Dyson’s Gen5 Detect comes out on top in lab suction tests

Proving power comes with a price, our lab tests show this Dyson is a beast when it comes to sucking up dirt and debris.

James Dyson established his namesake company in 1991, embarking on a journey that would revolutionise the world of household cleaning. It all began in the Eighties, when the inventor’s frustration with a vacuum cleaner led to the creation of the very first bagless vacuum cleaner.  

While the brand has expanded its product line to encompass other products, such as air purifiers and hair care, the Dyson name remains indelibly linked to the vacuum cleaner. 

Dyson Gen 5 pick-up tests on arran carpetCredit: Saga Exceptional
We put the Dyson Gen5detect through its paces in our testing centre

Dyson continues to push forward, producing vacuums that, among other things, now tell you how many different types of particles they’ve sucked up.  

Innovation doesn’t come cheap. The brand’s most expensive vacuum currently available is the Dyson Gen5 Detect (£849.99), which launched in May 2023. The company boasts that this model is its most powerful cordless vacuum to date. But is this just marketing speak – or does it really dominate when it comes to suction power? We decided to find out. 

Featured product

Dyson Gen5detect

RRP: £849.99

 Dyson Gen5detect

Review method

How we test

Before our products are reviewed, they go through rigorous testing at the Saga Exceptional test centre. This is where the best cordless vacuum cleaners, including the Dyson Gen5 Detect, face a series of challenging trials.  

To measure their performance on different floor types, vacuum cleaners are used on a variety of surfaces, ranging from vinyl to deep pile carpet. We also assess how effectively they can pick up various types of debris, such as wool, synthetic hair, cereal, and coffee grounds. 

Dyson Gen 5 on vinylCredit: Saga Exceptional
We test all cordless vacuums across various different surfaces including vinyl and carpet

We take various measurements during the testing process, including the air flow rate. This measurement, expressed in cubic metres per minute, shows the volume of air flowing through the machine and is a good indication of suction power. 

Measuring suction power

Did it suck? Oh yes it did!

Without a doubt, the Dyson Gen5 Detect nailed all the suction tests, bowling over our head of testing, Philip Sowels. 

“The Dyson Gen5 Detect in its mid setting scored the highest suction scores in our lab tests, when measured at the head of the unit with 429 and 420 cubic metres per minute, and 744 and 711 in boost mode,” explains Sowels.   

Compare this to some of Dyson’s competition, such as Shark. Its premium cordless vacuum cleaner – the Shark Stratos IZ400UK – had a suction power 250 to 590, a third less powerful than the Gen5 Detect.

The only cordless cleaner in our tests that came close in suction power to the Dyson Gen5 Detect was the Samsung Bespoke Jet Pro Extra; in boost mode it managed to measure 777 cubic metres/min, although its lower power settings weren’t as high as the Dyson’s. 

Featured product

Samsung Bespoke Jet Pro Extra Cordless Stick Vacuum Cleaner

RRP: £649.99

Samsung Bespoke Jet Pro Extra Cordless Stick Vacuum Cleaner

Is there a way to determine the suction power of a vacuum cleaner?  

In short, it’s challenging. Most manufacturers do not disclose these specific figures. In the case of corded vacuum cleaners, you might be able to find the wattage, but that doesn’t provide the complete picture. While a higher wattage indicates a more robust motor, suction power is influenced by other factors, such as the air flow rate. 

To truly gauge the power of a cordless vacuum, the best approach is to try it out first hand. Certain manufacturers, like Dyson and Shark, offer a 30-day guarantee, allowing you to test the vacuum and assess if it meets your requirements.

In fact, the suction was so strong that it caused some issues for our testers. 

“It had killer performance scores on shorter pile carpet, but struggled with the deeper pile,” says Sowels. 

“The suction and the seal were so strong that they stopped the brush from rotating. This required the use of a lower suction mode and opening the vent switch at the front.” 

Close up of the Dyson Gen 5 LCD unitCredit: Saga Exceptional
The boost mode on the Gen5detect is almost too powerful for most floor types

I had the same issue when I tested the Dyson Gen5 Detect in a home environment. On my shorter pile rug it was fine, but as soon as I moved onto thicker carpets, the brush stopped rotating.

It was super frustrating – but after chatting to Sowels, I realised there are ways of getting around this. In the end, I stuck to eco mode for my carpets and got an amazing clean without the disruption of the head not working. 

Measuring pick-up

Devouring the debris

One of the toughest tests we put our cordless vacuum cleaners through is seeing how well they pick up wool and long synthetic hair. Nearly every cleaner we tested struggled to pass this challenge, leaving the wool and hair tangled around the brush head.  

But not the Gen5 Detect. This suction powerhouse literally inhaled the synthetic hair, depositing it all in the bin and leaving nothing behind. It also managed to pick up all the wool on its first forward run, with only a small amount wrapping itself around the middle of the front roller.  

Dyson Gen 5 in long fibre on laminateCredit: Saga Exceptional
The Gen5detect proved to be brilliant at sucking up longer fibres such as wool and synthetic hair

When it came to measuring how much debris the Gen5 Detect picked up from carpets, it had a 100% success rate on deep pile carpets (once we’d switched to eco mode). With shorter pile carpets, it picked up 92% of the measured debris used on the auto setting, and 98% on the boost setting. 

“Head design plays a big part in the effectiveness of how to implement all that suction,” says Sowels.  

“Using the standard brush head, we found it particularly effective at picking up small debris on hard floors, such as coffee grinds and hair, but less so with larger cereal.” 

Our verdict

Power – but at a price

There’s no denying that the Dyson Gen5 Detect is a powerful beast when it comes to defeating dust and debris in our lab and around the house. The drawback is that this power comes with a price – a hefty £849.99 to be precise.  

I was really hoping to fall head over heels for this vacuum cleaner, but there was one tiny annoyance that drove me bonkers. The suction is so strong that it stops the head from rotating – and the only way to fix it is to turn the machine off and then on again.  

Dyson Gen 5 detail unitCredit: Saga Exceptional
There’s no denying that the Dyson Gen5detect is a stylish piece of kit

It’s a beautiful machine to look at and has so many thoughtfully designed elements, but it’s so top heavy, weighing in at 3.45kg ((7lb 9oz). Even though I fancy myself quite fit, I struggled to complete a full lap around the house without feeling like I’d just ran a marathon. 

At a lower price, both points might just seem like minor niggles – but for nearly £900, I want perfection. 

To find the right machine for you, read our round-up of the best cordless vacuums we’ve tested.

Jayne Cherrington-Cook

Written by Jayne Cherrington-Cook she/her


Jayne is the Senior Editor at Saga Exceptional. She cut her online journalism teeth 24 years ago in an era when a dialling tone and slow page load were standard. During this time, she’s written about a variety of subjects and is just at home road-testing TVs as she is interviewing TV stars. A diverse career has seen Jayne launch websites for popular magazines, collaborate with top brands, write regularly for major publications including Woman&Home, Yahoo! and The Daily Telegraph, create a podcast, and also write a tech column for Women’s Own.

  • twitter
  • linkedin
  • Email