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Hoover HFX Pet review: A different take on the cordless stick vacuum

hoover hfx review image
Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : 370
inc VAT

The Hoover HFX Pet has a bigger dust collection bin than most and it’s super easy to empty, too

Pros

  • Easy to use
  • Classy accessories
  • Big bin that’s easy to empty

Cons

  • Awkward conversion to handheld
  • Battery life shorter than some rivals
  • Cleaning matched by cheaper stablemate

The Hoover HFX Pet is classed as a cordless stick vacuum cleaner but its design is quite different to most rivals. Instead of connecting a handheld device to a floorhead using an extension wand, the HFX uses a slim, elongated collection bin. This isn’t as broad as most collection bins, but the added height gives it a larger capacity than most, with a volume of 1.2 litres.

It seems like a good idea but it does come with a few downsides. If you want to convert it to a handheld device and use one of its useful attachments, you have to connect the handle to a separate smaller collection bin as well as the accessory. That’s clearly not as simple as just detaching a wand and sticking on the tool you need.

The Hoover HFX Pet is classed as a cordless stick vacuum cleaner but its design is quite different to most rivals. Instead of connecting a handheld device to a floorhead using an extension wand, the HFX uses a slim, elongated collection bin. This isn’t as broad as most collection bins, however the added height gives it a larger capacity than most, with a volume of 1.2 litres.

It seems like a good idea but it does come with a few downsides. If you want to convert it to a handheld device and use one of its useful attachments, you have to connect the handle to a separate smaller collection bin as well as the accessory. That’s clearly not as simple as just detaching a wand and sticking on the tool you need.

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Hoover HFX Pet review: What do you get for the money?

Despite the differences in its design, the Hoover HFX Pet doesn’t look particularly different to most cordless sticks – it still has the handle, controls and motor at the top of the device, and a floorhead at the bottom. The price isn’t particularly out of the ordinary, either. At £370, it may be expensive, but plenty of other rivals come in at around this price and some Dysons cost even more.

The motorised floorhead is largely identical to that of the cheaper Hoover HF9, with a single roller that has both bristles and stiff flaps in a chevron arrangement. These encourage various types of dirt into the collection bin from both carpet and hard floor.

The floorhead also has an internal combing system that helps keep the roller free from tangles of long hair. Should you need it, there’s an easy-to-access inspection cover on the top that lets you remove the roller for maintenance.

The main difference between this floorhead and the HF9’s is that it has a different connector at the top. That’s because this model links up to the HFX’s “Corner Genie”. This tool is permanently attached to the bottom of the elongated collection bin and is essentially a tiny brushless floorhead you can use to poke into corners and small gaps. You access it by pushing a foot pedal on the floorhead and lifting the rest of the unit up and off, exposing the Corner Genie at the bottom.

The main dust collection bin has a large area at the bottom for the dust and dirt to accumulate in, which is well away from the first filter that sits at the top. Above that are the other filters, which are easy to remove and can be rinsed in cold water to clean.

The final section is the handle, which includes the control buttons, screen, removable battery and motor. There are three buttons, one for power, one to change modes between carpet and hard floor and the third for engaging Turbo mode. All three are easily accessed with the thumb while holding the comfortable, moulded handle.

When fully assembled, the vacuum stands at 250 x 200 x 1,120mm (WDH) and weighs 3.7kg. Like Hoover’s other cordless models, the HFX has been engineered to stand upright and support its own weight, which means you don’t have to find somewhere to lean it if you need both hands for another job.

You can also press a button on the back that allows the top of the vacuum to bend forwards over itself, reducing the standing height to 660mm. Doing this also releases a small carrying handle you can hook a couple of fingers into.

To use the vacuum in handheld mode you have to remove the handle unit from the filter section and attach a second collection bin and filter unit. This is much smaller in terms of capacity but should be perfectly sufficient for lighter jobs.

With this connected, you can make use of the attachments. The HFX Pet comes with three. The most basic is the combination dusting brush and upholstery tool, though even here the brush can be retracted out of the way to expose a solid funnel. The crevice tool is a step above most rivals, with a telescopic tube that extends from 440mm to 660mm. It also has a retractable brush that can be clipped into place for light dusting.

Those two attachments come with the basic HFX package. If you’ve opted for the Pets version I’ve reviewed here, you also get a pet tool. This is a mini motorised head with its own rotating brush bar. It’s smaller than the floorhead, measuring 127mm wide, but it’s better suited to furniture, teasing out pet hair and other dirt. It’s also useful for vacuuming small areas such as stairs, even if you don’t have a pet.

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Hoover HFX Pet review: What’s it like to use?

