Advantages Cheap price & maintenance, large dust bags, great suction, well made, robust, large hose
Disadvantages Lacks user friendly labour saving features; difficult to store or park during tasks, topples over.
|Value for money|
|How much did you pay?||£79-00 from Makro in 2007|
|Special features?||Big dust capacity, easy to use in larger homes.|
In a world determined by power these days, the consumer has been forced to adopt the belief that the higher the power a machine has, the better it is. Miele bitched and moaned that Dyson couldn’t be any more powerful given that their product lines had 300 to 400 watts more power, yet performance wise, Dyson’s original DC01 and later model DC02 seemed to excel everything in its path when it came to optimum suction and performance. Nothing much has changed 15 to 20 years later with Dyson vying for number 1 spot for the more modern vacuum cleaner - but at the expensive prices, it can be hard for buyers on a strict budget, especially if they need a large dust capacity for a home of children and pets to run after. For years Electrolux and Hoover battled reign over the “most powerful” ratings and the “best performance” claims; everyone seems to be at each other’s throats all except one main cleaning industry known as the Commercial market. ** This is a very long review **
"Henry," the black bowler top vacuum cleaner actually derives from Numatic’s first wave of canister/tank vacuum cleaners from 1969 which were made up of oil drums, domestic washing up bowls, furniture castors and suitcase handles – a design formula which seems to have been influenced Henry’s current design today and if ever a company was into recycling, Numatic take top spot! The first of these canisters were made exclusively for industrial use and later in the 1970’s Numatic launched their first wet and dry models. Later JVC licensed the design to become a dry dirt capacity model to sell internationally and as soon as Numatic realised there was a domestic market, they added a face to the model, cosmetically to improve sales as well as higher motors and very little else. Therefore alongside the visually and specification identical JVC, Numatic launched “Henry,” in 1981 with a smiley face and those big eyes! Halfords even sold their own version in yellow and black without a face.
Thanks to its commercial origins, Henry is available in many different versions, from a 3 in 1 design to a wet and dry model. Mostly all Numatic models have been named after Royalty such as James, Henry and George whilst some models have been released with extra layers of filters for special needs such as asthma sufferers as well as bags with extra filtration known as “Microtex,” “Twintex” and “Tripletex.” Additional filters are available such as “Odourtex” opposed to the traditional “Permatex,” filter fitted as standard to the domestic version of Numatic International’s Henry HVR200. Different colours are also available for Henry and Argos in particular from late 2010 onwards started selling "Henry" in yellow/black, blue/black and green/black versions for colour coordinated customers!
** Putting Henry Together **
The metal pipes consist of three; two extension pipes and a curved handle; all of which fit on the “friction” fit design which whilst simple also shows the full length of all the pipes in one go. Whilst tubes are easy to put together, they can easily be taken off by unscrewing and pulling. Let it be said that owners with gripping problems may find putting the pipes together on Henry. Once done, the hose can then be connected to the pipes, and then connected through Henry’s nose but this has to be screwed in. With a Vax you simply push the hose in and twist to lock. Then the universal floor head has to be installed at the bottom of the last extension pipe. Connecting up Henry takes a little time but one immediate observation is that there is no ideal grip on the handle unlike a domestic cylinder cleaner which allows users to grip the handle comfortably and the brushed stainless steel means the tubes are indeed slippery when trying to make the universal length smaller. You can rest your hand on the black end of the hose but there is no actual grip in the design which is disappointing despite the price and overall design.
Infact if there is one downside to Henry; it’s the simple fact that there is a lot to do when you get everything connected out of the box. His size is the largest I have ever seen (other than Vax canisters) where a cylinder cleaner is concerned but he is quite a large squat machine and shouldn’t be considered if you are looking for a small to compact sized cylinder vacuum for your home.
Everyone who has used a Henry loves Henry; I’ve worked with cleaners and have friends who run businesses who use Numatic’s best favoured model; simply the cost of parts and spares are very cheap thanks partly to the fact that Henry is by far one of the simplest machines to maintain. Now that production has moved out of the UK, spares and brand new machines are cheaper to buy than before. But this is essentially a commercial vacuum first and foremost. Numatic have made no intention to re-design key elements which would make Henry suitable for a domestic customer. Henry for example is void of technological features that make domestic life easier – many features which are standard fit on smaller and cheaper priced cylinder vacuum cleaners (Miele also produce a model which can take large capacity bags like Henry) such as:
The number one aspect that this machine has is the suction that it provides – even with a half bag or a brand new bag that been put into the machine. Suction is extremely powerful compared to other rivals I have used. My Vax has 100 watts more power than Henry but the suction isn’t so good when it’s picking up dry dirt. Henry certainly knows what he is doing as a basic vacuum cleaner and Numatic have made this vacuum cleaner to a high standard with sealed suction design built into the dust bags and dust channel so that very little dust escapes. Even on the lowest suction speed (the On Button is located at the back of the cleaner in black, the Variable power button is in red and 2011 models have a smaller LED added rocker switch that does the same job) there is a lot of suction coming out of this cleaner when an empty or half bag exists in the machine. Switch to “HI” and the machine motor raises in pitch and suction. At times, you’ll find that everything such as stones and heavy grit rattles off the pipes, but thanks to the fact that the pipes are crush proof as well as rust free and durable, there is no reason to worry that this machine cannot cope with heavy dirt. Don’t forget now – Henry is built to industrial standards.
