Dyson V15s Detect Submarine wet and dry vacuum review
Dyson’s first foray into mopping is an additional head that attaches to its V15s Detect Submarine vacuum. The head isn’t available on its own, so if you want to try mopping with a Dyson, you’ll need to fork out at least $1649 for the standard Submarine model. That’s a lot of money to sink into a submarine – is it worth it?
- Single unit that can vacuum and mop
- Powerful suction with “Digital Motorbar” cleaner head
- Auto-adjusting suction level
- Laser light on the “Fluffy Optic” head helps identify dirty areas
- Submarine roller head glides easily and mops well
- Easy empty bin
- On-board spot cleaning tool
- Very expensive
- Submarine mop head sometimes leaves water trails and can leak dirty water when roller is being cleaned
- Mop unit can get smelly if not cleaned regularly
- Motorbar head can be difficult to push on carpet
- Heavy, so may be tiring to use for long periods
- Fluffy Optic head will make you clean for longer!
- Battery life not enough to vacuum and mop whole house if you have a lot of hard floors
What’s in the box
A lot! We trialled the “Complete” model, which is $100 more than the standard one, and includes the Fluffy Optic cleaner head and the “Floor Dok Multi”, which is a bit like a coat stand for your vac. It also has a HEPA filter and a very bling gold wand!
Assembling the Dok is a bit fiddly, especially feeding the charging cable through to the docking head, but once assembled, plopping the vacuum unit onto the Dok for charging is easy. Then it’s just a case of clicking the wand onto the vacuum unit and choosing which head to use.
When Dyson launched its first vacuum cleaner back in the late 1980s, the design was somewhat polarising and quite unlike anything else on the market. Nowadays, Dyson’s style has been accepted into our homes – you can spot a Dyson a mile off through its visual language.
Dyson has a colour palette that it sticks to for its products: silvers, purples, yellows, and an odd new teal colour for the submarine head. I’m guessing this shade is intended to reflect the fact it’s a wet head, but I’m not a fan. The head also looks quite bulky and not as refined as the other attachments.
There’s a choice of two main heads for vacuuming carpets and hard floors.
The Digital Motorbar head comes with both models. It’s a hefty head with a height adjustment slider on the front. You’ll need to use the slider if you’re vacuuming carpet, as the Motorbar head sucks big time – if the head is too low, it’s quite a workout to push the vacuum around. You can also reduce the suction by switching to Eco level on the main body.
On hard floors, the Motorbar makes a satisfying rumbling noise, giving the impression it’s doing a good job and making it enjoyable to push around. This seems a good head for most day-to-day cleaning, but you’ll use way more battery on carpet than hard floor due to the extra resistance.
The Fluffy Optic head only comes with the Complete set (although you should be able to buy it separately if you decide you want one later). It’s a smaller soft roller head with attractive yellow and purple stripes, kind of like a psychedelic barber shop pole.
The special feature here is the green laser light on the right side of the head that shines onto the floor to illuminate dust. I was sceptical when I saw this advertised, but in practice, I think it’s fantastic! The light shows up heaps of dust you wouldn’t otherwise notice, making it immensely satisfying to spot the dust, vacuum it up, then go back over to check it’s all gone. It’s actually better to vacuum in the dark with this head, as the dust shows up even more!
I also was amazed, thanks to the Fluffy Optic’s laser light, how quickly dust reformed on my floors – the next day they were dusty again! It made me realise I should probably send my robot vac out to clean more often.
The Fluffy Optic is a tad smaller head, so will take longer if you use it to clean whole rooms; especially as you’ll notice way more dirt than usual and spend more time going over areas.
Once you’ve vacuumed your hard floors, it’s time to switch heads and get mopping. The Submarine head is quite bulky and has to be filled with water first. There’s no vacuuming function to this head; it just spins a wet roller around.
Despite its weight, the Submarine skims around on hard floors with ease. In fact, it’s a little like holding back an eager Jack Russell terrier chasing a cat. I felt like I was curling on an ice rink!
The Submarine doesn’t get the floors too wet and does a pretty good job of cleaning up spills – I squirted some tomato sauce on the floor and let it dry, and the Submarine had no trouble cleaning it up. If you find a particularly dirty patch, you can just repeatedly go over it.
Our lab will be doing proper mopping tests on the V15s Detect Submarine in future, so look out for the results.
It’s not all great, though. I found trails of excess water coming out at times. Maybe this was due to a leak or design flaw, or maybe the mop roller got too wet after a while and released its excess – much like if you put too much paint on a roller and get runs from the edges.
I also found the Submarine started to smell a bit if you don’t wash the roller and empty the dirty water collector regularly. When you do take the head apart to clean, you need to be careful, as the dirty water collector isn’t sealed. It’s easy to drip smelly brown water all over the place when you turn the head over.
I was surprised at Dyson for this design. It doesn’t seem as well considered as many of their other products.
There are ample storage slots for tools on the Dok, but frustratingly the Submarine head won’t fit as it’s too bulky. Dyson intends the head to be stored in its supplied plastic tray to collect any water drips. But this means the roller doesn’t get exposed to air and will stay damp, which isn’t very hygienic.
Display, power, bin and spot cleaning
The V15s has a small display on top, which shows dust particle levels and remaining runtime. While the graph of dust particle sizes is fascinating, it’s not particularly useful information. It’s more about Dyson showing off its particle detection tech.
There’s a button under the display to select Eco, Auto and Boost power levels. Auto adjusts the vacuum’s suction depending on how much dirt and dust is detected. This works well, so most of the time I just left the vacuum on this. If you decide to clean on the Boost setting, you’ll find the remaining battery runtime will drop by about two-thirds.
Emptying the bin is easy. A large lever under the bin pushes the whole outside of the bin down, then flips up the lid right at the end. This helps dislodge any accumulated dust around the central barrel (addressing a common problem with older Dyson stick vacuums, where dirt would get stuck between the inside of the barrel and the bin, and you’d have to stick a knife in to get it all out). If you do accumulate a lot of dust in the V15s’ bin, you may need to repeatedly slide the bin up and down to dislodge it all.
Spot cleaning with the V15s is very easy, thanks to the built-in crevice tool. The tool is part of the main wand – you push the red button on top and the wand splits, magically revealing the tool. This is a super idea. The only minor downside is having to balance the rest of the wand and floor head somewhere while you’re spot cleaning. But that’s still way better than having to go and grab a separate crevice tool and clip that on.
Is it worth the price tag?
It’s a lot of money at $1649! Yet, the V15s Detect Submarine is only $100 more than the V15 Detect, so if you’re spending that much anyhow, and occasionally mop your floors, it’s got to be worth the extra $100.
My favourite feature was the Fluffy Optic head, but that only comes with the Submarine Compete model, which is another $100 on top at $1749 (although, you do also get the Floor Dok Multi if you have space for it). The mop head is easy to use and works well, despite being a bit leaky at times.
It is really handy to have one vac that does all the tasks you want, and the battery life is good enough that you can easily clean a number of rooms before it requires a recharge (although doing a whole house might be a stretch).
It’s also a fun vac to use. Even my kids did some cleaning with it without being prompted. That has to be a good thing!
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