Dyson Ball Animal 3 review
Thanks to its powerful suction, the Dyson Ball Animal 3 is extremely effective at removing pet hair from carpeting
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The Dyson Ball Animal 3 vacuum offers unbeatable suction power on carpeting and hard floors, and the design of its new floorhead prevents pet hair from getting wrapped around the brush roll. However, it’s not the easiest to use when vacuuming stairs and other hard-to-reach areas
Easy to maneuver
Performs extremely well on carpets
Three suction settings
Other models available with different tools
Awkward control placement
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The Dyson Ball Animal 3, a new upright vacuum from the brand, is specially designed to tackle the unique challenges of a multi-pet household.
Not all vacuums are able to handle large amounts of pet hair and dander. However, Dyson vacuums are known for their powerful suction and high-quality filtration –both appealing characteristics if you have pets.
In addition to the brand’s 'Radial Root Cyclone' technology, which delivers consistent suction and optimizes airflow to capture dust and allergens, the Ball Animal 3 also has a newly designed cleaner head with 'hair removal vanes' to prevent long hair from getting wrapped around the brushroll. Plus, its whole-machine filtration system is able to capture 99.97% of particles as small as 0.3 microns and keep dust, dirt, and pet dander out of your home.
It sounds great, but is this new upright model from Dyson one of the best vacuums for pets? I put it to the test over the course of several weeks to find out if it’s a worthwhile upgrade for your home. Here’s what I found.
Dyson Ball Animal 3 | $399.99 at Dyson (opens in new tab)
Camryn Rabideau is a freelance writer and product reviewer who has been testing home goods, including cleaning tools, for several years. She tested the Dyson Ball Animal 3 Vacuum from her small homestead in Rhode Island. As the owner of two dogs and a cat, she’s always looking for the best products to help keep her home (at least somewhat) free of pet hair.
Who will love the Dyson Ball Animal 3?
The Dyson Ball Animal 3 is specifically engineered for households with pets, and it has several features that make it well-suited for handling pet hair and dander – for instance, the new tangle-resistant brushroll. Because of its large size and corded design, it’s best suited for more thorough cleaning jobs, as opposed to picking up small everyday messes, and I found it performs especially well on rugs, making it a beneficial tool for households with a lot of carpeting.
Dyson Ball Animal 3: Specifications
- Power: 290 AW
- Bin capacity: 1.7 L
- Bin style: Bagless
- Weight: 17.3 pounds
- Cord length: 50 feet (35 feet cord with a 15 feet hose)
- Settings: 3
- Dimensions: 42.2 x 15.5 x 11.02 inches
- Cleaning path width: 11.02 inches
- Filter: Whole-machine filtration
- Accessories: Stair tool, combination tool, tool holder
- RRP: $399.99
Dyson Ball Animal 3: design
Right away, I noticed that the Dyson Ball Animal 3 is a large, heavy vacuum. It weighs around 17 pounds, and it’s fairly bulky to tote around the house. When moving it between rooms, I generally opted to roll it instead of picking it up, and it’s definitely cumbersome to carry up and down the stairs. For this reason, it’s probably not the best choice for those with mobility limitations or homes with several floors.
To turn the Dyson on, there’s a large red button on the front of the handle, and there’s a second button that turns the brushroll on/off – helpful if you’re sucking up cat litter or another material that’s easily scattered around. The only other control on the vacuum is the suction adjuster, which for some reason is located on the top of the cleaner head. This is inconvenient, as you have to stop and “park” the vacuum to walk around and change the suction power as you move from carpeting to hard floors. I often had to stop and adjust the vacuum several times while cleaning the downstairs area of my home.
This vacuum has Dyson’s signature “ball” design – hence its name – which makes it quite easy to maneuver around obstacles and into corners of your home. I like that the stabilizing wheels on the bottom of the vacuum automatically release when you tilt the body back, making it easy to start moving. Other models, such as the Shark Stratos Upright Vacuum, require you to hold the base with your foot to unlock the body from its parked position.
