Update: After publication, Dyson informed Business Insider that the original launch price of $779 had now changed to $799.
A bit like Apple, Dyson has made a name for itself with eye-catching industrial design. And also like Apple, the actual functionality and performance of Dyson’s products polarises critics.
So when I was provided the latest wi-fi connected Dyson Pure Hot+Cool Link air purifier to test, I didn’t know what to expect. Even among my acquaintances there are people who swear by the brand and others that say they’re just expensive gimmicks.
Although by international standards Sydney is not a cold location, my house, as is common in this city, has poor heating and I was mainly keen to see how the Dyson would go as a heater. I like my air to be pure, but I figured my lungs weren’t sensitive enough to review that.
The Dyson heater, like most products from the company, is attractive in design. The air comes out of the now-familiar fanless ring, which is elongated to an oval shape in this case. The best part of the design, in our inner city house where space is at a premium, is the small footprint. The circular base only takes up about 20cm by 20cm amount of floor space – far less than conventional heaters of any kind.
The fanless design also seems like it’s safer if small children are in the household as well. The appliance auto-detects if it’s tipped off balance or being picked up and switches itself off.
Control through software
This is the part that puts the heater into the ‘internet of things’ class. The appliance can connect to your home wifi network, then any member of the household can control it using a free mobile phone app.
While this opens up a world of possible pranks on spouses, parents and children, this very connectivity is the feature that perhaps comes closest to justifying the $799 price tag of the Dyson.
It seems simple on paper, but having all the buttons of the remote control available on your phone is very convenient when you’re in bed or, for example, in your living room wanting to pre-heat the bedroom.
And remember these shenanigans on your conventional dumb heater?
The Dyson app also allows timer entries that allow one-off or recurring sessions when the heater will be operating. Because the timer entries are stored in the cloud and the heater gets its clock from the internet, power interruptions do not disrupt the timer.
Our household has enjoyed having the heater switch on 10 minutes before our morning alarm to make sure getting up on a chilly winter’s day is a little bit easier.
Expensive upfront and expensive ongoing
Let’s get straight to the point — Dyson appliances are expensive. And this heater is no exception, with a recommended retail price of $799. A quick search online shows Australian retailers selling fan and ceramic heaters for less than $100 and column heaters for a couple of hundred dollars. Gas heaters can get into the thousands.
But let’s not forget the Dyson is an air purifier as well, meaning the filter must be changed. And that’s another $99 each year, which is the interval the manufacturer recommends. That’s $1789 total cost of ownership over 10 years. Yikes.
Performance as a heater
The Dyson Hot+Cool is outstanding as a heater. My house has an open plan living-kitchen area with hardwood floors that’s difficult to warm with a portable device, but the Dyson handled it effectively. But the best scenario for the device is in the bedroom, where it can warm a confined space in a matter of minutes.
The heater comes with “focused” and “diffused” modes, to allow different airflow according to the dimensions of the room.
One criticism is that I’m not sure that the thermostat works that well when it’s set to “auto”. For example, I have observed the heater set to 22 degrees, but seen it pump warm air out well beyond that temperature. This does erode confidence just enough that I wouldn’t want to leave it on unsupervised for too long.
The app is also handy for keeping track of how effective the Dyson is as an air purifier. The number of particles in the room and outside are shown, as well as historical data on how long the purifier was active each day and how clean the room was. This kind of analysis would be unmatched in traditional air purifiers that are not connected to the internet.
Dyson has provided good value by connecting its heater/fan air purifier to the internet. All the benefits that come with the mobile app and the outstanding heating performance makes it the best heater I’ve ever had, but I don’t know if I can overcome the $799 price tag and the annual expense of the filters.