We test the latest upright vacuum from Dyson, the Dyson Ball Animal 3. Is the Animal 3 the best Dyson upright ever made? Let’s find out now.
290 AW Upright Vacuum With ADjustable Cleaning Head
Dyson Ball Animal 3
The Dyson Ball Animal 3 is a step up from its predecessor, the Ball Animal 2. In our tests, the Animal 3 removed 99.4% of all debris, largely thanks to the adjustable cleaning head. In addition, few long hairs tangled and it removed pet hair easily. It’s not cheap, but the cleaning performance is best in class.
- 99.4% removal rate in our cleaning tests
- Cleaning head can be adjusted for different floor and debris types
- Variable suction through adjustable cleaning head (allows it to more easily clean varied carpet and rug types)
- Handles pet hair easily
- Slightly smaller dustbin (compared to previous model)
- Not available at many retailers
Upright vacuum with fantastic performance
Design - 99%
Performance - 99%
Quality - 99%
Usability - 99%
Value - 98%
The Dyson Ball Animal 3 is an upright vacuum cleaner that had excellent performance across our battery of tests. It has 290 AW of suction that was able to handle everything we tossed at it with ease. In our tests it removed 99.4% of all debris, 100% of long hair, and removed the majority of the pet hair. It comes with a 35’ power cord and is easy to move around. In addition, the adjustable Motorbar is a great upgrade from the previous Dyson Ball Animal 2. This is without question the best Dyson upright ever manufactured and arguably the best among all other upright brands.
In This Review
We use 5 different tests to measure cleaning performance and usability.
These tests include:
- Cleaning test
- Hair test
- Pet hair test
- Noise test
- Usability test
Cleaning performance for the Dyson Ball Animal 3 was fantastic across the board. In our cleaning tests, we place 4 different debris types (sugar, kitty litter, rice, and cereal) on 3 different floor types (hardwood, low pile carpet, and high pile carpet).
Next, we run the vacuum over the debris and measure how much debris was removed by weight.
Our cleaning tests were a breeze for the Dyson Ball Animal 3. It achieved an overall cleaning score of 99.4%. It is among the best performing vacuums we’ve tested to date.
|Vacuum Model||Overall||Hardwood||Low Pile Carpet||High Pile Carpet|
|Dyson Ball Animal 3||99%||99%||99%||99%|
|Dyson Ball Animal 2||96%||99%||100%||90%|
|Shark Apex DuoClean Zero-M||99%||100%||99%||99%|
|Dyson Ball Multi Floor 2||98%||95%||99%||99%|
|Hoover Windtunnel T-Series||85%||57%||100%||97%|
|Bissell Pet Hair Eraser||85%||83%||81%||91%|
One of the key factors that benefited the Dyson Ball Animal 3 is the Motorbar cleaning head. On the front of the Motorbar is a slider that allows you to raise or lower “gates” on the front of the cleaning head.
Depending on the switch position, the cleaning head will impart a stronger or weaker suction by creating a tighter or looser seal.
This switch is in the image above. The far left position is best used for medium pile carpets or delicate flooring and rugs. This position is also best if you find the vacuum difficult to push through your carpet. One of the most common complaints on the Dyson Ball Animal 2 is difficulty pushing through some carpets due to excessive suction and no way to vary the suction.
If you are tackling large debris or low pile carpets, use the position in the middle. Finally, the right position is best for hard floors or ground in dirt.
Variable suction through the cleaning head slider is a feature we have only previously seen on Dyson’s cordless vacuums. In our experience and tests over the years we’ve found this variable suction slider to be incredibly effective.
In any case, I’m extremely happy to see it implemented here as it solves the chief complaint on the Dyson Ball Animal 2.
Hardwood Floor Cleaning
On hardwood floors, the Animal 3 was able to remove the vast majority of debris. Initially, the vacuum pushed the cereal around and was unable to suck it up.
However, by adjusting the Motorbar we were able to get the cleaning head on top of the cereal, easily removing it.
Low Pile Carpet Cleaning
Low pile carpet was where the vacuum struggled the most, albeit not by much.
Some of the smallest debris type, sugar, remained nestled in the carpet after cleaning. However, the Ball Animal 3 still cleaned up the majority of the sugar.
