Are Air Dusters Worth It? – Do They Really Work? – Buying Guide

Have you ever been working at your computer, looked down at the keyboard and been appalled at what you saw? Maybe you say a clutter of hair, skin flakes, crumbs and other debris in the inseams of if your keyboard.

Maybe you have a pet and saw fur and maybe even kitty litter. With so many of us working from home these days, this is becoming a very common scene. That’s why we wanted to take some time and talk about air dusters – of all kinds.

You may have seen air dusters on sale at your local office supply store or have come across the cans for sale online. Maybe you have even been tempted to buy a pack for yourself. But before you pull the trigger you have to consider a few things.

First of all, you should ask whether or not an air duster would be safe to have in your home. Then you have to consider how effective it will be for what you need it for. You should also think about what other applications it could be used towards to get the most for your money.

These may seem like simple devices, and at the end of the day they are. But in today’s day and age, hardly anyone can afford to throw money around on anything that doesn’t have a very safe and practical use.

In the following buying guide we will be telling you everything you need to know about air dusters and discussing the different kinds available to you.

Do Air Dusters Really Work?

The short answer to this question is yes. An air duster (whether you’re talking about a canned air duster or an electronic air duster) works by propelling air out of a nozzle at high velocity. In fact, some electronic air dusters can push air out at a speed at 33,000 Rpms.

The air effectively displaces tiny debris such as hair, pet fur food crumbs and dust. It’s important to note that these devices don’t produce any suction so it’s not like a vacuum. This means that debris will be pushed out from tiny nooks and crannies; but will land somewhere else inside your home unless you do the job outdoors.

In a practical sense though, yes, air dusters really work. They can be used for getting debris out of virtually any tight space but are mostly used for cleaning the inseams of computer keyboards.

What can you use an Air Duster for?

The popular misconception is that you can only use an air duster to clean out your keyboard. While it’s true that this has been their staple use for many years, (which is why they are sold so prominently at office supply stores) the truth is that they can be used for way more than just keyboards.

Take a look at just some of the practical uses for air dusters:

  • Use them in your car to blow the dust out of the nooks and crannies of your center console and dashboard.
  • They can also be used to clean off micro blinds and lamp shades.
  • You can effectively use an air duster to displace the dust that builds up in computer exhaust vents.
  • Air dusters can even be used to clean out beard stubble from your electric razor.
  • Air dusters also work really well when you need to clean your camera lenses but don’t want to risk scratching.
  • Air dusters are also effective for cleaning out the grooves on vinyl records
  • These devices also make quick work of cleaning the grooves in crown molding and baseboards.

Is An Air Duster Worth Buying?

Even if you only use your air duster to clean out your keyboard, they can certainly be worth it. This is especially true if you work from home or work 100% from your computer. You may even be able to expense your purchase of an air dryer to your company!

What makes them really worth it is they don’t cost much and have numerous applications. The only real downside is safety…

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Are Air Dusters Safe – What Are The Risks?

There are 3 major safety concerns that are associated with canned air. Canned air can contain chemicals that can be “huffed.” When used illicitly like this, the health results can be very serious and can include neurological damage. This is the first safety concern.

The second safety concern is flammability. Not all computer dusters are flammable. But some contain HFC-152a which is a flammable propellant that is usually used in consumer-level air dusters. When exposed to a spark, the jet of air could light on fire.

The final safety concern has to do with the safety of the environment. Canned air dusters have come under a lot of scrutiny because many of them contain CFC’s or chlorofluorocarbons which have been found to be detrimental to the ozone layer.

Notice that all three of these safety concerns are linked to canned air dusters. Electric air dusters don’t pose any of these safety concerns.

Many people are also concerned about their PC’s and ask, “are air dusters safe for your PC?” The answer to this question is an emphatic yes. Both canned and electric air dusters are perfectly safe for your PC and consumer electronics. In fact, that is what they were designed for.

Canned Air Vs Electric Air Duster

An electric air duster is a rechargeable electronic device that pushes air out of a nozzle in order to displace dust and debris. It uses a small electric motor to generate power. A canned air duster uses compressed air that is aided by a chemical propellant.

Both serve the same purpose though: to clean up your electronics and other items through the use of propelled air. Electric air dusters tend to be much safer than canned air dusters though. Canned air dusters can be harmful to the environment and become a fire hazard.

However, an electric air duster can’t deliver a powerful, short burst of air like a canned air duster. While electric air dusters are better for continuous use and deliver more powerful overall, they are not as powerful as canned air dusters in short bursts.

There is also a concern about waste with canned air dusters. Once the compressed air inside the can is spent, it is typically thrown out which creates a lot of waste. Electric air dusters can be recharged and used over and over again. Electric air dusters are certainly more expensive though.

