Henry XL Plus Review

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Last Updated on June 4, 2024 by James Cook

Our Review of the Henry XL Plus Vacuum

If you have ever hired a decorator, carpenter, carpet fitter, electrician or builder, there is a very good chance that they brought one of the vacuum’s from the Henry range with them. And there is a good reason for this, because all of the machines in this range have a reputation for being tough, durable, reliable and very well built. Henry XL is designed to appeal to commercial cleaners and tradesman first and foremost, with a larger dust capacity and longer cable. However, I was curious to see if it had any other benefits over the regular Henry, as well as James (which is the commercial vacuum cleaner of choice), in terms of household cleaning ability.

Is Henry XL Plus the right vacuum for you?

Henry XL Plus is large and fairly heavy. It has a great set of attachments that feel tough and strong, combined with excellent suction power, a large dust bag and very long cable length. However, this is not a fancy vaccum cleaner. Indeed, it operates in a very functional but basic way, using a filter and conventional dust bag to store the detritis. If you are looking for a lightweight, modern machine that won’t take up much space, this won’t be the right fit for you.

Henry XL Plus
£179.99
Pros:
  • Extra long power cable
  • Huge dust capacity
Cons:
  • Heavy and cumbersome to store away
Buy Now Direct Check Amazon Price
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

What’s the difference between Henry XL Plus and Henry?

Henry vacuum cleaner and a Henry XL Plus vacuum cleaner

The obvious difference between the Henry XL Plus and the original Henry is the size. Henry XL Plus is much larger (510 x 360 x 370mm) than Henry (320 x 340 x 345mm), and this is due to the fact that he has a much larger dust bag capacity (15 litres) than Henry (6 litres). Furthermore, his 12.5 metre cable length is 2.5 metres longer than Henry’s but he does also weight 2.5 kg more. They both have exactly the same 620 w motor.

Lastly, Henry XL Plus comes with the same combination floor tool than Henry comes with, as well as the three attachments (upholstery brush, soft dusting brus and crevice tool) but he also comes with two additional floor heads (dedicated hard floor tool and Airobrush 140 tool for pet hair), as well as a brand new flexible crevice tool.

Unboxing and assembling

Henry XL Plus Unboxing

Inside the rather large box was the rather large Henry XL Plus’ body, as well as the black motor head that sits on top. Also included were the thick, strong crush-proof hose, the three extension tubes (that make up the wand), as well as the three floor tools (combi floor tool, dedicated hard floor tool and AiroBrush 140), four attachments (soft dusting brush, upholstery brush, crevice tool and flexi crevice tool), and instruction manual.

I was surprised to see that there was only one dust bag included, which came pre-fitted. Therefore, all I had to do was screw on the hose to the machine, with the other end attached to the extenion wand. Then, I pushed on one of the floor tools to the other end of the hose and plugged Henry XL Plus into the wall. An illunimation light confirmed that power was available and we were ready to go.

Henry XL Plu

Dust Capacity

Henry XL Plus is a cannister vacuum, which means that there are no filters to clean or compartments to empty. I have owned stick vacuums in the past that do not utilise bags, and inevitably there is always quite a bit of dust that escapes and I used to clean the filters by standing outside, holding my breath and banging them between my hands. In short, it was a messy process and I am firmly in the bagged vacuum cleaner camp.

The bags that Henry XL Plus uses have a capacity of 15 litres vs Henry’s 6 litres, which is probably the major selling point of this variant of the classic Henry. This makes this particular model much better suited for large commercial settings, where the user is going to be vacuuming up large quantities of dust and dirt and would benefit from not having to change a smaller bag so often.

Henry XL Plus Dust Bag Capacity compared to Henry
A comparison of Henry XL Plus’s Dust Bag (left) with Henry’s (right).

I barely made a dent in the capacity of this bag, but once it does (eventually) fill up, all you have to do is release the two clips on the side of the machine, lift off the motor head and then remove the filter. Then, slide the dust bag flap off the end of the interior end of the hose and close the flap to stop any debris escaping. Lastly, all you then have to do is pop it into your outside bin and then slip a new bag on. The bags are quite inexpensive and as already mentioned, this kind of capacity will last you a very long time so you won’t be buying them very often.

Henry XL Plus Dust Bag, Filter and Motor

Attachments and what they are for

Henry XL Plus comes with all of the standard attachments that come with the regular, much smaller Henry, which are all strong, thick and tough. The handheld attachments simply push on to the end of the hose via a universal adapter and to get the best results whilst vacuuming, you want to continually swap them around as you go.

Furthermore, there are two floor tools included with the Henry XL Plus. The first is the combi floor tool, which is the standard floor head that you get with all of the machines in the Henry range. The second is called an AiroBrush 140 and it has been designed to specifically tackle pet hair and other stubborn dirt, which is tackles admirably thanks to its rotating brush roll. More on this below.

