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Henry Xtra Vacuum Cleaner Review

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Last Updated on May 6, 2024 by James Cook

The original Henry vacuum cleaner is a great all-rounder, with a floor head tool that can switch between hard and soft floors pretty easily. My home is a medium-size 3-bed Victorian terraced house, and I have a mixture of carpets and laminate flooring, so this 2-in-1 floor head is perfect for me. However, for those that live in much larger homes, with a large square footage of hard floors, as well as a dog or two running around, the Henry Xtra could be worth the extra price tag.

I was really interested to see how well the dedicated hard floor nozzle performed on the laminate flooring in my kitchen and hallways, where I usually use a standard brush. Furthermore, I was intrigued to see how the AiroBrush compared to the regular Combi Floor Tool, so I will be carrying out a direct comparison between the two in this review.

Is Henry Xtra right for you?

Henry Xtra offers extra features over the regular Henry, but he is still a simple, uncomplicated vacuum cleaner at heart, with a lack of fancy features or technological advancement that you would expect built-in to the latest Dyson or Sebo. He has a powerful motor that sucks up dust and dirt into a large capacity dust bag, which you will need to throw away and replace every couple of months. His attachments are strong and sturdy, but he does require some elbow grease to use effectively and he is quite a heavy machine to tow around your home, as well as lift up and down the stairs. If you have any strength or mobility issues, I would look elsewhere. However, if you like the sound of a strong, tough, durable vacuum cleaner that will last for years, with added features that only improve on the original Henry, please read on.

Larger Capacity + 2 Extra Floor Tools
Henry Xtra
£179.99
Pros:
  • Better for Pets & DIY
  • An extra 3 litres of dust capacity
Cons:
  • Heavier than the regular Henry
  • Not great for stair cleaning
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What’s the difference between Henry Xtra and Henry?

The Henry Xtra vacuum cleaner next to a Henry vacuum cleaner

Henry Xtra comes with a dedicated hard floor tool, as well as an AiroBrush that has a rotating brush bar for picking up pet hair. The original Henry has neither of these floor tools. Henry Xtra also has a much larger dust capacity (9 litres) compared to Henry (6 litres), and he weighs more (8 kg) compared with Henry (7.5kg), although that difference is marginal. Lastly, Henry Xtra is a little larger (340 x 360 x 370mm) compared with Henry (320 x 340 x 345mm). Their cable lengths are the same, and so is their suction power.

Unboxing and assembling

Henry Xtra vacuum cleaner unboxing
Everything that comes with the Henry Xtra

In the box, I found the three floor head tools (combi floor tool, hard floor brush, and AiroBrush), the crush-proof conical hose, three extension tubes, the filter, and a spare dust bag (with a bag already installed). Also, you get the three attachments that you get with all Henry vacuums, the upholstery brush, crevice tool, soft dusting brush, and a universal adapter.

All of the machines in the Henry range are pretty intuitive when it comes to assembly, and the basic nature of the instruction manual is a nod to this. All I had to do was connect the hose to the nose of Henry Xtra, with the other end connected to the three metal extension tubes (which slot together to form the wand). Then, I connected one of the floor head tools to the other end of the wand and pulled the cord out, to give me a little length to work with. All in all, it was incredibly easy to put together, and it took about 3 minutes.

The Henry Xtra vacuum cleaner fully assembled
Full assembly takes just a few minutes
Henry Xtra
4.8
£179.99
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Cable Length

The cable length of the Henry Xtra vacuum cleaner
Very impressive cable reach

Henry Xtra comes with a long 10 metre cable, which is long enough to vacuum the entire floor of an average sized home, without having to relocate to a different wall socket. I found that I was able to plug in to the socket in our downstairs hallway, reach all the way up the stairs, and into the room above. This is a useful, practical feature that cuts down on your total vacuuming time, as well as the general annoyance of having to find a new plug every time you move into a new room.

