Prior to using this Dyson, I had very little experience using a cordless vacuum. While my prior use had been "good," I had some concerns that, one, it would not be powerful enough and two, the cordless design/battery would further be a limitation. After some use, I can say my concerns were unwarranted and I was pleased not only with its performance, but also (nearly) everything Dyson brought to the table.
First off, as with other Dyson products, the packaging is superb. Yes, it is only packaging, but even with something as straightforward as this, you can see the time, effort and thought put into every aspect of the product. This attention to detail carries through as one moves on to the product itself. Included in the packaging are the Dyson V8 Animal itself (with battery), a 6' charging power cord, a power cord docking station (which allows one to hang the vacuum while it is charging), a 28 1/2-inch extension tube, 1 large and 1 small self-powered floor sweeper brushes, a crevice tool, 2 non powered brushes and a user's manual.
Once everything is out of the packaging, getting everything together was quite easy. The included manual, was clear, yet concise, with numerous pictures to aid in not only putting the unit together, but also for future maintenance. It should be noted, before first use, it is suggested to charge the unit/battery for a full 5 hours.
Before moving on to the vacuum itself, I feel I must touch on the docking station. It is optional, in that you can just use the plug to charge the unit, but, for me at least, that was not the optimal solution. I liked the idea of having a dedicated location where the unit can stay, charge, hold everything and just, well, be. My problem, well, and another small one I will touch on shortly, was where to mount it? Again, perhaps this was just my experience, but I did not want it "out," to be seen, and I just do not have a lot of space. Finding a location, in general, and then one within range of the cord that needs to be plugged in was certainly a challenge for me. That said, I did find a space, and I do like the dock, very much, for the reasons I stated earlier, BUT, it seems it was not designed to hold all the provided attachments. So close to being a perfect solution, just to fall short in such a way is a bit of fail for me. If all the attachments just fit, or if some other way was provided to organize all the attachments, it would have been perfect. Again, the dock is great, just not the perfection I have come to know and expect from Dyson.
As fir the vacuum, as I said earlier, since it was a cordless unit, I had my concerns about suction as well as battery performance. These are the "standard" issues within this class, of course, but the other side of these concerns are the benefits of portability and convenience. Not only did this unit easily handle my concerns, but it also did the same on the benefits side of things.
It has a battery, so battery life must be discussed. I found it not to be a concern. It is advertised as a 45-minute life (when using the non-motorized attachments), and I found that to be accurate. This is for the "low" of the two power settings (the other being MAX or "high.") I did not find the need to use the "high" setting in my use, other than to see how it performed. More on that later. As with anything requiring a battery, if you plan, and keep it charged when you will need it, it should not be an issue. Again, I have a smaller space, this was my use case, but I had zero trouble getting all my vacuuming done within the limits of the battery. It was not even a thought. Lastly, it has fade-free power throughout use, that is, the unit just goes full power until the battery dies, then it is done. There is no drop off in the power of the unit as the battery depletes. I found that to be a nice feature, and honestly, something I did not even think about beforehand.
Finally, how is it to use? How is the performance? It is the most portable and convenient vacuum I have ever used. No cable to manage, no outlet to be tied to, small, light, easy to maneuver on all surfaces, multiple attachments for various tasks (that are very easy to put on and take off) and all the power you need to get the clean results you are looking for. It hits all the marks. It is built well and "feels good" in the hand. I can't say how it will hold up over time, but the two-year warranty gives some piece of mind. The vacuum powers via a "soft touch" trigger grip that cuts off upon release to save the battery, and while I did not have any issues, I feel a "lock" for the button should have been provided. A small gripe, I know, but it is a frustrating omission. Once powered, it had enough suction to tackle all my surfaces, even picking up more dust and dirt from what I thought were already "clean" areas. Throughout all of my use, I didn't have to use the "high" setting, which provides more suction, but I turned it on (by flipping a simple switch) several times to test it out. I can see it helping if you have trouble spots that require more attention. Honestly, the only issue I had with suction was perhaps too much when trying to vacuum some smaller area rugs. The Dyson would "grab" it, if you know what I mean, and I had to hold it down to finish vacuuming it. Perhaps an adjustment option for height would handle this issue, but again, honestly, most "good" vacuums would suffer this same fate, so it is not a negative, just something to think about. Emptying and cleaning the canister was a simple task and the same can be said for cleaning the HEPA filtration system (which is a very nice feature). There are two filters which Dyson states should be cleaned once a month for optimal performance.
Ultimately, I am quite pleased with nearly every aspect of the Dyson. It does the job, does it well and looks good doing it. In my experience, I found it worth its cost, and while I do not have the advantage at this point of seeing how it will hold up over time, I feel confident it will still be worth it down the road. I have no problem recommending this Dyson vacuum.