Here's the Halo Capsule review in a sentence: it turns out Dyson is not the only British-born maestro of the cordless vac, and the Halo is excellent.
Vacuum cleaners keep our floors clean by sucking up dust. Whatever fancy device you choose, after you've stripped away all the bells and whistles, it needs to be good at doing this one thing alone — and as quickly as possible. And that’s because no one really wants to clean, do they?
Sure, there’s a certain cathartic joy to be had in blitzing the front room, or meandering around your house on newly vac’d carpets. But after a long week of work, vacuuming sure as hell needs to be hassle-free, effective, and low on time investment.
Vacuums are a varied bunch, shipping in many types, sizes, and shapes. Cordless vacuums, on the other hand, largely look like Dyson vacuum cleaners, and have very similar features. However, while Halo Capsule has certain similarities to the standard cordless look, it is also different in one significant way.
Yes, ladies and gents, while the British-designed Halo Capsule is undoubtedly among the best cordless vacuum cleaners you can buy, I think it is probably THE best cordless vac that's bagged rather than bagless… because I don't think there are any others. That is not by any means the only reason to consider buying one, however…
Halo Capsule: price and availability
Halo Capsule is currently priced at £249.99, and this price hasn't appeared to fluctuate too much, if at all, over the past few months. It's available at Amazon UK (opens in new tab). For the same price, you can get the Halo Capsule from the official Capsule website (opens in new tab) but with 52 bags instead of 26.
Halo Capsule is a British product and so far, as far as we can tell, it is only available in the UK.
Halo Capsule: design and build
While the cordless vac industry has shifted entirely towards bagless vacuums, spurred on by Dyson, Halo Capsule has bucked that trend entirely here with its disposable bags. Before crying foul of what appears to be a dated design quirk in a world that’s trying to lower waste production, the Halo Capsule uses environmentally friendly, biodegradable cleaner bags.
Okay, there are a few other bagged cordless vacs available. There's the famous Henry Cordless of course, and one model from Gtech. Other than that, all cordless vacuum cleaners of at least some level of renown are bagless.
Beyond the Halo Capsule's smart-looking vac stick, it comes with several different cleaning heads. You get a power brush, dusting brush, and a tool to get inside the crevices of your home. There's a lot to get stuck into and you have no shortage of accessories to attack skirting boards and the underside of staircases if you so desire.
The Halo Capsule is made of carbon fibre, weighing in at a lightweight 2.6kg. To put that in perspective, the Dyson V15 Detect, while svelte, is 3kg. The brand new Dyson Omni-glide is admittedly 700g lighter than the Capsule, but that is specifically marketed as Dyson's super-lightweight vac, and has a tiny dustbin – just 0.19 litres. The Halo Capsule's bags can take 1.6l – ample room to suck up heaps of dust.
It’s really, really light, easily manoeuverable, and compact to boot. My apartment errs on the smaller side, but the Capsule disassembled easily for cupboard storage.
To access the dust pouch (as it seems to be called), you just flip up the metal clip on the body, open the lid, and lift out the bag. Much of the hesitation around bag-based vacs comes from the oft-fiddly process of removing the bag. This likely stems from a fear of adding more time than is absolutely necessary to your cleaning routine. However, the Halo Capsule makes it a cinch.
Realistically, this cordless vac is addressing a problem the best bagless cordless vacs had 5 years ago rather than one they have now. Emptying the latest models from Dyson, Samsung, Vax, et al is really very easy indeed. However, there is nothing wrong with Halo's approach, and some users may prefer it.
Halo Capsule: battery life
Battery life is a huge part of a positive cordless experience. It has to provide enough juice to stop it bombing out mid-vac, plus it needs to be easy to charge.
Operating the Halo Capsule is fairly straightforward. It has one button that turns the vac on and another to let you cycle between the three modes of operation: Eco, Performance and Boost. There aren't any nasty technical surprises to be had here, with the layout user-friendly and easy to get to grips with.
Upon switching the Halo Capsule on, you automatically enter Performance mode. According to Halo, you should squeeze about an hour’s usage out of Eco mode, off the back of three-hours charging. The Halo Capsule blitzed my floors when using it in Performance mode, consistently lasting around 30 minutes. Performance mode rises to pretty much every conceivable challenge you can encounter in a small apartment.
Boost mode is ostensibly reserved for more horrific messes, and only gives you 10-15 minutes of usage. A lot of people are tempted to always use the maximum power setting on cordless vacs but I really don't think it's needed here.
For smaller homes and 'little and often' cleaning, 30 minutes is more than fine. If you have a larger home that you like to do all in one go, you might curse the lack of interchangeable batteries. These are always a good idea and keep vacuums ticking over when you need it to go the extra distance. However, they do tend to offer reduced performance overall, so I can see why Halo decided not to go down that route for its first product.
Halo Capsule: performance
The good news is that the Halo Capsule offers packs serious performance. It's also strangely quiet in the midst of a deep clean. Should you ever fancy sprucing up your home in unsociable hours then the Halo Capsule will handle business provided you don't accidentally flick it into Boost mode.
Clearly, the kind of muck and grime your house is regularly subject to will affect how the Halo Capsule cleans. Personally speaking, Eco mode more than sufficed when quickly sweeping around the home; for tougher cleaning, Performance mode never struggled either, able to clean up dried mud from my bike's spokes or dirt on the kitchen floor with clinical efficiency.
On one occasion, after spilling a glittery residue on the floor replete with microscopic specks, Halo did struggle to dislodge them from the carpet's fabric in Performance mode. Boost mode, though, had no such problem and sucked up everything after a number of sweeps back and forth, including any glittery rubbish that had seeped to the edge of the carpet.
Halo Capsule: verdict
With time to reflect on the Halo Capsule, it's one of those gadgets that grows increasingly endearing as time goes on. Because my flat is so small; it's just the ticket for my current cleaning needs. However, it's also got enough suction and battery life to handle a three-bedroom flat, and would make an excellent handheld, back-up vac for larger dwellings.
The Halo Capsule's trio of settings ticks just about every box that a lightweight cordless vacuum should tick. They'll defeat any cleaning challenge most homes can throw up.
Provided you don't have any deep-seated objection to bag-based vacs, the Halo Capsule offers near-Dyson-level cleaning at about half the cost of a Dyson. That's a compelling offering.