Question for Gina

vacuumfreakJanuary 2, 2011

Gina, I remember some time ago that you said you were going to order the Linx cordless hand vac to supplement your Linx stick vac. Did you ever get it, and if so, what do you think?

I just got the Black and Decker Flex as a Christmas present to myself, and I like it, but run time is only 10 minutes and charge time is 21 hours.... I guess it's OK for the kind of stuff it was made to pick up, and you have to admit it's quite a unique design.

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Hi Bobby, I did get it. I use it for window sills, the cars, furniture, etc. It came with a charging station so now I have two, one for each floor. I haven't used it until the battery ran out, not sure how long that would be but a lot longer than 10 minutes.

Overall I like the Linx products very much and will never go back to heavy machines or non cordless vacs. Thanks for letting me know about the handheld.

    Bookmark   January 2, 2011 at 9:29PM
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The Black and Decker Flex is in many ways an excellent machine.

It has a very unfortunate design flaw, the battery pack does not have enough capacity to drive the motor.

I believe it uses 10 C-size ni-cad rechargeable batteries (1.2V x 10 = 12 volts). The problem is that it lasts less then 10 minutes when the batteries are new, and ni-cad batteries tend to lose capacity very quickly. Soon, you will have less than two or three minutes operating time even after a full charge. I am not sure the battery pack is replaceable. Also, you can kill ni-cad batteries quickly by fully disacharge them.

They really should've used li-ion 18v batteries.


    Bookmark   January 2, 2011 at 9:42PM
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Gina, I think that is wonderful that you got it and like it. I didn't have any experience with the hand vac, so it's good that it's working out for you, and how nice that you can swap the batteries.

For anyone who is interested in a cordless hand vac, here is the review I posted on Epinions about the machine pictured above.

Pros: powerful, awesome attachments

Cons: long charge time for microscopic run time, helpful accessories not included

The Bottom Line: Awesome, sharp looking, solid feeling performer with minimum drawbacks.

Wow, I'm truly impressed. I'm 27, I've loved and collected vacuum cleaners of all kinds and even sold them ever since I can remember. I truly adore them, and much to my surprise, this little guy has captured my heart!

Why did I want one of these if I already have 35 "real" vacuums? Well, firstly because I didn't have anything cordless, or any dustbuster type vacs. I do have a Dirt Devil hand vac with the revolving brush and cloth bag, but it's awkward and cumbersome.... it would be great for carpeted stairs, but for things like cars with lots of sand, the spinning brush just kicks it around. Sometimes, you need the option of having suction only! I had been wanting a cordless hand vac for a while, but having never been impressed by traditional style "dust busters" I put it off. I did not want to settle. Then another collector bought a Flex and I was inspired, after all, I hadn't gotten myself a Christmas present yet, so why not? I flounced over to Wal-mart and paid 70 bucks for this little gem. I had been intrigued by its unique design since it first came out.

What's in the box?

In the box are the cleaner, manual, charger, combination dusting brush/straight suction nozzle, pet hair tool, and crevice tool! There is really nothing to assemble, but everything is covered in copious amounts of plastic that would take even the most ambitious consumer hours to remove.

So, how does this little guy work?

Very well! The weight is well balanced, the handle is comfortable, the switch is right at the fingertips. The suction is suprisingly powerful for a machine of this size.... of course it can't equal my Dyson DC 14 or Hoover Windtunnel, but for a little guy, this thing truly has some power. It's not insanely loud either! The ability to use the vacuum as a traditional style "dust buster" with the hose clipped onto the body or use it as a portable mini canister with the hose separated from the body provides versatility and flexibility beyond compare. This thing truly is in a league of its own. All of the attachments are well designed and work to make using an already amazing cleaner pure bliss! The pet hair tool has rubber "fingers" on the bottom and a large suction hole in the middle. It really works to snatch stubborn pet hair from any surface. My very laid back cat, Jasper who is usually scared of vacuums let me brush him with the pet hair attachment until the battery in the vacuum ran dead! The manual says not to use it on pets, but I was careful and knew I wasn't hurting him. The combination dusting brush/straight suction nozzle is my favorite tool of all. The straight suction part is narrow enough to fit in tight spaces, and designed in such a way that holding it and using it is intuitive. It has openings on the sides for edge cleaning. It works well as the mouth piece to this very hungry monster of a mini-vac. When it's time to dust, the dusting brush can be flipped out with a very satisfying click. It only has bristles on 3 sides, which I thought was strange at first. Now, after using it, I can see that it actually works better than a brush with bristles on all sides. Brushes with bristles on all sides can't fit into places that this one can, and the suction often can't reach the dust because the bristles push it out of the way first. That doesn't happen with this very well engineered tool... and the brushes are surprisingly soft for being made of plastic.

So, what have you cleaned with it?

