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James Numatic: If Henry was a Simpson
When I was at school, the cleaner had a Henry Numatic Vacuum cleaner (or Henry Hoover as lots of people call them, but is wrong as they aren't made by Hoover). Pathetically, one of dreams then was to have a Henry of my own.
Henrys are the vacuum cleaner most used by cleaners and in many an office cupboard or seen being pulled around a restaurant after closing. They have a reputation for being reliable, portable and hardworking little machines. I wanted one because they are cute.
James vs his famous relation
When I moved into my little flat, I was very excited getting together all my home bits and prioritised important stuff like a toaster and kettle. Soon though, it was becoming more apparent that this thing mysterious activity called cleaning was going to be pretty much compulsory. So I started looking for a vacuum cleaner. Doing some research, to my delight, the reviews for Henrys were pretty hard to beat, but they start at £110.00 and for a little flat, I didn't really need something quite as powerful. So during my search I discovered James, Henry's little brother? cousin? (not sure of the relation.) A little smaller, less suck, yellow and £25 cheaper - but most importantly, still cute.
Motor Power: 800 / 500 W
Power: 230V AC 50/60Hz
Airflow :30 L/sec
Suction: 2000 / 1300 mm
Capacity: 8 L
Cleaning Range: 26.8 m
Weight: 5.5 kg
Just to give you a bit of perspective on these numbers, James is only fractionally smaller than a Henry, but a kilo and a half lighter. The cleaning range is the same but the capacity is 1 litre less, motor power is much lower compared to Henry's Hi 1200/ L600 W and about 20% less suck! Cuteness: equal.
I wanted a vacuum cleaner to begin with, to clean the smallest of flats and so having a powerful one or one with a high capacity wasn't really essential. What I wanted was something compact that I was able to wheel around, and that I would easily be able to buy replacement bags. My mum had a vacuum cleaner for years, it never gave up but the problem she found was the bags just stopped being made. I don't see the numatic range going our of production any time soon, and the James machines take the same bags as Henrys so they are very easy to get hold of and the official and non official bags work as well as each other. Many 'own brand' bags are available fairly cheaply.
I did consider going for a cheaper vacuum cleaner which are available for around half the price of James however, having worked in an electrical department of a large chain I used to have to process returns on so many of own brand and entry price cleaners that I think it's a purchase worth spending that little extra for something that will last.
Putting James to the test
James served me well in my teeny flat, but he wasn't exactly tested to the limit. He came with me to my new house though and since then we've got a dog, parrot and live minutes from the river which means regular muddy footfall. James is certainly being tested these days and he's not showing any signs of struggling and still whizzes round with a smile on his face.
James comes with an extension pole for tall people but I don't need that. The pole is very light weight and James is very easy to move around. There is a handle on the top to carry him and even when full he's a comfortable weight. He moves freely around on his wheels and just by moving around he follows me easily enough. The cord is more than long enough for most houses. I can plug him in upstairs, (which has to be the bedroom as there is no plug socket on the landing) and get down the the bottom with ease and plenty of slack left in the cord. The cord on James is replaceable which is a good feature in case it gets snagged or broken. From what I've read I don't think this is possible with the rest of the numatic range. The only downside I would say is that there is no retractable cord feature. There is a well on the top so you can wind the cord round here to store it, but this can be a bit of a faff. I guess they made the cord replaceable as there is more likelihood of it being damaged due to this.
I've had James for 4 years now and I'm still very pleased with him. The bags hold more than enough for my use and he not only provides excellent performance but also has proved to be economical.
I will give James 4 stars, just one deducted for the lack of a retractable cord.
I will start this review by saying that I have a confession to make and that is that ...........I'm a school cleaner!.........well I've said it now and so that means you have already gone on to the next review. If you haven't then I will explain why I said that, as for some reason some people on this planet seem to think that doing cleaning is for the lowest of the low and for some people you just seem to become invisible even if you are the only person in the room with them a "Hello" you are just not worthy of. Luckily not all the people are the same and there are some really nice people out there that are not judgemental. Now for my review!
