HEPA filters can be a great choice if you suffer from allergies or asthma. We've spent hours researching the best HEPA filter vacuum cleaners in the UK - here are the top models for 2017.
Are you looking for a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter but don’t know which models provide the greatest value for money? Or do you want to know which is the best HEPA filter vacuum cleaner without spending hours searching through online reviews? Then you’ve come to the right place!
HEPA filters have become increasingly common in vacuum cleaners – and for good reason. The filters can trap both microscopic and large particles, including mould and allergens, so that they aren’t released into the air via the vacuum’s exhaust. The filters achieve this by pushing air through an extremely fine mesh.
However, while the large number of HEPA vacuums is a good thing for homeowners, it can also make it more difficult to choose. The best HEPA vacuums are powerful, easy to use and provide value for money, while others may not even come with a genuine HEPA (beware HEPA-like filters!) That’s why we’ve created this section to help you make an informed decision.
What are the Benefits of a HEPA Vacuum?
Before we get to the top vacuums with HEPA filters, it’s important to understand what a HEPA filter does. As we’ve mentioned, the HEPA filter’s job is to force air through a mesh of fiberglass. Dust, mould spores, pet dander and other microscopic particles are caught in this mesh and can’t escape.
Some of the benefits of a HEPA filter include:
- Helps reduce the chance of asthma flareups. HEPA filters remove smoke and dust from the air, which is important for people with asthma.
- Helps reduce chance of allergic reactions. By removing pollen, dust and other allergens from the air, allergic reactions are less likely. This is why a HEPA model is sometimes simply called an allergy vacuum cleaner.
- Improved air quality. Even if you don’t suffer from an allergy or asthma, a HEPA filter reduces contamination in vacuum exhaust air.
It’s important to note that you can often buy HEPA filters for vacuums that don’t come with one as standard. This may be the cheaper option – but it’s important to choose a filter that does the job properly. You can get a good idea of the quality by looking at test results, factors such as Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value and how the model has been rated by buyers.
Another thing to keep in mind is some manufacturers are moving away from HEPA filters in favour of other filtration systems. Newer Dysons, for example, are being built with a cylinder system that uses centrifugal forces to remove allergens. For this reason, you may need to buy an older model if you want to get a HEPA filter (although there are still plenty of excellent options).
The rest of this article contains, in our opinion, four of the best HEPA filter vacuum cleaners on the market at the moment (these models all come with a HEPA filter as standard). Each provides excellent value for money and has received high ratings from buyers – but if you feel we’ve missed a great model, let us know in the comments. Let’s get started!
Top 4 Rated Vacuum Cleaners with HEPA Filters
|Rank||Product Name||Type||Weight||Dust Capacity||Filter||Price Range||Read More|
|Shark Rotator Lift-Away NV340UKT||Upright||6kg||1.1 litres||HEPA + Washable||££||View Price|
|SEBO Automatic X1.1 ECO||Upright||7kg||5.3 litres||S-Class||£££||View Price|
|Vax U85-AS-Be Air Stretch Base||Upright||4.9kg||1.5 litres||HEPA||££||View Price|
|VonHaus 2-in-1 Upright Stick & Handheld||Upright/Stick||2.9kg||1.3 litres||HEPA + Sponge||£££||View Price|
1. Shark Rotator Lift-Away NV340UKT
One of the best vacuums that includes HEPA technology is the Shark Rotator NV340UKT. It's an underrated model in the UK, but provides excellent performance and is great for allergy sufferers.
The stand-out feature of the Shark is its lift-away design. This allows you to detach the canister from the rest of the vacuum, making it easy to clean stairs and other tricky places.
There are several layers of filtration included with the Shark (including a HEPA filter). These combine to filter up to 99.9% of particles with a 0.3 micron diameter (or larger), so it's much more effective than standard vacuums.
We like that the Shark comes with a powered pet tool for removing hair from upholstery and carpets. A pet dander allergy is one of the most common reasons for buying a HEPA vacuum, so it makes sense to include this tool. Even if you don't have pets, the tool is great for deep cleaning and removing human hair.
Other features include LED headlights, the ability to switch cleaning modes with a single button press and a hard-floor attachment. The vacuum is also designed to prevent suction loss as the canister fills up.
Overall, the Shark NV340UKT is an excellent HEPA vacuum cleaner. It might not have the flashy design of other cleaners, but it provides strong suction and effective cleaning performance. The combination of HEPA and washable filters also keep allergens to a minimum.
- Price Range: ££
- Power: 750W
- Weight: 6kg
- Dust Capacity: 1.1L
- Filter Type: HEPA + Washable
- Combination of HEPA and washable filters
- Has a portable mode
- Pet power brush
2. SEBO Automatic X1.1 ECO
The Sebo Automatic X1.1 is an excellent vacuum cleaner that's one of our top picks for an upright model. It also comes with a highly-effective filter, making it a great choice for allergy sufferers.
Firstly, the SEBO does not come with a HEPA filter. Instead it's built with SEBO's own S-Class filter. This has very similar performance to a true HEPA filter (99.9% of particles of 0.3 microns in diameter or larger), which is why we've included it on this list.
It's unlikely that the 0.07% difference in filtration efficiency between an S-Class and a HEPA will make a practical difference to your allergies. The fact that this is a bagged vacuum also makes it a better choice for people with asthma or allergic reactions.
Aside from its filtration system, the SEBO is a powerful bagged vacuum that's designed for serious cleaning. It's built with a 1100 motor that uses the company's "Computer Control System." This is a fancy way of saying the brush automatically adjusts its height for maximum performance, but it's a handy feature to have. It also has a large capacity, so you won't need to empty it as often as other vacuums.
