Black + Decker FHV1200 Flex Vac Review

Black and Decker FHV1200 ReviewIf you’re familiar with the Platinum BDH2000FL 20-volt I reviewed a few months back, this is the older brother.

Funny thing is even though it’s older, it packs in a bit more suction power – it’s rated at 25 air watts!

The newer BDH2000FL has around 22 air watts.

What’s the difference then? Well the “Flex Vac” as it is popularly known, aside from being cheaper, has an older 12-volt Nickel Cadmium battery that is built in the unit.

So in the event of failure you’d have to bring this to a B&D service center to have it replaced or replace the whole unit itself if it’s under warranty.

The good news is it comes with a 2 year warranty that covers the whole unit so just in case it breaks within a 2 year period, you’re covered.

Editor Rating
Bare Floor

★★★★½ 

Carpet

★★★★☆ 

Pet Hair Removal

★★★★½ 

Ease of Use

★★★★½ 

Overall

★★★★☆ 

Price

Features at a glance

  • 4 foot flex hose
  • Energy star approved
  • Has a built in 12 volt nickel cadmium battery
  • Washable filter
  • Comes with 3 attachments – crevice, brush/nozzle and pet hair tool
  • 3 stage filtration (take not it does not have a HEPA filter)
  • Lightweight at only 3.8 pounds
  • Motor produces 25 air watts of suction

Pros

  • Powerful suction
  • Long warranty
  • The 4 foot flexible hose extends the reach
  • Has a pet hair attachment that works well against pet hair
  • Lightweight (weighs only 3.8 pounds) and ergonomic
  • Easy to clean

Cons

  • Long charge time
  • Tendency to regurgitate medium to large bits of debris
  • Short run time
  • Built in battery a concern for the long term

Features of the Black and Decker FHV1200:

This lightweight and ergonomic vacuum packs a punch – it is rated at close to 25 air watts.

To put this in perspective, the Dyson DC44 in normal mode is rated at around 28 air watts so in essence this is nearly as powerful as a Dyson.

It has a 4 foot flex hose that makes this one of the more versatile hand held vacuums in the market right now.

This hose allows you to apply more pressure on upholstery, which is very helpful when cleaning pet hair and embedded dirt in carpet.

This hose can be uncoiled when you’re trying to clean though to reach spots like sofas and clamped back on when you just want to clean open areas like baseboards.

 

Bare Floor Performance

This product is designed specifically for spot clean ups. No more, no less.

The powerful suction works great on picking up cob webs, dust bunnies and all sorts of small debris but it may struggle with bigger ones like crushed Doritos, nachos or shop debris like saw dust and screws – it has a tendency to regurgitate it.

Carpet Performance

Even though it has strong suction, don’t expect this to clean large areas of carpet.

The run time isn’t adequate enough for this to more than clean a few spots here and there.

This would be perfect to clean up the edges of walls and baseboards, a perfect complement to a robot vacuum if you own one.

Pet Hair Removal

A number of owners were quite pleased with how the pet hair attachment tackled pet hair. It has an unusual design but it did the job.

No, it doesn’t use a motorized brushed like more expensive brands but relies purely on agitation to get the job done.

This works especially well on fabric upholstery, an area where pets usually like to hang out…

Here’s a demo on how it works inside a car

Attachments and Accessories

It comes with a total of 3 – crevice tool, brush/nozzle tool and a pet hair tool.

Charge Time

It takes a very long time to charge, around 21 hours.

Since this one uses a nickel cadmium battery, don’t run it until its completely drained or the battery cells will reverse and damage the cells – this shortens battery life significantly.

Filter Clean up

Emptying this is a straightforward process.

  1. Pull the door latch to open
  2. Take off the “pre-filter” (this is the plastic that covers the filter)
  3. Remove the filter (yes, it is washable, use warm soapy water)
  4. Tap vigorously to remove trapped dirt inside the dirt container

For certain types of debris that has a lot of static like hair and saw dust, you might need to use your fingers to dislodge it.

Take note that the filters aren’t HEPA rated so it won’t filter out allergens.

