Our In-Depth Review
Canisters are already much lighter in their operation compared to an upright, but this compact Dyson canister vacuum is a lightweight even in the canister world. Don’t let the small size fool you though.
It still has above average suction power at around 90 inches of water lift. It also is versatile enough to clean hard floors and short pile carpeting efficiently and effectively.
The Dyson City might not be very popular in the United States, but it is a huge hit across the pond in Europe.
For some reason, canister vacuums aren’t that big here in the States. They do take some getting used to, but there are some inherent advantages to this Dyson City’s lightweight canister design.
First, it has better clearance than a typical upright. You will be able to get underneath furniture and cabinet overhangs with ease.
It’s light and easy to maneuver as you go from one corner to the next. It also is far superior to uprights at cleaning stairs. The canister is very compact so it can rest comfortably on the steps as vacuum the staircase.
Another nice feature on the Dyson DC26 canister vacuum are the two featured cleaning heads that snap on and off. The turbine head is ideal for cleaning short pile carpeting, and the articulating brush does a wonderful job on hard floors.
Both tools have a swivel head, and they move gracefully and smoothly across the floor as you clean.
Some of the positives of this machine include its ability to clean hard floors. It is called a “multi floor” cleaner, but with our tests, we noticed it only works well on low pile carpeting.
It also works very nicely for cleaning those hard to reach areas from stairs to closets, and even the interior of a car.
It comes with four attachments, all of which are very useful. It also has an automatic cord rewind and this is always fun to push to retract the cord when you’re done cleaning.
It is a smaller vacuum, so there are some limitations there. It has a very short cord. You can only clean one room at a time, so long as it is a smaller room. It also doesn’t have a lot of room to store the dust and dirt you suck up. You will have to empty the canister’s dust bin often.
Also, canisters take some getting used to if you are familiar with uprights. They allow you to get under furniture better, but they also can get in your way as you walk around trying to clean a room.
Performance / Using the Dyson DC26 City Canister
The Dyson DC26 City did surprisingly well in all of our tests. It might be small, but there aren’t many messes that can’t be cleaned effectively with the DC26. Some of the highlights of this machine include how well it did with small particles on short pile carpeting. It also does a fabulous job on hard surfaces no matter what sized particle you have to clean up.
The canister vacuum also has an advantage over uprights because of the versatility they offer. You can carry it in your hand as you clean staircases, upholstery, or simply to suck up naughty little cobwebs that might gather in the corners of the ceiling.
Performance on Carpets
First, you should use the turbine head for cleaning carpets. This tool has an air driven brush bar, which is ideal for roughing up the carpet to loosen and suck up dust.
With one pass, the flour was gone. We even pushed some of the flour up against the edge of the carpet where it meets the wall. The edge was cleaned up nicely.
Next up, we crushed up some flakes of cereal and a few Oreo cookies. Some of the larger particles were kicked away from the Dyson DC26 on the first pass.
There was plenty of suction to clean these particulates, but the rotating brush bar would hit the piece of cookie before the vacuum had a chance to suck it up.
On our second approach, instead of ramming right into the larger particles, we went a bit slower and the large pieces were removed from the carpet.
Our final test for carpeting involved pet hair. We worked some pet hair into the carpet fibers and then ran over them with our Dyson DC26. The pet hair was removed easily.
This is a huge plus because the turbine brush is small enough to use on upholstery as well. If your pet leaves you plenty of fur to remove, this canister vacuum has the ability to clean it up on a variety of surfaces.
There are a few negatives to the Dyson City as it pertains to cleaning carpets. We did notice, especially when cleaning larger areas, that the width of the turbine brush was pretty narrow. At only 8 inches wide, a larger carpeted room takes some time to cover the entire carpeted area.
Another negative of this Dyson canister vacuum is the fact that the turbine head is an air driven brush bar. That means, when it is up against some serious resistance, it will stop spinning.
For instance, we tried to wedge this tool into some tight spaces. When it gets pushed down too hard, the spinning brush bar stops.
This also means it won’t do as great of a job on medium to long pile carpets. The brush bar simply doesn’t dig in deep enough with its carbon fiber bristles.
Performance on Rugs
There are some instances though where the suction is a bit too strong and the rug, especially if it is a small entryway rug, can get lifted off the ground below.
You might have to position yourself so your feet hold the carpet down while you run the turbine head over the area you want cleaned up.
The only way a vacuum can do a good job on smaller rugs like this is if it has adjustable suction.
We like that this has powerful suction, but recognize this power can cause it to lift up a rug and make it difficult to clean without some finesse on your part.
Performance on Hard Floors
First of all, make sure you equip the wand with the articulating hard floor tool. This wider tool doesn’t have a spinning brush on the bottom.
You actually don’t want a spinning brush bar, because the turbine head is more likely to kick larger particles away instead of sucking them up on hard floors.
Once again, we used white flour as a simulation of dust on the hard floor. We spread it out on the hardwood floor and pushed it up against the molding too.
The teeth that come in contact with the floor can push some of the flour a little before it finds its way between. Make sure you make a few passes with a big mess to ensure you cleaned up all of the debris.
The large particle test came next. The large chunks of Oreo cookies and the crushed flakes of cereal were cleaned up with only a few passes.
We had to lift up the head of the hard floor tool to get some pieces cleaned up. Another item that is worth mentioning is that some of these particles get jammed up and stick in the fine bristles of the articulating tool.
