Dyson DC59 Motorhead Review


Let's face one of life's unavoidable chores...cleaning. More specifically, vacuuming. Yes that's right, the 'v' word. Unless you're someone that's extraordinarily wealthy or you have nothing but hardwood/tile flooring, you frequently vacuum like the rest of us. And if you're anything like me, you too hate that mile-long cable that gets in your way during an already miserable time, which suffice it to say you'd rather be spending doing something else. And if that wasn't enough (cue first world problems), your vacuum lacks the required suction power to pick up that freshly ground espresso you've accidentally dropped all over that floor. Are you tired of inadvertently exercising your arm when vacuuming? Worry not, Dyson's lightweight and very much cord-free digital vacuum stick wants to make your life more tolerable with its long battery life and incredibly powerful sucking power. 

The DC59 Motorhead is Dyson’s latest flagship cordless vacuum that bills itself as the most powerful and versatile handheld cordless stick-style vacuum on the market. Dyson even says it will out-perform some of the best selling full-sized corded upright vacuum cleaners. It all sounds very impressive on paper and it certainly looks stunning by design, but how will the DC59 Motorhead fare under our control? If you’re all about looking into the latest in advanced home gadgetry, you won’t want to miss out on our Dyson action down below!


The DC59 Motorhead is packaged really well inside this very informative cardboard box. Dyson had done a decent job making this easy to unbox. And really, what else can you expect? It's not an Apple product, it's a vacuum. Granted a very modern one at that.


Inside you can expect to find all the usual bits and pieces and such including a handy dandy user guide, the removable stick shaft or 'wand' as Dyson likes to call it, a narrow crevice tool, a combination tool that can also be used as a cleaning brush, and two motorized brush heads: mini and large.


Like any good vac, the DC59 Motorhead comes with its fair share of various kinds of attachments that make it all that more versatile and in this case, a multi-purpose suction device. Personally I don't ever find the need to use these attachments on a regular full-sized vacuum. All I need is the standard motorized head and I'm set. But when it comes to using the DC59 as an ultra-maneuverable cordless handheld vacuum, that's when the opportunity is perfect for utilizing these included tools for vacuuming inside your car. And I did find that I would use the included attachments a lot more often only because the unique cordless and lightweight design of the DC59 affords a quick and easy transformation from having to use it as you'd normally do when vacuuming the floor, and onto vacuuming up dust on higher surfaces like bookcases, upholstery and window sills – just to name a few. 


Setting up is so simple that you may not even have to check out the quick start user guide to get started. When you pull everything out of the box, the DC59 Motorheadwill be detached from all of its accessories so that you can pick and choose which ones you'd like to start out with. The DC59 vacuum in itself as a single unit compromised of the rechargeable battery permanently attached to the handle grip followed by the digital motor, waste canister and the attachment outlet towards the front where you'll be attaching the various adapters included with it. Just line up the notch and slide in the magenta colored aluminum wand until you hear a click. At the end of the wand you can attach any one of the included tools.


You can also directly attach tools including both of the powered motorhead brush bars to the DC59 without using the extended wand stick for certain scenarios such as cleaning stairs at closer and more manageable proximity. In this configuration the DC59 is ridiculously portable and quite effortless to handle for practically anyone. And again, if you do need that extra reach you can always switch back to the extended wand attachment and reattach the tool you were using beforehand.


At first I thought that the DC59 Motorhead actually used suction power to turn the included brush attachment heads like some other vacuums. But I was very wrong in thinking that. The DC59's motorhead brush tools are indeed self-sufficient and employ a small electric motor that directly drives and spins the brush bar with its anti-static carbon fiber bristles, which is really awesome and also makes a lot of sense having read Dyson's product description. If you notice there are actually electrical connection points on both ends of the aluminum wand in order to transfer electricity down the length of the aluminum stick to power the motorhead brush tools when they're connected. The battery on this little vacuum is seriously impressive in what it can do. And the fact that it's even slimmer and more compact than many power tools including Hoover's Air Cordless Serios 3.0 floor vacuum, which is actually the cordless version of my corded vacuum I use all the time, is really amazing to me.


The connection is strong and firm between the parts, but we did notice that there's a visible gap imperfection between interconnecting parts. Though the interior of the connection is perfectly sealed with a rubber gasket. There is some play between the gap if you force the two parts to seamlessly join, however, I didn't necessarily find this to be much of an issue as the connection is still secure as it needs to be despite the visible gap, which is small. We tried every attachment with the DC59 Motorhead and they're all equally have this small gap between the connection. Again, internally the parts are appropriately joined and sealed. Nonetheless, it's still a shame to find such cosmetic imperfection when paying this much for a vacuum that is supposedly the best of its kind. And this brings us up another point and that is build quality. 


