The Henry vacuum range has plenty of fans. They’re renowned for their reliability and cleaning power. But while they have conveniently long leads that let you vacuum far from the socket, many of us prefer the freedom not to have to plug in at all these days. Enter the Henry Cordless HVB 160, which does away with the need to find the nearest electrical socket and relies on battery power instead.
But does the Henry Cordless clean up as well as its plug-in relatives? And how does it compare to other cordless vacuums on the market? We’ve put it through its paces to find out.
I tested a wide selection of the best vacuum cleaners on carpet, parquet, tiles, stairs and upholstery, and challenged them with mud, fluff, light debris and pet hair to give you the lowdown on how efficiently they’ll do the job, how easy they are to use, and how much space they’ll take up in your cupboard.
Henry Cordless HVB 160 specifications
- Maximum power: 250W
- Cable length: Not applicable
- Dimensions: H32 x W32 x D34cm
- Weight: 6.38kg
- Noise: 62.6dB (low speed); 64.5dB (high speed)
- Energy ratings: not featured on domestic vacuum cleaners
- Dustbag capacity: 6ltr
Who will the Henry Cordless HVB 160 suit?
If your home is small to medium sized, or larger but you don’t do all the vacuuming in one fell swoop, you’ll find this Henry super convenient. It’s also great if you find cordless sticks awkward to use because the weight of the battery is high up on the appliance.
What is the Henry Cordless HVB 160 like to use?
The Henry Cordless HVB 160 is easy to set up when you first get it out of the box, and brilliantly simple to operate. Whichever type of vacuum you’ve used before, you’ll be a whizz with this model in no time at all.
Hard flooring, carpets and stairs
The Henry Cordless proved a nifty number on all the floor surfaces in my home. I’d say it had the edge on hard flooring, although that’s not to say it let me down on carpet, cleaning it efficiently. I would say, though, that it didn’t restore carpet pile quite as well as some more powerful rivals.
That really is a minor quibble, however. The Henry Cordless definitely wasn’t a letdown whether it was on carpet, parquet or tiles, and it would suit a home with either floor type predominating, or a roughly half and half mix.
Moving between different types of flooring was a fairly straightforward process. The vacuum has just one floorhead, and all I had to do was swap from brushes up for carpet to brushes down for hard flooring, plus adjust the suction level via the tube, helping cut the time taken for cleaning all round the house.
I found it extremely easy to use on the stairs thanks to its 2.2m hose which meant I could reach every step with no trouble at all. Although I didn’t clean the car with it, the Henry Cordless would also prove a handy car vacuum for this reason.
When it came to getting under the furniture, I found the hose easy to angle underneath to reach a long way, so there was no excuse for just going round. However, I did have to bend low to do this, which may not suit every user.
The Henry Cordless comes with a dusting tool to clean shelves, lamp bases, and the surfaces that like to show off accumulated dust in the sunshine, and this did a thorough job in my home.
There’s also a crevice tool that worked well where the carpet meets the skirting board and in other nooks.
As you’d hope, the Henry Cordless also comes with an upholstery tool. Its brush can be removed for cleaning a mattress, which is handy. I did find, though, that in cleaning up pet fur, although pick-up was good, the brush itself then had to be cleaned of the fur it had caught, which wasn’t as easy to do as on other upholstery tools I’ve tested.
Power and debris removal
The battery of the Henry Cordless delivers 30 minutes of cordless cleaning. The model I tested came with two batteries, so if you get yourself organised with charging that’s 60 minutes of cleaning time, which is great. The charge time of a battery is three and half hours.
The battery is simple to put in and take out of the top of the floor unit, so a mid-vacuuming swap hardly slowed me down. However, it is worth noting that a single battery time of 30 minutes does leave the Henry Cordless bested by some of its cordless vacuum rivals.
As with its competitors, running times are reduced in exchange for extra power. On this vac it’s to 20 minutes instead of 30 minutes per battery if you use the high speed setting. But as the setting would only be necessary for a nasty mess, I don’t think this is too much of an inconvenience. A thoughtful design feature is that the low and high settings are on opposite sides of the switch with off in the middle, so it’s not an option you can easily take by accident, preserving battery life.
The Henry Cordless coped with all sorts of dust and muck with aplomb in my home. It passed the Rice Krispies test with ease on carpet, lifting them with no scatter at all, which is a huge timesaver. It also grabbed plenty of mud and grit from a carpet extremely efficiently.
