Computer and gear maintenance might be the most unsexy part of long-term travel. But, if you travel with a laptop, camera equipment, smartphone, tablet, chargers, portable espresso maker, and a football-sized tangle of accessory cables, you know all that stuff gets dirty on the road.
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Dust and debris have a way of working into every nook and cranny of keyboards, lens filters, USB ports, and all the buttons on your travel gadgets. The question becomes: how to clean it all simply and effectively when you get home?
While on the road, I loveGiottos’ Rocket-Air Professional Blower. It strikes a good balance of being gentle enough that it won’t harm even the most sensitive electronics (like a digital camera sensor), but strong enough to blow away most dust. Because it’s compact yet sturdy, I always travel with one.
But, once I get home and find the real stubborn dust that’s collected in the crevices of my gear, I always need to give everything a more thorough cleaning.
Compressed air cans are an effective tool. They’re like little leaf blowers for your gadgets — a simple way to shoo away dust and debris. But, they contain harsh chemicals and create unnecessary waste, so I’ve used them less and less over the years.
All of which led me down the path to find the best canless air duster. They’re exactly what they sound like: electric-powered air dusters that do exactly what canned air is supposed to do. But, they produce a lot less environmental waste. One electric air duster can purportedly replace 5,000 compressed air cans. That’s a small mountain of waste not ending up in a landfill.
The X3 Hurricane Canless Air System Review (or Why a 260-mph Hurricane Is the Best Way to Clean Your Travel Gear)
In Canless Air Systems’ own words, the X3 Hurricane Canless Air System is their:
… strongest unit ever! It produces an incredible blast of air at over 260 MPH and runs for over 15 minutes straight.
This unit is equal to over 5,000 cans of traditional duster … if you use a lot of canned air and want the most power possible you need this unit.
Great for cleaning large computers, server rooms, camera lenses and mirrors, high-end medical equipment, displays in retail stores, complex circuit boards and so much more.
The Traveler’s Take on the X3 Hurricane Canless Air Duster
The X3 Hurricane is Canless Air System’s flagship product. It’s big, loud, and industrial strength. Frankly, it’s overkill for most travelers.
But, if you’re serious about keeping your mobile and photography equipment squeaky clean, I think it’s worth the investment for the strongest canless air duster they offer.
Compared to typical compressed air cans, the X3 Hurricane is larger but not by much. The battery pack can keep the motor running for a solid 15 minutes which is far longer than most travelers are likely to need just to clean off their gear. It seems like the X3 could be made smaller and lighter by halving the battery size/capacity.
To be clear, this isn’t a “travel gadget” in the sense that you’ll be taking it with you on the road. You certainly could as it’s quite portable. But, I prefer to pack as light as possible and, with the integrated battery pack, this compressed air alternative is just too heavy for me. I use the X3 Hurricane to clean my gear only after returning home.
Canless Air Systems offers a less “industrial strength” solution, however. Their Special Edition Canless Air System offers many of the same features as the X3 Hurricane, but costs just two-thirds of the price.
This thing is loud. I’m talking “hide the cat and get ready to piss off the neighbors” loud.
Functionality: Does the X3 Hurricane Actually Work?
At first, I was worried the 260-mph claim would be too harsh on electronics. That sounds like an unnecessary amount of force just to dust off a laptop, a smartphone, and especially a digital camera.
But, in my experience: yes. The X3 Hurricane works exactly as advertised. In my not-at-all-scientific testing, I found it to be almost as strong as a can of compressed air. I’d say it’s 80-90% as strong.
Plus, the air flow is not only strong but steady. Regular compressed air cans weaken to the point of being unusable after a couple of minutes. Plus, they can spray harmful liquids and chemicals all over your electronics.
A 3-piece attachment kit helps bolster the X3’s usefulness. This includes:
An extra long flexible straw that can bend around corners
A 45-degree nozzle that can focus the air
A brush attachment that can be used when cleaning items that require more than just air
What’s the Catch?
If there’s one downside to the X3, it’s the noise. This thing is loud. I’m talking “hide the cat and small children” loud. It’s actually surprising for such a small device.
The first time I revved it up, I thought there might be something wrong with it. I was a little concerned it was going to shred to pieces in my hand.
Using an admittedly crude decibel measuring app, I tested the X3 in the relative quiet of my basement where the ambient noise averages 26 decibels. By comparison, the X3 Hurricane’s motor creates a cacophonous 85 decibels of high-pitched, vacuum-cleaner-like whirring.
To put that in perspective:
Thunderclap, chain saw
Painful. 32 times as loud as 70 dB.
X3 Hurricane Canless Air System
2 times as loud as 70 dB. Possible damage in 8-hour exposure.
Passenger car at 65 mph at 25 ft (77 dB); vacuum cleaner (70 dB)
Arbitrary base of comparison. Upper 70s are annoyingly loud to some people.
Conversation in restaurant, office, background music
Half as loud as 70 dB. Fairly quiet.
Whisper, rustling leaves
None of this is too surprising though. Compressed air cans rely on a chemical process to quietly expel air out of the can. Because the X3 uses an electric motor to accomplish the same feat, it must move a ton of air very quickly through a very small space. I’m not a professional engineer, but I’m guessing it would be difficult to design a device like this that’s actually quiet — or even quieter.
This might be an issue if you’re traveling. I can’t even imagine using this in a hotel without management calling the cops on you. But, for anyone planning to use it at home, I don’t think it’s an issue. It is what it is.
The Bottom Line
With a suggested retail price near USD $150, the X3 Hurricane Canless Air System is a premium accessory for tech-loving travelers.
Sure, it’s loud enough to wake the dead. But, the decent portability, long battery life, and reliable air power of the X3 Hurricane make it a good buy for eco-conscious travelers.
Buy the X3 Hurricane Canless Air System
The X3 Hurricane Air Duster can be purchased for around USD $150 direct from Canless Air Systems.