Dust Capacity

Henry Xtra vacuum cleaner Dust Bag
Size of the dust bag, with my car keys for scale

Henry Xtra has a very large dust capacity of 9 litres, which is definitely on the larger side when it comes to cannister vacuum cleaners. This kind of capacity means that you are going to be filling up this bag for many weeks, and possibly months, before you need to change it. When it is full, all you have to do is lift the motor off the top (after releasing the two clips that sit on the side), remove the filter, and then slide off the bag from the interior nozzle. There is a flap that will prevent any of the debris from escaping, on your journey to the outside bin.

Henry Xtra vacuum cleaner dust bag fitting
The dust bag is easy to slide on and off
Henry Xtra vacuum cleaner full bag
A flap prevents a full dust bag from spilling its contents

Attachments and what they’re for

Henry Xtra comes with the three core attachments that all of the Henry vacuums come with, the upholstery brush, crevice tool, and soft dusting brush. These three tools have been specifically designed to cover all of the vacuuming needs that are not covered by the larger floor head tools. They are tough and strong to the touch, and can all be connected to either the end of the hose, or the end of any of the extension tubes. You’ll find that the best way to use this vacuum cleaner is to keep swapping out the attachments as you go.

Upholstery Brush

Henry Xtra vacuum cleaner upholstery brush
Perfect for upholstery

The upholstery brush is a miniature floor tool, with firm bristles running around its circumference for agitating hair and dirt. It is intended to be used on flat(ish) surfaces that are too small for the combi floor tool, or AiroBrush, to be used on. This includes sofas, chairs, stair treads, car mats, etc. The bristles do create quite a bit of friction, so you need a bit of strength to stroke back and forth on your chosen surface, but I found the results to be very impressive, particularly on our stair treads and sofa cushions.

Upholstery brush before and after (multiple strokes)

Henry Xtra vacuum cleaner upholstery brush cleaning results on a chair

Henry Xtra
4.8
£179.99
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Soft Dusting Brush

Henry Xtra vacuum cleaner soft dusting brush
To be used on delicate items

The soft dusting brush is small and circular, with a circumference of much softer bristles that are akin to horse hair, that are meant to prevent damage to delicate items that you need to vacuum. This attachment is useful for cleaning picture frames, light fittings, blinds, etc. I found this attachment to be particularly useful for cleaning my ceiling fans, (which are very flimsy and delicate when they are not rotating at high speed).

Henry Xtra soft dusting brush being used on a ceiling fan

Soft Dusting Brush before and after (multiple strokes)

Henry Xtra vacuum cleaning soft dusting brush cleaning results on a ceiling fan

Crevice Tool

Henry Xtra vacuum cleaner crevice tool
For the tight spots

The crevice tool is a long, cylindrical attachment that will grant you access to those really tight gaps that are otherwise impossible to clean properly. This includes down the side of your sofa and the gaps between your car seats. Also, it will take care of the dust and dirt that sits between objects, like the edges of your carpets and skirting boards, items of furniture, etc. The noise created when the crevice tool is attached is quite immense, and the sound of bits of debris flying up the nozzle is intensely satisfying, as is the feeling that you have removed lots of horrible dust and dirt that sits in places often hidden.

Crevice tool before and after (1 stroke)

Henry Xtra vacuum cleaner crevice tool cleaning results on skirting boards

I was highly impressed by the results with the crevice tool. It made short work of the dust and hair that sat between our carpets and skirting boards and was even better in the car, removing bis of biscuit and countless raisins from the kids car seats.

Floor Tools

Combi Floor Tool

Henry Xtra vacuum cleaner combi floor tool
The foot pedal raises or lowers the brush bar

The combi floor tool is the workhorse in the Henry range, and it is included as standard with every machine. It offers the ability to vacuum both hard and soft floors, with a foot pedal that either lowers or raises a brush bar underneath. There is a groove that runs the entire width of the head, so you can be sure that you are actually vacuuming everything that sits under the surface area of the tool. Two little wheels at the back help it glide along quite easily.

I found the combi floor tool to be effortless in terms of switching between my carpets and laminate in my home. The results were excellent on both surfaces.

