Henry Allergy review – the no-nonsense cleaning friend that claims to reduce allergies

This reliable vacuum is just like the Henry we know and love but comes with the added benefits that could help with dust and pet allergies

Henry Allergy vacuum being tested at home
(Image credit: Future)
Ideal Home Verdict

The Herny Allergy vacuum claims to be a scientifically proven vacuum for allergy sufferers, with features designed to neutralise the threat that allergens, like pollen, can cause in the air. We were pretty impressed by the Henry Allergy's performance, even if it is a little tiresome to lug around.

Reasons to buy
  • +

    Made in the UK

  • +

    Allergy UK approved

  • +

    Extremely strong suction

  • +

    Gets into edges, corners and awkward area efficiently

  • +

    Dust free bags

Reasons to avoid
  • -

    Can be hard to push

  • -

    Large cupboard needed for fully assembled product

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The Henry brand from Numatic is an iconic cleaning companion. Known for its industrial reputation, the Henry Allergy comes with an established and assured pedigree family, with many considering Henrys to be the best vacuum cleaners out there. The Henry Allergy has the Seal of Approval from the British Allergy Foundation. The charity considers that, when used correctly, ‘this vacuum reduces exposure to house dust mite allergen and cat allergen’. 

That’s quite an endorsement. Both my partner and my eldest son suffer from pollen and dust allergies so I’m keen to know if this machine might relieve their symptoms. Allergy UK is at pains to clarify, though, ‘an individual’s exposure can be reduced, but this does not mean that individual’s allergic symptoms will necessarily diminish’. Mmm… that’s quite a caveat. 

I’m interested to see how this Henry looks, feels and cleans in comparison with the Henry Eco that I recently tested for Ideal Home. There appears to be four clear differences between the Henry Allergy and the Henry Eco: the power - the Allergy has a motor power of 620W in comparison with the Eco’s 420W; the filtration system - the Allergy has HEPA three-stage filtration whereas as Eco has two-stage filtration; the FreeFlo tool instead of the EcoBrush; and finally the Allergy is in a clinical powder blue and black colourway as opposed to the red and black of the Eco.

I put Henry Allergy to the test across a late spring fortnight. With spring cleaning on my mind, I relished the thought of cleaning mattresses and materials with this vacuum as well as everyday cleaning jobs in our rather hectic household of two teenagers! 

Henry HVA160 Anti-Allergy Vacuum Cleaner specs

Henry Allergy vacuum being tested at home

(Image credit: Future)
  • Model: Henry Allergy HVA 200-11
  • Cable length: 10m
  • Cleaning range: 26.1m
  • Number of settings: One
  • Capacity size: 6L
  • Bagged or bagless: Bagged
  • Motor power: 620W
  • Weight: 7.5kg (Machine & kit)
  • Accessories: FreeFlo tool for hard floors; Crevice tool for nooks and crannies; Dusting tool takes care of delicate surfaces – shelves, ornaments and picture frames; Upholstery tool is ideal for smaller and soft surfaces, such as the stairs, sofa and car seats.

Who tested the Henry Allergy vacuum cleaner?

Rhoda Parry
Rhoda Parry

As the former Editorial Director of Ideal Home, and its sister titles, 25 Beautiful Homes and Style at Home, Rhoda knows how important it is to research and invest in good value appliances and products that will stand the test of time. Plus as a house-proud Interiors and Gardens journalist, she's spent my career tracking the trends, interviewing the experts and reviewing the best products for inside and outside living spaces, while also renovating my house from a dated bungalow to a contemporary family home.

Unboxing the Henry HVA160 Anti-Allergy Vacuum Cleaner

The Henry Allergy arrived in a neat cardboard box (47cm high x 38cm wide) and wasn’t too heavy to carry from the front door on delivery. The box depicts the selling points of a Henry Allergy with images of mattress cleaning, pet hair removal and a lady blowing her nose. On opening the box, the components were held in place by what appears to be recycled cardboard. The cleaning accessories were all neatly bagged in plastic; one of which had a child caution message.

Henry Allergy vacuum being tested at home

(Image credit: Future)

Just like the Henry Eco, it is super simple to put together thanks to the illustrated assembly instructions. There is the Henry unit itself with its trademark smiley face; two tool heads - the Combi and the FreeFlo; a black plastic flexible tube; three metal tubes; two dust bags (one of which is already in place); and various cleaning attachments for specific jobs. 

You just twist the flexible hose into Henry’s nose, slot the metal wand tubes together (choosing how long you want it to be depending on your height), add your chosen cleaning tool and off you go. A handy red light shows when you are connected to the mains. The wand docks into a no-nonsense and sturdy insert on the back of the vacuum and tools are fitted into the tool tidy. 

 Who will it suit?  

This corded high-power vacuum seriously is good for all-manner tasks - from hard surface cleaning to piled carpets - as well as vacuuming up after serious DIY jobs. Its allergy reduction claims are its big selling point.  

What's the Henry HVA160 Anti-Allergy Vacuum Cleaner like to use?  

