Pros / An adjustable nozzle makes it very easy to reach awkward, tight spots.
Cons / This unit does not handle wet spills.
Verdict / The Black & Decker Car Pivot Handheld Vacuum has decent suction, impressive portability and a set of tools that is helpful for keeping all sorts of vehicles clean.
The Black & Decker Car Pivot Handheld Vacuum is an ideal unit to keep in the car and use on the road. The nozzle can be folded over against the vacuum's body so it stores compact in your trunk, and the suction is more than adequate for road trip messes. You get a lot of great features for a very low price with this unit, which we found for as little as $40.
Our vacuum cleaner tests confirmed that units like this that plug into a car's cigarette lighter are less powerful than the ones that plug into a wall outlet. But the Car Pivot Handheld was still decent on the messes in our tests. We purposely used debris with different textures in order to challenge each auto vac in many possible scenarios – garlic skins to imitate light debris, sticky breakfast cereal ground into carpet, and pet hair. The Car Pivot Handheld did a decent job on all, though it was slower than the ones that plug into the wall and took many more passes than the Metropolitan. Also, at times debris got jammed and we had to dislodge it in order to vacuum again.
This device was great in terms of maneuverability. Nothing was out of reach, whether under a seat or in the furthest corner of the trunk. Even that extra-narrow spot where the dash meets the windshield was easy to reach with the Car Pivot Handheld – not the case with many of the competing products.
Being bagless adds to the simplicity of the Car Pivot Handheld. Also, this vacuum is extremely portable. There is no need to fret over keeping the battery charged, the way you would have to with a cordless unit, because it plugs into your car, and you don't need to be near a wall outlet.
The long cord – over 16 feet – can help you reach any space in even the largest SUV. Many of the units we compared, especially those that were designed to plug into the cigarette lighter, were not able to reach the trunk of even a small sedan, let alone a larger vehicle. A storage case and lightweight design make this auto vacuum easy to use and store.
Everything you’ll likely need on a regular basis is integrated into the vacuum itself, but if you need a little more maneuverability for some jobs, you can attach a lightweight hose to the end of the nozzle and get added reach.
It would be difficult to overstate how convenient the adjustable nozzle is. It makes it possible to hold the unit at the most comfortable angle while still getting to nooks and crannies that are common to cars. That alone would be enough to access almost anything, but you can also extend an even-narrower crevice tool to get at tighter spots.
This vacuum really is convenient when it is time to empty it, too. Others in our reviews require two steps, one of which is removing the filter, to empty. There is just one lever with this unit. You can clean the filter in your dishwasher from time to time, but there is no need to do that often. The regular emptying task is simple and quick.
Black & Decker stands by this product with lots of options for customer support and a two-year warranty, which is perfectly adequate. Questions and problems can be resolved by phone, email, chat or a FAQs page. We found this manufacturer to be very responsive to our inquiries.
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- Maneuverability Score
This vacuum proves a great value because it combines important features for this class of product and is only $40. This vacuum cleaned more slowly than some competitors, and would get clogged on certain debris, but you’d be glad to have it on a road trip when the car starts to get dirty. It’s portable, battery-less and has a lengthy cable. The Car Pivot Handheld might make you think twice if you never considered purchasing a separate unit just for your vehicle.