Features 2 speed settings, 8 nozzle attachments, and a 10' power cord to make it easy to maneuver. Very powerful. Casing is made of a lightweight but durable ABS plastic. Stays cool to the touch.
Some users found it loud.
Sturdy steel construction. 19" flexible hose. Includes 3 large attachments and a 4-piece micro-cleaning-tool kit. Also includes 5 disposable paper bags.
Can easily be damaged if dropped and needs to be held onto when you turn it on so it doesn't blow away. Several buyers said the outer steel case heats up quickly.
Cordless design with a rechargeable battery that recharges in 200 min. via the included USB charger. Cleanable filter is reusable. Comes with 2 different nozzles and bonus cleaning gel for your keyboard.
Not as powerful as more expensive brands, but most buyers are happy with the amount of power this vacuum generated.
All-steel construction. Includes air pinpointer, air concentrator nozzle, air-flare nozzle, and a micro-cleaning-tool kit. Has a 12' power cord for easy maneuverability.
Very loud and gets hot fairly quickly, so most buyers use this in short spurts rather than long cleaning sessions.
Offers a quick way to switch from vacuum to blower simply by switching ends. Charges in just a few hours via USB, and motor runs steadily and reliably. Dust filter is washable. Includes 3 interchangeable nozzles.
Best for light vacuuming needs, not heavy dust or debris.
We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.
Dust buildup around circuit boards, processors, and power supply can keep a computer from operating efficiently, leading to much higher operating temperatures and possibly slowing performance. Enter the computer vacuum, a convenient appliance for removing dust in a few seconds, saving you from lots of tedious work with a canister of compressed air and a microfiber cleaning cloth.
A computer vacuum is a handheld device with several small, often flexible attachments that make it easy to reach tiny crevices and corners inside a computer’s case or laptop’s air vents. These vacuums are designed to operate around a computer’s sensitive electronics without disrupting them, but not all computer vacuums are the same.
Buyers have a wide choice of models, with different power levels, corded and cordless versions, and various attachments. Read on to learn more about computer vacuums and which model might be perfect for your needs. If you’re ready to buy, take a look at the products we’ve recommended here.
To an inexperienced computer user, computer vacuums may seem like an odd choice. Why not just use a household vacuum to clean dust from a computer’s vents or case interior? The reason is that a regular vacuum cleaner can build up quite a static charge on the plastic nozzle during use, and that static can discharge at the worst possible moment, just as the nozzle nears a circuit board, for example. Next thing you know, you’ve got a computer that won’t boot up. And that’s the most important consideration when choosing to use a computer vacuum: it reduces static buildup and prevents an unintended static discharge while using it around electronics.
Suction power is another consideration. Most computer vacuums are handheld units with smaller motors than household vacuums. Power can differ greatly between various models – higher-end models boast 4.5 amps and ample cubic feet per minute (cfm), while lower-priced vacuums may bury these stats because they don’t match the same cfm rating. You need a computer vacuum that will clear dust from the CPU interior, keyboard, or peripherals without damaging the components or hardware.
Take into account how you’ll be using the computer vacuum, too. If you’re cleaning dust bunnies out of neglected computer towers, that takes a tool with more power and vacuum capacity, as well as dust storage. If you just need to clean a laptop’s keyboard and remove dust from its innards via the air vents, a smaller and less-powerful vacuum is your best bet.
And here’s another reason to use a computer vacuum: using compressed air canisters to blow out dust and debris means you’ll be adding spent canisters to the landfill — they can’t be recycled. A computer vacuum can be used many times before needing to be replaced, with a service life far beyond that of a disposable air canister.
Powerful two-way cleaning
With a blower setting and a vacuum setting, as well as a powerful 4.5-amp brushless motor, this computer vacuum can easily loosen dust from the corners of a computer case and then suction it up without you having to hold the nozzle too close to sensitive circuit boards.
Motor: Like other handheld vacuums, computer vacuums are driven by an electric motor. The size and output of the motor can vary, and that will affect the power of the vacuum.
Attachments: Computer vacuums should include a few attachments, such as a hose extension and different nozzle sizes that can reach small, hard-to-access areas of the computer.
Antistatic brush: You’ll want a soft bristle brush that may be fitted as an attachment or as a handheld accessory to loosen dust bunnies from sensitive electronics.
Grounding wire: A few computer vacuum kits include a nozzle attachment with a grounding wire. This can be placed on a surface well away from the component being cleaned so that the static electricity discharges along the grounding wire and not into the electronics.
Two-way setting: This option on many computer vacuums allows you to either vacuum or blow air. Using a blower can be helpful in dislodging dust from tightly packed components without damaging them.
Handle: Look for a computer vacuum with a sturdy handle so you can maintain control of the appliance while shifting it around the computer components.
Shoulder strap: Available on larger models, a strap makes the vacuum easier to carry and can help prevent accidental drops.
Before vacuuming, turn off the computer and switch off the power strip it’s plugged into. Keeping the computer plugged into a non-powered outlet will keep the power supply grounded, further reducing the chances of frying a component.
Inexpensive: Single-speed handheld computer vacuums start at about $19, though the lower the price, the less powerful the vacuum.
Mid-range: Computer vacuums with more options and accessories are available in the $40 to $50 range.
Expensive: More powerful computer vacuums boasting 4.5 amps or more can be found in the $80 to $105 price range.
Cordless rechargeable computer vacuums are much more convenient, while corded vacuums offer stronger, steadier power.
Use a small nozzle attachment or a small bristle brush attachment to vacuum debris from between the keys of a computer keyboard.
We stand by our top picks in the matrix, but there were a few other models that caught our eye. We like the compact size of the ZOpid Mini Vacuum Cleaner, a battery-operated handheld model designed to grab and pick up light dust, but it’s not for heavier cleanup jobs. A more powerful option is the HONKYOB Handheld Vacuum, a lightweight, cordless appliance laden with an array of accessory attachments, a highly flexible nozzle, and strong suction power that runs for 20 minutes.
Q. I’ve read that using a computer vacuum is risky and can damage circuit boards. Is this true?
A. Static discharge is a constant risk when working around circuit boards, and this can happen in a number of ways, such as touching the board with a finger when there’s a static charge buildup on your clothing. Swiping a board with a cloth can also cause static buildup and discharge. So, a risk exists no matter what cleaning method you use. Of course, another way that a circuit board can be damaged is by accidentally whacking the vacuum nozzle against it. Just move carefully around the computer interior while cleaning, follow the manufacturer’s instructions to prevent static discharge, and it should be fine.
Q. How long will a battery-operated computer vacuum run?
A. That depends on the type of battery. For example, a small handheld using standard AA batteries may give you an hour or two of run time, and gradually lose power as the batteries discharge. A vacuum with a four- or six-cell rechargeable battery may last a shorter or longer time. Check the product specifications for the models you’re considering.
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