Electric air dusters would be great for anyone concerned about their impact on the environment and want a safer alternative. Canned air dusters would be better for anyone who needs more powerful, short bursts of air.

Air Duster Pros

  • Great on Electronics – Air dusters of all kinds are perfectly safe for electronics and great for cleaning keyboard inseams.
  • Multi-Use – You can also use air dusters to clean other household objects like electric razors and micro-blinds.
  • Affordable – Canned air is very affordable and even electric dusters pay for themselves after about a year of use.

Air Duster Cons

  • Potential Safety Hazards – Some canned air dusters contain propellant that is flammable.
  • Waste Concerns – Most canned air dusters aren’t refillable so they tend to create a lot of waster.
  • Underpowered – If you want an electric air duster, it won’t be as powerful in short bursts.

What Should I Look for in an Air Duster?

Ready to start thinking about which air duster to buy?

Whether you are leaning towards canned air or an electric duster, here are some important things to think about:


Less expensive canned air dusters may contain something called HFC-152a which is a flammable propellant. If you are goging to be working on circuitry, avoid this propellant. You may also want to avoid duster that contains propane and butane as they can also be flammable and volatile. Some canned dusters contain bitterant to keep people from huffing it. You may want to opt for this if you have minors in the house.


Remember that electric dusters can produce a continuous stream of air at 33,000 Rpms but don’t offer the same force in shirt bursts. Some have an auto-mode where you don’t have to hold down on a trigger. Canned dusters are great for short bursts but lose a lot of power if you hold down the trigger for a long time.

Air Force

Electric dusters are great for continuous use but don’t offer the same short, powerful blast of air that canned air does. Canned air isn’t great for continuous use, though.


If you don’t want to spend a lot of money upfront, canned air dusters are cheaper. But electric air dusters are more sustainable if you are willing to pay around $70 upfront.

Best 5 Brands Of Air Duster

Opolar Air Duster

This is an electronic duster that can blast out air at a speed of 33,000 rpms. If you double-tap the trigger, thee air will be pushed out automatically as well. It uses a micro USB charger

Overall Score: 92/100

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Falcon Air Duster

The Falcon Dust-Off canned air duster is a great choice if you frequently work with computers and electronics. It is a compressed gas duster and contains a bitterant to dissuade huffing.

Overall Score: 95/100

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iDuster Compressed Gas Air Duster Disposable Keyboard Cleaner

If you are looking for a bargain a 4-pack of this canned air duster is about $30. It’s safe for the ozone and is great on small electronics.

Overall Score: 96/100

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Hureny Compressed Air Duster

This is an electronic air duster that can be charged with a USB-C cable. It delivers a powerful blast of air and on a full charge it can run for about half an hour.

Overall Score: 92/100

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TIANMU Compressed Air Duster

Another cordless electric air duster with 3 air speed settings – the fastest of which pushes air at 90,000 Rpms! It also charges off of a USB-C cable.

Overall Score: 94/100

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How to Use an Air Duster?

The best technique for using an air duster is to pull the trigger in short, 3-5 second bursts. You can use an electronic duster continuously however.

Air Duster FAQ’s

Q: Why are air dusters so expensive?

Some canned air dusters are expensive because they use propellant that is non-flammable and safe for the environment which is more expensive to produce.

Q: Should you shake compressed air?

It is not recommended to shake compressed air dusters because it may cause liquid to exit instead of vapor.

Q: How long does an air duster last?

Canned air dusters will last for about two-hundred 2-second blasts while electric dusters will last indefinitely.

Q: Can an air duster explode?

A canned air duster contains pressurized air or gas which can explode if used improperly.

Q: Do air dusters run out of air?

Canned air dusters contain only so much compressed air and they certainly do run out.

Q: Are canned air dusters refillable?

You can refill certain brands of canned air duster.

Q: What happens if you accidentally inhale air duster?

Inhaling air duster can cause brief but intense intoxication but can also seriously damage your nervous system, liver, lungs, heart and kidney.

Q: Why does air duster get you high?

When inhaled, air duster removes the oxygen from your lungs which causes hypoxia, resulting in a very brief but intense psychoactive effects.

Q: Why is air duster cold?

The can gets cold because heat is drawn from the surrounding air so that the contents come out as a vapor.

Q: Why is my air duster wet?

This is most likely the result of the liquid refrigerant or gas that is compressed in the can and leaking into the nozzle. Shaking the can may cause this expulsion of liquid.

Q: Does compressed air expire?

If the can and valves are not damaged, compressed air can last as long as 10 years.

Final Thoughts

Now you know enough about air duster to make an informed consumer decision. Bravo! Now go out and choose the best one for your needs!

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