Dyson’s cordless vacuums are some of the most innovative, powerful models on the market — and the most expensive. But models like the V11 Extra and V12 Detect Slim deliver power and features similar to the brand’s pricier vacuums at a midtier price point, making them an excellent option if you’re looking for the best value.
Choosing between the two models isn’t so straightforward, though. The V11 offers a higher maximum suction power than the V12, while the V12 has a slimmer, lighter design and a one-touch on/off button that makes it more comfortable to use. The V11 comes with six attachments and accessories, compared to the V12’s three. However, the V12 has two interchangeable cleaning heads, one that can reveal hidden dust and hair on hard surfaces for more thorough cleaning. Both cordless vacuums can clean for up to an hour, but the V12 Detect Slim has a smaller dustbin, which may mean more frequent emptying.
Overall, the Dyson V11 Extra is a better choice for larger homes because its bigger dustbin won’t have you running to the trash can in the middle of cleaning. Its versatile attachments also make it perfect to clean other surfaces besides your floors. On the other hand, the V12 Detect Slim is ideal for anyone who wants a light vacuum they can easily move around furniture and carry up and down stairs. Its dirt-detecting laser feature also makes it perfect for homes with plenty of hard flooring to clean, though it cleans carpeting just as effectively.
The V11 Extra and V12 Detect Slim are fairly similar in cleaning ability. However, some key differences in their specs can affect their performance and ease of use.
Product Specifications: Run Time: Up to 60 minutes | Suction Power: 185 AW | Bin Capacity: 0.2 gal | Weight: 6.53 lb
Like most Dyson cordless vacuums, the V11 Extra offers three cleaning modes, with the highest suction setting providing 185 air watts of power. That is on the lower end for Dyson models, but it’s slightly more powerful than the V12 Detect Slim. During testing, though, we noticed that it occasionally had trouble on carpeting, needing two or three passes to remove some types of debris. It weighs just over 6.5 pounds, so it wasn’t particularly heavy or difficult to move around furniture. However, it is more than a pound heavier than the V12, which we noticed led to some arm fatigue while cleaning.
But because the V11 Extra boasts a larger, heavier build, it also has a larger dustbin. Its 0.2-gallon bin is similar to other Dyson models, including the V15 Detect and V15 Detect Submarine. However, it is more than twice as large as the V12 Detect Slim’s bin, which cuts down on trips to the trash can while vacuuming. Dyson advertises up to a 60-minute run time for the V11, the same as the battery life for many Dyson cordless vacuums, including the V12 Detect Slim. During our testing, the V11 cleaned for 53 minutes in Eco mode, 44 minutes in Medium and 11 minutes in Boost.
Product Specifications: Run Time: Up to 60 minutes | Suction Power: 150 AW | Bin Capacity: 0.09 gal | Weight: 5.22 lb
Weighing just over 5 pounds, the V12 Detect Slim is one of the lightest cordless vacuums in Dyson’s range — and the lightest among those we tested. We definitely noticed its lightweight design during testing because the V12 was very easy to move around furniture and even carry up and down stairs to clean multiple floors. But because it has such a slim, compact build, its dustbin is much smaller than those in other cordless vacuums. We had to empty it more frequently during cleaning than models like the V11 Extra. However, we didn’t find it a particular issue unless vacuuming an especially large area.
The Dyson V12 has a maximum suction power of 150 AW, the weakest among the Dyson cordless vacuums we tested. But it is fairly similar to the V11 Extra’s 185 AW, so we didn’t notice much difference in its cleaning power. In fact, it only needed a single pass to remove nearly all types of debris on all surfaces except medium-pile carpet. Like the V11, the V12 Detect Slim has an advertised battery life of up to 60 minutes. During testing, it cleaned for 54 minutes in Eco mode, 41 minutes in Auto and nine minutes in Boost.
To see exactly how the V11 Extra and V12 Detect Slim compared, we tested them with different types of debris on multiple flooring surfaces. Unless otherwise noted, we used the Medium mode when testing the V11 and the Auto mode with the V12.
We evaluated how well these models could handle fine debris by placing coffee grounds on laminate, tile, low-pile carpeting and medium carpeting.
When testing the V11 Extra, we placed 3 grams of ground coffee on tile and 3 grams on laminate. It needed a single pass to remove the debris on both surfaces. We also set 3 grams of ground coffee on low-pile carpeting and 3 grams on medium-pile carpeting. The V11 took two passes to remove it from the low-pile carpeting, but it needed three passes on medium-pile carpeting.
To evaluate the V12 Detect Slim with fine debris, we placed 8 grams of ground coffee on laminate and 8 grams on tile. It needed one pass to remove the debris on both surfaces. When we put 5 grams of ground coffee on low-pile carpeting and 5 grams on medium-pile carpeting, the V12 needed one pass to remove the debris on both surfaces.
