I have always had a complicated relationship to canned compressed air. For a neat freak, it’s a vital tool. It cleans your keyboards and blasts dust off your gaming computer. It’s an invaluable tool, an ally — heck, even a friend.

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. It’s a lot, and it doesn’t cost rent. Can’t I just shove that into a can? I think you can see where this is going.

The XPower A-2S Cyber Duster. It also comes in a “B” variant that is battery-powered. Image: XPower Manufacturing

Dear reader, welcome to the XPower Cyber Duster A-2S. This little guy is my favorite. It is my favorite tool in my house. It is my favorite tool in my home. I love it more then some of my family members. Imagine a tiny vacuum, 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 a game changer.

I was aware of the XPower a while back because I searched for various methods to clean keyboards (including this strange 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 was so good, I sold it to several people, including a friend who works at cafes and must clean up coffee grounds. It is also available in a variety of fun colors. The same company also makes heavy-duty models for pet grooming.

An electric duster is not a 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. What my duster lacks is precision, it makes up in 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. This thing is a beast at high settings. This bad boy will take your stuff out of your nightstand.

It’s also available in many other colors! Image: XPower Manufacturing

It is also a duster, as its name suggests. However, this doesn’t sound so important until you realize just how much dust is in your average home. It’s a lot, and it loves hiding in places. I have a severe dust allergy so I am very cautious about 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 at the amount of disgusting stuff you will find in your house, and how much your air quality will improve.

It is surprising to me how many people don’t have an electric duster. But everyone who has converted loves them. 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. Although I haven’t had the opportunity to test these models side-by-side, I can tell you that they blow hard.

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. I blasted through decades of gunk from an old eBay VCR while writing this post using my XPower. It’s so useful that I feel like a TV salesman, even though it makes me feel corny.

An electric duster is a great choice. It’ll clean your computer, it’ll clean your home, and hell, it may even clean your very soul. (Warning! Individual souls are different.

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