With additional attention, I am sure most, if not all, of the sugar would be completely removed.
High Pile Carpet Cleaning
Cleaning performance was equally as impressive on high pile carpet.
We did have to adjust the Motorbar, as initially, it would push the cereal around instead of cleaning it up.
Unlike the Dyson Ball Animal 2 (which we reviewed here) the Animal 3 was able to remove the cereal without issue.
Long Hair Test
Our long hair test checks to see if the Dyson Ball Animal 3 can remove long strands of hair without having them tangle around the brushroll. For the test, we place hair on the floor, vacuum up the hair, and then check to see how much was removed and tangled.
The Dyson Ball Animal 3 easily handled this test. It removed 100% of the hair and only a few strands remained tangled around the brushroll. Even the few hairs that remained were easy to remove.
The Dyson Ball Animal 3 notably includes hair vanes that help to comb out and prevent hair tangles. This is a feature we started seeing on the Dyson V15 in 2021. Since then, it has been a feature included on a number of newer Dyson vacuums.
Suffice to say, the hair vanes do have a significant impact on helping to prevent and reduce tangles.
Pet Hair Test
To test how well the Animal 3 could handle pet hair, we brought the vacuum over to our Content Manager’s house where he has a dog who sheds a lot.
In particular, there is a rug with a lot of fur nestled in it. We tested the Animal 3 on this rug to see how it could handle it.
The Dyson Ball Animal 3 had fantastic performance, removing practically all of the pet hair in the rug.
With 290 AW of suction and nylon bristles on the brushroll, it was able to agitate the fibers on the rug, and remove the pet hair.
In addition to our cleaning tests, we measure how loud the vacuum is while running. We do this by using a noise meter from about 3’ away.
Our testing showed the Dyson Ball Animal 3 to generate 59 dB on average. This level is similar to that of a conversation or dishwasher. The Animal 3 is surprisingly less loud than many other high performance upright vacuums we’ve tested.
|Vacuum Model||Noise level (dB)|
|Dyson Ball Animal 3||59 dB|
|Shark Apex DuoClean Zero-M||77 dB|
|Hoover Windtunnel T-Series||81 dB|
|Shark Rotator Life-Away||80 dB|
|Shark Navigator Pro||77 dB|
|Bissell Pet Hair Eraser||81 dB|
Overall, usability for the Dyson Ball Animal 3 was excellent. It is easy to set up, use, and maintain.
In addition, it comes with a 0.45 gallon / 1.7 liter dust bin and a 35’ power cord. The vacuum is easy to move around and lays fairly low to the ground.
The Dyson Ball Animal 3 doesn’t come ready to clean out of the box. There are a few steps to set it up before it can be used.
Here are the steps:
- Attach the cleaning head
- Slide the handle onto the vacuum
- Insert the wand into the hose
- Slide the wand into the handle
- (Optional) attach the tool holder and accessories
All of this can be done in less than 5 minutes by a single person.
Dyson uses a simple control scheme on their upright vacuums. There are two buttons, one turns the vacuum on / off and the other turns the brushroll on / off.
In addition, you can adjust the Motorbar inside the cleaning head. As mentioned previously, depending on the floor type or the size of the debris, a different position can make cleaning easier and more effective.
Furthermore, you can detach the wand for longer reach. The Dyson Ball Animal 3 hose and wand extend for a combined 15’ of extra reach.
Simply slide the wand out of the handle and press the button on the hose to adjust it to the desired length. From there you can attach accessories to tackle specific jobs.
General maintenance for the Dyson Ball Animal 3 is quite simple. Most of the time, you will only need to empty the dustbin as it gets full.
Additionally, you will need to wash the filters to maintain the best suction power. Dyson recommends doing this at least once a month.
There are two washable filters that need to be maintained, one in the dustbin and one in the ball of the vacuum.
When cleaning the filters you will need to:
- Remove the filter from the vacuum
- Wash the filter
- Let the filter air dry for 24 hours
- Reinsert the filter into the vacuum
Here is what comes in the box:
- Dyson Ball Animal 3 vacuum
- Motorbar cleaning head
The base Dyson Ball Animal 3 upright only includes 2 attachments, including:
- Combination tool
- Stair tool
Both of these tools attach to the wand. The combination tool is great for cleaning in tight areas or collecting solid particles like dust.