The Henry Allergy gets to work as soon as you flip the simple green rocker switch. It’s not too noisy, which I like, with a less than 70 decibel sound rating, which is the equivalent to a dishwasher. The main unit includes the HEPA (which means high efficiency particulate air) filter in the lid.

Henry Allergy vacuum being tested at home

(Image credit: Future)

According to the science on the Henry website, ‘the HEPA (H13) filter in Henry Allergy is certified to clean, trap and eliminate particles down to 0.3 microns at 99.97% efficiency. That’s particles up to 300 times smaller than a single grain of sand (90μm)!’. This means that pet, dust mite and pollen allergens are removed from household surfaces more effectively.

Hard floors
We have expanses of oak wood and porcelain floor tiles in our house, especially in the open plan kitchen/diner area, so I popped on the FreeFlo tool for hard floors and immediately felt the strong suction connection with the floor surface. Everyday dust immediately disappeared alongside breakfast cereals and flour dustings from a cake I’d made a few hours earlier. 

Henry Allergy vacuum being tested at home

(Image credit: Future)

I was impressed by how efficient it was in the corners and crannies under the kitchen cabinets that often accumulate dust balls. A quick whizz over the ceramic bathroom floor was very pleasing. 

On our wooden stairs - which get a lot of heavy duty use and are constantly accumulating dirt and dust - the smaller tools were highly effective. Even just approaching them with the crevice tool, I could see the dust being pulled towards the tool by high-wattage suction. Likewise on skirting boards and window sills.

Carpets and rugs
In rooms where we have a mixture of wooden and floors and rugs, the Combi Floor Tool is best placed to move easily from harder to softer surfaces. Just use your foot to toggle between the two brush settings. You can increase suction with a simple twist of the plastic belt at the top of the wand.  

Henry Allergy vacuum being tested at home

(Image credit: Future)

Mattresses and upholstery
I used the upholstery tool for vacuuming all the mattress as a spring clean treat. Again the suction was powerfully evident. Upholstered headboards that accumulate dust on the top were rubbed over and looked visibly fresher as a result. 

Henry Allergy vacuum being tested at home

(Image credit: Future)

Other areas
You know that time of year, when you want to get up high and get rid of the cobwebs at the tops of windows or get rid of dust from the frames of mirrors or pictures? The brush tool was amazing for this and very satisfyingly scooped up hard to reach areas like the roof light Velux and high hallway lights.  


Like Henry Eco, the large sized drum traps all mess in the hygienic ‘HepaFlo’ bag. This means that you don’t need to empty every time you use it (which is what I do with my existing bagless upright). For allergy sufferers, one of the biggest pros is that dust disposal is super simple - just self-seal the bag and drop into the refuse bin - no escaping dust clouds! New bags cost £12 for a pack of 10 from Argos (so £1.20 per bag) and are readily available online. 

Storage and maintenance 

There is a handy tool tidy on the back of the main unit  - although it doesn’t house all of the tools sadly. The wand pushes into the back of the main unit. When fully assembled, you need a tall utility unit to store this in a freestanding upright position. Of course you can dismantle the wand, but I did find pulling it apart pretty awkward. The cable rewind system is neat, smooth and nicely designed.

Henry Allergy vacuum being tested at home

(Image credit: Future)

Should you buy the Henry Eco? 

At £199.99 RRP, this is a go-getter of a corded cleaner that is big on suction. You can really feel the deep cleaning power. Maybe because of the suction, it does feel slightly heavier and pushing the wand with the Combi tool can be a bit hard going so something to be mindful of if you are of a fragile disposition or like a lighter, quicker clean with one of the best cordless vacuums instead. 

With its ​​scientifically proven credentials, the brand claims that this Henry ‘traps particles up to 800 times smaller in width than a human hair’ - who wouldn’t be impressed by that! 

Of course, in a two-week household test it's hard to know if my family’s allergies were reduced. With my current bagless vacuum you can satisfyingly see household detritus collected in the clear plastic housing, but with the Henry everything disappears into the bag so it's hard to judge how much has been picked up. After two weeks of cleaning, the large collecting bag was no way full. As with the Henry Eco, my only concern, from an environmental perspective, was having to purchase and dispose of the dust bags, but then maybe this is offset by the fact that you don’t have plumes of dust on emptying.

Following this fortnight-long trial, I would definitely consider buying the Henry Allergy in the hope that long-term allergies were reduced thanks to its powerful suction design. Regardless of that, Henry is an extremely reliable feel-good friend that tackles cleaning jobs head on. 

About this review, and this reviewer 

In line with how we test products that we recommend at Ideal Home, Rhoda tried out the Henry Eco vacuum at home for a week to help her keep on top of chores, so that she could see how it contended in a real life scenario. 

Rhoda Parry

Rhoda Parry was the Editorial Director of Ideal Home and its sister titles, 25 Beautiful Homes and Style at Home from 2021-2022. She wass also Editorial Director for Gardeningetc, Amateur Gardening and Easy Gardens. Rhoda is a highly experienced editor and journalist and has worked on many women's lifestyle media brands throughout her career. For the last 20 years, she has specialised in homes, interiors and gardens. A storyteller at heart, Rhoda is passionate about championing, crafting and creating exciting written and visual content for digital, print and experiential audiences.