Black and Decker Air Swivel Lite Vacuum
Avg. consumer rating = 76/100
The Black and Decker Air Swivel Lite (model BDASL202) is a very lightweight, bagless upright vacuum cleaner. It is also compact and easy to maneuver. The suction is good, it performs well on pet hair, and the machine is affordable. It does have some issues however. A number of owners have reported that it just stops running for no apparent reason and it either has to be repaired or replaced – there doesn’t seem to be an easy fix. In addition, there are several instances of the belt breaking.
|Best for...||Bare Floors & Carpet|
|Pet Hair Features||No|
|Approx. Weight||8.8 lbs|
|Power Cord Length||20 feet|
|Motor Driven Brushbar||Yes|
Over 200 consumer ratings were found at several respected online retail outlets. The figures are provided in the table below. When averaged these ratings produce a score of about 76 out of 100 (or 3.8 stars out of 5). This is below the average upright vacuum score on our site. You can see comparisons in our upright vacuum ratings table or on our vacuum cleaner finder page.
|Amazon||3.5 stars out of 5||140|
|Best Buy||4.4 stars out of 5||20|
|Overstock||4.2 stars out of 5||74|
|Walmart||1 star out of 5||1|
A thorough review of owner comments has provided the following AirSwivel Lite likes and dislikes:
- Easy to move and maneuver
- Washable filters
- Very affordable
- No extension wand
- No height adjustment
- Belt breaking seems common
- Many reports that vacuum just stops working
What are Owners Saying?
Probably the first thing that strikes you when reading Air Swivel Lite owner comments is the large number of folks who have had their vacuum simply stop working. Our first reaction was that perhaps the machine was simply overheating and the thermal switch was engaging. We did see some of this (the result of a clogged hose and an overheating motor), however in many cases the unit would not turn on again, despite the vacuum being idle for a long period of time. People report having to return the vacuum or, in some cases, folks have just given up on it.
Quite a few owners have highlighted that the vacuum worked very well at first, however, at some point, after a period of weeks or a few months, it just turned itself off and could not be turned on again.
Another frequent problem is that of the belt breaking. This seems all too commonplace with the Air Swivel. To make matters even more difficult, many consumers have had a tough time locating the right replacement belt to buy.
While the vacuum is marketed as being designed for both carpet and bare floors, it does not have brushroll on/off controls or nozzle height adjustment. A brushroll is generally OFF for cleaning bare surfaces and the nozzle height is adjusted depending on the carpet height (roughly speaking). There has been some grumbling that it can be quite difficult to push this vacuum on deeper pile carpet.
There are a few other issues with this machine but they are not ones that consumers appear to be too concerned about – this is probably, to some extent, due to the exceptionally low price point of the vacuum which is in the neighborhood of $50 - $60. Consumers, logically, understand that such an affordable machine will have some shortcomings. Some of these might includes the short power cord, the shortish hose, the fact that it is hard to manage the power cord, etc. Again, not huge concerns for most owners.
On the plus side, the vacuum scores well with owners with respect to suction. Many are pleased with what they feel is strong suction. It is also quite capable at pulling up pet hair. Homeowners with pets – both cats and dogs – report that the vacuum does a great job of removing pet hair from both carpet and bare floors. The brushroll also does not appear to get tangled with hair easily which is nice.
The compact nature of the machine has resulted in far more praise than derision – which is not always the case with a smaller vacuum. Folks like how easy it is to store and also how lightweight it is. The combination of light weight and the swivel head also make the vacuum extremely easy to maneuver - an area where the vacuum scores big. In addition, the nozzle head is not too wide which results in the ability to get into fairly tight and narrow areas. Finally, the lightweight nature of the vacuum makes it easy to carry up and down stairs or from room to room.
You can see more Air Swivel owner comments on Amazon if you wish.
Details and Specifications
The Black and Decker Air Swivel Lite BDASL202 is a bagless upright vacuum cleaner. It has a clear, bottom empty dust canister with a volume of 2 liters (about 0.52 gallons). This is a reasonable size, especially given the compact nature of the vacuum.
