Thirteen years ago James Dyson unleashed the DC01 on to a Hoover-infatuated public and the world of vacuum cleaners has never been the same since. Now James Dyson believes he has re-invented the upright vacuum cleaner with the latest model - the DC15 ball. But can adding a design element he originally applied to another idea some 28 years earlier really make all the difference? We did the only thing an honest man can do - we did some cleaning.

The secret to the DC 15 is the ball at its core. The vacuum cleaner is based around a ball rather than the two standard wheels for getting around your living room. The idea is to speed up cleaning by getting rid of the forwards-backwards motion you normally associate with cleaning and therefore make a device that is far more manoeuvrable around the house.

In our tests and usage over the last couple of weeks (the wife has been so pleased that we’ve shown a strong interest in the cleaning all in the name of work) we have to admit this claim is true. Cleaning is faster and getting around the room and furniture in it a lot quicker and easier, however there has been a catch.

All the control of the movement has transferred into the agility of our wrists. Quite simply, if you haven’t got strong wrists then this £320 vacuum cleaner isn’t for you.
Wrist strength aside (no funny jokes please) there is little change to previous models. Dyson of course claims some 187 patents and four years of development, but apart from a new brush bar that can be turned on or off and a change in the cable tidy at the back the average consumer isn’t going to see a big difference on the outside.

The brush bar, which can be turned on via a switch seems to give greater suction on the carpet however with no light on the switch (which is situated on next to the on/off button) you have to rely on the extra noise the thing makes to see whether or not it’s on. The results do make a difference, especially with dog hairs, however the manual advises against using it on wooden floors.

The cable tidy has also had an improvement although the Dyson still lacks a retractable cable - something that we find quite annoying as you still end up having the long cable get in the way as you clean a room.

To stop the DC15 from falling over all the time, Dyson has created a back guard which, when locked into place, gives it the stability of previous models. Depressing the backplate means you can freely use the ball element. Dyson assures, and in our tests it seems it’s right, that the vacuum cleaner will no longer lunge at you when you’re using the in-built hose on the stairs. We had no lunging, just clean stairs in our tests.


So, what’s the verdict? The improvements found here in the DC15 aren’t really groundbreaking but do make a differnce. The DC15 is lighter and more moveable which in turn makes it faster to clean a room and ultimately saves you time - again a good thing, but at what cost? We can’t help but worry about the effects of controlling such a heavy object (it might be lighter, but it is still heavy) with your wrists will have in the long term (RSI anyone?). A good cleaner that make's cleaning a doddle.