We’ve been big fans of the Dyson V11 series of cordless vacuums since it was released. The three main models are the Animal, the Torque Drive, and the Outsize, and if you’re wondering which will give you the most bang for your buck, you’re in luck, because in this article we will be comparing them head-to-head.
So, we spent a week testing them and thinking about it and in the end, we were kind of surprised at our conclusion.
Dyson V11 Animal vs Torque Drive vs Outsize
First, the basics: the V11 Animal is the cheapest, the Torque Drive is in the middle, and the Outsize is the most expensive. Technically, there are a few other V11 versions that have minor differences, which we’ll mention later, but these are the main three.
V11 Torque Drive
Having trouble finding a Dyson V11 in stock? From time to time they can be hard to come by. You may want to give our V15 Detect Review and V12 Detect Slim Review a look as possible alternatives. For those looking for the latest-and-greatest, see our Gen5detect and Gen5outsize review and comparison.
Dyson V11 cordless vacuum similarities
All three V11s have Dyson’s new smart suction adjustment feature, where a sensor in the cleaner head detects if you’re vacuuming hard floors or carpet, and it automatically adjusts the suction. Suction is increased for carpets and decreased for hard floors. The benefit of this is that it optimizes the battery life and the performance. It’s a pretty cool feature that we do actually find to be useful.
Debris pickup on carpet and hard floors
All three V11s are really good vacuums, meaning they’re good at their basic job which is picking up debris on hard floors and carpet. They all have a three-level adjustable gate on the front, and they’re really good with carpet pickup of debris of any type and size. With hard floors, they’re also above average, though we would recommend using them with their front gates all the way open if you have hard floors.
No soft roller
None of the V11s come with a soft roller or fluffy cleaner head, which was an option with the previous V10 series. Though you can get a version that has a soft roller, the V11 Absolute, if you’re in the UK.
Update: Long after our review was originally done, Dyson began including a soft roller with some V11 models.
Deep cleaning carpet
All three V11s are really good with deep cleaning carpets, that is, using a combination of their suction and agitation to get deep down embedded dirt in carpet, which they do better than just about any competitor. They also have excellent seals on hard floors. This is clearly evident by their exceptional performance with things like our crevice pickup test.
All three V11s are also better than average at picking up hair without it getting tangled in the brush, which is primarily due to Dyson’s unique brushroll design. Since the V11 release, other companies have started to emulate the design because of its success.
The last similarity we’ll mention is that they all have incredibly good whole-machine HEPA filtration systems, which keep all the dirty air in the vacuum. This is, unfortunately, pretty rare in the cordless vacuum world, especially among the cheaper cordless vacuums.
V11 Animal vs Torque Drive vs Outsize: differences
One of the most significant differences with these vacuums is the screen on the back of the handle. The V11 Torque Drive and the Outsize have LCD screens that display a lot of things, such as the power level that you’re on, as well as various alert animations, like clog alerts.
The most useful difference to us, though, is that it shows the exact amount of battery life that you have left. That number changes depending on its current power level or the attachment that you’re using, and even when the suction adjusts up and down with the auto-adjustment feature, it changes automatically to reflect the new power level conditions.
The V11 Animal, on the other hand, just has an LED screen which technically has the same basic information like power level, clog, and tangle indicators, and battery life, but it’s very basic, especially the battery life indicator which just has three bars instead of the exact timing information.
We find the LCD screens on the Torque Drive and the Outsize, specifically the battery life countdown feature, to be really useful – something we don’t want to do without now that we’ve gotten a chance to get used to it. But it’s definitely not necessary, especially since the battery life is so good anyway. Still, it’s something to factor into your decision.
One advantage that the V11 Outsize has over the other two is the battery. On the one hand, the battery life for all three of these is basically the same with only slight variations, which we’ll talk about more when we get to the power specs. But for the most part, they’re all going to get about an hour on low power, about 40 minutes or so on medium, and about 8 minutes on max power.
Somewhere in the middle if you have it on auto power, which typically ranges in the middle of these numbers and of course depends on your floor type since it will automatically adjust.
However, the Outsize is the only one that comes with an additional battery that can be clicked into place. Therefore, you can effectively double all these numbers for the Outsize because of the additional battery. It should be noted that there were a few people who got a V11 Torque Drive with the click-in battery, but that was apparently a limited-time thing, and in the future, only the V11 Outsize will have the click-in battery.
Update: After our review was originally done, Dyson began offering multiple V11 models with a click-in battery.
Size and weight
Another big difference is the size. While the Animal and the Torque Drive weigh the same and have the exact same high torque cleaner head, the Outsize is big. It’s a little over a pound heavier, it has a full-size cleaner head about 25 percent wider than the Animal and the Torque Drive, and its bin too is much larger, with more than double the capacity. We’ll have more to say about this size issue in the conclusion.
On the one hand, they all have the same motor size, but because of the way they’re programmed and a few other variables, they have different airflow and suction measurements.
For example, the official numbers from Dyson say that the Outsize has about 35 more air watts than the Animal and the Torque Drive. In our suction and airflow tests, we certainly confirmed that the Outsize was the most powerful, and by about the same percentage.
But what we weren’t expecting to find was that the cheaper one, the V11 Animal, was slightly more powerful than the Torque Drive. It had more suction and more airflow at the cleaner head. This was also confirmed by the unsealed suction test as well.
|V11 Torque Drive
Now, taking a step back here, it’s important to note how much more powerful the entire V11 series is, regardless of the one you get, than just about every other cordless vacuum on the market. These are incredibly high numbers in general. But for whatever reason, possibly the fact that the Animal doesn’t need as much power for its LED screen or whatever the reason, the V11 Animal seems to have more power than the Torque Drive but not as much as the Outsize.
The attachments are interesting because most companies don’t offer all the good attachments in all levels of their lineup, whereas it appears that, for the most part, no matter which one of these you get, Dyson has included the best attachments.
For example, they all come with the mini motorized tool for stairs or upholstery, a wall mount, the crevice and combo brush tool, and the stubborn dirt brush. Really, the only difference here is that the Animal doesn’t come with the mini soft dusting brush, and the Outsize comes with one extra charger for its one extra battery. All in all, it’s a really excellent attachment package no matter which one you get.
So, based on all this, our conclusion is that we personally think the best value is the V11 Animal. It’s true that we really love the digital readout of the battery life on the Torque Drive and the Outsize, and it’s a very compelling reason to upgrade. But, in terms of usability and performance, we think it’s actually just slightly better to get the Animal anyway.
Yes, the Outsize has that click-in battery and more power, but the battery life on the Animal’s one battery is phenomenal. In our opinion, Dyson leads the industry in battery efficiency, so it’s more than we’ve ever needed in our situation, and the extra battery doesn’t do us a whole lot of good.
V11 Torque Drive
Also, we really don’t care about big dustbins. The bin size on the Animal and the Torque Drive has been enough for us so far, and that extra pound of weight on the Outsize is a lot – and it is noticeable. We’ve started to see the Outsize’s big size as more of a con for our situation, but we can see it being a big pro for people who need this for bigger jobs.
Our bottom line is that we think the V11 Animal is the best bang for the buck in the V11 series.
Frequently Asked Questions
No. The Dyson V11 and V12 are not the same. As far as model generations, the V12 is actually two generations newer than the V11 as it was released after the V15.
Dyson released the V11 Animal, Torque Drive and Absolute in March of 2019. The V11 Outsize was released in November of 2020.