To help us provide you with free impartial advice, we may earn a commission if you buy through links on our site. Learn more

Hoover HL5 review: An affordable but capable upright vacuum

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £279

An affordable upright vacuum cleaner that picks up anything and everything, but you might have to resort to the tools beyond the floor head


  • Great value
  • High-capacity bin
  • Anti-tangle tech


  • Struggles with big particles on hard floor
  • Mains cord could be longer
  • Awkward button position

Save OVER £100 on the Hoover HL5

Prepare for a spotless home with the Hoover HL5, now available at an incredible  price of only £168, previously £279. This upright vacuum delivers exceptional value, featuring a high-capacity bin and anti-tangle technology for hassle-free cleaning. At this new price you can’t really go wrong

Hoover Was £279 Now £168 View deal

Corded uprights such as the Hoover HL5 Upright Pet Vacuum Cleaner with Anti-Twist and Push&Lift may have lost popularity thanks to the convenience of the cordless stick, but the latest models still have a lot going for them.

If you want an absolute workhorse of a vacuum cleaner, capable of covering great swathes of your house, and don’t like having to worry about recharging batteries or constant emptying, then this kind of vacuum remains an attractive proposition.

Having said that, the humble upright is also benefiting from innovations carried across from cordless models. This unit, for example, has an anti-tangle mechanism in its floor head that stops long hair wrapping around its brush roller, making one fewer thing you have to worry about cleaning.

The other benefit is price. Without the extra complication and cost of batteries and power efficiency, corded uprights are significantly more affordable.

Buy now from Argos

Hoover HL5 review: What do you get for your money?

There are two versions of the HL5 to choose from. The Home Edition (RRP £280 but currently available for £200) and the Pets Edition (RRP £300 but available for £279 at the time of writing).

They both come with the same base cleaning unit and floor head, albeit in different colours, and both come with a simple crevice tool that attaches to either the removable handle or the extension wand if you need the extra reach.

The Pets Edition adds in a Mini Turbo Pets Brush, which is a handheld version of the floor head, except it uses a turbine to spin its small brush roller. This can be used for cleaning upholstery or tackling your stairs, whether you have a pet or not. The power of the vacuum makes the brush spin fast, and it can also be used either on the handle or the extension wand.

Since it’s an upright vacuum, it’s relatively bulky compared to a cordless stick but, at 5.9kg, it’s significantly lighter than the 7.4kg Dyson Ball Animal. It measures 350 x 290 x 1,150mm (WDH), and its wide floor head helps it cover plenty of floor quickly.

The floor head has anti-tangle tech, which stops the brush roller getting clogged up with long hair. During testing I found no hair tangles on the floor head, even after cleaning around the vanity stations of long-haired family members.

The collection bin can hold 1.4L of dust and debris. That’s slightly less than the 1.8L of the Dyson Ball Animal but still beats the capacity of most cordless models, including the Shark ICZ300UKT cordless upright, which only holds 0.6 litres.

READ NEXT: Best vacuum cleaners to buy right now

In terms of reach, you get a cord length of 8m, which is reasonable, although I do prefer something with a bit more cable, such as the 10m the Dyson Ball Animal comes with. With 10m I’m able to plug into a central socket upstairs and reach everywhere on the upper floor and much of the lower floor as well. The 8m cable didn’t allow that, so I needed to switch sockets part way through my upstairs and downstairs clean.

There are three control buttons at knee height on the main unit, which is slightly awkward if you’re tall, and a three-way switch on the handle. The buttons switch the device on and off, flip it between its carpet and hard floor modes, and release the extension wand. The switch on the handle controls the suction power between Max, Min and somewhere between the two.

As you can see from the chart below, the suction sits nicely in line with the suction power of rival corded uprights. The Min setting is a lighter touch than most but with a Max suction that matches the corded Shark and appears to beat the Dyson, these are impressive results. However, it’s not quite as straightforward a comparison as you might think. Because our measuring tool trips a switch in the Dyson that stops it sucking as hard when it reaches a certain pressure, it isn’t possible to measure its true maximum suction.

Where it can’t compete is against the battery power of the Shark cordless upright. This has much stronger suction in its most powerful setting.

The vacuum can operate in a number of modes. There’s the basic upright mode, with the floor head, vacuum unit, wand and handle all connected together. Alternatively, each element can be detached and used interchangeably.

This means you can use the handle and hose for handheld jobs, add the wand if you need a little extra reach, and detach the vacuum unit from the floor head to more easily carry it around when cleaning the stairs.

