The Black & Decker FHV1200 Flex cordless vacuum cleaner fills the niche between a hand held vacuum, such as Black & Decker’s own Dustbuster series, and a full sized mains powered vacuum cleaner. It is designed to be lightweight and portable so it weighs around 5 pounds, but that includes the caddy and charge unit. It has a 4 ft long flexible hose which enables it to reach hard to get places. This provides extra reach and versatility than a hand held whilst still being light and compact and easy to handle.
What makes the Black & Decker 1200 so different is that it does deliver very high performance via its powerful motor. Combine this with Black & Decker’s triple filter cyclone system, which prevents dirt from settling and clogging the filters, and you have powerful, fade free suction.
Light and compact
For the vacuum to fill the gap between handheld and full sized vacuums it is necessary to retain the portability and cordless nature of a handheld whilst delivering some of the functionality of the full sized versions, such as hose attachments and specialist accessories. In order to achieve this Black & Decker have developed a very light, small, but powerful motor. It has built this along with the cyclone filtration system into the main body of the vacuum which along with the dirt collection jar fits into a very lightweight and compact design.
Caddy and Charger
The 1200 Flex has a separate accessory caddy and charger. The accessories – a flip up brush, pet hair removal tool, crevice tool and extender are stored in the caddy for convenience and safe keeping. When not in use the flexible hose wraps around the caddy keeping everything stored conveniently together. The charger has a built in charge indicator that flashes blue when the charge process is underway. This is handy because it lets you know if the vacuum has fully charged – as it can take all day.
Battery performance – which relates directly to the performance of the vacuum – is the most contentious of issues, as it is so poorly understood by the consumer and just not addressed by Black & Decker. Being a cordless device the 1200 Flex is reliant on battery power. It uses one integrated Ni-cad battery that can be recharged via the base caddy and charging unit. However being Ni-cad battery technology it takes around 24 hours to fully charge the battery. Once fully charged it will have a run-time – the period of time it can work continuously before performance degrades and suction is lost – of less than 10 minutes. It will then require a further 24 hours to recharge. So you can see that it is not a replacement for a full size general purpose vacuum cleaner, it has specific applications.
What is it best suited for?
The Black & Decker is best suited as a multi-purpose vacuum for quick clean ups for impromptu use – such as cleaning up sudden spills. It is also very handy for filling in the gaps by accessing areas that the big vacuum with its cord cannot reach.
Flexible and versatile
The 4 foot hose combined with the powerful motor and filtration system makes the 1200 flex a great vacuum for cleaning tight spaces. It can work equally well on carpets, upholstery and kitchen surfaces. The hose is particularly good at removing stubborn pet hairs and cleaning drapes and getting into deep crevices such as behind sofa’s and car seats.
Short run time / long recharge time
The vacuum will take 24 hours to charge and work for only 10 minutes maximum so you have to target the cleaning area and be mindful of the time constraints.
This is a great vacuum that fills the niche between a handheld and a full size vacuum. It is good for small studio apartments and workshops. It can handle any surface and is easy to clean. However you must be aware of the battery restrictions – this is a vacuum for light occasional use.