Dyson's V15s Detect Submarine is one of the best performers we've seen when sucking up dry spills from hard floors and carpet. But its main drawcard – the Submarine wet roller head that washes debris off hard floors – can be messy to empty and maintain, and won't perform as well as a dedicated hard floor cleaner. If you aren't fussed about this extra attachment, there are cheaper Dyson models worth considering.
Price: $1649 (for the Complete version)
Stick vacuums have become the Swiss Army knives of the cleaning world, with all sorts of attachments that'll pick up pet hair, clean your upholstery or suck away the cobwebs from crevices and ceilings. Now, Dyson's V15s Detect Submarine comes with a wet roller attachment designed to clean up liquids, debris and stains from hard floors.
Dyson isn't the first to make a stick vacuum that doubles as a mop or hard floor cleaner, and our experts were keen to see if it's any better than the lacklustre offerings we've seen so far.
For instance, the LG A9T-Ultra's mop attachment will buff your floor and clean off light residue using a spinning action and lukewarm water, but the mop pads aren't designed to suck up debris and will need to be washed regularly. Meanwhile, the Invictus X9's water attachment can suck up spills, but it's cumbersome to use and dripped dirty water on our floor.
While we can't directly compare the Submarine's wet roller attachment with these models, we did include it in our first full test of dedicated hard floor cleaners from brands like Bissell and Eufy. Naturally, we also tested its core function – dry vacuuming – as part of our regular stick vacuum test, but this first look review focuses on the wet roller attachment.
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The model we bought and tested, the Dyson V15s Detect Submarine Complete, costs $1649 and comes with:
- motorised brush head to vacuum hard floors and carpet
- motorised soft "fluffy" roller head to vacuum hard floors
- motorised mini brush head with anti-tangle feature
- combination dust brush/upholstery tool
- built-in combination crevice/dusting brush tool
- battery charger
- "Submarine" hard floor cleaning head with drip tray
- stand mount (dock) with tool holder and screws
- HEPA filtration.
For $100 less you can buy a Dyson V15s Detect Submarine without the dock, HEPA filtration or soft roller head.
The Dyson V15s Detect Submarine Complete comes with a range of cleaning heads and accessories, as well as a dock to hold the vacuum and tools.
If the idea of adding a floor washing function to your existing Dyson stick vacuum sounds appealing, this won't be possible if you currently have a Dyson V15 vacuum (V15 without the 's'), as it's not backwards compatible. Dyson says the software has been "reprogrammed" for wet floor cleaning so you can't buy one separately to add to an older model (even though the V15 was released as recently as 2021 and is still being sold).
The soft "fluffy" roller head uses an optical LED light to highlight dust and debris on hard floors. We've investigated this function with previous models (including the V15 and the Gen5detect) and while it's a novel idea, it's not a must-have.
Although it can be fun to see the dust you're vacuuming up, you'll see the most dirt with the lights off or in the shadows (the CHOICE labs put health and safety first so it's probably best to leave a light on). That said, dedicated hard floor heads tend to be good at what they do, and we tested the hard floor functionality using this head.
The V15s Detect delivers data on how many particles you're vacuuming, in the same way many of its other models do, such as the Gen5detect Absolute. While vacuuming in Auto mode, a bar graph on the vacuum's LCD screen shows you how clean your floor is getting in real time and will adjust the suction according to the size of the particles it detects.
But again, this isn't a necessity if you want a clean floor, as you can tell whether your model is working by looking at the clear dust bin.
The Submarine head attaches to the vacuum's wand and sits in a tray to prevent water from spilling onto the floor.
View of the Submarine cleaning head from underneath.
The Submarine head fits onto the cleaning wand but the neck is blocked to prevent any moisture going into the wand. It doesn't actually use the vacuum's suction controls. There's a clear 300mL reservoir for clean water, and a wet roller head within the attachment.
As you move the head over the hard floor surface, water is released onto the spinning wet roller head which then absorbs any spills before extracting the dirty water into a waste extraction tray.
