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Black+Decker DustBuster 14.4V PD1420LP Flexi Review

Written by James Hall |

Black+Decker PD1420LP review

Our Verdict: We found the Black+Decker Dustbuster to be a convenient vacuum to use around the home. We really like the hose, as it makes the vacuum more versatile and easier to use in awkward locations compared to many handheld vacuums. It’s also great for vacuuming up dry spills or sprucing up car seats. However, our testing showed it lacked the suction power for larger debris or more difficult cleaning tasks.

Black+Decker DustBuster PD1420LP

Value

3.0

Ease of Use

4.0

Cleaning Performance

2.8

Features

3.0

Accessories

3.0

Overall Rating

3.1

Pros:

  • Flexible hose is great for cleaning awkward locations around the home
  • Relatively large capacity so you won’t need to empty it as often as many handhelds
  • Decent hard floor performance
  • Well-designed and easy to use
  • Effective for cleaning dry spills (particularly on hard floors)

Cons:

  • Really need two hands to use it effectively, as it’s unbalanced when the hose isn’t detached from the body
  • Messy bin emptying system makes it unsuitable for allergy sufferers
  • Mediocre suction that is noticeably less powerful than more recent handheld vacuums
  • Not suitable for people with allergies

The Black+Decker DustBuster PD1420LP Flexi is a handheld vacuum with several unusual features. The most obvious is the extendable hose, which is designed to make cleaning cars, above furniture and other awkward areas easier. It also has several attachments and a basic docking station.

How does it perform around the home though? During our testing, we found the Black+Decker to be effective at picking up crumbs, dust and other debris from hard floors, kitchen worktops, and skirting boards. We also loved the extension hose, which made cleaning all areas of the home much more convenient.

Don’t expect the PD1420LP to replace your regular vacuum though. It only has average suction power – even compared with other handheld vacuums – so it struggles with stubborn dirt and thick carpets. We also found that the vacuum couldn’t pick up hair stuck in car footwell mats, although this is one of the most difficult tasks for vacuums.

In other words, the PD1420LP is designed to complement rather than replace your main vacuum, and we think it does a great job at filling this role. Let’s take a closer look at the Black+Decker PD1420LP, including its features, performance, and comparison with other vacuums.

Overview of Black+Decker PD1420LP

  • 1.5 metre extendable hose for cleaning difficult areas (this is an unusual feature for a handheld vacuum)
  • Non-motorised pet hair tool for removing hair from sofas and carpets
  • Lithium-ion battery provides strong suction that doesn’t fade
  • 12.5 minute run-time and 4 hour charging time
  • Washable filter and a relatively large 0.56 litre capacity

Features and Performance

Appearance, Features and Design

Features Rating: 3/5

The Black+Decker DustBuster vac

As you can see from the photo above, the PD1420LP has a unique design for a handheld vacuum. It’s not the most attractive we’ve seen, but it’s a relatively compact vacuum with a lightweight design. We did think the components felt like cheap plastic when getting it out of the box though.

A key feature is the hose, as most handheld models don’t include one. The hose is flexible and can extend to 1.5 metres, which we found made it easy to clean awkward or high areas of the home. It’s also great for cleaning under car seats or in compartments – although the suction power lets the vacuum down when attempting to clean stubborn dirt or hair.

When not in use, we like that the hose clips to the body of the vacuum so it’s always available. In this configuration it functions as a typical handheld, although the vacuum feels unbalanced and clunky when the hose is attached. We definitely think this vacuum functions best with the hose detached and using two hands.

You can use the main vacuum nozzle or one the various tools when cleaning. The most convenient option is the soft brush, as you can flip up the dusting brush component when you need a harder tool.

Suction Power and Performance

Cleaning Performance Rating: 2.8/5

Cleaning carpet

Overall, we found the PD1420LP provides decent cleaning performance without being spectacular. You certainly shouldn’t expect it to come close to the suction of corded vacuums – or even the most powerful handhelds – but it’s a useful tool to have in the house for spot cleaning.

The Black+Decker PD1420LP is powered by a 14.4 lithium-ion battery. Lithium-ion batteries don’t fade as they lose charge, which is important for a handheld model (as they often have relatively short run-times). Additionally, the model uses cyclonic action to improve performance. This works by spiralling dust and dirt in circles until it is caught by the filter.

The 14.4V battery is far from the highest voltage when it comes to handheld vacs, but it still provides average suction power via the extendable hose. However, the suction power can’t match more recent handhelds – such as the Shark WV200UK – possibly because of the extension hose.

