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Stairs are perhaps the trickiest place to vacuum whether carpeted or not. Impossible to use an upright, so you basically have to use the hose. But corded upright or canister vacuum cleaners are difficult to lift and maneuver making cleaning a long staircase a real hassle. Enter handheld cordless vacuums which can be a solution for vacuuming stairs, although many handheld vacuums lack needed power (unless you’re willing to spend big for a Dyson Vacuum V11), and often a hose still works best getting at the more difficult spots. Too bad there’s not a cordless handheld vacuum with a hose. The BLACK+DECKER Max Flex is just such a cordless vacuum. A unique design from a manufacturer well known for power tools, the Max Flex is different from even other Black+Decker dustbuster style cordless hand vacs. The BLACK+DECKER Max Flex is included in the Best Vacuum for Stairs buyer’s guide, and is indeed cordless and handheld but with a truly distinctive look comparatively.

Why We Like It – BLACK+DECKER Max Flex

The BLACK+DECKER Max Flex is a uniquely designed cordless handheld vacuum that’s effective at any cleaning chore, and is particularly well suited for vacuuming stairs. Pet hair attachment included, as well as a three stage filtration system that eliminates virtually all dust.

Pros
  • Hose for Hard to Reach Places
  • Long life Lithium Ion battery
  • Specialized attachments
Cons
  • Noisy operation
  • Poorly placed on/off switch

Power

The BLACK+DECKER Max Flex is powered by a 20V lithium ion battery that provides strong fade-free power. Suction is quite good for a hand vacuum, although not as strong as the aforementioned Dyson V11 or similar stick vac floor head designs like the Moosoo Cordless, but certainly on par with the Holife Handheld Vacuum or a Dirt Devil Quick Lite. Advantage goes to the Max Flex vac as its run time is sufficient to thoroughly vacuum even the longest flight of stairs. The Black+Decker pops into a base charging unit for storage, and that keeps it charged and always at the ready. The most notable downside is that this Max Lithium Flex vac is noisy when in use. Maybe not so much in volume (listening to music with earbuds while cleaning is still possible), but more in terms of pitch as the motor sound is as distinctive as the Max Flex looks.

Speed / Efficiency

The most distinctive feature of the BLACK+DECKER Max Flex is its 4’ flexible hose. Other handheld vacuums like the Eureka EasyClean 71b may have an extension hose, but the Eureka is corded whereas the Max Flex is a cordless vacuum. Even with a hose the Flex vac is a true hand vac weighing in just over 3lbs. Coupled with the extension hose, there’s probably no place the Max Flex can’t reach. Great for car interiors or cleanup for DIY projects. Includes useful attachments such as a pet hair brush, and features a triple level filtration system to trap even fine dust. Some users do find the placement of the on/off switch on the Max Flex to be a bit awkward. The Max Flex is different in looks and usage than the 2-in-1 type of stick vacuums like the Tineco A11, more suited for floor care in larger rooms, but that can also double as a handheld (but still without a hose).

Bin Capacity / Maintenance

The BLACK+DECKER Max Flex features a bagless bin of over 20 oz. capacity, ample enough for most any job. The bin is easy to empty and washable. Simply pop a latch, tilt the Flex sideways and out dumps the bin contents. The 3 stage filter can also be washed, but removal and separation of the filtration system for cleaning requires more effort. The Max Flex is fairly self-contained for storage and its base charging holder is convenient, however it only works when stored horizontally and can’t be wall mounted.

Durability

The BLACK+DECKER Max Flex is well built. Many customer reviews report owning previous generations of this Black+Decker vacuum, and claim this current Max Flex is even better. Should provide years of use, and comes with a 2-year manufacturer’s warranty. But even lithium ion batteries degrade after years of work and ultimately need replacement. Thankfully as a power tool maker Black+Decker has virtually any replacement part for its products available online. Just requires you create an account with your email address.

Value

The BLACK+DECKER Max Flex is a pretty good choice as a handheld vacuum, and more reasonably priced than some alternatives such as the Tineco Pure ONE S12. The Max Flex is perfect for spot cleaning, for keeping staircases tidy, and just the thing to keep an RV clean during a trip. Having a flexible hose makes the Max Flex that much more useful.

BLACK+DECKER Max Flex Wrap Up

The BLACK+DECKER Max Flex works great as a general purpose cordless handheld vacuum that’s particularly handy for even the tightest spaces, for difficult to clean places such as stairs, and even more delicate vacuuming chores such as cleaning off a computer keyboard. A unique design from a well known manufacturer.

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