Reviews

Taming Pet Hair with the Dyson V11 Animal: A Tested Review

While pet owners cherish their furry companions, getting rid of the pesky fur that clings to carpets and upholstery is challenging. Find out what happened when I tested a top-rated cordless vacuum in a pet-friendly household.
Glenda Taylor Avatar
Dyson V11 Animal cordleess stick vacuum cleaning teal area rug
Photo: Glenda Taylor for Bob Vila

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Dealing with persistent pet hair can challenge even the most fastidious housekeeper. Pet hair sticks like a magnet to carpeting and upholstery, making it hard to remove. Enter the Dyson V11 Animal, a cordless vacuum designed to give pet owners an easier way to keep their homes fur-free. I tested the Dyson V11 in my home alongside several of today’s top-rated vacuums to find the best cordless vacuums for pet hair. Pet hair is an ongoing problem in our home, which we share with four dogs and two cats. The V11 earned the top spot in our larger group test, and we felt it deserved a comprehensive review. Ahead, learn how the Dyson V11 handled pet hair—plus other types of dust and debris. Find out the features I liked the best about this cordless vacuum cleaner and which ones I think could be improved.

Dyson V11 Animal Cordless Vacuum: At a Glance

Person vacuuming wood floor with Dyson V11 Animal cordless stick vacuum
Photo: Glenda Taylor for Bob Vila

Rating: 8.5/10

SPECS

  • Watts: 120
  • Runtime: Up to 1 hour
  • Weight: 6.68 pounds
  • Accessories: Crevice tool, brush attachment, wall-mount storage dock, mini motorized tool

PROS

  • Powerful suction that surpasses similar cordless stick vacuums
  • Effective for use on various floor types, including hardwood, tile, and carpeting
  • Relatively quiet operation—the maker claims 79 decibels; I measured 70 decibels; makes for a more enjoyable cleaning experience
  • Hassle-free dustbin emptying takes less than 30 seconds
  • Convenient wall-mount docking station allows the battery to charge while storing the vacuum

CONS

  • Hair-trigger design can lead to inadvertently turning the vacuum on while carrying
  • Suction may be too powerful for delicate fabrics, such as lightweight or sheer curtains

Get the Dyson V11 Animal cordless vacuum at:

What is the Dyson V11 Animal vacuum?

The Dyson V11 Animal is an advanced cordless vacuum that offers powerful suction—up to twice as much as competitive cordless models—according to the manufacturer. It’s engineered for comprehensive whole-home cleaning, and I found it excellent at picking up debris on several flooring types: hardwood, carpeting, and tile. Its high torque (spin power) head features three suction modes—Eco, Auto, and Boost—that increase or decrease the suction for various needs. For example, I used the Boost mode to vacuum deeply embedded pet hair from a nylon-based carpet, but I turned it down to Eco mode for vacuuming throw pillows and upholstery.

Dyson claims that the advanced filtration on this cordless vacuum cleaner captures 99.99 percent of particles, dust, and allergens as small as 0.3 microns; that puts the filtration very close to being as effective as a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter. While that claim was hard to test, I didn’t notice the V11 spewing any dust back into the air, which was nice. I’ve had vacuums that didn’t filter well and would leave a fine visible layer of dust on furniture after vacuuming. Another bonus: This cordless vacuum is pretty quiet. I used my decibel tester about 6 feet away while the vacuum was running on its highest setting and it registered 70 decibels, which is comparable to a dishwasher.

Dyson V11 - Best Dyson Vacuums
Photo: Glenda Taylor for Bob Vila

Handles Pet Hair With Ease

The Dyson cordless vacuum did a great job of sucking up dust, dirt, and pet hair from carpeting and rugs. I spread fine pet hair over an area rug that’s difficult to clean, and I swept it in with a broom to ensure the hairs would stick to the fibers. Then, I tried out the V11 to see if it would remove the hair. It did—it took about three back-and-forth passes over the rug to remove most of the hair. I was impressed. Using the mini-roller attachment, I could also vacuum pet hair off throw pillows and upholstery. I tried it on curtains, but even on the gentlest mode (Eco), the suction was too powerful for the curtains. Unless you have heavy drapes, I don’t recommend using the V11 to clean them.

The vacuum also worked well for pet hair removal on hardwood and tile floors, and the brush roller was gentle and did not leave any scratches on the hardwood. The thing that amazed me the most was how clean the roller brush was after sucking up all that pet hair. In the past, I’ve used scissors to snip away tightly tangled pet hair from a vacuum roller brush. No need with the V11 Animal. When I inspected the roller brush to see how much pet hair was wound up on it, I was surprised—no hair was on it. None. And that’s perhaps the best thing about this vacuum; pet hair goes directly into the dustbin and doesn’t get tangled on the brush.