It sucked up the Rice Krispies from hard flooring easily, too, along with other debris, crumbs and fur. The fact that I didn’t have to go over areas several times made the issue of a shorter battery time than other vacuums less of a concern than it might have been.
If you prefer not to see the muck your vacuum cleaner has lifted from the floor, the Henry Cordless will delight you. It uses bags that conceal all the horrors that can linger on carpet and more. The bags have a self-seal tab that traps dust in, so there’s nothing flying around when you empty the vacuum. For those with allergies, this is a boon, and the job of removing a bag and fitting a new one was a piece of cake.
Bags give the Henry Cordless another huge advantage – capacity. Each has room for 6 litres, which equals far less emptying than many cordless vacs – something I appreciated. The downside of bags? You know it already. You’ll have to keep on buying them, where bagless vacs save you the expense. That’s a choice that’s down to your personal preference, but I’d say large capacity is a huge plus point for me.
The handiest feature of the Henry Cordless is its design. The battery is near the floor, which avoids top heaviness. In other words, it doesn’t have to be propped to stand up straight (the wand docks on to the back of the appliance to keep it tidy). The other plus point for me was that when I was vacuuming up high the only weight I had to lift was the hose, tubes and attachment – not the battery.
The Henry Cordless comes with a charging station for the battery, which meant I could tidy the appliance away but still get the battery set for the next round of cleaning, which is a useful feature. If you have two batteries, as I did, it also means you can leave the second one charging while you’re using up the power of the first one.
Although the battery doesn’t show minutes left to run, it does have status lights, so I didn’t get caught out in mid vacuuming session.
Also a huge asset is this vacuum’s quietness. I could talk to someone without raising my voice when I was vacuuming with the Henry Cordless, including when it was on its high speed setting. It made the whole cleaning experience much more pleasant that the vacuum was so unobtrusive and it stands out from the crowd for its low noise level.
It doesn’t count as a feature, but worth noting is the fact that the Henry vacuum is designed and made in the UK, so it’s a great choice if you want to support British business.
The Henry Cordless is neat to store, so it’s great for small homes, or if you don’t have much cupboard room to give up for a vacuum cleaner. The long hose and tube combination that makes its reach great does mean there’s this to accommodate, too, requiring a tall storage space. However, these are quick to take off the vacuum (and put back together when you’re ready to clean) which would leave the appliance pretty compact to tidy away.
You can also slot two of the attachments on to the back of the vacuum cleaner, avoiding the need to find separate places to stash them.
The Henry Cordless is brilliantly manoeuvrable. Its wheels and castors allow it to turn on a sixpence and the neat shape means it’s not inclined to get snarled up going through a doorway as long cylinder vacuums can.
It feels very light to pull along, and the combination of its weight and shape made it easy to go up and down stairs with.
The floorhead was also easy to move across carpet as well as hard flooring and got right up to the edges of rooms for a speedier finish.
How does it rate online?
On Trustpilot, reviews for the Henry Cordless aren’t separate from those for the other Henry (and Hetty) models, but it’s worth noting that together reviewers are extremely happy with 4.9 out of five stars awarded overall.
Those who bought the Henry Cordless noted that it is efficient at vacuuming, comes with a good set of attachments, and is quiet. Reviewers do recommend buying the two battery version in order to get the longer running time it delivers, while opinions are divided as to whether a mains-powered Henry is more powerful. However, most were content with the suction of the cordless as well as happy with the convenience of not having a lead to worry about.
The verdicts of those who bought their Henry Cordless at Argos mean it has an overall 4.6 out of five stars there. Buyers remark on the quietness of the vacuum, and its good suction. Once again, those who went for two batteries recommend it for the extra running time.
How does it rate against other vacuum cleaners?
The Henry stands out among the cordless vacuum cleaners that are available, which are for the most part stick designs. In terms of the price, the Henry Cordless is in the less expensive part of the market even if you opt for the two battery version, making it great value for money given its effective cleaning, easiness of use, and its low noise level.
Its large dustbag capacity is a feature that really distinguishes it from the competition, and could be a decisive factor for many so long as buying bags isn’t an issue.
About our review – and our reviewer
Sarah Warwick has specialised in homes and interiors for over 20 years. She was Executive Editor of Ideal Home magazine, and has written for nationals, magazines and websites including Real Homes, Homebuilding & Renovating, Grand Designs, Homes & Gardens, Houzz, The Guardian, House Beautiful and Country Homes & Interiors.
She put the vacuums through their paces all round the house, on all sorts of dirt and debris, and a variety of flooring and surfaces.
@SMWarwick (opens in new tab)