Hoover H-Free 500 full review

Traditional upright vacuum cleaners are all but a thing of the past, with multi-mode handheld machines now all the rage. The H-Free 500 is the lightest and most compact cordless stick of Hoover’s range and we’ve given it the full review treatment.

There’s plenty of competition in this space from the likes of Dyson, of course, but also brands like Philips and Gtech.

Price

There are four different models of the H-Free 500 to choose from starting with the regular model (HF522BH) which is the cheapest at £199. You can get it from Currys for £169, though.

Then comes the ‘Pets’ model at £229 (although is on Amazon for £179 at the time of writing). It’s the same cleaner but includes a Motorised Mini Turbo Brush to help with pet hair.

If you simply want a longer run time then the H-Free 500 Energy offers double the amount of time by including two batteries and costs £249. Amazon has it for just £199, though.

Lastly is a combination of the above so you get the pet brush and extra battery. The Pets Energy is £299.

Even at the top price, it’s cheaper than the Dyson Cyclone V10 and Philips SpeedPro Max. The base model is on par with the Gtech HyLiteCheck out our round-up of the best vacuum cleaners.

Design & Build

The H-Free 500 design is similar to the regular H-Free we’ve reviewed and really, similar to the vast majority of stick cleaners on the market.

The main unit is small and you hold it in a similar way to a paintball gun, only this one has buttons rather than a trigger. You’ll find rubber power, turbo and carpet buttons.

Hoover H-Free 500 buttons

Once again, Hoover uses a combination of red, black and silver plastic which looks like.Other than the extra bits, the Pets, Energy and Pets Energy models swap red for green, blue and purple respectively.

As usual, the main unit is where you’ll find the dustbin along with lights that indicate the battery status and what cleaning mode you’re in.

It’s very compact and at 2.2kg (talking about the main unit still) is one of the lightest we’ve tested. The Philips SpeedPro Max is closer to 3kg for example.

Overall it’s a very simple and easy to use system that’s very intuitive, too. You find yourself reading the manual to figure it out.

As mentioned earlier, some of the H-Free 500 models comes with an extra battery. Even if you buy the regular vacuum the battery unclips from the main unit easily so you can charge it without the vacuum.

Hoover H-Free 500 compact design

While these kinds of machines are normally wall mounted, the H-Free 500 doesn’t need to be. The main unit cleverly clips onto the front of the extension bar and the floor nozzle holds everything upright. At just 69cm it might even fit inside a cupboard.

Features & Performance

Like rivals, the H-Free 500 offers a modular design so you can use the main unit alone which has a multi-tool on it for dusting and upholstery. It quickly clips on and off with a simple push button on either side.

Hard to reach places can be, well, reached with an extension pole, which again clicks into place with the same button system. Last but not least is the floor nozzle so you get the effect of an upright cleaner when all three are attached.

Hoover H-Free 500 floor tool

This has some handy LEDs to help you see where you’re cleaning and a motorised brush which can be switched on and off when needed. The versatile joint at the back means you can steer it around easily and get it completely flat to get underneath things like the sofa. The brush even slides out of the side for easy cleaning.

We find cleaning performance to be very good on the whole, although not quite at the same level as Dyson or Philips.There’s a Turbo mode for tough situations but you’ll only get a measly eight minutes of run time before it conks out. With a charge time of six hours, you won’t be cleaning again for a while.

Hoover H-Free 500 dustbin

Standard run time is 25 minutes which also isn’t much so you might want to consider an Energy model for that extra battery unless you have a tiny space to clean. Maximum run time is 40 minutes, but the SpeedPro Max can go for 65.

The main downside of the H-Free 500 other than short run time is the relatively small dustbin which is 0.45L.

Verdict

The Hoover H-Free 500 strikes a nice balance by improving on the original but keeping the price lower than some big name rivals.

Annoying buttons have been replaced and the interlocking system is simple, effective and versatile. This machine is also extremely light and compact, but the main sacrifice is a small dustbin.

Performance is decent, although not the best around, but this is reflected in the price as is the shorter run time. Therefore, it’s more suited to smaller flats than large homes.

Specs

Hoover H-Free 500: Specs

  • 3-in-1 modular design (unit, extension, floor tool)
  • 3 power modes + turbo
  • Motorized brush
  • LED lights
  • 2-in-1 crevice and upholstery tool
  • Up to 40 min runtime, 25 min normal, 8 min turbo
  • 0.45L capacity, easy empty
  • 252 x 1179 x 195mm (WxHxD)
  • 2.2kg