I’m gonna git you sucka

The new Dyson vacuum cleaner looks set to become the decade’s design icon. Matthew Valentine gives cyclonic technology a whirl and cleans up his act.

As any mother will tell you, there are two ways to do the housework. There is the proper way, and the way their children do it.

For this reason mothers love James Dyson, the man who has given even wayward sons the tools to make a half decent job of vacuum cleaning. Great things will therefore be expected of the latest effort from his company, Dyson Appliances, the DC03.

Although it is an upright cleaner, like legions of Hoovers – and indeed, Dysons – before it, the DC03 is unmistakably a Dyson. The twin cylinder cleaner looks like a grey and yellow rocket ship engine, and the detachable “wand”, with attachments for cleaning in awkward corners or inside cars, looks like a futuristic gun from a science fiction movie. This makes sucking dead spiders from the skirting boards far more fun than usual.

The DC03 uses the latest version of the now-familiar Dual Cyclone system. This creates a controlled tornado inside your house, spinning dirt first at 200mph, and then at up to 924mph, within the cylinder. When discovered at the Design Week office, this fact created much discussion over whether the cleaner would create a sonic boom.

It doesn’t, but it does work in a frighteningly effective fashion. The problem with the clear plastic cylinder, where the Dyson deposits the rubbish it sucks from your carpet, is that it provides undeniable evidence of a trashy lifestyle.

After one sweep of my living room the Dyson had collected so much tightly compacted matter I had to empty the cylinder. Completing the task properly, by venturing into corners and under furniture provided another sizeable collection of material.

When told of this, colleagues (except those who have visited my flat) reacted with shock. They later suggested I apply the borrowed Dyson to my desk before returning it.

Users of previous Dyson models, even those used to regular “proper” cleaning, have told of similar experiences. The Dyson’s astonishing suction pulls unmentionable material from the depths of even the cleanest carpet, they say. This is small consolation. The DC03 eventually drew so much dust from my flat the neighbours must have thought I was putting a dismembered body in the wheelie bins.

Though an unreliable character witness, the Dyson, created like previous models by the company’s in-house design team, is user-friendly. Approached from a typical customer viewpoint (ie without reading the instructions), it proved easy to use. The rule to remember, as Dyson staff point out, is: “If it’s yellow, it does something.” This makes the all-important on/off button easy to find when the Dyson has got hold of a loose thread on a rug, and means the adaptable brush (for cleaning different surfaces) is easy to use. Apart from cylinder emptying and the use of attachments there aren’t many other controls to find.

One of the best design features of the DC03 is its amazingly compact size. A hinge means the whole thing can be folded into a straight line only 142mm thick, and you can hang it on a hook where it can be forgotten about. Until the day before your mother is due to visit, that is.

The Dyson DC03 will be in the shops in February, price to be confirmed

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