Of all the stuff that has shown up at our offices over the last year (hundreds of books, electronics, DVDs, video games, booze, etc.), this package from Dyson may have intrigued us the most. On one hand, how excited can one get about a cleaning device? Who enjoys manual housework after all, whether we’re cleaning our own place or someone else’s? On the other hand, there was something very cutting edge, even cool, about the Dyson brand and in particular this futuristic, cordless vacuum, the Dyson DC45 Animal.

Yes, we used the word cool. About a vacuum. Surprisingly, it’s a category that has undergone some pretty interesting changes over the recent years: improved batteries that allow for serious cordless operation, and the truly space-age robotic models.

We had never interacted with the Dyson brand previously although you’d inevitably see the commercials, with the English inventor James Dyson talking about his innovations and products as if they were his children. That alone, in this day and age, is rare. Few spokespeople are truly the geniuses and innovators behind the products they sell. Even Apple avoided putting the quirky Steve Jobs in their commercials. Dyson managed to make the vacuum cleaner category interesting again, with a modern design, technology and claims of next-gen effectiveness.

So our team gathered round. After our office parrot Coco finished inspecting and posing for photos with the boxed Dyson, we enjoyed a pretty darn good “unboxing” experience* (perhaps to be expected from a company known for its engineering prowess.) A little assembly required, all simple and quick, but also a great chance to see the design and quality of the Dyson materials: plastics, aluminum, carbon fiber bristles.

Dyson DC45 Cordless Vacuum Cleaner

From a design point of view, it truly was the sleekest, most modern vacuum that any of us had ever held (or beheld). It was light enough to use in one hand, so you could lift it up to get cobwebs in the ceiling corners (no, we don’t have those), or get down horizontal to the ground to get under sofas and chairs. And the Dyson “ball” allowed for the cleaning head to swivel and clean in all the right directions. And, most importantly, the electric current makes its way down through the aluminum tube or “wand” to a motorized head and roller brush, so you’re not just sucking up dirt but your rolling it up as well.

We expected to put the unit to charge for 24 hours, so we were delighted to discover that the DC45, like more and more electronic devices these days, already had a full charge. So, we pulled the trigger, revved up the engine and got to work.

Immediately, power of the motor was evident, and we zipped around the office looking for stuff to suck up on the carpets, hardwood floors and tiles. We went hunting dust, crumbs, female hair, and the occasional fluffy piece of parrot down. The DC45 got ’em all, and more. (By the way, the Dyson DC45 Animal is so-called because it is optimized to collect pet hair, dander and feathers better than regular vacuums).

Dyson DC45 Animail Cordless Vacuum Cleaner

There were two different motor speed settings, and to be honest, we felt the urge to use the MAX setting at all times to get a serious clean going. The drawback to using the MAX setting is that it of course uses more battery power, and the regular (and impressive) run time of 20 minutes gets reduced to 8 minutes. True, we didn’t need MAX all the time, but heck, it was fun – and challenged us to clean the 1500 or so square feet of our office in 8 minutes or less.

Dyson DC45 Cordless Vacuum Cleaner

A few extras came with the DC45, including a smaller motorized head that gives you a perfect handheld for sofas, counters (spills!) and particularly, cars! For those of you have ever taken a regular corded vacuum cleaner out to clean the inside of a vehicle, you will love the joy of high-power cordless vacuuming. A couple other brush/nozzle attachments are included and can be used with or without the extension wand.

And emptying the dust compartment is also beautifully designed, you push a button, the bottom opens up and the dirt falls into your trash can. Yes, you need to watch out for the little poof of dust back-wash, but otherwise it’s a simple 5-second process. And the unit (and the motorized head) can be taken apart to clean off with warm water whenever needed.

Charging can take place anywhere with the power adapter cord, but we choose to use the wall docking station, easily mounted but requiring a nearby power outlet. It will probably wear off soon, but for now we love being able to look at the Dyson hanging out, sort of like a piece of art on the wall.

So, no surprise, based on our initial impressions, we are instant converts to Dyson. And most telling, we have decided to throw out our full size, bag-using Hoover vacuum cleaner. While this Dyson model is a little less powerful than our five year old upright, the ease of use compared to a corded vacuum is just too overwhelming. (Oh, how many times did we smell the burning rubber of the cord as well accidentally rolled over it, or even the burning rubber of the fan belt when something got stuck?) The lack of cords, bags, belts brings us to a modern time, and we don’t wanna go back.

Dyson DC45 Cordless Vacuum Cleaner

However, modern design and technology, as we know, often has its price and this is also true with the Dyson line of devices. The DC45 Animal is not cheap, and with a list price of $449 is way (like way) more than any other non-Dyson cordless stick. But no other stick could really replace a full corded upright like ours did. So if you don’t mind spending for high performance, great design and a quality device that will likely last you a decade or more, the Dyson DC45 Animal could be the Dyson for you. Well, let us qualify that, this is the Dyson you should dream of if you are looking to clean a condo, dorm room or small office space. For a larger space or house, this would be a wonderful compliment to a full size vacuum.

Happy cleaning!

Here’s the Dyson Canada Website and the Dyson DC45 Vacuum Product Page.

*For anyone looking for a good Dyson Digital Slim “unboxing” video, narrated with authentic British accent, check out this one. It’s the previous year’s model, the DC44, but very similar to this year’s DC45.