Numatic Charles Review

The Numatic Charles is a versatile wet and dry vacuum with great suction, plenty of tools and outstanding liquid pick-up

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Verdict

With many of the stand-out features that made the Henry so popular, the Numatic Charles is a tough and reliable vacuum cleaner for wet and dry spills alike. Powerful suction and a great range of tools make it a versatile performer, but so-so edge pick-up for dust and the fact you have to change filters to move between wet and dry modes take the shine off somewhat. Still, as a secondary vacuum for those dirty jobs, Charles just may find its way into your home.

Pros

  • Solid suction power
  • Great liquid pick up
  • Lots of tools
  • Large liquid/dust capacity
  • Huge cleaning reach

Cons

  • Edge cleaning could be better
  • Average pet hair removal
  • Quite pricey

Key Specifications

  • Review Price: £164.99
  • 1060W motor
  • Wet and dry vacuuming
  • Two floorheads
  • HepaFlo filter bags
  • Aluminium tubes
  • 10m power cable
  • 1-year warranty

Much like the loved Numatic Henry, the Numatic Charles has a friendly face on the front, but this big brother can clear liquid spillages, too. It’s equally robust as the Herny, equipped with a long hose, huge 10m power cable for plenty of reach, a powerful 1060W motor, and a good range of cleaning accessories for different flooring and hard-to-reach areas.

The Numatic Charles sucks up liquid spills like a professional, and demolishes standard household rubbish with ease. It’s quite pricey, and both pet hair and edge-cleaning could have been better. Yet its main floor vacuuming abilities are solid, and liquid spill pick-up ranks as exceptional among similarly priced machines.

Numatic Charles Wet/Dry Vacuum – What you need to know

  • Cleaning power on dry floor – Charles did a good job over a mixture of dry flooring including rugs and hard kitchen tiles, but dog hair pick-up was disappointing.
  • Wet cleaning power – Spillages are no problem for this wet/dry vacuum. Charles sucked up water on kitchen tiles in a few passes and capacity is good.
  • Edge cleaning – The suction abilities are strong but the floor-head design meant there was a little powder left close to the door.
  • Good enough for the workshop? – Trying out the Charles in the work van, it managed to suck up crumbs, muddy footprint residue and even gravel.

Related: Best vacuum cleaner

Numatic Charles Accessories

You get all of the accessories you need for wet and dry spills

Numatic Charles Wet/Dry Vacuum – It’s a versatile wet and dry vacuum with a great range of tools

Charles is a sweet, smiling vacuum that never fails to get a return smile from visitors. It’s a little larger than the familiar Henry vacuum cleaner, with Charles adding wet cleaning abilities and a larger capacity bin.

It comes with a Tritex filtration system for dry tasks and a float valve for liquids, although there’s some manual switching between the two systems to change between tasks. For those familiar with its little brother, the cloth bag and filter frame remain for dry cleaning. A mesh bag pops over the float valve for wet spillages.

Numatic Charles wet filter

You need to install the wet filter for mopping up liquids

Charles moves freely on four smooth wheels and the overall build is robust. That said, we did have a minor issue with one of the head clips just not staying put, although we suspect a retailer would have just replaced the cleaner had this been a typical purchase. For our tests, it didn’t affect performance. It was just slightly annoying, especially when transporting Charles to different rooms. Given he’s a portly 8.5kg, he’s no featherweight to carry at the best of times.

Numatic Charles dry filter

The dry filter is the same as that used on the Numatic Henry

Included in the box is a good selection of accessories including a crevice tool, soft dusting brush, upholstery nozzle and slide-on Brush. We especially liked the dusting brush for its long soft bristles, which worked well on our office chairs and keyboards. All of the tools simply push on to the decent-length, 2.4m flexible hose. This is a tough piece of tubing amply capable of being the tow-rope for Charles as you move around the room.

Two cleaning heads are also thrown in: the MultiFlo wet pick-up nozzle for wet spills and the Combination floor tool for dry vacuuming. The latter has a footswitch that drops bristles down for hard-floor cleaning. The three aluminium extension tubes are easy to pop on and off and feel solid in use.

Numatic Charles accessories

There’s a good range of accessories in the box for cleaning all types of surface

Charles has a large dry-cleaning capacity of 15l, and it comes with HepaFlo dust bags that are easy to put on, empty and remove. The handy dust bag closure system ensures you don’t get dust everywhere when removing the bag. You can get a packet of 10 bags for less than a tenner, making for very affordable cleaning. Slightly smaller but equally impressive, the 9l liquid capacity is a little higher than average for domestic wet/dry machines.

Numatic Charles inside

There’s a lot of room inside the vacuum for dry and wet spills alike

Numatic Charles Wet/Dry Vacuum – Outstanding suction power means it pulls in heavier debris with ease

Charles benefits from wet/dry vacuum cleaners not having to adhere to the same power limits as dry-only vacs, and packs in a motor over 1kW in size. No surprise that this translates into epic suction power, ample for vacuuming and quite capable of draining small water vessels as well as sucking up wet spills.

Using the main floor-head on carpet and hard floors, the suction power delivers a great clean – albeit having to fight the suck-down effect on carpets somewhat. Edge-cleaning was a little disappointing, leaving a line of our test powder on the hard-floor test, and pet hairs tended to become caught around the floor-head’s brushes rather than being sucked up. No such issue with wet spills, though; the Charles did an excellent job of mopping up water to almost dry.

Stepping up a notch, Charles was transported outside to clean the work van – a job that had been a long time coming. Heavyweight debris was sucked straight up, mud clumps were gone, and even small stones hiding under the seats were pulled out with ease. The range of tools helped with the variety of nooks and crannies in the vehicle. It’s little surprise you’ll see Charles being used commercially at car cleaners across the county.

The super-lengthy 10m power cable means you won’t be swapping plug sockets so many times if you’re cleaning larger areas, and the decent-length hose and a trio of tubes further extend the abundant cleaning reach. Having recently tested a range of wet and dry vacuums, Charles offers the most extended cleaning reach of the lot.

Emptying Charles is neat and easy, too. The super-large bags take a long while to clog before blocking the flow, and feature a little flap that seals the opening as you remove them from the machine. The float valve cuts the machine power when the bin is full of liquid, and emptying is an old-school lift and tip operation, without any drain plug in the body.

Numatic Charles filter bag

The self-closing bags make emptying the vacuum easy

The Charles is a great wet and dry vacuum, complete with a range of superb tools and unrivalled cleaning reach. Its large-capacity bin is great, the filter bags huge, and tool roster comprehensive. It’s powerful and runs quietly, which could be important if you’re cleaning around the office for example. The edge cleaning and pet hair pick-up were surprisingly lacklustre, and our unit’s dodgy clip was a little concerning. Nevertheless, for open-floor cleaning and extended duties in the workshop and vehicles, it’s a solid option.

Should I buy the Numatic Charles?

Making vacuuming fun with its smiling face and funky blue design, the Numatic Charles is a strong contender in the wet and dry vacuuming market. Liquid pick-up is great, its high suction power means major dry debris cleaning is a breeze, and the tool lineup is comprehensive. At just over 70dB it’s one of the quietest wet and dry cleaners we’ve tested, too.

Given the relatively premium price against many of its peers, edge and pet-hair cleaning is a bit disappointing, calling into question its abilities as a home’s primary vacuum cleaner. However, if you’re looking for a rufty-tufty cleaner for the office, garage or car, or to mop up occasional spills, Charles should smile its way onto your shortlist.

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