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Dyson V12 vs. Dyson V15: Which is best?

Alvina Wang/BestReviews

Comparing the Dyson V12 and the Dyson V15

Dyson is well known for its powerful, innovative vacuums, offering even cordless models that can deep clean all surfaces. The V12 Detect Slim and V15 Detect are two of the brand’s more exciting models because they both feature a unique dirt-revealing laser that illuminates hidden dust and debris to thoroughly clean hard flooring.

The similarities between the Dyson V12 and Dyson V15 don’t end there, though. They also have similar run times, offer the same cleaning modes and come with the same tools to increase their versatility. Both models have an LCD display, too, which provides info about the particles you’re picking up. 

But there are some key differences between the two. The V15 Detect gets the edge when it comes to overall suction power, while the V12 Detect Slim has a slimmer, lighter design that makes it more comfortable to use. 

So, while both the V12 Detect Slim and V15 Detect are top-of-the-line cordless vacuums, they excel in different situations. Ultimately, the Dyson V12 is the better option for anyone who wants a lightweight vacuum that’s easy to carry from room to room or up and down stairs. On the other hand, the Dyson V15 is the clear winner for deep cleaning or homes with plenty of carpeting.  

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Dyson V12 Detect Slim vs. Dyson V15 Detect specs

While the Dyson V12 Detect Slim and Dyson V15 Detect offer many similar features, they differ in a few key areas that affect their cleaning performance and how comfortable they are to use. 

Dyson V12 specs 

Dyson V12 on hard flooring
With its lightweight design and single-button power control, the Dyson V12 Detect Slim is certified by United States Ergonomics, an organization that tests products to determine how difficult they are to use.

Product Specifications: Run Time: Up to 60 minutes | Suction Power: 150 AW | Bin Capacity: 0.09 gal | Weight: 5.22 lb 

As its name implies, the Dyson V12 Detect Slim is a compact, lightweight vacuum, weighing just over 5 pounds. In fact, it was one of the lightest cordless models we tested. As a result, it was very easy to maneuver around furniture and other obstacles. We were very impressed with how easy it was to move around our testing area, especially up and down stairs. It also has a maximum suction power of 150 air watts (AW), allowing it to clean effectively on both hard flooring and carpeting. However, its max suction isn’t as powerful as models like the Dyson V15, so it sometimes required two passes to pick up debris on medium-pile carpeting. 

Because the V12 Detect Slim has such a trim design, though, its dustbin is smaller than those found in other cordless vacuums, so it needed to be emptied more often during testing than models like the V15 Detect. Dyson advertises a run time of up to 60 minutes for the V12 Detect Slim, which is similar to other Dyson cordless vacuums, including the V15 Detect. However, during our testing, the V12 cleaned for 54 minutes in Eco mode before its battery ran out, while the V15 cleaned for over 60 minutes.

Dyson V15 specs

Dyson V15 on carpet
The testing team was impressed by the Dyson V15 Detect’s powerful suction.

Product Specifications: Run Time: Up to 60 minutes | Suction Power: 240 AW | Bin Capacity: 0.2 gal | Weight: 6.83 lb 

The Dyson V15 Detect is one of Dyson’s most powerful cordless vacuums, and that power means a heavier design. It weighs nearly 7 pounds, over 1.6 pounds more than the lightweight V12 Detect Slim. It wasn’t difficult to move around our testing area, but we found that our arm often got tired when cleaning for longer periods due to its weight. However, the V15’s larger build allows its dustbin to hold more than double the V12 Detect Slim, so we didn’t have to empty it too often during cleaning. 

Like the Dyson V12, the V15 Detect has an advertised battery life of up to 60 minutes. During our testing, though, it cleaned for 69 minutes in Eco mode, which was 15 minutes longer than the V12. The V15 Detect also boasts stronger suction power than the V12 Slim Detect, reaching a maximum of 240 AW. We found its cleaning power highly impressive during testing, as it picked up nearly all types of debris in a single pass on both hard surfaces and carpeting. 

Key differences

  • Suction power: The Dyson V12 has a maximum suction power of 150 AW, while the Dyson V15 can reach 240 AW, offering more cleaning power on carpeting. So, while we didn’t notice a significant difference in their performance during testing, the V12 Detect Slim occasionally needed a second pass to fully remove some types of debris on medium-pile carpeting, while the V15 Detect typically required only a single pass. 
  • Weight: The V12 Detect Slim is designed to be a compact, lightweight cordless vacuum, weighing just over 5 pounds. On the other hand, the V15 Detect falls more in line with the average cordless model, weighing slightly under 8 pounds. We definitely noticed a difference between the two during testing — when we cleaned with the V12 Detect Slim for more than 10 minutes, our arm never got tired. With the V15 Detect, vacuuming for longer periods often led to arm fatigue. 
  • Dustbin capacity: The V15 Detect has a 0.2-gallon dustbin, which is large enough to keep you from having to empty it in the middle of a vacuuming session. However, the V12 Slim Detect’s dustbin can only hold 0.09 gallons, making it the smallest bin in any model we tested. In a large home, that may mean emptying the bin more than once during cleaning. 
  • Power switch: The V15 Detect Slim has a power trigger that has to be held down the entire time you vacuum, while the V12 Detect Slim has a one-touch power button. During testing, our hand got tired while holding down the V15’s trigger when we cleaned for more than a few minutes, so we found the V12 more comfortable to use. 