Dyson vacuums aren't necessarily renowned for their build quality so much so as they are for their superior design and impressive performance. And speaking of performance, the force is strong with the DC59 Motorhead. But that doesn't means that it's impressively made. Yes it looks attractive as far as cordless vacuums are concerned, and the color scheme is arguably phenomenal and without a doubt eye-catching. Alas, there's no getting around its unremarkable shiny plasticky build quality and gaudy chrome plastic accents, which I must say isn't any worse than any other vacuum I've tested in the past. The aluminum want certainly adds value to the quality and feel of the DC59 Motorhead. So at least there's a bit of lightweight metal material to appreciate. I’m really glad that Dyson has used an aluminum part to make the detachable wand for the DC59 Motorhead only because it gives it a nice balanced weight and extra durability. 

And if you've been wondering what that overpowered-looking cylinder engine-inspired design was all about, that's actually the DC59's two-tier Radial cyclones which are engineered to maximize airflow and increase the efficiency of suction in order to capture very fine dust particles inside the bin before they reach the filter. Together with the 350W V6 motor Dyson designed for the DC59, it generates a powerfully consistent suction. So there is some merit to that gaudy looking chrome-plated engine design that Dyson is so iconically known for.  


Needless to say, a super-portable cordless stick vacuum is a great appliance to have if you're living in an apartment or condo where space is not a luxury, but not as useful if you live in a large 5-bedroom house as much as it will be a phenomenal supplemental gadget to a corded standard full-sized vacuum. Obviously it all comes down to how much you're going to be using it. Because you are limited by a relatively short battery life and a small waste bin capacity. Living in a two-bedroom apartment myself, I can easily see the DC59 Motorhead replacing my existing corded upright vacuum. It has enough battery life to let me clean my entire floor on a single charge better than any vacuum I've ever used, and that's all that really matters to me when looking for a cordless vacuum. And having the ability to switch from indoor use to cleaning the inside of a car using a single device is really what makes Dyson's DC59 Motorhead a very strong versatile vacuum pick. This level if capability and quality doesn't come cheap though. Retailing at $550, the DC59 Motorhead is a very expensive proposition indeed. 

As far as competition is concerned, Dyson is really ahead of the game when it comes to cordless handheld stick vacuums like the DC59 Motorhead. The closest competitor we were able to find is the Shark Rocket, which I'm sure you can agree doesn't even begin to compare. It may have a similar design language and multi-purpose boasting abilities, but it falls short in being as compact and as powerful as the DC59. Not to mention the fact that it isn't even cordless. It's 75% more efficient at combing through carpets in order to pick up dirt stuck deep within the fibers than the DC59 Animal thanks to its direct-drive motorhead brush. On top of that it's also one and half times more powerful, lighter and features longer battery life than Dyson's older and less expensive DC44 and DC35 cordless handheld vacuums. It weight less than five pounds fully assembled with the aluminum wand attached to the motorhead bar and feels nicely balanced when held and moved around.


There's also a docking station included that's designed to be mounted on the wall with room to mount two additional accessory tools; and of course a charging adapter. It's worth noting that these are the same tools you'll also find included with the DC59 Animal model. And no, you can't charge the DC59 Motorhead using a USB power plug.


The DC59's wall mounted charging dock further enhances the convenience of using a cordless vacuum. Having this docking station means that you never need to replace or swap out the rechargeable battery. Just slide and dock the end of the DC59 into its charging station and it'll automatically begin charging. Another advantage to this wall mounted charging station is that when you're done using your vacuum you can hang it vertically where it'll be kept out of your way, leaving extra space in your utility closet or wherever it is that you usually keep your vacuum. It's worth mentioning that you'll need to use the included wall charging adapter to install the cable and the plug into the charging dock yourself. It takes only 3.5 hours to fully charge the DC59's rechargeable lithium-ion battery, and you can't use spare backup rechargeable battery packs like you can with a power drill as the DC59's battery is fixed and non-removable.


The only caveat we can think of about the DC59's charging station is that is it only designed to be used when mounted on a wall. And that it can be an intimidating installation procedure for some people. But what really irritating is the fact that Dyson does not include the two screws necessary to mount the charging dock. Just two self-tapping screws will do the trick. And if that's not an option for you, then you can of course charge the DC59 without having to use the charging station, however, it will have to be done without any sort of support. Because the DC59 cannot stand vertically on its own, you'll have to set it on the ground to charge, which isn't as appealing nor convenient as docking it. 


