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 2021.
- What is a HEPA Filter?
- What are the Benefits of a HEPA Vacuum Cleaner?
- How to Choose a HEPA Vacuum
- Top 5 Rated Vacuum Cleaners with HEPA Filters
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Summary and Our Top HEPA Vacuum Cleaner
Vacuuming dust particles, pet dander, and other small particles is only half the battle for a vacuum cleaner. It’s equally important for the vacuum to trap allergens, rather than pumping them back into the air. This is where a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter comes in handy.
Unlike basic foam filters, HEPA filters (high efficiency particulate air) have multiple layers of fine fibreglass mesh to trap microscopic particles. These catch allergens, such as mould and allergens, before they are released back into the air via the vacuum’s exhaust.
While HEPA vacuums aren’t guaranteed to be the best vacs for allergy sufferers, as the vacuum’s design also plays a role, the filters are much more effective at removing allergenic particles. In this article, we’ve listed five of the best HEPA vacuum cleaners, along with tips for choosing the right option for your home.
#1 Pick: Shark Powered Lift-Away NV620UKT
What is a HEPA Filter?
Vacuums with a HEPA filter are usually more effective at catching allergens after they’ve been vacuumed. This is because HEPA filters catch 99.97% of particles that are more than 0.3 microns wide, making them much more efficient than standard filters.
To achieve this high filtration efficiency, HEPA filters are built with many layers of fibreglass mesh. These layers are criss-crossed to intercept particles and stop them from escaping into the air.
There are many HEPA vacuums on the market, including upright, cylinder, and cordless vacuums. Whatever your requirements, it’s nearly always possible to find a HEPA vacuum cleaner that meets them.
Tip; If you want more information about this type of filter, check out this excellent glossary of terms.
What are the Benefits of a HEPA Vacuum Cleaner?
Before we get to the top vacuums with HEPA filters, it’s important to understand what HEPA filtration does. As we’ve mentioned, the 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 vacuum cleaner include:
- Helps reduce the chance of asthma flareups. A HEPA vacuum removes small particles from the air before it’s released, which is important for people with asthma.
- Helps reduce chance of allergic reactions. By removing pollen, dust mites, and other allergens from the air, allergic reactions are less likely. This is why a HEPA model is sometimes called an allergy vacuum cleaner.
- Improved air quality. Even if you don’t suffer from an allergy or asthma, a high-quality filter reduces contamination in vacuum exhaust air.
It’s worth noting 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.
You should also keep in mind that a HEPA vacuum can only be effective if all air is passed through the filter. If the vacuum isn’t properly sealed, then allergens can still escape.
How to Choose a HEPA Vacuum
Not all HEPA vacuum cleaners are equal. Here are some considerations when buying one:
- Sealed HEPA vacuums are much more effective. As mentioned earlier, it’s important for a vacuum to be properly sealed. Otherwise air (and allergens) can escape without passing through the HEPA filter. It’s also essential for the filter to be tightly fitted.
- Bagged vacuums are better for allergies. If you suffer from allergies, then a bagged vacuum is often the best choice. The best bagged HEPA vacuums have self-sealing bags that prevent allergens from escaping during the emptying process. Bagless HEPA vacuums can still be effective at retaining allergens, but make sure you get someone else to empty the canister into an outdoor bin.
- Look for certified HEPA vacuums. Certifications from advocacy organisations, such as Allergy Standards Limited, can indicate that a vacuum has effective filtration. There are many excellent HEPA vacuum cleaners that don’t have certifications, however, so this isn’t an essential consideration.
- Only buy true HEPA filters. Avoid “HEPA-like” or “HEPA-type” filters. These often appear to be the same as HEPA filters, but may not catch smaller particles.
- Don’t forget cleaning performance and convenience. HEPA vacuums can be great for allergies, but they still need to have strong cleaning performance. Long battery run-time (for cordless vacuums), a lightweight design, large dust capacity, and powered pet tools can increase the convenience and versatility of a HEPA vacuum.
The rest of this article contains, in our opinion, five of the best HEPA filter vacuum cleaners on the market at the moment (these models all come with a HEPA as standard). Each provides excellent value for money and strong cleaning performance – but if you feel we’ve missed a great model, let us know in the comments. Let’s get started!
