Dyson Ball Animal 2 Review
While this vacuum has a lot going for it, its performance doesn’t match the high price point
$409 at Amazon
Price: $500 List
By David Wise and Austin Palmer ⋅ Jul 26, 2022
Carpet Cleaning – 35%
Ease of Use – 25%
Handling – 20%
Hard Surface – 10%
Pet Hair – 10%
RELATED: Best Upright Vacuums of 2023
There is no question that the Dyson Ball Animal 2 is an overall great vacuum. However, it was not the best in our review, earning a runner-up position. While this vacuum has a long reach for cleaning stairs and does well on both carpet and hard floors, even excelling at collecting pet hair, it is hard to get past the outrageous price. It is also on the heavier side, something we noticed from time to time when maneuvering. Overall, we’d still recommend this vacuum if you can find it on sale, but other models perform a bit better at a friendlier cost.
REASONS TO BUY
Good on carpets & hard floors
Tough on pet hair
REASONS TO AVOID
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Dyson Ball Animal 2 is a high-tech, performance vacuum. It cleans well, handles well, and does an excellent job collecting pet hair. However, it didn’t quite measure up enough and is quite costly. Apparently, all the fancy cyclonic separators and other top-of-the-line features aren’t cheap.
The Dyson Ball Animal 2 is a good vacuum, though it isn’t amazing.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman
Carpet cleaning is by far the most important of our tests and comprised 35% of the total score for each vacuum. This metric evaluated each vacuum’s ability to collect oats, flour, cereal, and rice. We repeat the test on both low-pile and medium-pile fluffy carpets. The Animal 2 did well but was outshined by a few other exceptional models.
This Dyson performed just fine, but wasn’t the best.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman
The Animal 2 did very well in our rice collection test on low-pile carpet, taking two passes to get 99% of the rice and a final third pass to collect some residual fragments and dust. It performed similarly in the fluffy carpet, again requiring a couple of passes to clean the mess. When it came to flour collection, a challenge for most models, the Animal was a bit of a disappointment.
This model did somewhat poorly, taking plenty of passes and leaving plenty of residual flour behind.
Credit: Austin Palmer
Performance improved in our cereal collection test. This model did a decent job collecting Cheerios from flat carpet, getting nearly everything in a couple of passes, and then grabbing the remainder with a couple more. It did a similar job on fluffy carpet but tended to push the cereal around before picking it up.
This vacuum actually collected the Cheerios, rather than just pushing them around.
Credit: Austin Palmer
This vacuum did fine on flat carpet, though it left some crushed oat dust behind after four passes. It performed similarly on fluffier carpet, with all of the large flakes collected after four passes. No matter how many times we tried, crumbs and fragments embedded in the carpet refused to be sucked up.
Ease of Use
We weighted this metric next in terms of importance, and it accounted for 25% of the total score. Testing for this category consisted of evaluating how easy it was to transition between different flooring types, each vacuum’s maximum reach, noise levels, and how closely it could clean next to an edge or under furniture. This was not the best metric for the Animal 2, though it certainly wasn’t the worst of the bunch.
The Dyson Ball Animal 2 upright vacuum in use.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman
The Animal 2 did exceptionally well in our edging test, collecting almost all debris, and performed even better than some of the most premium models.
The vacuum cleaned in close to the edges and corners of our test space.
Credit: Austin Palmer
The Animal 2 did just below average for the furniture under reach test. This model reached 6 inches under our simulated box sofa. The maximum reach is just a cut above average, measuring in at 32′ with 30′ of that being cord length.
The Animal 2 doesn’t clean particularly far under furniture.
Credit: Austin Palmer
Unfortunately for your eardrums, this vacuum is a little loud, especially when on the carpet. Our SPL meter read 76 dBa, which is among the louder readings in our product lineup, though not by much.
The Animal did well here. To assess this, we rated and compared the pushing and pulling effort, maneuverability, and ease of cleaning a flight of stairs. Altogether, these three tests accounted for 20% of the total score.
The Dyson Ball Animal 2 has an exceptional reach and was able to clean an entire flight of stairs without needing to be moved.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman
It was quite easy to clean a flight of stairs with the Animal 2. This model has a nice long reach and could clean 12 stairs before needing to be moved. However, this vacuum is heavy at 16 pounds. Still, it excelled in our maneuverability tests. We cleaned around a set of typical furniture, noting where each vacuum got stuck or missed spots. The Animal is one of the easiest upright vacuums to maneuver and only takes moderate to mild effort to push or pull — only slightly hampered by its weight.
