Dyson V11 Outsize full review

Dyson’s Outsize isn’t for everyone. It’s a specific take on the V11 created for people with large homes. If you have a big house, enjoy using a cordless and find it frustrating to have to stop repeatedly and empty a small dustbin, then it’s very much aimed at you.

Comparison with the V11

The Outsize’s key selling points, when compared to the V11 Absolute, are its more capacious dustbin and wider cleaning head. 

The bin is 150% larger. It’s a roomy 1.7 litres, compared to the Absolute’s 0.76 litres. A smaller bin isn’t a huge problem if you have a smaller home. You’re always fairly near the kitchen. But if you’re up on the second floor cleaning bedrooms and need to empty it, it’ll feel like quite a hassle to stop what you’re doing and trek down to the kitchen bin.

The Outsize also comes with a High Torque head that 25% larger than the Absolute’s. Again, this is a winner if you have acres of carpet to vacuum, less so if you have a place with lots of corners and narrow spaces between furniture where a bigger vacuum head will struggle to fit.

Finally, its suction is a mighty 220 AW (air watts), versus the V11’s already powerful 185.

But bear in mind there’s a trade-off. This is a hard-working vacuum cleaner that’s going to make you work hard as well. The Outsize is heavy. It weighs a smidge over 3.5kg (which is closing in on 8lbs) – more with attachments and a full dustbin.   

Design & accessories

The Outsize enjoys all of the same features and functionality as the Dyson V11 Absolute (plus some added accessories). If you’re upgrading from an underpowered vac, you’ll be in for a pleasant surprise. The Outsize is a really powerful cordless cleaner that works equally well on hard floors and carpets.

In fact, one of its best features is its High Torque cleaning head, which as we mentioned above, has been supersized for the Outsize. The High Torque head will automatically adjust the suction depending on the type of flooring you’re vacuuming. That means if you go over a rug, you won’t need to change any settings, and you can continue smoothly on from the kitchen to a carpeted living room, automatically getting the correct suction for each area.

But for your hard floors, the Outsize also comes with an ordinary sized soft roller cleaner head, which has a direct drive motor, so you don’t have to clean in MASSIVE MODE if you choose not to. You can just enjoy the larger bin.

Torque head vs soft roller

In fact, the wealth of accessories is one of the best things about the Outsize. As well as the huge High Torque head and the soft roller, there’s a mini motorised tool, which would be useful for car upholstery; a soft dusting brush; a crevice tool; a quick-release wide nozzle tool; and a combination tool, which has both nozzle and brush. You probably won’t find them all useful but you’ll definitely find a favourite or two that’ll make your regular cleans easier.

The Outsize's accessories

The smaller tools get some added life from the extension hose and the up-top adapter, which you can clip in between the body of the vac and the attachment itself. I found the hose to be less useful: as it’s flexible you’ll need to keep a hand on the attachment you’re using, and what with holding down the trigger and the weight of the vacuum cleaner, it’s more faff than it’s worth.

The up-top adapter is brilliant though: you can use it to make a lockable angle of between 45 and 180 degrees, so vacuuming in weird spots and on the top of shelves is easy.  

Hose and up top adapter

Like the V11, the Outsize has an LCD screen built into the top of the handle. If you haven’t used one before, you may well be thinking that it’s a bit of a gimmick. And it is, sort of. But once you’ve finished scoffing at it, you’ll find that it’s a pretty handy feature.

The battery life is displayed here and – in a nice touch – the amount of time you’ll be able to vacuum in your current mode. This takes the guesswork out of cleaning. Instead of trying to fathom how much time a chunk of bar will give you, you can clearly see that you’ve got (for example) 10 minutes before the battery dies, enough time to finish the living room before you need to recharge.

Outsize LCD screen

If there’s an error, the LCD doubles as a troubleshooting screen and will display the part of the vac that’s affected. For example, if the filter is clogged, an image of the filter will appear on the screen and you’ll know that you probably need to root out a dog chew or a sock to keep going.

The Outsize comes with a dock you can mount to your wall, allowing you to hang it up and charge it automatically. If you don’t want to display your vac (and really, who does?), you can just pop out the battery and plug it in while your vac goes back into the cupboard.

