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The idea of getting me one of these beasts for Christmas was a strange one. My husband was fed up with seeing the floor beneath my computer filled with dust, and thought quite rightly that it was probably damaging my computer. His idea was to buy me a small rechargeable vacuum cleaner that could be near to hand, so that whilst I was sitting here at my computer, it really would not take me a great deal of effort to lean down and clean the little bit of floor under my desk, getting in between the mass of wires and extracting dirt that did in fact damage my computer. He thought it was an easier solution to expensive repairs and was probably right.
For around the thirty pound mark, this little beast comes well packed and upon unpacking, you find that you have the actual bagless vacuum cleaner and a stand upon which to sit it so that it is always charged and ready to do the dirty work.
In theory, it was a good thought. In practice, we found that having the charger on all the time was making the adapter quite hot, and I was uncomfortable with the idea of having a red hot plug in the wall from a fire hazard point of view.
The first charging up of the vacuum cleaner takes a couple of hours, and I can honestly say that having charged it fully in the first place, it still retains that same power after four months of occasional use which is pretty impressive. This means that instead of putting up with having the charger plugged in at all times, I can simply charge it up every few months and use it til the efficiency wains.
SO IN PRACTICE.
Once power has been left to build up, I then decided to test the vacuum and found that it actually has a better suck than any other small vacuum cleaner that I have ever used and with the tools provided, i.e. a nozzle that gets into small spaces, the standard head or the brush head (both fixed neatly into the body of the vacuum), it does a very good job of cleaning close up to the base of the computer, and picks up dirt and dust that builds up around the wiring very easily indeed.
DESIGN AND USEFULNESS OF DESIGN.
Here, to a certain degree, the makers got it wrong. One of the things I do not like is the fact that the transformer (or lead that plugs into the mains) is far too short on its lead to be as flexible as I would like it to be. I had a place for the stand on a cupboard next to the desk but the problem was that I then had to use an extension in order to reach it. With a bit more thought, this problem could have been overcome by the makers using a longer cord.
I find that the rigid plastic construction of the vacuum is a little noisy in use. It's good and solid and does what it should but with a little forethought, they could have made it more friendly to hard surfaces like wooden floors. When it touches against surfaces like this, it is very noisy and uncomfortable to use.
I hate the colour, though at the time, it was the only one available in the shop. This vile light green with lime green contrasting buttons is quite vile.
Emtyping the vacuum is a nightmare, and here you are faced with a push button and two slots that never seem to undo in a satisfactory manner, and being bagless, I invariably end up with the dust I have vacuumed from the floor all over my knees.
Do I think it is worth the money ?
I believe that its cyclonic system of vacuuming is very efficient and that the back and underneath of my desk have never been so clean before. It's a super tool for getting around the wires, but I think if I were to buy a tool like this again, it would need to have addressed the initial problems that this vacuum has presented, like emptying being so difficult. I am stuck with it now, and it does the job, although I would advise people wanting a smaller vacuum to check out how one empties before buying, because I am sure there must be a better solution out there.
Weightwise, this is the lightest vacuum I have ever used, so for people with difficulties lifting like myself, it is a superlight machine, weighing in at 1.1 kg. The area where the dirt goes is pretty generous and holds 0.68 litres and to give you some idea of what this means, I empty it once a month and this really is sufficient for my needs.
In action, the vacuum is noisy, although most are these days and this really is not that offputting. With a small vacuum of this nature, you only have it on for short periods of time, and thus sound is not really an issue.
The voltage is pretty high compared with other prettier machines and that is what pursuaded us to buy it at 7.6V and that really is powerful enough for the purpose for which it was bought. The filtering system is good too, and all dirt is filtered twice, making it block much less than standard conventional vacuums of this size. The filter is hard plastic and very easy to clean.
In your position, would I buy it ?
I would say that the machine is a good one, with flawed design. Look into the alternatives available. Be curious, ask the shop if you can open it to see how hard it is for you to empty. Look at alternatives also that have longer leads. If at the end of the day, you like the looks and feel of the vacuum, then yes, it works very efficiently indeed.
This comes with a two year guarantee as opposed to the one year offered with most makes, so if you can put up with the inconveniences, then it is worthy of consideration.
Black and Decker do make good tools, although there may be others out there that pay more attention to practicality.