Dyson V8 Review - Is the V8 Absolute or Animal still a buy in 2021?

Our long-term take on Dyson's popular V8 cordless stick line.
Pros & Cons - Features - Real-world Testing - Vacuuming Performance - Value - Alternatives - FAQ
We are reader supported. When purchases are made through links on our site we may earn an affiliate commission. The price you pay is the same.

Hands-on Review

Review Updated: July 20, 2021
Dyson V8 Review

Our well-used Dyson V8 Absolute - Image © VacHQ.com

When Dyson released the V8 line in 2016 it was a revolutionary vacuum. But, years later, there's much more competition.

Technology has moved forward and Dyson's competitors and the company (and Dyson itself) have released newer models.

After years of V8 ownership, we review Dyson's V8 to see how it holds up against 2021's competition.

Pros and cons

What we like

  • Cleans both carpet and floors well
  • Vacuum's appearance
  • High-quality construction
  • Low maintenance
  • Trusted brand

What we don't like

  • Aging technology
  • Short battery life and long charge time
  • Battery cannot be swapped out
  • Does not stand up on its own
  • Price vs performance
  • Cordless stick vacuums are lightweight, simple, convenient and capable of replacing their corded siblings for whole-home use.
  • Once the best cordless stick vacuum available, Dyson's V8 is now showing it's age.
  • At current prices, we recommend you consider these alternatives before buying a Dyson V8 Absolute or Animal.

The V8 and Dyson’s stick vacuum product line

Dyson released the V8 Absolute and Animal in 2016. The V8 was a successor to the V6 using the same formula: a well designed, lightweight, cordless, bagless, stick vacuum with a digital motor and HEPA filter.

The two V8’s in the product family are identical with the exception of their color and one accessory: the Soft Roller Cleaner Head.

Following the release of the V8, Dyson released four stick-vacuum lines: the V7, V10, V11, Outsize and V15. The V7 was introduced after the V8 as a budget option to the V8.

Additional V8 models have also followed, such as the V8 Motorhead.

Features and capabilities

As far as capabilities go, with the exception of the V7, every Dyson model line release has outperformed its predecessor where it counts most: battery run time and suction power.

The V8 follows this trend and is an upgrade from the V6 model.

Key features

  • 17.92 oz
  • 115 air watts
  • 40 minutes
  • 5 hours
  • No
  • Yes
  • 5.8 pounds
  • Yes
  • 66dB
  • 72dB
  • 2 Years

In-the-box

  • Dyson V8 Cordless Stick Vacuum
  • Soft Roller Cleaner Head (Absolute Only))
  • Motorhead
  • Mini Motorized Tool
  • Mini Soft Dusting Brush
  • Combination Tool
  • Crevice Tool
  • Docking Station
  • Power Cord
  • Owner's Guide/Manual

Is the Dyson V8 worth it?

Dyson's V8 Absolute and Animal are now over a half decade old. While they still perform well, there are several other vacuums worth considering. For our reviews, price to performance is a big determination if we recommand a buy.

Dyson's V8 Absolute is worth it when priced at $375 or below. The V8 Animal is a buy when less than $275. Regardless, we do recommend you consider these alternatives and other vacuums available in the same pricepoint.

Design and usability

Dyson’s stick vacuum design set the stage for all cordless stick vacuums to come. In step with the Dyson design aesthetic, the V8 strikes the balance between simplicity and high-tech.

We think one of Dyson’s biggest strengths is its ability to consistently design great looking, great performing vacuums. Good Design Australia was just one of scores of organizations which awarded Dyson for it's design work.

The components feel solid. And, in our experience they are solid. In the 3 years we’ve had our V8’s, and used one just about daily, the vacuum has been subject to its share of normal wear and tear. Cosmetically our V8 Absolute has plenty of scars. But, it never broke, chipped or otherwise fell apart.

In comparison to newer stick vacuums, it does feel a bit heavy and underpowered. We’ll cover that in more detail in the performance section below

As far as using the vacuum, it is easy to maneuver and emptying the dirt bin is straightforward.

We empty the dustbin outdoors, and recommend that for anyone. When the dustbin is opened fine dust is prone to getting airborne.

Like many other stick vacuums, one feature we wish Dyson's V8 had was the ability to stand-up on its own. None of the Dyson V8 models do.

When cleaning, if you need to pause and do something else, you either lean the vacuum against something or lay it down.

From experience we can tell you the vacuum easily falls down when upright and leaning on a wall. The Dyson V8 isn't a standout on this. Many other stick vacuums have the same shortcoming.

Real world testing and use

Dyson V8 Absolute with Soft Roller Head

The Soft Roller Cleaner Head on a V8 Absolute - Image © VacHQ.com

We used our V8 at least once if not twice daily. The always-on cleaning head in our home with around 70% hardwood and tile flooring was the Soft Roller Head.

The Soft Roller head only comes with the V8 Absolute. It works great, and our experience with the V8 would not have been nearly as positive had we purchased the Animal.

The Soft Roller Cleaner Head easily sucked up dust, dirt and larger debris, like cereal or pebles. The other two attachments used most frequently were the Motorhead and Mini Motorized Tool. Both also worked well on the surfaces we used them on – low-pile and medium-pile carpet, area rugs and upholstery.

If you have a home with a good amount of hardwood, tile or other non-carpeted surfaces, the V8 Absolute should be the V8 you consider.

Generated noise from the vacuum were in-line with other stick vacuums. With a motorized attachment we measured 66dB at 2.5 feet.

