Spring Cleaning: Dyson D18 Slim

It’s spring, which means many of you will be begrudgingly scrubbing your homes from top-to-bottom as part of your yearly spring cleaning ritual. As gearheads, many of you will also be searching for the surest ways to maximize your cleaning efforts — the search will undoubtedly lead many of you to the same destination: Dyson.

The DC18 is the newest product to emerge from the labs of cyclonic vacuum superstar Dyson. Dubbed the Slim, this model offers a major reduction in size while still maintaining many of the features that set a Dyson apart from its competitors.

My first impression of Dyson was one of cautious intrigue, it was after all a product for doing chores — something I attempt to avoid at all costs. But gradually over the course of a few years the apparent engineering marvel won my attention mainly through attrition. And so, when I heard about the Slim I decided that it was finally time to put Dyson to the test. I mean it’s just a vacuum after all, right?

By now I’m sure many of you are familiar with James Dyson and his tumultuous tale of patent woes. In short, it took him over 10 years to finally get his brainchild into production and then it was sold mainly in Japan. Now his vacuums represent an image of ingenuity and have become status symbols for people everywhere. The companies he originally propositioned to buy his ideas have issued proclamations bemoaning the fact that they never took him on on the offer and all the while he’s proceeded, diligently observing his goal to “just make things work properly.”

The story adds a degree of excitement to receiving a Dyson vacuum. It’s easy to imagine that the simple process of using one is in direct defiance of faceless conglomerates that want only to further profit and crush the underdog. That’s how I imagined it anyway, but my imagination is admittedly a tad overactive.

Nevertheless, I’m sure you’ll manage to muster a certain swell of pride when removing your purchase from its packaging. Not because you have enough money to spend $500 on a vacuum cleaner, but rather because you’re agearhead and you just purchased something undeniably cool. The Dyson D18 Slim looks more like some futuristic device than a modern household cleaning apparatus. It is literally oozing with intuitive design (the ooze doesn’t affect its ability to clean).

The Slim houses many features that I never realized my old vacuum was missing. One of the most intriguing additions is the manner in which the wheels are engaged. Pressing a red foot lever in the back causes the stabilizing wheels to retract, making the Slim re-situate itself into cleaning mode. The device pivots from its front vacuuming mechanism, so it is able to reach into corners and under furniture that previously required hose attachments.

In terms of suction, I’d say the thing sort of frightens me. I could definitely foresee losing an appendage (finger, toe, etc.) to its unrelenting ability to suck. What’s more, a brush bar spins at speeds so fast that the eye can hardly detect motion (read: really effing fast). This means that it’ll whip dirt out of your carpet better than you can possibly imagine. It also means that I wouldn’t want to be around it if something were to get caught in its bar — I anticipate the interaction would resemble something on par with a motorcycle accident. Fortunately, there is a button that can turn the bar’s revolutions off in order to clean tile floors or for sucking up tricky materials.

A particularly interesting design component is its Quick-draw Telescope Reach, which is a fancy name for its wand attachment. The attachment wand is integrated directly into the body of the vacuum, actually serving as the handle of the unit. To activate the wand you just extract a red pipe and pull back to detach it from the body. Two basic attachments are included with the unit, but many more are available aftermarket.

One attachment that might be of particular interest to many of you is the one aimed at removing pet hair. I was initially intrigued by this device, but I can firmly say that the Slim annihilates pet hair right out of the box. It’s truly remarkable. The fuzzy residue that my cat leaves behind is no match for the Slim on any surface.

Like all Dyson vacuums the D18 Slim requires no bag replacements. The unit utilizes a hygienic bin for effortless removal of its waste. It offers a non-messy, easy to clean alternative to traditional vacuuming. There is also a lifetime HEPA filter that requires simple cleaning to maintain its allergy deflection.

After running it around the house a few times, I’m impressed by its ability to find dirt in areas that look clean. Unless it’s somehow producing new dirt just to create the illusion that it’s cleaning better, then I’m forced to believe that it does indeed work considerably better than our other vacuum cleaner (which is no slouch in its own right). In the end though it is still just a vacuum cleaner; a really, really well-made vacuum cleaner that feels like it could suck the tiles off of the floor (fortunately it hasn’t yet). Because this is the most efficient and productive vacuum I’ve yet encountered, I’m giving it a Best Byte award for its impressive display of household cleaning.