If you are wanting to quickly know the difference (and the similarities) between the DC44 and DC56 -- then this brief comparison account of the two cordless cleaning machines is right for you. Moreover, you will be able to understand which best suits your specific needs and preferences as well as ultimately deciding which one offers you the most 'overall' value relative to its price tag.
Firstly, I believe it is best to provide a brief overview of what the two respective cleaning machines are all about -- a brief summary of each:
The Dyson Digital Slim (Mark II) - DC44: a cordless upright vacuum that is intended for cleaning all floor types (as well as ceilings, curtains etc.) -- to remove dust and debris. Primarily, meant as a quick lightweight and easy to use vacuum to help supplement a standard fully sized vacuum in and around the house.
The Dyson Hard Cleaner - DC56: the DC56 is a rather unique cleaning device that is intended for the sole purpose of cleaning hard-floors (e.g. wood, tiled etc.) by removing the aspect of two jobs (i. vacuuming the floor and ii. wiping the floor) into just one job i.e just use the DC56 as it both vacuums debris and dust as well as cleaning and wiping away dirt & grime (for further details check out the video 'DC56' In Action below).
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Design & Specifications
They do look rather similar --having the same modern sleek look to them (and being the same size H: 112 x W: 23 x D: 30 & roughly the same lightweight DC44:5.07 lbs and DC56: 4.86 lbs ) as well as other practical specifications (such as having the same bin capacity of 0.35 litres as well as both being able to be transformed into a handheld vacuum for intricate cleaning jobs -- cleaning the car etc. -- much like the Dyson DC34).
Cleaning Performance & Battery Power
Moreover, they are both fitted with the same style motor (version 1 Dyson Digital motor for the DC44 and a later updated version 2 Dyson Digital motor for the DC56) & battery (22.2 volt lithium-ion 'fade-free' constant suction battery) -- which obviously implies the same sort of performance (both being incorporated with a dual power mode that allowed a standard option to function at a constant suction level of 28 Air Watts & a boost mode of 65 Air Watts) although the battery life of the two differ somewhat (DC44 on standard mode - 20 mins & boost mode - 8 mins, whereas the DC56 has somewhat less with standard mode - 15 mins & boost mode - 6 mins).
They are also fitted with the basic standard line unique Dyson Root Cyclone technology that allows them three distinct advantages over that of non-Dyson vacuums i) they benefit from a bagless mechanism (hence you can see when the bin needs emptying and saves you the running costs of replacing them with bags constantly - ii) they generate high centrifugal forces that allows for pick up of microscopic dust and dirt particles - iii) they don't suffer with loss of suction (i.e as more dirt and debris builds up the cleaning suction power doesn't diminish).
The DC44 and DC56 also come with pretty similar attachments -- the combination crevice tool (which is basically a crevice tool that can be used for awkward & tight gaps that is also fitted with a brush nozzle to allow for powered dusting) as well as a wall mounted docking station (that needs a power supply, but you don't actually require it to charge the DC44/DC56, it can be charged separately. Note, the animal version only comes with the DC44 where it gets an extra attachment designed specifically for effective pick up of pet hair -- the mini pet hair turbine tool.
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So as you can see a lot of the engineering triumphs achieved with the DC44 have been passed on and incorporated into the DC56 -- with the main difference simply coming down to their intended cleaning purposes and therefore the respective cleaner heads of the two. Where the DC44's carbon fibre head has specialised nylon bristles (both fine & short and long & tough) for extensive use on all floor types from dug in dirt on carpeted areas to that of fine dust particles on hard flooring. The DC56's is a dual channel floor type -- that allows the Dyson Hard to firstly pick up any dirt and dust from the floor and then to go on with a wipe provided (you get 9 in your initial pack & have to buy them consequent to that) to remove any left over grime or stains that the vacuum part simply can't remove. Hence, removing the aspect of two rather time consuming jobs into a quick, effortless and effective one.
Conclusion -- Should You But the DC44 or DC56?
Whether you get a DC56 or a DC44 (or both) ultimately depends on what you are wanting/need. If you are after a vacuum that is quick and easy to use in and around the house (or like me to keep up stairs to save me having to bring a heavy vacuum up and down the stairs or for quick clean around before guests come) then I thoroughly recommend the DC44, you won't be disappointed. However, if you have a lot of hard-floors in your home then getting hold of a Dyson Hard is a great option -- as it will save you a lot of time and effort & will leave your floors looking great plus it has the additional benefit of converting to a handheld vacuum for stairs and cars etc (the DC44 as said can do this also). But, obviously if you don't have many hard-floors you are better off getting the DC44 -- it is all a matter of your specific wants, needs and preferences.
If you have any questions, comments or remarks regarding either the comparison article 'DC56 Vs DC44' or about either cleaning machine specifically (e.g. the mechanical features) then please do not hesitate to make them in the comments section below and I will be sure to get back to you as soon as possible.