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Heading out into the shop, we threw together a number of tasks for the Dyson: the Toolmonger Shop Clean-Up Gauntlet.

Task #1: Vacuuming the Car

This is the quintessential hand-held vacuum task in the shop — knocking the dust off the dash and cleaning up the Cheerios the kids spilled in the back seat. 

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The Root handles the task well, but its shape makes it a bit difficult to get into tight areas like the dash near the windshield.  If you’re just looking to dust the radio or pick up some dry spills on the floor mats, you’re good to go.  If you’re looking to truly vacuum the entire car, the Root just won’t fit everywhere.

Result: Pass, with some reservations

Task #2: The Band Saw

We do a lot of metalworking in the Toolmonger shop, and our horizontal/upright band saw gets a pretty serious workout.  We’re also lazy, so we tend to leave bits of metal and filings all over the catch tray.  Can the Root 6 clean it out for us?

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Amazingly, the Root 6 handles difficult materials like metal filings — which we were relatively sure would wreak havoc with the Root’s motor windings but didn’t — quite well.  The Root doesn’t really produce enough suction to pick up larger bits of metal, though.

Result: Pass, with some reservations

Task #3: Crushed Leaves and Tumbleweeds

We’re in Texas, and this time of year we get a lot of this kind of crap blowing into the shop.

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While the Root makes enough suction to pick up these kind of objects, they won’t fit through its small nozzles and debris pathway; they get hung up in the nozzle or inside the ‘6 just before making the 90-degree turn into the debris bin.

Result: Fail

Task #4: Small Bits of Tape

When we were removing the original engine from Project Yukon, we used white tape to label electrical and vacuum lines and such.  Sadly, our lazy asses left a pile of little bits of wadded-up tape on the rolling tool cart.  We grabbed a handful, tossed it on the workbench, and gave the Root a shot at it.

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Again, the Root had trouble sucking the debris completely through the system.  Bits of tape hung up in the nozzle and unit.  We were, however, able to force them in with a screwdriver.


Result: Pass, with some, um, “help”

Task #5: Construction Debris & Drywall Crap

They’re building a house next to us, and they just completed drywall work today.  So, we walked over and grabbed a handful of this crap.

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The ‘6 picked up the dust easily, but none of the larger debris would fit through the nozzle.  In fact, after our concerted effort to “assist” the Root in sucking down the larger pieces, we had to remove the nozzle and clean it out with a chisel.

Result: Fail

Task 6: Small Screws

While this isn’t something you’re likely to come across at home, this actually comes up all the time in the shop — like when you dump the screw bin out and spread it all over to find a particular screw.

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The ‘6 doesn’t really like objects this large.  It’ll pick up the smallest of the screws we tried, but anything an inch or larger is both too heavy and wrong-shaped to really make it into the bin.

Result: Pass (barely), tiniest screws only

Grand Finale: The Shop Vacuum 


We pretty much use our shop vacuum to pick up any crap we don’t want to touch ourselves, like dead bugs, grass, metal filings, broken glass, antifreeze spills — you get the idea.  It’s also a wet/dry model — and we don’t empty it all that often — so there’s some incredibly nasty stuff in the bottom of it.  As a final test, we tried to clean out the vac’s bucket with the Root 6.

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This is just too much for the inside-use-only Root 6.  It took the ‘6 only twelve seconds to fill its debris bin to the point that it lost suction, and even after we emptied the bin it still didn’t want to work.  Disassembling the ‘6 showed that debris was caught throughout the airpath.  Removing the debris manually helped, but we suspect that the filters’ll need to be replaced (and possibly additional maintenance performed) before this particula Root’ll see service again.


Result: Not so much.

Read on to page 4 for our conclusions.

pages: 1 2 3 4


3 Responses to Test to Failure: The Dyson Root 6

  1. Irving Washington says:

    Forget this! If you want to Dysonize your big shop vac, check out the Clearvue Mini CV06 (http://www.clearvuecyclones.com). Designed for wood chips, but I’ve found it works wonderfully on general remodeling clean up (mortar and drywall chunks, find dust, etc.). And I’m only powering it with a craptastic $40 6gal Ridgid shopvac.


  2. Chuck Cage says:

    Irving: The Clear Vue looks like an interesting option! I hope you don’t mind, but I dropped it out as a “reader find.” I think other readers’ll be interested in this. — C

  3. david says:

    suction aside i would like to know what the batterie life is before recharge
    i heard it lasts only 3mins after a full charge was this the casewith your tests

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