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Dyson Ball Animal 3 Review

Derek Hales

Written By: Derek Hales

Updated on:

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.

Pros

  • 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

Cons

  • Slightly smaller dustbin (compared to previous model)
  • Not available at many retailers

Scoring

Upright vacuum with fantastic performance
  • Design - 99%
    99%
  • Performance - 99%
    99%
  • Quality - 99%
    99%
  • Usability - 99%
    99%
  • Value - 98%
    98%
99%

Summary

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

Cleaning Test | Long Hair Test | Pet Hair Test | Noise Test | Usability | Accessories | Size | Specs | Summary

Performance Tests

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 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. 

Overall

99.4%

Hardwood

99.5%

Low Carpet

99.3%

High Carpet

99.5%

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 ModelOverall HardwoodLow Pile CarpetHigh Pile Carpet
Dyson Ball Animal 399%99%99%99%
Dyson Ball Animal 296%99%100%90%
Shark Apex DuoClean Zero-M99%100%99%99%
Dyson Ball Multi Floor 298%95%99%99%
Hoover Windtunnel T-Series85%57%100%97%
Shark Navigator84%93%98%61%
Bissell Pet Hair Eraser85%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.

Dyson Ball Animal 3 Motorbar
Dyson Ball Animal 3 Motorbar

Depending on the switch position, the cleaning head will impart a stronger or weaker suction by creating a tighter or looser seal.

Dyson Ball Animal 3 Motorbar switch
Dyson Ball Animal 3 Motorbar switch

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. 

Dyson Ball Animal 3 Motorbar logo
Dyson Ball Animal 3 Motorbar logo

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.

Sugar

100%

Kitty Litter

100%

Rice

99.0%

Cereal

99.0%

However, by adjusting the Motorbar we were able to get the cleaning head on top of the cereal, easily removing it.

Dyson Ball Animal 3 before hardwood cleaning test
Dyson Ball Animal 3 before hardwood cleaning test
Dyson Ball Animal 3 after hardwood cleaning test
Dyson Ball Animal 3 after hardwood cleaning test

Low Pile Carpet Cleaning

Low pile carpet was where the vacuum struggled the most, albeit not by much. 

Sugar

98.0%

Kitty Litter

99.0%

Rice

100%

Cereal

100%

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.

Dyson Ball Animal 3 before low pile carpet cleaning test
Dyson Ball Animal 3 before low pile carpet cleaning test
Dyson Ball Animal 3 after low pile carpet cleaning test
Dyson Ball Animal 3 after low pile carpet cleaning test

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.

Sugar

99.0%

Kitty Litter

99.0%

Rice

100%

Cereal

100%

We did have to adjust the Motorbar, as initially, it would push the cereal around instead of cleaning it up.

Dyson Ball Animal 3 before high pile carpet cleaning test
Dyson Ball Animal 3 before high pile carpet cleaning test
Dyson Ball Animal 3 after high pile carpet cleaning test
Dyson Ball Animal 3 after high pile carpet cleaning test

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. 

Removed?

100%

Tangled?

Excellent

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.

Dyson Ball Animal 3 post hair test
Dyson Ball Animal 3 post hair test

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. 

Dyson Ball Animal 3 after pet hair test
Dyson Ball Animal 3 after pet hair test

The Dyson Ball Animal 3 had fantastic performance, removing practically all of the pet hair in the rug.

Removed?

95%

Cleaning Passes?

Two

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.

Noise Test

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. 

Dyson Ball Animal 3 noise test
Dyson Ball Animal 3 noise test

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 ModelNoise level (dB)
Dyson Ball Animal 359 dB
Shark Apex DuoClean Zero-M77 dB
Hoover Windtunnel T-Series81 dB
Shark Rotator Life-Away80 dB
Shark Navigator Pro77 dB
Bissell Pet Hair Eraser81 dB

Usability Test

Overall, usability for the Dyson Ball Animal 3 was excellent. It is easy to set up, use, and maintain.