Top 5 Rated Vacuum Cleaners with HEPA Filters
|Rank||Product Name||Type||Weight||Dust Capacity||Filter||Price Range||Read More|
|Shark Powered Lift-Away NV620UKT||Upright||7kg||0.83 litres||HEPA + Sealed||£££||View Price|
|Miele Blizzard CX1 Excellence||Cylinder||8.7kg||2 litres||HEPA AirClean||£££||View Price|
|SEBO Automatic X7 Extra ePower||Upright||7.4kg||5.3 litres||S-Class||££££||View Price|
|Dyson V11 Absolute||Cordless||3.05kg||0.76 litres||HEPA + Whole Machine||£££££||View Price|
|VonHaus 2-in-1 Upright Stick & Handheld||Upright/Stick||2.9kg||1.3 litres||HEPA||£||View Price|
1. Shark Powered Lift-Away NV620UKT Bagless Upright
One of the best vacuums with HEPA technology is the Shark Powered Lift-Away NV620UKT. It’s a relatively new and underrated model in the UK, but provides excellent performance and is great for allergy sufferers.
The stand-out feature of the Shark is its powered lift-away design. This allows you to detach the canister from floorhead, making it easy to clean stairs and other tricky places. As the NV620UKT uses Shark’s “powered” version of this technology, you can still use motorised tools in this mode.
There are several layers of filtration included with the Shark (including HEPA filtration and Anti-Allergen Seal). 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. A drawback is that it’s a bagless vacuum cleaner, so make sure someone who doesn’t suffer from allergies empties the canister outdoors.
How does it perform though?
The Shark is great for cleaning both carpets and hard floors. The strong suction power allows the vac to dig deep into carpets, while the floor head does a decent job of picking up larger debris. It’s not the best vacuum for laminate, but won’t let you down on floorboards or carpets.
Other features include LED headlights, turbo pet tool for upholstery and stairs, and two power modes depending on floor type. The vacuum is also designed to prevent suction loss as the canister fills up.
One thing to note about the NV620UKT is that it’s not the most advanced vacuum in the Shark range. It doesn’t include Shark’s anti hair-wrap technology, for example, or the company’s DuoClean floorhead. We still think the NV620UKT provides excellent performance for the price though – especially if you’re looking for a bagless anti-allergen vacuum.
Overall, the Shark NV620UKT is an excellent HEPA vacuum cleaner. It might not have the flashy design of other cleaners or the advanced features of other Shark vacs, but it provides strong suction and effective cleaning performance. The combination of HEPA and sealed technology also keeps allergens to a minimum.
- Combination of HEPA and sealed technology
- Has a detachable canister
- Great suction power and a pet tool
- Price Range: £££
- Power: 750W
- Weight: 7kg
- Filter Type: HEPA
2. Miele Blizzard CX1 Excellence
If you’re looking for a cylinder vacuum with a HEPA filter, the Miele Blizzard CX1 Excellence PowerLine is one of the best options. Like all Miele cylinders, it’s a powerful vac with outstanding cleaning performance. The addition of a HEPA AirClean filter also makes it a great HEPA vacuum cleaner for allergy sufferers.
What makes the CX1 stand out from other cylinder vacuums though?
The first thing is the EcoTeq Plus floorhead, which provides excellent all-round cleaning performance despite the motor’s reduced wattage (890W down from 1200W to comply with EU regulations). There’s no turbo brush, but the Blizzard Excellence includes rotary power control for when you need to adjust suction.
Most importantly for this article, the Blizzard CX1 Excellence has a HEPA lifetime filter to minimise escaped allergens. It’s not quite as allergy-friendly as a bagged model – you’ll need to get someone else to empty it outside if you have allergies – but provides excellence filtration for a bagless vacuum.
Other features of this cylinder vacuum cleaner include an integrated accessory kit, telescopic tube and 11 metre cleaning radius. The dust container also has a “Click To Open” design, so you shouldn’t need to touch dirt and dust.
In summary, if you want a HEPA filter vacuum cleaner with a cylinder design, the Blizzard CX1 Excellence is a great choice. The Blizzard range performs well on all types of floor, while the HEPA AirClean filter makes it more suitable for allergy sufferers than other versions.
- HEPA AirClean lifetime filter
- Miele's powerful bagless technology
- 11 metre operating radius
- Price Range: £££
- Power: 890W
- Weight: 8.7kg
- Dust Capacity: 2L
- Filter Type: HEPA AirClean
3. SEBO Automatic X7 Extra ePower Upright Vacuum
The SEBO Automatic X7 Extra is a powerful corded upright vacuum cleaner that does a great job on all surfaces. It also comes with a highly-effective S-Class filter and bagged design, making it one of our top picks for allergy sufferers.
Let’s clear something up first though: 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 (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 vacuum that’s designed for serious cleaning. It’s built with an 890W 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 5.3 litre capacity, so you won’t need to empty it as often as other vacuums.