Key similarities

  • Design: Despite their size and weight differences, the V12 Detect Slim and V15 Detect look nearly identical otherwise. They both have purple caps and gray bodies with copper, red and purple accents. Both vacuums also have a detachable battery and a horizontal dustbin with a sliding lever that allows you to empty it without getting your hands dirty.    
  • Fluffy Optic cleaner head: The V12 Slim Detect and V15 Detect both come with a Fluffy Optic cleaner head, which emits a green laser that illuminates hidden dirt, dust and hair on hard flooring for the most thorough cleaning. 
  • LCD display with graph: Both the V12 and V15 have a full-color LCD screen, which not only displays the selected cleaning mode and counts down the remaining battery life but also provides a real-time graph of the size of the particles that the vacuum has picked up.
  • Included accessories: In addition to their two cleaning heads, the V12 Detect Slim and the V15 Detect comes with the same accessories: a hair screw tool, a combination tool, and a crevice tool.

Setup comparison

The setup process for the V12 Detect Slim and the V15 Detect was identical. Both vacuums came in a branded box with cardboard holding the components in place and plastic covering some pieces to prevent damage during shipping. They were disassembled, so we had to put the components together before we could start cleaning. 

First, we attached the wand to the bottom of the main vacuum body for each model. Next, we connected a cleaning head to the end of the wand. Both components clicked into place easily on each model, and we had no trouble finding the connection points because they were marked with easy-to-spot red tabs or buttons. Finally, we connected the charger to the battery at the top of each vacuum and plugged them into an outlet to charge fully. 

Setup for both the Dyson V12 and Dyson V15 took just approximately five minutes. 

Suction comparison

While the V12 Detect Slim and the V15 Detect are both premium cordless vacuums that provide more power than the average model, the V15 is significantly more powerful. It offers a max suction of 240 AW, while the V12 tops out at 150 AW. However, during testing, we found their cleaning performance was very similar, though the V15 Detect was more effective for deep cleaning carpeting. 

Both models were highly successful on hard flooring. They each needed just a single pass to remove kosher salt and ground coffee on laminate and tile. The V12 only needed a second pass on tile when picking up larger debris like dry pet food because a piece or two had blown out of its path. 

Carpeting wasn’t a challenge for the V12 Detect Slim or the V15 Detect, but the V15 provided a slightly deeper clean. The V12 removed ground coffee, kosher salt and pet kibble from low-pile carpeting in a single pass, but it needed two passes to remove kosher salt from medium-pile carpeting. The V15 needed a single pass to remove the kosher salt from medium-pile carpeting and removed nearly all other types of debris from carpeting in a single pass. 

The V15’s superior suction also made it highly successful at cleaning the edges of a room. It removed 4 grams of ground coffee from along the edge in a single pass, so it could clean an entire room quickly and efficiently. 

Design comparison

While the Dyson V12 Detect Slim and V15 Detect have similar designs, their size difference plays a significant role in how easy they are to use. The V12 weighs just 5.22 pounds, so we had no trouble moving it around our testing area, navigating furniture and other obstacles and even going up and down stairs. The V15 weighs 6.83 pounds, and that more than 1.5-pound difference became very apparent when we vacuumed for longer periods. It wasn’t difficult to move around furniture, but our arm got tired when cleaning for more than five minutes. On the other hand, we didn’t notice any arm fatigue with the V12 Detect Slim.

Additionally, the V15 Detect has a power trigger that had to be held down the entire time we vacuumed. Just as the weight of the vacuum led to arm fatigue, we noticed that our hand got tired holding down the trigger when we vacuumed for more than a few minutes. However, the V12 Detect Slim has a one-touch power button that we only had to press once to start cleaning and again when we were finished to turn the vacuum off, so our hand never got fatigued, either. 

Between the weight and power-switch design, we found that using the Dyson V12 was noticeably more comfortable than the Dyson V15. 

Run time comparison

Dyson advertises up to a 60-minute run time for both the V12 Detect Slim and the V15 Detect. During testing, both models nearly hit that mark, though the V12 came up a little short, while the V15 went a little longer. 

Both models have three cleaning modes: Eco, Auto and Boost. Eco mode offers the lowest suction power but the longest run time, while Boost provides the strongest suction and the shortest run time. Auto mode balances suction and battery life by automatically adjusting the suction based on the flooring surface. 

