Dyson DC17

Jun 27 2009



Dyson DC17


I previously owned a Dyson DC11, which is a canister style vacuum. It was a fine vacuum for the time I owned it before someone broke it. I eventually replaced it with the DC17 Animal upright vacuum for slightly a bit more money. There is no question that Dysons are one of the more expensive vacuums you can get. Is it money well spent or money better spent else where? It's hard to say, but I will say that its performance is up there with the best.

The DC17 is a nice looking vacuum. The clear bin easily shows when it's filled. The washable HEPA filter should provide years of service. The telescoping handle extends for hard to reach places and attached to a spring retractable hose. This took a while to get used to and I'm not sure whether I like it or not. I'm more familiar with a hose extension that you simply attach to get that extra reach you need. With the spring hose it tends to pull back on the handle, making vacuuming a two handed operation with one hand holding the hose while the other vacuums. And being that it is spring loaded there is a limit to how far you can stretch the hose before the vacuum itself gets pulled down. I find this limit too short.

For a variety of cleaning jobs there's a variety of attachments that comes with the DC17. They all attach to the end of the telescoping handle. There's an upholstery tool, crevice tool, brush tool, low-reach tool, a tool to brush on carpet cleaner, and a mini turbine head with a spinning brush solely powered by suction. I find the mini turbine almost useless in thick carpet as the suction is not powerful enough to keep the brush spinning.

The DC17 does an excellent job on carpet and hard floors. It's called the Animal because it's supposed to be good in picking up animal fur and stuff off the floor. The suction is very strong that it hugs the carpet making it harder to push and pull the vacuum around. Can you believe I would complain that a vacuum sucks too much. Powered wheels are almost necessary. I wouldn't be surprised if Dyson comes up with a vacuum with that feature. The motorized brush is also very powerful and picks up everything including carpet fibers. I don't know if my carpet is cheap but I'm afraid that in a few years I won't have any carpet left. The bin gets filled with mostly carpet fibers and does so quickly. That's how strong the brush is. I now limit when I use the brush.  When the bin is full empty it right away or the vacuum will overheat and temporarily shut off for a few minutes until the motor cools down.

It's worth mentioning that within a couple of months of owning the DC17 the drive belt for the brush was destroyed. I vacuumed a small rug with a rather long nap and it snagged on the brush but the brush motor kept on spinning, stripping the belt grooves. This appears to be a common problem. From what I read the motor is supposed to disengage as a safety feature in a situation like this. I called up Dyson and they sent me a new belt and roller brush. The new belt is much wider and the roller brush has wider tracks to support the belt. Interestingly, the belt gear on the motor is the exact width as the new belt. It makes you wonder whether Dyson was cost cutting by using the narrower belts. Evidently, it proved to be a poor decision and they now provide the upgrades to troubled customers. For the money I spent on this vacuum I was upset that I had to deal with that. I still don't know why the motor didn't disengage and whether it will happen again. I don't care to find out so I just make sure not to vacuum with the brush on long-napped carpets.

Dyson doesn't provide any instructions on how to replace the belt. It's simple enough that you should make a habit of removing it and cleaning it after a few months. Dirt, fur, carpet fibers and other junk tend to collect between the grooves causing the belt to slip when the brush motor is on and makes a loud noise. I initially thought the belt was ruined once again and it could've been if I kept on vacuuming. Thankfully, after cleaning the belt everything was back in order.

I've owned the DC17 for about three years now. Is it worth $550? Probably, not. I'm sure there are other less expensive units that perform just as good. Is it good at what it's supposed to do? Most definitely. When it comes to vacuuming I can't imagine anything better. Ignoring the belt issue I had and granted Dyson has fixed all affected units I would recommend the DC17 to anyone.


Update: Jan 1 2010


The Dyson is all plastic and sooner or later things will break. The red latch that opens the canister finally broke. It cracked while I was pressing with my thumb. I knew eventually it would. Overtime the release mechanism lost its smoothness. The plastic has gotten rough from the dirt and other abrasives that it creates a lot of friction. It takes a bit more effort on the latch to open the canister and this probably stressed it. The warranty covered the replacement but it's only a matter of time before it happens again. The replacement part is still plastic and doesn't appear to be beefier than before.


Dyson DC17