Any parcel brings excitement in my house. So two big boxes from Dyson and the kids were bursting at the seams. “We have to hand it back – so don’t rip the boxes!” I say. Like all things well-engineered and thoughtfully designed I was excited to actually try one so it was actually me ripping at the boxes this time.

“Why is this vacuum cleaner so pretty?” my little girl asks as I lift it out. I have coveted a Dyson for many years. I am a self-confessed design addict. I wouldn’t call it pretty but it’s definitely good-looking.

Despite the many components it really is simple to put together. There are some lovely hinges that give satisfying clicks. You don’t even need to look at the instructions to know you have done it right.

This is the Dyson Ball™ technology which Dyson is famous for and hence why we no longer do the ‘hoovering’. This is the bit about the DC54 I love. To quote Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman; ‘”It corners like it’s on rails”. It’s very, very easy to use and almost glides around the house (also good for train rides). It’s not super light but light enough for a two year old to use. The science behind it: the ball gives the vacuum a low centre of gravity, making it easier to pull without snagging on corners or the carpet pile. Coupled with a unique central steering system and central pivot point for negotiating tight turns and circumnavigating sofas. It’s a delight to use.

The heads
Of which there are six including a carbon fibre turbine head and an articulating hard floor tool which I used for the two following tests. Then there is the optional, Muscle head floor tool which comes as standard in the multi-floor model. I used this for the final test

Test one: Popcorn and suction
There isn’t a guide in the instructions which tells you which is the best head for what job. For this you have to refer to the website. The articulating hard floor tool is advised for large debris which is how I class popcorn.

To quote the claim on the box:“All others lose suction. In its lifetime, this one never will”. I have to say, that this machine does not like popcorn.

Friday night is family movie night in our house, so lots of popcorn on the floor. The articulating hard floor tool did a good job of sucking up but my husband tried vacuuming a few days later and he was noticablely agitated. I ignored him, as the man doth protest too much to get out of household jobs. However, the next day when my lovely two year old emptied the contents of the muesli box over the carpet, I noticed that the suction had decreased immensely. Closer inspection revealed that the machine was completely clogged with popcorn. Once naughty popcorn was removed, the super suction was restored. Note: Do not vacuum up popcorn with a DC54.

Test 2: Desiccated coconut and ease of picking up
My two year old emptied a family pack of Lammingtons on the floor. So  you can imagine the desiccated coconut: a job for carbon fibre turbine head. The idea of this head is that on carpets the stiff nylon bristles lift ground-in dirt from carpets. On hard floors the ultra-fine antistatic carbon fibre filaments remove fine dust. There is no need to turn the brush bar off when moving from one floor type to another.

In reality, I found, what is created by the revolving turbine is almost a lawn mower effect. The head blows the dust/sand or desiccated coconut away like a lawn mower spitting out grass. This does a good job, dislodging dust etc from a carpet but it also means you have to go over it two or three times to make sure it gets sucked up. I was chasing the desiccated coconut around for longer than I wished. For me this is not great time efficiency for a busy mum.
Test 3: The unexpected guest and the 5 minute vacuum 
So anyone with kids dreads that call; “I am just in the area, shall I pop in for a coffee?” My heart wants to say YES. I have been drained of adult company since 7.30 this morning but my head wants to say NO. The bed isn’t made, the dishes are in the sink and the floor…argh the floor. For this task I needed a bit of muscle so cue the Muscle head floor tool. This self-professed beast self-adjusts to retain suction power on all floor types, and has a low profile for cleaning under furniture. On hard floors, the brushes maintain contact with the floor to remove debris from the surface. On carpets, the brushes lift to expose dual-channel edges that remove dirt trapped in the carpet weave. This was the man for the job. Ease of use great. It gets in all those hard to reach places and moving the Animal around is a dream.  The suction is pretty good. I nipped round the house vacuuming quicker than she could park her car.

Bin emptying
People know Dyson for being bag-less but this was a novelty for me. I hate changing the bag of my present cleaner and I let it get really full. It also annoys me that to buy the bags I need, I have to go to a specialise vacuum cleaner shop in the mall. The DC54 machine has a trigger-bin emptying system. So with the press of a button, dust and dirt can be emptied directly into the waste bin. Nice.

The price
Because of the efficiency of Dyson Cinetic™ cyclone technology, there is no filter maintenance: So there’s nothing to wash or replace. And with no bag, there are no extra costs. Even so, the downside to 20 years of research and development is that the Dyson DC54 comes with a pretty hefty price tag. Depending on the model, it ranges from $799 to $1099. I would class it as a luxury item. But any stay-at-home mum with two plus kids deserves a bit of Dyson luxury. Perhaps the government, who have got rid of the baby bonus and are threatening to reduce childcare rebate could subsidise the Dyson for all parents. I know James Dyson is altruistic so perhaps he could forge a deal with Tony Abbott!