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After the disappointing performance of previous DustBusters and other portable vacuums, I was pleasantly surprised by how well Black & Decker’s 15.6V DustBuster worked.  With its high-voltage motor, “cyclonic action,” and unique rotating filter, it might even serve as an alternate to your shop vacuum if you’re working in tight quarters or have very little storage space. 

Two simple features seem to make the difference: First, a special design creates a “cyclonic” airpath inside the collection chamber, helping to prevent filter clogging and subsequently keeping you at full suction power longer.  And unlike most portable vacuums which place a filter directly between the motor and a straight-through opening, the DustBuster 15.6V features a deflected opening, further reducing the risk of clogs.

Second, when the filter does finally clog and you notice a drop in suction, you can simply rotate the purple ring on the side of the vacuum to expose a fresh section of the filter. 

With an average street price of $50, this vacuum can be found for a bit less if you shop hard.  Home Depot, Linens ‘n Things, and Bed Bath & Beyond, for example, carry the non-HEPA filter version for about $40 — a lot cheaper than the Dyson Root 6.

15.6V DustBuster with HEPA [Black & Decker]
15.6V DustBuster [Black & Decker]
Street Pricing [Google Products]
Via Amazon [What’s this?]


5 Responses to Black & Decker’s Bigger, Beefier DustBuster

  1. PutnamEco says:

    But what about there 18 volt one, the one that takes their cordless tool batteries, and is aimed at shop use?


  2. While I have not tried the 18V Firestorm edition, I did try the 18V “platinum series” edition that you linked to. As far as I can tell, aside from color scheme and the internal vs. swappable battery difference, both 18V editions are identical in vacuum design.

    A few minutes into cleaning up a particularly dusty and chunky mess, the filter in the 18V model was clogged to the point where I could have cleaned quicker and better by hand. I had considered that the battery wasn’t powerful enough for the job, but it was charged properly – overnight, as the product booklet instructed.

    After returning the 18V version, I picked up the 15.6V version, and have since been quite satisfied with it. Prior to trying out these DustBusters, I was also disappointed by mini DirtDevil and Shark branded portable vacuums.

    If you’re shopping for a new handheld vac for medium-duty use, the 15.6V DustBuster is your best choice for under $60. *However*, if you already have compatible 18V Firestorm gear and need a light-duty vac, then it might be a better idea to buy the 18V Firestorm version- it sells for about $20 since it doesn’t come with batteries or a charger.


  3. Ted B says:

    Having used both I can tell you that this is not a Dyson Root replacement. That said, very few people actually need a Dyson Root. The Root has only slightly better suction IMO, however the filtration is far superior to any other handheld I’ve seen.

    I had to buy the Root for some projects at work where we were dealing with particularly fine granular materials because all the vacuums we had would end up spitting the stuff out the back. This was true even of vacuums with HEPA filters, as those only stop a percentage of particles. The root, courtesy of its centrifugal chamber (which is then followed by a ridiculously effective filter), didn’t lose a grain so far as I could tell. When you’re dealing with

  4. Ted B says:

    huh, I got chopped off. I meant to say:

    “When you’re dealing with” ~100 micron spheres just a few making it through is a serious safety issue since they make the floor slicker than black ice.

  5. Nick Carter says:

    Needing a new dustbuster, this was quite topical! I went to Home Depot today and asked for the corless vacs. They sent me to the vacuum aisle where they only had Crappy Royal vacs. Then as I was about to go I thought, “what about the shop vac aisle?” and lo and behold that’s where they keep the Dustbusters. So I bought one. It’s charging right now (16 hours for a first charge!). We’ll see if the kids and their messes can withstand the mighty force of it.

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