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Black + Decker PowerSeries Pro Vacuum

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Avg. consumer rating = 83/100 

There are a number of different PowerSeries Pro cordless vacuum models from Black + Decker but the vacuums are all quite similar.  They are lightweight, use a lithium-ION battery, and have the portable canister feature.  Consumer ratings for the vacuums are reasonable and the price point is not too high (base model is about $150).  These machines should be a consideration if you want cordless convenience and you have a smaller home with lots of bare floors.

  

Quick Specs
Type Upright
Bagged/Bagless Bagless
Best for... Bare Floors & Carpet
Pet Hair Features Some models
Approx. Weight 8.25 lbs
HEPA Filter Some models
Power Cord Length Cordless
Motor Driven Brushbar Yes
Warranty 2 Years
 
Consumer Ratings
We found over 250 owner ratings for the PowerSeries Pro vacuums – see table below.  When these ratings were averaged they generated an overall score of 83/100.  This is an average score considering the ratings for other vacuums on the site. 
 
Source Consumer Rating # Ratings
Amazon 4.1 stars out of 5 217
Kohl's 4.6 stars out of 5 30
Walmart 4.0 stars out of 5 12
 
PowerSeries Pro Models
According to the Black + Decker website there are 5 different PowerSeries Pro vacuums: HCUA525J, HCUA525JP, HCUA525JPC, HCUA525JA, HCUA525BA.  ALL of the vacuums have the following characteristics and features in common:
- Lithium ION battery
- 1 liter dust canister
- Portable canister
- Weighs 8.25 lbs (vacuum models are all the same size)
- 50 Air watts suction – at the maximum setting
- 3-in-1 accessory tool
 
However there are also key differences between the models as highlighted below:
 
Black Decker PowerSeries Pro
HCUA525J (Blue)
- jack plug charger
- washable filter kit
 
HCUA525JP (Purple)
- jack plug charger
- washable filter kit
- rubber anti tangle bristles (pet brushroll)
- scented tablet
- 9 inch pet crevice tool
- 5 inch pet brush
 
HCUA525JPC (Blue)
- jack plug charger
- washable filter kit
- 9 inch pet crevice tool
- 5 inch pet brush
 
HCUA525JA (Green)
- jack plug charger
- anti allergen filter
- Long brush
- Nozzle/brush
 
HCUA525BA (Green)
- Base Charger
- anti allergen filter
- Long brush
- Nozzle/brush
 
PROS & CONS
A thorough review of owner comments and reviews has provided the following PowerSeries Pro likes and dislikes:
 
PROS
- Lightweight
- Easy to assemble
- Good on hard floors
- Run time on hard floors is good
- Maneuvers well
- Portable canister works well
- Easy brushroll access
- Good edge cleaning
 
CONS
- Run time on carpet seems short
- Smallish dust canister
- Vacuum topples easily
- Battery not designed to be removed
- Some reported longevity issues
 
What Are Owners Saying?
Most owners report that the Black + Decker PowerSeries Pro vacuums are lightweight and that they maneuver well.  The movement is partly due to the effective swivel steering.  Also, when you get your PowerSeries Pro some assembly is required but it is
fairly straightforward.
 
Black + Decker Lift AwayThis is a 2-in-1 vacuum and it operates in upright mode and handheld mode.  The handheld mode is a portable canister which is more of a “lift away” feature (similar to those you see on a Shark upright like the Apex).  Folks feel the portable canister is easy to detach from the vacuum and that it is also very easy to use.  Reconnecting it to the vacuum is simple as well.  We’ve seen a number of manufacturer’s adopt this approach in the past few years.
 
Owners are pleased that the brushroll is easy to access (for cleaning), that the filter can be rinsed in water and re-used, and that the vacuum has a headlight.  Many people have reported that the PowerSeries Pro vacuums are very good on bare floors but they have also posted that the vacuum sometimes lacks the power for deeper cleaning of carpet (especially deep pile carpet).  This is something you see with a lot or cordless units – they just don’t have the power of larger corded vacuums.
 
Run times are something of a mixed bag. Some folks have highlighted that they can use the upright to do their entire home on a single battery charge (maybe 30-35 minutes) – typically hard floors and under 3000 square feet.  While others – typically those with carpet – report substantially shorter run times, and are disappointed.
 
Unfortunately Black + Decker do not seem to have published run times or even battery recharge times so figures are the result of owner comments – which vary quite a bit.  With respect to recharge times owners report times somewhere between 3 and 4 hours.
 
Folks are unhappy that the battery cannot be removed and is therefore unswappable.  You cannot get a second battery and swap one out while placing the other on charge.  Dyson stick vacs are like this but a number of other manufacturers provide a swappable battery.
 
Some people have complained that the dust canister is small and requires frequent emptying, and others are not pleased at how easy the vacuum can be toppled.  The unit is a bit top heavy so it is very easy to knock over.
 
With respect to longevity, there are reported issues.  After several months of ownership we have seen comments of wheels breaking, the hose breaking, the floor sensor ceasing to work, the brushroll refusing to spin, the handle breaking, and even issues with battery charging.  These are not problems that seemed to appear shortly after the owner received their vacuum but rather problems that appeared months down the road.

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Details & Specifications
In this review we are going to focus solely on the HCUA525J as it is the base model of the PowerSeries Pro machines.
 
