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Author Topic: Dyson DC01 Review  (Read 11981 times)

Offline DavidP

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Dyson DC01 Review
« on: February 20, 2011, 11:35:55 AM »
I found this long DC01 review today online, I thought I would share it:

Advantages: Good cleaner in its day

Disadvantages: When it didn't break down; poor plastic parts, weight, noise, horrible empty principle.

For anyone who has never experienced a Dyson vacuum cleaner, itís not always throwing away good money on a poorly thought out machine, but rather the abuse that most Dyson models suffer from by the ownerís neglect. As a vacuum cleaner collector Iíve only ever had a few Dyson models in my collection and after owning a DC01 from new for a couple of years the faults on the machine could only have come from long term use and elevated expectation given the features that Dyson had advertised on the model itself by way of difficult to remove stickers listing the features. I read the manual, I read the helpline info and I listened carefully to the engineers on the expensive Dyson premium rate help phone lines at the time. I despised the call out charges of £75 each time when the DC01 ran out of its warranty and after five call outs, both with my DC01 and DC03 uprights, it was time to throw in the towel of experience. Bought brand new in 1995, it cost my parents £200 odd and we received an extra yearís warranty at the time.

These days the DC01 is defunct but the model still appears on Ebay such as the long standing basic model in grey and yellow, whilst at times the limited edition ďAntarctica,Ē model may well surface as well as higher graded filter systems such as a HEPA plus model and the famous multicoloured De Stijl model celebrating the artist.

The question is, after so many years, is a reconditioned Dyson DC01 better than the current line up of cheaper to buy cyclonic uprights against newer Dyson models? It could well be a good deal if it is priced between £40 and £60 with the promise of a new motor and parts, under the reconditioned slogan. ** This is a long review **

** The DC01 Design **

Much has to be said of the DC01. It serves its purpose well if all that you need is an upright which can deal with removing grit from carpets, rather than hard floors which the DC01 could never do thanks to its constantly spinning roller brush which could not be activated to stop. The less mechanics the better where the DC01 is concerned. It was never intended to have a lot of features but rather just to show off its Dual Cyclone patented design of being able to remove dirt deep from carpets without ever clogging because it uses no paper bag, but an actual cyclone built up from suction air and the centrifugal forces of the cyclone shrouds themselves which spin thicker dust into the air, and refines the larger pieces of dirt to the bottom whilst the inner bin from the cyclone retains the finer granules of dirt. This is why on a Dyson, youíll always see (and feel if cleaning the bins out) heavier dirt on the outer shroud and inner powdery talcum like powder in the inner shroud. Other cyclonic bagless uprights fail to do this as they use a mesh or paper pleated filter to trap the particles, thus clogging and cutting the suction.

As with most Dysons after the DC01 on upright designs, the hose at the back can be taken out when the handle is released from the body and automatically attaches itself to the handle and long pipe which stretches out. Even as far back when we had our DC01 brand new, we did marvel at the stretch of the hose which could clean up an average stair case with the DC01 at the bottom landing and one of the easiest, most pliable hoses ever produced on a vacuum cleaner. Thus, there is a lot of give in the hose even though on the DC01 it is permanently attached to the handle via the thin metal brushed aluminium secondary pipe. In this instance, here is where other tools can be used on the handle to further make use of their reach and versatility.

A series of three tools came with the DC01 originally; a long crevice tool, a round 360ļ upholstery brush and a flat lint picker upholstery brush ideal for soft furnishings and early in our ownership found it to be useful for cleaning mattresses and curtains.

Then there is the secondary adaptor which must be fitted to the long rubbery acrylic see through hose for any one of the attachments, but the handle and long spine would need to be taken off before the adaptor could be slid in. Earlier handles on DC01ís had a tendency to snap off and Dyson quickly remedied this with a new style handle but it also meant the long thin pipe after the handle was now permanently attached unlike before. Regardless of these options, all four tools sit either side of the DC01 at the bottom, two on each side but in general use they are liable to fall off and remains to be a poor design thought regardless of the fact that they are visible and easy to access on the DC01.

** Performance **

One of the issues I noticed immediately on my DC01 is the fact that at the front the motor has a very billowy tendency to blow out hot air. This however is the air which is expelled at the front of the motor and is filtered by the HEPA/S Class washable filters which are fitted at the bottom of the DC01ís bin and the air is expelled twice through different vents. It can be annoying that in use, when the DC01 glides on floors, it pushes and blows dirt away from the main suction floor head rather than grabbing the dirt in and like most uprights on the market these days, this means that as well as a lot of hot air, it is accompanied by a lot of noise.

