On the ball

· technology ·

Last week, our beloved, elderly Dyson vacuum cleaner finally packed up. We've had it about 12 years, so it has done well, but has been getting gradually more decrepit. We had the power supply replaced a couple of years ago, but the problem this time was a burnt-out motor. It could be fixed, but with such an old unit, it wasn't really cost effective.

We're lucky to have an excellent, independently owned vacuum shop fairly near us (Midland Vac), which has a great range of Dyson units, so we visited at the weekend to try to decide on a model. After a lot of indecision, literal weighing up, and pushing units speculatively around the shop floor like a Freddie Mercury tribute act^1^, we settled on the Dyson DC24. It's one of the models which uses a ball rather than wheels, and it's really tiny. Compared to our old clunker, it feels incredibly light, which makes you much more inclined to lug it upstairs to do the vacuuming.

We worried slightly that it might be too small, but as soon as we tried it out — and saw the proper colour and texture of our carpet for the first time in ages — we realised that it's a very capable machine. They have improved the cyclone mechanism a lot in the years since our old model was made, and even though the new one has a smaller motor, it develops much greater suction. It's also great fun. The ball makes it very manoeuvrable, and you can sweep and glide around the furniture, making "neeyoww" noises like a racing motorbike going into a corner. Well, you can if you like — the noises are optional.

I think people either love Dyson products, or they think they are overpriced and over-engineered. I'm in the former camp, and I also like the fact that they are readily repairable, and tend to last a long time. I also get unreasonably excited whenever I find an Airblade in a bathroom. No matter how many times I use one, I still think that it's tantamount to magic.

^1^ No mini skirts or pink earrings, though.