** The 2 Way Universal High Efficient Floor head ** Weight: 700grams.
The efficiency applied to this nozzle is actually 12” in measurement which is bigger than standard canister floor heads in general. This can be very helpful when cleaning large expansive areas of flooring but in a small home where tables and chairs are predominant; you may find that the floor head gets stuck a lot. The floor head will happily move in a 360° angle but because of the length of hose and the additional steel pipes, cleaning in a small home can become cumbersome and the size of the Henry’s bulk suddenly becomes apparent.
** Using Additional Tools **
** How Do I Know When The Bag Is Full? **
** What About This Cord Winder? **
** Weight & Roundedness **
A downside to the actual rounded design means that Henry can fall over if the wheels meet the power cord or carpet frames. He can also fall over if the hose is pulled roughly - so it is just as well that the thick PVC plastic construction all over his body is enough to withstand the abuse when he does fall over!
Here the present HVR 200 model Henry (which is on sale at Comet, Currys, John Lewis, Index and Argos stores in the high street between £93-50 to £93-95) is the newer model which was launched briefly 7years ago. We got our HVR200 from Makro which cost £79-00 including VAT charge in 2007. Online prices are cheaper though so it does pay to shop around if you are looking for the cheapest price for a brand new machine as opposed to reconditioned. Tesco for example are great fans of the Numatic Henry vacuums and prices as low as £70 have been seen on the website but you do need to know your metal before you buy - the "yellow" James model for example is a cut price down version of "Henry," and lacks the longer hose, longer cord length and manual cord winder, where you just lasso the cable manually and toss it on the top of the machine where more helpfully a rounder recess ring allows you to store cleaning tools and even tins of polish - making it far more space efficient.
If you lift off the motor by pulling up Henry’s handle which thankfully is recessed at the top of his head, you’ll see the giant Permatex filter. Other models such as the “Henry Micro” features a carbon based “Odourtex” filter which is ideal if you have pets as it keeps the smell of pet hair down. These filters are all material/fabric type filters which can be washed (but must be allowed to drip dry fully and not placed in an electric tumble dryer) or shaken free to allow fine dust to dispel. There is a material criss cross woven “handle” which emerges at the top of the filter so that this can be taken out. After you have done that you have the worst job of all – putting the bag on.
One catch on either side of the middle of the machine where the bottom of the black motor sits must be pulled out in order to unlock the machine. The first time that I did this, was when I was pulling the sides out and managed to get the skin on the back of hand trapped between the lock and the bottom area of the motor. It was not a pleasant experience so please be careful when pulling out these lock catches. The older Vax canisters are better in this respect than Henry whilst the overall weight of his motor will be revealed when you lift his top off.
** Fitting a Bag **
There are two types of dust bag available for Henry - simple brown 2/3 layer filtration brown bags that have been on the market for years. These come in a pack of 10 at a general cost between £8-99 (Comet) and £10. The brown bags are the hardest to fit as well as have known issues of bursting - particularly in Henry if the bag fitted is brand new and the highest suction control has been used from the off. Numatic improved this design when they brought out the "Miele copied" synthetic disposable HEPA FLO bags that minimise odours as well as appear to be a lot stronger. HEPA FLO bags come in a box of 10 for £5.00 They are called HEPA FLO because of their material and the ability to seal in odours, especially pet hair - and they do not rip on either suction setting when fitted to Henry. Infact I prefer the HEPA FLO bags because they have a plastic dust channel cartridge that is so much easier to fit onto Henry's suction dust channel as opposed to the cardboard of the brown bags.
If it’s a large home which has more carpet than anything, I’d get an upright rather than a Henry although if you have hard and soft flooring such as short pile rugs, Henry is best for larger domains. I’ve tried the “Henry Hound” model with the electric brush and find that there is some improvement with the excellent suction but the electric brush head is too bulky and pulling this along with the model behind you anyway starts to add weight and stress, particularly cleaning large areas of carpet. For DIY tasks Henry is a good all rounder though and its here that if everything is taken into consideration then Henry still commands number one for a cylinder cleaner which offers the basics as well as offering top notch quality and great build, That and the large dust capacity and long cord and it's easy to see why Numatic's Henry is so popular, not just the bonus of his smiling face!
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