At a glanceExpert’s Rating
ProsTwo-litre dustbinHEPA filterGreat on all surfacesExcellent accessoriesConsBasic battery indicatorChallenging to use holding overheadOur Verdict
Even better than the original, this lightweight bagged cordless vacuum can cope with anything you throw at it, while protecting you from handling dust and dirt. It’s an excellent cleaner whose design provides a genuine alternative to the legion of Dyson clones – and it’s a sustainable buying choice as well.
The original, independently made Halo Capsule cordless is one of our favourite vacuums, thanks to its ingenious design and cleaning power. Its makers prioritised light weight, easy emptying, strong suction and minimal environmental impact and pared back unnecessary features. The resulting vacuum cleaner is unlike anything else on the market.
Fast forward a few years and the original Capsule has been joined by the Capsule X. The Capsule X retains the unique elements of the original, including its carbon-fibre shell, its compostable cardboard dust bags and huge dustbin, but adds some new features such as swappable batteries, HEPA filtration, headlights and new cleaning attachments.
Does the Capsule X improve on the original? We tested it out. Here’s what we think.
Design & Features
Three bundle buying options
Two-hour fast charging
Up to 60 minutes of use
What you get when you buy the Capsule X depends on whether you opt for the Value Bundle, the Extra Accessories Bundle, or the Ultimate 2-Battery Bundle. You can see the prices and accessories at the Halo Appliances website.
If you want to buy a vacuum once and keep it long term, the Capsule X is a great choice
We’re testing out the Ultimate Bundle, which comes with three motorised cleaning heads (optimised for hard flooring, carpets and upholstery), the main vacuum body and wand, separate crevice and brush heads, two swappable batteries, a hose, a wall-mounted dock and spare dust pouches.
Emma Rowley / Foundry
The Extra Accessories Bundle comes with the same extras, minus the additional battery.
Extra Accessories bundle
Emma Rowley / Foundry
In the Value Bundle, you’ll only get one motorised cleaning head (optimised for carpet) and you’ll miss out on the hose and spare battery as well.
Emma Rowley / Foundry
If there’s a particular accessory you want, you can buy it separately from Halo Appliances. Spare lithium-ion batteries cost £79.99. In fact, every part of the Capsule X can be bought separately – you can even buy a replacement body for £129.99.
This makes it easy to replace a damaged part, rather than buying a whole new vacuum cleaner and it’s another way in which the makers have put sustainability first. If you want to buy a vacuum once and keep it long term, the Capsule X is a great choice.
Open the recycling-friendly box and everything is neatly packed in cardboard inserts. The only less than perfect packaging element are the plastic sleeves protecting some of the accessories. The makers say that this is a bit of an environmental compromise as customers ask for replacements for any scratched or less than pristine parts, which just creates more waste.
As the dustbin has a mighty 2-litre capacity, you’ll only need to change the bag every 2-3 weeks
All the Capsule X’s components and accessories are high-quality. The wand is coated metal. The body of the vacuum is, of course, carbon fibre. The cleaning tools are easy to swap out and click satisfyingly into place when attached.
You’ll need to charge the battery before you get started. It takes just two hours to charge from flat to full, which is very good when compared to rivals. When it’s ready, clip it onto the body of the Capsule and you’re ready to go.
The Capsule X has a bolder colour scheme than its predecessor, in sky-blue and black. The only design compromise to fit the new features is visible on the capsule-shaped vacuum cleaner body, which is now bulked out below the handle to house the motor and swappable 32v lithium-ion battery. This doesn’t affect its weight distribution while cleaning floors, but I found it harder to support it while cleaning overhead.
Emma Rowley / Foundry
Right above the handle are the controls. There’s an On/Off button, a button to switch on the motorised cleaning head (if you’re using it) and a button to cycle through the three power modes, with a corresponding set of indicator lights.
Emma Rowley / Foundry
Below the handle is a four-bar battery indicator light. If you’re used to a vacuum that displays a battery timer in minutes, you may miss that preciseness. But as long as you keep an eye on the indicator and charge when it hits one bar, you won’t be caught out. And you can have it back up to full battery power in just two hours of charging time – or immediately swap in another battery.
Capsule X’s makers say that the battery life will give you up to an hour of vacuuming, which is standard for high-end lithium-ion powered vacuum cleaners. What’s different about the Capsule X is that you’ll get more cleaning time from that hour when using a motorised cleaning head. In other words, battery life doesn’t seem to fall off a cliff if you’re using anything other than the lowest setting.
