These are then graphically displayed on the digital screen we first saw in the Dyson V10 Cyclone. As you clean, you'll see the graphical representation change and, when it finally becomes static, you'll know there's nothing more for the vacuum to suck up.

Dyson V15 Detect

A graph offers "scientific" proof of what you've cleaned and how much of it (Image credit: Dyson)

The display on the rear of the handheld unit isn't only to display a graphical representation of how clean (or dirty) your home is, but it also shows you the power mode you've chosen (along with battery life), which can be changed by pressing the silver button on the circular panel. The display also gives you an estimated runtime left, displayed below the graph.

Innovation doesn't stop there. A new tool has been specifically designed for human and pet hair. Using the principle of an Archimedes screw, the (perhaps aptly named) Hair Screw Tool has a tapered designed that pushes strands of hair or fur (no matter how short or long) towards the narrow end of the cleaning head. Even the bristles have been placed at an angle, all of which ensure there's no tangling at all. The narrow end is where the suction hole is, allowing whole locks to get sucked up into the bin.

Speaking of which, the V15's bin is the same as we saw in the original V11 (not the Outsize). It's still 0.76L in capacity, which could be small for some.

Dyson V15 Detect

(Image credit: Dyson)

Dyson V15 Detect: performance

We only got to see the new Dyson flagship in action for a short time during its official launch in Australia, but it was more than enough to give us an idea of how well it performs.

Whether it was sugar on a dining table, dust on a carpet or a long length of ribbon on a hard floor, the V15 barely took seconds to suck it all up without a hiccup. What we found impressive was the ability of the V15 to reactively change suction power depending on what kind of surface or dirt it was cleaning. Going from hardwood floor to a low-pile rug, there was a distinct change in the vacuum's hum, indicating suction power had increased automatically. It's also able to detect different sized particles and dynamically change suction power accordingly.

While there are three different power modes to choose from – Eco, Medium and Boost – we found that the Eco mode was more than enough for the V15 Detect. And it also offers the best battery life.

We didn't spend an entire hour using the handstick, but Dyson promises you get up to 60 minutes of fade-free power on a single charge, even if you're using one of the motorized tools (like the High Torque cleaner). On previous models, motorized tool heads ate into the limited battery life, but Dyson has promised that is no longer the case. We'll need to test the machine thoroughly before we can say this is the case for sure.

Dyson V15 Detect

Even after what you think is a good clean, the laser tells you otherwise (Image credit: TechRadar)

There's no denying the beam of laser light is great to highlight where you need to clean. With other vacuum cleaners, you'd think that having run the cleaning head over a floor or carpet a few times gets it plenty clean. The V15 Detect is here to tell you otherwise.

Even after the V15 was run over a specific area a couple of times during our demonstration, the laser found a couple of dust particles that were missed (as indicated by the two tiny bright-green spots at the end of the beam). Admittedly this works best on a hard floor as there's a solid surface for the light to bounce off. It's possible you'll be able to see dust and debris on carpets as well, although fibres are porous and will likely just absorb the light, making the laser less effective.

Just knowing where you need to clean, and getting a visual indication that it's done, is undeniably a good thing – especially during these pandemic times when most of us have become even more conscious of the cleanliness of the home we live in.

Dyson V15 Detect: early verdict

It's easy to see the advantages of a new product during a short demo – after all, companies love to highlight only the best bits. But Dyson has a reputation to maintain and even a few minutes with the V15 Detect was enough to prove this is very likely the ultimate cleaning machine. 

We saw it suck up plenty in its standard suction mode, we saw first-hand that the new Hair Screw Tool does a marvellous, tangle-free job and the laser light is a revelation.

Whether we truly want to label the new vacuum cleaner the 'ultimate cleaning machine' will depend on how well it performs in our own tests when we get to review it in detail, but we've got high hopes. Just watch this space for an in-depth review coming shortly.

What is a hands on review?

Hands on reviews' are a journalist's first impressions of a piece of kit based on spending some time with it. It may be just a few moments, or a few hours. The important thing is we have been able to play with it ourselves and can give you some sense of what it's like to use, even if it's only an embryonic view. For more information, see TechRadar's Reviews Guarantee.