Wednesday, February 8, 2023
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Electric air dusters rock

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It’s a simple low-tech device and seems fairly obvious, but if you don’t have one, it can change your life.

a:hover]:text-gray-63 text-gray-63 dark:[&>a:hover]:text-gray-bd dark:text-gray-bd dark:[&>a]:text-gray-bd [&>a]:shadow-underline-gray-63 [&>a:hover]:shadow-underline-black dark:[&>a]:shadow-underline-gray dark:[&>a:hover]:shadow-underline-gray”>Photo by Christopher Person / The Verge

I have always had a complicated relationship with canned compressed air. For a neat freak, it’s a vital tool. It keeps your keyboards clean, it blasts dust out of your gaming PC, and it gets gunk out of those hard to reach parts of devices. It’s an invaluable tool, an ally — heck, even a friend.

But the waste! 

I’m not trying to be a cheapskate here, but a can of compressed air costs like five bucks, and I got air at home. Like, a whole lot of it, just floating around, not paying rent. Can’t I just shove that into a can? I think you see where this bit is going.

An XPower A-2S Cyber Duster in red, with attachments.

An XPower A-2S Cyber Duster in red, with attachments.

a:hover]:text-gray-63 text-gray-63 dark:[&>a:hover]:text-gray-bd dark:text-gray-bd dark:[&>a]:text-gray-bd [&>a]:shadow-underline-gray-63 [&>a:hover]:shadow-underline-black dark:[&>a]:shadow-underline-gray dark:[&>a:hover]:shadow-underline-gray”>Image: XPower Manufacture

Say hello, dear reader, to the XPower A-2S Cyber Duster. I want to tell you how much I love this little guy. I love it more than most tools in my home. I love it more than I love some of my relatives. Imagine, if you will, a tiny vacuum cleaner but in reverse. It’s a pretty straightforward concept. It has two power settings (pretty powerful and very powerful), a brush attachment, and a shorter nozzle that I can’t find right now but is probably in the cabinet where I keep all of my tools. It is an absolute game-changer.

I was ambiently aware of the XPower a while ago because I looked up various methods for keyboard cleaning (including this weird goo). I had seen it on the shelf at Micro Center and, like many things in that wonderful store, I thought, “Wow, that sure does sound really useful. I should buy that sometime.” Micro Center stocks two similarly priced models — this one and an almost identical-looking model — but I went with the latter because it had the word “cyber” on the box and, thus, was better. It turned out to be so good that I immediately sold several friends on it, including my friend who works at a cafe and needs to clean up coffee grounds all the damn time. They also make it in a bunch of fun colors, and the same company makes heavier-duty models specifically for pet grooming.

An electric duster is not a one-to-one replacement for compressed air. Compressed air cans come with a thin plastic straw that comes in real handy when trying to get into very hard to reach places, and that’s just really hard to replicate. But what my duster lacks in precision, it makes up for in sheer power and cost savings. You don’t have to ration your electricity the way you do canned air, so it becomes very useful for making casual, quick cleaning sweeps. At its highest setting, this thing blasts away. You can knock stuff off of your nightstand at a distance with this bad boy.

A picture of several XPower Electric Air Dusters in green, two shades of blue, and black.

A picture of several XPower Electric Air Dusters in green, two shades of blue, and black.

a:hover]:text-gray-63 text-gray-63 dark:[&>a:hover]:text-gray-bd dark:text-gray-bd dark:[&>a]:text-gray-bd [&>a]:shadow-underline-gray-63 [&>a:hover]:shadow-underline-black dark:[&>a]:shadow-underline-gray dark:[&>a:hover]:shadow-underline-gray”>Image: XPower Manufacture

As the name implies, it is also a duster, which does not sound as important until you realize how much dust is inside the average human home. It’s a lot, and it loves hiding in places. I have a significant dust allergy, so I am anal when it comes to air quality. For a fun time, put an N95 mask on, turn on your air purifier of choice (I have a Coway Mighty because that’s the one everyone collectively agreed to buy), and go hog wild on the hard to reach places in your room of choice. You will be shocked by the amount of revolting gunk that you will discover in your house and how much the basic air quality will improve.

I am constantly surprised by the number of people who do not have an electric duster, but everyone who has converted sings their praises. Jess Weatherbed doesn’t have the XPower but has a CompuCleaner and noticed a similar improvement in basic air quality. Another person online recommended the Metrovac DataVac ESD (a duster meant specifically for data centers) since at least one of Metrovac’s models also functions as a vacuum cleaner. I have not had a chance to do extensive side-by-side testing with these models, but I would bet those things blow pretty hard, too.

If my tone has been a little cheeky in this post, it’s because it’s hard to overstate just how much I use this guy. I’m constantly reaching for it while doing projects. In the span of writing this post, I blasted decades of gunk out of an old eBay VCR using my XPower. I feel like a corny TV pitchman right now, but it really is that useful.

Get an electric duster. It’ll clean your computer, it’ll clean your home, and hell, it may even clean your very soul. (Warning: individual souls may vary.)

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