The BDASL202 is described by Black and Decker as an “ultra light weight” machine. At 8.8 lbs I suppose we can go along with that. It is certainly lighter than most uprights on the market today, but there are others that are comparable – see our list of Lightweight Vacuum Cleaners where we highlight some good upright machines between 7.7 lbs and 12.8 lbs.
This is not an attachment-rich vacuum and you only get the one tool: a 2-in-1 crevice/brush tool. This tool is the combination of a crevice tool and a small dusting brush. The vacuum also does not include an extension wand which is something of a surprise as most machines do. The tool fits on the end of the handle at the end of the 6.5 foot hose.
The 2-in-1 crevice/brush tool can be stored on-board the vacuum. Other versions of the Air Swivel have different tool sets, for example:
AirSwivel LITE (which is this one – the BDASL202)
- Includes 2-in-1 crevice/brush tool
AirSwivel PET (BDASP103)
- Includes 2-in-1 crevice/brush tool, and Pet tool
AirSwivel VERSATILE (BDASV102)
- Includes 3-in-1 crevice/brush/upholstery tool, and Pet tool
The machines above also have different power cord lengths:
LITE – 20 feet
PET – 25 feet
VERSATILE – 30 feet
At 20 feet we’d have to say the power cord on the Air Swivel LITE is short. This is akin to something you might find on a canister vacuum and is certainly shorter than most upright power cords.
The nozzle on this vacuum has no height controls. Units with height controls will often have a small dial on the front of the nozzle allowing one to raise or lower the nozzle, which helps set an optimal distance (for cleaning and mobility) from the floor surface. In the case of the Air Swivel you do not have this and as a result it can be difficult to move if you have deep pile carpet.
Aside: We have noticed that the Black and Decker website indicates that this vacuum has 75 Air Watts of suction. Most manufacturers don’t provide this information but it is common for Dyson to do so. So by way of comparison we’ve shown the recent Dyson upright vacuum suction figures below:
- Dyson Cinetic Big Ball = 180 Air Watts
Bear in mind that Dyson vacuums are substantially more expensive but the figures do provide some context to the suction of the smaller Black and Decker unit.
The brushroll in the nozzle cannot be turned off. Usually you want the brushroll off when cleaning bare floors - a stiff brushroll can mar delicate flooring and it can also sometimes cause debris to scatter on bare surfaces. Also while you are using the hose/tools you typically do not want the brushroll to continue spinning while the vacuum is sitting in one place. Having said all this, we have not seen any complaints about the lack of brushroll on/off controls from owners.
The nozzle has what the industry commonly calls swivel steering which allows it to pivot and change direction at the twist of a wrist. This works quite well and Black and Decker report that this model has a full 170 degrees of motion. The nozzle also has a 12 inch cleaning path width which is a bit on the narrow side for an upright – it is somewhere between a full size upright and a stick vac. Some owners find this an asset as the nozzle moves easier and is capable of getting into narrow, tight areas, however others find it a drawback as you have to do more passes of the vacuum to clean an area. It depends on your preferences and to some extent your room layout.
There are two filters on the vacuum - 1 pre-motor and 1 post-motor. The pre-motor filter is found under the dust cup lid (Black and Decker refer to this as the “Dust Cup Filter”). This filter is washable and when it is completely dry it can be reinserted back into the vacuum. The post-motor filter (or exhaust filter) is found under the filter cover on top of the nozzle. This filter is also washable and should be cleaned every 3 months or so. Neither of these filters are HEPA.
The vacuum also has a carry handle, a power on/off foot pedal (near the backside of the nozzle), and it is UL listed. UL stands for Underwriters Laboratories which is a non-profit, independent product safety certification organization in the United States. In addition, the Air Swivel carries a 1-year limited warranty against defects in material and/or workmanship.
Vacuum Cleaner Manual
In our opinion the manual is rather poor. You can see it here: Black and Decker Air Swivel Manual. It doesn’t cover the features particularly well. In addition, the images are not very good and even some of the text is messed up. We recognize this is an inexpensive machine but we would have liked to see the manufacturer make a little more of an effort on the manual.