Batteries are the Achilles heel of any portable gadget. It was NiCad that brought the downfall of Black & Decker's much-loved DustBuster vacs. Now, the company's new, updated Flex hand vacs have lithium-ion rechargeable batteries. These should offer twice the runtime over an old DustBuster, even if the new "Flex" name is roughly half as cool.
The flagship model in its new Platinum Lithium Vacuum Series is the Black & Decker BDH2000FL Flex vacuum. The tool, which almost resembles a miniature shop vac, comes with pet hair adapters and crevice-combing accessories, plus a receptacle that can be emptied with a single button press. But the biggest reason to upgrade your DustBuster—or ditch your $400 handheld Dyson—is an integrated four-foot flexible hose that extends the vac's reach but wraps away when not needed. Get it sometime this month for $150, and greatly reduce the odds that you'll walk around covered in chip crumbs and cat hair.