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 2018.
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 find 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 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 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.
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 5 Rated Vacuum Cleaners with HEPA Filters
|Rank||Product Name||Type||Weight||Dust Capacity||Filter||Price Range||Read More|
|Shark Lift-Away NV601UK||Upright||6.2kg||1.65 litres||HEPA + Sealed||£££||View Price|
|Miele C3 Total Allergy||Cylinder||5.4kg||4.5 litres||HEPA 13||£££||View Price|
|SEBO Automatic X7 Extra ePower||Upright||7.4kg||5.3 litres||S-Class||££££||View Price|
|Dyson V8 Animal||Cordless||2.61kg||0.54 litres||HEPA + Whole Machine||££££||View Price|
|VonHaus 2-in-1 Upright Stick & Handheld||Upright/Stick||2.9kg||1.3 litres||HEPA + Sponge||£||View Price|
1. Shark Lift-Away NV601UK Upright
One of the best vacuums with HEPA technology is the Shark Rotator NV601UK. 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 floorhead, making it easy to clean stairs and other tricky places.
There are several layers of filtration included with the Shark (including a HEPA filter 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.
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 and a 2-in-1 duster crevice tool. The vacuum is also designed to prevent suction loss as the canister fills up.
One thing to note about the NV601UK is that it doesn't include Shark's powered lift-away technology. This is a feature of pricier Shark vacuums that provides brush bar power even when in lift-away mode. We still think the NV601UK provides excellent performance for the price though.
Overall, the Shark NV601UK 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 sealed technology also keeps allergens to a minimum.
Note: There is also the Shark NV601UKT. This is a bit more expensive than the standard NV601UK, but comes with Shark's TruePet tool for dog and cat hair. If you have pets, we recommend getting this model.
- Price Range: £££
- Power: 750W
- Weight: 6.2kg
- Dust Capacity: 1.65L
- Filter Type: HEPA
- Combination of HEPA and sealed technology
- Has a detachable canister
- Great perforamnce on hard floors and carpets
2. Miele C3 Total Solution Allergy
If you're looking for a cylinder vacuum with a HEPA filter, the Miele Complete C3 Total Allergy is one of the best options. Like all C3 models, it's a powerful vac with outstanding cleaning performance. The addition of a HEPA 13 filter also makes it a great option for allergy sufferers.
What makes the C3 stand out from other cylinder vacuums though?
The first thing is the EcoTeq floorhead, which provides excellent cleaning performance despite the reduced wattage (890W down from 1200W to comply with EU regulations). There's also a hardfloor brush and a turbo brush for pet hair (this is particularly useful on stairs).
Most importantly for this article, the Total Solution Allergy has been designed for people with allergies. It's a bagged model with a self-closing system, so dust doesn't escape when you need to empty it. The HEPA 13 filter also removes most allergens - although it doesn't have a charcoal filter for removing bad odours.
Other features include variable power settings, foot controls, an integrated accessory kit and 11 metre cleaning radius.
In summary, if you want a HEPA filter vacuum cleaner with a cylinder design, the C3 Total Allergy is an excellent choice. The C3 range performs well on all types of floor, while the HEPA 13 filter makes it more suitable for allergy sufferers than other versions.
- Price Range: £££
- Power: 890W
- Weight: 5.4kg
- Dust Capacity: 4.5L
- Filter Type: HEPA 13
- HEPA 13 filter which isn't found on other C3 models
- Bagged design with hygienic self-sealing function
- Turbo brush
3. SEBO Automatic X7 Extra ePower
The SEBO Automatic X7 Extra is a powerful 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 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 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.
- 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)
- Includes and S-Class filter which has very similar performance to a HEPA
- Powerful suction
- SEBO's "Computer Control System" maximises cleaning performance
4. Dyson V8 Animal
If you're looking for a cordless HEPA vacuum cleaner, the Dyson V8 Animal is our top pick. It's an expensive choice, but the V8 is brilliant at both carpet and hard floor cleaning - plus it has almost double the run-time of the previous V6.
What makes the V8 Animal stand-out in the crowded cordless vacuum market though?
Firstly, it's a powerful vac with Dyson's excellent direct-drive cleaner head. This digs deep into carpet fibres to remove more dust, dirt and hair. The "Animal" label means it comes with a mini turbo tool for pet hair - although this is also useful for removing stubborn dirt from upholstery.
The V8 Animal version doesn't come with the "Fluffy" hard floor head though. This is a shame, but the direct-drive tool still does an excellent job at cleaning household mess - including pet hair - with relative ease. It's also great at cleaning a variety of floor types, including floorboards, laminate and carpets.
Other features include a "MAX" power mode for when you need extra suction, new bin emptying system that forces dust and dirt out of the canister, and several accessories.
Most importantly for this article, the V8 Animal does a great job of trapping allergens and preventing them escaping. This is due to the combination of HEPA filter and whole machine filtration.
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 either the Miele C3 Total Solution Allergy or SEBO X7 Extra. If someone else in your household can empty the vacuum outside, however, the V8 Animal is an excellent choice.
- Price Range: ££££
- Power: Cordless
- Weight: 2.61kg
- Dust Capacity: 0.54L
- Filter Type: HEPA + Whole Machine
- Lightweight vacuum at just 2.61kg
- HEPA filter and whole machine filtration for cleaner air
- Powerful for a cordless vac
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 model without advanced features, but it provides great value due to the low price.
One of its major selling points is the combination of HEPA and sponge filtration systems. This removes tiny particles from the air, which 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.
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 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: 600W
- 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 five 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 five 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.