Person empty the dust canister of a Dyson V11 Animal stick vacuum
Photo: Glenda Taylor for Bob Vila

Dustbin Capacity and User-Friendly Emptying

Dyson doesn’t list the dustbin capacity of the V11 Animal cordless vacuum, but I would guess it’s in the range of about half a gallon. How often users need to empty it depends on how much dust or fur is on the floor or upholstery. It’s effortless to empty, which is helpful if users need to dump it more than once during vacuuming. To empty the dustbin, I pressed the red button on the wand and disconnected it from the bottom of the bin. It slid right off. Then, I held the dustbin unit over a trash can and pressed downward on the red lever on the back of the dustbin, which opened the bottom of the bin, and the contents fell into the trash. After emptying the bin, I closed the dustbin door, slid the wand back into place, and continued vacuuming. It took less than 30 seconds from start to finish, so emptying the dustbin won’t slow you down.

Vacuum attachments for the Dyson V11 Animal on cream carpet
Photo: Glenda Taylor for Bob Vila

Runtime Particulars

The manufacturer lists the runtime on this high-performance vacuum at up to 1 hour on a single charge. That seems to be about right—when using the vacuum on Auto or Eco modes. It had a slightly lower runtime of about 45 minutes when I ran it on Boost mode, but that’s expected since it’s a powerful mode that draws a lot of energy. Most homes can probably be thoroughly vacuumed in 30 minutes or less. However, runtime might be an issue if the V11 isn’t charged between uses.

Dyson has a remedy for that, however. They’ve included a wall-mount docking station that can be installed in a utility room or closet. The V11 charges as it’s being stored, so each time users are ready to vacuum, they’ll have a full battery charge and maximum power available. Now for what I didn’t like: the hair trigger. On the one hand, turning the vacuum on and off just by using a single finger on the trigger is a perk. On the other hand, whenever I picked up the vacuum to carry it to a different location, I inadvertently pressed the trigger, and it started running. That was annoying.

Is the Dyson V11 Animal worth the money?

At the time of this review, the Dyson V11 Animal is between $500 and $600, depending on the retailer and promotions. However, as improved and updated models appear, which happens nearly every other month, the previous models tend to see price drops. Shoppers will pay a little more right now for a V11 than they would for a lesser-known cordless stick vacuum, but there’s no guarantee the cheaper model will have the same ability to vacuum up pet hair. For me, owner of multiple pets who shed, this Dyson stick vacuum is well worth the expense. Not having to cut away trapped and twisted fur on the roller brush is a big benefit, too. Dyson is already putting out newer and more advanced models that cost up to twice as much as the V11, but the V11 does a great job with pet hair, so for me, it’s worth the cost.

Dyson V11 Animal vacuuming black and white area rug under bed
Photo: Glenda Taylor for Bob Vila

Should you buy the Dyson V11 Animal cordless stick vacuum?

If you struggle to get pet hair out of carpets and off other surfaces, consider investing in the V11. Despite the emergence of newer, more advanced models from Dyson, some priced significantly higher, the V11 remains one of the best vacuums for its effectiveness in managing pet-related messes. The vacuum’s dustbin might require frequent emptying, depending on the volume of debris. However, the process is quick and straightforward, taking less than 30 seconds. It’s only minimal disruption to a cleaning routine.

The vacuum offers powerful suction, adjustable cleaning modes, and high-end filtration that traps even tiny particles. The V11 is excellent at cleaning various flooring, from hardwood and tile to carpet. However, keep in mind that the convenient—for immediate on/off control—hair trigger can inadvertently start the vacuum when lifting it, causing minor inconvenience. Despite this issue, the Dyson V11 Animal’s overall performance and efficiency in managing pet hair make it a worthwhile investment for pet owners seeking an effective and hassle-free cleaning solution.

Where to Buy the Dyson V11 Animal Cordless Vacuum

Get the Dyson V11 Animal cordless vacuum at:

Meet the Tester

Glenda Taylor is a product tester and writer specializing in the construction, remodeling, and real estate industry. She and her husband own a general contracting company, and Taylor is experienced in both residential and commercial building applications. She tests a wide range of power tools as well as other home improvement, household, and lawn-and-garden products.

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Glenda Taylor

Staff Writer

Glenda Taylor is a BobVila.com staff writer with a background in the residential remodeling, home building, and home improvement industries. She started writing for BobVila.com in 2016 and covers a range of topics, including construction methods, code compliance, tool use, and the latest news in the housing and real estate industries. 

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