And noise is something which if you are the owner of a DC01 you will have to become accustomed to. Then again, the DC01 always had a 1200 watt motor which against todayís cheapest bagless upright is very lowly; but the differences of suction and maintaining suction are different and uprights these days which canít suck up 100% of the time will have higher motors to cope with and to fill in the void of losing power by maintaining power for longer.

Over carpeting the DC01 is good if not average against a similar kitted out upright which uses bags, but the more modern design on a DC01 and other models after it suffer from the fact that the main motor hinge gets in the way if you arenít say, over six foot tall. The DC01ís worst attribute is that the motor hinge gets in the way, and despite Dysonís reckoning, it will not clean flat to the floor for low furniture such as open space beds and low coffee tables Ė of which our family owned Sebo X1 is famous for when trying to get under furniture. It also meant that for most of the time I had to stoop to ensure the floor head met the carpet rather than hovering over the pile at an angle. For some owners they will simply put the DC01 into the upright position, press the lock on the handle and happily bend down to clean under low furniture. I can do that with my Sebo X1 too but frankly Iíd like an upright which can slide under low furniture without injuring myself due to the machineís weight and lack of reach because of a large motor. Tie in a short power cord of 6 metres and itís a wonder the DC01 was never updated with a bigger and more convenient 10 metre cord.

That aside, the DC01 does however have edge cleaning sides on the main floor head but it doesnít have beater bars thankfully, which donít groom your carpet but clean the carpet with its fine spaced bristles.

** Filtration **

Most Dyson DC01ís have a multi stage filtration system Ė that is, to say mostly S Class or HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) filters which produces cleaner air than the air and dust sucked up into the machine (Dyson call it ďS-LevelĒ.) And changing the filters on any DC01 is easy thanks to the fact that both are the same shape and different types can be bought and washed Ė thus cutting cost on extra filters. The side motor filter has a slide pick out grid whilst the bin by the main top motor has to be removed before the bottom flap can be raised to pick out the other filter.

The amount of dirt both the filters on my DC01 accumulated after the first three months of ownership was unbelievable but at the same time, easy to detect since the air was gradually beginning to get cloudier with dirt each time the DC01 was made to work; basic thumb rule, if the filters are black, wash them or replace them until they are white again! Filter replacements are usually available.

** Clogging **

Another aspect of the DC01 is removing clogs or when dirt gets clogged. Looking around the DC01 its not hard to see that the model was one of scientific and excellent engineering thought and skill. At the back of the DC01 there are two air way inspection doors; both rubber flaps close over as soon as the DC01 is switched on. But when switched off the flaps are easy to open (shame they donít stay open) but the hose and dual inspection pipes are easy enough to stick a pipe cleaner upwards to dislodge any clogging. I thought initially that my inspection airways would be clear until I pushed a finger in one day and discovered a whole load of matted cat hair at the bottom of one of the tubes. Still my DC01 was working, but I canít imagine it would have lasted any longer if I hadnít had cleared out the air ways.

And the same applies to the hose, because at the bottom held by the cord wrap hook, there is a rubber hole about the size of an old 10p coin. This reveals the open end of the hose and can be pulled open and downwards to remove any clog which gets stuck.

** Weight and Other Maintenance **

One of the other aspects I donít like about the DC01 is its 9kg weight. 9kg? Yes you read it correctly. For all that Dyson had made his machines out of plastic and very little metal on the external body the 100% recyclable plastic body may well have been great news for environmentalists, but in every day use the DC01 is a very heavy machine and difficult to use if needed to be carried up stairs. Despite the fact that the main handle for the Dyson has been automatically incorporated into the bin design, the DC01 has always commanded a bigger foot print because of its sheer size and width, often making the old Hoover Junior look like a little toy compared to this monster.

Drive belts on our DC01 were forever being replaced and at the time, a pack of 2 belts around £8 were starting to look very expensive as we needed to buy three packs at a time within the first year. The second year and third year of ownership was marginally better but no less expensive with constant drive belt replacements. The problem with the DC01 isnít just its high noise, but the fact that its roller brush spins extremely fast and thanks to its auto adjusting head can be extremely sensitive on tassels and parts of old carpet which are working themselves loose. These days copy drive belts which do the same jobs are as easy to find as well as buy ranging in cost from £1 up to £4. Some owners just use one drive belt for two years and if youíre an owner like that, good on you!

