Henry Vacuum Bags – Bags Or No Bags? Genuine Or Non-Genuine?

Henry Vacuum Bags – Bags Or No Bags? Genuine Or Non-Genuine?

Henry Vacuum Bags Do you need them?

The internet as a whole seems to have a lot of different opinions on whether or not you need Henry vacuum bags or not. We thought it was about time that someone looked into this “should you shouldn’t you” situation properly!

Why do people think you can use the henry without bags?

So lets go right back to the start when Henry first came out, way back almost 30 years ago. He was fresh on the market and almost all other vacuum cleaners on the scene were uprights. These upright vacuum cleaners had small paper bags to collect the majority of the waste. Due to the small size of the bag though they often clogged quickly, earning the vacuum bag a bad reputation for being an “expensive nuisance”.

Henry was a little different though, he was small and compact but had a huge drum, and gigantic 305mm diameter secondary filter. he also had a less efficient motor than he now has, which moved less air. The combination of large secondary filter and lesser powered motor meant that Henry could cope quite well with being used without a bag.

Numatic decided to capitalise on this and offered Henry to the market as a machine that you could use “with or without” a bag. The bags at the time that Henry used were of a paper construction but still worked. Their larger capacity gave them a bigger filtration service area than the smaller bags of upright machines.

So this is how Henry and the rest of his family became known as the vacuums that don’t need vacuum bags. A lot has changed since then though…

So should I now be using bags?

Quick answer, YES. When the new 1200W motors with their high airflow were introduced it became quickly apparent that the bagless option could not be continued. It was at this point that Numatic started to recommend that their vacuum cleaners should only be used with bags. The vacuum bags not only collect dust within the vacuum, they also act as a first layer of filtration.

The new motors were bringing in dust that fast that the secondary filters were blocking or “blinding” which then meant the machine lost suction.By using dust bags, the bag takes the brunt of the dirt, leaving the secondary filter to deal with the stragglers. This much more efficient setup not only protects the filter, but ensures that dirt and dust does not damage the motor.

We are not saying that the vacuum wont work without bags, it just will loose suction quickly and may not last as long.

So which bags should you buy?

Genuine or Non-Genuine? Numatic will tell you that you should always use genuine bags. This is because they can guarantee the quality of their own items. Out on the open market though there are mainly three types of bag to choose from. We have given a pro’s and con’s list for each type of henry bag below.

  • Genuine Numatic;
    • Pros:
      • Fabric type bag.
      • 3 Layers of filtration.
      • Well tested through quality control.
      • Guaranteed to fit right.
      • Not prone to bursting.
      • Will fill up rather than clog.
    • Cons:
      • More expensive than the cheapest “copy bags”.
  • Non Genuine Cloth Bags
    • Pros
      • Cheaper than genuine bags.
      • Better than paper bags
    • Cons
      • Varying quality controls.
      • Can burst damaging filters.
      • Have a tendency to loose suction.
  • Paper Bags
    • Pros
      • Cheapest of the bunch
    • Cons
      • Tendency to burst.
      • Restrict filtration right off the bat.
      • varying quality control

The pricing on the bags varies depending on where you purchase them, but the difference per bag can be as much as 50p. That said, how often do you actually need to change your Henry vacuum bag? With the genuine HepaFlo bags not blocking under normal use until they are full, it isnt as often as you may think. The average household will change their vacuum bag on a Henry every 3 – 4 weeks. That is only 12 bags a year. Currently a pack of 10 genuine bags can be purchased with delivery for around £5 to £6, that’s nearly a years supply!

Ultimately it is up to you what you do with your vacuum, but we would almost always recommend that you use genuine over copy bags if you can afford to. In the long run using other bags could shorten the lifespan of your cleaning friend Henry.

How to make sure you get genuine?

There are a lot of “look alike” bags and copy bags that use branding and names that look very similar to the genuine product. You should make sure that your product is a Hepa-Flo Bag. It should come in a green box and include part codes NVM-1CH and 604015 if buying for Henry.

If buying bags for other machines the following codes are genuine Numatic items;

  • George & Charles + Other 370 size machines
  • 470 Size Machines (e.g. WV470)
  • 570 size machines (e.g. NVQ570)
  • 900 size machines (e.g. NVQ900)


If you can afford to, always use bags, and try and buy genuine where possible, avoid paper at all costs and your Henry will love you for it!

If you have questions, send us a tweet or comment below!