In Max or Boost Mode with the same attachment the digital motor created 72dB. For reference, at the time of testing, with the vacuum turned off ambient noise was 33dB.

Dyson V8 Accessory Attachments

Crevice Tool, CombinationTool and Soft Dusting Brush - Image © VacHQ.com

The crevice tool did get some infrequent use. The Combination Tool and Soft Dusting Brush were used least often.

All of the cleaning heads and attachments held up very well over the three-year review period.

Shortcomings of the V8

There are a few aspects of the V8 that we’re not fond of.

First, the lithium-ion battery is non-removable. It is incorporated into the handle of the vacuum, meaning you cannot swap it out. It also means that it’s a bit of a hassle if you do need to replace it (which we have in ours).

By [[year]] standards, the battery doesn't run for very long either.

Second, is the position of the digital motor’s exhaust. While this might not effect everyone, it is easy to block, or be in the way of, the hot exhaust coming from the motor.

When we’ve experienced this we adjust how we’re gripping the vacuum handle. It’s likely a product of how the V8’s motor and chassis is designed.

Regardless, it seems like aiming the hot exhaust away from the user’s hand would make more sense.

Third is the trigger. Hands down, we'd love to have seen an on/off switch instead of a trigger like the V8’s. Constantly holding the trigger whenever vacuuming seems decidedly non-Dyson.

For awhile we wondered if we were the only ones who felt this way. Reading other customer reviews showed us that it wasn’t.

Finally, as we mentioned, we do wish that the V8 cordless vacuums could stand up on their own.

Dyson V8 vacuuming performance and battery

As far as vacuuming on both hard floors and carpet, the vacuum does a good job. Whether it's dust, dirt or pet hair, the V8 was the first cordless to do it all and do it all relatively good.

Getting it to do a great job cleaning often requires using the Max suction setting, however. And, when using that higher-suction mode, that's where the V8 is showing its age.

It’s not so much that the V8 is struggling where cleaning ability is concerned, it’s just that it can’t do it for very long. And, once it's empty, recharging the non-swappable battery takes a full 5 hours.

The V8 Absolute claims 40 minutes of fade-free run time before needing to charge its battery. That’s with a standard (non-motorized) attachment and measured while running in the normal mode (low suction).

From our experience, getting to 40 minutes of run time also likely required a smooth, hard surface was being cleaned.

Using the V8’s Max suction mode or the Direct-drive head dramatically reduces run time. Running in Max mode with that cleaner head brings that 20 minute run time down into the single digits fast.

Even with a non-motorized head our experience is 5 to 7 minutes of run time in Max or "Burst Mode."

For a vacuum that runs for 40 minutes at best, the dustbin is adequately sized. It has the same emptying mechanism as it's predecessor (which we like).

Maintenance

Maintanance has been very easy. Both of the V8's filters are washable and reusable, cutting down on replacement costs. When a replacement is necessary, they are readily available and reasonably priced.

Beyond filters the only maintenance to speak of is for the Soft Roller Cleaner Head, Motorhead and Mini Motorized Tool. Eventually each will get some hair or other debris wrapped around its brush.

A quick counter-clockwise turn at one end of those attachments releases the roller head.

Value for the money

Dyson’s V8 line is more than 5 years old at the time of updating this review. The V8 Absolute and Animal were once the standard by which all other cordless vacuums were measured. But, that time has come and gone.

As of Fall 2021, we believe the fair market value of a V8 Absolute should be in the $325 to $375 range. For a V8 Animal we feel it should be right around $250.

If you do find either V8 in that price range, we do still encourage shopping newer Dyson and competitor cordless stick vacuums.

There are several options out there that provide better suction, longer run time, parity or better for accessories and a lower price.

Competition, both from other manufacturers and from Dyson’s newer vacuums themselves, make a more compelling argument today.

Dyson V8 alternatives

There are many great vacuums on the market in the Dyson V8 Absolute price range. Two vacuums that immediately come to mind are Samsung’s Jet 70 and Jet 75 cordless stick vacuums.

At their best, they produce 150 and 200 air watts respectively, beating the V8’s 115 air watts. Run time on each’s removable, single battery is 40 minutes for the 70 and 60 minutes for the 75. Roborock's H7 makes our short-list, too.

If you’re sold on Dyson, pricing on their V10 Absolute and Animal are often within reasonable range of the V8.

For bigger budgets the V11 Animal and completely superior V15 offer the soft-roller head, too.

Another tip is to also check Dyson's site (Dyson USA) as they often have pricing, promotions and accessories that other retailers do not.

Long term update

Our Dyson V8 Absolute – after three years worth of daily use – developed a performance issue. In the normal power mode the vacuum would only run for ten minutes or so before depleting the battery. In Boost/Max suction mode it ran for just over a minute.

Dyson was nice enough to send us a replacement battery even though our V8 was far out of warranty

Unfortunately, the battery doesn't appear to be the issue. For those that are faced with replacing the batter on your own, we did want to note that the battery replacement process is straightforward, taking only 5 minutes or so.

Frequently Asked Questions

When was the Dyson V8 released?

Both the V8 Absolute and V8 Animal were released in 2016.

Has the Dyson V8 been discontinued?

No. As of this year, Dyson is still manufacturing and selling the V8 Absolute and Animal cordless stick vacuums.

Can a Dyson V8 be left on the charger?

Yes. The lithium-ion batteries and charger are designed so the battery can be left on the charger indefinitely. Dyson actually recommends it so the vacuum is fully charged when you need it.