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Dyson V11 vs V12 (2022): Which Cordless Vacuum Is For You?

Cordless vacuums are popular for their maneuverability and versatility. If you’re in the market for one, consider Dyson. The Dyson V11 Animal, for instance, is one of the most popular models in the brand’s catalog. It boasts impressive suction power and a modest bin volume. Meanwhile, the Dyson V12 Detect Slim is one of the newer cordless vacuums from the company. Its appeal lies in a laser-guided cleaning head that makes invisible particles visible.

It’s worth mentioning that Dyson has already discontinued the V11 series. However, you can still get new or renewed options from a handful of online marketplaces. The V12, on the other hand, is available from Dyson and several retailers. Is it worth scouring the net for the Dyson V11? Or are you better off just getting the Dyson V12? Keep reading to find out.

Dyson V11 vs V12 Comparison Chart

ModelDyson V11 AnimalDyson V12 Detect Slim
TypeCordless vacuumCordless vacuum
Suction Power185AW150AW
RuntimeUp to 60 minutesUp to 60 minutes
MotorDyson Hyperdymium motorDyson Hyperdymium motor
Cyclone TechnologyRadial Root CycloneRoot Cyclone
Number of Cyclones1411
ModesBoost, Auto, EcoBoost, Auto, Eco
Bin Capacity0.75 L0.38 L
Handheld ConvertibleYesYes
Laser-Guided TechnologyNoYes
Weight6.68 lb5.29 lb

Design and Models

The Dyson V12 is not only lighter than the V11, but it also brandishes a more refined design.

Dyson V11 vs V12 Design and Models
The Dyson V11 Animal (left) next to the Dyson V12 Detect Slim (right)

Dyson’s cordless vacuum cleaners more or less follow the same design template. You get colorful machines serving as the main body and long, sturdy wands that connect to a cleaning head. The wand features a quick-release button if you want to convert the unit to a handheld device. You can similarly change cleaning heads and tools.

The Dyson V12 Detect Slim refines this design language with a slimmer frame. It’s an entire pound lighter than the Dyson V11 Animal. On the user-facing end of the main body, the V12 also uses a more intuitive LCD screen than the V11’s LED.

To use the Dyson V11 Animal, you’ll need to hold on to a trigger switch near the handle. Pressing the switch powers the unit while releasing it switches the machine off. While it’s a reliable setup, holding on to the trigger switch can be tiring. It’s also prone to being accidentally pressed when grabbing the handle.

With the Dyson V12 Detect Slim, the trigger switch is ditched for a power button on top of the main body. Although it’s hardly revolutionary, you don’t have to hold the new power button down to keep the vacuum on.


When the Dyson V11 was still readily available, it came in four standard models: V11 Animal, V11 Outsize, V11 Torque, and V11 Absolute. Newer editions of the existing models were also released, like the Animal+ and the Absolute Extra. In terms of design, there were minimal differences across the variants. If anything, they came in different colors, and the V11 Animal was the only unit featuring an LED screen. All other models used LCD.

Where the cordless stick vacuums distinguished themselves is in accessories. The V11 Outsize included the most tools out of the box. It also came with an extra charger, which meant double the battery life of other V11 models. You can read more about this in our Dyson V11 Outsize vs Absolute Extra and Dyson V11 Outsize vs Torque Drive reviews.

On the other hand, the Dyson V12 Detect Slim is available in Absolute and Animal models. The latter, however, is not available in the country. Like the V11 lineup, the V12 models only differ in the number of tools and accessories you get.

Cleaning Technology

Dyson’s V12 has a more advanced cleaning technology than the V11 vacuum.

Dyson V11 vs V12 Cleaning Technology
Clockwise from top left: the V11 in handheld mode, a view of the V12’s suction technology, the V12 with the Motorbar Cleaner Head, and the V11’s cyclonic technology

Vacuums are all about suction power. In the case of the Dyson V11 and V12, it all starts from the Hyperdymium motor. Both models use the same kind, which spins up to 125,000 RPM. Where the two differ is in cyclonic technology.

On the V11, it’s called the Radial Root Cyclone. This produces 14 concentric cyclones that generate forces up to 79,000g. Interestingly, the V12’s Root Cyclone only creates 11 cyclones. Nonetheless, it delivers centrifugal forces up to 100,000g. In both vacuums, the cyclones capture dust and debris in the airflow, ensuring no loss in suction power.