As you might know I already own a "Hetty" which I love and wouldn't change her for the world as she is so reliable, so when I went to help a friend out when they were let down by their usual cleaners I was really pleased to see Hetty's big brother there "James".
Coming in a bright yellow colour with his smiling face on the front I knew straight away that I was going to enjoy using him. Being different from Hetty, James has a deep caddy top which is supposed to be for sticking your polish, dusters ect... in and also for storing your cable. I also use this for putting in any stray bits of pens, pencils, wrappers ect.... that are to big to hoover up and can keep them all together until I reach a bin to throw these in.
I believe that the James is the only one of the numatic range that has a replaceable cable, which is just as well as when some people don't use these properly and they get caught under classroom doors the lead gets yanked and the wires will split. These are really easy to replace as it is just a phillips screwdriver you will need to undo the two screws.
These can be bought for around £15.00, which is a bit on the pricey side as the whole hoover can be bought for around the £85.00 mark, but having a few of these spare in the school is handy for an emergency.
Having a powerful 1100 watts motor, it has as you can imagine a strong suction on it, which comes in handy when doors have been left open and half the streets trees have blown in to the reception area or if there has been a bit of snow about and a lot of salt has been put down because it is parents evening, the next day the carpet looks like the antartic with the floor completely covered in salt from parents and childrens treading it through the school!......but James soldiers on and clears it in minutes leaving everything looking like new.
Using microflo dust bags, these are really clean and easy to dispose of and with the James having an 8L capacity this doesn't need to be changed to often. James also comes with a very thoughtful black handle on the top that has a groove so that when you pick him up the hose will sit in the slot so you can carry him with one hand. Weighing in at 5.2kg he isn't to heavy either.
The head on the hoover is much the same as most other hoovers with a flick switch for carpets or floors, which works great on either. There is just a simple red button on the top for pressing on/off. I'm told that the Airflow is 40L/sec, the Suction is 2200mm, and the cleaning range is 26.8m which is good as you can reach a long way without having to change sockets all the time. coming on four castors James just seems to float about with the slightest tug following your every command.
So now I have confessed my top secret , which turned out from helping a friend into a part-time job which gives me some extra pennies every few weeks ( and pennies I mean!!!). I really love the Numatic range and am trying to hunt out a "Charles" which is a wet and dry cleaner to try!
A really worthwhile 5 Dooyoo Stars!
It's a sad, sad day when a vacuum cleaner like our old canister Vax decides to break down on its parts and body. Mind you for a 14 year old machine, it hasn't half done a great job; from washing carpets to hard floors, clearing blocked drains, general garden dust to normal dry vacuuming, its days for latter dry dirt pick up are now over thanks to a broken lower bin and a couple of missing castors. It can however still be used for washing carpets but for a more practical solution the cost of new parts means an excess of around £50. Thus for that price I can either buy a cheap vacuum cleaner with a large dust bag capacity, built to a budget or consider something more qualitable second hand on EBay.
And it was through the choosing that I discovered that EBay sellers in general will happily charge full whack (£90 starter) for a new Numatic Henry never mind an old Vax canister on its spares list. Used in commercial cleaning areas, the first time I encountered the Numatic range of Henry models was in London when I was a student and secured a part time job vacuuming offices at ungodly hours in the morning.
So when the opportunity arose to buy a Numatic James JVP180 on EBay, I was beside myself. No bids were needed since the seller was selling the actual vacuum at £60 including postage and packaging and at its used conditioned which showed a model exempt of bumps, dirt and a reasonably great condition, it would appear that I stumbled upon a particularly good bargain and example. Brand new a Numatic James costs around £80 to £119.00 online and are difficult to find on the high street because preference comes down to the more useable Henry model, which is similarly priced.