Hard Surface Cleaning
The Ball Animal 2 did very well in our hard surface tests but was not as good as the best models we tested. We once again used rice, flour, oats, and cereal, conducting each of these tests on a section of laminate hardwood floor. This vacuum automatically adjusts the height for hard floors, and we turned the brush off for all of these tests.
The Dyson got practically all the oats in a single pass.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman
The Animal 2 did a perfect job in the rice test, picking up all of the debris on the first pass. However, it did not continue this performance with our flour test, a tough one for many of our contenders. It collected all of the flour off of the floor’s surface but left plenty of residual debris in the cracks — even after multiple passes.
All of the surface flour was collected, but plenty remained in the gaps between boards.
Credit: Austin Palmer
The Animal resumed its solid performance in our cereal test, collecting all of the Cheerios in two passes. We were somewhat skeptical at first, as the vacuum initially piled them up instead of sucking them away, but it shifted partway through and collected every Cheerio. This vacuum also cleaned up the vast majority of the oats in only a few passes, requiring only a few more tries to finish the job.
The final metric in our tests, pet hair, accounts for the remaining 10% of each total score. We tested pet hair performance by spreading 5 grams of pet hair from a local groomer onto a medium-pile carpet and pressing it in with a floor roller. True to its name, the Ball Animal 2 did exceptionally well in this test, collecting 98.2% of the hair.
This Dyson model did very well at collecting pet hair.
Credit: Austin Palmer
Should You Buy the Dyson Ball Animal 2?
While the Dyson is a fairly decent vacuum, it doesn’t perform as well as you’d hope for the incredibly high price. We’d expect premium performance at such a premium price, and the Dyson Ball Animal 2 simply does not deliver. We do not recommend this model, as it was outperformed by significantly less expensive models.
What Other Upright Vacuums Should You Consider?
The Ball Animal 2 is a premium-priced model that fails to deliver premium performance. A better alternative would be to consider the Shark Vertex or the Shark APEX DuoClean Zero-M. They are both a considerable amount less than the Dyson, but both are exceptional vacuums that outperform the Dyson handily. Additionally, the Shark Navigator Lift-Away Professional is a great model to consider that outperforms the Dyson at a much more reasonable price point.
David Wise and Austin Palmer
Dyson Ball Animal 2 Review — 12 Tests & Objective Data
Written By: Derek Hales
UPDATE 6/22/22 – Dyson just released the new Dyson Ball Animal 3. It’s better than Animal 2 in almost every functional area, while also being less expensive. See review here.
The Dyson Ball Animal 2 is one of the most well-known and high powered upright vacuums on the market. But is it right for you? Let’s break it down with our Dyson Ball Animal 2 review.
Highest Suction Vacuum
Dyson Ball Animal 2
The Dyson Ball Animal 2 has the most suction of any vacuum cleaner on the market (according to Dyson). It packs an unbelievable 306 AW of suction power driven by Dyson’s stacked cyclone design. It’s equipped with a handful of useful accessories and tools, which help expand the areas you can easily clean. It’s definitely an expensive machine, but suction power is truly unrivaled. Check Price
- Highest suction of any vacuum cleaner on the market a 306 AW
- A maximum cleaning reach of 50 feet, utilizing a 35 foot cord
- Lifetime washable filter
- On the heavier side at 17.5 pounds
- Fairly expensive
Prefer to watch rather than read? See our Dyson Ball Animal 2 video review here.
The Dyson Ball Animal 2 is the most powerful and highest performing upright vacuum cleaner Dyson makes. It’s designed to be the ultimate upright vacuum and remains one of Dyson’s flagship models even several years after its release.
Design of the Dyson Animal 2 upright vacuum
The Animal 2 utilizes Dyson’s ball design for improved manueverability (a welcome benefit given the weight).
Dyson Ball Animal 2 side view
It also includes a self-adjusting cleaning head, clear dust bin (so you can always see what’s going on), and Dyson’s stacked radial cyclones.
The Dyson cyclones are really what drive the performance and power of the whole machine.
Cyclone detail on the Dyson Animal 2 upright vacuum
These cyclones spin particulates, dust, dirt, and debris through the centrifuge, allowing even the smallest particles to be removed or trapped within the filter.
According to Dyson, the Dyson Animal 2 has the strongest suction of any vacuum cleaner at an incredible 306 AW (air watts). This claim is based on the ASTM F558 test at the cleaner head itself.
For comparison, Dyson’s Multi Floor 2 has 250 AW of suction power and the Dyson V11 has 185 AW of suction power (on max mode).