Dyson Ball Animal 3 dustbin
Dyson Ball Animal 3 dustbin

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. 

Setup

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. 

Dyson Ball Animal 3 wand handle
Dyson Ball Animal 3 wand handle

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.

Controls

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.

Dyson Ball Animal 3 buttons
Dyson Ball Animal 3 buttons

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.

Dyson Ball Animal 3 using hose and wand
Dyson Ball Animal 3 using hose and wand

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. 

Maintenance

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.

Dyson Ball Animal 3 removing dustbin
Dyson Ball Animal 3 removing dustbin

Additionally, you will need to wash the filters to maintain the best suction power. Dyson recommends doing this at least once a month. 

Dyson Ball Animal 3 dustbin filter
Dyson Ball Animal 3 dustbin filter

There are two washable filters that need to be maintained, one in the dustbin and one in the ball of the vacuum.

Dyson Ball Animal 3 ball filter
Dyson Ball Animal 3 ball filter

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

Accessories

Here is what comes in the box:

  • Dyson Ball Animal 3 vacuum
  • Motorbar cleaning head
  • Handle
  • Wand
Dyson Ball Animal 3 unboxed
Dyson Ball Animal 3 unboxed

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. 

Dyson Ball Animal 3 combination tool
Dyson Ball Animal 3 combination tool

The stair tool is great for carpet and capturing hair nestled within. 

Dyson Ball Animal 3 stair tool
Dyson Ball Animal 3 stair tool

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’.

Dyson Ball Animal 3 height
Dyson Ball Animal 3 height

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

Specifications
TypeUpright
ManufacturerDyson
ModelBall Animal 3
Height42.2″
Width11.02″
Depth15.5″
Weight17.4 lbs
Floor TypeAll
FilterWashable lifetime
Dust Bin Capacity0.45 gallons / 1.7 liters
Suction Power290 AW
Cord35′
BaglessYes
ReturnsVaries by retailer
Warranty2 Years
PriceCheck Price

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:

  1. Dyson Ball Animal 3 (base model)
  2. Dyson Ball Animal 3 Extra
  3. Dyson Ball Animal 3 Complete

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 3Ball Animal 3 ExtraBall Animal 3 Complete
Digital motorBall Animal 3Ball Animal 3Ball Animal 3
Dust Bin0.45 gallons / 1.7 liters0.45 gallons / 1.7 liters0.45 gallons / 1.7 liters
Weight17.4 lbs17.4 lbs17.4 lbs
Max Suction290 AW290 AW290 AW
MotorbarYesYesYes
Combination toolYesYesYes
Stair toolYesYesYes
Pet groom toolNoYesYes
Tangle-Free Turbine ToolNoYesYes; x2
Reach Under ToolNoNoYes
Articulating Hard Floor ToolNoNoYes
Multi-Angle Brush ToolNoNoYes
Carbon Fiber Soft Dusting BrushNoNoYes
Tool HolderNoNoYes

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. 

Dyson Ball Animal 3 body
Dyson Ball Animal 3 body

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.

About Derek Hales

Derek HalesDerek Hales is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of ModernCastle.com. He has been featured in Fast Company, Reader's Digest, Business Insider, Realtor.com, She Knows, and other major publications. Derek has a Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration from Kansas State University. Hales has been testing and reviewing products for the home since 2014.

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13 Comments on “Dyson Ball Animal 3 Review”

  1. I just received my Animal 3 and so far works great. I tried it on one of the levels of my home. I don’t have dogs or cats at the moment, but I have parrots. The room that the parrots are in has carpeting and of course the one parrot is notorious for tossing food on the floor. I also have to deal with feathers and bird dander. I am hoping that the Animal 3 will work well for the feathers, bird dander, seed, and pellets that are tossed to the floor. Has anyone else had this vacuum with birds? What is their experience. I have just retired my old Dyson (pre ball). I have had that one since December 2007 and had been happy with that one. I’m trying to figure out where the one tool part that holds one tool on board should be placed.

