If you live in the UK, you have almost certainly been in a room cleaned by a Henry vacuum. And if not him, then one of his colourful brothers and sisters — or one of the more industrial-style vacuums from parent company Numatic.
And it isn't just the British love of a good character that makes this smiley-faced floorcare tool so popular — often referred to as a 'workhorse' Henry vacuums get the job done. From deep cleaning hotel floors to sucking up cereal (or worse) in a student flat, all Henry vacuums are designed with function and durability in mind. The Henry Xtra (also known as the Henry HVX200-11) takes the cleaning power of the model that little bit further.
Henry is a recognisable red cylinder vacuum. But what many people don't know is that there are a few variants of this machine, and most of us are thinking of the Henry HVR160 though there is a cordless option and an eco version of this standard offering too. The brand's fuss-free approach to design (bright red face aside) means they are often up there with some of the best vacuums in the UK.
The Henry Xtra is a level up. With 50 per cent more room in the tank and some additional tools to boot, we wanted to find out whether 'extra' was a worthy moniker. If you are in market for a cylinder vacuum on a budget, you NEED to read on.
TLDR: what we thought of the Henry Xtra
If you want a super efficient and cost-effective vacuum, and don't mind something a bit bulkier, get your hands on a Henry HVX200-11 now. The OG Henry (or Henry HVR160 as he is known) is good on all floor types, but the addition of the specialist head for hard flooring and the rotating brush head for carpet make this model the best cylinder vac you can get in its price bracket.
The suction is amazing and while it doesn't have lots of high-tech features, if it is good enough for professional cleaners, it is good enough for us. What's more, the simplicity of the design means there is less to go wrong and problems are easier to troubleshoot. So, if you have decided a vacuum is for life and not just for Christmas (or until the next gimmick), Henry Xtra will be happy to take residence in your home for the long run.
The way the Henry Xtra is put together means you can get crazy lengths of hose and cord so you barely miss that it isn't cordless – mid-clean it is just you and the floorhead until you have to drag him to the furthest reaches. And, there is so much rotation and flexibility in the various attachments that you really can get to every nook and cranny in your home.
The only compromise for such a deep clean? He will demand a fair bit of space in your cleaning cupboard.
Testing the Henry Xtra HVX200-11
Lindsey is Content Director for Ecommerce across several brands including Real Homes. She has been a homes journalist for nearly a decade and specialises in writing about products. She has tested a number of vacuum cleaners and put the Henry Xtra through its paces for several months, and in the midst of a kitchen renovation. It has contended not only with building debris, but her long hair tangled on carpet and a few baking-related spillages.
The techy stuff
• Model number: HVX200-11
• Weight: 8kg
• Power: 620w
• Dimensions: 34 x 36 x 37 cm
• Dust bin capacity: 9L
• Cable: 10m
• Hose: 2.5m + 1m pipe and floorhead
• RRP: £169.99
• Colour: Black and red
• Accessories: dusting tool, upholstery tool (with removable brush), combi-floor tool, crevice tool, AiroBrush, hard floor tool, and three pipes to adjust the length of the hose
Henry Xtra comes in a cardboard box with two reinforced card inserts to cradle his bottom and bonce. The tools are packed in several bags, but there isn't an excessive amount of plastic. Also, if you are like me, you will find these generously sized plastic bags handy for storing things like pillows and other items once Henry is done with them.
The cardboard is easily recyclable, but even the low-density polyethylene bags used for the rest of the packaging can be recycled in certain supermarkets. It is also nice to know that the Henry Xtra is made in the UK and has not travelled far to get to me at all.
As well as all of the tools you get with the regular Henry, Henry Xtra has two additional floorheads – one with a rotating brush for carpet, and the other is more slimline and best for hard flooring and tiles. There are two bags included and it is worth knowing that a 10-pack of Henry HepaFilter bags costs just £9.99.
Having used a Henry before, I was not too flumoxed by the set up process. This is another beauty of the Henry range — it is very easy to work out what goes where and everything fits together nicely without the need for tools.
There are instructions which are almost completely pictoral. They show you things like how to put together the attachments, the on-board tool storage, and how to turn the pipes one way or another to get at different angles. They also explain how to add and remove the bag, take out the filter and remove the face (although what MONSTER would want to do that?).
How to use the Henry Xtra
With no apps and only one button — on/off — it couldn't be easier to get started. Just select the right brush head for the job, add as many or as few hose extensions as needed for your desired length, plug in and switch it on. You can adjust the suction by rotating a valve on the pipe. Not very fancy, but effective and hard to mess up.
The other 'control' you have is to lower or raise the brushes on the combi-floor tool if you choose to use that floor head. This is done by flipping a kick-switch which is handy if you can't bend.
Do note though, while the Henry Xtra is very easy to wheel about and manoeuvre, he weighs eight kilos and isn't the most svelte of characters. This won't be an issue at all if you live on a single level, but I do find him a bit tricky to carry up and down my narrow stairs. I find it much safer to detach his pipe and floorhead before carrying as there is a lot of hose to contend with (oo er) and thus he can be a tripping hazard.