See our Dyson Multi Floor 2 review and Dyson V11 review here for more information.
Also see our comprehensive Dyson Multi Floor 2 vs. Animal 2 comparison here.
The Dyson Ball
The Dyson Ball is more than just a sphere. The motor and other essential parts and electronics reside in the ball itself.
The Dyson Ball on the Animal 2 upright
This design helps keep more of the weight of the vacuum lower towards the ground, which in combination with the ball design, helps improve maneuverability.
Lastly, we have the Dyson Animal 2 brushroll.
Dyson Animal 2 brushroll
The brushroll is motorized and is able to automatically adjust the height based on your floor type. This is a nice extra if you have multiple floor or carpet types around your home.
The Dyson Ball Animal 2 includes a washable filter that will last the life of the vacuum (according to Dyson). If you do happen to lose or damage your filter they are inexpensive to replace.
The filter sits in the cyclones housing where it’s able to effectively capture small particulates. Vacuums with built in filters seem to be fairly rare. We have not tested many upright vacuums that include a filter.
Removing the Dyson Animal 2 HEPA filter
Over the last 6 months the Modern Castle team has tested a number of air purifiers (using a laser based particulate measuring device). Our results from those tests have helped prove to me the importance of good quality filters, both in air purifiers and the vacuums themselves.
A vacuum that doesn’t have a filter is more likely to simply release those ultra fine particulates back into your room and air.
In any case, it’s a big plus in my mind that the Dyson Animal 2 has the washable filter.
Dyson Animal vs. Animal 2
One of the most common questions is whether or not to get the Dyson Animal or the Animal 2?
The Dyson Ball Animal 2 is the newer and upgraded version, but where are the biggest difference? The table below provides detailed side-by-side specs of the Dyson Animal vs. Animal 2.
Dyson Animal 2
As you can see from the comparison above, the Dyson Animal vs. Animal 2 are more alike than they are different. The Animal 2 is a definite upgrade over the original Animal, but they aren’t massively different.
The biggest challenge is simply finding the original Dyson Animal upright. It’s not as widely available as it used to be, so finding it at all can prove difficult.
Attachments & Tools on the Dyson Animal 2
In most cases, I think I would prefer the Dyson Ball Animal 2 for sheer suction power alone. The Animal 2 has 24.9% more suction than the original Dyson Animal upright.
Both the Dyson Animal 2 and Animal typically include the same accessories (see below for details), which includes the combination tool, stair tool, and turbine tool.
Some Animal 1 packages will also include the up top tool (allows you to more easily clean on top of furniture and cabinets). Always double check the spec sheet to see the full list of accessories that’s included.
Size & Dimensions
The Dyson Ball Animal 2 is:
- Height: 42.13″
- Length: 15.35″
- Width: 13.39″
- Weighs: 17.5″
Size and dimensions of the Dyson Animal 2 upright vacuum cleaner
In addition, it has a 35 foot power cord and a maximum reach of 50 feet.
Accessories & Parts
Unlike Dyson’s V-series vacuum, which include a large number of accessories, the Dyson Animal 2 only includes a few basic (but important accessories):
Accessories for the Dyson Animal 2 upright vacuum
The Animal 2 includes:
- Combination tool – part crevice tool and part dusting brush, this is a 2-in-1 tool that serves both purposes. The dusting brush simply slides outward to use or backward to store.
- Stair tool – primarily designed for stairs, this is a non-motorized straight suction tool with a wider mouth. Could also be used on upholstery, mattresses, or other fabrics where agitation might be too much.
- Turbine tool – this is a motorized brushroll and provides more agitation, making it a better choice for deeper handheld cleaning (especially in cases where you aren’t as worried about protecting a fabric)
combination tool stair tool turbine tool
Unsurprisingly, the Dyson Animal 2 dominated our cleaning tests. Scoring nearly perfect vs. every debris and floor type we could throw at it.
It had one hiccup on cereal on high carpets, otherwise it basically 100% across the board.
Cleaning carpets with the Dyson Animal 2 upright vacuum
Below is our complete cleaning performance tests for the Dyson Ball Animal 2.
We expected if we were going to run into performance issues, it would be on the cereal tests on hardwood floors. However, that was not the case.
The self-adjusting head was able to rise high enough to get over the top of cereal, removing 99% of all debris we tested.
Dyson Ball Animal 2 cleaning hardwood floors
Low Pile Carpet
When it comes to carpet it’s not much of a contest here. Dyson Animal 2 upright has the highest suction among any vacuum cleaner and it shows.
