Dyson Cinetic Big Ball Origin review: A sore reminder of technology past
- It's a vacuum.
- Bagless design.
- Wand swivels well.
- No powered floor head.
- Poor suction.
- Heavy and unwieldy.
The Dyson Cinetic Big Ball Origin hates me, and I hate it. Back when it was released in 2016 it was literally the belle of the ball. But now it's a painful reminder of how we suffered at the hands of vacuums for years before cordless ones took off. Despite stopping development on corded vacuums in 2018, Dyson are still producing a few models, and with the Cinetic Big Ball being such a staple in the past it has persisted. If I were more superstitious I could think it a ploy from the universe to destroy my marriage and my life.
I physically feel a flush of rage when I think about the Big Ball Origin. After every time I've used it I have screamed vitriol down my hallway. My partner has begged me to stop. But I cannot. Because of this review.
Dyson Cinetic Big Ball Origin review: Design
At its core, the Cinetic Big Ball Origin uses a classic canister design with a main body that attaches to accessories via a hose. For a time, canister vacuums were among the most popular configurations in Australia and Europe because of its versatility with different attachments, and manoeuvrability.
I grew up with canister vacuums and always hated them, and by extension, vacuuming. It wasn't until my first cordless model that I realised it wasn't vacuuming I hated – it was the style of cleaner.
Vacuuming with a canister generally involves yanking the hose so the body can roll behind you like a toy dog on a lead. It's laborious, and heaven forbid you double back on your own cord and need to roll the vacuum over it.
At 7.64kg, the Big Ball Origin is a whole lot of big ball to be hurtling towards yourself. I've reenacted Miley Cyrus' hit song Wrecking Ball on my ankles a few times now. Thankfully the Ball technology does help it stumble over cables a little better and sort itself out if it tips over, but it's a very minor victory.
Dyson has a few models in the Cinetic Big Ball line up, which mostly means different included accessories. The Origin is the base model, and as such does not come with a powered floor head. Instead the design feels painfully dated, with rubber flaps to feebly scrape debris somewhat towards the intake. This is woefully ineffective and filled me with a sense of dread as I watched it create clumps of dog hair on my carpet that it then refused to suck up.
The power is adjusted by a slider on the floor head, and there's a lever to step on to toggle between hard floor and carpet usage. I found this lever to be quite sticky and difficult to move. I also found it hard to determine which mode was engaged unless I was on a hard floor where I could feel the difference better.
There is an on and off button, and a button to retract the cord. As much as I don't like canister vacuums, reeling a cord back in does always feel good. There's a handle on top of the body for easier carrying, and the wand handle has a hinge that provides 360 degrees of articulation, allowing for quite fluid motion.
The unit is near impossible to pack away neatly. Dyson's pictures show the pole standing upright and proud, with the hose curling elegantly behind it. In reality, it flops to the floor like a limp noodle, leaving you with a long stick among a tangled hose and that Big Ball underneath. I also found it difficult to prop against a wall, as the articulating handle would move and cause the pole to slump once again.
The bagless dustbin is sizeable, allowing you to get through a few cleans before it needs to be emptied. However, the large size also means a larger area from which debris is ejected during emptying, resulting in a scattershot towards the trash can. Normally I don't mind if some dust misses the bin, as I'll just quickly vacuum it up, but when it involves dragging a 7.64kg vacuum over and plugging it in? Absolutely rage-inducing.
Dyson Cinetic Big Ball Origin review: Performance
For a corded vacuum, I found the suction quite unimpressive. I believe this is due largely to the Dual Mode Floor Tool – which was a real let-down. It's a very basic, unpowered floor head and feels cheaply made compared to the rest of the unit. The power slider adjusts suction by moving the underside of the head to change how large the intake gap is. This doesn't exactly give you more functional power, and I found it mostly changed how badly the head would suction to the floor – not how much debris it would pick up.
There's nothing to sweep debris into the vacuum, meaning the performance was entirely lacking for collecting hair – particularly on carpet. The rubber guards would push dog hair into a clump, but the vacuum was still unable to collect it. It usually took around five passes to finally get a clump of hair and, on occasion, up to a dozen passes. Performance is better on less-challenging hard floors. Howeve,r I would be cautious using this on wooden floors as the weighty unit feels like a serious scratch hazard to me.
Attachments are quite limited, with only a combination tool and a stair tool. The stair tool is unpowered and quite akin to Dyson's mattress tool. I mostly used it to clean my couch and mattress and felt it did a good enough job.
Using the Cinetic Big Ball Origin to vacuum the car felt like torture. The stair tool was less than sufficient to get embedded sand out of the floor mats, and carrying the big Big Ball down 2 flights of stairs was a task. I also had to scout my building for a power point to use, then park the car as close to it as possible. Given that I usually vacuum the car wherever it's parked on the street, this was a lot of extra (and unwelcome) steps.
Should you buy the Dyson Cinetic Big Ball Origin?
- Buy it if you want to play an expensive prank on someone.
- Don't buy it if you're practicing self care.
Look, I get it – cordless vacuums can be very expensive, and perhaps you want to buy the quality of a Dyson with a more modest price tag. However, even putting aside its cord, I would argue that the Cinetic Big Ball Origin doesn't deliver on the key areas you'd be looking for: incredible suction and refined design.
I can imagine performance is significantly improved with a powered head, but that quickly rockets the price up, and at $599, the Origin is already not cheap.
It was a whole lot of effort to use for worse results than any other vacuum that has passed through my house, so I strongly advise you to keep looking.
Pricing and availability
How we tested
The Dyson Cinetic Big Ball Origin was tested in a 2 bedroom, low-pile carpeted apartment, inhabited by two long-haired people, a long-haired dog, and a cat. Hard floors tested were tile (kitchen and balcony). It was also used for car cleaning. Testing was done over a period of weeks, vacuuming as often as I could emotionally manage.
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