To determine how well the vacuums handled medium debris, we used coarse kosher salt.
When testing the V11 Extra, we placed 5 grams of the salt on laminate and 5 grams on tile. It needed one to remove the debris on both surfaces. When we put 5 grams of kosher salt on low-pile carpeting and 5 grams on medium-pile carpeting, the V11 Extra removed the salt from both surfaces in one pass.
To test the V12 Detect Slim, we placed 6 grams of coarse kosher salt on laminate and 6 grams on tile. It picked up the debris on both surfaces in a single pass. Next, we set 6 grams of kosher salt on low-pile carpeting and 6 grams on medium-pile carpeting. The V12 Detect Slim needed just one pass to remove the debris on both carpets.
We used dry pet food or kibble to see how well the vacuums handled large debris.
To test the V11 Extra, we placed 6 grams of dry pet food on laminate and 6 grams on tile. It needed two passes to remove the debris on both surfaces because it blew a few pieces out of its path in both cases. We also placed 6 grams of kibble on low-pile carpeting and 6 grams on medium-pile carpeting. The V11 needed two passes to remove the debris on low-pile carpeting and three passes on medium-pile carpeting in the Medium cleaning mode. However, when we switched to Boost mode, the V11 needed just one pass on low-pile carpeting and two on medium-pile carpeting.
When evaluating the V12 Detect Slim, we placed 12 grams of dry pet food on laminate and 12 grams on tile. It needed one pass to remove the debris on laminate and two passes on tile because it blew a few pieces of the kibble out of its path. We also placed 10 grams of dry pet food on low-pile carpet and 10 grams on medium-pile carpet. The V12 removed the debris on the low-pile carpet in one pass but needed two passes on the medium-pile carpet.
The V11 Extra and V12 Detect Slim both have straightforward setup processes.
The vacuums were disassembled when they arrived, with each component held in place with sturdy cardboard and wrapped in plastic to prevent damage. Once we removed the pieces from the box, we snapped the wands into place at the end of each model’s main body and then clicked the cleaning heads onto the end of the wands. We didn’t need to consult the manuals for either model to determine where to connect each component because the attachment areas are marked with red tabs. After the vacuums were fully assembled, we connected the chargers to each model’s battery and plugged them in to fully charge.
Setting up the V11 Extra and V12 Detect Slim took approximately five minutes each.
The V11 Extra and V12 Slim Detect both feature three cleaning modes. However, the modes are not the same.
While both models have an Eco mode that offers the lowest suction power and the longest battery life and a Boost mode with the most powerful suction and shortest battery life, the V11 has a Medium mode, which falls between the two in terms of suction power and run time. On the other hand, the V12 has an Auto mode, which automatically adjusts the vacuum’s suction based on the flooring surface to balance power and battery life.
In Boost mode, the V11 has a maximum suction power of 185 AW, while the V12 tops out at 150 AW. However, when we tested the vacuums, we typically used the Medium setting for the V11 and the Auto setting for the V12. In those settings, the V12 outperformed the V11, needing one pass for nearly all types of debris, except dry pet food on tile and coarse kosher salt on medium-pile carpeting. However, the V11 struggled a bit with carpeting, needing two passes to remove ground coffee from both low- and medium-pile carpeting and three passes to remove dry pet food from medium-pile carpeting.
We found the V11’s Boost mode was stronger than the V12’s, though. It only needed two passes When we used it to clean the pet food from medium-pile carpeting
Overall, during our testing, the V12 Detect Slim’s cleaning performance was more impressive than the V11 Extra’s on both hard flooring and carpeting during our testing. We found it was more effective for removing pet hair, too.
Despite their size difference, the Dyson V11 Extra and Dyson V12 Detect Slim have similar designs.
Both feature a main vacuum body on top that can be used as a hand vac as well as a wand that connects to the bottom. The V11 includes a single cleaning head, the Motorbar cleaner head, which connects to the end of the wand. The V12 comes with two cleaning heads: the Motorbar cleaner head and the Fluffy Optic cleaner head. Like the V11’s cleaner head, the V12’s Motorbar head is designed for all flooring types, but the Fluffy Optic cleaner head is designed specifically for hard flooring. Both models also have accessories that fit at the end of the wand in place of the cleaner head or at the end of the main vacuum body for use with the hand vac.
Both vacuums’ Motorbar cleaner heads have over 40 detangling vanes that prevent hair from wrapping around the brush bars while vacuuming. During testing, we found no hair tangled around the brush on either the V11 or the V12 after vacuuming.
However, the fact that the V12 Detect Slim is lighter and more compact than the V11 was very noticeable during testing. We easily moved the V12 around our testing area and even carried it up and down stairs without any issues. While the V11 is much lighter than a traditional upright or corded vacuum, it was noticeably heavier than the V12, so our arm often got tired when cleaning with it for more than five minutes.
