The Dyson 360 Vis Nav Is the Best Robot Vacuum Cleaner (A Lot Of) Money Can Buy

The Dyson 360 Vis Nav Is the Best Robot Vacuum Cleaner (A Lot Of) Money Can Buy

Say what you will about Dyson, but it’s a company that knows how to make a fancy and expensive vacuum cleaner that works. The Dyson 360 Vis Nav is the first robot vacuum cleaner the company has launched in Australia. In fact, the 360 Vis Nav is only being launched in Japan and Australia, likely because we’re being used as test markets before it’s rolled out wider (or maybe I’m reading too much into it).

At $2,399, it’s the most expensive vacuum-only robot vacuum cleaner without an auto-empty station in the market. That’s no surprise, given Dyson invests billions of dollars into R&D for products and then charges an arm and a leg for them. But is it any good? Is the Dyson 360 Vis Nav worth it?

Dyson 360 Vis Nav robot vacuum

  • Bin volume: 0.57L
  • Filtration: Whole-machine HEPA filtration
  • Run time: Up to 50 minutes
  • Height: 97mm
  • Length: 330mm
  • Width: 345mm
  • Charge time: 2.5 Hours

The physical things that make the 360 Vis Nav special are the full-width brush bar, and the little tongue that sticks out of the side to suck up dust in the corners (AKA the extending side duct).

Other than that, it has 65 air watts of suction. The only other company that responded to my request to learn their air watts was Samsung, which reported 30AW for the Jet Bot. The Jet Bot retails for $1,899, has an auto-empty station, and has a camera on it that you can access to watch from anywhere.

The Dyson 360 Vis Nav also has a 360-degree camera (hence the name), but Dyson has deliberately chosen not to upload anything captured by the camera to the cloud or make it accessible to anyone. This is perhaps disappointing for pet owners wanting to keep an eye on their furry friends, but good for anyone who values privacy.

How does the Dyson 360 Vis Nav perform while cleaning?

Dyson 360 Vis Nav next to a table
Image: Alice Clarke/Gizmodo Australia

I’m quite happy with the cleanliness of the areas that the 360 Vis Nav chooses to clean. The no man’s land of under the couch is the cleanest it’s been in five years.

My place is a small, inner-city two-bedroom apartment with predominantly wooden floors, along with tiles in the bathrooms and kitchen, and a small rug under my electric drum kit. The only real complications are that I have a lot of cables on the ground (occupational hazard) and there are sometimes delivery boxes of review gear stacked in the hallway. Other than that, it’s probably about as uncomplicated as a place can get for a robot vacuum cleaner.

The 360 Vis Nav is bad at weaving in and out of the boxes I have in the hallway, even when there are big gaps between them, which is understandable. But, other than that, there is definitely much less dust on the floor than when I was in charge of vacuuming, or when we were fully relying on the older Ecovacs Deebot X1 Omni (though, I still appreciate the “mopping” ability of the X1).

I have reviewed dozens of robot vacuum cleaners over the years (including putting a bunch through an obstacle course once), and the 360 Vis Nav has the best dust pick up of all of them, partially because of that bar. A lot of the others rely on little spinning brushes, which mostly just distribute the dust more evenly.

Another big tick in the 360 Vis Nav’s favour is that it didn’t try to eat any delicate cables. In the almost three weeks that I’ve been using it, it’s only tried to eat cables thrice: the very thick power cord of the steam mop (presumably in a display of dominance), the end of a laptop charger that fell off a desk, and then the steam mop cable again. It’s gone over my thin speaker cables without incident multiple times, which is good, because they’re the ones I’m always most nervous about.

That said, the robot is not careful with how it slams into things, and shortly after I finished writing this review it slammed into my guitar stand so hard the guitar fell over, smashing a pot plant. So, beware any fragile items you have stacked on furniture that can’t handle being run into at full speed.

Another thing that gives me pause is that the dust map consistently says that certain areas of my apartment are extremely dusty, even though they’re vacuumed four times a week, and there’s just two adults and no pets here. This raises questions about either the cleaning performance, or the accuracy of the sensor. I do not have the tools to find out which, but the floor looks clean, and nothing comes up when I use the CSI-style laser of the Gen 5 detect, so the sensor issue seems more likely.

Ease of use

Dyson 360 Vis Nav on carpet
Image: Alice Clarke/Gizmodo Australia

The 360 Vis Nav is super easy to use. A doddle. There’s a touch screen, which is also a button that you can interact with if you want something tactile, or you can use the app. The app will give you options to create schedules, and view the dust map for each clean.

The UI is pretty simple, yet informative.

Does the tongue really get all the dust in the corners?

