Hands on: Hoover HL5

It's going up against some tough competition

What is a hands on review?
Hoover HL5 launch event
(Image: © Future)

Early Verdict

The new Hoover upright vacuum cleaner has a lot to offer compared to its existing lineup, but is it anything ground-breaking compared with other vacuum cleaner brands? We're not so sure at this stage.


  • +

    Heavy but manoeuvrable

  • +

    The Push&Lift looks useful

  • +

    AntiTwist looks thoughtful


  • -

    Nowhere to store pet turbo brush

  • -

    Cumbersome to use on stairs

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This is a flash hands on review to give you the chance to see what the Hoover HL5 is all about as soon as possible. Stay tuned as we'll be expanding and upgrading this hands on review very shortly with more info.

Hoover may be some we have all heard of, yet the Hoover brand is lesser known. We learnt this in yesterday's (Thursday 13 October) launch event of the Hoover HL5, which is known internally as Lillibet.

Hoover has been around designing products that clean your entire home from floor to ceiling for more than 100 years. It's one of the most trusted brands in the US, but the UK is apparently proving to be a tougher market to crack. Hoover puts it down to a generational thing that those, perhaps, in their early 20's don't think of Hoover as a brand that makes some of the best vacuum cleaners but is more of an action you perform to clean the floors. 

We joined the brand for tea, coffees and delicious pastries on Thursday morning at Soho House White City, London. Not only did we get to hear what Hoover has been working on, but we also had the opportunity to try out the new Hoover HL5 Upright and Hoover HF9 Cordless Stick - although we were kind of expecting a robot vacuum cleaner, given the social media hashtags that appeared to be hinting towards something like that.

The Hoover HL5 Upright is a mains-powered vacuum cleaner which has been suped- up with a couple of new features to the lineup; AntiTwist and Push&Lift. Although this is not really new tech to vacuum cleaners, it is good to see Hoover putting its own spin on it. It also made some bold claims about the powerful suction which, we think, is going to seriously disrupt the vacuum cleaner market.

You can now buy the HL5 direct from Hoover or resellers such as Amazon, AO.com, Argos and Currys for the introductory price £249. It's not currently available in the US or Australia - sorry, guys!


We really liked how solid the Hoover HL5 felt. Each part had a satisfying 'click' when slotting it all together and you can tell that the quality is there.

Hoover commissioned Strategic Design Consultancy, Smallfry for the consumer insight and design of the HL5. As part of this, they carried out a series of at-home interviews in the UK that totalled 60 - that's 60 customer voices that the brand had access to, revealing that performance, convenience, weight, maintenance and aesthetics of vacuums to be the things that really matter to customers.

Built in to the design was the Push&Lift functionality. This makes the vacuum cleaner much lighter, easier and more portable to use in areas off the floor. The floorhead and wand can be released so the crevice tool and pet turbo brush (available on the Pet model, only) can be attached. The crevice tool can be stored on board, but you'll need to find a 'space place' for the pet turbo brush. These are the only attachments which come with the Hoover Hl5 which, if we're honest, is a relief - these are the only two attachments you need, in our opinion.

Hoover HL5 brushbar

(Image credit: Future)

Another thing to note when using Push&Lift is that the hose - which connects the handle to the bin - can be inserted from either end. This means that you won't be needing to remember which way the hose should be connected back up, which is helpful.

Onto the floorhead. There's a lot going on here, with the LEDs that are built in to the front of the floor head that not only look great, but also serve to light up objects and debris under furniture.

Then there's the AntiTwist brushbar which has got to be one of our fave features on this new vacuum cleaner. Although the concept isn't a new feature, what Hoover has done here is put its own spin on it. The brush bar is soft, and the bristles appear to be perfectly spaced to not get hair in a tangle. The comb behind the brushbar is a new thing we've yet to see, which will comb the brushbar whilst cleaning, preventing any wrapping off debris around the roller and bristles (amazing).

Should you need to do any maintenance on the the brush bar like a little rinse every now and then, the top of the floorhead can be popped off for easy access.


We took the Hoover HL5 for a spin around the event space, which had a hard floor and a small carpeted staircase.

The suction can be adjusted by some controls on the handle to suit the floor type. We first attempted to vacuum some clumps of (we hope) fake hair and fur that was from a glass jar. The vacuum cleaner, at first, just pushed this around the hard floor. It was perhaps not the most realistic of settings, so we thought we would lift up the vac and place it on the hair to see what it does. Whilst it did suction this up and no hair got wrapped around the brushbar, more testing is needed to find out exactly how well it tackles real-life hair in the home.

A scattering of flour was then sprinkled over the floor surface to see how well the Hoover HL5 performed in this instance. It did well. The upright vacuum cleaner ploughed through it, clearing a pathway. It only took two or three tries to make the flour totally disappear.

Using the Hoover HL5 on hard floor

(Image credit: Future)

We had a go at using the Push&Lift on the stairs, too. The crevice tool was deployed for this which we found was easy to clip on. The bin to the vac could stand on it's own, but we could also hold it if we were moving around. 

Suction remained strong when using this attachment, even when used to clean things up high and down low. We also found that the pet turbo brush was good on the stairs, and we're expecting this to be a useful attachment in the car and on upholstery, too.

Hoover event

Hoover HL5 and HF9 event launch on Thursday 13 October at Soho House White City, London (Image credit: Future)

Early verdict

We liked what we saw of the Hoover HL5 at the event. It has got some really good features which we know we're going to love using around the home.

We're particularly keen to really challenge this vacuum cleaner in all areas of the home, especially with hair - either from two or four-legged residents. The ability to use this vac out in the car could be helpful for some homes, too, rather than buying a sperate handheld vacuum cleaner.

Something we haven't mentioned until now is that Hoover is selling its new line of vacuum cleaners - the HL5 and HF9 - with a five year warranty. This will automatically be registered when you buy one. 

If anything breaks during this time, the brand will replace the vacuum cleaner for you free of charge. With the cost of living rising and everyone watching what they spend, this is a welcome addition which we feel could help a lot of households if their worried about the longevity of a possible investment.

Jennifer Oksien
Editor, Top Ten Reviews

Jennifer (Jenny) is currently the editor of Top Ten Reviews, but prior to that, she was TechRadar's Homes Editor. She has over a decade of experience as a digital product writer specialising in appliances, smart tech and mattresses for some of the UK's leading retailers and magazine titles such as Real Homes, Ideal Home and Livingetc. Generally, you’ll find her watching the latest Netflix series, digging around in the garden or attempting to make a cake that is edible. 

What is a hands on review?

Hands on reviews' are a journalist's first impressions of a piece of kit based on spending some time with it. It may be just a few moments, or a few hours. The important thing is we have been able to play with it ourselves and can give you some sense of what it's like to use, even if it's only an embryonic view. For more information, see TechRadar's Reviews Guarantee.