Now when it comes to battery life, Dyson claims on its website that the DC59 Motorhead provides as much as 24 minutes of cordless cleaning capability or only 6 minutes when using the more battery intensive Boost mode. But when reading the included user guide as well as the attached little information tag that's displayed on the unit itself out of the box, Dyson is goes into more detail about what combination of attachment tools yields a different run time result. For example and contrary to Dyson's advertised battery claims, the user guide states that in normal power mode the DC59 Motorhead can run for 17 minutes when using one of the two direct-drive motor brush heads on a full charge, and 20 minutes when using the combination brush or crevice tool. When using the Boost mode, it states the accurately represented run time as Dyson previously claimed online of 6 minutes when using any of the included adapter heads. So really were not sure what to believe here, but from our experience in using this machine, the DC59 Motorhead fortunately did in fact last longer than the advertised user guide battery run times under both normal and Boost mode usage. Someone needs to get all their ducks in a row over at Dyson headquarters that's for sure.


You might have been wondering how big this thing actually is. Well, here it is next to a compact Black + Decker BDCDE120C AutoSense drill, which is probably the closest comparison you can make to the DC59 in terms of weight, form factor and usability.


Personally I find the DC59 Motorhead to be as easy to use as Dyson’s DC40 upright vacuum (not cordless) when using the wand to vacuum floors. I'm 6.4ft tall and I found it to be just right for me to move across the floor without having to hunch or bend down. But whether that will be as comfortable to handle is a matter of personal preference. Much like an electric screw driver, you are required to maintain constant pull on the power trigger in order to use this vacuum as oppose to the always-on operation of a standard vacuum. Although I understand that the DC59’s power trigger is designed to save battery power for in-between cleaning and resting, but at least having the option to lock the trigger like you would when pumping gas for an always-on mode would be a welcome little feature.

If you've ever used that retractable wand on one of Dyson's upright vacuums then you'll be very familiar with the way that the DC59 operates. It's kinda like holding a rigid stick only with an electric motor bit strapped to the back with a handgun/drill-like on/off trigger within your finger's reach. It’s easy to move about, fits underneath all kinds of furniture and thanks to it’s powerful motorized head brush, the DC59 sucks up a lot more dust and debris than you’d ever imagine possible from such a slimmed down cordless vacuum stick. I’m amazed, and so will you. Alas, I think you’d be more staggered by the $550 price tag than you would from it performing fantastically well. Which is to be expected as the DC59 Motorhead packs a brilliant amount of power and versatility in exchange. 


Compared to the DysonDC50 Animal and my Hoover Windtunnel Air, the DC59 Motorhead has a noticeably quieter operation when using it at normal suction power. Turning on Boost mode, however, increases the noise level with a higher pitch wine that's as noisy as a full-sized vacuum especially due to the fact that the motor is considerably closer to your ears. Though it still performs quieter than a lot of other larger vacuums I've tested and impressively outperforms my Windtunnel Air at picking up more dirt off the carpet with a single swoop.

It's super easy to move around carpet and because there's no cable dragging you down, you'll feel more free to move around and cover more ground faster than ever. It basically makes vacuuming, dare I say, fun. And if you need to switch from floor to ceiling or to an upholstery, changing from one adapter to the next is literally a button snap and boom you've got yourself an entirely handheld and mobile suction unit that you can move around and over things with absolute ease. And when you're done just slide it into its charging dock like you would a smartphone. Doesn't get any more straightforward than that.


When you need more power you can press the round button on the back of the DC59 to activate Boost mode, which puts it on overdrive in order to doube the suction for tougher pickups. That said, I never really find myself using the DC59 Motorhead in Boost mode as it does a perfectly good job under normal usage, which also conserves battery life yet still activates the motorized brush bar even with the wand attached.

For a device this small and lightweight, the DC59 Motorhead packs an extraordinary amount of suction power using a relatively small rechargeable lithium battery. Not only does Dyson’s newly developed V6 motor generates impressive suction capability to compensate for having to suck dirt and dust through this long aluminum tube all the way to the top as easily as any full-sized vacuum with a floor-mounted motor.


During my testing of the DC59 Motorhead, I was able to vacuum my entire two bedroom apartment in under 8 minutes, which I also found was more than enough to fill up the canister (or clear bin as Dyson likes to call it) to the brim with all kinds of nastiness. Bare in mind that the floors were in fact cleaned days before. So in other words, you’ll probably have to empty out the DC59’s 0.12 gallon waste bin after each thorough use. And I’m fine with that to say the least. Not to mention that the battery life is extremely well suited for cleaning a sizable home on a single charge. That is if you are using it on normal power, which I found was more than enough to clean my carpets as well as my much larger Hoover Windtunnel Air. To say that I’m impressed by the DC59 Motorhead yet again is an understatement. This thing is a monster, and it happens to love sucking hard…in a good way of course. 


