We’re All About It: A High Velocity Love Story Starring My Fancy Vacuum

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Welcome to We’re All About It, where we talk about investment-worthy things that are going to make your adult lives 100% more amazing.


Once upon a time, I lived in a college dorm room and my only cleaning supplies were a flimsy plastic handbroom and some mostly-dried-out Clorox wipes. Before that, I lived at home with my parents and didn’t think much about where cleaning supplies came from (the Windex stork?) or how much they cost. Then I moved into my first apartment and was suddenly in charge of buying my own toilet paper and cleaning my own messes. I slowly started acquiring a quite decent arsenal of cleaning tools and products. For the first time ever, I owned a vacuum cleaner.

It’s been over a decade since my first vacuum cleaner and I got together. There have been multiple vacuums since. They always break within a few years. Like chumps, my partner and I just keep replacing them, hoping the next vacuum will be “the one.”

To be fair, our house is like some sort of sadistic vacuum challenge course. We have a long-haired cat that creates massive grey hair tumbleweeds all over our hardwoods and rugs. We also have two bunnies who are free-range in their own bedroom and they are like little furbombs detonating all over the place. If you know one thing about pet bunnies, know this — they shed every f-ing season. So, basically, always all the time every day. They have a big brown rug in their room which turns grey from all the hair within a week. What I’m trying to prove here is that we have a lot of hair in our house, like a lot a lot. Animal-hair-on-everything is a hallmark of queer home decor and queer fashion, but it is not kind to vacuum cleaners.

One of our never-ending shedding machines.

The never-ending shedding machine.

In 2011, my partner and I got tired of our sucky (See what I did there?) and unfulfilling vacuum relationships and opted for a slightly more expensive pet hair Bissell that ran around $250. It was a sparkly red color and you could make it into a hand vac by popping out the canister. It was very sexy. It came with all these fancy attachments, including a “pet hair brush” that you were supposed to vacuum your pet with. Because dogs and cats love being right up next to a vacuum, being touched by it. Nope. (We did try this attachment out on our fearless bossy bunny and she was totally chill about it.) Anyway, we hoped it would last a long time.

I stand corrected. (via beartales.me)

I stand corrected. (via beartales.me)

As you probably guessed, our $250 vacuum cleaner totally crapped out within three years.

When the Bissell vacuum died, we decided it was time to upgrade for real. We did some online research. We googled “bunny hair vacuum” and “long-haired cat vacuum” and “best pet vacuum” and decided that the only option was to go for a Dyson. If you don’t know, Dyson vacuum cleaners are, like, the Cadillac of vacuum cleaners. They are known for their innovative technology. Oh, and also they are astronomically expensive — like $400-$700. We scraped our pennies together — OK, in this case, my partner mostly scraped their pennies together — and went to check out these too-good-to-be-true Dyson vacuums in person. For such a large purchase, it felt like we should eschew online shopping and actually touch the thing before buying it.

Honestly, we were kind of not that impressed just looking at the thing. Dysons are aesthetically pleasing — don’t get me wrong — but they also just kind of look like…vacuum cleaners. In fact, some of them are so thin that we just couldn’t believe they would work. How much better could this Dyson possibly be? After much fretting about whether we were making the worst choice ever, my partner waved fistfuls of cash at the cashier (I lie. It was a debit card.), yelled, “Take my money!!!” and we came home with a lovely new Dyson DC65 Animal. We picked it for its long 35′ cord, slightly more reasonable price point ($500 on sale), and large canister.

DC65KaeLyn

Right out of the box, it was a game-changer. My partner slapped it all together in less than 10 minutes and took it for a spin around the living room rug and floors. This vacuum is supposed to perform equally well on hardwoods and carpet, all without touching any dials. It is no joke; it just picks shit up.

My partner was so pleased he took this post-first-time pic and put it on Facebook and I was like, "Wow, you could have staged it somewhere that wasn't by our trash can and bag pile corner, but whatever."

My partner was so pleased they took this post-first-time pic and put it on Facebook and I was like, “Wow, you could have staged it somewhere that wasn’t by our trash can and bag pile corner, but whatever. I love you.”

I have never experienced this kind of suction (whomp whomp) and I was kind of freaked out by it at first. Honestly, I was a little afraid I might break it if I touched it — the thing retails for almost $600, OK? When I did finally take our new life partner out for a ride, it was pure magic. Also, it was super gross. It sucked stuff out of our rugs that may have been from the Neolithic era thanks to their trademarked “Radial Root Cyclone™ technology.” It also has these fancy brushes, the “Tangle-free Turbine tool,” that helps get all that gross stuff out without getting tangled up with hair or debris. In a fur-heavy household, this is a big deal. It maneuvers like a champ thanks to the slim head and Dyson Ball that allows you to get into corners without doing a 10-point turn.

Is that your Tangle-free Turbine tool or are you just happy to see me?

