After years of reviewing smartphones, I like to think I can spot a gimmick when I see one. When Dyson revealed their new laser-powered “Detect” technology in a media briefing a few months back, I was sceptical. Now, after put the Dyson V12 Detect Slim Absolute through its paces I’m rather surprised to say the technology is fantastic. I shouldn’t be surprised anymore really.

Meet The Dyson V12 Detect Slim Absolute

In my review of the Dyson Omni Glide, I concluded that while I loved the vacuum, it just wasn’t perfect if you have any sort of rug or carpets. That left me asking what the perfect vacuum for my small apartment is and the answer is the Dyson V12 Detect Slim Absolute.

Dyson is obsessed with adding bits and pieces to your home cleaning experience with this new vacuum leaning heavily on the cool tech side of things. Given that’s what we do around here, let’s start there.

Dyson’s Laser Head Fluffy

The idea of slapping a laser on a vacuum didn’t fill me with confidence, but I guess I should remember that Dyson engineers don’t just slap things together. One of the many different accoutrements in the box of my Dyson V12 is the Laser Slim Fluffy head. As I’ve alluded to already, I really didn’t expect this to impress. I was wrong.

As I roll the V12 across timber floors, I can see dust appearing before my eyes under a bright green light. I’m naturally compelled to drive the Dyson over it and roll back just to see it’s all vanished. I felt the urge to run the vacuum in a dark room to see it in operation, but in practice, the laser head really does make dirt on the ground more apparent – regardless of the lighting.

Here. See for yourself. First you see the dust, then you don’t.

You might need to jack up the resolution a bit.

Have you ever read someone writing so dramatically about vacuuming? I never thought I’d write like this myself about a cleaning product, but when there’s this much tech packed in, it’s hard to resist lifting the Dyson from its holster on the wall and giving the kitchen or living room a quick run. I love seeing an auld spill that needs attention.

As impressive as the laser head is, it’s not going to be able to show you the tiniest of particles. The naked eye still has limitations. But the vacuum itself has another trick up its sleeve.

The Particles Went In Two By Two

Right, so popping a laser onto a vacuum is a surefire way to get me cleaning the house. I’m a little divided between two features of the Dyson V12 Detect Slim Absolute in terms of taking home the “coolest feature” award. The challenger is the piezo sensor. Here’s what it does.

When reviewing the Dyson Air Purifier recently, I pointed out how odd it is that we all breathe air every second of every day but pay very little attention to its quality. But when you get something like the Dyson Air Purifier that relays the air quality of your living space to you in real-time, you really do make changes. Opening the apartment door during rush hour is a big no-no and cooking is a massive polluter in my small apartment. So much so, that frying up sausages will drive the air purifier wild.

Why am I bringing all this up? Well, information drives decision making. When you have some new information, it’s much easier for you to change how you do things. The Dyson V12 Detect’s piezo sensor gives you that vacuuming data. Basically, this sensor can detect the size of dust particles you are sucking up. This information is then displayed on the vacuum’s screen, broken down into particle size. It’s worth sitting down to get a grasp of what the numbers mean because they won’t make sense at first.

A quick guide to better understand what your Dyson Detect screen is telling you

Without bothering with that, the piezo sensor still delivers a performance boost when the V12 Detect is in Auto mode. Once the vacuum detects a particularly dusty patch full of larger particles, suction power is automatically increased. Once the big stuff is gone, power will automatically dial back down to save on power.

What strikes me about these two big features on the Dyson V12 Detect is how true to life the performance is compared to how Dyson sell the product themselves. This vacuum does not disappoint, and there’s plenty left to mention too.

Dyson Fittings Galore

Along with the fluffy laser head, comes a full toolkit of additional heads. Personally, the most important one is the direct-drive cleaner head. While this works on hard floors, I switch over to this one for taking on that big rug in the living room. It still feels like we’ve had dust in that rug until this vacuum landed in to review, pulling out dirt even the Omni Glide couldn’t get.

Another winner, particularly if you’ve got long hair or a long-haired pet, is the hair screw tool. Vacuums, particularly those with motorised heads and even my beloved robovac, love getting hair tangled up in them. The solution is this cone-shaped conical brush that guides hair up into the vacuum and away from getting tangled in the head itself.

Finally, you’ll also find the standard multi-head tool for quick countertop cleans and the narrow nozzle for getting into hard to reach spaces.

