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24 May 2022

Is it worth buying a Henry Hoover?

Why is Henry Hoover so popular and what's the difference between Hetty and Henry? Find everything you need to know about the Numatic Henry vacuum range.

Numatic’s Henry Hoover is one of Britain’s most recognisable and beloved vacuum cleaners since launching back in the early 1980s. 

We’ve tested one cordless and five corded Henry vacuums ranging in price from £120 up to £160. They're a more affordable option compared to other big brands like Dyson and Shark and they certainly have the nostalgia-factor, but are they worth buying?

We send all our vacuum cleaners to be tested at an independent lab, so we can tell you how well they work on different floor types, how well they trap pet hair, dust and allergens, and how easy they are to use. 

Find out what you need to know about the Numatic Henry range and how they compare in terms of price, dust capacity and weight, plus we answer common questions about these vacuum cleaners.

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Numatic Henry vacuums compared 

Most of the Henry family members are corded and bagged vacuum cleaners, although in 2017 Numatic released a cordless version of Henry and Hetty, which has a lithium-ion battery. 

There are currently 15 Henry models listed on the Numatic website. For some of them, the only major difference is their colour. 

This is the case for Henry and Hetty - short for Henrietta - who is Henry's female counterpart. The features and specifications of the two vacuum cleaners are exactly the same, the only differences are that Hetty is slightly smaller (although it weighs the same) and comes in pink or yellow, with long eyelashes. 

Our table below shows how the most popular models differ in weight, dust capacity, cleaning range and price. The technical specifications are shown as stated by the manufacturer. 

If you'd like to see how well the Henry's perform in our lab test and read more on our findings and how they differ from the manufacturer's claims, head over to our Henry vacuum cleaner reviews

Weight (kg)
Dust capacity (litre)
Cleaning range (m)
 Typical price
Henry HVR160-11
Hetty HET160-11
Henry Xtra HVX200
Henry XL Plus NRV370-11
Henry Cordless HVB160
Henry Allergy HVA 160-11
Henry PET200

In general the Numatic range of vacuum cleaners is pretty basic and there's nothing too flashy. 

Here's what you can expect in terms of features: 

  • Combination floorhead - a staple feature of all Henry vacuum cleaners 
  • Hardwood floorhead - a handy feature for homeowners with wooden floor (comes with Henry XL Plus, Henry Allergy HVA 160-11 and Henry Xtra HVX200)
  • Turbo brush floorhead - a brush designed to pick up bits from sofas and stairs (comes with Henry XL Plus and Henry Xtra HVX200)
  • Mini pet turbo tool - a rotating brush for stubborn bits of dirt, especially pet hair (comes with Henry XL Plus and Harry HHR200-11)

Some features such as the turbo brush and mini pet turbo tool are only included with certain models of Henry, but they are available to buy as an add-on and are compatible with some of the most popular Henry vacuum cleaners. 

We recommend checking manufacturers specifications to make sure your Henry is compatible before buying.

To find out how well Henry and the family performed in our rigorous lab tests, head to our Numatic’s Henry reviews

What is a Henry Hoover and why is it so popular? 

Henry is a flagship vacuum cleaner from Numatic International Ltd, a UK based cleaning equipment manufacturer.

The vacuum, which is best known for its smiley face, was invented by the Numatic founder Chris Duncan and released commercially in 1981. Henry was introduced to the high street in 1985 and quickly became a household name. 

Henry was soon joined by Hetty, Harry, James and other models, and so Numatic's Henry family was born. 

So far, over 14 million Henry’s have been made by Numatic. It also remains the only mass-produced consumer vacuum cleaner still made in Britain, which may be another reason for its popularity.

Common Henry Hoover questions explained 

Can you use a Henry Hoover without a bag?

In short? No. The manufacturer does not recommend using Henry vacuum cleaners without a bag. If you do, the dust from the cleaning will affect and eventually clog up the filters and other parts of the vacuum. Regularly changing the bag will prolong the life span of your machine and it's more cost effective in the long run.

Can you use a Henry Hoover on wet carpet?

That depends on the type of Henry you own. There are some Henry family members (for example, George the wet dry vacuum cleaner) designed especially for wet vacuuming, including carpets. They even come with extra tools to make the job easier. 

Most vacuum cleaners should not be used to pick up any type of liquid. Make sure you carefully read the manufacturer’s manual to see if your Henry includes wet vacuuming function. 

How can I make my Henry smell nice?

It’s a well known fact that over time, some vacuum cleaners can start emitting unpleasant smells. 

The reasons why differ, but it’s usually down to pieces of food (or other bits) left over in the bag for long periods of time, blockage of the hose or old filters in dire need of washing or replacing. 

Here are some tips on ways to make sure your Henry stays smelling fresh: 

  • Avoid vacuuming up large pieces of food or anything that could quickly block up your Henry.
  • Steer clear of vacuuming liquids with a dry vacuum cleaner. 
  • Make sure you replace bags when they’re full or if you vacuumed up something that smells less than pleasant.
  • Regularly wash or even replace your filter, if it’s beyond repair.
  • This is optional, but if you’re looking to make your house smell extra fresh after vacuuming, simply pop an air freshener (the car ones will do) in the main body of your Henry, on the bottom and below the bag.

Is Henry a HEPA filter vacuum?

The flagship Henry vacuum cleaner does not have a HEPA filter. Most Henry's come with a TriTex or MicroFresh filter. The only vacuum cleaner with HEPA filter from the Numatic’s Henry family is Henry Allergy, which is designed specifically with allergy sufferers in mind. 

Read our full Henry Allergy review to see how good it really is at trapping dust and allergens.

Where to buy a Henry Hoover?

Due to Henry’s popularity, the vacuum cleaner is available to purchase from most well-known retailers. Before making your decision to buy, make sure you check the store’s return policy, as well as their customer feedback and reviews. 

Here are some popular retailers who stock Numatic’s Henry vacuum cleaners:

MyHenry - linked to the Numatic website, Henry and the family are available to purchase from the brand’s official store.

Amazon - sells most of the Numatic family products.

Argos - stocks multiple variations of Henry vacuum cleaners.

eBay - offers a variety of new and secondhand Numatic products.

Curry’s - stocks a large variety of Numatic family products, including Henry.

Robert Dyas - the hardware retailer offers a selection of Numatic products, including the flagship vacuum cleaner.

Donaghy Bros - Northern Ireland’s independent electronics retailer stocks a limited selection of Henry vacuum cleaners.

AO -  stocks a number of different Numatic products and ranges.