A brute of a vacuum cleaner, the Henry XL Plus has tons of power and a huge 15-litre capacity. Thanks to its self-seal HepaFlo bags, it keeps dust locked away. Considering its wide range of tools, this is a great choice for anyone who has a very large home or wants to tackle bigger jobs, such as DIY debris removal. But it’s a bulky vacuum cleaner to store, it offers the same power as its little brother, and it can be difficult to push on carpets.
- Powerful suction
- Huge capacity
- Great set of tools
- Regular floorhead not so good for pet hair
- TypeThis is a bagged cylinder vacuum cleaner.
- PowerI measured this vacuum cleaner at 431AW.
There are times when a regular vacuum cleaner just won’t cut it – there’s simply too much dust to collect or too big an area to tackle. For those jobs, there’s the Henry XL Plus, a supersized version of the much-loved Henry.
Design and Features
- Huge 15-litre capacity
- Wide range of tools
- Only one bag in the box
It’s difficult to tell from pictures just how large the Henry XL Plus is. Trust me: it’s big, measuring 510x350x370mm and weighing 10kg – this vacuum cleaner really does deserve its XL moniker.
The extra space is put to good use with a huge 15-litre capacity, which is more than double the capacity of the 6-litre regular Henry. That’s an enormous amount of space and makes this vacuum cleaner better suited to larger homes and DIY projects.
Bags for this machine are slightly more expensive, with the NVM-2BH HepaFlo bags costing £11.99 for a pack of five. Still, each bag should last a long time. As with the regular Henry’s bags, the XL ones are self-sealing, so there’s no dust spillage when emptying.
While the bags add filtration to the system, there’s also a large filter that sits on top of them, locking dust into the bag and preventing it from spilling out.
Apart from its size, the Henry XL Plus is very similar to its smaller brother. Once the vacuum cleaner motor is locked into place, there’s a single on/off power button to toggle power. There are no power controls, so it’s maximum power or nothing.
If you find that there’s too much suction, the three-part wand has an air vent at the top, which you can open to reduce airflow. I found this very stiff to begin with, and it took a bit of opening and closing to get the vent working smoothly. I did have to use it in anger, too. This vacuum cleaner can be difficult to push on carpet with the vent fully closed.
Although it’s big, the Henry XL Plus is easy to move around, with its two large wheels at the back and two smaller wheels that turn at the front. With a 12.5m power cable, which winds back into the body, most homes can be vacuumed using just one or two power sockets.
The reach from the wand and hose is good, too. I found that I could easily clean up around the tops of walls. The reach was also good enough to tackle stairs without having to pick up and carry the vacuum cleaner. I could do the bottom half from the bottom of the stairs and then get the rest from the top.
As this is the Plus model, a lot more tools are provided here than with the regular Henry, including crevice and mattress tools, brush and turbo brush (great for pet hair) and a flexible crevice tool.
The latter is particularly useful for getting into those hard-to-reach areas, such as between the car seats or behind radiators.
It’s nice to see the turbo tool, which uses suction power to spin the brushes to agitate dirt. It’s ideal for pet hair, although it’s a shame that the brush isn’t an anti-tangle one.
There’s a regular floorhead, with a button to switch between hard floor and carpet modes. Plus, there’s also a dedicated hard floor tool, although I found that I didn’t need it, as the regular floorhead was good enough.
At the back of the vacuum cleaner, there are storage slots for four tools, so you can carry around the ones that you use the most. Next to these slots is a holder for the floorhead, keeping the wand vertical for storage. This makes things neater, but the long hose and large body mean that the Henry XL Plus isn’t the easiest vacuum cleaner to store, although few cylinder vacuum cleaners can lay claim to that, with the Shark Bagless Cylinder Vacuum Cleaner CZ500UKT being the one exception.
- Very powerful
- Does well on regular messes
- Turbo tool handles pet hair
I started by measuring the Henry XL Plus’s power in airwatts. At 431AW, it’s similar to the suction power of the regular-sized Henry. The Shark CZ500UKT is a little behind this, although it uses a motorised brush to agitate dirt, so it doesn’t need so much power.
Having this level of power can be useful for the types of tasks that the Henry XL Plus is aimed for. With DIY debris, the suction power let me quickly vacuum up sawdust and larger bits of debris. With a less-powerful vacuum cleaner, this kind of pick-up would have taken longer.
Switching to my regular real-world tests, I was impressed by the results. I started with my carpet test, sprinkling a teaspoon of flour on the floor. I had to open the air vent, as this vacuum cleaner was too difficult to push otherwise, but the results were great.
Thanks to the wide floorhead, I managed a big clean strip right through the middle of the mess. Cleaning up the remainder didn’t take long.
Moving on, I turned to the tricky edge test, sprinkling flour right up to the skirting board on carpet tiles. Here, the Henry XL Plus dealt with the mess easily, removing every trace of dust right up to the edge.
Pet hair removal wasn’t so good with the normal floorhead. It tended to push hair around and get it stuck to fabric strips underneath. However, the turbo tool came into its own, easily removing pet hair. I’d happily use this tool to clean a sofa or pet bed, but it’s a little small for vacuuming carpets. Those with pets should check out my guide to the best vacuums for pet hair.
Finally, I moved on to the hard floor test. I sprinkled a teaspoon of rice grains on the floor and used the floorhead in hard floor mode. Most grains were collected, but some were pushed together into a clump.
I had to tackle the spill from a few angles to collect everything successfully, but no rice dropped back out to the floor.
I measured the Henry XL Plus at 67.2dB, which is similar to the noise levels produced by the regular Henry. That means this vacuum cleaner is surprisingly quiet and not annoying to have on at all.
Should you buy it?
If you’d like a large vacuum cleaner with a huge capacity for bigger jobs, this one is well-priced, powerful and comes with lots of tools.
If you need to tackle wet spills, a wet and dry vacuum cleaner is a better choice, while those who want superior pet hair removal should look elsewhere.
The Henry XL Plus is a whopper of a vacuum cleaner and a great choice for those who want a lot of suction power to tackle more difficult jobs, such as DIY. That said, if you’d like a cleaner for dirtier jobs, the Karcher WD6 P Premium wet and dry vacuum cleaner is a good alternative that can also take on wet spills.
If you don’t need quite as much capacity, the regular Henry has similar cleaning power in a smaller body, while there are further alternatives in my guide to the best vacuum cleaners.
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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You get a much larger capacity here, with 15-litre bags. Otherwise, the two vacuum cleaners are very similar.
It comes with a crevice tool, mattress tool, brush, turbo brush, flexible crevice tool, carpet/hard floor head and hard floor head.