Our vacuum expert, Antonio Bonacruz, rated the effort of manoeuvring the head as "very good", but the pivoting head felt too loose trying to get it to go in a straight direction.
Hard floor performance
To rate how well the V15s Detect removed debris from a hard floor, we placed a number of dried stains on some typical laminate flooring, including coffee, mud, jam and soy sauce. We counted how many passes the head needed to make before everything had been cleaned up to come up with a total floor cleaning test score.
Dyson doesn't recommend the use of any particular detergent, only clean water, so we didn't use any in our tests (it does say that if you must do so, use only a gentle formulation without bleach or high foam).
Like all the hard floor cleaners we tested, jam was by far the toughest stain to remove. However, the Dyson also struggled to remove mud, whereas the others didn't, and it didn't do much better removing soy sauce either.
It did remove coffee well but this wasn't enough to prevent it from receiving an overall rating of "poor" at removing stains, compared with our recommended products which were rated "good". You can find the full test results and specifications in our hard floor cleaner reviews.
One of the most annoying things about mopping a floor is how wet it becomes after use, and thankfully the Submarine leaves barely any water behind with any residual water evaporating fast. It was rated excellent in our floor dryness test.
Things aren't simple when it comes to keeping the wet roller head clean; the multi-step process is almost as involved as cleaning an actual floor. First you need to ensure the Submarine wet roller head is placed onto the drip tray before detaching it from the wand in order to prevent any water spilling.
The Submarine is made up of a number of parts that all need to be disassembled, emptied and/or rinsed by hand, then reassembled. This includes the wet roller brush bar, the water reservoir and waste extraction tray, and the dirty water tray cap.
Antonio found emptying the dirty water could be a messy process, and when emptying and refilling the tanks, the wet roller could inadvertently detach. It also needs to be properly rinsed after each use and left to air dry before placing it back in the Submarine.
There's quite a bit of maintenance required to keep the Submarine head clean.
The accompanying instructional video (pictured above) shows a perfectly manicured hand placing drops of detergent onto a "dirty" roller bar and rinsing it under a tap (the roller is miraculously free of any debris with only a tea-coloured tinge running off it when it's being washed). It then needs to be squeezed and air dried.
The reality is likely to involve a lot more dirt on the roller bar (and on your hands).
And it's far more of a chore compared to, say, a steam mop, where usually only the velcro-attached microfibre pad needs to be removed and thrown into the washing machine (or washed by hand if preferred) after every use.
Although we've focused on the new Submarine function in our review, how does the V15s Detect perform as a dry vacuum cleaner? Like many of Dyson's high-end offerings, it didn't disappoint. Our expert Adrian Lini ran it through our usual stick vacuum test method and it performed excellently in our thorough carpet clean and hard floor performance tests.
Note that we do our tests on the highest mode possible to give the vacuums their best chance, so the brush bar and suction action can be very powerful. We even found some carpet fluff could be removed during the process. Indeed, Dyson says that some carpets will fuzz if a rotating brush bar is used when vacuuming, so if in doubt, check with the carpet manufacturer. lf you have precious new carpet, you may want to change your setting to a lower one and see how you go.
Ease of use in dry vacuum mode rated very good overall, but the V15s still uses the old trigger mechanism that only turns on when you hold the trigger down (which can get tiring for people with weaker hands or arthritis, and it is certainly more difficult to handle if you're trying to reach upwards). Many other stick vacuums nowadays (including some of Dyson's) only use an on/off button.
Overall, while we were impressed with the Dyson V15s Detect as a dry vacuum, the hard floor cleaning aspect was a bit disappointing, especially the process involved with keeping the Submarine head clean. You needn't worry if you have a V15 (without the 's') and are currently missing out on being able to add the Submarine attachment. For full results, check out our hard floor cleaner and stick vacuum reviews.
Stock images: Getty, unless otherwise stated.