While it may not blow your mind with its suction power, the HF500 Pet leaves no dirt behind, arriving with some nifty little features that make it stand out from the crowd. The overly hirsute will marvel at the Anti-Twist tech in its brushbar, which genuinely stops human hair from wrapping itself into a suction-blocking nest. The pet hair mini power brush has a similar effect on fur, too. You’ll run out of space in the bin canister before you run out of battery life, which makes it better suited to mid-size family homes than mansions.
No more hair-clogged brushes
Flexible charging options
Teeny bin capacity
Messy to empty
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The newest addition to Hoover’s popular H-Free cordless stick vacuum family boasts all the features of previous models but with one exciting new feature – a unique brushbar design that promises to prevent hair-clogging issues. But don’t worry if your house only has short-haired occupants, there’s plenty more to love about the HF500 Pet.
Like the other models in the H-Free range, the new HF500 vacuum comes in two versions, with and without the additional “pet’ brush tool. We tested the Pet version, which, for £50 more than the non-pet edition, includes a mini motorised nozzle to eradicate pet hair from soft furnishings. This handy head works well on lint, feathers and fluff, making it suitable for pet-free homes, too.
Another welcome upgrade for this model is the faster charging time, which now clocks in at an impressive 2.5 hours compared to the tedious six-hour wait on older versions. It’s very slightly heavier (2.5kg compared to 2.2kg) but still lightweight, which makes it a good choice for anyone with limited arm strength or grip issues.
Happily, Hoover has kept many of the original features that earned the H-Free range a firm fanbase and so many rave reviews online. We’re talking about the cool cupboard-friendly storage that allows it to tuck into a standard 72cm-high kitchen unit, on-board nozzle attachments and convenient upright parking.
The power levels might not be as high as the other best cordless vacuum cleaners out there such as a top-end Dyson v15 or Henry’s new Quick cordless, but the 75AW of suction on offer certainly does the job. If we had to gripe, we’d be pulling sad faces over the small bin capacity and awkward emptying, which inevitably ended in a mini dust cloud and filthy hands.
The HF500 isn’t quite perfect, then, but if you’re looking for a low-stress, lightweight run-around, and are heartily sick of scissoring a full toupee’s worth of hair out of your vacuum floorhead every week, it comes very close.
Hoover HF500 Pet price and availability
- List price: $335.37 / £299/ AU$518.77
- Only available in the UK
Price-wise, the new HF500 is pitched at the top of Hoover’s cordless offering; but, like all the other models in the collection, it appears to be permanently on offer. Currently, it can be picked up for a discount of £50, but the Hoover Deals can reach up to £100 off, so it’s worth keeping an eye on the website.
Price and availability: 4.5 / 5
Hoover HF500 Pet design
- Comfortable handle
- Space-saving storage
- Clever nozzle attachment
Arriving in a thin, lightweight box (within mostly recyclable packaging inside), unboxing and setting up the HF500 is smooth sailing. And you won’t need to consult the instruction pamphlet, which is always nice.
We were immediately impressed by the detachable power unit feature, which may seem basic but is actually very clever. It means you can store the vacuum in any cupboard or corner you fancy, rather than being restricted by the proximity of an electric socket.
The HF500’s design may not have inspired love at first sight, but there’s nothing to offend either. The cyan blue and grey livery isn’t going to win any style awards, but nor is it hideous. The “non pet” arrives in red and grey, if that’s more your thing.
Construction-wise, the HF500 looks and feels well made, with the nozzles and tubes connecting together with a satisfying click. Happily, they come apart easily, too, without the need for excessive effort or cursing. The handle is ergonomically designed, with the controls on the front (not trigger-style), so you don’t have to hold pressure while you vacuum.
The control buttons are intuitive – press the top button for on/off, then press Turbo to boost suction and Carpet to get the brush turning. Not all vacuums come with the ability to turn the motorised brush off, but it can prove invaluable if you have thick-pile carpets, which can become stuck in a motorised brushhead, or loop-pile and sisal carpets that can suffer from unsightly pilling and pulling under the pressure of a fast-rotating brush.
The bin capacity is a meagre 0.45 litres, and the “fill” level is halfway up it, which meant we had to empty the bin pretty much every time we used the vacuum. However, this compact container does make the HF500 super portable, and very useful as a smaller handheld cordless for quickly blitzing up the stairs, inside a cupboard or for running over car seats, for example.
We also loved that the smaller crevice nozzles are pre-mounted, easily sliding into place when you remove the extension hose. There’s no need to stuff tools in your back pocket before you work your way around the house here – except for the long-reach nozzle, that is, but you’ll really only need that for cobwebs.
Storage-wise, as well as the ability to shrink right down to just 67cm tall, the HF500 also comes with a wall-mounting bracket so you can tuck it into a broom cupboard with ease.
Design: 3 / 5
Hoover HF500 Pet performance
- Vacuums hard floors, low-pile carpets and rugs well
- Memory feature is useful if you tend to stick to one mode
- Bin emptying is tricky yet no hair build up on the brushbar
The HF500 hosts a 22-volt battery, which delivers 75AW of suction power. Air Watts rate the level of suction you can expect, bearing in mind more battery power doesn’t always equate to better suction. A plugged-in upright vacuum should deliver around 100AW, and 75AW isn't too shoddy for a cordless model. However, do bear in mind that a cleaner such as the Dyson V15 delivers a whopping 280AW on Boost (and around 99AW in Eco).
In more relatable terms, there was always a reassuring amount of dirt in the bin once cleaning – a daily act – was complete. In fact, the bin nearly always needed emptying!
