Hoover H-Free 500 review: the perfect cordless vacuum for flats and small homes

The cordless stick vacuummarket is getting crowded, but we decided to give one of the oldest names in the business a go.

Check out our review of the Hoover H-Free 500 below.

Hoover H-Free 500: out the box

First impressions of the Hoover H-Free 500 are good. There’s nothing complicated about putting its parts together; all the buttons are clearly labelled so it’s easy to get your head around the controls.

Plus, as a handy extra, you get a neat little tote bag which fits all the attachments that come with the vacuum, so it’s easy to tuck them away in a cupboard or hang them off a hook for storage.

The compact size of the H-Free 500 is a bonus too: you’re not going to have to clear much out the way to make room for it. The vacuum head detaches from the stick easily and can be reattached further down to save on storage space.

  • Hoover H-Free 500, 179.99 from Amazon – buy here

Hoover H-free 500: performance

Once we’d put it together, we started putting the H-Free 500 to work.

Over a couple of weeks it became the vacuum cleaner of choice in our flat, working over carpet, tiles and floorboards.

It’s got a special boost mode for carpets which starts the dust roller at the end of the head whirring round and we found it worked well. 

While the H-Free 500 doesn’t have the raw power of the more recent Dyson stick vacuums, which seem determined to pull your carpets from the floor, we still found it had enough power to get the job done well.

It’s got a similar battery life to most stick vacuums on the market (40 minutes on low power mode) so it was plenty to get around a flat, although if you’re using max power in a big house, you might want to invest in a model with a spare battery to ensure you get all your cleaning done in one go.

On hard floors and tiles the lower power mode was plenty to pick up dust and dirt, but the H-Free 500 does have a rather low ground clearance which means you can end up pushing larger debris around the floor.

The biggest mark in the Hoover’s favour, though, is its weight. It’s the lightest cordless stick vacuum we’ve tested at 2.2kg (0.3kg lighter than a Dyson V8 Animal) and it makes a real difference to how quickly you can get around.

It’s easy to detach the vacuum from the stick and use it as a handheld to clean up smaller spills and get into awkward areas too.

Coupled with the fact that it doesn’t require your finger to be pressed onto the trigger like a Dyson, we think this is now the best option we’ve tested if you’re looking for a vacuum that can double as a handheld cleaner for your car or upholstery.

  • Hoover H-Free 500, 179.99 from Amazon – buy here

Hoover H-Free 500 attachments

A handy feature on the Hoover H-Free 500 is the on-board dusting and furniture tool that clips to the stick for easy access.

It can simply be slid into action or retracted away from the nozzle in one motion and saves you having to root around for the correct attachment and wasting time fitting it to the end of the vacuum.

As well as the attached tool, you also get a pet hair remover and a crevice tool in the box.

  • Hoover H-Free 500, 179.99 from Amazon – buy here

Hoover H-Free 500: Pros

  • Compact
  • Lightweight
  • Good battery life
  • Easy to store
  • Great value

Hoover H-Free 500: Cons

Like a lot of cordless stick vacuums, the H-Free 500’s carpet roller is a magnet for tightly wound hair.

While the Shark IZ201UK has anti-hair wrap technology for this, you’ll have to break out the scissors every couple of weeks with the Hoover to cut free the hair on the roller.

As we’ve mentioned, the Hoover won’t provide the same suction power as one of the more recent Dyson models.

While the power isn’t a deal-breaker for us, if you’ve got a lot of carpets that need deep cleaning in your house, you might want to opt for a Dyson.

As you might expect with such a compact vacuum cleaner, the cylinder is a bit smaller on the Hoover than the Dyson V8 Animal and the Shark IZ201UK, which means you’ll need to empty it more often.

  • Hoover H-Free 500, 179.99 from Amazon – buy here

Hoover H-Free 500: The verdict

For the money you’re spending, we think the Hoover H-Free 500 is a good investment. It’s almost half the price of a Dyson V8 Animal but it’s certainly not half the vacuum.

Its compact size makes it incredibly easy to use, whether you’re blitzing your whole home or dealing with small spills.

If you’re renting a flat and you’ve got limited storage, you’ll appreciate how the Hoover folds up to a small size, although there’s also a wall-mount if you’re inclined to store it that way.

In all, we think you’ll struggle to find a better vacuum cleaner under £200 right now.

  • Hoover H-Free 500, 179.99 from Amazon – buy here

Enjoyed our review of the Hoover H-Free 500? Check out our reviews of the Dyson V8 Animal and the Shark IZ201UK.

We've also tested out Bissell HydroWave if you want something to give your carpets a deep clean.

And there's the Bissell CrossWave if you want something that can mop your floors as well as vacuum.

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