Run Time

Most consumers reported a runtime as low as 2 minutes to as long as 20 minutes.

The majority of reviews reported around 5-10 minutes – just to give you a baseline figure.

Warranty

Black and Decker will give a 2 year warranty on the vacuum and battery.

See it in Action

Product Specifications

AttachmentsNozzle/Brush tool
Crevice tool
Pet hair tool
Battery12 volt Nickel Cadmium
(integrated)
ChargerCharging stand
Charging time21 hours
Battery life5 - 10 minutes
Net weight (with battery)3.8 pounds
Shipping weight6 pounds
Overall length11.9"
Battery indicatorNo
Filter type2 stage filter:
1 - plastic mesh
1 - cloth

(both are washable)
Dirt capacity17 oz
Air Watts25
Voltage110v
Manufactured inChina
Warranty2 year limited on vacuum, battery and charger

Customer Reviews

The Flex Vac got over 400 reviews in Amazon alone and majority of them agreed that it had above average suction power for a handheld.

What drags the rating down is the run time or the lack thereof. Most consumers got between 5 to 10 minutes before suction starts to fade.

The longest run time I saw was around 20 minutes which is pretty good for a NiCad based vacuum.

Another negative factor here is the charge time, you’ll have to charge it for 21 hours or basically leave this thing plugged on.

Don’t run it down until the battery is empty or its life will be cut short.

Remember that the battery is built in so when it breaks, you’ll have to bring it to a B&D service center for a replacement or ask for a new one (if it’s under warranty).

Run time issues aside, consumers love the flex hose that allows them to use this on vents and blinds, two of the most difficult areas to clean in a home.

If you own a car, the hose would work great as well.

The crevice tool works great to reach corners but isn’t long enough to reach ceilings (if your home has one of them high ceiling features).

Reviews from other sites

Good Housekeeping

It got an overall rating of B+. Editors at Good Housekeeping say that it had good enough suction to clean bare floor, carpet and pet hair off those surfaces.

However it was very noisy and difficult to use.

Overstock.com

A total of 14 people left a review and a majority of them liked it because it was lightweight, has a small foot print plus the 4 foot flex hose really helps them to move this around tight areas around their homes and cars.

Pet owners were also satisfied with this vacuum on how it cleaned up pet hair. The downside however is the short run time.

Black and Decker

It got around 40 reviews in Black and Decker’s online store and most of the consumers said it had strong suction right off the charger.

Some commented that they would prefer this over a heavy upright or canister vacuum despite the power disparity because it was so portable.

Pet owners also loved how it helped them manage pet hair.

The biggest downer for B&D consumers is the run time, some got as low as 5 minutes and considering that the charging time was over 21 hours, you’d understand why they are disappointed.

But understand that these types of vacuums aren’t designed to run for more than 15 minutes, they are designed specifically for spot clean ups.

Waltermart

Over 160 consumers left a review here and the majority was positive – they mentioned that it was portable, lightweight, good for pet hair, had good suction and overall a great spot cleaning tool.

Though some consumers here complained that it had a subpar run time, many refute this saying they got easily over 10 minutes of run time which is pretty decent for a NiCad powered handheld vac.

One consumer even said that it has to go through 4 to 5 charge cycles in order to achieve its peak run time.

Here’s a video review from one of Waltermart’s consumers…

Price

The cheapest one I found was in Walmart where it sells for just under $55.

It is also available in Amazon at around a dollar more expensive.

Conclusion

While this product is far from perfect, if used for what it is intended for, it will yield positive results in and around your home.

This would be a great complement to other types of vacuums that would have difficulty cleaning upholstery, blinds, edges of walls and other hard to reach areas.

Make sure that you don’t completely drain the battery so that it’ll last longer.

It comes with a two year warranty so combine that with the price (less than $70), this makes it one of the better deals that we have right now in the market.

Other brands could only give you a 1 year warranty.

Garrick Dee
 

Garrick is the founder of the Cordless Vacuum Guide that originally focused on cordless vacuums but he has now expanded to reviewing corded vacuums and carpet cleaners to be able to provide a more complete guide in terms of choosing the right cleaner.

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