Despite its differences, in day-to-day use the Hoover HFX Pet feels much like any other decent cordless stick vacuum. In its main mode, with the floorhead and large collection bin attached, the unit is comfortable to hold and easy to control.

The Corner Genie is easily accessible by releasing the floorhead using the pedal. The main bulk of the cleaner lifts away revealing this slender mini floorhead. It has a squared-off shape with channels on the underside, which let it suck dust and dirt from the corners of your rooms.

I found this to be a bit of a mixed bag. It’s good at getting into gaps where the main floorhead can’t reach, but it’s only marginally more convenient than clipping a crevice tool onto a regular cordless stick vacuum cleaner. When it comes to the crunch, a crevice tool offers more control and can access even more inconvenient places than the Corner Genie can.

Moving up the vacuum cleaner we come to the oversized collection bin, and I thought this was great. The first filter is high up at the top of the bin, leaving loads of room for dust and dirt to fall to the bottom. Here it’s collected in a vortex and whipped around the base of the collection bin as you vacuum.

This is even more delightful than you might imagine, because when it comes to emptying the bin there’s nothing for the dirt to get caught on. In fact, because of the vortex, I found that fluff, pet hair and dirt was wrapped up on itself as it collected, like grey candy floss. On emptying, the dirt dropped out of the bin in a sort of pellet, with no discernable dust cloud.

To make things even better, the bin can be emptied by simply lifting the whole thing off the floorhead as if you were going to use the Corner Genie. When you’re over a bin, there’s a sliding action to open the base, which pops out of the way to release the dirt. It all works extremely well.

The downside to the larger bin is the added kerfuffle of finding and fitting the alternative collection bin in order to be able to use an attachment in handheld mode. Though it’s a perfectly adequate handheld when assembled and the attachments are excellent (I particularly like the telescopic crevice tool), this extra hoop to jump through makes it marginally more awkward than most cordless sticks, where you just have to pop off the wand and position the attachment in its place.

The battery can be removed and charged separately, if you wish. In our tests it lasted a little longer than the battery on the Hoover HF9. However, with only two modes to choose from, it falls short of the most economical settings on rival vacuum cleaners, as you can see from the chart below.

hoover hfx review battery life chart


Hoover HFX Pet review: How well does it clean?

In testing, I found the Hoover HFX vacuum had weaker suction than I was expecting. As you can see from the chart below, the suction at the main vacuum’s point of entry is lower than when we performed the same measurement on the more affordable Hoover HF9. Cleaning ability isn’t only about suction, but it certainly helps.

hoover hfx review suction power chart

In the cleaning tests we compare the performance of every vacuum cleaner we review on both carpet and hard floor, by dropping measured amounts of Cheerios, flour and pet hair, and weighing how much is collected on a single pass.

The Cheerios test is a tough one because the large particles can often pile up in front of the vacuum cleaner rather than passing underneath. Here, however, the Hoover HFX performed well, gathering 85% of the Cheerios from hard floor and 96% on carpet, leaving only a few behind.

In each case, a second pass with the vacuum was all it took to finish the job. It’s a slightly better performance on hard floor than the HF9 managed, despite its superior suction. However, it can’t match the fluffy rollers of Shark and Dyson cleaners, which cope with large particles on hard floor even more effectively.

When it came to the flour test, the Hoover HFX did very well, collecting nearly all the spillage on hard floor, with only a small amount left behind – nothing that can’t be easily gathered with the crevice tool. On carpet, it collected 96% of the spill, which is also an excellent effort.

hoover hfx review percentage spills

When it comes to pet hair you would hope that a vacuum with Pet in its name would perform well and it didn’t disappoint. On carpet, it did a fine job of collecting all the pet hair I could throw down. It found clumps harder to capture on hard floor, but engaging Turbo mode to improve the suction and wiggling the floorhead a little to guide the clumps into the vents on the base of the floorhead helped ensure that nothing got trapped.

The anti-twist roller, meanwhile, kept long hair off the brush bar, so I didn’t need to pick hair off the roller in all the time I was reviewing it. That’s despite using it in areas of my house where long-haired family members regularly brush their hair.

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Hoover HFX Pet review: Should I buy it?

There are lots of things to like about the Hoover HFX Pet, but there were a few things that put me off. Highlights include the long collection bin that makes it the easiest and least messy bag-free cordless to empty I’ve reviewed and the quality of attachments.

However, I wasn’t a fan of having to switch bins to use it in handheld mode, and it’s a shame its performance in our tests is so similar to the cheaper Hoover HF9, which is £100 less at the time of writing.

For my money, however, the Shark Stratos IZ400UKT is still a better bet at this price. It can run for longer, has both soft and brush rollers in its floorhead for great performance across carpet and hard floor, and its battery lasts twice as long.

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