Is that your Tangle-free Turbine tool or are you just happy to see me? (via Dyson)

What is most impressive about the Dyson, suction power aside, is how intuitive everything is. The hose attachment slides right up at the touch of a button and the tools pop on and off with the touch of another button. I was cleaning the bunny room this weekend and I felt like I was a special agent or something. I was just like BAM BAM BAM and my magical Dyson attachments were on. And then I was like PEW PEW PEW and the vacuum was reassembled like normal. The bunnies tried to eat the cord and were generally unimpressed by my technique.

The canister is also the easiest thing ever. There’s no special trick to taking it off to empty, which was always a prob with my slightly-less-fancy Bissell. It felt like one of those impossible-to-solve puzzle games getting the Bissell canister off. With the magical unicorn Dyson, you push the red button and it just pops off. You push that same red button again and the bottom drops open to release the contents. The simplicity is a time-saver and it’s so much cleaner. You’re not accidentally spreading the dirt and dust all over again while wrestling with the canister. It’s genius.

We call this vacuum porn. (via Dyson)

We call this vacuum porn. (via Dyson)

We are still at the beginning of this affair, so only time will tell if this love is forever, but I have high hopes. I don’t believe in “the one,” but this Dyson is damn close. With a five year warranty, we figure that we have nothing to lose since that’s what we’d spend on two crappier vacuums anyway. If you have had a Dyson for many years and have an opinion about it, I’d love to hear it!

Price: $499-599

Good for: pet owners, hairy people who shed a lot, lazy cleaners, couples looking to improve their intimacy

Buy: At Amazon or Target

KaeLyn is a 35-year-old (femme)nist activist, word nerd, and queer mama. You can typically find her binge-watching TV, over-caffeinating herself, standing somewhere with a mic or a sign in her hand, eating carbs, or just generally doing too many things at once. She lives in Rochester, NY with her spouse, a baby T. rex, a xenophobic cat, and a rascally rabbit. You can buy her debut book, Girls Resist! A Guide to Activism, Leadership, and Starting a Revolution if you want to, if you feel like it, if that's a thing that interests you or whatever.

KaeLyn has written 208 articles for us.

38 Comments

  1. I live in Australia, and my long term partner and I at the time had two dogs, two guinea pigs with their own room and horrid thick pile carpets. We had the same predicament- nothing would get the f*%@ing hair out of the carpet!!

    I eventually saw the TV commercials for the Shark Navigator Vacuum which looked too good to be true. But I eventually splurged and bought it (and upgraded to the professional version). At the time it was like $500 AUD. And I instantly fell in love. I actually kind of enjoyed vacuuming!! It got that hair up like no ones business.

    Eventually that relationship broke up and she got custody of the fur babies (epic sad face) but I got custody of the Shark. And we still share a loving relationship to this day. One day I hope to upgrade to a Dyson, but for now I’ll keep-a-suckin with my Shark 🙂

  2. My (then?-)stepfather (do people stop being your stepfather?), whom I loved despite his intense mental health issues, went through phases where he bought extremely high-end products and then sold them again.

    Anyway, that’s how we ended up with a Dyson (that he left behind), and we’ve had it for, what? six years? It’s a model with the dust barrel and controls on a little wagon thing, detached from the wand.
    It’s really excellent. It’s seen two very sheddy cats, (despite their shorthairedness) and hairy furniture and it hasn’t had a decline in power that I noticed. The attachments were a bit more clunky than they seem to be now and I would say the main downside of ours is its weight and bulkiness (particularly to go under things), partially because of its, like, six different heads. (Although I’m sure they’ve improved the design since.)

    The Dyson is to vacuums what a Hummer is to cars. In my experience, they’re pretty much indestructible (I’ve often been very rough with it, out of frustration with its weight and size) and its sucking power is eternally reliable, especially when attacking the dreaded pets+long-haired carpet combo. I expect it to last another five years at least.

    • This is helpful news. Your Dyson sounds little more vintage. The design has definitely improved. However, I feel like the older ones were more sturdy feeling, maybe? I hope this one is sturdy, too, I hope, but it’s mostly plastic. Makes me a little nervous. Part of the reason I was hesitant about throwing down so much cash.

      • It could be that they changed the plastic in the new models, but ours is plastic too and it’s still very solid.

        I actually remember thinking ‘oh god this thing is going to break as soon as I hit a couple bed feet by mistake’ when it was still fresh out of the box. It might be that yours is just as durable and that they all look initially fragile because of what we’re used to with plastic things.

        Good luck with your Dyson! <3

  3. omg, i didn’t think i could love an article about vacuums, BUT I CAN. I have maybe been secretly coveting a dyson for years, but just can’t pull the trigger. I really like the idea of this series. YES.

  4. having vacuum cleaner envy makes me feel so old. I’m pretty okay with it, though.

    I’ve had my current whatever-it-is (hoover?) for about four years and it is fairly lousy at this point. the apartment I’m living in now doesn’t allow pets but clearly the person before me had one–everything that touches the carpet ends up with pet hair on it, and my vacuum has just laughed at me for hoping it might solve the problem.