The V11’s larger size allows its dustbin to hold double the amount than the V12 does, though. We definitely noticed that the V12’s bin was smaller during testing, as we had to empty it in the middle of cleaning on more than one occasion, which wasn’t the case with the V11.
While the V11 and V12 offer somewhat similar cleaning performances, they differ pretty significantly when it comes to features. The V12 boasts several convenient features that the V11 doesn’t, making cleaning with it easier and more thorough.
Our favorite feature of the V12 Detect Slim was its Fluffy Optic cleaning head, which emits a green laser to illuminate hidden dust and hair on hard surfaces. We expected the laser to be more of a gimmick than actually helpful, but it won us over with our very first use. We tried the laser on laminate flooring and were stunned by the amount of dirt and hair it revealed. It didn’t matter whether we used the Fluffy Optic head with the lights turned on or off, either. In all situations, it highlighted debris that wasn’t visible to the naked eye. As a result, we could clean the hard floors in our testing area much more thoroughly than with the V11, which only comes with a traditional cleaner head.
The V12 also has a piezo sensor built into its motor body that detects the size and number of the particles it picks up during cleaning. The V11 doesn’t have this sensor, but we didn’t find this feature particularly helpful while vacuuming because it only provided the particles’ sizing info after they’d been removed from the floor. As a result, it didn’t help us clean any more effectively.
We did appreciate the V12 Slim Detect’s Auto cleaning mode, though. It is the middle cleaning mode between Eco and Boost and automatically adjusts the vacuum’s suction based on the flooring surface to help balance power and battery life. It was the primary setting we used for the V12 during testing, and we found that it provided a deep cleaning across all surfaces without running down the battery too quickly. The V11’s middle cleaning mode, Medium, doesn’t automatically adjust the power and instead simply offers a middle ground between the lower power and longer battery life of Eco and the higher power and shorter run time of Boost. Overall, we found the V12’s Auto mode made cleaning much more efficient and convenient since we didn’t have to stop to think about how much power we needed in any given area.
Finally, the V12 Detect Slim has a power button that turns the vacuum on and off. In contrast, the V11 Extra has a power trigger we had to hold down the entire time we vacuumed. We typically found that holding down the power trigger caused our hand to get tired after just a few minutes of vacuuming. Cleaning with the V12 was much more comfortable because we only had to press the power button once to turn it on and then again to turn it off.
The Dyson V11 Extra typically retails for $599.99 and is available at Amazon, Best Buy and Walmart. The Dyson V12 Detect Slim regularly costs $649.99 and can also be found at Amazon, Best Buy and Walmart.
The V12 may be a bit more expensive than the V11 and offer a similar cleaning performance. Still, for only $50 more, you get special features like the dirt-revealing laser, a one-touch power button and the Auto mode to take the guesswork out of cleaning.
The Dyson V11 Extra and Dyson V12 Detect Slim had the lowest maximum suction powers among the cordless vacuums we tested, 185 AW and 150 AW, respectively. However, we found their cleaning performance only slightly behind higher-powered Dyson models like the V15 Detect and V15 Detect Submarine, which both have a maximum suction power of 240 AW.
The 5.22-pound V12 Detect Slim stands out as the lightest cordless vacuum we tested, so it was definitely easier to move around our testing area than Dyson models like the V15 Detect, V15 Detect Submarine, Gen5detect Absolute and Gen5outsize Absolute. Even the 6.53-pound V11 was easier to move than the Gen5outsize Absolute, which weighs over 8.5 pounds. Both the V11 and V12 have run times similar to the V15 Detect and V15 Detect Submarine, though the Gen5detect Absolute and Gen5outsize Absolute can clean for up to 70 minutes — and the Gen5outsize even comes with two batteries to double its cleaning time.
Jennifer Blair has written about cleaning tools and other home-related products for BestReviews since 2017. She uses a cordless vacuum, a robot vacuum and a traditional upright in her own home and has tested more than a dozen vacuums for BestReviews, including six Dyson models. Her ideal vacuum is a model that provides the deepest clean with the least amount of effort.
The Dyson V11 Extra and Dyson V12 Detect Slim are both solid vacuums, offering the improved suction you’d expect from a Dyson. Overall, we preferred the V12 Detect Slim because it was the most comfortable model to use among all the cordless vacuums we tested. Its lightweight design makes it easy to move around cluttered homes, as well as up and down stairs. It’s also strong enough to pull pet hair from carpeting without getting tangled. We especially love its dirt-revealing laser head that makes it possible to get your hard flooring as clean as possible.
But if you have a larger home, you may prefer the V11 Extra. Its dustbin is twice as large as the V12’s, so you won’t need to empty it in the middle of cleaning. Its performance on hard surfaces also makes it an excellent option for homes with mainly hard floors.
Prices listed reflect time and date of publication and are subject to change.