Dyson DC54 Animal Vacuum Cleaners Review

What is the Dyson DC54 Animal?

The DC54 Animal is Dyson’s top-of-the-line cylinder cleaner, boasting the company’s most efficient cyclone technology to date. Using lots – 54 in fact – of very small cyclones packed tightly together, the DC54 aims to capture more microscopic dust particles in the bin than previous generations have. This keeps the filter clean to the point where no maintenance is required and offers British Allergy Foundation approval of the exhaust air that’s passed through the machine.

The trade-off is that the DC54 runs close to the EU power limit of 1600W and is actually only rated as class D for energy efficiency.

The DC54 has Dyson’s ‘ball’ wheel technology and comes supplied with a range of tools that should make it ideal for picking up pet hairs from every nook and cranny in the home. There’s a suction-release button conveniently located on the handle, and the dust bin’s undergone a redesign, too. It can now be emptied more hygienically with a single button press, and comes with a concealed mini-brush to help clean out the worst grime. The wand sits neatly on the main body for temporary storage. 

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Dyson DC54 Animal

Dyson DC54 Animal – Accessories

The DC54 offers on-board storage for the upholstery brush and a combination, crevice dusting brush tool. However it is the mains trio of heads that pet owners in particular will find most useful. The carbon fibre turbine head has a large rotating brush bar fitted with both stiff nylon bristles and soft carbon fibre filaments. The stiff bristles are ideal for loosing dirt from carpet while the soft carbon fibres gently lift dirt from hard floors without simply throwing particles out in front of the brush.

Dyson DC54 Animal

A standard, large, dual-mode floor tool is also supplied for heavy-duty cleaning of both carpets and hard floors which itself has wheels for easy steering.

Dyson DC54 Animal

The headline tool for pet owners is the welcome inclusion of Dyson’s tangle-free turbine tool. This uses two horizontal brushes that counter rotate to pick up pet hairs without the hairs getting wrapped around the brush bar. We already know this is a terrific tool for pet owners from our DC41 Mk2 Animal review, so the DC54 Animal comes to the test bench with fine ‘pedigree’.

Dyson DC54 Animal

Dyson DC54 Animal – Cleaning Floors

From the outset the DC54 Animal sets new standards for manoeuvrability, whether you’re on carpets or hard floors. The ‘ball’ is actually two semi-circular wheels that freely rotate and are assisted by two small jockey wheels. The result is a cylinder cleaner that simply follows you around like a hungry pet, with very little effort required to pull it anywhere. The large main head swivels to quite an acute angle, allowing the wand and head to get into the tightest corners and smallest spaces. It cleaned right up to the edges and was very effective at picking up pet hair, even before we tried the other two heads.

Dyson DC54 Animal
Our test carpet before and after. A superb cleaning performance

The carbon fibre turbine head proved to be exceptionally good on hard floors, where the soft bristles seemed to attract and lift dust particles into the path of the air suction. The tangle-free turbine tool will be of most interest to pet owners, as it cleaned stairs, upholstery and pet beds with ease, and resisted getting wrapped up with moult hairs from our long-haired border collie. The DC54 isn’t the quietest cleaner on the market and its 85dB noise level can be quite intrusive. That’s about the same volume level as heavy road traffic.

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Dyson DC54 Animal – On Stairs

This is one of the very few cylinder machines we’ve tested that easily cleans stairs using the main head attachment. It’s light, easy to steer and a combination of a long wand and long hose make it very easy to go from floors to stairs and back to floors without ever changing the head.

For stairs with a dusting of pet hairs the main head works very well, but if you need even more thorough cleaning the tangle-free turbine tool is superb at lifting even tougher grime like dried-on mud. Both tools easily get into the corners of narrow stairs with turns and spirals.

The cleaner itself is fairly light to pick up and carry upstairs. If you have a lot of stairs, the DC54 is well balanced and small enough to sit comfortably and securely on a step while you vacuum further up or down. Only the 6.7m cable lets the side down a bit, as an 8m or longer cable would have made even the tallest stairs a breeze.

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Dyson DC54 Animal

Dyson DC54 Animal – Pet Hair

The DC54 Animal is the best vacuum cleaner we’ve tested for picking up pet hairs, and it’s almost academic which one of the three main turbo heads you use – they’re all excellent. The main head actually cleared our 30cm test area of mixed Collie and Labrador hair the quickest, in just three seconds! However we can see the tangle-free turbine tool being potentially the best tool for stairs, bedding and upholstery in homes with pets, as the design reduces the amount of tool cleaning required.

Should I buy the Dyson DC54 Animal?

The DC54 Animal was clearly heading towards another 10/10 test result for Dyson. We were getting used to the noise and even the slightly short cable is countered by the long hose. However, on getting the machine out for just its second test day, the cable rewind mechanism broke, leaving us with over 6m of loose cable that wouldn’t retract back into the machine.

A quick call to Dyson’s help desk suggested it wasn’t a user fix, but they did immediately offer to get an engineer on the case. So unfortunately a minor breakdown on our test sample tainted what’s otherwise an absolutely outstanding cylinder cleaner for any home, with or without pets.

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