AiroBrush

Henry Xtra vacuum cleaner AiroBrush
The rotating brush roll is the unique feature

The AiroBrush is the real meat of the Henry Xtra, offering more performance and better results in the art of removing really stubborn dirt, with a particular focus on pet hair. It has a rotating brush roll with firm bristles, that is powered by a fan (which is itself powered by the suction created by the motor). As the motor runs, it spins the fan, which spins the brush roll.

Henry Xtra vacuum cleaner AiroBrush fan
The fan that spins the brush roll

The AiroBrush is really not suitable for cleaning up after DIY, because of this fairly delicate plastic fan. You really want to avoid sucking up anything hard or sharp, as the fan could become cracked or damaged. For anything DIY related, stick to the combi floor tool.

This floor tool produces a whirring sound, and it was certainly very good at removing pet hair, as well as dried on mud from the kids shoes.

Because the AiroBrush is one of the main selling points of the Henry Xtra, I wanted to really put it through its paces, with a direct comparison with the combi floor tool (which comes as standard with the regular Henry).

Henry Xtra
4.8
£179.99
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AiroBrush vs. Combi Floor Tool Comparison

This test used a mixture of cat hair, human hair (from a recent family hair cut in our kitchen), lint, and other general dust and dirt from the vacuum cleaner bag.

Before

The combi floor tool is on the left, and the AiroBrush is on the right.

Henry xtra vacuum cleaner combi floor tool vs AiroBrush cleaning comparison on carpet

After (1 stroke up and 1 stroke down)

Henry xtra vacuum cleaner combi floor tool vs AiroBrush cleaning comparison on carpet

After (2 strokes up and 2 strokes down)
Henry xtra vacuum cleaner combi floor tool vs AiroBrush cleaning comparison on carpet
The AiroBrush performs better on pet hair

The AiroBrush wins this test, with noticeable better vacuuming results on hair in particular. That being said, the combi floor tool still did very well, and I am confident that you could achieve similar results as the AiroBrush on dog hair in particular; it would just take longer. One thing I did notice is that the AiroBrush’s rotating roll only seems to spin when you are stroking back towards yourself, so the strokes away (or upwards in this test) don’t seem to do much, compared with the combi floor tool. Both floor tools required multiple strokes to completely get rid of all of the hair and dirt.

Hard Floor Tool

Henry Xtra vacuum cleaner hard floor tool

I’m not really sure whether it is necessary to have a dedicated hard floor tool, when you consider that the combi floor tool does offer the ability to vacuum hard floors quite effortlessly. This does strike me as an unrequired accessory that helps to pad the Henry Xtra package, but read below for a direct comparison between this floor head and the regular one.

Dedicated Floor Tool vs Combi Floor Tool Comparison

I was curious to see whether there was truly any difference, so I set up a direct comparison between the two on our hard laminate kitchen floor, using some flour.

Before

The dedicated floor tool is on the left, and the combi floor tool is on the right.

Henry Xtra dedicated floor tool vs combi floor tool hard floor cleaning results comparison

After (1 stroke total upwards)
Henry Xtra dedicated floor tool vs combi floor tool hard floor cleaning results comparison
The difference is marginal

Henry Xtra dedicated floor tool vs combi floor tool hard floor cleaning results comparison

The difference in terms of results was negligible, but if I had to choose, I would say that the dedicated floor tool actually performed slightly better on this flour hard floor test. The dedicated hard floor tool also seemed to produce a cleaner edge, but I can’t think how this would matter very much. The difference is really quite hard to notice, though.

Lastly, there was definitely more flour left on the dedicated floor tool after this test, compared with the combi floor tool. The bristles seemed to trap a lot of it, which is probably something that would build up over time with regular hard floor cleaning, so it is worth bearing in mind.

Dirt left on the Henry Xtra combi floor tool compared to the dedicated hard floor tool

Henry Xtra
4.8
£179.99
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Manoeuvrability

Numatic have really thought long and hard about the practicality of their machines for everyday use. Henry Xtra (along with all of the vacuum cleaners they produce) has a handy rubber buffer ring that runs around its circumference, which will prevent the machine from getting damaged as you pull it along behind you. Furthermore, this will also protect your furniture, door frames, and more from any scuffs or chips. I definitely did bump the machine into doorways in my home a few times, especially when I moved between rooms, so this is a fantastic feature that is worth highlighting.

