There is actually a very simple difference between the DC50 and the DC50i (indie/independent) in that the latter is provided with an extra attachment/accessory (clarified in the 'difference in accessories' section just below) as well as the minor change of 'skin' colour (with the multi-floor version coming in the iconic Dyson 'yellow', whereas the independent comes in a 'silver/red' design -- and the animal versions coming in a 'purple' base). These two variations are the only factors that differentiate a DC50 from a DC50i -- both are essentially the exact same vacuum i.e they both have the same weight, specifications and practical functionality -- simply the same vacuum just a different colour and attachments provided.

(Note: for quick details of the differences, head to the summary section below at the bottom of the article, detailing the varied attachments you get with the all the versions of the DC50).

So firstly, just a quick cap on what are the commonalities between that of the DC50 and DC50i -- in other words the actual DC50 vacuum model itself. In terms of cleaning performance (obviously both being the same), the DC50 is fitted with the very latest Dyson technology with the 'two-tier' radial root cyclone technology which essentially allows it to generate incredibly high centrifugal forces enabling it to suck up microscopic (not visible to the naked eye, as small as 0.5 microns) particles of dirt and debris. Moreover, the DC50's motor packs an impressive (given its such compact size) 180 Air Watts, which is certainly more than sufficient to perform a 'very good' job of cleaning just the standard home.

Dyson DC50 Animal Compact Upright Vacuum Cleaner
Amazon Price: $499.00 Too low to display Buy Now
(price as of Dec 24, 2013)

With regards to mobility (especially amongst comparison to other standard upright vacuums), the DC50 really excels -- not only because it is so light (weighing in at approximately just 11.6 lbs, making it Dyson's lightest upright) but also for the fact it is encompassed with the 2nd generation 'ball mechanism, allowing you to turn the DC50 on a single dime (whereas with your standard rigid wheel vacuum cleaner, you would have to drag it back and forth to just to get it round tight corners etc.). Given this and the practicalities (specifications: H: 106.4 x W: 28 x D: 35.4 cm, cord length: 7.6 metres, max reach: 8.7 m and bin capacity of 0.8 litres) of the vacuum, it is clear it is ideally intended for those with either the smaller apartment and/or are looking for an 'ease-of-use', comfortable style vacuum yet still possesses sufficient (which the DC50 certainly does, and more) power to get a good job done.

Difference in Accessories

As said, the only difference between the DC50 and DC50i comes in the fact that the latter has an additional accessory over the other (and again the change in skin colour). To explain this clearly it is best for me to go over what 'attachments' you get with the standard DC50 version -- which are i) the combination tool (which is basically both a crevice tool for vacuuming awkward gaps and small enclosed areas as well as being a brush nozzle that slides over the top of the crevice to enable you to power dust) and ii) the stair (upholstery) tool (used primarily for stairs, as given in the name, but also can be used on furniture e.g. sofas etc.). These are essentially your 'basic' tool set that come with every purchase of a Dyson vacuum.

Where the DC50i differs is in the simple fact that it comes with an additional tool to that of the DC50 i.e it not only also comes with both the combination tool as well as the stair tool -- but an additional attachment: the 'Dyson Stiff Bristle Brush'. This brush allows you to easily remove/clean tough dug-in dirt stains within soft flooring (e.g. carpets) by performing a popping motion with its attached nylon bristles on the dirt to flick up and free the dirt from the carpet and then to be 'sucked' up into the DC50's bin (see the 'stiff bristle brush' video below for more information). This hence being the only real variable that differentiates a DC50 from a DC50i -- the latter coming with the extra tool of a stiff bristle brush.

Dyson Stiff Bristle Brush
Amazon Price: $19.99 $12.99 Buy Now
(price as of Dec 24, 2013)

You should know however that this 'Stiff Bristle brush' can actually be bought by its seldom (just check out the Amazon element above), hence if you cannot get hold of a DC50i or aren't close to an independent retailer -- simply buy a DC50 and then get the brush attachment separately -- and then apart from the 'colour design' of the vacuum (because it will be in yellow), you essentially have the DC50i bundle package. If you do have a nearby stockist of the DC50i -- to get the best deal, simply work out which one is the cheaper of the two either A) price of the DC50i or B) price of standard DC50 (multi-floor) + the Dyson stiff bristle brush price. In theory, the cheapest price should be option 'A' as you are buying the products in a bundle package and hence should be subject to discount, but let me know what you come across.

DC50 Vs DC50 Animal

Along with the standard (multi-floor) versions of the DC50 and DC50i -- there is also the 'Animal' versions to consider. The only changes that have been made to the two versions is i) they have changed the colour of the DC50 to purple (see Amazon element above, the DC50i is still a silver/red mesh) and ii) they have added (to both the 'DC50' Animal and 'DC50i' Animal) the highly regarded (just check out some its reviews) Dyson tangle free turbine tool. This tool is essentially a highly effective 'pet hair' suction turbine that has been specifically designed to be extremely efficient as well as to actually just 'last' (due to it not getting tangled due to the counter-rotating discs), which you will find if you have any previous experience pet hair tools -- they don't, usually slowly dwindling in poor and eventually breaking due to the mechanisms being caught up in hairs. Again, like that of the Stubborn dirt brush, the tangle free turbine tool  can be bought separately and therefore when trying to workout the best overall deal, the same logic applies only you have to now take into consideration this extra attachment (if you are wanting/needing it).

Dyson Tangle Free Turbine
Amazon Price: $69.99 $62.99 Buy Now
(price as of Dec 24, 2013)

To briefly summarise, the Dyson DC50 and DC50i are 'the same vacuum' -- they have the same power, practical specifications, bin capacity etc. the only difference comes in the fact that the DC50i is provided with an extra tool (the stubborn dirt brush). Then with the Animal versions (of both the DC50 and DC50i) you are provided with yet a further attachment of the 'tangle free turbine tool'. Which version you get ultimately depends on the value you place on the additional attachments and their respective price tags as well as that of the actual version of each. 

A final quick summary of the DC50 Vs DC50i Vs DC50 Animal Vs DC50i Animal with regards to what accessories come with what specific version.

  • DC50 (Multi-floor): Combination Tool, Stair Tool.
  • DC50i (Multi-floor): Combination Tool, Stair Tool, Stubborn Dirt Brush.
  • DC50 Animal: Combination Tool, Stair Tool, Tangle-free Turbine Tool.
  • DC50i Animal: Combination Tool, Stair Tool, Tangle-free Turbine Tool, Stubborn Dirt Brush.

If you have any questions, remarks or concerns regarding any of the versions of the DC50 or about the actual comparison article itself then please be sure to leave them in the comments section that you find just below and I will be sure to get back to you as soon as possible. 

One last thing, be sure to check other Dyson attachments that to improve the multi-functionality of your DC50 further -- you should find you can get significant discounts if you buy them in kits due to the accessories being packed in bundles such as the Dyson Home cleaning kit.

Dyson Home Cleaning Kit
Amazon Price: $64.99 $58.50 Buy Now
(price as of Dec 24, 2013)
With this 'bundle' -- you are provided with the i) soft dusting tool (coming in very handy for you need to clean delicate surfaces e.g. keyboards), stubborn dirt brush (as just mentioned) and the up-top tool (for cleaning high and hard to reach areas such as the tops of cabinets/shelves).