Performance  

The Outsize has three cleaning modes, Eco, Medium and Boost, which you switch between using a button below the LCD screen. Use the battery saving Eco Mode and you’ll get more than 75 minutes of cleaning time for your battery life (according to the screen on the model I used). In the power-hungry Boost mode, that drops down to just over 10 minutes. You should really only need to use Boost for deep cleaning spots and spills.

In Medium you should get 40 minutes of cleaning time, which is good news as you’ll probably want to use this as your standard cleaning mode, to make the most of the Outsize’s functionality. Medium doubles as Auto mode, and it’s in this setting that you can use the motorised High Torque head, which will automatically adjust the suction to suit the flooring.

There’s one thing I don’t like about the Outsize (and by extension, the V11): the trigger. Dyson engineers figured out that a lot of battery life was wasted by people failing to switch off the vac during the in-between moments of cleaning – when manoeuvring the vac around or dragging it from place to place.

Their solution to ensure you’re squeezing the most life from your battery is a trigger that you have to squeeze down whenever you’re vacuuming.

I think this amounts to palming off a performance issue onto the user. Holding down the trigger is extra effort, and when vacuuming overhead or using the other hand to shift furniture, it’s hard work. As far as I’m concerned, when I’m vacuuming, my vacuum cleaner should be making it as easy for me as possible – especially when it’s a luxury product that costs almost £650.

I found the trigger to be even less comfortable with the added weight of the Outsize to contend with. Plus, I repeatedly bumped the trigger while I was emptying the vac or changing the accessories, which was not only annoying but rendered its energy saving purpose moot.

If you were to buy the new V11 Absolute now, it’ll probably have a click-in, swappable battery. Earlier V11 models – including the one we reviewed in 2019 – didn’t. The Outsize has a swappable battery as well.

What this means is that you can remove the battery from the vac completely and switch it out for another one. You can always have a battery charged and ready to go, so you’ll never be caught out halfway around a room, or mid spill with a dying battery and a 4.5 hour wait until it can be recharged. (4.5 hours is the maximum time that Dyson says it takes to charge its V11 battery. I found that the Outsize charged at closer to 3.5 hours.)

Of course, what you’re really buying with the Outsize is the potential to do this as it only comes with a single battery. You can buy another one from Dyson for £85, so you'll need to factor that into the cost if you want to make use of this feature

The Outsize’s dustbin and filter are well designed: easy to remove, washable and lacking any corners and crevices for dust and hair to collect in. The filter will remove 99.7% of particles as small as 0.3 microns. This sounds great and it is indeed very good but it’s essentially the same pickup that any high quality Hepa (high efficiency particulate air) filter would provide.

Price & availability

The Outsize costs £649.99 in the UK and $799.99 in the US. Bear in mind that in different territories, the Outsize comes with different accessories and add-ons.

In the UK, it’s available from retailers including Dyson itself, Currys PC World and Amazon (where it is currently outrageously priced).

In the UK, the Outsize costs over £50 more than the new V11 (with a swappable battery), which is currently retailing for £599. For the additional outlay, you’ll get the larger bin and cleaning head, plus some extra accessories, including the up-top adaptor and a wall-mounted docking station. 

Don't forget to factor in the cost of a second battery if you want that feature. It raises the cost of the Outsize by £85.

Verdict

The Outsize is a very good vacuum cleaner. But if you already have the V11, don’t buy it with the mistaken impression that you’re upgrading to the latest Dyson tech. Yes, its suction is improved but overall it’s a specific tool for a specific job: Dyson has engineered it to solve the problems that come with cleaning larger homes.

If you don’t have those problems, you won’t need this solution. And if you’re merely hankering after fresh Dyson tech, you might be better off waiting for the company’s next release.

If, however, your current vac isn’t up to the job, or you feel that you’re always interrupting yourself to empty your vacuum cleaner bin, the Outsize is one to consider. Still, there’s a caveat beyond its eye-watering price: the weight. It feels almost comically oversized and it’s hard work to use. Buy it and you’ll never dare to skip arm day again.

To see all the vacuum cleaners we recommend, check out our round up of the best we've tested

Specs

Dyson V11 Outsize: Specs

  • Suction: 220AW
  • Weight: 3.5kg
  • Dustbin capacity: 1.7 litres
  • Battery life: 75 mins Eco mode, 40 mins Medium/Auto, 10 mins Boost
  • Charging time: (up to) 4.5 hours
  • Features: LCD screen, large High Torque cleaning head, dock

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