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Black & Decker Dustbuster Flexi 12v Vacuum Cleaner review - PAD1200

All of the car vacuum cleaners we've tried in the past never really lived up to our expectations. After trying a good few we figured that we were just going to have to stop wasting money on the cheap rubbish and invest in one of the pricier machines some time. That being said, Ryan was able to try out one of the Dyson hand-held ones some years back through one of his old jobs (cleaning aircraft) but he wasn't impressed enough with it to buy one himself. Us being the penny pinchers we are, we didn't want to risk spending over £50 for a 12v volt vacuum cleaner that was likely to be as weak as the others – never mind over £100 for the Dyson! 

For a good while we made do with just sweeping while we were away, but that's hard going with thick carpets and the trodden-in grass cuttings you get all summer when staying at camp sites! I've never understood the obsession with ultra short grass, it's spiky and gets EVERYWHERE - give me meadow grass and wild flowers any day... ;)

I understand it's a tough ask, to get good strong suction from an ultra compact 12v battery vacuum AND get it for a low price (I know, I can be a demanding woman!) but it seems that this time we've found it in this weird looking little gem by Black and Decker! It may not be the sleekest design out there, but it works and that's all that matters to me. In fact I actually find I prefer the long hose design to the other handheld types out there as it makes getting into tight corners and underneath things much easier, and it's light on the wrists to use as well. 

I love how small this is! Because space and weight is at such a premium on board Waki we needed something tiny, and I didn't see the point in making room for a long-handled nozzle for such little use time. There's hardly any straight floor space in Waki and lots of fabric, so aiming the flexi-nozzle is more efficient anyway!

With a full charge I can clean the whole motor home, which is almost 200 square ft and takes me around 20 mins - including a good rummage through the thick shag pile in our living area! It has enough power to pick up most grit, mud hair, though it struggles with stones larger than 1/2 a centimetre. The standard kit comes with a fine nozzle good for going over fabrics which also features a fold away fine brush which works nicely on our faux suede sofa. 

It takes a good few hours plugged in to the mains (charging adapter included) to get back up to full power again which could be a big draw on the generator when wild camping but we're normally back to hook-up somewhere by the time we next need it so charge it up then.

Because of it's small size I find you need to empty it after each use, but that's a simple enough task to complete via it's hinge door. It can be a little fiddly to empty first time, you just need to be confident when you tip it else the fine dust tips over itself first! They advertise the door feature as meaning that you never have to touch the dirt, but if you have a lot of fluff or long hair in there you often still have to encourage it with a sweep of your finger. The filter is also very simple to remove and a good shake out every few uses brings it's suction back up to top performance, it also has a turning feature in the centre of the filter that works to knock out the majority of the dust whilst emptying which is very handy too!

In all the tiny little Dustbuster is an excellent tool and really helps us keep the dust and dirt at bay wherever we happen to be. 

**UPDATE** After around 4 years of near daily abuse use ours finally packed in, so I bought the new version and can say it's as good if not better than the old one! :D

Buy yours on Amazon now!

currently reduced to £35.90 from £52.58!  

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Sarah is a UK artist and writer with a lifetime interest in camping and survival techniques.

Living the #vanlife since before it was a hashtag and touring on two wheels with her husband Ryan, they have a wealth of camping and motorcycling knowledge to share, and know a thing or two about packing light! read more

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