I think everyone will agree when I say that the cord is the single most annoying thing about using a vacuum around the house. But that's a thing of the past thanks to cordless beauties such as this. Never have I been able to vacuum this quickly and effortlessly before. The DC59 Motorhead is so maneuverable that you literally fly through your usual cleaning regiment. The more compact motor head allows you to fit into tighter spaces while its ball-joint pivoting mechanism enables you to turn on the spot by twisting the handle sideways without having to move back and forth to adjust your angle towards a new path across the surface. It’s really great and it saves time too. The powered brush head gives you that same feeling of vacuuming the floor as you do using a corded upright vacuum.


Like every other one of Dyson's brilliantly designed vacuums, they've made emptying the waste canister of the DC59 Motorhead so effortless that you look forward to the next opportunity when you can push the button to quickly eject that filthy rubbish.


And if you push that same red button all the way down, you'll be able to eject the entire clear bin right off the DC59 in case you'd like to thoroughly clean it every once in a while or reach spots inside that may be clogged up.


You can even pull apart the brush bar from both of the large and small motorhead tools by unlocking the twist tab using a coin in order to pull out long strands of clogged hairs and whatnot. 


One of the drawbacks to using such a compact handheld stick vacuum is that the DC59’s parts are all much smaller than your typical upright floor vacuum, which means the waste canister can only hold so much waste requiring more frequent cleaning. The same applies to the DC59’s small cone-shaped pre-filter, which Dyson says requires cleaning at least once a month compared to a typical filter that you only need to clean every 6 months or so. Cleaning is easy though, and thankfully the DC59’s filter is reusable and should last you a lifetime. Rinse the filter with cold water and let it dry for 24 hours before you use it again. That’s it. It's important to note that the DC59's filter while whashable, is not a true HEPA filter.


And while we’re on the subject of filters, the DC59’s top loading cone-shaped filter is somewhat flawed in its design. For some reason Dyson thought that it will be enough to let some rubber O-rings make a secure and tight fit using friction alone instead of some sort of twist to lock function. You can easily pull the filter by its nib for cleaning, but it doesn’t not stay inside its little home all that well unless your powering on the DC59, in which air creates a tight suction and secure the filter in its position. But when you’re not using the DC59 and the filter will easily fall out if you tilt the motor sideways. A locking function is desperately needed for the DC59’s washable pre-filter. Because I often that not found myself picking up the filter off the floor as it somehow slipped out of its place since nothing is really keeping it in there as tightly as needed without powering on the vacuum. 

The good news is that after putting the DC59 Motorhead to good use, I did notice that the filter would stay flush in place as it should. Even shaking it upside down wouldn’t move it, which is something that you couldn’t do out of the box. So I’m very happy to see that it won’t be much of an issue after all. Though I still think the Dyson should design a twist to lock feature regardless.


One of the things that bothered me a little was that the handle got warm when using the turbo boost mode in a matter of seconds. I also think that it seriously lacks some rubber grip padding just to make that slick plastic a little more nice to handle and it may even help in isolating any heat coming from the battery from transferring over to you’d hand. As a third generation product this should really have been addressed in some form or another. Dyson can’t just replicate its upright vacuums. This clearly is a different experience from a user standpoint. While I don’t think that any rubberized grip points is necessary when using one of Dyson’s other vacuums with their ejectable hose handle system, I do think that the DC59 Motorhead should be treated more like a handheld power tool, which it is. Not that it’s an unwieldy tool.


The cordless future of vacuums is already here with Dyson's DC59 Motorhead at the forefront

Dyson'sDC59 Motorhead can indeed serve you as a standalone full-size vacuum replacement. But should it? That depends on whether or not you're looking to cut the cord and make use of its versatile handheld size. And if so, we think that you'll really appreciate what the DC59 Motorhead has got to offer. It has exceeded my expectations. Otherwise, it's just too expensive to consider at $550 when you can get a less expensive Dyson offering or a different brand of vacuum for the matter, and see similar cleaning results. There's no denying the fact that as a cordless handheld vacuum that is as powerful as a standard alternative, Dyson's DC59 Motorhead is the best choice there is for a cordless and interchangeable stick vacuum. Nothing comes close.

If you're looking for an alternative, we think that as of right now the DC59 Animal is the second best option for a cordless vacuum. If you really care about convenience and want something that performs amazingly well for home, office and in-car use, and you've got a budget that has a taste for quality...well then we can strongly recommend the DC59 Motorhead. It's really a great piece of kit. We liked it so much that we've given it our Editors' Choice Award. As long as you're a lover of all things gadgety, something as essential as Dyson's DC59 is arguably a must have household multi-tool that'll make your life easier and your rubbish cleaning as joyful as using a high-tech piece of gear that's part of what makes your home and the things around it that more enjoyable. It's just a shame that it comes at such a high price. Then again, good things do come in small, expensive packages. Granted you can find the DC59 Motorhead for less than $500 if you shop around on sites like Amazon.