We found it still performs very well on hard floors though, making it great for the kitchen. While it struggles a little more with carpets, it has enough suction for spot cleaning between using your full-sized vacuum.

Pet tool

The Black+Decker is actually marketed as a “Pet” vacuum, so we think it’s a shame that there’s no motorised tool. Instead, you get rubber pet tool that looks similar to a shower head (see the photo above).

This tool does help to dislodge hair from carpet or upholstery, so it’s more effective for pet hair than the other attachments. A downside is that we found it can be difficult to run across surfaces, due to the sticky rubber material. It’s also no match for motorised tools with powered brush bars.

With that said, the PD1420LP did a decent job of removing hair from sofas during our testing. The convenience of being able to use a lightweight vacuum to remove hair from pet beds or stairs should also not be understated. It was much less effective on thick carpets though.

Tip: To find a better option for cat and dog hair, read our guide to the best handheld vacuums for pet hair.

Along skirting board

An area where we found the Black+Decker PD1420LP excels is above floor cleaning. The lightweight design and hose combination makes it brilliant to use on skirting boards, sideboards, dining room tables, and kitchen worktops. Just make sure you flip down the soft dusting brush attachment when cleaning delicate surfaces.

While it’s not the most powerful handheld vacuum, it still had enough suction to pick up crumbs between cracks during our testing.

We were disappointed with the Black+Decker’s car cleaning performance though. It’s fine for cleaning loose debris from car seats and convenient for getting into tight spaces, but didn’t generate enough suction for harder tasks. It couldn’t pick up hay or hair from thick car mats, for example, during our testing.

Battery Life and Charge Time

We don’t have any major complaints about the run-time or battery of the Black+Decker. You can expect the PD1420LP to last 12 minutes on a full charge. This is around average for handheld vacuums and is enough for simple cleaning jobs, which is what the Black+Decker is designed for.

The lithium-ion battery can be fully recharged in approximately 4 hours using the docking platform. It also has a built-in eco function for switching off power when it’s charged.

However, we think it’s a shame that the docking station can’t be attached to a wall. Instead, it needs to sit on a flat surface.

Note: There are several variations of the Lithium Flexi available. This review is of the 14.4V model, but there are also 10.8V and 18V options.

Ease of Use

Ease of Use Rating: 4/5

With the hose unravelled

When it comes to vacuum performance, it’s not all about raw suction power. In many cases, little features or issues can make using a vacuum either enjoyable or frustrating.

This is where we think the Black+Decker excels. While it’s not the most powerful vacuum cleaner, it’s easy to use around the home, with the extension hose a brilliant addition for above-floor cleaning. Black+Decker has also kept everything simple, with a basic bin emptying system, easy-to-access filter, and tools that clip into place.

Here are a few other “ease of use” features included with the PD1420LP that we liked during our testing:

  • The docking station doubles as both a charging point and storage for accessories.
  • The dust bowl is translucent so you can easily see when it’s full. The 0.56 litre capacity is also larger than many handheld vacuums.
  • Tools can be attached at multiple angles depending on what’s most convenient.
  • A side-door is included for fast emptying (more on the downsides to this system in a moment).
  • A light flashes around 30 seconds before the battery is empty.

It’s not all good news though. At 75dB, the Black+Decker Lithium Flexi isn’t the quietest handheld we’ve reviewed. It’s not a major issue but something to keep in mind if you’re looking for a quiet vacuum.

Emptying the Black+Decker

Also, the vacuum is easy to empty…but difficult to empty hygienically. There’s a simple latch system, but the shape of the machine makes it hard to empty dust into a bin without spilling it (often over our hands during testing!) This isn’t a major problem most of the time, but is another reason why we don’t recommend the PD1420LP for allergy sufferers.

A minor complaint is that the manual is one of the worst we’ve seen when reviewing vacuums. The manual we received seem to be missing pages, had text printed upside down, and only contained the most basic instructions!

Filtration

The filter

A washable filter is included with the Black+Decker PD1420LP (see photo above). This does an adequate job of removing dust and dirt from the air – although it’s probably not suitable for people with allergies.

One thing to note about the PD1420LP is that the filter needs to be cleaned regularly. The good news is that it’s easy to remove by twisting the canister and then pulling it out of the filter housing.

We also usually recommend replacing filters every so often to make sure they are doing their job. While replacement filters for the PD1420LP are available, we couldn’t find any on major shopping sites at the time of writing.

