Dyson V12 vs. V15: Why You Should Downgrade to the V12
In this comparison, we’ll take a closer look at the Dyson V12 and Dyson V15 vacuums. As a long-time user of Dyson cordless stick vacuums, I’ve used four different models as my primary vacuum over the past five years.
While the V12 might not be the most powerful Dyson, it's become my favorite due to the new push-button start and lightweight design. While the V15 is a great choice for those with larger homes or lots of carpets, because of its extra power and larger bin.
I've been alternating between these two models for months, and in this post, I’ll quickly highlight the similarities, then go into detail with four main differences between them.
The Dyson V12 was released in the US in 2022, while the V15 was released in 2021. Let’s quickly look at the similarities they share.
Tools & Heads
- The Laser Slim Fluffy head, which is a highly effective tool for cleaning hard floors and one of my favorite innovations of any tech over the last few years.
- A hair screw tool for upholstery, the crevice tool, the combination tool, and a wall mount for the charger.
- An all-purpose head for carpets (although it has a slight design difference). Interestingly, the cleaning heads and tools of the V12 and V15 are not interchangeable, unlike previous Dyson models.
Additionally, both vacuums feature removable, click-in batteries, allowing you to purchase spare batteries. The screen on both vacuums provides similar information and monitors the amount and type of dust particles picked up during vacuuming.
The Dyson V12 is significantly lighter than the V15. The entire V12 unit weighs 5.2 pounds, while the V15 weighs 6.8 pounds. When it comes to just the base, the V12 weighs 3.3 pounds, while the V15 base weighs 4.6 pounds.
While a difference of 1.6 pounds doesn’t sound like much on paper, it’s a noticeable difference when using the vacuums. The V12 is so lightweight that it’s even lighter than the previous V10 model. It feels like a toy compared to the V15. When using the V12, I can vacuum for more time than the battery allows without any strain on my wrist, whereas with the heavier V15, I often switched wrists to give one a break.
The lightweight nature of the V12 is especially useful when using it as a handheld vacuum too. It’s easier to use for cleaning areas above your head, such as ceilings and blinds, and for cleaning furniture with the mini-motorized brush.
2. Power Button
The V12 and V15 have a difference in their power controls. The V15, as with all other Dyson vacuums, features a red trigger that needs to be held down to power the vacuum. This trigger design allows for more control over power usage by easily releasing when you’re done, which is great for battery optimization.
The V12, on the other hand, features a single-button power control. Instead of holding down a trigger, the V12 can be easily turned on by pushing the red button. This single-button turn-on is a new feature for cordless vacuums, and I'd be surprised if all future Dyson models don't adopt this design.
Single button turn-on provides more comfort as it eliminates finger fatigue from continuously holding down the trigger. In contrast, after vacuuming for five minutes with the V15, my finger gets tired, which forces me to change the grip position or my hand. Maybe I’m gripping the trigger too hard, but my finger occasionally gets slightly wedged in the gap between the trigger.
Much like the difference in weight between these two systems, the new button isn’t a critical feature as I’ve been vacuuming fine with the trigger for years. But once you get a taste of the button, you’ll miss it when you have to go back to the heavier trigger models.
The V15 has a 3600 mAh battery capacity while the V12 has a 2500 mAh battery. Even though the V15 has a bigger battery, the runtime for both vacuums is similar according to Dyson and my tests. For reference, I can clean my entire house and still have about 14 minutes to spare using the Medium/Auto mode.
|V12 (hard floors)||63 min.||36 min.||8 min.|
|V15 (hard floors)||85 min.||45 min.||15 min.|
|V12 (carpets)||51 min.||30 min.||7 min.|
|V15 (carpets)||65 min.||45 min.||9 min.|
You might be wondering how the V12 has a similar runtime with a much smaller battery. It's all about the suction power. The V12 has 150 air watts of power using maximum Boost mode, while the V15 has 230 air watts of suction, which means the V15 has about 50% more power in the max suction mode. But, even though the V12 has less power than the V15, it's still more powerful than the older and very capable V8 and has the same amount of suction as the V10.
In real life, the extra power of the V15 doesn't matter for hard floors because of how the Laser Slim Fluffy head works. You'll have more than enough suction power with any Dyson model on hard floors. However, the V15 does have an advantage when it comes to cleaning carpets. Due to its extra suction power and the Digital Motorbar cleaning head, it goes deeper on carpets and picks up more fine debris.
The V12 carpet head is similar to the older V8 without the adjustable gate, which makes it less effective at picking up big debris. But, on the bright side, the V12 is less likely to get caught on carpets in the max suction mode because it has slightly less power. And, considering that the V10 and V8 were fine for carpets, the V12 is fine in the same way. But, if you have a lot of carpet in your house and want the deepest clean, the V15 is the better choice.
4. Dustbin Size
A small factor that contributes to the V12's lightweight design is its smaller dustbin. The V12's dustbin capacity is 0.10 gallons, making it the smallest among all the Dyson vacuums I've tested, and it's even smaller than older models like the V8’s 0.14 gallon dustbin, and half the size of the V15's 0.20-gallon dustbin.
Is the V12’s small dustbin size a deal breaker?
To help you gauge your needs, let's talk about my experience first. In my home, I vacuum once a week, covering around 1,200 square feet of mostly bamboo floors with a couple of small area rugs. I have a wife with long hair who sheds a lot and a small dog that sheds even more. Under these conditions, I can clean my entire house without needing to empty the dustbin until I'm done vacuuming. However, the dustbin is completely full at the end.
But for someone like my parents with a larger house and four shedding animals, I'd recommend the V15. Theoretically, the V12 can handle the workload, but you'd need to empty the dustbin a few times during a cleaning session. If you're okay with that, the smaller dustbin of the V12 shouldn't be a concern.
Interestingly, the smaller dustbin of the V12 offers a more seamless dustbin emptying experience. While the Dyson site says that "there's no need to touch the dirt" with their "hygienic bin emptying." However, I've found that this isn't entirely true, especially when vacuuming a lot of hair. Most dirt and dust will come out with a single slide. However, hair–and the dirt in that hair–tends to get trapped deep inside the bin. This requires you to reach in with your hand to remove it. With the V12, I can reach into the dustbin easily to remove hair, but sometimes with V15 my sleeves get dirty if I don't roll them up when reaching deep into the bin.
Which one is for you?
The Dyson V12 is the dream vacuum for those with smaller homes and primarily hard floors. Its lightweight design makes it easy to use, even for extended periods, and it's also great for cleaning out cars and furniture when used as a handheld. While the V12 can handle carpeting, it's not as powerful as the V15.
The Dyson V15 is an ideal option for those who prioritize deep cleaning on carpets, thanks to its extra power and superior cleaning head. However, this increased performance comes at the cost of added weight and the trigger mechanism, which is a less comfortable experience. While I've been using the V15 for two years without any issues, it's worth noting that I find it kind of annoying to switch back to the V15 after using the V12.
As I’ve been saying for years, any Dyson model with a fluffy head will be effective for cleaning hard floors. Even older models like the Dyson V10 and V8 are still suitable for this task, as the fluffy head easily picks up all types of dust. But to get the best performance, I recommend the Laser Slim Fluffy head.
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