I bought this electric duster and cleaning my gadgets has never been easier

An electric duster next to an open PC case
(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

A clean workspace can really help with your productivity and overall mood, but as hard as you try to keep things tidy, dust eventually builds up and gathers on your keyboard, PC and other electronics.

Canned or compressed air is a handy tool and while you can use it to clean your PC, it’s not only expensive but is also quite bad for the environment. Also, if you use it for too long, you can even get cold burns on your hands.

So a few years ago I decided I was done with canned air once and for all. As someone who uses multiple desktop computers and mechanical keyboards for work and in my free time, the cost and hassle of using canned air to clean them no longer made sense.

If you’re in a similar position to me or even if you just built your first PC, an electric duster is a great investment as you can keep all of your electronics dust free without worrying about hurting yourself or the environment at the same time.

Goodbye canned air

A woman using canned air to clean a desktop PC

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Although there are many different brands available, back when I used canned air to clean my PC and other electronics, Falcon’s Dust Off was my preferred choice. At $8 a pop though, using Dust Off to clean can get expensive fast. Sure, you can save a bit when buying several cans at once but at the end of the day, canned air is disposable and you’ll need to restock your supply next time you want to give your PC a good clean.

In my experience, it usually takes half a can to clean a really dusty PC. If you decide to give your keyboard a thorough cleaning too, that’s a whole can of compressed air. The lifespan of canned air will vary by your usage but you get the idea. If you clean your electronics frequently, it adds up.

A picture of the DataVac ED-500-ESD electric duster with all of its accessories

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

After quite a bit of research, I decided to get a large electric duster from DataVac ($109, Amazon) that plugs into the wall. There are also cordless options available with built-in batteries from other companies that are a bit smaller but since I clean my devices quite regularly, I opted for one of DataVac’s higher end models that also protects against electrostatic discharge (ESD).

Besides the electric duster itself, it also came with several different attachments that you can swap out depending on what you’re cleaning. The long crevice tool that looks like it should go with a vacuum is great for those hard-to-reach places while the dusting brush is useful for getting in between the keys on your keyboard without having to take them off. DataVac even throws in a grounding wrist strap so you can avoid damaging your PC’s components with static electricity while cleaning them.

Not just for PCs

A keyboard with no keycaps next to an electric duster

(Image credit: Future)

Although I purchased my electric duster primarily to clean desktop computers, I’ve found several other uses for it over the years. For instance, it can really come in handy when cleaning a mechanical keyboard, just make sure that you don’t hold it too close as this particular model is quite powerful.

Besides cleaning your computer and keyboard, you can also use an electric duster in other places around your house. From cleaning your blinds to blowing out the filters of the best air purifiers, it’s really quite a versatile tool. I also often find myself using my electric duster in my garage for cleaning tools and anything else that may be covered in grime or dirt. In fact, you can even use it in your car to get those hard-to-reach places clean.

At the end of the day though, I purchased my electric duster to clean my PC and that’s where it truly excels. What used to take minutes can now be done in under a minute due to how powerful it is. At the same time, using an electric duster also makes the whole process of cleaning your PC, keyboard, camera and other electronics a lot more fun. As I mentioned before though, just be careful when using it and as a general rule of thumb, it’s always better to have it farther away from an item than too close so you can avoid damaging it.

An investment that pays for itself

A picture of the DataVac ED-500-ESD electric duster in front of a computer

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Even though I’m just writing about my electric duster now, I actually purchased it back in 2020. In the two-plus years I’ve owned it though, it’s become as essential of a tool for PC maintenance as a good screwdriver set is.

I personally clean each of my computers every six months though I might also give them another quick clean when adding new parts or when I have to open up their cases to troubleshoot an issue. Likewise, I clean my mechanical keyboards every three months or so and just like with my controllers, I have amassed quite the collection of keyboards over the years.

With canned air costing $8 a pop and the frequency with which I clean my computers and keyboards, my electric duster has paid for itself in the time I’ve owned it. Obviously, your mileage will vary depending on how many devices you own and how often you clean them. 

Still, an electric duster is a great investment financially and you’re doing your part to help the Earth. Now I just wish I had invested in one sooner instead of using canned air for all those years. Thankfully, if you’ve made it this far, you might not make the same mistake I did.

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Anthony Spadafora
Senior Editor Security and Networking

Anthony Spadafora is the security and networking editor at Tom’s Guide where he covers everything from data breaches and ransomware gangs to password managers and the best way to cover your whole home or business with Wi-Fi. Before joining the team, he wrote for ITProPortal while living in Korea and later for TechRadar Pro after moving back to the US. Based in Houston, Texas, when he’s not writing Anthony can be found tinkering with PCs and game consoles, managing cables and upgrading his smart home.