If you live in a city, you've probably seen a Dyson vac or two sitting in a corner, attracting undue attention — simply because the thing is too big to store. The new Dyson City is meant to solve that: It's small enough to sit on a sheet of paper, and it's light enough to hold in the palm of your hand. But after some preliminary tests, we can tell you it sucks really, really hard (in a good way).
The company says it spent a total of five years trying to miniaturize their previous generation of canister vacuums. What they came up with are a series of subtle innovations. For example, you can see that the conical "cyclones" which sit at the top of the canister meet at a steep angle atop the clean plastic bin. That's to fit them together as tightly as possible; there's also additional cyclones in between them, to raise the total suction. (Imagine a cluster of sucking vortexes, rather than just an outer ring of them).
But as any engineer will tell you, the tiny size creates problems with heat and noise. "This product was originally designed for the Japanese market, because the apartments are tiny but the walls are thin. And people vacuum at all sorts of odd hours," says Chris Butcher, who was on a team of over a dozen engineers who worked on the product. The noise problem was solved with carefully molded parts that smooth how air flows into the vacuum and out of it, thus reducing the sound of sucking air, as well as foam dampers that prevent vibration. The heat, meanwhile, is partly dissipated by an internal drum around which the cord is wrapped; made of aluminum, it draws heat away from the cord.
In all, the DC26 is about 25% smaller than the second smallest Dyson canister vac. It's available for pre-order now, for $400, and will begin shipping next month.