Hoover HL5 review: What’s it like to use?

With the Hoover HL5 weighing slightly less than rivals such as the Dyson Ball Animal, it’s definitely easier to carry around, although if weight is a particular issue then you might be better off using a cordless stick.

In general use I found the Hoover manoeuvrable and able to reach reasonably far under low furniture, and front-mounted LED lighting helps you see where problem areas lurk, even if they’re well shaded. The only complaint I have is the control buttons are down on the main unit, which left me having to reach down awkwardly to switch between carpet and hard floor modes and to turn the vacuum on or off.

It converts into its various functions easily and feels very well built. The main unit is easy to lift away from the floor head with the help of your foot, and the 2m extension hose isn’t as tight and cumbersome as I’ve found on some other rivals, particularly the Dyson Ball Animal.

It is light on attachments, though. While the crevice tool and pet brush are useful, a dusting brush would round things off nicely, particularly with the reach you get from the extension tube.

One other thing to note is that the turbine-drive doesn’t have the same anti-tangle system as the floor head. As a result, I found it started collecting hair almost immediately. And it’s a bit fiddly to clean out, too, because removing the brush bar involves freeing it from its belt drive.

At least the dust collection bin is easy to remove and empty. A handle and thumb button on the top release it from the main unit, while a second button near the base opens a trap door to let the contents drop out. Plus, all the filters can be rinsed in clean running water.

Hoover HL5 review: How well does it clean?

If you’re looking for a workhorse of a vacuum cleaner then a corded upright like the Hoover HL5 ought to be an attractive option, as long as it can perform the cleaning jobs it’s supposed to. To find out, I put it through our usual suite of tests.

I spilled measured quantities of Cheerios and flour onto short-pile carpet, then hard floor, and measured how much the HL5 picked up in a single pass. This let me compare how well it performs versus rival vacuums.

I started with a Cheerio spillage on hard flooring but I must admit I didn’t hold out much hope of success with this test. There’s very little clearance between the base of the floor head and the floor and, while there is a pair of small, moulded gullies to let larger particles through, they don’t look big enough to pass a Cheerio.

It turned out this assumption was correct. The Cheerios simply gathered in front of the floor head as I pushed the HL5 through them, without picking up a single morsel. Although this is disappointing, it’s still possible to clean up these types of spills by unclipping the handle and using the hose instead. Without anything attached the Cheerios leapt into the collection bin, but we can’t count that result in our floor head tests.

I was pleasantly surprised by how it performed in the same test on short-pile carpet, however. Here, the angle of the base of the floor head and the powerful suction combined to compress the Cheerios into the carpet enough for the floor head to climb over them and, once underneath, they didn’t stand a chance. A single pass left a few crumbs behind but not enough to register as a full gram on my kitchen scales.

With flour, the HL5’s results were exceptional. On hard floor, it collected pretty much all of the flour I dropped. Some dust remained in the crevices between tiles but, again, the quantities were too minute to register on my scales. On carpet, meanwhile, a single pass left only a few visible specks of dust behind, with the result measuring ever so slightly short.

As you can see from the chart below, the hard-floor Cheerios test hit the vacuum’s overall results hard. However, if you take this tricky test out of the equation, the HL5 gets tantalisingly close to vacuuming perfection.

Read next: Best cordless vacuum cleaners to buy 

Hoover HL5 review: Should you buy it?

The Hoover Upright Pet Vacuum Cleaner with Anti-Twist & Push&Lift HL5 is an impressive upright vacuum but it isn’t perfect. It isn’t particularly good at collecting large particles from hard floor.

However, in our other tests it performed exceptionally well, proving itself exemplary at carpet cleaning and gathering smaller particles from hard floor. Hoover could have been slightly more generous with the attachments, and more easily accessible controls would be high on my wishlist of improvements. However, it’s good value for money for what you get.

Those looking for a full suite of attachments should consider the Dyson Ball Animal. This comes with a great selection of tools, a larger collection bin and a longer cord. It’s heavier, though, and costs more.

Alternatively, you could cut yourself free of cables completely. The Shark ICZ300UKT is better for hard floor cleaning, with its soft roller able to pick up chunky dirt impressively. It’s configured like an upright but has a smaller 0.6-litre collection bin and is battery-powered, so you don’t need to worry about where you’re going to plug it in while cleaning.

Buy now from Argos

Read more