Like other Henrys, the Xtra has a retractable cord that you wind back in with a knob on the top of the unit. This is very handy as coiling up its 10 metre cord would be hard work to do manually.
Using on hard floors
To start out, I used the combi-tool which is the floorhead you get as standard on most Henry vacuums. This is a great all-rounder if you want to switch between hard flooring and carpet around the home. If you clean regularly, this floorhead will be best suited and you can up your game with the additional tools for that fortnightly (monthly/quarterly...) deep clean.
The combi tool does a fine job on hard flooring with pretty good edge-to-edge cleaning and great suction. You can really feel it grip the floor as you change from the carpet setting.
Two things to note are that while it is great for finer dust and debris, I tested it on some larger particles (dried green lentils) and it pushed them around a bit, until I put the floorhead infront of them and drew it backwards. Also, the floorhead has wheels which do stop you from getting closer to your surface. If that is a problem, it is time to switch to the hard floor tool – one of Henry Xtra's extra bits of kit.
This worked much better on the luxury vinyl tile in my kitchen and bathroom, and the wooden flooring in my spare room. The brushes surrounding it guided the remaining green lentils into place and cleaned them up, no problem. I also find it handy in my rooms with hard flooring as it does a good job of cleaning the skirting, window sills and other hard surfaces, without me having to switch to the upholstery tool or brush.
You can buy the hard floor tool by itself for £19.99, so if you have the Henry HVR160 and your home is all hard flooring, it could be worth the cheap upgrade with this tool.
Using on carpets and rugs
Next, it was time to clean my carpeted living room and bedroom, plus the rugs in various spaces of my home. Again, the combi-tool does a good job, with its fixed brushes helping to lift fluff and hair from soft floors. My office has a wooden floor with a thick pile rug, so using the combi tool here makes sense for a quick clean. I do find on thicker carpets it can be a bit hard to sweep forward, so you might want to adapt your technique to more of a pull and lift.
As my office doubles as my dressing room and the place where I dry my hair, said hair does moult and is a plight on the rug. I swapped the combi tool for the dedicated AiroBrush, which is the other new tool that comes with the Henry Xtra.
This brush is not motorised like many rotating brushes on modern vacuums. Instead, it uses airflow and a turbine to power the brush and while it sounds basic, it is very good at lifting hair and refreshing the pile. As it is powered by the suction, it can grind to a halt if you hit a rug edge or block the hose, but it levels up the cleaning capabilities of a regular Henry considerably.
The difference this brush head makes to cleaning up hair is worth the added expense, and based on this I would go so far as to add it to the list of the best vacuums for pet hair too, though I have thus far only tested it on the human variety.
It doesn't have the anti-tangle tech of far more expensive Shark and Dyson models, but for a fraction of the price and comparable suction, I will happily de-hair the brush every few uses.
The AiroBrush costs £27.99 by itself or you can get a pro-tool kit for £44.99 which includes this, a small AiroBrush (not included with the Xtra) and the hard floor tool. This is a good price to upgrade your Henry HVR160 to the equivalent of the Henry Xtra, but if you are yet to buy a Henry, it works out cheaper to go straight for the Henry Xtra (and it has a bigger dust tank).
Using the Henry Xtra HVX200-11 accessories
Floorheads aside, the Henry Xtra HVX200-11 carries the same tools as other Henry vacuum cleaners. There is a crevice tool that is well-sized for edges and gaps, a small round brush for delicate items and an upholstery tool that has a detachable brush head. I used this on the sofa both with and without the brush and it got everything in sight.
The crevice tool did a great job of cleaning stubborn brick dust from skirting and around pipework during my kitchen renovation. I also used poor Henry Xtra to clean up the last bits my broom and dustpan didn't get each day after the builders left. For this, I removed the tools and just used the end of the hose to prevent clogging up any brushes.
Rather than a telescopic pole you get a hose and three interconnecting poles to adjust the reach of the vacuum. These slot in and out of one another with ease and I often take the whole pole off and use the adapter to connect things directly to the hose if I don't need the part of the pole that has the suction control.
I also want to flag how much movement you can get from all of the brush heads. They pivot easily (most of them will turn 360°) so it is really easy to get under furniture, into corners and even reach on top of things like kitchen units.
I couldn't find any specific claims about noise levels on the Henry other than some sites listing it around 74dB. But I certainly find it less obtrusive than some vacuums I have tried, so decided to get out my decibel app to confirm. The noise ranged between 74.1 and 87.2 decibels in standard use, on full suction across carpet and hard flooring.
For comparison, the app lists these levels as being between 'normal conversation' and 'loud singing'.
How to clean the Henry Xtra
The instructions give you little guidance on emptying and cleaning the vacuum, beyond a few pictures showing you how to remove the bag and filter. These are both easy enough and a quick Google search tells me I can replace the filter roughly every 12 months, depending on use. The filter needs removing before you take the bag out, so you soon get used to this process.
