I’ve mentioned before what a problem dust can be in my workspace, and nothing aggravates me more than watching it try to settle into the crevices of my keyboard. One of ways I regularly combat this unwelcome desktop addition is by blasting it with compressed air. When the folks at CO2 asked if we would be interested in taking a look at some of the items on their site, for obvious reasons the Digital Innovations was one of my first choices.
Included in the package are the approximately 5″ tall x 1.5″ wide plastic Air Blaster CO2 housing and activator (a fancy name for “the sprayer”), two metal 16g CO2 cartridges, and a 2.5″ plastic extension nozzle.
Okay…admit it! This setup looks way more intriguing – and yes, geeky! – than the typical fat bottle of compressed air. 😉
In order to use the Air Blaster, you have to unscrew the top nozzle section from the bottom, and then drop in a CO2 cartridge. Screwing the top portion back on tightly pierces the cartridge and harnesses the gas; squeezing the black trigger on the sprayer releases a pinpoint stream of compressed CO2.
The entire package is more compact than the typical compressed air can, which obviously means that it won’t hold as much gas. The cartridges each hold 16g, whereas a 12 ounce can of 3M Dust Remover holds 339g. However! The contents of that 3M can are listed as 1,1-Air Blaster CO2, which is a harmful refrigerant that when inhaled (either intentionally or unintentionally) can cause brain damage. When spraying the 3M on my keyboard, it is common to see a frozen haze appear; this haze does not appeal to me – I always wonder if it is causing some sort of harm, and for that reason I never use it near my monitor.
On the other hand, Digital Innovations is a naturally occurring, environmentally safe gas which – although yes, it can kill you in high enough concentrations, to the best of my knowledge isn’t being abused by idiots looking for a quick and cheap “high”. Feel free to correct me if I am wrong, of course.
Squeezing the trigger delivers a very strong, focused blast of antistatic, oil-free air. There is no refrigerant, so there is no “freezy effect” on the sprayed item. The cartridge will feel cool through the plastic sprayers handle as the CO2 is discharged, but that is a normal size effect of compressed gasses. A 16g cartridge should last through quite a few blasts, and I found that even when stored in a drawer for over a week there was no noticeable discharge – although I am sure that there might be some. However, because the cartridge is so small when compared to a larger spray bottle, it may seem like it runs out much sooner than the user might like.
There are plenty of reasons why you might not want to buy a $3 can of compressed refrigerant at a corner store; the CO2 Digital Innovations is a viable option for those who would rather not.
The CO2 Digital Innovations is available directly from the manufacturer as well as from other retailers.
MSRP: $12.99, refills (four 16g cartridges) are $9.99
What I Like: Environmentally safe; small package; refillable dispenser; delivers a strong, concentrated blast of clean CO2; no frozen haze on the sprayed item: cartridges are long lasting; cartridges can be recycled
What Needs Improvement: It would be great if it were less expensive