Chances are, if you are reading this post, you already know how important it is to clean out the insides of your computer. Dust is the enemy of electronics. Without proper vigilance and periodic cleaning, premature component failure is all but assured.
Always a fan of preventative maintenance, I’ve made do with compressed air cans to clean out the insides of my computer. While these products are adequate for occasional cleaning use, they come with certain critical limitations. First and foremost, they don’t last very long. At most, I’ve been able to get one thorough cleaning before losing the can loses its pressure. Second, compressed air cans are uncomfortable for continuous use. Using one beyond 30 seconds or so makes the can’s surface very cold to touch. Thirdly, even with the tiny supplied nozzle, you’re limited in how you position the compressed air can. For example, attempting to direct the nozzle upwards from a back on the ground position minimizes output pressure and accelerates the condensation effect on the can’s surface. Finally, compressed air cans, being the disposable, limited use items that they are, contribute more to environmental waste.
Amazon prices a pack of twelve 12 ounce cans of compressed air at $52. I typically go through about 4 cans a year. Over the twenty years I’ve been using compressed air, I’ve spent in the ballpark of $350. (Side note: I just now processed the fact that I’ve spent $350 on “air”.)
Last year, I began researching alternatives. That’s when I came upon Metro’s DataVac Electric Duster (model ED-500). It’s a portable blowing unit, run via AC power. At $60, the DataVac costs the equivalent of 12 cans of compressed air. Buoyed by the overwhelming number of positive reviews, I pulled the trigger last week and ordered one for myself.
A few days later, the package arrived.
Metro, the company that makes the DataVac has been around for 75 years. That’s impressive. What’s even more impressive is that the DataVac is “deliberately made better in the USA”. Made in the USA is one thing, but “made BETTER in the USA” shows spunk. I like that. The DataVac does not use propellants – and it is condensation free.
Inside the box, you’ll find an instruction manual, a warranty card (1 year warranty on the unit, and a 5 year warranty on the motor), the all-steel DataVac unit itself, and several nozzle attachments. The DataVac also comes with a 12 foot power cord. The motor inside the unit is rated at 500W, 0.75 HP, and delivers an airflow of 70CFM.
Below is the “Air Pin Pointer” nozzle that’s best used when cleaning electronic equipment. It has a small hole on top, which serves as a connecting point to attach the nozzle to the DataVac.
Setup was very easy.
The DataVac blows air at a consistently high pressure. With it, I was able to thoroughly clean the insides of my MacPro. I spent a good 15 minutes making sure I hit every nook and cranny. This task alone would have required 2 to 3 cans of compressed air. The DataVac is comfortable to grip and easy to direct. The unit gets warm to the touch, but not hot. The flexible nozzle attachment allows for focused aim when cleaning hard to reach areas.
The DataVac is loud – louder than a hair dryer but not “leaf-blower” loud. I’d say it’s comparable to the loudness of an ordinary canister based vacuum cleaner. You can hear it for yourself in an assortment of YouTube videos.
A few things to keep in mind when using the DataVac (or for cleaning in general):
1) Don’t dust inside your office – take the machine outside. Better yet, wear a mask if you have one.
2) Secure any fan blades inside the computer when using the DataVac to keep the blades from over-spinning (and thereby prematurely wearing out the fan’s bearings).
Bottom line: Whether you are cleaning the insides of your computer or your keyboard, the DataVac does its job well. It’s environmentally safe, portable, easy to store and made in the USA. If you clean your desktop machine on a frequent basis (and you should), the DataVac will pay for itself over time. Side note: The DataVac also makes a good occasional leaf-blower.
The DataVac earns 5 out of 5 Bob Weiners.