The additional cleaning tools are well designed and endlessly useful – well worth the extra outlay
What’s extraordinary about Capsule vacuums is the simplicity of their design. The capsule shaped body is an entirely hollow dustbin space (fitted, of course, with a dust pouch). There’s no tubing inside, which means there’s fewer blockage points and less to go wrong.
Emma Rowley / Foundry
As the bin has a mighty 2-litre capacity (compared to 0.77l for Dyson’s Gen5detect and 1.6l for the original Halo Capsule), you’ll only need to change the bag every 2-3 weeks, depending on how much dust and hair there is to vacuum up.
Additional dust pouches cost a very reasonable £25.99 for a year’s supply (26 pouches) and they’re available in different pack sizes from the website.
The large dustbin size means that it doesn’t need to be transparent, so you won’t need to look at all the horrible gubbins you’ve been vacuuming up. Transparent dustbins are now ubiquitous on cordless vacuums, for practical reasons, but they must be the nastiest innovation we’ve accepted into our homes. It’s a pleasant change to use a cordless without one.
And, thanks to the Capsule X’s dust pouch system, you won’t have to worry about removing clumps of hair wedged into the bin. As it has a HEPA filter, it’s an excellent vacuum cleaner choice for anyone with hay fever or a sensitivity to dust. The bag is easy to swap out – just make sure you’re holding it the right way up when you unclip the dustbin chamber, or you might get a few escapee crumbs.
Performance & Features
Three power settings
Motorised cleaning tools
One of the Capsule X’s best features is its light weight. At 2.6kg (compared to the Dyson Gen5detect’s 3.5kg) it’s notably light and manoeuvrable in use.
It has three power settings, and during almost all use, I stuck to the middle setting and never had to resort to the Boost mode. It’s hard to say exactly how much vacuuming time I got from a single battery charge, but I’d say it was around half an hour, while using a motorised tool.
It’s tough to get an on-paper measurement of a vacuum cleaner’s suction power, which is one reason that real-life testing is useful. Dyson uses AW (Air Watts) as a unit of measurement, a few other brands use Pa (Pascal, a unit of pressure more commonly used with robot vacuums), and most – like the makers of Capsule – just give the vacuum’s wattage.
It’s a 400W appliance, with a 70W floor tool, but doesn’t tell us a lot except how much power it uses.
To find out how efficiently it turns that power into suction, you need to try it out. We tested the Capsule X over the course of a few weeks on hard flooring, carpet, upholstery, shelves and blinds, using every cleaning attachment in the box. It proved to be a powerful and effective cleaner on every surface.
While we’d recommend the original Capsule vacuum for smaller homes with primarily hard flooring, the Capsule X can handle anything you throw at it. Attach the new motorised floor head and it can thoroughly clean a deep-pile carpet, which is something that relatively few cordless stick vacuums can convincingly do.
it can thoroughly clean a deep-pile carpet, which is something that relatively few cordless stick vacuums can convincingly do
The main floor head now has headlights to light up dust and hair in shadowy spots, which is another nice-to-have feature. And its roller can be easily removed for cleaning and removing tangled hair.
The additional cleaning tools are another upgrade from the original Capsule’s fairly basic accessories. In our opinion, they’re well-designed and endlessly useful – well worth the extra outlay. The soft roller made quick work of cleaning my hardwood floors, without scattering larger debris. The upholstery tool is especially good at removing pet hair from sofas, although the pet hair then has to be removed by hand from the tool itself.
The only time I found the Capsule X less than easy to use was when vacuuming blinds and holding the vacuum overhead for long periods. Its weight distribution made this difficult to do one-handed and I had to use my other hand to support the wand.
Price & Availability
At this stage, the Capsule X is only available from the Capsule Clean website in the UK. You can’t buy it in the US.
There are three pricing options for bundles. The Value Bundle costs £399.99, the Extra Accessories Bundle costs £499.99 and the Ultimate Bundle with additional battery costs £599.99.
However, Halo Appliances has regular sales offering huge discounts. At the time of writing, you can buy the Ultimate Bundle for just £300 and the Extra Accessories Bundle for £251.95, which is unbelievable value.
Should you buy the Halo Capsule X?
This is a one-of-a-kind vacuum offering something different from other cordless cleaners on the market. Its huge, bagged dustbin means you won’t have to empty it frequently, come into contact with dust and dirt – or even look at it. This, combined with its HEPA filtration, makes it a good choice for people with hay fever or asthma. Thanks to its biodegradable bags, it’s a sustainable option as well.
Its cleaning power, battery life and charging time are all excellent and if a part fails or is damaged, its modular build and the availability of parts mean that everything is easy to replace, adding further to its sustainability credentials. Highly recommended.
Dustbin capacity: 2 litres
Battery life: Up to 1 hour
Charging time: 2 hours