I have used the Black and Decker Flex to clean inside my kitchen drawers (it amazes me how crumbs can always find their way into a closed drawer), around the cat littler box, inside the track of the closet and pantry doors, blinds, the a/c filter cover, the bedside fan, the desk, the sewing machines, the book shelf, the TV stand, the love seat and ottoman, and my other vacuums (when they get dusty). I even used it to vacuum my bed (with a cat, there is always some manner of debris getting in the bed). I even use it to spot clean my carpet by the front door and the kitchen floor under the toe kicks. It has hitherto excelled at every task I've thrown at it. I have yet to empty the dirt chamber, and the suction is still excellent. I can't wait to try it in the car! I almost want to spill the sugar when I bake now, just to clean it up! I also can't wait to use it on my refrigerator coils, I did use it on the grill on the bottom front and it got the dust in one swipe. It also works well for cleaning the keyboard and vents of my lap top.

Maintenance is very simple. Every now and then, the user needs to turn a knob on the side of the cleaner. This spins a plastic shroud that will flick the dirt off the paper pleated filter encompassed within it. That makes the suction stronger for longer. Opening the dirt chamber to empty is almost reminiscent of opening a front load washer. The door is pulled opened and the cleaner dumped. Then the plastic shroud and filter can be removed and washed by hand, tapped or brushed clean, or EVEN PUT IN THE DISHWASHER!!! The dirt chamber door is transparent and there is a transparent window in the top and back of the machine, so seeing when it is full is very easy, and it is quite fun to watch the dirt spin round and round. I've used mine a lot in the week that I've had it and I still haven't emptied the chamber... and the machine still has plenty of suction!

Unique features

There are some very unique features on this cleaner that make it a true pleasure to use. One of them is that the attachments all clip on so that they do not fall off like they would on machines with friction fit attachments. Another great feature is that the plastic wand can be removed and tools inserted directly onto the hose, most big vacuums don't even have that feature!

So, what's not to love?

There are a few things about this vacuum that leave a lot to be desired, but they in no way completely counteract its greatness. The first thing that bothers me is that the machine does not include additional accessories as standard equipment. There is a mini power nozzle (which would do a much better job than the included pet hair tool on pet hair), a shoulder strap, and a wall mount for this machine that are not included with it... they would really add to the functionality and should be standard equipment. I mean, who wouldn't want those things for their Flex? Another thing that bothers me is the lack of true cyclonic bagless filtering. This machine uses a paper pleated filter for its "dirt chamber" filter. Technology has advanced so far beyond that, those things should be obsolete. There is no reason why any bagless vacuum cannot have multi-cyclonic filterless technology. Even though the filter is relatively easy to clean and seems to still allow the vacuum to maintain suction for a long period of time, a truly cyclonic system would be much more superior. Another thing that needs to be improved on this vacuum is the charging station. It needs to have a true drop and go docking station instead of this awkward little wire that must be plugged into a hole in the back. It only has a blue light to indicate whether or not it is plugged in... anyone smart enough to use this thing should be able to tell if it is plugged in just by looking at it.... what we need are lights to tell us when it is fully charged and when the charge is running low! A battery level indicator would be an awesome addition to this amazing cleaner. That brings me to my next point. The machine only runs for 10 minutes one one charge and then must be recharged for 21 hours! 21 hours, for 10 minutes.... ARE YOU KIDDING ME? That's crazy! As advanced as technology is today, there should be a better battery system in place, or the option to use it as a corded vac when the battery dies. The thing is it was designed to just be a "quick" vac, so the manufacturer thought 10 minutes of run time was adequate. However, this thing is so amazing that it MAKES you want to use it, therefore 10 minutes of bliss hardly seems long enough. I've gotten into a routine where every night after work, I use it until the battery dies and then put it back on to charge for a day. I feel like if I don't use that 10 minutes up every day I'm wasting something! I must say though, my apartment is cleaner than it has ever been before and I'm cleaning places I'd never even considered with my other vacs.

So, I'd say to get it and use it and fall in love just like I did, but do have realistic expectations.


I've just come back from using it in my car and all I can can say is wow! The nozzle fit into all the tight spaces and the suction literally inhaled the dirt from sand and dust to pebbles and paper straw wrappers. Truly amazing. The dusting brush worked well on the leather seats, around the gear shift, and the dash board... even in the cup holders.

I am going to return mine the Wal-mart, however. I found another one on a different web site that includes all those accessories I complained about this one not having for only a few bucks more. I just ordered it and as soon as it comes, this one will be going back. Or, I could just keep it to have two and then when one runs dead, I'll have double time for vacuuming bliss! Now, there's a thought :o)

    Bookmark   January 4, 2011 at 8:44PM
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Fantastic review!

Yes we already have the technologies for a much better design.

Check out model airplanes and helicopters, they have very effecient and powerful brushless DC motors, and they have very high capacity li-po batteries that can be fully charged in an hour.

You will also notice that cordless hand tools are much smaller now.

I bet they will come up with an upgrade model soon, so you will have to buy another one.


    Bookmark   January 4, 2011 at 9:20PM
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