The bag takes up most of the internal space of the vacuum, so once you have swapped that over, there is little to do in the way of maintenance. It is also one of the biggest dust tank (nine litres) capacities available on a domestic vacuum cleaner and a breath of fresh air when the appliance world is pushing us to cordless stick models with tiny tanks. Despite a few months of use, I have not had to empty it yet. In fact, as it is bigger than the six litre tanked Henry HVR I already own, I will probably struggle to remember the last time it was emptied as they hold so much.
The bag slides off and then the new bag easily slides back on. Not great if you are worried about the sustainability of bagged vacs, but as it holds so much the waste is minimal. The bags are also widely available so it is still relatively fuss-free and they trap the dust for a mess-free empty.
Cleaning the brush head is easy. You can cut hair off with scissors, and you can access the turbine if that happens to get clogged by opening a flap on the back of the floorhead. Other than that, he might need the odd wipe down and dusty hoses and tubes can be hand-washed and dried.
How does it compare to Henry HVR160-11 (AKA. classic Henry)?
The Henry Xtra has additional tools, slightly more cleaning reach, three litres more room for dust, and yet only weighs half a kilo more.
HVR 160-11 has:
• 6L dust bin
• Dimensions: 32 x 34 x 34.5 cm
• Crevice tool
• Dusting brush
• Combi floor tool
• Upholstery tool
• 10m cord
• 25.7m cleaning range
HVX 200-11 has:
• 9L dust bin
• Dimensions: 34 x 36 x 37 cm
• Crevice tool
• Dusting brush
• Combi floor tool
• Upholstery tool
+ Specialist Hard Floor Tool
• 10m cord
• 26m cleaning range
Is the Henry Xtra right for you?
If you want a deep clean on a budget, then the Henry Xtra HVX200 is a must-buy. While we can't vouch for the longevity of this specific model yet, we know the Henry HVR160 which is very similar is built to last – mine is getting on for a decade old with no signs of stopping, so they are brilliant value for money.
I would highly recommend the Henry Xtra to busy households or those who do a fair bit of DIY as he is rather resilient. This is what for me gives Henry vacuums the edge over the best Miele vacuums which we always highly rate. There is no way I would risk damaging one of them with the dust and debris that comes with a renovation project. The Henry Xtra's engineering means while you probably shouldn't suck up loads of rubble with it, he does happily cope with small chunks of brick. And were the worst to happen, a punctured hose or blocked filter can be replaced for as little as £20.
Of the vacuums I regularly use, the Miele C3 is definitely my favourite for power and cleaning capability. It has a good range of tools and is fairly portable despite being a 6.5kg cylinder. My sister and parents both have one and the one my parents own is over eight years old. However, for less than half the price, the Henry Xtra is a great substitute. It also has twice the dust capacity, double the cleaning radius and the cord is 2.5m longer. As such, I also give it a five-star rating.
The only people this vacuum wouldn't suit are those with barely any storage space and anyone who would struggle to lift its 8kg weight. I do find it hard to lug around the house, but as it is so affordable I have been able to complement it with a more convenient cordless stick vacuum (the Vax Blade 4). This is great for nipping around a couple of times a week, then I get Henry Xtra out of the cupboard to tackle the dirt my stick vacuum can't handle.
More top vacuum picks...
If you want something cordless
We tried and loved the Henry Quick for its impressive battery life, it's incredible suction and Numatic brand affordability.
If you want something high-tech and bagless
We think the Miele Blizzard CX1 is the best cylinder vacuum and it happens to be bagless. It has multiple tools and settings and a self-clean filter!
If you want something more eco-friendly
The Henry Eco came in recyclable materials (like the Xtra) and has a slightly lower power motor to save energy. It still gives great cleaning results and costs just 14p per hour to use.
About Real Homes reviews
As she was in the process of a kitchen renovation, it has taken Lindsey a while to test this vacuum, but better late than never. In fact, it has been in weekly use since June so she can confirm that it is still as good as it was out of the box nearly six months ago. It has been pitched against everything from kitchen-removal remnants, to her ever-shedding hair and she also conducted our pantry test. This is where we test it on carpet, and also hard flooring against large and small particle spills – in this case, sugar and dried green lentils. Lindsey has also used it for dusting the TV, cleaning her sofa, vacuuming under the bed (after far too long), and restoring the rug in her lounge.
Her two-bedroom Victorian cottage is the perfect testing ground as it is dust-prone and rather small. Storage can be an issue but she has a generous bathroom cupboard with enough room for her Henry and her cordless stick vacuum, plus other cleaning supplies.
When testing products at Real Homes we consider how that item would fulfil various user needs and also see how it stacks up against similar products. We love to be fair when it comes to pricing, so if something is really good value for money, we take this into account if it lacks the bells and whistles of the market leaders. We also consider environmental factors beyond specs like being made from recycled materials or no plastic packaging. We look for products that are built to last and efficient to run and top marks for brands that will repair broken models, offer cheap replacement parts and offer a recycling programme at the end.