The Dyson DC37 is the successor to the DC32, one of our favourite vacuum cleaners. The main technical achievement in the new version is the Dyson Ball. Dyson has created this articulated chassis to help make it easier to use, meaning the DC37 can follow its user around the room, avoid bumping into feet or furniture and remain steady even when turning corners.
Dyson, though, is also playing to its usual strengths: effective suction non-stop with reasonable energy consumption. The company has been lobbying hard to add an energy label to hoovers similar to those found on fridges and washing machines. The DC37's other advantages are that it's much easier to move around and quieter to run.
To get a hoover on top of a ball, the motor and the electronic circuits have had to be completely redesigned, repositioning all of the components inside a spherical device, the Dyson Ball. That has also brought the centre of gravity down, making the whole thing more stable.
Underneath, there are small wheels on each side of the DC37 next to the hinge and a small central wheel at the front. The outside of the sphere also acts as a large wheel, leaving a total of five wheels. Most pull-along hoovers only have three: two large wheels and a third small wheel at the front.
Ease of useWe were won over by the smart design, articulated body and wide range of accessories on the DC37. This so-called 'Animal Turbine' model also has a Triggerhead brush, which also sits on an articulated head. It features a smaller brush which turns freely to really get to grip with difficult to clean surfaces like short-pile carpet.
The Triggerhead brush is included with the Animal Turbine version. A 'mini turbo-brush' is also included and works in the same way, but the reduced size makes it more suited to cleaning soft furnishings.
You can stop the brush spinning if your floor is more delicate using a small trigger at the top of the handle: one pull and the turning stops thanks to an ingenious mechanism.
You can pull on the trigger at the top of the handle to stop either of the brushes from turning. The second trigger is an emergency escape valve, dramatically reducing the suction power when you yank it out. It's very handy if you find your hoover stuck on a curtain or a piece of clothing.
One thing we liked about earlier Dyson models like the DC29 and the DC32 was how easy it was to get at the filters, and the DC37 is even better. The tube-shaped filter in the centre of the hoover at the heart of the dust bin. A handle at the top clips it into place, and it can be unclipped just by pressing on the outside of the sphere. Getting it back in is a little trickier, and certainly harder than on previous models. As for the HEPA filter, it's very hard to get at but that's normal—it doesn't need changing or cleaning.
SuctionDyson claims that its new vacuum cleaner will be quieter than ever but no less powerful, but we found that although it maintained constant suction as before, it was just a little slower than previous models. During our tests, it sucked up two litres of dry rice in just six seconds without missing a beat. The DC32 did the same job in five seconds. The DC37's score makes it above average, leaving it as one of the most effective vacuum cleaners that we've looked at.
We also noticed that the surface used can affect the performance. One or two passes was enough on thin carpet, but on carpet with a deeper pile, hoovering took longer with the same ground covered several times over. We spread 100 g of rice over four square metres of thick carpet. In the first minute, the DC37 sucked up 51% of the rice, but after another minute, it had only managed 60% of the total. Getting it all is clearly going to take a while.
NoiseDyson vacuum cleaners have a bad reputation for making a lot of noise down the years, something that we've been able to confirm in the lab, with, for instance, 80 dB audible even one metre away from the DC29. The firm has promised to quieten things down on the DC37 by using absorbent materials that are less likely to pick up vibrations, especially in the motor. The compressor has also been redesigned so the sound of its blades turning is less audible and joints have been tightened so air can't be heard rushing out. We have to admit that Dyson has made some real progress in this area, because the DC37 produces around 70 dB when the tank is empty, rising to 74 dB when it's full. That's quieter than both the DC29 and the DC32's 76 dB, but still louder than a traditional bag-based vacuum cleaner, where the average is closer to 60 dB. But remember that for Dyson, keeping noise levels down is a nice extra, but it always plays second fiddle to the main goal of producing a powerful vacuum cleaner.
MaintenanceThe two litre tank empties in the same way as the one on the DC32: when you press a small catch, the bottom of the bin opens so you can empty out the dust and dirt.
With the DC32, the supports inside the tank caught a few grains of rice during our tests, something the DC37 didn't repeat. They're now much finer, and the rice doesn't get stuck any more which is much better. If they do get dirty, you can remove them and wash them.
Left: the mesh on the DC29, with thick supports like on the DC32. Right: the much finer grill on the DC37 doesn't let anything through and nothing gets stuck.
The filter is now in the centre of the tank, making it even easier to reach. You need to wash it every now and again, with Dyson recommending once a month. It's washed in water and then left to dry and can be used again immediately. It didn't show any signs of getting dirty during our tests—even when we weighed it—and no matter however we twisted, bent and shook it, not a single grain of dust fell out.
It's very easy to take the DC37 apart and getting to the filter is almost too easy. There, is however, a knack to getting it back in.
Energy ConsumptionDyson is always keen to insist on the low energy consumption of its products, reminding consumers that just because a hoover uses a lot of Watts doesn't mean that it's good at its job. The DC29 and DC32 demonstrated this principle, and the DC37 has repeated the success with consumption rising from 1368 W with the tank empty to 1372 W when it's full. That's a little more than the DC32, where we measured 1300 W, but it's still a lot better than some of Dyson's competitors which can often hit 2000 W and even beyond.
ResistanceThe DC37 won't harm Dyson's reputation for making solid products. We set to work twisting both the filter and the tube out of shape but couldn't cause any lasting damage. A good few tugs on the power cable didn't create any problems either.
ManouevarabilityDyson's engineers have been working hard to make the Dyson Ball easy to manoeuvre, so we invented a special assault cause in the office. These videos say it all: a standard pull-along hoover is nowhere near as flexible.
Getting round the 'cones' is almost impossible for a normal hoover, as you can see in the video below. But Dyson's claims about perfect manoeuvrability seem largely vindicated.
We tried the same test with a 'traditional' hoover, the LG Kompressor. It was very tricky, and even with a very large turning circle, we still bounced into some of the 'cones'
Different modelsSeveral versions of the DC37 are available at different prices. All of them have the same basic spec and suction power, but the accessories, and in particular the brushes, change from one to the other. You can tell them apart by the colour scheme: the Origin models are yellow, for instance, while the Allergy models are blue. The one we tested was the pink DC37 Animal Turbine, which comes with the biggest range of accessories.
The Animal Turbine version comes with a whole range of accessories, including: a brush for hard floors, a rotating Triggerhead brush for carpets and rugs, a mini turbo-brush for soft furnishings, a hard brush, a tiny tube and attachments to fit the smaller components to the tube.