Halo Capsule review: A cordless stick vacuum with a big bin and no-mess bags
Where most cordless stick vacuum cleaners keep you well aware of how much filth they suck up, with translucent collection bins that need regular emptying, the Halo Capsule takes a different approach. Within its carbon fibre case, the Capsule hides a “Dust Pouch” – essentially a paper bag with a cardboard seal at the top. Each pouch has the capacity to store 1.6 litres of dirt before it needs removing and replacing.
Halo states there are a number of benefits to using a bag instead of a bagless system, including increased capacity, better filtration and less mess when emptying. There’s also the added benefit that you don’t have to watch the dirt spin around inside the vacuum as you’re cleaning, which is a cruel reminder of how dirty your house has become. The downside is you will have to keep buying replacement bags as you use them.
Halo Capsule review: What do you get for the money?
When it originally launched the Halo Capsule cost £359 but it’s now available for £250. At this price it goes head to head with the venerable (but still popular), the and the . All of these are cordless alternatives but they all take the bagless approach, opting for collection bins that can be emptied straight into a dustbin.
The Capsule is made from carbon fibre and only weighs 2.6kg. Most of this weight is concentrated up at the handle so although 2.6kg sounds light it doesn’t necessarily feel that way when it’s in use. Some of the lightness comes courtesy of a smaller, lighter floor head, which doesn’t have the solid, weighty feel of a Dyson or Shark motorised head.
With its aluminium extension wand and floor head attached, the Capsule measures 240 x 140 x 1150mm (WDH) and comes with a wall mount so you can hang the Capsule and its two supplied accessories (a dusting brush and a crevice tool) on a wall, although you’ll need to attach the charger separately once you’ve hung it on the wall to start it recharging. There is a clip on the side of the dock you can connect the cord to, however, so you shouldn’t need to scrabble around to find it. A full charge takes around three hours.
Halo Capsule review: What’s it like to use?
The Halo Capsule is relatively straightforward to use. There’s a series of three buttons you can operate with the thumb of the hand that holds the vacuum. The first switches it on and off with no need to hold the button down to maintain the power. The second switches the motor in the floor head on or off (it’s always off by default). And the third selects the power level.
The vacuum starts off in the standard Performance mode but it can be cycled through Eco and Boost modes, too. I found the buttons occasionally unresponsive but largely this works as it should. Beneath the buttons is a bank of four lights that indicate how much battery is left and a Dust Pouch indicator that lights up when the bag is full.
The extension pole and the floor head clip into place but they don’t do it with the solid, satisfying click I’ve seen on other vacuums. As with the buttons, I was sometimes left wondering if the connection had been fully made or if it needed more pushing. I didn’t find them particularly easy to release, either, with little tactile feedback on whether the buttons had been depressed far enough to release the latch.
Pushing the Capsule around using the floor head and extension pole, the vacuum feels light and agile. It’s not quite as manoeuvrable as theand it’s a bit heavier at the handle but it’s still easy to push around. As noted, the motorised head is disabled by default, which is good for hard floors. Switch it on when you’re on carpet and the pile is well agitated by the bristles on the rotating brush. This adds some resistance to the pull back but it’s still easier to move around than heavier models such as the .
To use the Capsule as a handheld, you remove the extension pole and connect one of its tools straight into the main unit. I found the crevice tool worked fine in this mode but the dusting brush is at a slightly awkward angle. For cleaning stairs, you can attach the motorised floor head without the extension tube but it’s a bit more unwieldy than the separate smaller motorised heads that come with many cordless vacuum cleaners, mostly because it’s large and its flexible neck means it flops down when you lift it from step to step.
It’s the emptying process where the Capsule comes into its own. Emptying most cordless, bagless vacuum cleaners should be a relatively mess-free experience, however some form of dust cloud usually escapes as it catches in the air.
The Capsule doesn’t suffer from this problem. When you open the Capsule, the dust largely stays inside the bag, which you can then lift out and throw away, with far less dust billowing around. The inside of the vacuum stays much cleaner, too. In our flour tests, the whole process was remarkably less messy than it usually is with a bagless cordless stick.
On the negative side, the bag system produces extra waste and cost. The bags are made from recycled material and are fully compostable, so at least they’re relatively green. Replacements can be purchased through the Halo website, with the best deal currently costing 58p per bag for a bulk purchase of 52 bags. If you buy from Amazon in smaller amounts the price rises to £15 for 13, which is more than a pound a pop.
One thing the vacuum could really do with is anti hair wrap technology, as we found the roller getting tangled with long hair relatively quickly. The roller can be removed and the hair cut out, and there’s a handy groove moulded into the roller to help get scissors under tightly-rolled hair but it’s a maintenance faff that you don’t have with the.
Halo Capsule review: How well does it clean?
When it came to the cleaning tests, the Halo Capsule put in a mixed performance. Let’s start with the good. When it comes to cleaning up fine particles, the Capsule proved highly effective. On carpet it picked up 48g of our 50g spillage of flour on a single pass, with only a small amount of residue visible on the floor afterwards. This was easily collected on subsequent passes from a different angle. Fine particle pickup on hard flooring was even better, with 49g of the flour collected and nothing visibly left behind.
It wasn’t as good at collecting larger debris. On short-pile carpet it sucked up a disappointing 12g of our 26g spillage of Cheerios. This improved when pushed into Boost mode, but the rotating brush mashed and scattered almost as many particles as it collected. On hard floor the Cheerio test had the vacuum flummoxed and it just pushed the Cheerios ahead of it, unable to get a foothold over the chunky cereal.
This isn’t a suction problem. I measured that and it’s actually more powerful than most other cordless sticks we’ve tested, with only Dyson’s larger models beating its peak 23kPa. The problem is clearance under the front lip of the floor head, which has been kept low to create a good seal with the floor but isn’t high enough to let larger particles pass through.
The upshot of this is that the Halo is great for small particles and dust but doesn’t have the heavy duty ability to bear down on larger dirt. This is a familiar story for lighter, more agile cordless stick cleaners that opt for a roller brush rather than a soft head for cleaning hard flooring. You’re better off crushing larger particles with your foot and letting the vacuum cleaner deal with the dust than trying to gather large particles up whole.
Battery life is fair, though. In Performance mode, the Capsule lasted 20mins 33secs in our test and stretched that out to 50mins 10secs in Eco mode. In Boost mode, it lasted 11mins 46secs before the battery died.
Halo Capsule review: Should I buy it?
The main reason to opt for a Halo Capsule is if you aren’t a great fan of emptying vacuums. The generous 1.6 litre collection bin is significantly more voluminous than any other cordless stick so you won’t have to do very often and the Dust Pouch concept also makes this a cleaner, less messy experience. The downside is that you’re going to be supplying it with Dust Pouches for the rest of its life. These aren’t expensive and are relatively eco-friendly, but they’re not as green as the zero additional waste you get from other cordless sticks.
You could get afor the same price as a Capsule. The collection bin is small by comparison but it’s better at all-round cleaning. Alternatively, if you want all the mod cons for a similar price, Shark is a good place to look. Its models are larger and heavier but you won’t need to clear hair from its rollers as often and with a soft roller at the front of the floor head, it works well at picking up all sorts of dirt (including Cheerios) from all surfaces.
Theis another good alternative if you like the idea of a small and light vacuum, and it comes with more attachments and a useful second battery. However, you’ll be emptying its 0.65 litre collection bin nearly three times as often as you need to do with the Capsule.