We found the HF500 did an excellent job on hard floors (wood and tile) as well as low-pile carpets and rugs, which accounted for 80% of the flooring vacuumed during our four-week testing period. It didn’t push – rather than suck up – crumbs, cereal or rice around the floor, and nor did we have to repeat passes to clear the flatweave rugs or wool carpets of fluff and other debris. An icing sugar spill on the kitchen floor proved no problem for the vacuum; ditto dust in the cutlery drawers.
However, we did feel a little more suction (even in battery-draining Turbo mode) wouldn’t have gone amiss on the deep-pile carpets and fluffy sheepskin rugs upstairs in our home. We had to go over the same areas a few times before every last dog hair and toenail clipping (yuck) was guzzled up.
The HF500 Pet has a handy memory feature, which means it always starts in the setting it was on when you last turned it off, which is useful if you tend to stick to one mode. It can also prove a little alarming if you last vacuumed in Turbo mode with the brush on, since the sound levels are quite high – 67dB compared to a far calmer 62dB in Auto mode.
Like most bagless vacuums, the filters need regular cleaning in order to maintain suction. We appreciated the visual reminder to clean the filters – a crescent of LEDs in the handle turn red – and also the spare filter in the box, which means no having to wait for a just-washed filter to dry before you can vacuum again. The filter slots out easily and it’s also simple to detach the inner workings of the bin canister to give them a quick rinse down.
What wasn’t so easy was bin emptying – or, rather, getting all the dirt and debris out. The lid flips open without a hitch, but you then need to use a special tool (supplied) that looks a little like an elongated toothbrush to hook dirt out of the very top of the bin. The angle required to drag out the waste without some of the dirt ending up on the floor meant that the hand holding the toothbrush got covered nearly every time. Annoying.
What wasn’t annoying was the lack of hair buildup on the brushbar. We’ve tested lots of vacuums that promise to prevent hair wrapping around a motorised brushbar, but this is the very first time a vacuum has fully delivered in this regard. We tested in a household containing three long-haired females who moult prolifically year-round, as well as three seasonally moulting dogs. It’s a wonder they’re not all completely bald. Usually this requires the roller to be taken out of the floorhead and the hair cut/wrestled off at least once a month; sometimes more. It’s a tedious job that can be quite fiddly and mildly disgusting.
Miraculously, the roller on the HF500 didn’t get enwrapped by one single hair – see images for comparison with our regular vacuum – following four weeks of vacuuming. Not one – which is amazing. And if anything else became trapped around the brushhead – a piece of cotton, string or ribbon, for example – then removal couldn’t be easier. You simply slide a catch on the top of the brushhead and the roller pulls out. No need to find a coin or screwdriver, or break a fingernail in the process.
Performance: 4 / 5
Hoover HF500 Pet battery life
- Enjoy up to 45 minutes of cleaning
- Flexible charging options
- Reasonable recharge time
According to Hoover’s stats, the HF500’s battery life ranges from 10 minutes in Turbo to 25 minutes in standard power brush mode to 45 minutes in auto mode (no power brush, no Turbo) – and our timed testing sessions fully supported these figures. If anything, they’re slightly under-estimated. Besides, we found you can get a lot of cleaning done in 45 minutes and ran out of surfaces to vacuum before the battery ran out!
The battery on the Hoover HF500 Pet takes 2.5 hours to recharge, which is a reasonably long time, but far faster than the other Hoovers in the H-Free cordless range (six hours – wow). We love the flexibility of being able to pop out the battery in order to charge it at any socket in the house (LEDs indicate the charging status), and you can buy a spare battery if you want to clean for longer than 45 minutes.
The power level indicator on the vacuum is a simple LED crescent by the handle, and it blinks from white to red when there’s only 10% of juice remaining. It would be nice to have a bit more warning.
Battery life: 4.5 / 5
Hoover HF500 score card
|Price and availability||The price is pretty good, especially considering it comes with the assurance of Hoover’s reputation for quality and customer service – but do seek out those discounts.||4.5 / 5|
|Design||Sports some cool design features, but unlikely to storm the fashion catwalks any time soon.||3 / 5|
|Performance||Suction is sufficient, maintenance is a dream, but that messy bin emptying lets the side down.||4 / 5|
|Battery life||It isn’t market-leading, but it should happily cope with a medium-size family home (3/4 beds).||4 / 5|
Should I buy?
Buy it if...
You have stuff to move around
The HF500 is self-supporting for short periods, so you can park it upright, do whatever it is you need to do, then carry on cleaning.
You’re a family of Yetis
Kiss goodbye to hair-blocked floorheads; the HF500 features an integrated comb that prevents hair from becoming wrapping around the brushbar during cleaning – and it really does work!
You let your pets on the sofa
The mini motorised pet nozzle has an unusual velvety-clad roller that whips out all those stubborn animal hairs that bury into your soft furnishings.
Don't buy it if...
You don’t like getting your hands dirty
While it isn’t impossible to empty the bin without getting dirt all over your hands, it isn’t easy to avoid either. The bin capacity is meagre, too, with Hoover recommending that it’s emptied after every use.
You live in a mansion
The bin capacity, battery life and not especially speedy charging times all mean you’ll need a second vacuum cleaner (preferably corded, plus a housekeeper or two) if you’re lucky enough to live in a large home.
You have 1980s-style deep-pile carpets
The suction is good enough for most flooring types, but if you have the sort of carpets in which you could lose a kitten, you’ll need more power to get dirt out of its depths.
Linda Clayton is TechRadar’s roving product reviewer and wannabe domestic Goddess (very much a work in progress). She is a professionally trained journalist and has been busily writing for all the glossiest interiors magazines for the past 20+ years. Any spare moments are spent running; for headspace, Podcast catch ups and to counteract her Magnum Caramel Billionaire addiction.