Why Henry hoover is a vacuum star

Numatic Vacuum Cleaner

Vacuuming isn’t a task that brings a smile to most people’s faces, but one chirpy character has been keeping floors clean with a smile on his face for over 30 years.

Henry, Numatic’s smiley red dust-buster, is the vacuum world’s very own celebrity – instantly recognisable all over the world. Born in Britain in 1981,  ‘Henry Hoover‘, as he is affectionately referred to most, is the industry’s very own David Beckham.

Technology has improved dramatically over the last 30 years, and a wave of new and exciting vacuums have hit the market, but Henry is here to stay. He’s even brought his family along to help with the cleaning.

Henry history

It all started in 1968, when Numatic’s founder and owner, Chris Duncan, set out to make a vacuum cleaner from oil drums, with attached carrier handles adapted from suitcases and wheels made from furniture castors. Henry’s smiley face was Duncan’s idea too; he wanted to create a friendly companion for late night and early morning cleaning staff.

In 1981 ‘Henry Hoover’ arrived, mainly cleaning the floors of schools and hospitals, where it was seen by a lot of people who fell in love with the little fella. The vacuum was originally designed for commercial use, but Henry now finds himself cleaning the carpets in homes all around the world too. Numatic make 4,500 products a day, many of which are Henry vacuums (and family members), of which 40% are shipped overseas.

Today, there’s an army of over 7 million Henry vacuums spread across the globe.

Henry the great

So why is Henry Hoover so popular? Well, Numatic’s owner, Chris Duncan, put it best when he said, “it’s simple, relatively cheap, and comes out of the robust tradition of commercial rather than domestic cleaners.”

Ultimately Henry is popular because he’s a great vacuum cleaner. He has a simple design, which is easy to carry, maneuver and store, and it has a powerful suction system that effectively removes the dirt from your floors. It was designed to deal with hard-to-clean commercial floors, and that extra power has been a real hit for homeowners as well as businesses.

The latest iteration of Henry features a full TwinFlo’, two-stage, 1200w professional motor, designed to provide more power but less noise. An AutoSave system helps to conserve energy while vacuuming, using 50% of Henry’s potential power, as well as being 20% less noisy and providing 30% better air quality. However, if you’re cleaning really dirty floors, a flick of a switch increases Henry’s suction power. And although he may look compact, Henry has quite an appetite – he can hold up to 9-litres of dust and dirt, so you won’t have to regularly change his dust bag.

A 10m cable gives you the flexibility needed to easily maneuver Henry around furniture and tight corners. The cord rewinds into Henry when he’s not in use too, making the happy vacuum easy to store away.

Meet the family

After years of doing all of the cleaning himself, Henry has brought his family along to help him out:


Hetty (short for Henrietta) is Henry’s sister. Anything that Henry can do, Hetty can do too. The only difference is that she comes in a pretty pink colour, and has long eyelashes.


Look at James as the young brother of the family, an enthusiastic member who likes to whizz around and keep your floors clean. He features a new cable tidy system that makes it easy to keep him looking neat, and to store him away, after use. His EcoTwin long life motor keeps the noise levels low and saves energy on previous Henry models. It also shares the same AutoSave settings as Henry.


Charles is a real grafter, capable of cleaning for 300 hours without a break. What’s more, he’s not afraid of a bit of water, so you can use him to vacuum up spillages as well as dust and dirt. He has a 9-litre capacity for dry mess and 15 litres for wet use. Charles comes with a safety float valve, a commercial filter for dry use, and a 10-piece accessory kit with stainless steel suction tubes.


George is the multi-talented member of the family, capable of cleaning dry floors, wet floors, carpets, hard-floors and even unblocking the sink! George has a 3-stage filtration system that cleans to hospital standards, so he makes a great choice for commercial areas, which regularly need to be cleaned to a really high standard.

Henry Xtra

Henry Xtra is a beefed up version of the immensely popular Henry model. It features an Airo Power brush, which is even better at removing stubborn dirt and pet hairs from deep carpets. It’s a good choice for carpeted commercial buildings and pet owners, and also comes with a charcoal activated filter for removing unpleasant odours.


Harry (POA) is the pet lover of the Henry family, designed to remove stubborn pet hairs from floors and remove unpleasant pet odours. He shares the same specifications as Henry and Hetty, but has a couple of additional features. These include a dual purpose HairoBrush, designed to pick up hair on the floor and on upholstery and fabrics, and a MicroFresh charcoal filter for keeping the air fresh.

Why not take a look at our Numatic range or alternatively check out our full range of vacuum cleaners.

Looking for more news / inspiration? Take a look in our Lighting Advice section.

Charles Barnett Managing Director

Charles started Lyco in 1995 with just 4 enthusiastic employees and has grown it considerably over the past 25 years. Charles is also the Managing Director of Lighting Direct and newly acquired Online Lighting. He now has a team of 50 lighting experts working on growing Lyco Group to be the UK leader in lighting for both businesses and homes. Away from the office he is a keen cyclist and is proud to have cycled 1017 miles from Lands End to John O’Groats to raise money for a new residential centre for adults with multiple learning difficulties.