Price and Value for Money

Value for Money Rating: 3/5

The Black+Decker logo

The Black + Decker DustBuster Flexi PD1420LP is around average price for a handheld vacuum cleaner. It’s available for under £100 from most online stores, which is cheaper than models like the Gtech Multi Mk2, but it’s also considerably more expensive than Black+Decker Wet and Dry DustBuster.

But the real question is whether it’s worth the money. In our opinion, the DustBuster Flexi provides value for money if you want a versatile tool for spot cleaning between regular vacuuming sessions. The hose attachment is a great feature, as it’s convenient for cleaning almost anywhere in the home, and the various tools help it to tackle most jobs.

We don’t think it provides value for money as a pet vacuum though. The suction power isn’t strong enough and the non-motorised pet tool doesn’t compare well with motorised attachments.

Accessories

Tools and Accessories Rating: 3/5

All included tools

There are three extra accessories included with the Black+Decker: a crevice tool, non-motorised pet tool, and a combination dusting brush and upholstery tool.

However, the main “accessory” is really the flexible hose. This is a feature that isn’t found on many handhelds, but makes getting into tight nooks and crannies much easier. It also means you can hold the heavier vacuum body in one hand while using the other hand to control the hose.

Combination tool

The combination tool is probably the one you’ll most often attach to the hose. It’s great to be able to quickly flick between a hard tool and the dusting brush, depending on the surface you’re cleaning.

Pet tool

We’ve already discussed the pet tool, but it’s useful for cleaning pet beds and carpeted stairs. Don’t expect it to match the best pet tools on the market though, due to the lack of a motorised brush bar.

Crevice tool

Finally, we have the crevice tool. This is a fairly standard length, although we would have liked it to be longer for getting deeper into narrow gaps (such as down the side of a fridge.)

Black+Decker PD1420LP Specification Table

Ninja Column 1Ninja Column 2
TypeCordless
BagBagless
FilterWashable
Price Range£
Weight (kg)1.42
Capacity (Litres)0.56
Motorised ToolNo
HoseYes
Hose Length (m)1.5

Black+Decker PD1420LP vs Gtech Multi Mk2 Comparison

After testing both the Black+Decker PD1420LP and Gtech Multi Mk2, we think the Gtech is the superior vacuum. It provides better all-round performance, has a motorised pet tool for better carpet pick-up, and has a longer 20-minute run-time.

That doesn’t mean you should ignore the Black+Decker though. It’s still a high-quality vacuum that’s lighter, cheaper, and has a larger capacity than the Gtech. Most importantly, the Black+Decker’s hose makes it perfect for cleaning awkward locations – something that the Gtech Multi Mk2 struggles with. So, the right choice depends on your requirements.

Ninja Column 1Vacuum 1Vacuum 2
Black+Decker PD1420LPGtech Multi Mk2
BagBaglessBagless
FilterWashableWashable
Price Range£££
Maximum Run-Time12.520
Weight (kg)1.421.6
Capacity (Litres)0.560.4
Motorised ToolNoYes
HoseYesNo
Around The Home Cleaning Score3.5/54/5
Car Interiors Cleaning Score3/53/5
Pet Hair Cleaning Score2/53/5
Stairs Cleaning Score3/54.5/5

Frequently Asked Questions

Can The DustBuster Flexi Vacuum Floors?

Yes, there’s no reason why the DustBuster can’t be used to vacuum carpets and hard floors. The small tools make it unsuitable for cleaning large areas though, so it’s really only designed for spot cleaning. We also found that it struggles to remove dirt and hair from thicker carpets.

Can The DustBuster Vacuum Liquids?

No, this is not a wet and dry vacuum. Vacuuming liquids could cause permanent damage to the motor.

Does The DustBuster Have a Motorised Pet Tool?

No. Despite being a pet vacuum, the DustBuster only has a non-motorised pet tool. This is one of our biggest complaints about this vacuum, as a motorised brush bar would improve performance.

Verdict And Who Should Buy It

Final image of the PD1420LP

The Black+Decker DustBuster Flexi PD1420LP is a decent handheld vacuum cleaner. While it has flaws – especially the medicore performance on carpets and unhygienic emptying system – it excels at hard floor cleaning. The extendable hose and pet hair tool also make it a versatile machine.

If you’re looking for a handheld vacuum that makes it easy to clean above cupboards, loose debris on car seats, or pet hair from sofas, it’s a great option. In fact, it’s probably the most convenient handheld vacuum we’ve reviewed.

But if you’re looking for a handheld vacuum to tackle tough cleaning jobs on carpets, there are options with stronger suction power.

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