The Dyson V11 and V12 also rely on whole-machine filtration to trap up to 99.99% of particles, even those as small as 0.3 microns. With the V12, you can even see the type. The vacuum’s onboard sensors detect the size of the particles, displaying them on the LCD.

As for the attachments, the V12 has the Laser Slim Fluffy Cleaner Head as its default. The Slim Fluffy has a built-in laser light projected at a precise angle, so you can see ‘invisible’ particles on hard floors. It also uses anti-static carbon fiber filaments to suck in fine dust. For the V11, Dyson uses the Torque Drive Cleaner Head. The attachment is made from the same materials as the V12 but lacks laser technology.

Power and Capacity

Dyson’s V11 offers more suction power and bin capacity than the Dyson V12.

Dyson V11 vs V12 Power and Capacity
Power modes and battery life on the V12 LED (left); particle size and runtime on the V11 LCD (right)

Dyson’s V11 and V12 vacuums have three power modes โ€” Eco, Auto, and Boost. Eco is the lowest setting and the most power-efficient. On the opposite end is Boost Mode, delivering high-powered suction in exchange for runtime. In Auto, motor suction automatically adjusts depending on the cleaning head, particle size, and floor type.

The V12, an older but top-of-the-line model, boasts a higher suction power. In Boost Mode, the vacuum’s suction power is 185 AW. With the V12 Detect Slim, the smaller frame impacts power. At a similar cleaning setting, the unit only delivers 150 AW.

Unlike corded vacuums, the Dyson V11 and V12 have smaller bin capacities. On the V11, the bin volume is 0.75L. Meanwhile, the V12’s compact design allows only for a 0.38L bin. Fortunately, emptying the dustbins is hassle-free. Both vacuums use a point-and-shoot mechanism that ejects particles in one action.

Tools and Runtime

The Dyson V11 and V12 come with the same number of tools and offer identical runtimes.

Dyson V11 vs V12 Tools and Runtime
Store the V11 on the wall using the docking station (left); use the V12 combination tool for cleaning your car’s interiors (right)

Dyson’s V11 Animal comes with six tools and accessories out of the box. These are the mini-motorized tool, combination tool, crevice tool, and stubborn dirt brush. You also get a charger and docking station. Dyson’s V12 also includes a similar number of accessories. But instead of the dirt brush and mini-motorized tool, the vacuum comes with a hair screw tool and wand clip.

The V11 and V12’s battery life is identical. Both vacuums are marketed to run up to 60 minutes on a single charge. Of course, this comes with the fine print you’re in Eco Mode. If you’re cleaning using the Boost or Auto modes, expect battery life to be considerably lower. Lastly, charge time for both cordless vacuums is 4 hours.


Given the Dyson V11’s discontinuation, the Dyson V12 Detect Slim is a more reassuring purchase.

The Dyson V11 once stood at the top of the brand’s pantheon of cordless vacuum cleaners. And while it has been discontinued, the machine remains a capable cleaner. Compared to the Dyson V12 Detect Slim, the V11 offers more suction power and a larger bin capacity. With availability limited to select retailers, finding a V11 can be a challenge. Even if you chance upon a brand new unit, you’re better off spending $800 on the newer Dyson V15 Detect. Nonetheless, those on a budget might find the V12 a worthy alternative for both.


๐Ÿ“Œ What’s the difference between the Dyson V11 and the Dyson V12 Detect Slim?

The Dyson V11 vacuum offers stronger suction power and a larger bin capacity than the Dyson V12 Detect Slim. However, the latter comes with a more advanced default laser-guided cleaner head.

๐Ÿ“Œ Is the battery on the Dyson V11 removable?

Yes, the Dyson V11 uses a click-on battery. If you want extra runtime, you can simply purchase an additional battery for the vacuum.

๐Ÿ“Œ Can I use the Dyson V12 Detect Slim to suck pet hair?

Dyson’s V12 Detect Slim comes with a hair screw tool. This accessory is specially designed for trapping pet hair and sucking it into the vacuum bin.

๐Ÿ“Œ Is the Dyson V12’s cleaner head washable?

While the V12’s cleaner head is not washable per se, the brush bar is.

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Mari Bassig

Senior Editor, writer and researcher passionate about gadgets, social media, and music.