  5. Dyson is really the only way to go. My mother bought hers 10 years ago and it has worked like a charm ever since. It needed a part replaced two years ago. We called Dyson customer services and they shipped the part out. We just had to pay shipping costs! it has worked like a charm ever since. dyson <3

  6. I love our Dyson, we’ve had it for a good 10 + years. Was very exxy when we bought it but has been worth every cent. At the time we still had our two, very elderly, cats so I know what you mean about shedding. Unfortunately, the poor old darlings have gone to God now, we still really miss them. However, the Super Sucker is still with us and it’s still living up to its name.

  7. This is the most relatable post I have read all week; does that mean I’m an adult now?

    My girlfriend and I moved into our first apartment this summer and my first big investment was a vacuum. I got a $200 Shark and it works like a charm. We don’t have any pets, but we do have super thick carpeting throughout the whole place. Her mom had the same vacuum (in a house with two crazy shedding cats) for a year and it was still going strong, so we knew it would work for us.

  8. I am the dog person of a 60lb Aussie mix in the deepest south. This means that dog hair, and the removal of it, is a major facet of my life.

    Without the Dyson, dog hair would be the major facet of my life and probably the most noticeable thing about me.

    But I stepped up my game this year with the addition of a Neato. It’s a knock off version of a Roomba from Amazon, that’s a ton cheaper and generally better than a Roomba.

    Mr. Roboto, yes that’s the Neato’s terribly unoriginal name. And yes, he’s an important enough feature of my absurd little corner of domestic bliss, and by bliss I mean chaos, to have a name. Wait where was I? Oh yes! Mr. Roboto!

    Mr. Roboto changed my life. He’s clever and terribly polite. He always says please and thank you. And he keeps up with the dog hair on the daily in ways that almost, almost, bring a tear of gratitude to my eye. Piles of dog hair in every corner are a distant memory. However, once he did decide to start vacuuming while I was having the sex. This was both terrifying and hilarious, once we figured out what was happening. So, it appears that Mr. Roboto is so awesome that he’s even got jokes.

    But one day, I will have a Rainbow. Rainbow >>>>>> all other suction devices. But even the Rainbow will not replace Mr. Roboto.

  9. For my 25th birthday, I treated myself to a Shark Rocket. I love everything about it, except how it forces me to confront how much dirt and hair my dog and I track in each week. (Let’s be serious: even given the genuinely pleasant vacuum experience of my new adorable fancy vacuum, I’m not going to vacuum more than once a week.)

  10. I was gifted a Dyson. I was very excited because like you, I have a yeti of a cat. The love affair lasted about a year. I knew all the gadgets and I felt like 007 whenever I vacuumed. I think my blind enthusiasm concerned my partner and with good reason.

    My Dyson was a different model. Instead of your fancy swivelly bits, it had a long stick that would turn and help pull debris up before annihilating them. At the time we were desperate for a roommate and had also invited a 50-something stranger from class to live with us. The Dyson and the stranger were a terrible mix. She would walk around the house, brushing and stroking her hair all day. She worked three hours a week and spent the rest of the time grooming, scanning food from me and making the bathroom uninhabitable.

    Do you know what happens when long hair comes into contact with the dyson’s twirly stick with bits on it??????????????/?? It gets completely wrapped around the twirly stick and then the only person in the house who had bothered to figured out how to use the Dyson would have to undo the bottom area and spend ten minutes with scissors physically touching someone else’s hair.

    The hair would stop the twirler twirling every time I vacuumed. The yeti cat was not the problem, the yeti roommate was.

    In the end I had opened the bottom of the Dyson with a knife that many times that the delicate circle plastic lock had lost the groove for the knife. Instead, the plastic lock was covered in marks from my angry, butter knife wielding frustration, just trying to catch the knife onto any bit that would unlock the damned Dyson.

    The love affair was over.

    I encourage you both to shave your heads to live happily with this machine.

    You know the commercials where people lift bowling balls with vacuum cleaners to show how powerful they are? I am their target market. I would vacuum up my whole house if a machine let me. The death of my Dyson occurred when I thought it would be fun to vacuum up the ashes in our fire place. I killed the filter and no amount of rinsing and leaving in the sun would fix it. The vacuum has left us now but every once in a while, one of the tools appears in the house somewhere as if to mock me. It has been three years since my last Dyson.

    Treat that puppy with care.

  11. I’m so excited my first post is about my most favorite household purchase! haha

    I bought a Target red Dyson about 6 years ago and my ex took it in the divorce (I didn’t cry, but I was noticeably pissed). I wanted it back, but I also knew if I got it back, my ex would just go out and buy a new one with our joint bank account still in tact…so I pulled the selfish card and bought a new one and said, “I kept thinking about the Dyson and how much I miss it, so I just bought myself a new one,” and you know what my ex said to that? “It’s all good, if you wanted this one back I would have just given it to you and went out and bought a new one for me anyway”.

    EXACTLY.

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