One thing that did surprise me with these fittings was how suitable the V12 Detect is as a handheld portable vacuum. Still great for those Monday morning coffee spills or giving the car a quick clear out.

All of these bits and pieces are “take apartable” so you can give it all a thorough cleaning from time to time. Clean tools, clean home.

Running Time

Dyson advertises that the V12 Detect will run for up to 60 minutes. There’s an important caveat here. That’s 60 minutes with the vacuum set to ECO mode and without a motorised head. I never found a realistic scenario where I’d be running the vacuum like that. You’re far more likely to be looking at 30 minute run times. Not an issue in the slightest in my apartment, but if you do have a bigger home a second battery might be a good investment.

Additional Features

There really is a wild amount of stuff going on with the Dyson V12 Detect. Some features are tough to categorise so I’m going to round them up here.

Cleaner Air

Along with the piezo sensor letting you know what kind of dust particles you’re removing from your home, the Dyson also features a fully-sealed trap system that releases much cleaner air into your home. Obviously quite tough to validate, but Dyson has previously shown that they go above and beyond standardised testing to create their own, even higher, expectations.

Ok Bin Emptying

Like the Omni Glide, there’s also a “no-touch” bin emptying functionality. The idea here is that you slide the bin at the pull of a level and empty all the waste into a bin while keeping your hands clean. My experience so far has been that I have to fully remove the bin to get everything and inevitably, some dirt ends up on the floor. This means I get to vacuum that up and I find that oddly satisfying anyway.

The Wall Dock

Over a couple of my reviews lately, I’ve mentioned this idea of applying UX principles to my everyday life. My idea is that we often design things in shops and online for customers to help them behave in certain ways and to find things easier. By bringing some of these ideas into the home, I’ve found that I can change my own behaviour too.

The Dyson comes with a wall dock and I’m finding this awesome. First of all, the vacuum is always charged. More importantly, the Dyson is easy to grab and give somewhere a quick clean. You know, like when I’m constantly spilling coffee over the kitchen floor in a sleepy stooper.

One clever additional feature not enjoyed on the Omni Glide is two extra slots on the wall dock to hold some of your extra heads. You can even slot the longer shaft into the dock if you’re doing some handheld cleaning. For the smaller non-motorised tools, there’s also an on-shaft holding tool. I’m going to stop talking about all of these things now before I make an immature joke.


This might be obvious, but I loved the Omni Glide because it doubled as a handheld vacuum. The detect does this just as well. Lots of fittings and an even bigger battery means this is a remarkably versatile home cleaning tool that you can give the boot of your car a quick run with too.

Verdict: Is The Dyson V12 Detect Slim Absolute Worth Buying?

Ok, we’ve arrived at the part where I mention Dyson gear doesn’t come cheap. But after reviewing a few Dyson products now and speaking with people considering a purchase, that’s very well known knowledge. My understanding so far is that people know Dyson products will set them back, but they deliver on such high levels of performance that it’s money well spent.

After being so impressed by the Omni Glide, I’m fairly surprised that the Dyson V12 Detect Slim Absolute still impressed me as the most impressive piece of home cleaning tech I’ve got to test out. Impressive because that’s how I felt when I tested the Omni Glide.

What really knocked me for six is the impact of that green laser when cleaning up. I genuinely thought it was going to be a gimmick, but instead, I’ve found myself compelled to vacuum more often than ever before because there’s nearly always dirt to be found. I see some of that with the laser and even more of it on the vacuums screen, breaking down particle sizes for me in real-time.

There have been two major stages in my life when it comes to vacuums. The first was from very young until very recently where I despised the idea of spending 10 minutes cleaning. The Dyson V12 Detect Slim Absolute ushers in my most recent phase where I’ve become a bit of a neat freak. Much like the air purifier led to me obsessing about my air, this new vacuum has me obsessing over my floors.

Buy the Dyson V12 Detect Slim Absolute for €549, directly from Dyson.

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Founding Editor of Goosed, Martin is a massive tech fan, into movies and will talk about anything to anyone. - Find me on Mastodon
dyson-laser-vacuum-reviewThe only design flaw is an imperfect dustbin. Literally the only flaw I could find in the whole design. Functionality, this is vacuum heaven. It nails hardwood and carpets while remaining flexible for cleaning the car. All of this while also adding tech to validate you're actually cleaning. Are vacuums cool? This one is. In terms of value for money, you get what you pay for. I feel this is the vacuum you'll have for years and that reduces the impact of that price tag.