Other features include a cassette brush system and hygienic bags. We would have liked a pet turbo tool – especially considering the price – although the model includes several accessories and an extended hose system.
In summary, the SEBO Automatic X7 Extra 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.
- Includes and S-Class filter which has very similar performance to a HEPA
- Powerful suction
- SEBO's Computer Control System maximises cleaning performance
- Price Range: ££££
- Power: 890W
- Weight: 7.4kg
- Dust Capacity: 5.3L
- Filter Type: S-Class (99.97% of particles of 0.3 microns or more)
4. Dyson V11 Absolute Cordless HEPA Vacuum Cleaner
If you’re looking for a cordless HEPA vacuum cleaner, the Dyson V11 Absolute is our top pick. It’s an expensive cordless stick vacuum, but the V11 is brilliant at cleaning both carpet and hard floor cleaning. It also has a host of advanced features, such as an LCD screen, automatically adjusting suction power, and two brilliant floorheads.
What makes the V11 Absolute stand-out in the crowded cordless vacuum market though?
Firstly, it’s a powerful vac with Dyson’s excellent High Torque cleaner head. This digs deep into carpet fibres to remove more dust, dirt and hair.
Along with the High Torque head, the Absolute includes Dyson’s Soft Roller. This is an alternative floorhead that’s great for removing hair and fine dust from hard floors, laminate, and tiles. The Absolute also comes with a mini turbo tool for removing pet hair and dirt from sofas, stairs, and car interiors.
Other features of this cordless stick vacuum include Dyson’s Dynamic Load Sensor system, which automatically changes motor speed depending on the floor type, and an LCD screen showing battery life and other information. It also has a bigger cell than the Dyson V10, so it lasts longer at a higher suction power (although both vacs have a 60 minute maximum run-time.) Like all Dyson vacuums, detaching the tube turns the V11 into a versatile handheld vacuum.
Most importantly for this article, the V11 Absolute does a great job of trapping allergens and preventing them escaping. This is due to the combination of HEPA filter and whole machine filtration. The V11 has also been certified as asthma and allergy friendly.
Of course, the downside to most cordless vacuums for allergy sufferers is that they are bagless vacs. This means they are messier to empty – even with Dyson’s new hygienic emptying system. The small capacity of the Dyson can make this more of an issue.
For this reason, if you have serious allergies I recommend the SEBO X7 Extra. If someone else in your household can empty the vacuum outside, however, the V11 Absolute is an excellent choice.
Tip: Looking for a cheaper cordless stick vacuum cleaner with HEPA filtration? The Dyson V8 Animal also has a HEPA filter and whole machine filtration. It’s not as powerful or advanced as the V11, but is still a great HEPA vacuum.
- Powerful suction and advanced features
- HEPA and whole machine filtration for cleaner air
- Detachable handheld mode and pet tool
- Price Range: £££££
- Power: Cordless
- Weight: 3.05kg
- Dust Capacity: 0.76L
- Filter Type: HEPA + Whole Machine
5. VonHaus 2-in-1 Upright Stick & Handheld
While VonHaus doesn’t have the recognition of brands such as Dyson, their Stick Vac has proven to be an extremely popular model on shopping sites. It’s a basic lightweight vacuum without advanced features, but it provides great value due to the low price.
One of its major selling points is that the vacuum comes with a HEPA filter. This removes tiny particles from the air, preventing bacteria and mould from spreading around your home, making it one of the best budget choices for people with allergies.
Other features of this HEPA vacuum cleaner 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.
It’s important to have realistic expectations of this model though.
As we mentioned, the VonHaus is a basic vacuum that isn’t designed for difficult tasks. It’s useful 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 2-in-1 is an option to consider. The HEPA filter removes a large percentage of small particles from the air, while the 2-in-1 system makes it a convenient vacuum around the home.
- Budget HEPA filter vacuum
- Handheld and upright modes
- 2 year warranty
- Price Range: £
- Power: 800W
- Weight: 2.9kg
- Dust Capacity: 1.3L
- Filter Type: HEPA
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.
Tip: If you suffer from allergies, you may also want to consider buying an air purifier to further reduce the quantity of allergens in your home.
Summary and Our Top HEPA Vacuum Cleaner
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 five of the top vacuums in the UK that include a HEPA filter as standard.
So if you’re having trouble choosing the best HEPA filter vacuum – these five are a great place to start! And if you’re looking for our top pick, then the Shark Powered Lift-Away NV620UKT is probably the best bagless HEPA vacuum on the market at the moment (just make sure someone else empties it into an outdoor bin!)
Do you have any questions about HEPA vacuums? Have we missed a vacuum you think should be included in this list? Let us know in the comments.