Other features include a design that allows it to clean flat on the floor, a cassette brush system and hygienic bags. We would have liked a slightly longer hose, but this is a minor complaint.
In summary, the SEBO Automatic X1.1 ECO is a great choice if you're looking for a high-quality and powerful upright vacuum. It's not cheap, but the S-Class filter and bagged design make it perfect for allergy and asthma sufferers.
- Price Range: £££
- Power: 1100W
- Weight: 7kg
- Dust Capacity: 5.3L
- Filter Type: S-Class (99.97% of particles of 0.3 microns or more)
- Includes and S-Class filter which has very similar performance to a HEPA
- Powerful suction
- "Computer Control System" maximises cleaning performance
3. Vax U85-AS-Be Air Stretch Base
The Vax U85-AS-Be Air Stretch Base is a newer model of the popular Vax U91-MA-B, and retains many of the features while also improving in several areas. It’s a lightweight model with a 17m long reach, making it great for reaching those tricky areas. It also comes with multi-cyclonic technology to reduce loss of suction, and a HEPA filter for removing allergens from the air.
Other features of the U85-AS-Be include a AAAA rating for performance, a weight of 4.9kg (which puts it in our lightweight category) and a generous 6 year guarantee.
While not all the reviews of the Vax U85-AS-Be are positive, it has a relatively high average rating on shopping sites – which is why it’s made our list of the top HEPA filter vacuum cleaner models. A reviewer writes that it’s a good choice for large homes, due to the extremely long reach. He also likes that it includes a switch to reduce suction when on thick carpets, as older models could be difficult to push.
Another reviewer says that the Vax is close to replacing her favourite Dyson. She writes that it’s lightweight, provides excellent suction and is easy to put together. She adds that it’s a breeze to manoeuvre around the home.
All in all, the Vax U85-AS-Be is a good choice for a HEPA filter vacuum cleaner if the others on this list are too expensive. It’s a powerful model that has a number of useful features, yet can be bought for less than half the price of more expensive models.
- Price Range: ££
- Power: 950W
- Weight: 4.9kg
- Dust Capacity: 1.5L
- Filter Type: HEPA
- Lightweight vacuum at just 4.9kg
- HEPA filter for cleaner air
- 17 metre reach due to the long hose and cord
4. VonHaus 2-in-1 Upright Stick & Handheld
While VonHaus doesn’t have the recognition of brands such as Dyson, the 1000W has proven to be an extremely popular model on shopping sites. It's a basic stick model without advanced features, but it provides great value.
One of its major selling points is the combination of HEPA and sponge filtration systems. This removes tiny particles from the air, and prevents bacteria and mould from spreading around your home, and the addition of a sponge filter is more effective than just a HEPA air cleaner alone.
Other features include a 1.3 litre capacity dust tank, crevice tool and 2-in-1 mode. The latter feature allows you to switch between the full length design, with the extension tube, or a handheld mode.
As we mentioned, the VonHaus is a basic vacuum that isn't designed for difficult tasks. It's great for quick cleaning, but if you want something to dig deep into carpet fibres we recommend looking at one of the other models on this list.
If, however, you’re looking for a versatile vacuum that doesn’t cost a lot of money, yet still provides excellent filtration, then the VonHaus 1000W 2-in-1 is an option to consider. The HEPA and sponge filters remove a large percentage of small particles from the air, while the 2-in-1 system makes it a convenient vacuum around the home.
- Price Range: £
- Power: 1000W
- Weight: 2.9kg
- Dust Capacity: 1.3L
- Filter Type: HEPA + Sponge
- Combination of HEPA and sponge filters
- Handheld and upright modes
- 2 year warranty
Frequently Asked Questions
- Are HEPA Filters Washable? It depends – not all HEPAs are washable. The filters are constructed using a mesh of interlaced glass fibres, which can become easily damaged. If your filter is not built to be washed, washing it could allow small particles through even though it will look the same to the naked eye. There are, however, some washable HEPA filters on the market. As a general rule, unless a filter is stated as being washable (or has a washable icon) then avoid washing it.
- When should I change a HEPA filter? There are no hard rules about when to change a HEPA. In general, a filter should last at least a couple of years before being replaced. If there is a musty smell in the air after cleaning, this is another sign that it’s come to the end of its effective life-span.
- How does a HEPA filter vacuum work? We have a full guide here, but the here’s a short summary. Standard filters are little more than a very fine mesh that catches particles in much the same way as a kitchen sieve. The problem is that any particles smaller than the gaps between the mesh will pass through. HEPA filters solve this problem with a random array of glass fibres. These catch particles in several different ways rather than just acting as a simple sieve.
If you or someone in your home suffers from an allergy or asthma, or if you’re simply concerned about the air quality in your home, a HEPA filter vacuum cleaner is almost an essential purchase. While most modern vacuums have a filter, HEPA filters can remove much smaller particles of dust, mould and bacteria. This prevents allergens from circulating in your home.
There are a number of vacuum cleaners with HEPA filters, and you can also buy separate HEPA filters for most models. But in this article, we’ve listed four of the top vacuums in the UK that include a HEPA filter as standard. If you want more information about this type of filter, check out this excellent glossary of terms.
So if you’re having trouble choosing the best HEPA filter vacuum – these four are a great place to start!
Do you have any questions about HEPA filters or vacuums in general? Have we missed a vacuum you think should be included in this list? Let us know in the comments.