What’s in the box and getting started
In the box is one Black and Decker Hand Vac, a charger, a bracket to hang on the wall and some screws for doing so. In addition to these items and some packaging there is a booklet that describes the unit and how to get started using it. The booklet was well written and easy to follow. Some topics were covered in depth and others to me could have been better. (see battery and charging info) The directions are repeated in English, French and Spanish.
The handheld vacuum is white gray and a gray blue color plastic. As far as vacuums go, I would say it is attractive looking. It consists of three parts. The vacuum motor is in the back part. Then the filter and blue gray tinted dirt cup. On the end is the nozzle is a built in pull out crevice tool and a flip up brush.
On the handle which is located on the top of the mechanical portion is a button to press to remove the dirt cup and filter. Then the on off switch, and a red charging light indicator. Behind the charging light is the socket for plugging in the charger.
The overall weight of the vacuum is 3 lbs 10 oz. It is 18 inches long and at the widest it is 7 inches from handle to bottom. The unit is 5″ wide. The opening of the nozzle is 1.75″ x 0.75″. Other parts of the vacuum will be discussed in greater detail below.
The vacuum picks up well if the filters are clean but to get full suction you need to clean out the filters every time you empty the dirt cup, unless you are only picking up large crumbs that won’t get into the filter area. One thing that I find awkward with this vacuum is that the mechanical part of it is quite heavy and when I hold it while vacuuming it takes quite a bit of effort to keep the nozzle down. It does pick up ok in this position but it would be nice if it was not so heavy. I guess it has to be heavy to hold the large the cyclonic 15.6 v motor. Just out of curiosity I weighed both my old vacuum and this new one. My old one weighed 2 lbs 9 oz. It was also a Black and Decker but the model that held reusable versapak batteries. My new hand vac is over a full pound heavier weighing in at 3 lbs 10 oz.
Adjustable Nozzle – One interesting thing about this model is that there is a clip on the top of the nozzle where it connects to the dirt cup that allows you to twist the nozzle left or right by depressing the clip and twisting. The nozzle can twist all the way around so you can use it in any position. When you return it to center the clip will snap in place and keep it there until you release it again.
built in crevice tool – The crevice tool is located inside the nozzle and all you have to do to use it, is pull it out. It makes the nozzle extend an additional 5 inches. The nozzle can fit into spaces that are 1.75″ x 0.75. As crevice tools go this is on the large size but it could come in handy in some applications. The crevice tool is nice to have, and I like that it is connected to the unit, so it’s not lost and always handy when I need it. The crevice tool does have some shortcomings. When you pull the tool out, it seems to snap in place, but when you are using it, between the suction and sliding it on the ground, it is quite easy for the crevice tool to slide back inside the vacuum nozzle.
Built in brush tool – I do really the built in brush tool. To use it make sure that the crevice tool is completely depressed inside the nozzle. Then flip the brush up and it will snap into place. The brush covers the top and sides but not the bottom of the nozzle but it’s really fine because of the angle that you are vacuuming at. I found it was particularly helpful when vacuuming the stairs or into the corners of the couch to coax crumbs out from these little crevices.
Emptying the dirt cup
One thing that I like about this handheld vacuum is that the dirt cup is clear so you can see when it is getting full and needs to be emptied. It is really quite easy to empty the dirt cup. The dirt cup will release when squeezing two side tabs and pulling. The tabs are plastic and I hope that they will withstand the test of time. I have noticed already that I have to be careful to make sure that the clips are all secure. If one is popped up slightly, of course that would be a problem during use.
When you open up the dirt cup you can just dump it in the trash and you may think that you are just ready to go, but I noticed when I checked the filter that there was a lot of lint and hair stuck inside the filter so if you just kept emptying the dirt cup, after a few uses the vacuum power would be severely compromised unless you are just picking up larger crumbs. It is hard to see the dirt stuck to the filter without completely opening up the filter assembly.
