Dyson DC31 handheld vacuum

James Dyson doesn’t do things by half, but does the promise of a vacuum cleaner powered with the fastest motor on earth make doing the housework any less of a chore?

The new Dyson DC31 handheld has a switched reluctance motor ten times quicker than the engine of a Boeing 747 aircraft - that’s 104,000rpm of cat hair sucking greatness. He’s stuck all this revolutionary technology into a cordless vacuum weighing just over 1kg that’s designed to be used for quick clean-ups in the car and around the home.

The DC31 is cooler than your average vacuum. Actually it’s cooler than most tech, period. The gloss grey and brilliant blue casing is robust but light, the handle and trigger feel meaty and well balanced and the nozzles for getting down the side of sofas have a satisfying clunk-click to them.

Fire it up and the super tech motor comes into its own – at only the volume of a hair dryer it went to work on this reviewer’s dusty skirting board with impressive ease. In the kitchen it made quick work of toaster crumbs and didn’t choke even when we cleared up a toppled pot plant and piles of soil.

There’s a choice of two power levels, the standard gives you 10 min of perfectly good suction (the original DC16 only managed 6 min), but if you push the 65AW button on the back you get around 6 min of unbelievable power for a compact vacuum.

10 (or even 6) min battery life seems pretty pathetic, but the DC31 isn’t designed for a full on deep clean. For a once-over in the car, the odd spill and a quick dusting the battery life is more than capable, and because it doesn’t lose suction at all you get maximum effort for the power available. And besides, a 10 minute time limit on vacuuming doesn’t strike us as a bad thing.

Downsides? There isn’t much to dislike, it’s macho, does the job and looks the business, but we weren’t completely convinced by the emptying system. It’s simple enough – a trapdoor opens and spills the contents into the bin – but we found it fairly messy unless held right inside the bin liner and the big red catch was quite easy to open by mistake.

Pet owners might want to consider the DC31 Animal (£149.99) that comes with a powerful rotating brush head to get deep into carpets to remove hairs.

Verdict

Expect to see Dyson’s digital motor all over the shop soon – there’s even talk of scaling it up to power a car, but for now enjoy this super fast, ultra efficient motor in the DC31.

Fast, powerful and beautifully designed, if you want a handheld vacuum and price isn’t an issue there is little point buying anything else. It’s fun to use, makes cleaning just a little bit cooler, and does an excellent job with almighty suck from such a small unit – just remember to put it on charge after use because a 10 min battery life doesn’t leave much margin for error.