Henry Xtra vacuum cleaner rubber buffer ring
The buffer ring will protect your home from damage

Henry Xtra vacuum cleaner bumping into a door frame

There is even more rubber on the Henry Xtra, with a coating on both the small front casters and much larger rear wheels. These are there to prevent both the casters and wheels from scratching your expensive, hard floors.

Henry Xtra vacuum cleaner wheels and casters
Rubber coatings will protect your hard floors from scratches

Storage

A Henry Xtra vacuum cleaner being stored inside a chest.
Some disassembly is required for easy storage

Henry Xtra is a little larger than the regular Henry, so he takes up a little more storage room. If you have an area in your home with the verticle space to keep the wand assembled, this would be preferable, as it means you don’t have to disassemble the machine. However, I didn’t find it to be much of a chore to quickly disconnect the extension tubes and floor head and then place all of the bits, along with the machine, into a storage chest in our kids room. Being able to take apart all of the parts is actually quite a bonus, as it means you can tuck him away in a spare closet, under the stairs, or in a chest. I was able to keep the hose attached and simply wrap it around the body of the Henry Xtra.

Also included with the Henry Xtra is a storage caddy on the back of the machine, which allows you to store two attachments. This is handy because it means that you can quickly swap out an attachment, as you come to vacuum upholstery, or a delicate item that would require the soft dusting brush, without having to return to a spot in your home to retrieve it. You can also clip any of the floor heads, with the hose and wand still attached, for verticle storage while not in use.

y Xtra Storage Caddy with three attachments attached
The storage caddy is a practical feature

Stair Cleaning

A Henry Xtra Vacuum Cleaner being used to clean a staircase.

Even though I was able to get great results on the individual stair treads with the upholstery tool attached to the hose, the sheer weight of the Henry Xtra made it quite an unenjoyable task. Because this machine is quite large, it doesn’t fit on a regular-sized tread, so I had to carry it with one hand as I vacuumed with the other. This could really be quite a challenge for anyone with strength or mobility issues.

Furthermore, with the hose attached, I was only able to reach perhaps half way up the stairs. It could be possible to follow this approach, reaching up from the bottom of the staircase and then relocating the machine to the top, to reach back downwards, but I would be careful that you don’t accidentally tug the Henry Xtra down with you.

The disadvantages of a Henry Xtra vacuum cleaner for stair cleaning
Heavy and cumbersome for stair cleaning

In terms of stair cleaning, the Henry Xtra doesn’t score highly when it comes to being user-friendly, but it does produce good results. However, if the idea of carrying the machine with you as you go sounds challenging, I would opt for a much lighter vacuum cleaner instead (like the James).

Final Verdict

So is Henry Xtra worth the extra money? It really depends on the price difference at the time of you reading this. It is quite common for that difference to only be £20, and if that is currently the case, it is worth paying a little extra for the Henry Xtra. Those few additional pounds will get you a very powerful and useful AiroBrush, which is not only much better than the standard floor head at removing pet hair in particular, it is just a better floor tool. Remember, you still get the Combi Floor Tool with the Xtra as well.

The dedicated hard floor tool really isn’t much to write home about, and the Combi Floor Tool does just as good a job on hard floors. The added capacity of this machine makes it very suitable for people with large homes, or who want to use it commercially, but you are trading off additional weight, which is not really worth it for everyday home users.

If you like the idea of the AiroBrush but don’t want the extra weight to deal with, you can buy the regular Henry and then just purchase the AiroBrush separately, which will add up to about the same total cost. I would recommend this if you are just looking for a vacuum cleaner to tidy up your home.

Where to buy Henry Xtra

Larger Capacity + 2 Extra Floor Tools
Henry Xtra
£179.99
Pros:
  • Better for Pets & DIY
  • An extra 3 litres of dust capacity
Cons:
  • Heavier than the regular Henry
  • Not great for stair cleaning
Shop Direct Shop Amazon.co.uk
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
James Cook
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