The changing of the belt however can be problematic and this is down to the fact that the Dyson has to be tipped over on its front (often a juggling act as the bin gets in the way and thanks to its circular shape will often rock from side to side) or side where the floor head reveals a couple of plastic screws which have to be undone with a 1p coin. Donít try it with a screwdriver; I had to order replacement parts from Dyson as the screwdriver I had attacked the initial screws with were broken by the time I had managed to get the floor head sole plate off. Once the sole plate comes away, pick out the roller brush, fit a new belt over it and attach it to the main motor spindle flywheel. Sounds familiar doesnít it? When at a time Dyson had more or less advertised this as the latest state of the art vacuum cleaner it sat at odds when having to take out a tool box to replace a rubber belt.

** Other Advantages/Problems **

Unlike Sebo (and yes, it does have some failings) the DC01ís hose once taken out reveals that its main point of contact on the DC01 is at the bottom. Typically for any upright cleaner which has a hose contact at the bottom this means that in the case of the DC01 it will seldom fall over. This is great news for anyone who needs to use an uprightís hose at the same time as general cleaning.

One problem with the hose is that it has a tendency to kink whenever it is pushed back into the main rear of the upright. This has always been a problem with the DC01 and Dyson did improve the design on the similarly spec DC04 but with more improvements. On the DC01 however sometimes the inner metal tube would not fall back into the hose automatically resulting in a tight kink and with brute force could pierce the see through acrylic tube.

** Emptying it **

Due to its age the Dyson DC01 has a dirty policy when it comes to emptying. It incorporates either the bottom of the bin to be unlocked and screwed off to dislodge the bin itself, and reveals a dusty shroud cone open to the air once the bin is off, or with the entire assembly lifted upwards and unlocks itself complete with the bin lid handle. By the time youíve got that all off you then have to carry the bin with one hand on the handle and another on the bottom of the bin before halving both parts (preferably outside your home by your refuse bin) to empty. The easiest solution is the first one but in both cases it is a very dirty business. Ironically for all that Dyson bitched and moaned about the lack of a bag to clog and saving money, the whole procedure of emptying the bin is messy and in the user manual it suggests and shows a picture of a person using a bag to contain all the dirt from the bin when its tipped upwards.

This then brings the question of how clean a Dyson should be once its been emptied. Do not ignore the honey comb shroud as the holes need to be brushed clean of dirt. I always did this to my Dyson DC01 and found that the upholstery brush was great for this very task.

Escaping dust on a DC01 isnít unheard of and one of the main problems owners face is the fact that the filters rarely get dusted apart from being washed. From time to time the motor has a bad tendency to let in dust and once that occurs the motor will burn out. This is what occurred to me when I used the DC01 to suck up fireplace soot. The filters were clean, the shrouds were clean but the motor burnt out because the main motor filter became clogged with dust.

** Conclusion **

At the cost of £40 to £60 reconditioned, a Dyson DC01 starts to make sense if it is only to be used as a main upright carpet cleaner Ė ideal if you have pets or large expanses of carpet where a suction only cylinder vacuum fails to pick up the first time. However its reliability record speaks for itself Ė it does not provide an all in one solution for long term cleaning and peace of mind despite its extra long hose or the fact that it provides 100% suction. As Dyson has launched oodles of newer upright designs from the DC01ís launch, it also comes as no surprise that other small cost optional tools such as the excellent Animal turbine brush cannot be used on the DC01.

At least in the DC01ís favour, spares are always readily available. Treat it kindly, maintain it well and the DC01 could last a few good years. But the slightest neglect may mean costly repairs and for anyone faced with buying a DC01 over the £100 mark, that simply isnít good enough in terms of reliability and design that brand new bagless and cyclonic upright vacuums have improved upon. Thanks for reading. ©Nar2 2007


I dont agree with all of it, but it is one of the best reviews I have read.

Offline tbofram

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Re: Dyson DC01 Review
« Reply #1 on: March 22, 2011, 09:30:21 PM »
As said above I think some of the info is abit ~~~~ but ya good review

Offline steersk

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Re: Dyson DC01 Review
« Reply #2 on: June 12, 2012, 03:26:51 PM »
I don't really agree with all of it either!
Some of the specs are indeed wrong. Also, with regard to hoovering up coal dust - that is just silly!

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