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Can this cheap cordless Hoover rival Dyson?

Hoover says its £140 H-Free HF18RH cordless vacuum is as good as a corded cleaner. We tried it out to bring you our first impressions

Hoover has launched a cordless vacuum that it claims can equal a corded model for cleaning power, and costs £100 less than the cheapest Dyson cordless vacuum. We took it for a spin on carpets, hard floors and dusty corners to see if it’s worth snapping up.

The Hoover H-Free HF18RH cordless stick vacuum is ultra light, weighing just 2.2kg. Like other popular cordless models, it converts into a handheld cleaner for tackling sofas, cars, stairs and high-up spots.

The floor nozzle is designed to easily manoeuvre around obstacles, and you can switch the brush bar off to protect your hard floors. You also get mini tools for cleaning crevices, upholstery and smaller areas.

Can this cheap cordless cleaner help to keep your home dust-free? Find out in the full Hoover H-Free HF18RH first look review.

Hoover H-Free cordless: what you get

The H-Free has some handy features usually found on pricier models: LED lights on the floorhead help to illuminate stray dirt when cleaning, and you can easily switch the brush bar on and off from the handle to protect your hard floors from the spinning bristles.

It has an 0.8 litre capacity, which is decent for a cordless vacuum. There is also a small catch you can flick across to hold the power button on. Other cordless models, including the Dyson range, require you to hold the power button down while cleaning. This is usually to save battery, but it can be tiring if you have lots of floor space to cover.

Hoover vs rival cordless vacuums: specs compared

The H-Free runs off an 18V lithium ion battery, and has a run time of up to 25 minutes. This isn’t the best we’ve seen, but it’s good for the price point. Here’s how it stacks up against some key rivals:

Model Price*  Charge time** Run time*** Capacity Weight  Features
Hoover H-Free HF18RH £140 6 hours 25 min (20) 0.8 litres 2.2kg LED lights
Vax Blade Ultra TBT3V1P2 £170 3 hours 17 mins 50 min (21) 0.6 litres 3.1kg Battery life indicator
Dyson V7 Motorhead £240 2 hours 35 mins 28 min (7) 0.6 litres 2.4kg Dust ejector mechanism
Shark DuoClean IF200UK £240 3 hours 30 mins 20 min (12) 0.7 litres  5.5kg Dual brush bars, flexible tube, LED lights, replaceable battery
*prices correct as of 22 August 2018  **charge time, run time, capacity and weight for Hoover based on specs; Vax, Dyson and Shark figures based on Which? tests as these models have been fully lab tested  ***second value is run time on the higher power / turbo setting

On specs, this Hoover could be a good choice if you are on a strict budget. It’s much cheaper than some big-name rivals, but still offers some nice ease of use extras such as battery-life indicators, mini tools, and LED headlights.

These are no use if it can’t clean your home effectively though. Hoover claims the H-Free cleans as well as a corded model, although it doesn’t specify which one. The brand has produced both brilliant and awful corded vacuums in the past, so this isn’t necessarily a guarantee of good cleaning.

We’ve found that cheaper cordless vacuums can be a real gamble. Some models costing less than £200 have done well in our tests, but others have proven downright terrible.

Head to our cordless vacuum cleaner reviews to get the lowdown on the best cheaper options, and read up on our first impressions of this Hoover.

Cheap vs expensive cordless vacuums

It’s not just the cheap cordless models that can let you down. We’ve found cordless vacuum cleaners costing hundreds of pounds that are poor enough to end up on our list of Don’t Buy cordless vacuums to avoid.

Spending more will usually get you a higher specification battery though, meaning longer run times and shorter recharging times. Some models, such as the Bosch Unlimited Premium, Shark DuoClean Truepet IF250UKT and Henry HVB160 cordless vacuum, have swappable batteries, so you don’t need to worry about getting caught short part way during cleaning.

You’ll often get a higher capacity, more speed settings and extra cleaning accessories too. With the H-Free, paying an extra £10 will get you a Pet version (the Hoover HF18CPT – image above). This includes an additional mini turbo tool for sucking up stray hairs from soft furnishings, which could be handy if you are plagued by pet hair.

Head to our list of Best Buy cordless vacuum cleaners to see all the models we recommend and find the best option for your budget.

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