The stair tool is great for carpet and capturing hair nestled within.
If you are looking for more accessories, you can consider the Dyson Ball Animal 3 Extra or Complete. The Extra comes with 2 more accessories (pet groom tool and tangle-free turbine tool), while the Complete version comes with an astounding 11 accessories / attachments.
Size & Dimensions
The Dyson Ball Animal 3 is similar in size and shape to the previous models.
- Width – 11.02”
- Depth – 15.5”
- Height – 42.2”
- Weight – 17.4 lbs.
The Ball Animal 3 has a total cord length of 35’.
In addition, it has the most suction of any Dyson vacuum currently being manufactured, 290 AW.
The current Dyson Ball Animal 2 has a max suction power of 227 AW (earlier versions of the Animal 2 had up to 306 AW, including the one we tested. However, this 306 AW version doesn’t appear to be available anymore).
Lastly, the dust bin is 0.45 gallons / 1.7 liters.
Dyson Ball Animal 3 Specifications
|Model||Ball Animal 3|
|Dust Bin Capacity||0.45 gallons / 1.7 liters|
|Suction Power||290 AW|
|Returns||Varies by retailer|
Dyson Ball Animal 3 vs. Extra vs. Complete
As mentioned previously, there are 3 different versions of the Dyson Ball Animal 3 to choose from:
The vacuums themselves are functionally identical with the only difference being the included accessories. The Extra comes with 5 total accessories while the complete comes with 11.
|Ball Animal 3||Ball Animal 3 Extra||Ball Animal 3 Complete|
|Digital motor||Ball Animal 3||Ball Animal 3||Ball Animal 3|
|Dust Bin||0.45 gallons / 1.7 liters||0.45 gallons / 1.7 liters||0.45 gallons / 1.7 liters|
|Weight||17.4 lbs||17.4 lbs||17.4 lbs|
|Max Suction||290 AW||290 AW||290 AW|
|Pet groom tool||No||Yes||Yes|
|Tangle-Free Turbine Tool||No||Yes||Yes; x2|
|Reach Under Tool||No||No||Yes|
|Articulating Hard Floor Tool||No||No||Yes|
|Multi-Angle Brush Tool||No||No||Yes|
|Carbon Fiber Soft Dusting Brush||No||No||Yes|
The Dyson Ball Animal 3 Extra includes a pet groom tool for quick and easy pet grooming, and a tangle-free turbine tool, which is great for removing stubborn dirt patches from upholstery or car interiors.
If you want the exact tool for every job, the Dyson Ball Animal 3 Complete may be the right choice. It includes all the same accessories, plus many more.
Most notably, it includes the reach under tool that can extend and twist to reach awkward locations, and a 180° pivoting hard floor tool for better hard floor cleaning.
Should you buy the Dyson Ball Animal 3?
I would recommend the Dyson Ball Animal 3 if you are looking for the following features:
- Fantastic cleaning performance: In our cleaning tests, the Dyson Ball Animal 3 removed 99.4% of debris across the board. It was able to handle all floor and debris types. The adjustable cleaning head’s effectiveness cannot be understated. It addresses issues of excess suction and appropriate cleaning deck height, both of which were problematic on the Dyson Ball Animal 2 and Multi Floor 2.
- Easily handle pet hair: In addition to fantastic cleaning performance, the Dyson Ball Animal 3 handled pet hair incredibly well. The bristles on the brushroll and the 290 AW of suction were able to completely remove the majority of pet fur trapped in the rug we tested. If you have a pet who sheds a lot, the Dyson Ball Animal 3 will be able to handle it.
- Easy to use and maintain: Dyson uses a simple design that’s easy to use. It has 2 intuitive buttons and the addition of the Motorbar adds finer control over suction strength. Beyond that, keeping the Dyson running is quite simple. The washable filters clean up easily and the bagless sealed design keeps long-term costs lower.
For more information or to buy the Dyson Ball Animal 3, click here.