That high suction results in exceptional cleaning performance, as noted below.
Dyson Ball Animal 2 cleaning low pile carpet
High Pile Carpet
Like our low pile carpet tests, the high pile carpet test were nearly flawless.
The only issue was removing cereal.
Because the Animal 2 has such incredible suction it pulled the cleaning head down into the carpets. As a result, the cereal (which was sitting higher up on the carpet) was largely pushed forward.
Dyson Ball Animal 2 cleaning high pile carpet
This prevented the Animal 2 from removing a large portion of the cereal.
That said, had we used the hose we could have easily removed it.
Usability & Maneuverability
Despite being on the heavier side, the Animal 2 is still fairly easy to move around the home.
Maneuvering the Dyson Animal 2 on carpet
Maneuverability Quick Facts:
- Weight: 17. 5 pounds
- Turning: 90°
- Reach: 50 feet
- Cord: 35 feet
The combination of the extension wand and hose give the Dyson Animal 2 an extra 15 feet of reach.
This is ideal for cleaning up high, under / behind furniture, or even cleaning stairs. You can simply leave the base of the vacuum at the base of the stairs, while you walk with the light wand in hand.
Dyson Animal 2 cleaning stairs
This combined with the vacuums 35 foot cord gives a total reach of 50 feet.
As we discussed above, the Dyson Ball is a big part of the maneuverability. With most of the electronics and motor stored within the ball it gives the Animal 2 a low center of gravity.
Adjustable cleaning head on the Dyson Animal 2
This helps more easily turn the vacuum, when combined with the smooth rolling ball.
The large clean dust bin is 0.55 gallons (2.08 liters).
It can be easily removed from the unit. The contents are emptied using the release button top of the bin.
Removing the canister dust bin
For example, this allows you to place the bin partially in or over a trash can and then release the dust. This method helps you get more of the dust into the trash and prevents it from escaping back into the room.
Maintenance on the Dyson Ball Animal 2 is right to the point.
- Periodically empty the dust bin
- Wash the filter (about once per month is sufficient for most homes)
- Periodically examine the brushroll and remove any hair or other debris
That is really about it.
Emptying the dust bin on the Dyson Animal 2 upright
I’m a big fan of both Dyson’s upright vacuums and their cordless stick vacuums. One of the big reasons is the lifetime washable filter.
These filters simply slide into the top of the dust bin and capture fine particulates. Most are rated as HEPA filters, which means they can remove particulates as small as 0.3 microns.
Not having to worry about buying and installing a new filter every 6-12 months is a huge value add, in my opinion.
Is the Dyson Animal 2 worth it?
In a word, yes. The Dyson Ball Animal 2 is worth it and an excellent value for the money.
This isn’t a cheap vacuum, but that should come as no surprise. The Dyson Animal 2 is one of Dyson’s flagship vacuums and one of the most powerful commercial vacuum cleaners every made.
Dyson Animal 2 upright vacuum review
With 306 AW of suction power there is virtually no surface it cannot effectively clean.
The extra tools and accessories are a nice value add, as is the lifetime washable filter.
If you want raw cleaning power then you’ve got to pay for it. The Dyson Ball Animal 2 is well worth the money and easily the best upright vacuum we’ve tested to date.
Dyson Ball Animal 2 Specifications
Below we’ve listed the complete specifications for the Dyson Ball Animal 2.
|Ball Animal 2
|Varies by retailer
Who should buy the Dyson Ball Animal 2 vacuum?
You should buy the Dyson Ball Animal 2 upright vacuum cleaner if you want:
- Raw suction power – The Animal 2 is equipped with 306 AW of suction power, giving it the most suction of any commercially available vacuum cleaner.
- Great cleaning performance – The Dyson Ball Animal 2 scored nearly flawlessly in our cleaning tests.
- The best upright – This is easily our favorite and the best upright vacuum we’ve tested to date. Yes, it’s heavy, but the performance speaks for itself. At the end of the day, that’s what really matters.
- Don’t mind the heavier upright design – The Animal 2 is a hefty machine. While the Ball does help improve maneuverability it’s still heavier than most and takes some effort to move around the room.
For more information, check out the Dyson Ball Animal 2 vacuum here.
Incredible Suction & Cleaning Performance
- Design – 100%
- Performance – 96%
- Quality – 96%
- Usability – 100%
- Value – 97%
The Dyson Ball Animal 2 is an upright vacuum cleaner with 306 AW of suction power (the highest suction of any vacuum on the market).