If you’re looking for a small and lightweight vacuum cleaner, the Hoover H-Free 500 could well be for you. Weighing just 2.2kg, this vacuum is easy to use and it has a clever compact storage mode. Performance is generally very good, although it can take a few swipes to pick up bigger spills – plus, the process for switching the floor head can be frustrating. With battery life coming in a little shorter than the competition on some modes, this is a vacuum that should either be used as an addition to a plug-in model or for smaller homes.
- Very small and stores easily
- Decent cleaning performance
- Simple controls
- Fiddly to adjust floor head for carpets and hard floors
- Needs Turbo mode fairly regularly
- Review Price: £169.99
- Cordless vacuum cleaner
- 1179 x 252 x 195mm, 2.2kg
- Motorised floor head, crevice tool, combination dusting tool and furniture brush
- 0.45l bin
- 45min max run-time
The more powerful a cordless vacuum cleaner, the likelihood that it will be bigger in size too. The Hoover H-Free 500 bucks that trend; this is a compact cleaner that can be stashed easily for storage and wielded around the house with very little effort.
For those looking for a lightweight model to work with an existing vacuum, or someone with a small flat with little storage room, the Hoover H-Free 500 could very well be the right model.
Hoover H-Free 500 – What you need to know
- General vacuuming – The lightweight body and simple design make this vacuum a pleasure to push around. Fiddly to change the motorised floor head between carpet and hard floor modes, though.
- Carpet test: Does well for lighter spills but needs full power and few sweeps to pick up most mess.
- Hard floor test: Cleans up most mess but needs turbo mode to pick up bigger spills.
- Pet hair pick up: Deals well with pet hair after a few sweeps but needs turbo mode to get stubborn ground-in hairs.
Related: Best cordless vacuum cleaner
Hoover H-Free 500 design and features – Very small with a neat storage trick
Size is the main thing you’ll notice about the Hoover H-Free 500 on first sight. The compact body is built to be both light and easy to store, with two options for storage. If you have cupboard space then you can hang it on the wall using the provided wall mount; if you don’t, the wand can be clipped to the back of the vacuum cleaner, and you can stand it upright on the floor brush.
Even with the wand attached and the motorised floor brush fitted, the H-Free 500 measures just 1179 x 252 x 195mm and weighs just 2.2kg. That means this vacuum is super easy to pick up and move around, making cleaning high up a doddle. If you struggle with heavier machines, the low weight of the H-Free 500 should certainly have grabbed your attention.
This is also one of the easiest vacuum cleaners I’ve used. Thanks to the low weight and the flexible joint between the wand and the floor head, the H-Free 500 is effortless to push around, nimbly darting around furniture.
Despite being small, the design is very clever. The combination dusting tool and furniture brush slide onto the main vacuum body where the wand attaches, providing a convenient means of storage. It’s a shame there isn’t a clip somewhere for the crevice tool, though.
The motorised floor brush clips onto the wand. You can lock the H-Free 500 upright into it, which is handy when cleaning a home, as you don’t have to try to lean the vacuum against a wall as you do with Dyson’s cordless models.
There’s one slight oddity, though: you can replace the soft edge strip at the rear of the brush head, designed for hard floors, with two wiper blades designed for the best carpet pick-up. Realistically, you’re not going to want to change between the two options, since it’s far too fiddly, so it would have been better if Hoover had created a motorised floor brush that worked on both hard floors and carpets – or provided two tools to do the job.
If you buy the more expensive Pets model, you also get a small motorised brush tool, designed for clearing pet hair off stairs and the sofa.
At just 0.45l, the bin is rather small. However, you can pull out the main filter for emptying and washing, so it isn’t too hard to get the dust out. There’s also a single washable material filter at the top, and Hoover thoughtfully provides a spare, so you can carry on cleaning without having to wait for one to dry.
Controls are simple, with a button to turn the vacuum on, a Turbo mode button to boost power, and a carpet button that turns on the motorised floor brush. All buttons are on/off, so there’s no hand fatigue by having to use a grip trigger.
The standard model comes with a single battery in the box, although the unit is removable so that you can charge the battery anywhere – you don’t need to store the vacuum cleaner in a cupboard that has a power socket. Hoover also does an Energy version of the vacuum cleaner, available for the regular and Pets edition, which comes with two batteries.
Hoover H-Free 500 performance – Needs Turbo mode for bigger spills
To test the Hoover H-Free 500, I used our standard dust spills. Starting on carpet, I spread a teaspoon of flour right up to the skirting board. Giving the vacuum a single sweep, using the wiper blades and with the floor head turned on, I found that I needed to use the Turbo mode to really get to work. The H-Free 500 picked up most of the dust to the edge, but left some behind. This took a further few swipes to really clean up the mess.
Carpet test: Dirty carpet (left) vs Clean carpet (right) – move slider to compare
Next, I took hair from my four cats and combed this into the carpet. A single sweep through the mess on Turbo mode picked up most of the fur, but left some traces behind – again requiring a further few swipes to get through.
Pet hair test: Dirty carpet (left) vs Clean carpet (right) – move slider to compare
Turning to hard floors, I removed the wiper blades and put back the soft strip. I then spread a teaspoon of rice onto the floor and gave the Hoover H-Free 500 a single swipe through it. Using it on standard power, the vacuum cleaner picked up most of the mess. However, when I turned it off a few grains dropped back onto the floor. Starting again on Turbo mode, I found that I could pick up most of the grains more easily.
Carpet test: Dirty hard floor (left) vs Clean hard floor (right) – move slider to compare
On a single six-hour charge, the Hoover H-Free 500 is rated to last for up to 40 minutes on standard mode. This drops down to 25 minutes if you use the motorised floor brush. In Turbo mode, this drops down to just eight minutes. Given that I had to switch on Turbo mode regularly to clean up bigger spills, this isn’t a vacuum cleaner I could use for my entire house. Instead, I see it as a tool for smaller properties or as an addition to a plug-in vacuum cleaner.
Sound levels weren’t too bad: I measured the Hoover H-Free 500 at 78.8dB maximum on regular mode and 84.3dB on Turbo mode. This compares well with the competition.
Should you buy the Hoover H-Free 500?
While the G-Tech HyLite is smaller and can fit in a drawer, it isn’t significantly smaller than the Hoover H-Free 500. If you’re after a vacuum that you can fit easily out of the way, the Hoover H-Free 500 is by far the most powerful of the two.
Cleaning performance was mostly good, although I did find myself reaching for the Turbo option frequently to really pick up the mess, and some spills took a few swipes or more to clean up everything. It’s also frustrating that to get the most out of the floor head you have to manually swap out the soft strip for the wiper blades.
Given that battery life drops with the motorised tool head, if you’re looking for a cordless vacuum cleaner to tackle an average-sized house then you’re better off looking at longer-lasting competition, such as the Dyson V11. For those who have a small property, or folk looking for a lightweight vacuum cleaner as a backup, the Hoover H-Free 500 is a well-priced option.