We banged these bristles against the floor after our tests and a lot of debris came out. This debris was sucked up with one pass after we dislodged it, but beware of this factor and shake loose your brush every now and again.
On the positive side, the Dyson DC26 articulating tool is a lot wider than the turbine brush. Even for such a small canister vacuum, it can clean a large area of hard flooring in a minimal amount of time.
For both carpets and hard floors, the edges were cleaned up easily with the Dyson City. You won’t even have to get out the crevice tool to make sure the edges and corners of your floor are clean.
The nice smooth pivoting head allows you to clean up against the edge of the wall. The powerful suction of the small canister gets the debris no matter if you vacuum head on or you pass by the side of the wall with the edge of the brush.
The Dyson patented filtration system works extremely well provided you clean out your filters once a month. HEPA filters mean that dust molecules down to the size of 0.3 microns are sucked up and not spit out of the exhaust.
We tested the claim that the Dyson City had a HEPA level filtration system with our airborne laser particle scanner. Their claims are valid.
No dust or debris came out of the exhaust. This means the hot air coming from a Dyson DC26 is cleaner than the air you are breathing right now.
Attachments / Onboard Tools
The other two tools that snap onto the wand are a very small stair brush and a crevice tool that doubles as an upholstery brush. These tools do come in handy for cleaning different surfaces other than floors.
The crevice tool easily snaps into place, and we used it to clean up windowsills and ceiling corners.
With a simple snap, you can pull down the upholstery attachment on the crevice tool. This is nice for dusting, or freshening up curtains.
The extremely small stair brush is kind of useless to be honest. The only situation that we found it to be useful for was to clean the vertical section of the staircase on a carpeted stairwell.
It simply is too small for most situations. You are better off using one of the main tools, or the combination crevice/upholstery brush.
Ease of Use
There are some design quirks that make the Dyson City a little frustrating to use. It does well in all of our performance tests, but it isn’t a perfect cleaning machine. The cord is too short, the dust bin is too small, and maintaining the DC26 can get a bit messy.
The main unit and hose is already set up. First, you will have to snap the handle onto the hose. Second, attach the long reach wand to the handle.
Third, pick the turbine brush if you are cleaning carpet, or the articulating floor tool for hard floors.
Finally, adjust the long reach wand to your height so you don’t have to bend over at all while cleaning the floor
A small clear handle is on top of the machine, so if you have to go up or down a level, it is easy to pick up and move.
One negative aspect of the Dyson DC26 is the shorter cord length. This factors into the maneuverability because at only 16.5 feet long, we often would inadvertently pull the cord out as we were cleaning a room.
In larger rooms, you may have to change outlets from time to time. The cord is that short. On the bright side, it retracts with the touch of a button, so you don’t spend any time winding up the cord when it’s not in use.
Ease of Use on Stairs
The long hose and extendable wand coupled with your on board tool of choice make it easy to clean.
We recommend using the turbine brush on carpeted stairs. It’s small enough to fit on a stair, and the rotating brush will get a carpeted step much cleaner than the tiny stair brush attachment.
Using our decibel reader, we measured how loud this machine was with both the turbine brush on and off. In both situations, the Dyson City was just above 75 decibels. An average vacuum is 80 decibels, so the DC26 is definitely not a loud vacuum cleaner.
A bagless vacuum can sometimes be a hassle because the dust can kick out as you empty the dust bin. This is definitely the case with the DC26.
The small 0.15 gallon bin has a bowl shaped bottom. When you take the canister off the machine and then press the red lever to dump out the debris, some of the dust gets caught up in this little bowl.
You will have to grab the bottom part and lift it up away from the dust bin to totally empty out all the evil things you sucked up. This can be a messy process.
The second step is to clean the filters once a month. Yes, we said once a month.
Most people totally forget about this aspect of maintenance and are totally surprised when they blow up their machine as the dust and debris clogs up the filtration system. The first filter is located behind one of the large rear wheels.
You also have to clean another hidden filter on the Dyson DC26 that is located on the bottom of the canister. There are two very small tabs that you have to unlock (try using a flat head screwdriver or we used a coin for this step).
Take both HEPA filters and wash them under some water. Let the filters sit out and dry for at least 24 hours before sticking them back into the machine.
The final step is cleaning off the brush bar if too much hair gets tangled up in it.
If you have anyone in your house with long hair, or if you have pets that shed their fur often, you might have to perform this maintenance step a few times a year. Just take a scissors and cut away the hair or fur that is wrapped around the brush bar.
Value For Money
For such a small machine, the Dyson DC26 City vacuum cleaner has a pretty hefty price tag in the high $300 range. It’s only worth it if you are going to take care of the vacuum.
Some people think that because it’s a bagless machine, all they have to do is empty the dust bin and they are good to go. Wrong!
Clean the filters once a month, and your Dyson will last much longer. There are some other canisters out there that are easier to maintain, have just as good of a filtration system, but are bagged. Therefore, we give this a three on the value for your money.
Final Vacuum Verdict
Who should buy this machine? If you have a smaller place with hard floors and short pile carpet, this Dyson is meant for you. Actually, if you have a smaller place and are allergic to pet dander, dust, or pollen, this vacuum is perfect.
You do have to be comfortable with a canister. It takes some getting used to if you aren’t familiar with this type of design.
If your home has large open spaces, or medium to long pile carpeting, then Dyson DC26 City is not the best choice.