Trees and Robots

by Jacopo Scazzosi

Dogs, fur and vacuum cleaners

TL;DR - Furry companion? Invest in a nice stick vacuum cleaner that is easy to clean and maintain, comes with an articulated and motorized cleaner head and lasts enough to cover one floor. The Dyson V10 is a good option.

Our dog, a Maremma Sheepdog mix, sheds an unbelievable amount of fur. As with almost all natural recurring phenomena there’s a pattern to her shedding, with peaks and valleys correlating to her activity levels, her health, the time of the year and the varying consistency of our brushing sessions. Still, even at her lowest level of shedding it only takes a day or two for fur to visibly and unhygienically deposit in corners and underneath all kinds of forniture, in addition to aggregating into ever moving rolls not unlike Tumbleweed.

Vacuuming consistency is the only long-term solution, here, and the tool that best enables vacuuming consistency is a nice stick vacuum cleaner. We’ve had a few so far, most notably a Rowenta Air Force 360 and our current Dyson V10. Picking one is never easy and I’ve enjoyed perusing through reviews and selection criteria shared by others; it’s only fair for us to share ours:

  1. Capacity: a stick vacuum cleaner should have a canister ample enough to last an entire floor, assuming consistent, daily usage. The battery should also last as much as the daily vacuuming session. Both the Rowenta and the Dyson last well beyond 30 minutes at their lowest (but still sufficient) power setting, which is plenty enough for me to go through one floor.
  2. Ease of maintenance: a stick vacuum cleaner should be easy to empty, clean and maintain. I’ve found emptying and cleaning the Rowenta to be an exercise in frustration, to the point that it drove us to look for an alternative. The Dyson has, so far, proven to be excellent in this regard. Everything is painless and straightforward, from daily emptying to complete teardown.
  3. Durability: a stick vacuum cleaner should not feel like a toy and should be capable of withstanding minor stresses to its frame. I’ve never had any structural issue with either the Rowenta or the Dyson, although the former did feel significantly sturdier than the latter. They don’t quite feel as sturdy as some of the top-tier brands (Miele, Sabo, …) but they’re fine for their price range.
  4. Articulated, motorized cleaner heads: a stick vacuum cleaner should have an articulated, motorized, rotating cleaner head capable of fitting in tight spaces. Rotating brushes are complementary to suction as they are dramatically more effective at dislodging dirt, dust and fur so that they may be picked up into the air flow. Both the Rowenta and the Dyson come with articulated cleaner heads: the articulation of the Rowenta’s head makes it better suited for tighter clearances whereas the brush in the Dyson’s head seems to be better at releasing fur into the cleaner without it getting stuck within the brush itself.

For our latest pick I would have opted for something recommended by r/VacuumCleaners but ultimately settled on the Dyson due to a combination of good reviews by friends and family and to the fact that we can have it serviced close to home should we ever need to do so.