My dogs shed twice a year. Unfortunately, each shed lasts for six months.
In my quest to find a solution to the pet hair problem I find myself trying to combat ably unassisted by three black and tan dogs named Mia, Danny and Christopher and one cat, imaginatively known as Catface, I've reviewed more than my fair share of vacuum cleaners in the hope something is out there to both help me and my poor cream carpets survive the shedding seasons.
As part of our new 'Cordless Home & Garden' series, which aims to find different products for the home and garden reviewed by pet owners for pet owners, I most recently reviewed the Dyson V8 Absolute vacuum cleaner (RRP £499.99), which follows in the footsteps of the V6 model.
Here's how I got on.
Easy to put together, as is a common theme with all Dyson's and you have the security of their two year guarantee, as is shown on the box below.
It looks stylish and comes with a wall bracket for easy access when mounted (if you do this be sure to put it within reaching distance of a plug for charging).
It has a compact but easy to empty bin. To use, hold upright over a bin and pull the red lever under the Dyson name on the cleaner to open and empty the hairs and dust and attached to the 2 Tier Radial™ cyclones inside.
It has all of the cleaning attachments you might need or wish for, including a new attachment for hard floors.
The yellow pole which is used for upright cleaning gives extra length to reach and the choice of attachments means that whether you need to clean the car after day trips with your dog using the cleaner as a handheld, or reach up high (finally I could reach those cobwebs!) or access those nooks and crannies which seem to capture pet hairs for ransom, you can.
At maximum power it has good suction for dealing with pet hairs, but more on this below.
Although it has great suction gathering hairs, dust and any debris around when set to maximum power, the length of battery time available from fully charged isn't great if you use at this constant power (it lasts approximately 7-8 minutes) and have a large surface area to cover and gather pet hairs like those in my home (even using daily).
To begin with, I felt like I was on 'Challenge Anneka' and had eight minutes to clean as much as I could before the battery ran out of power.
Which, in some ways made me think 'okay just get the vacuuming done then you can get on with the day, it'll only take eight minutes' on the other hand, how clean was I actually getting the carpets if I rushed to cover as much floor space as possible.
Mentally you can't help but thinking that it sort of defeats the object if you have to get another cleaner out or press pause while the cleaner fully recharges for a 5 hours.
I've typically used both power options to get maximum use per cleaning session with the standard power option being perfectly acceptable for tiled/wooden floors or less hair dense areas but I needed the full power option for carpets which cover all but two rooms of my home, so I managed to stretch the battery power as much as I could switching from standard to maximum power, but this still only gave me enough battery space for two large rooms downstairs (one of which was tiled), stairs heading upstairs, a small bathroom and one small bedroom.
This is I accept relative to what you're looking to clean and the size of your rooms/home, for example, if you use as a handheld cleaner you can get 40 minutes and if you use as a floor cleaner on normal power you can get up to 25 minutes but I think this might be a common issue pet owners could encounter, depending on how many pets you have and how often/much they shed. Even vacuuming daily, I still needed the higher power setting for the majority of rooms covered. For the price of the cleaner, it's something you'd have to weigh up.
I like the versatility of the cleaner, the various attachments are super useful and you'll be guaranteed to find a use for all of them, however while reviewing I fell into a pattern of setting my robot cleaner to vacuum downstairs and I'd take the Dyson V8 Absolute upstairs. Together we could get the job done.
To balance my experiences, it may be a better fit for a home with one pet only or a pet who doesn't shed, but for me as a pet owner with three shedding dogs and a cat assisting them, this cleaner couldn't be my only vacuum.
Find out more about the Dyson V8 Absolute online at www.dyson.co.uk where you can find their latest special offers and read other reviews.