“ Handheld, 16.4 ft.Cord „
I've noticed over the last couple of years that hand-washing car valeting services seem to be increasing in popularity and where I live there are two firms in close proximity to one another vying for business whilst attempting to outdo the other with their prices and services they have to offer. One will clean the inside, outside or both of your car for a set price whilst the other will clean the outside only but charge a lower price for the service. I no longer take my car to supermarket car washes and prefer the human touch that these guys offer so every couple of weeks or so I take my car to them for a clean and polish and less frequently I'd also get my car valeted on the inside. I realised not so long ago that I was wasting money by paying someone else to vacuum my car as I own something that would enable me to do this myself but it was just a matter of remembering where I had put it. So over the weekend I decided to undertake a search and find mission and finally located the subject of this review hiding in a dark recess of my garden shed, my Black and Decker Dustbuster Auto, model number AV1260.
Who you gonna call?...
I bought this Dustbuster a few years ago from Argos and remember paying around £25.00 for it at the time, looking on-line before writing this review I was reassured to see it was still available to buy and even now costs around the price I paid even if it's availability is somewhat limited now. Whilst the Dustbuster name is probably more recognised as a handheld vacuum device for crumbs and pet hair in the home the AV1260 model is designed specifically for motor vehicles as it is powered by a 12volt adapter which fits into the cigarette lighter of your car and comes complete with a number of handy extras.
The cleaner itself is constructed from what feels like heavy duty plastic and is in the Black and Decker colours of black and orange, attached to the cleaner is a 5 metre cable with the cigarette adaptor fixed to the end and weighs in at just under 2 kilograms. A black canvas bag is supplied with the cleaner which is a handy addition as it keeps both the device and the tools that come with it safe and in the same place when not in use and included are a number of accessories which include an extension hose, connector and an upholstery brush along with a couple of attachments that are handily stored on the underside of the cleaner itself. The on/off switch is located at the top of the cleaner and any dirt and bits that are collected are held in the front of the device itself in the dust bowl which is removable from the body of the cleaner and is easy to empty. There are 2 filters which are re-usable but should be cleaned regularly and replacements are available to buy when they need changing. It's simple to operate all it needs is to be plugged into the cigarette lighter of your car and then switched on and like any other vacuum cleaner that you might own its simply a case of sweeping over the area that you want to clean and any loose bits of dirt and dust are picked up and removed from your car (or that's the theory anyway).
It's been a couple of years since I last used my dustbuster but finding myself at a loose end yesterday afternoon with nothing to do I decided that I would give my car a bit of a spruce up. I'd cleaned the dashboard and door pockets a few days ago but on the drivers side carpet there were stones and dried grass and generally my car was looking a bit shabby and needed a little bit of attention. As already stated the dustbuster is easy to use, I plugged it into my cigarette lighter and flicked the switch and it was ready to tackle the job it was designed to do.
After a few minutes I remembered why I stopped using this a couple of years ago as honestly it's very hard work actually getting the cleaner to pick up anything other than a light coating of dust. To be fair my car was in a bit of a mess and perhaps I was expecting a little too much of the Dustbuster to bring new life to my carpets but try as I might I just couldn't get it to pick up everything in its path. It does work, don't get me wrong and undeniably my car looked better after being 'busted but it takes so long for the cleaner to pick up things that I may as well just brought my upright Vax outside and given that a go instead. I suppose 12 volts of power isn't that much when compared to traditional vacuum cleaners and this no doubt impedes the Dustbusters performance and maybe I'm being overly critical about this but all I wanted was a few bits of stone and dried out grass cuttings to be picked up and I don't think that was too much to ask really.
On the positive side the attachments are good, the extension hose allows you to add the supplied upholstery brush to the cleaner and that did do a decent job of picking up any wayward cigarette ash that had worked its way onto my car's seats. The brush does dislodge any bits from the nooks and crannies and my seats were brought back to looking their best and I was impressed with this aspect. Similarly impressive is the noise levels that this cleaner generates and rather than sounding like a biscuit tin of angry wasps the dustbuster is relatively quiet. It's not silent by any means but it seems to generate a mid-range hum rather than and ear-piercing screech when it's in use and I did find this to be quite a positive aspect.
Emptying the dust bowl is very easy and at the push of a button the front of the cleaner comes away from the back and any bits or stones that it has collected are easily tipped out and disposed of. It slots back in place with no problems whatsoever and as far as the build quality goes the AV1260 is well finished and feels robust and sturdy in your hand. I have no criticisms as to how it looks or feels, the 5 meter cable is ample enough for me to get round the interior of my car and when I finished what I was doing I was able to put everything away into the canvas bag that comes supplied with the cleaner.
The only downside for me with this model is its performance which is pretty much the most important aspect of owning a vacuum cleaner in the first place and I have to admit to being somewhat disappointed in the effort it actually takes to get this to pick up the things in its path. It's probably best used when your car isn't desperate for a clean and the lesson I learnt yesterday is to clean my car on a regular basis and then whip out my Dustbuster when the seats need a quick vacuum over just to pick up any bits or cigarette ash that may be there. I admit that I probably gave it a little too much of a challenge and overall for how it feels when in use and for its build quality there really isn't that much to complain about and it's bearing all this mind that I would still recommend this model to other people.
It's worth mentioning here that Black and Decker do recommend that you only use the Dustbuster for a period of time not exceeding 30 minutes otherwise your car's battery may lose its charge or its power could be affected. 30 minutes should be plenty though for what should be a short task to complete and even with the problems I had I still managed to get round my car in 20 minutes and that included giving the boot a quick once over too. There is an instruction manual included with the cleaner but it's common sense really that should be applied when using the device but at least it's there should anyone want to consult it.
Conclusion and My Rating
I had mixed results when using my Dustbuster yesterday, on my seats it picked up anything that it came in contact with and did bring the fabric back to life and left them looking clean and tidy. The carpets were a different matter though and it did struggle with a lot of the tiny stones it came up against and a lot of effort was required in getting it to pick up everything. For light tasks I think this would be perfect, anything other than that it's probably worth either getting your household vacuum cleaner onto the job or resorting to a professional valet. I will continue using my Dustbuster in the future, it saves me having to pay someone else £5.00 to do the same job but I just have to remember not to leave it too long between cleaning sessions.
As far as my rating goes I'm awarding 4 stars. The cleaner is well made, comes with a good selection of accessories and can be continently stored away in its own canvas bag. The AV1260 is quite an old model now but can still be found online for around £25.00 but I would probably suggest buying it second hand from Ebay to be honest as it's a fraction of the price there. It isn't perfect but the positives outweigh the negatives for me and overall I would recommend this Dustbuster to anyone else.
Thanks for reading my review, please note that this may also appear on ciao under my username
Car vacs by Black & Decker are versatile and easy to use / The 12 volt adapter fits into a car cigarette lighter, providing adequate power without draining the battery / Tools are included help to clean difficult-to-reach places and to brush and vacuum seats and floors / Short name: Black Decker AV1260