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  • irishtimes.com - Posted: July 16, 2012 @ 10:26 am

    The moment I realised I was getting old…

    Ciara O'Brien

    …or a review of a vacuum cleaner. Take your pick.

    If you had told me three years ago that my current favourite gadget would be a vacuum cleaner, I’d have laughed. Probably right in your face, and loudly. I wouldn’t have given a damn about suction and filters and how much hassle emptying the bag was. My first vacuum cleaner was picked for two reasons: the first, because it had some sort of HEPA filter that is supposed to be good for the allergy prone among us, and second because it wasn’t a boring colour.

    So it came as a bit of a shock when I found myself on Saturday night proudly showing off the newest addition to the household to some friends: a Dyson DC39. And it’s not the first time, I might add.

    I thought the novelty would wear off, but we’ve passed the usual boredom threshold. I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m probably getting old, and as such, these things now matter to me.

    But in my defence, it’s a pretty amazing piece of kit. The big difference is that it has a central steering mechanism in it, which means that the vacuum will follow you around the room without bashing into your furniture. It pivots, it corners; it’s a piece of engineering genius.

    I’ve done a u-turn on my previous opinion that anything over €100 on a vacuum could be better spent elsewhere. There are several very good reasons for the change of heart.

    The Dyson cylinder is clear, which means if I accidentally vacuum up something suspect I shouldn’t, it doesn’t take that much to identify it. It’s a small but significant plus point.

    One drawback I discovered early on with my hastily bought original vacuum was that emptying the bag was a massive pain. Mainly because the way it was structured, all the dirt, dust and other crud it picked up got caught on the way out, meaning I had to wade in myself and give it a helping hand at times.

    If I’d wanted to touch the dirt, I’d have been picking it up by hand and saved myself a hundred quid.

    That’s another point in the Dyson’s favour. All you have to do is hold it over the bin (carefully), press a button and you can empty it without ever having to touch it. Plus there’s a weird sense of satisfaction in seeing just how much (or little) dust is coming out of the carpets.

    Things like filters are easy to deal with too. The Dyson models have a filter you simply pop out, run under the tap for a minute, squeeze and leave to dry.

    The Dyson is also far more compact than its predecessor, so I can cram it away when I’m done. And it’s easy to use. All the buttons that do something are clearly marked (although I did try to dismantle one of the attachments without realising you weren’t supposed to.)  It does all the allergy stuff too.

    It’s not 100 per cent perfect of course. You’ll end up emptying the cleaner after every use because you don’t really want the evidence of your last clean-up session hanging around. Plus if you don’t keep a careful eye on it, you’ll reach the “max” level the canister can hold quicker than you realise – and then you’ll end up having to pull some of the dust out with your hands.

    And it’s more expensive than a €100 pink vacuum cleaner that you’ll despise for as long as it lasts (which probably won’t be that long if you, say, forget to empty the bag for so many months it eventually it just gives up the ghost and dies).

    But it will save you time and wasted energy trying to drag a behemoth around your house. So for that alone, Dyson gets the two thumbs up here.

    Next up: why I now give a crap about irons and other things that are eating into my shoe/holiday budget.