    Reply
    • I have parrots and the messy floor that goes with them. Just bought this vaccum, replacing a much older Dyson ball. It picks up EVERYTHING with usually only one pass over! I’d be careful with larger feathers, unless you don’t mind looking for the clog you might get. But no problem with hard raw corn, pellets, sunflower seeds or small feathers and dander. My only issue is it’s a bitch pushing on high pile carpeting, even with the correct setting. On the positive side, I can probably cancel my gym membership with the workout I’m getting.

  2. Hey Derek! Would you say it’s worth getting the animal 3 to upgrade from a multifloor 2? I currently have that as well as the v10 animal.

    I live in a 2 bedroom apartment that’s about 90% carpet (all low carpet except for kitchen/dining area.) I’ve got 2 cats, one which sheds quite a bit. I use the v10 on the couch and with the soft roller on the tile kitchen. I also use it for quick day to day cleans on the carpet (around litter boxes, the hallway where I find clumps of hair,) but use the multifloor 2 for deep cleans. Would you recommend a different duo of cordless/corded? Torn between the v15 and the animal 3, which I know are different machines entirely. Thanks for any input!

    Reply
    • No, probably not. Animal 3 is better, but not massively over the Multifloor 2.

      If you wanted to make an upgrade I’d get the V15 and sell / retire your V10. It is far more significant an upgrade than Multifloor 2 to Animal 3.

  3. Hi. Can you confirm or not if the accessories from the Animal 2 fit and work with the Animal 3? It looks like they are the same and have the same attachment mechanism, but this information is conflicting from Dyson. Thanks.

    Reply
  4. Hey, I read that you can get compensated by clicking the links to buy them. I don’t know if it’s a regional thing, but I live in Denver and all Best Buy’s have all three of the animal uprights. I actually just bought the first gen and after reading several of your articles I plan on returning it and getting the animal 3. Especially because it is cheaper than the first and second gen. I’ll miss the turbine tool but won’t pay an additional $100 to have some extra tools I probably won’t use.
    Thanks for the articles!

    Reply
    • Yep, that’s correct. Mostly it’s anywhere in the US, but we do have some international / global links also.

      Good call with the Animal 3, it’s a no brainer considering the price and performance.

  5. Thanks very much. This review was thorough and it’s great that it’s up so soon after the model has first become available.

    I did have a question about the Reach-Under tool that comes with the Complete version of the Ball 3. Is this integrated somehow into the wand itself, or is it something that stores on the chassis of the vacuum? Or is it something stored separately and added on as needed?

    Also, as far as part compatibility, I see that the attachments have that “half-anchor” locking mechanism. I have a cordless v7 model and have been able to use the attachments for the upright models with the appropriate adapter. Obviously this isn’t officially sanctioned by the company so far as I know, but is there any reason that you’d believe that the attachments that come with this model would have problems with the adapter compared to those of older Dyson uprights?

    Basically, the attachment mechanisms don’t appear to have changed?

    Thanks very much.

    Reply
    • Ah, actually, on further examination, the Reach Under tool is different than the one I was thinking of (where it looks like a big red elbow). This one looks like some sort of hockey stick. I assume it could still be used with a cordless model with an adapter. If you could demo it if you do a video review, that would be neat. Thanks.

    • We’ll have a video review coming out late this week or early next. Though I don’t have the Complete version, so I won’t be able to showcase that tool.

    • I don’t have the Complete version, so just guessing here, but I think you’d store it away from the vacuum. The standard Animal 3 has spots to store 2 attachments on the vacuum itself. All others would be stored off vacuum.

      As far as I can tell it’s the standard half-anchor grey locking mechanism. So if you have the adapter that worked on the previous uprights it’ll work here also. I will double check that when we do our video review, but I’m 95% sure it’s standard anchor.