The Ball Animal 3 also has a newly designed brush head, known as the de-tangling Motorbar, and is more aligned with the cleaner heads on the Dyson cordless range. In addition to the stiff, dense nylon bristles that agitate and remove dirt from carpets and floors, it incorporates 'hair removal vanes' to prevent long hair from getting wrapped around the brush roll. It's engineered with angled bristles that follow a spiraling helix design to migrate hair along the brush bar, from left to right.
What is the Dyson Ball Animal 3 like to use?
Unboxing the Dyson Ball Animal 3
The Dyson Ball Animal 3 arrived in a tall, narrow box, and much to my surprise, there was no plastic wrapping or styrofoam inside, just strategically placed cardboard cutouts. Many brands still use a surplus of plastic in their packaging, so it was really refreshing to see that Dyson is taking a more sustainable approach.
The vacuum only has a few pieces to put together, and while I was able to attach the cleaner head to the body without any issues, I did get confused while trying to put the wand section together. I ended up needing to consult the user manual for instructions, and frankly, the directions weren’t that helpful. There are just a few simple diagrams without any text. Eventually, I figured out that the wand goes into the hose, and you then slide the wand into place on the back of the vacuum. All-in-all, assembly took me around 10 minutes, and then the vacuum was ready to use.
Right away, it was clear to me that the Dyson Ball Animal 3 was designed with carpeting in mind. I have lots of area rugs in my home—mostly to keep the animals from scratching up the hardwood floors—and the Dyson does an unbelievable job pulling dirt and dog hair out of the fibers. I used it on the low-pile rug in my dining room, and even though I thought the surface was pretty clean, the powerful suction of the vacuum pulled out a disturbing amount of hair that was hiding under the surface. The dense nylon bristles are ideal for this task, driving deep into the carpet to agitate dirt and dander, and the cleaner head’s hair removal vanes kept long strands of hair from getting wrapped around the brushroll.
I will say that it’s important to choose the right suction setting when you’re cleaning carpets with this vacuum. If you have the suction on too high, the vacuum will essentially suction itself right to the floor, making it almost impossible to push across your carpeting—a lesson I learned the hard way.
On Hard Floors
While carpeting is where this vacuum shines, it still does a good job on hard floors. When I vacuumed the hardwood floors in my kitchen, the Dyson was actually able to pull debris out from between the floorboards, and I was pleased with how easy it was to maneuver into corners and around obstacles.
However, I do wish the vacuum had headlights or other dirt detection mechanisms—for instance, the brand’s cordless stick vacuums have a laser dirt detection feature that I absolutely love. These features help illuminate dirt and pet hair on hard floors, and I’ve always found them helpful when cleaning.
Because my dogs run up and down the stairs several times a day, I typically have to vacuum hair off the staircase at least twice a week. I was excited to see if the Dyson would excel in this area thanks to its extending hose, but unfortunately, it fell flat. The brand claims that the hose extends to up to 15 feet, but the problem is that once you turn the suction on, the hose shrinks back on itself. I ended up wrestling to keep the hose extended far enough to reach up the stairs, and overall, it was an uncomfortable experience and I wasn’t able to reach the top few steps of the staircase.
I also used the vacuum’s hose and wand combo to dust baseboard heaters around the house, and this worked better, as I didn’t need the hose to be stretched out as much. The combination tool did a great job capturing dust off different surfaces, and the wand was also long enough to comfortably suck cobwebs out of the corners of the ceiling.
Cleaning and Maintenance
I typically had to empty the Dyson’s dustbin after cleaning one or two rooms in my house, and it’s quick and easy to do. There’s a red button that releases the dustbin from the vacuum, and then you simply press it again to open the bottom and allow the debris to fall into the trash. I never had any issues with hair or other debris getting stuck in the dustbin, though I did learn to put the bin as far as possible into the trash can—otherwise, dust and dirt can puff out into the room as you empty it.