During testing, the V12 cleaned for 54 minutes in Eco mode, just six minutes short of the advertised 60 minutes. The V15 cleaned for 69 minutes in Eco mode, 15 minutes longer than the V12. However, the V12’s 54 minutes was more than enough time to vacuum our entire testing area of approximately 1,000 square feet, so the run time difference may not be a significant issue unless you have a very large home. 

Features comparison

The V12 Detect Slim and V15 Detect share one very handy, unique feature that ensures the deepest cleaning of your hard flooring: a dirt-revealing laser. Both models come with a Fluffy Optic cleaner head that emits a green laser that illuminates hidden dust and hair on hard surfaces. 

Before we tested these models, we expected the feature to be more of a gimmick than actual help while cleaning — but we were definitely wrong. Both the V12 and V15’s laser feature worked exactly as advertised. We used the vacuums on laminate flooring with the Fluffy Optic cleaner head in place and found that it revealed a significant amount of dust, debris and pet hair that we couldn’t see with the naked eye. As a result, the V12 Detect Slim and V15 Detect both allowed us to clean hard surfaces more thoroughly than other cordless vacuums we tested. 

Additionally, the V12 Detect Slim and V15 Detect both have a full-color LCD display. The display shows the selected cleaning mode and counts down the battery life, so you never run out of power unexpectedly. It also alerts you to maintenance issues that may prevent the vacuums from working properly. But the V12 and V15 also display a graph during cleaning that shows the number of particles of each size that the vacuum has picked up. Both models’ graphs changed in real time as advertised, but we didn’t find this feature particularly helpful because it didn’t provide any information about how dirty or clean an area was. 

While the V12 and V15 have different-sized dustbins, both vacuums are designed to allow you to empty the bin without getting your hands dirty. After we detached the wands from the vacuums’ main bodies, we only had to push down on a side lever while holding them over a trash can to empty them. 


The Dyson V12 Slim Detect regularly costs $649.99 and is available at Amazon and Best Buy. The Dyson V15 Detect typically retails for $749.99 and is sold at Amazon and Best Buy

Both are pretty pricey for cordless vacuums, but you’re paying for Dyson’s powerful suction and premium features you usually won’t find in less expensive vacuums. 

How we tested 

To see how the Dyson V12 Detect Slim and the V15 Detect compare, we tested both vacuums on both hard surfaces and carpeting, including laminate, tile, low-pile carpeting and medium-pile carpeting. We assessed how well these models picked up debris of various sizes and textures, using each to pick up ground coffee, coarse kosher salt and dry pet food and noting how many passes it took each model on different surfaces. We also noted how long the V12 and V15 cleaned in each power mode, as well as how long they took to fully recharge after their battery was drained. 

Dyson V12 vs. Dyson V15 FAQ

How often do you have to clean your Dyson?

A. Dyson recommends cleaning your vacuum’s filter at least once a month to ensure that its suction power remains steady. You should empty the dustbin whenever the debris reaches the max line, but it’s a good habit to empty it after each use to ensure it’s always ready to clean. If your vacuum experiences a blockage, the Dyson V12 Detect Slim and the Dyson V15 Detect both alert you on their LCD display, complete with on-screen animation, to let you know which air pathway to check. 

Does Dyson replace your battery for free?

A. Dyson offers a two-year warranty on its cordless vacuums, which includes the battery. If you’re still within the warranty period, Dyson will replace your battery at no charge to you. 

Is a Dyson vacuum good for households with allergies? 

A. Many Dyson vacuums, including the V12 Slim Detect and V15 Detect, feature advanced, whole-machine filtration. This fully sealed system can trap 99.9% of particles and allergens as small as 0.3 microns, helping to clean the surrounding air. That makes these vacuums an excellent option for those who suffer from allergies.

Our expertise

Jennifer Blair has written for BestReviews since 2017, with a focus on all things home-related. Vacuuming may not be her favorite home chore, but she has personally tested more than 15, including six Dyson cordless vacuums, and is always on the hunt for models that can make cleaning easier. 

Bottom line

Dyson has a reputation for making high-powered, innovative products, so it’s no surprise that the V12 Slim Detect and the V15 Detect are top-notch cordless vacuums. But while they both perform well on all flooring surfaces, the V15 Detect gets the edge for its superior suction, making it the best choice for homes with heavy carpeting. It also has a large dustbin, so it can clean larger spaces without needing to be emptied too often. 

On the other hand, the V12 Detect is lighter and more comfortable to use than the V15, boasting a one-touch power button that prevents hand fatigue. It’s ideal for anyone who has trouble pushing a heavy vacuum around or homes with multiple floors because it’s so easy to carry up and down stairs. 

Prices listed reflect time and date of publication and are subject to change.

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