Positives: beautifully designed, lightweight and ultra convenient.
Negatives: relatively short running time on full power.
At some point in the 1980s, probably during our annual pilgrimage to the Ideal Home Show, my family became the proud owners of a Black & Decker Dustbuster. On paper it was a great idea – a cordless vac that could go anywhere and pick up spills in seconds.
Never in the history of electricity has a gadget promised so much and delivered so little. The Dustbuster's asthmatic suction, tiny capacity and one-minute battery life put me off cordless cleaners for the next 25 years.
So it was from this perspective that I tested Dyson's cordless, battery-powered cleaner, the DC44. This latest mini-Dyson shares many of the design cues of its mains-powered siblings including the "cyclone" air chamber and the see-through dust collection bowl.
The DC44 is light and its centre of gravity is close to the hand grip, making it manoeuvrable and easy to lift above head height.
The standard cleaning head has a ball hinge, making it easy to direct with a flick of the wrist. A motorised brush bar helps lift dirt from carpets, while carbon fibre filaments lift fine dust from laminate floors.
The DC44 comes with a range of attachments including a smaller motorised head, a crevice tool and an extension tube that allows the vac to be used comfortably at waist height.
Usefully, the extension tube can be removed, allowing accessories to be mounted directly to the main body. In this configuration the DC44 is very compact, perfect for cleaning the car or getting into awkward corners.
Battery life from the DC44 is decent if not stellar. You get 20 minutes from a full charge, but press the max button for some extra suction – often essential in my experience – and running time drops to eight minutes. A full charge takes a couple of hours.
Perhaps the trickiest aspect of this mini-Dyson is finding a place to store it. Not only do you need a handy mains socket, but also 1.3 metres of height to hang the DC44 complete with its standard brush head – a bit more than a conventional vacuum.
Initial placement difficulties aside, the DC44 is an easy machine to love. For a small flat it may be the only vacuum cleaner you'll need, while in a larger home the cordless Dyson would find a useful role as a quick second cleaner.
In my testing I found the convenience of the Dyson to be its greatest asset. With no cable to unwind and plug in, I found myself cleaning up dust and crumbs I would previously have left for another day.
After a week of use I worried that it might be turning me a little bit OCD, but my wife assures me I'm very, very far from that.