The Dyson V12 Cordless Vacuum is on sale for Black Friday

Released earlier this year, the new Dyson V12 Detect Slim offers many of the features we love on the V15 for about $150 less. After spending around eight hours testing the V12 on a mix of carpet, tile, vinyl and hardwood floors – liberally covered with cat and rabbit fur, cat litter and rabbit droppings – we’ve concluded that the V12 Detect Slim is worth considering as an alternative to the V15, especially if you can find it for $500 or less.

Dyson V12 Detect Slim

This new cordless vacuum has many of the same smart features as the more expensive V15, such as a laser headlight, a particle counter and auto-adjusting suction. And it is more comfortable to use.

We’ll be doing more testing and we’ll share our full impressions of the V12 and other new cordless stick vacuums soon. In the meantime, here’s everything we like about the V12 Detect Slim – and everything we don’t.

Dyson finally pulled the trigger

We’ve long complained about the discomfort of Dyson’s trigger-style switches, which you have to squeeze while vacuuming – especially annoying if you have hand or wrist pain. The V12 trades that unpleasant function for a simple on/off button. You are now free to switch hands as you navigate around table legs and litter boxes! This is a huge advantage over the V8 and V15 series.

It is light and flexible

At 5.2 pounds, the V12 is thinner and slightly lighter than the V8, our current runner-up, and much lighter than the V15 Detect, which weighs 6.8 pounds. Like the V15’s engine, the V12 is positioned vertically on top of the stick (as opposed to perpendicular to it, as on the V8). This design helps the V12 feel more balanced and easier to maneuver.

Model V8 Absolutely V12 Detect Slime V12 Detect Slim Extra V15 Discover
Current price $350 500 USD 500 USD $650
Weight 5.5 pounds 5.2 pounds 5.2 pounds 6.8 pounds
On/off control Trigger Button Button Trigger
Driving time 40 minutes 60 minutes 60 minutes 60 minutes
Charging time 5 hours 4 hours 3.5 hours 4.5 hours
Container capacity 0.14 gallons 0.1 gallon 0.1 gallon 0.2 gallons
Included tool Detangling Motorized cleaning head, Fluffy cleaning head, crevice tool, hair screw tool, combination tool, up-top adapter, stubborn dirt brush, mattress tool Detangling Motorized Cleaning Head, Laser Slim Fluffy Cleaning Head, Splitting Tool, Hair Screw Tool, Combination Tool, Bar Clamp Detangling Motorized Cleaning Head, Laser Slim Fluffy Cleaning Head, Awkward Gap Tool, Rod Clamp, Hair Screw Tool, Combination Tool, Extension Hose, Scratch-Free Dust Brush Torque drive cleaning head, Laser Slim Fluffy cleaning head, combination

A laser and screen that shows dirt

Do you need a laser on your vacuum? Probably not, but as we note in our guide, in typical Dyson fashion, the laser is part gimmick and part actual innovation. The V12’s green laser headlight, which illuminates your path and helps reveal dirt and grime, is slightly less powerful than that on the much more expensive V15. But we found that it’s still bright enough to reveal dust in hard-to-see areas.

Although the laser struggled to detect dirt on patterned vinyl floors, it was handy in dimly lit areas such as under tables, on dark hardwood floors, and on tiles between sinks and tubs. You might be surprised, and a little grossed out, by the amount of dust and hair it uncovers, not to mention hidden spots you wish you could see.

Like the V15, the V12 has an LCD screen with a particle counter, which estimates the size and type of particles the vacuum has picked up. It will tell you, depending on the particle size, whether you live in a pollen, dander, dust mite or flea infested home. (My house? All of the above!) But all jokes aside, is there anything you can actually do with this information? Not really, except to ramble on about how brutal the world is. The only practical feature on the LCD screen is the countdown, so you can run counter-clockwise to make your little corner of the world a cleaner place.

The Laser Slim Fluffy cleaning head lights up dirt in dark rooms. Yuck! Photo: Sabine Heinlein

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