When bought brand new you'll find the same accessories and attachments that Henry offers; the only differences are with the machines themselves; James comes with a low noise 1100 watt motor against Henry's 1200 watt motor and doesn't feature the same Hi/Low suction switch either. Against Henry, the James model comes with painted aluminium tubes, which I find are actually lighter to lift and generally use against Henry's more robust stainless steel tubes. Over the two types, fitting both type pipes are very easy as well as being able to be taken off freely simply by grabbing and twisting the tubes to unlock. Over other types of friction fit tubes such as Hoover types, the tubes here can be taken on and off easily without resorting to putting the tube into a vice and trying to prise it apart; those with reconditioned Hoover tubes would appreciate this immediately! A tool kit also comes with James and mirrors the same small brushed crevice tool (round), short crevice tool, a T shaped upholstery tool with a snap on brush that has a set of very long bristles apt for contouring and vacuuming cushions or bed linen. The only downside to James is that he doesn't come with a manual cord re-winder and the long 10 metre cord can either be left as a clump on top or wound around the machine if you like your machines to be tidy! Another consideration for James is that unlike Henry, he has a replaceable cord that can be done by anyone; the previous model had a replaceable cord that had a knack for slipping out in use so Numatic have improved the James model in having a replaceable cord but only removable if you undo two large cross head screws and a bolt lock. So for those that privately rent to tenants, a James model makes a lot of sense if you need a basic cylinder vacuum cleaner with a large dirt capacity and parts that can be replaced should they get broken.
Performance wise James is just as eye widening as Henry; in all applications I find I have to loosen the air outlet / volume selector at the top of the curved handle to let out air from the machine. Suction is extremely strong otherwise, impossible to push the 2 way universal floor head across carpet whilst the large 14" floor head can get in the way of smaller furniture legs with the advantage that the floor head will always remain flat to the surface. On hard flooring and the brushes put down, James is a breeze to use also helped along by his squat shape, 5.2kg weight (compared to Henry's 6.6kg) and large wheels at the back and two pairs of smaller castor wheels at the front. Unlike Henry, James doesn't topple over when pulled roughly which is another surprising but welcome finding although thanks to his squat shape he find it impossible to sit on stairs. However as both machines use the suction only principle (unless you buy the Henry Hound that comes with a pet hair main turbo floor head) thread pick up can deteriorate later on when the 9 litre dust bag becomes progressively fuller and it is annoying if you need a large bagged / dust capacity vacuum cleaner that fails to pick up hair the first time. You can use however any 32mm turbo brush that can be bought off EBay or if you have one lying around from a past machine; it can be fitted latterly to the hose or the tubes which is why the use of its tool adaptor is so handy.
Thanks to the thick PVC construction bumping off corners doesn't prove any problem for James and following the last breakage of plastic on the old Vax revealing half of its sealed motor to my eye, James is built with thicker plastic that feels and looks like it can go the distance; certainly in my own experience, all Numatic machines have thicker plastics to cope with their commercial origins and James is no exception here; in fact his top doesn't sustain scrapes because he has a recess against Henry's shiny bowler top where scrapes and scratches are regularly found!
Naturally being the playful brunt of the pack, there are a few downsides to the James model. For a start the filtration system is branded Microtex, which is a basic washable filter basket, which has to be lifted out before getting to the bag; it is the same as the filter you will find in Henry though. Already in use James still has that new vacuum cleaner odour emerging from his filter but against the thicker and more preferred HEPA system that keeps back obvious odours, Numatic's washable cloth filter can keep back most odour even though it suffers on pet hair odour that has been left in paper bags for a long period of time. Fitting a bag should be easy on all Numatic models but I have to admit that I don't like putting the bags on; they are tough thanks to the thick rubber membrane seal that keeps all the suction in but impossible to put on thanks to the dirt channel feeder where the bag is supposed to slip on. It's just as well Numatic engineer their 9 litre dust bags with extra tough cardboard collars because you may well have to fight with the cardboard to put the ruddy bag on! With relief once the bag is on, it's well and truly on! Sebo bags are just so much easier when you simply drop, align and close the door over. Sadly on James and Henry models you need patience and a prayer, especially if you have longer nails!
Another weakness is the storage of the smaller cleaning tools; although Numatic go to the easy solution of suggesting that the tools or tins or polish or dusters can be put on top of James' head, the crevice tool just won't snap fit into any space given on top of his head. And neither do the tools fit onto the rubber insert at the top of the hose unless you use an adaptor tool which you wont get on second hand models. I bought an adaptor tool at £4 online from EBay which allows the tools be used with a simple short plastic tube that fits onto the rubber end of the top of the hose before the tools can be used. Whilst the brushed tools will fit on the surface of James' recessed head and seldom fall out, the crevice tool will fit into the space but sit over the lip meaning the slightest jolt can knock the tool out. Numatic should change this design so that the tools can fit in properly; Henry in this instance has points where his tools can slide on behind his roller cord winder next to the main controls at the back.
