I spent a fair amount of time trying to find a vacuum cleaner that worked well on my boat. I had one of those stick vacs and that worked reasonably well but was a bit large and I never could find a good place to store it. Searching around I came across a Black & Decker portable rechargeable hand vacuum.


After having used it for a couple of years now, the Black & Decker Flex has proven to be one of the best little vacuums I have ever had. I am not usually one to brag on an appliance but when I find something that works, is simple, and reasonably priced, I do not mind offering a bit of praise.

This little vac packs a good bit of power in a small package. The fact that it uses a hose like a regular canister vacuum makes it really useful for cleaning up around the boat. It can reach into those tight, hard to get at places.  The hose stores neatly around the unit making it very handy. It has 3 attachments on a built in caddy. The pet hair tool is great for cleaning throw rugs and the crevice tool is very useful. The general purpose tool is a bit lacking and not the best design but does work. One drawback is that regular vacuum cleaner tools do not really fit on the hose they just slightly larger.

The center dust collector is a good idea but it is a bit awkward to dump in the dust bin as you have to hold the door open while dumping it. It has a cleanable filter that does a pretty good job trapping the fine dust. It is nice not to have to buy bags or filters all the time.

The only major drawback is the battery. It lacks good staying power and takes a long time to recharge. The battery is good for about 15 minutes of continuous use and then takes 12 hours to fully recharge. At first this sounds pitiful but in use it is not that bad. I use it in short bursts and always put it back on charge when done. So in real use I almost never run it all the way down and usually get most of my cleaning chores done in one charge. It would be nice if it had a faster recharge rate though.

I have seen these vacuums listed for as much as $129.99 but the average price is closer to $60.00. I got mine new on EBay for $45.00. For the money this is a nice little tool and I am sure when the one I have give out I will get another to replace it.

Capt. Wayne


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