AiroBrush 140

Henry XL Plus' Airobrush 140

The standard combi floor tool is very effective at lifting away everyday dust and dirt but it is not particularly good at removing stubborn pet hair. For this reason, the manufacturer have designed this clever, much smaller attachment that is ideal for vacuuming smaller spots on your carpet and upholstery where you pet likes to sit, sleep or roll. The AiroBrush 140 has a rotating brush bar with firm bristles, that is powered by an internal fan (which is itself powered by the suction created by the motor. When the motor starts to run, the suction power spins the fan and in-turn, the brush roll spins.

Henry XL Plus Airobrush 140 Internal Fan

The presence of this internal plastic fan means that this floor head is not very suitable for cleaning up after DIY, as any sharp objects could damage the fan quite easily. For anything DIY related or if you are thinking of buying this machine as a tradesman, stick to the combi floor tool for this kind of cleanup.

For some reason the AiroBrush 140 doesn’t really work well when fitted on to the end of the metal extension wand, as there is a restriction in terms of range of movement. Therefore, I think that this has been designed to be used as an attachment, connected to either a single metal pole, or just the hose itself.

AiroBrush 140 vs. Combi Floor Tool Comparison

Now because this floor head is one of the few differences between the XL Plus and the regular Henry, I wanted to do a direct comparison between the AiroBrush 140 and the standard combi floor tool, when it comes to stubborn hair and other debris on carpet.

Before and After

The combi floor tool is on the left and the AiroBrush 140 is on the right. For this test I stroked once upwards and once back downwards.

Airobrush 140 vs Combi Floor Tool Cleaning Comparison Before

Airobrush 140 vs Combi Floor Tool Cleaning Comparison After

The combi floor tool was very successful at removing almost all of the debris and only left a few hair behind that were really clinging to the carpet. The AiroBrush however did even better and was successful at removing everything in just two passes. This test gives me the impression that the combi floor tool is more than adequate for everyday dust and detritis but the AiroBrush 140 definitely earns its role as the attachment that tackles pet hair.

Flexi Crevice Tool

Henry XL Plus Flexi Crevice Tool

This attachment is much longer than the standard crevice tool (that comes with all of the Henry vacuums), meaning that you can reach further down inside the tight gap between the car seats. The slight flexibility of the tool also means that you can bend it to some degree, which just means you can reach more of that hard-to-access dust and dirt. As already mentioned, this attachment came in handy for cleaning the car but it is also very useful in the home, for vacuuming under chests of drawers, wardrobes and other large items of furniture.

But is this new flexi crevice tool a huge improvement on the original crevice tool? No, I don’t think it is for purely household cleaning, where the crevice tool is usually more than adequate at reaching these tight spots. However, I can imagine that for commercial cleaning, where items of furniture are larger and those tight spots are even harded to reach, this flexible and longer version would be of benefit.

Henry XL Plus' flexi crevice tool cleaning underneath chest of drawers

Crevice Tool

Henry XL Plus Crevic

The crevice tool is still a very useful attachment, even though much of its purpose is replaced by the upgraded flexi crevice tool. However, its firmness actually make it better for vacuuming the tight spots that don’t require the extra reach, such as the point where the skirting boards meet the carpets. A very useful attachment indeed and I used it countless times as I vacuumed throughout my home.

Henry XL Plus Crevice Tool cleaning results

Upholstery Brush

Henry XL Plus Upholstery Brush

The Upholstery brush is like a small floor head tool and is designed to tackle upholstered items, such as sofas, chairs, car seats and stair treads. The circumference of firm bristles can slide on or off the attachment, but I left them on because they were so useful at brushing and agitating the dust and dirt. I was particularly pleased with how easy this tool made the task of stair cleaning, being the perfect size for the treads. I also found it useful for cleaning the boot of my car, as well as upholstered seats, chairs and sofas.

Soft Dusting Brush

Henry XL Plus Soft Dusting Brush

The soft dusting brush is the attachment for vacuuming delicate items, such as picture frames, light fittings, shelves, ceiling fans and much more. It has a circumference of very soft bristles, which have the consistency of horse hair and the idea is that these bristles gently agitate dust, rather than brush. I found this attachment particularly useful on my ceiling fans, as well as our televisions.

Henry XL Plus Soft Dusting Brush TV Cleaning

Cable Length

Henry XL Plus Cable Length Comparison with Henry

Henry XL Plus has a 12.5 metre long cable, which is a full 2.5 metres longer than the cable that comes with the regular Henry, Hetty, James and others. This makes Henry XL Plus a great candidate for those with very large homes, as well as anyone who cleans in a commercial setting. The image above shows just what that extra length looks like in comparison with Henry.

