A proper design classic, the Numatic Henry HVR160 isn’t just a cute face – it’s an exceptionally powerful vacuum cleaner with huge bags. It cleans all surfaces brilliantly, and is easy enough to push around. However, its high suction power can make the floor head a little tough to manoeuvre across some surfaces, and it isn’t the neatest cleaner to store. Still, at this price and with plenty else going for it, this remains one of the best cylinder cleaners you can buy.
- Very powerful
- Cleans brilliantly on all surfaces
- Easy to move around
- Large bags
- Can be difficult to push across some surfaces
- A little untidy to store
- TypeThis is a cylinder vacuum cleaner
- Cable lengthThe long 10m power cable enables you to clean further without having to change power sockets
A true design icon, the Numatic Henry is a vacuum cleaner that’s loved by thousands – including professional cleaners. And all for good reason: it offers a large capacity, it’s well priced, it cleans well, and has a reputation for lasting forever. Here on review I have the latest version of the Numatic Henry. It doesn’t stray too far from previous models, but has been designed to meet vacuum cleaner power limits.
Powerful, easy to use and designed to last, this model is as enduring as the original. Note that the Hetty cleaner is exactly the same, but comes in pink.
Design and Features
- Comes with a basic range of attachments
- Excellent cleaning range
If there’s one thing you expect from a Henry, it’s the cute face painted on the front of the iconic red body. It was a cute touch when Henry first launched, and it remains an enduring symbol that gives the vacuum cleaner a personality and life. It’s easy to love this vacuum cleaner.
This cylinder vacuum cleaner is quite a chunky model, weighing 7.5kg. That’s quite a lump to lift, although you won’t have to pick up the vacuum cleaner too often, since it can be wheeled around easily.
It has a long 10m power cable, plus a 2.4m hose length, providing a total reach of 12.4m from a power socket. In most homes, you’ll be able to clean an entire floor from a single power socket. In some homes, you might even manage most of the house with a well-placed power socket.
Rather than using a spring-loaded coil, the Henry has a manual handle to wind the cable back in. This requires some effort, but it’s one less thing that could break – and, unlike a spring system, it won’t become weaker over time.
Part of the reason that the Henry is so large is that it holds 6-litre bags that will see you through for some time to come. Replacements are well priced and cost from £4.49 for three. Do buy the proper Numatic HEPA models, rather than cheap paper replacements, since the originals keep dust locked away, they’re more robust and won’t rip, and self-seal on removal. This is perfect, mess-free emptying.
Also inside is a standard filter that prevents dust from escaping the body, although this model lacks the additional HEPA filter included with the Henry Allergy. If you have a house with allergy sufferers, the Allergy version is better; for most homes, the standard Henry will do the job.
In the box, you get the standard set of accessories, including a floor head that can switch between carpets and hard floors, plus a crevice tool, dusting brush, upholstery brush and extension tube.
Two accessories can be mounted on the rear alongside the floor head.
This model of Numatic Henry comes with the same wand that features on older models; it’s a series of three metal poles that connect together. The curved section has an air vent on it, too, which is used to decrease suction power – the vacuum cleaner has just an on/off switch.
While this setup works well enough, experience has taught me that the various sections of the pole can become stiff and difficult to pull apart over time. To avoid this, I recommend pulling them apart at the end of each clean, and loosely rejoining them for storage.
Storage isn’t that neat with the Henry, since the hose ends up loosely piled up on top of the vacuum cleaner.
- Very powerful
- Sucks up anything with ease
I measure the raw power of all vacuum cleaners in AirWatts, which is a combination of airflow and suction power. This is a true measurement of power that lets us compare the performance of different models.
I measured the Henry at 408AW, which makes it one of the most powerful vacuum cleaners I’ve tested; even more powerful than the Stihl SE 33 wet and dry cleaner. Opening the air valve fully only reduces power to 314AW, which is far more power than most of the competition.
Part of the reason for this power is that Henry doesn’t have any motorised tools for agitating dirt. Instead, it relies on good old-fashioned suction power to pull dirt out of carpets and off hard floors.
Having such power on tap does have its advantages. If you have a lot of mess that requires the crevice tool – say for clear-up following a DIY job – then the Henry can do this much faster than rival models, even sucking up bigger bits of debris.
Putting the Henry through my usual tests, I was generally impressed – although all of that power does mean that the floor head can be difficult to push across some surfaces, having a tendency to suck up lighter rugs. It’s well worth lowering the power via the vent for some jobs.
I started with my carpet test, throwing a teaspoon of flour onto my test carpet. A single sweep forwards and backwards was all it took to leave an entirely clean path through the mess.
On the tricky edge test, where I sprinkled flour on the carpet tiles right up to the skirting boards, the Henry performed perfectly, clearing everything right to the edge of the room.
Pet hair was picked up, although the vacuum cleaner’s head did push the hair first, bundling it into a pile before the suction power picked it up. That’s an issue with all vacuums that rely on airflow only, as they don’t have a brush to agitate hair for a cleaner pickup. If you’ve got pets, then a vacuum with a brush bar will make quicker work of hair.
I finished off with my hard floor test, sprinkling a teaspoon of rice onto the floor. Again, this was no problem for the Henry, which sucked up all grains into the bag, with none dropping back out at the end.
Noise wasn’t too much of an issue, either: 68.1dB is fairly quiet for a cylinder vacuum cleaner.
Should you buy it?
If you want a solid, reliable bagged vacuum cleaner offering plenty of power, then this is a well-priced option.
If you want something a bit neater, or with motorised tools for easier manoeuvring, then look elsewhere.
In some ways, the Numatic Henry is a more basic vacuum cleaner than much of the competition, such as the Shark CZ500UKT. It doesn’t have a motorised brush bar, and it isn’t quite as neat to store. What it may lack in finesse, the Henry more than makes up for in terms of raw power, using lots of suction to clean quickly and easily. This power can make the vacuum cleaner a little hard to push across some surfaces, though, so it won’t suit everyone.
Overall, the relatively low price, excellent cleaning ability and the track record of previous Henry vacuum cleaners to last a fair while make it a great vacuum cleaner for any home. If you’re after something different, my guide to the best vacuum cleaners can help.
How we test
We test every vacuum cleaner we review thoroughly over an extended period of time. We use industry standard tests to compare features properly. We’ll always tell you what we find. We never, ever, accept money to review a product.
Find out more about how we test in our ethics policy.
Used as our main vacuum cleaner for the review period
Tested for at least a week
Tested using tools to measure actual suction performance
Tested with real-world dirt in real-world situations for fair comparisons with other vacuum cleaners
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Numatic is the manufacturer and Henry is the name of the vacuum cleaner.
Just the paint job and finish: Henry is red and Hetty is pink.