I was really impressed with the fact that the filters of this handheld vacuum do not have to be replaced unless they are totally worn out. The filter included is washable and reusable which is just fantastic. To get the filter out, there is a button on top just above the on off switch. When you press this button it will remove the entire lower section including dirt cup and filter area. Normally when you just empty the dirt cup you do not remove the entire nozzle.
Once you remove the nozzle, there is a filter and filter holder that can be pulled out with a little plastic strap that you grab on to. The filter holder is a piece of plastic shaped like the filter with a bunch of little holes in it. The dust and small hairs will go through the small holes and be stuck to the fabric filter. I think the best way to clean out the filter is with another vacuum and then if needed the filters can be washed out with water and if you like a mild soap can be added. I think most of the time vacuuming the filter is enough. I would not want to add soaps to the filter because I think that the soap might make it clog more quickly. I just rinse with warm water. If you were concerned with germs you could add a little vinegar to your rinse water. You do have to let the filter dry completely before using so I think I will probably try to buy a spare so that I can use one while they other is drying. I would probably just buy the cloth filter because the plastic cover part can be dried with a towel.
Enclosed Wall Mount
The enclosed wall mount is just a plastic clip with screws to affix it to the wall. There is a little channel that you can run the charging cord through or just plug it in separately. The wall mount is not a charging mount as some are where the act of hanging the vacuum on the wall will start the charging process. You could actually hang the vacuum in one place and charge it somewhere else.
Battery Charging and other Battery Information
To charge the battery in the Black and Decker hand vac, just plug the enclosed charger into a wall outlet and then the other end goes into the top of the vacuum. A red light next to where you plug in the charger on the unit handle will light up red when charging. The light continues to glow as long as the charger is plugged in and the vacuum is switched off. It would be nice if the light would go off when it is fully charged. It is suggested that you place the vacuum back on the charger between uses. It is normal for the charger to be warm while charging. The instructions indicate that you can not ruin these batteries by overcharging them. It does not state though whether you should fully discharge the battery every time or once in awhile. The only thing that is said is that when you first get the vacuum it recommends fully discharging the battery and then charging for 24 hrs before the first use. I think it would be helpful if more information was available for optimal charging. I have no clue how long it takes to fully charge after the first time. This would have been useful information to include in the instruction booklet.
This vacuum runs on Nickel-Cadmium (Ni-Cd)rechargeable batteries. They are not made to be changed by the consumer should they wear out. Interestingly there are instructions for removal of batteries for disposal but no instructions for replacement. It is illegal to throw them in the trash and Black and Decker has already paid for the cost of recycling them. There are instructions in the manual about where you would take them for recycling.
I really wish they would make these rechargeable items with batteries that the consumer could replace when they are spent rather than having to bring it in for service. For most people it would be cheaper to just dispose of the unit rather than buying a new one so I was less than impressed with this particular attribute of the vacuum
I tested out the vacuum after fully charging it for 24hrs as suggested in the instructions. I wanted to try it out as well as test the run time so while it was running I vacuumed various things including around the edges under my cabinets and on the stairs. I wanted to put it through the paces rather than just let it sit and run the battery down. It ran at full power for about 15 minutes and then for about 5 minutes it was still usable but ran down slowly from there. It took another 5 minutes to fully discharge but during that time it was not usable at all. My feeling is that for my uses of quick pick ups or even doing all my stairs the battery time is sufficient, but not stellar. I wonder how it will do over time. I also was not crazy about how it starts to drain down and even though it seemed to be running in full for the first 15 minutes I wonder if there was some drop in performance, that I was unable to detect.
Black and Decker Warranties this item for 2 years. If it breaks in the first 30-90 days they suggest bringing it back to the store for a replacement. If it is beyond that period of time you can send it back to them, postage paid and they will either fix it or replace it. I think this is a decent warranty for an item such as this. The thing I worry most about is the battery failing and if that were to be the case I am guessing it will happen within the first two years. Hopefully I will not need the warranty but it’s nice to have.
I felt that the Black and Decker CHV1510 deserves between 3 and 4 stars our of 5. Given the reasonable price I was able to overlook some of the shortcomings and decided to give it a 4 star rating.