I was able to vacuum the entire lower floor on my 3-bedroom victorian property, as well as all the way up the stairs, without having to relocate to a new wall socket. This is rather large benefit of the Henry XL Plus, and I can see it as coming in handy for car cleaning too, where that extra length of cable might mean that you don’t have to use an extension cable to reach your car.

Storage

Henry XL Plus being stored in a chest

Henry XL Plus is large, and this makes it quite challening to tuck away for storage in a regular family home. I found that I had to lay it on its side to fit inside an ikea storage chest, with the wand and hose disassembled and floor head removed. The smaller vacuums in the henry range are much easier to store, but they do all require some disassembly, if you don’t have a very tall cupboard of area in your home with enough verticle space for the assembled wand.

So, storing this machine in a normal sized house is certainly not easy but in a commercial setting or large home, it wouldn’t take up much space in a dedicated utility room.

On the back of the machine is a storage caddy, which allows you to store four attachments, as well as the combi floor tool in the middle (for verticle storage with the floor head and poles still attached). This is a nice practical design feature that means you can quickly swap between attachments and it also reduces the chance of misplacing one of them in your home or office.

Henry XL Plus' Storage Caddy

Car cleaning with Henry XL Plus

Car cleaning with Henry XL Plus vacuum cleaner

The longer 12.5 metre cable that you get with the Henry XL Plus makes it an even better candidate for car cleaning, compared with the other machines in the Henry range, because this means that you are more likely to reach across your drive, or down the road, without having to use an extension cord. However, I have quite a small drive so this wasn’t really an issue, but I was still excited to see how well it performed on the stale quavers and bits of biscuit that my kids had spread around, on our recent trip to a family wedding in Wiltshire.

The first attachment I reached for was the upholstery brush, which was the perfect tool for vacuuming the boot, as well as the rear seats. The firm bristles on this attachment were really effective at agitating the dried mud, and I was very pleased with the results. It definitely did take a little elbow grease to get good results, however.

Henry XL Plus' upholstery brush being used to clean a car boot

The upholstery brush was also perfect for the car mats and sides of the seats, as well as the seats themselves. However, I found that the fine bristles on the soft dusting brush was actually better for the car seats, allowing me to really get into the tight gaps. Furthermore, the dusting brush was ideal for the dashboard area, and particularly in between the air vents.

Henry XL Plus' soft dusting brush being used to clean car seats and dashboard

The only thing that sets the Henry XL Plus apart from the original Henry, in terms of car cleaning ability, is the fliexi crevice tool, which was incredibly useful for reaching the really tight gap between the car seats.

Stair Cleaning with Henry XL Plus

a Henry XL Plus sitting at the top of a staircase

Henry XL Plus is not really the ideal vacuum cleaner for stair cleaning, due to its massive size and heavy weight. In fact, the original (much smaller and lighter) Henry is not very well suited either. I found that the only way to really tackle the stairs was to leave the machine at the botton of the stairs and then vacuum as far up as possible with the hose, then repeat from the top .

Henry XL Plus is awkward for stair cleaning

If stair cleaning is something that will be important to you, Henry XL Plus is probably a bad choice and that is especially true if you have any mobility or strength issues.

In terms of actualy cleaning results, the upholstery brush worked admirably and was the perfect size for the stair treads.

Stair tread cleaning with the Henry XL Plus Upholstery Brush

Verdict

It seems to me that the Henry XL Plus is best suited for professional cleaners in commercial settings, where a vacuum with such a huge capacity such as this means that you will be changing the dust bag a lot less frequently, leaving more time to whiz through entire office floors and even buildings in next to no time. This variant has all of the attachments that make every single machine in the Henry range really versatile vacuums, and the technology is tried and tested and almost guaranteed to last for years.

However, due to its huge size, I would still recommend the James vacuum over the Henry XL Plus for tradesman in particular, because James is so much smaller and therefore easier to store in a van. But, if you have a large, dedicated utility room to keep Henry XL Plus in, and if you are not planning on moving it between locations too often, it is a great choice for commercial cleaners too.

If you are a regular homeowner and indeed, even if you home is very large, I would still opt for the regular Henry instead of the XL Plus. The classic Henry still has a very large dust capacity of six litres and you would struggle to fill it up even with a whole day of vacuuming. Again, when it comes to storing the Henry XL Plus, it really is not easy, so this is an important consideration if you are thinking about buying one.

The flexible crevice tool is a nice addition, but this can always be purchased separately and then attached to any of the other, smaller machines in the range. The extra cable length is a nice benefit and again, would be beneficial to professional cleaners in a commercial setting.

Where to Buy Henry XL Plus

Henry XL Plus
£179.99
Pros:
  • Extra long power cable
  • Huge dust capacity
Cons:
  • Heavy and cumbersome to store away
Buy Now Direct Check Amazon Price
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
James Cook
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