Run Time & Recharge Time
The advertising materials state “Up to 60 Minutes of Run Time”.  Strictly speaking this is true BUT only if you are using the portable canister and at the lowest suction power setting.  When using the upright and with suction settings above the lowest your run time will decrease.  This marketing approach isn’t new and pretty much all the manufacturer’s put their best figures forward – but it can be a little confusing for the customer, and more than a few owners are upset when they find the vacuum does not provide a full 60 minutes of run time when they are vacuuming their carpet (for example).
 
Also, it is frustrating that Black + Decker do not seem to publish other run times for the PowerSeries Pro vacuums – at least we have never seen any.  If owner comments are anything to go by then one can expect perhaps 25-35 minutes on hard flooring and maybe 12-20 minutes on carpet – if you let the floor type sensor choose the suction setting for you (more on this below).
 
When you first get the vacuum Black + Decker suggest placing it on charge for a full 6 hours before the first use.  Presumably charging the unit thereafter will take less time.  Again, this is frustrating as there is no indication of how long it takes to typically recharge the battery.  Owners seem to agree that it is somewhere between 3 and 4 hours.
 
Portable Canister
The vacuum is sometimes referred to as a 2-in-1 machine (upright/handheld).  Well, it is an upright but the handheld component is not like a typical handheld vacuum.  The handheld component is really a detachable portable canister which you hold in one hand while using the hose and tools in the other hand.  It’s not a bad system by any means but using the word handheld sometimes conjures up an image of something like a Dustbuster – it isn’t one of those.  However it is easy to use and quite effective. To remove the portable canister from the upright you simply press the canister release button, and it just snaps back into place when you are finished.
Black Decker Cordless Portable Canister
 
Dust Canister
The dust canister is on the small side with a volume of only 1 liter, so it fills fairly quickly and you will have to empty it frequently if you are doing a lot of cleaning. This is a smallish dust canister if you consider this an “upright vacuum” but if you consider this more of a “stick vacuum” then the dust canister really isn’t that small (consider that the Dyson V10 Absolute has a dust canister of 0.76 liters).  This vacuum is really something between an upright and a stick vac.
 
Black + Decker have also found a way to make the dust canister volume go a little further.  The canister has a manual compactor.  There is a compacting handle that you push down which compacts the contents of the dust canister thereby increasing the remaining space in the canister.
 
The canister is easy to empty and pressing a button on the canister will release the bottom door so debris can be removed (or will simply fall out).
 
Automatic Suction Adjustment
The vacuum comes with a special floor type sensor that detects the flooring while you are vacuuming and sets the suction automatically.  This is handy as you therefore don’t have to manually reset the suction yourself if you are vacuuming different kinds of flooring.  In addition, there is an override button on the main control panel which allows you to turn this sensor off.
 
Some folks seem to like this feature while others do not.  Those who do not have sometimes highlighted that the sensor is slow to change suction after moving from one floor type to another. 

PowerSeries Pro carpet bare floors
 
Control Panel
The vacuum has something akin to a control panel as you can see in the image below.  The panel has touchscreen controls and buttons which allow you to turn the vacuum on/off, adjust suction levels, enable/disable the floor type sensor, and turn the brushroll on/off.  There are also three horizontal bars that are battery charge indicators (tell you how much charge is left on the battery) – they show 75–100% charged, 51–74% charged, or < 50% charged.  In addition, a filter indicator will tell you if the filter needs cleaning.
 
PowerSeries Pro vacuum controls
 
Filter
The filter assembly is inside the dust canister and it can be removed.  The filter then comes out of the filter assembly.  The filter can be rinsed in water and when completely dry it can be placed back in the vacuum.  Interestingly Black + Decker also state that the filters need to be replaced about every 6-9 months (despite them being rinsable and reusable). 
 
Cleaner Head
The head of the vacuum turns easily and this is due to the swivel steering.  As mentioned previously owners find this vacuum movement quite good.  The cleaner head also houses the brushroll which can be removed should you need to clean it – you may have to remove tangled hair.  A release button on the side of the cleaner head allows you to pull away the brushroll unit and from this unit you can remove the brushroll.  A lot of machines do not have this easy brushroll access.  Also, the brushroll is belt driven.
 
Tools
The HCUA525J only comes with one tool - the 3-in-1 accessory tool (acts as a nozzle, a crevice tool, and an upholstery brush). The tool can go on the end of the 4 foot hose.  The hose is rather short when using it with the vacuum, but its length is reasonable when using it with the portable canister.
 
Warranty
The Black + Decker PowerSeries Pro vacuums carry a 2-year limited warranty.  You can read more about the warranty here.
 
Vacuum Cleaner Manual
The manual highlights all the different PowerSeries Pro models and tells you what is provided with each unit.  It also covers such things as assembly, parts descriptions, charging the battery, controls & control panel, portable canister, features, 3-in-1 tool, dust canister, filters, removing the brushroll, etc.  You can see a copy of the manual here: Black + Decker PowerSeries Pro Cordless Vacuum Manual
 

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About Me

Hello!

I'm Nigel Russco, a 50 year old professional engineer originally from the west coast of Canada.  I love to review vacuums and I’ve been doing just that since 2008.  

I make every effort to write unbiased, intelligent vacuum cleaner reviews and I provide average consumer ratings for each and every vacuum cleaner I investigate.  My ultimate goal is to ensure you find the best vacuum for your cleaning needs.  

I also like to help when I can so feel free to send comments.


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