Mostly! The tongue is what made me most interested in the 360 Vis Nav, because it meant that a robot might finally get in the corners rather than just redistribute the dust from the corners. I would describe the corner and wall performance as “fine”. Not really good, but not bad, either. Taking a review TV out of the box last week distributed polystyrene everywhere. There is still some of that polystyrene in the corners, now, but not as much as there was, and I’m hoping Bluey (that’s what I’ve called this thing) will get to it all eventually before I vacuum tonight.

So, I guess, better than any other robot vacuum cleaner, but that’s such a low bar that hardly means anything.

Why is it afraid of my front door? (no one knows)

This is the weirdest issue I’ve had with the Dyson 360 Vis Nav, and I would estimate that I’ve spent about four hours on the phone to Dyson trying to solve it: the 360 Vis Nav is afraid of my front door.

If you look at this map of my apartment made by the 360 Vis Nav, you can see that the architect was pretty keen to get to lunch the day they designed it, so it is more hallway than anything else. For some reason, the 360 Vis Nav will only barely venture down that hallway to get to the other rooms once every few cleans. And then it will only get all the way to the front door in one out of every four of the cleans that it ventures beyond the living room.

Image: Alice Clarke/Gizmodo Australia

Dyson support theorises that it could be because my hallway is either too bright or too dark. It could be that overhead downlights are too overwhelming for the sensors, which does not bode well for the many thousands of Australian homes with downlights.

The hallway that the Dyson Vis Nav 360 does not dare venture into
A robot vacuum cleaner’s worst nightmare, apparently. Image: Alice Clarke/Gizmodo Australia

I have the 360 Vis Nav set to clean my apartment at 9 am Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday. Of the past five cleans, it’s reached my front door once, and ventured beyond the living room twice. Whether the lights are on or off seems to make no difference, and I do not know what’s going on there. Presumably, it’s a release teething issue and it’ll be fixed in a software update? That’s what Dyson support says, but they have no timeline on the update. It’s not great.

Also, Dyson makes big claims that the 360 Vis Nav knows where it is to within 7cm accuracy, but unless it also has the ability to teleport, or my apartment sometimes turns into an Escher painting, I seriously doubt that claim, judging by some of the maps it produces.

Other negatives

Aside from some of the mapping oddities that will presumably be patched out in software updates, the two main drawbacks to the Dyson 360 Vis Nav are battery and noise.

The sound the robot makes has become progressively more grating the longer I’ve had it. It varies between “heavy roadworks outside” and “putting a screwdriver set in a woodchipper”. I’ve checked the wheels and all obvious parts, and there’s nothing stuck in there. I think this is just what it sounds like, and it sounds bad.

That’s weird coming from a company that places such importance on making sure its devices don’t sound irritating. Yet this is the most irritating sound of any robot I have ever used.

That means that you probably can’t set the 360 Vis Nav to clean overnight, unless you’re an extremely deep sleeper.

The battery also, quite frankly, sucks. As I said earlier, I live in a small two-bedroom apartment which only has one small rug, and is otherwise just tile and wooden floors. On the occasions that the robot has cleaned the entire apartment, it has taken roughly five-to-five-and-a-half hours just because it needs to go back to charge two or three times, which takes roughly 90-180 minutes each time.

It’s tedious, and means that you have to put up with the irritating sound for a very prolonged time if you work from home (like I do), but otherwise it’s kind of fine. The 360 Vis Nav is largely autonomous, except for when it decides to eat cloths that have fallen on the ground. I don’t really care how long it takes to clean. As long as *I’m* not the one spending five hours vacuuming my floor, it doesn’t really matter.

Final thoughts on the Dyson 360 Vis Nav robot vacuum

Dyson robot vac next to a plant
Image: Alice Clarke/Gizmodo Australia

The Dyson 360 Vis Nav is the best robot vacuum cleaner I have ever used, which is both a testament to the suction power of the Dyson, and how much almost every other robot vacuum cleaner kinda sucks (or doesn’t, I guess).

It’s not anywhere near perfect. I’m not entirely sure the price tag is justified. But it also means that I don’t have to vacuum as often and my apartment is noticeably cleaner. My wife’s allergies and asthma aren’t as bad as they used to be, and that’s worth a lot to me.

It doesn’t entirely remove the need to vacuum yourself, it’s certainly much quicker to just do it yourself with a stick vacuum. Dyson isn’t eating into the stick vacuum market at all, just getting people who already own stick vacuums to also buy a robot. Clever, I guess.

If you’re after a robot vacuum cleaner, you don’t want that vacuum cleaner to pretend to mop, you’re fine emptying it yourself, and you have the cash to splash, this is the one to buy. Just don’t expect it to solve all your problems.

Where to buy the Dyson 360 Vis Nav?

Dyson $2,399 | The Good Guys $2,399 | JB Hi-Fi $2,399

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