The last part of any Numatic ownership comes with the simple fact that the tubes can be reversed over however Numatic could provide a more suitable handle support for hands rather than rely on the old fashioned bent metal which can be slippy because it has no grips set into it. Whilst the hose on the James is shorter (1.5 metres compared to the larger 2 metre hose) and in some areas may be welcomed because it prevents excess hose from wiggling side to side wildly whilst in use, the tubes are identical to Henry models and can be reversed over with the bent handle part acting as a neck angled to get into corners. Now this is a good idea, but what isn't is the lack of an actual grip on the rubber part that inserts between the hose and the three part metal tubes; I've been using Numatic models for years now and its shocking that Numatic just haven't bothered thinking about putting a more curved logical hand grip on the rubber insert or making it longer for a hand to grip onto.
For a more compact and basic approach, James is a good all rounder in terms of a vacuum cleaner that uses one of the largest dust capacities on the market. Thanks to his lower 1100-watt motor the paper bags installed don't tear because of the force of air unlike Henry models that have the 1200 watt basic motor. And being made by Numatic means that James can use Henry bags and tools as well as 32mm diameter fittings for other brand tools such as turbo brushes and small cleaning tools available online if you can't afford the more expensive Henry Hound model. On average I find that most Henry/James paper bags can last up to six months depending on use and a cost of £5-99 to £7-99 for a pack of 8 to 10 from numerous sellers, not just EBay (Hoovermania are perfect for example) are good prices to consider. However there's a shop around the corner from me who sell double filtration copy bags at a cost of £2-99 for 8 and frankly it does pay to shop around! He's not only fun or generally lightweight to use - James makes other canister type machines look decidedly old fashioned - where else could you see a smile looking up at you when you clean other than on a Numatic model? Thanks for reading. ©Nar2 2008
UPDATE MARCH 2009
What a shocker! Numatic's UK website where the head office is located doesn't have any links for user manuals, no email facility link or any shop for consumables. You can always trust the fact that other European brands such as Miele and Sebo offer such things, but not Numatic - ridiculous and reverts to the usual British way of doing things including a 4 day open period Monday to Thursday and a "half day" on Friday where their customer services are concerned.
Let the Numatic JVP180A James Vacuum Cleaner keep your home beautifully clean / This cheerful yellow cleaner has 800W of power, which will suction up anything in sight! The Numatic JVP180A James Vacuum Cleaner has the advantage of being simple, yet extremely powerful / It has a HEPAflo filter that keeps the dust and dirt inside the cleaner, and an amazing 8-litre dust bag capacity / The clever design divides the cleaner into two parts, with the dustbag below and a handy cord storage on top / This latest version of the legendary cleaner boasts a long-life motor and an AutoSave mode that conserves energy when switched on / As you hit the high-traffic areas, you can switch it up to Hi mode that adds more power to your cleaning! JVP180A James also comes with a set of useful accessories including a floor tool, and extension tubes to make vacuuming easier and more efficient / With its almost silent operation and fun looks, the Numatic JVP180A James Vacuum Cleaner makes a welcome addition to any home! Characteristics Type Cylinder vacuum cleaner Power (Watts) 800W Air capacity (dm3/sec) 30 litres/sec Sound level (dBA) 70dBA Bag volume or reservoir (litre) 8 litres Filter type 2-stage HEPAFlo filter Power regulator On cylinder Indicator for bag content No Ergonomy Parking position No Telescopic tube Yes Cable length 10 m Others Colours Yellow Included accessories Dust bag Filter 3 x Metal tubes Floor nozzle Crevice tool Upholstery tool Soft dusting brush Bag reference Code: NVMICH Dimensions (cm) 340 x 340 x 350 mm (cylinder) Weight (Kg) 5.8 kg / Short name: Numatic JVP180