(Pocket-lint) - Dyson is famed for its vacuum cleaners, but the biggest problem is that the Dyson offerings have always been big, really big.

The Dyson DC26 aims to change that and has been specifically designed for "city dwellers that inhabit small spaces". In real terms that means all those people that are squashed into a studio flat in north London or an apartment in Manhattan.

Amazingly according to research by Dyson, 90% of Brits are city dwellers with 2.3 million homes in the UK smaller than 50 square metres. So there must be a need...

The main unit fits on a piece of A4 paper

You'll be pleased to hear that the DC26 is small, A4 paper small, with the footprint of the main vacuum cleaner unit not taking up any space outside that boundary. It's an impressive feat but does it reduce the performance, after all, what's the point of having a vacuum cleaner that easily fits in your cupboard but won't suck the dirt out of your carpet?

Before we cover that question, what about the design? In keeping with Dyson's approach on previous models, the "Cyclone" cylinder system takes centre stage. The design is striking, as it is cute, with the whole thing looking like it's gone through that Willy Wonka shrinking machine. The bucket holds a good deal of dirt (enough to do a whole three bedroom house) and is easily detached for emptying.

The power button isn't hard to find

Around the back you get a big, red power button and a retractable power cord. The cord is around 18ft (not long we know) but remember this is designed for flats that aren't that big anyway, so 18ft should be enough to cover any room from a wall socket.

Rather than sport the company's "ball" technology you get two wheels, but again that's okay because this isn't an upright cleaner so manoeuvrability isn't as important for the base unit.

Removable washable filters are buried in there too, hidden behind compartments that are easy to access.

The main unit is considerably smaller, but once you add the pipe and the stand there isn't much in it

Where the diminutive size is destroyed, however, is in the accompanying flexible pipe making it not much smaller than the DC22 baby compact. It's long and doesn't really have anywhere to go. It's also not detachable (it is, but not easy enough to do every time) which means you've got to cope with that in the cupboard as well. Combine that with the solid cleaning rod and the cleaning head and all the work Dyson has done to create a small main unit has been lost. Okay so you could store the rod and head in another cupboard, and coil the flexible pipe around the cleaner, but it's not ideal is it?

Design and size aside, does it actually clean? Well the answer is yes. We put it to the test on a number of surfaces - carpet, rug, floorboards and slate tiles and in all environments the Dyson performed. The suck is good enough to pick up light dirt, but it's not going to lift your carpet.

In fairness, the chances are, if you are in a flat you'll have got rid of most of your dirt in the corridor anyway. That's not to say that it won't clean your house, but it's not going to compare against something bigger and more powerful. Sorry Dyson.


The Dyson City DC26 is designed for those who live in a small urban space. Dyson, through a feat of engineering, have created a small vacuum cleaner (probably one of the smallest we've seen) that still gets the job done without having to revert to one of those Ewbank cleaners with no power and hours of pushing it around.

So should you get one? At £249.99 you are paying the usual Dyson premium, and unfortunately while small, that impressive A4 claim is lost once you add all the accessories into the mix. 

Writing by Stuart Miles.