Maintenance for the Dyson Ball Animal 3 is minimal. The brand recommends cleaning its two washable filters once a month to maintain optimal suction, and when you do this, you may also want to check for blockages in the cleaner head, tools and main body of the vacuum. That’s all the maintenance required to keep the machine working properly, and it’s backed by a 5-year warranty.
The Dyson Ball Animal 3 is a fairly large vacuum, and it doesn’t fold up or break down for storage, meaning it will likely take up quite a bit of space in a closet or other storage area. The good news is that it comes with a tool clip that allows you to store both accessories right on the side of the vacuum so they’ll always be right at hand. The vacuum also features a cord wrap on the back of the machine for the power cable.
How does the Dyson Ball Animal 3 rate online?
This new Dyson Ball model was released in summer 2022, so it still only has a modest amount of online reviews. On the Best Buy website (opens in new tab), the vacuum has an average 4.7-star rating based on around 160 reviews, and most reviewers praise the vacuum’s powerful suction and anti-tangle cleaner head. (It’s worth noting that many of the reviews were gathered through Best Buy’s Tech Insider Network (opens in new tab) program, which provides free products to members in exchange for honest reviews.)
Among those who weren’t totally pleased with the vacuum, some of the common complaints were that the suction is too strong, making it difficult to push and that the hose and wand are bulky and awkward to use.
How does the Dyson Ball Animal 3 compare to other models?
If you want more versatility, there are two other versions of this same vacuum—the Dyson Ball Animal 3 Extra (opens in new tab) for $499.99 and the Dys (opens in new tab)o (opens in new tab)n Ball Animal 3 Complete (opens in new tab) for $549.99—that come with additional tools and accessories. The Extra includes the “tangle-free turbine tool” (a motorized accessory for cleaning upholstery) and the brand’s new pet groom tool, which is essentially a dog brush that attaches to the vacuum to make grooming less messy. The Complete model includes both these tools, as well as even more accessories, including a soft dusting brush, mattress tool, and more.
We’ve also tested its predecessor the Dyson Ball Animal 2, and the new model features a few notable upgrades from the previous version. Most notably, the cleaner head has been redesigned to prevent pet hair from getting tangled around the brushroll, and it now features adjustable suction. However, beyond these changes, the two vacuums are virtually the same in design and features.
We also recently tested the Shark Stratos Upright Vacuum, which is a similar upright model in terms of size and price. While the two models deliver comparable suction, the Stratos is easier to use on stairs or other hard-to-reach areas thanks to its LiftAway design. However, the Stratos has a smaller dustbin that needs to be emptied more frequently while cleaning.
Should you buy the Dyson Ball Animal 3?
The most basic version of the Dyson Ball Animal 3 retails for $399.99, which is quite expensive as upright vacuums go. It definitely offers superior suction power compared to cheaper models, and if you have a lot of carpeting in your home, you won’t be disappointed in the Dyson’s sheer cleaning power. The vacuum does a great job handling pet hair, digging it deep from rugs and preventing long strands from getting wrapped around the brushroll, and while it is heavy, it’s easy to maneuver around your home thanks to its swiveling ball base.
However, if you’re looking for a versatile vacuum that makes it easy to clean stairs and other hard-to-reach areas in your home, this might not be the best choice. The Dyson’s hose can be a bit unwieldy, and it’s not the most convenient option for quick cleaning tasks. Plus, the base model of this vacuum only comes with two attachments—a crevice/dusting combination tool and a stair tool—and if you want additional accessories, you’ll have to shell out even more for the Extra or Complete models.
Dyson Ball Animal 3: where to buy
Camryn Rabideau is a writer and product reviewer specializing in home, kitchen, and pet products. In her five years as a product tester, she's tested hundreds of items first-hand, including many, many kitchen appliances for Homes & Gardens. Camryn does her product testing from her small homestead in beautiful Rhode Island.
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