Black & Decker put together a nifty, environmentally sound package with its cordless Floor Buster, a compact vacuum that runs on two long-life rechargeable and recyclable Versapak batteries (interchangeable battery system included). Instead of plugging a cord into a wall socket, charge the batteries for six hours prior to first use, and then three hours for each consecutive use. This sounds like a lot of work, but if you store the batteries in the charger it'll become routine in no time. The batteries fit into the back of the unit--press them down until you hear them snap. A foot control on the base powers the vac, which has a brush roller and separate settings for floors and carpets. The base is squared off to conform to a room's edges.
Lightweight and made for everyday use, the Floor Buster can clean two medium-size rooms and a hall before it begins to run down. And don't let its long handle fool you--both handle and base are extremely manageable, weighing not much more than a sturdy broom. You'll effortlessly maneuver it around furniture, lifting it up to vacuum upholstery. Though you may require a vacuum with a powerful hose attachment to really reach into those nooks and corners, the Floor Buster's suction is even and consistent, especially when its dust cup is emptied frequently. In addition, the dust cup is clear, so if coins, paper clips, or small toys are sucked up, they're easily retrievable. The replacement filter is washable in mild soap and water, and washing often improves performance. --Carol Gnojewski