REVIEW: Will the O2 Hurricane Canless Air unit get you to ditch canned air?

o2-hurricane

When CanlessAir.com offered to send me a sample of their flagship product, the Hurricane Canless Air System, I couldn’t resist the offer. Like most other technicians out there, I heavily invested in compressed (canned) air for most technical work up until about two years ago. I still keep canned air around for when my beloved air compressor just won’t fit the bill (like going into downtown Chicago on the train) and it’s still expensive as it ever was.

The premise of the Hurricane Canless Air unit is pretty simple: ditch the canned air that you have to re-purchase consistently, and invest in a piece of equipment like any other that resides in your tool bag. More specifically, a tool that can be recharged numerous times (over 500 times, they claim – equivalent to 1000 cans of air) and provide consistent operation each and every time. All this in the size of a product that is truly not much larger than a decently sized can of compressed air.

The version that I was sent happens to be the industrial-strength unit, which supposedly blasts concentrated air at a forceful stream of about 200Mph. A bit lofty of a statement, as I have no way of clocking the stream to check its validity, but the power of the unit is just as good (if not better at times) than your stock can of air from the store.

I wanted to get a few different opinions on the product for this review, so I didn’t stop at merely testing it myself. I let one of my FireLogic colleagues give the system a try for a few days, and also lent it to another friend who works in IT for the Chicago Museum of Contemporary Art. Their thoughts are intermingled with my own below.

The unit is very plainly packaged, and includes the Hurricane of your choice (there is a lower priced basic model, which has a 160Mph stream of air), the power adapter for recharging, and a nozzle. The unit weighs slightly more than compressed air, but keep in mind that the unit packs a battery that adds some decent weight to the package. It’s well worth it, as the unit averages about 12-15 mins of air flow until it loses power.

You may say that 12-15 mins isn’t much, but keep this in mind for comparison: that equates to about the same blowing time given by roughly 15-20 cans of compressed air. Count the money you last spent on a 3-pack of compressed air, and you can see where the contrast in savings stands. This is not to say the product is perfect, however. I’m merely making the claim that in terms of long term value, the Hurricane has canned air beat by a long shot.

Derrick using the O2 Hurricane Computer Duster

Derrick using the O2 Hurricane Computer Duster

It goes without saying that the Hurricane pushes dust like a pro. Just like canned air has a peak of strength beginning with the first minute or two of usage, the Hurricane behaves similarly. The stream of air is definitely strongest when the battery is fresh off charge, but the “usable life per charge” is still longer than what you get out of a single can of air. While I tend to see about 12-15 mins of airflow (confirmed by colleagues), your best airflow happens in about the first 10 mins or so. Still, this equates to a lot of air time.

Some of my colleagues questioned the feasibility of a rechargeable battery within the unit, especially one that cannot be replaced by the end user. This happens to be one of our common gripes: that once the battery is end-of-life, we are pretty much forced to get a replacement unit since the battery takes a queue from Apple and is sealed inside the casing. The unit still presents a considerable cost savings over purchasing compressed air, but this is one area that could be improved in the next revision we’re hoping.

Overall, the charging system that the Hurricane presents is well developed. The AC adapter is small and portable, and can be carried in your bag in addition to the unit if you plan on doing a ton of dusting in a single day. One caveat to be mindful of is that you cannot use the unit on AC power alone after the battery has died. Some of my colleagues thought they could use the AC charger as a backup when they ran out of battery life, but this was not the case. A full recharge is about an hour or slightly longer, so there is a waiting game if you run out of juice in the middle of a long day onsite.

While I personally feel the unit has fairly adequate power to clean dust off systems, both of my colleagues felt that the unit could have been more powerful. They have a fear that fine dust in a system does not get cleaned off with the Hurricane and therefore a tech would have to go to other means in order to fully clean a unit. I personally did not experience this issue, but it’s a viable concern if indeed the Hurricane doesn’t have the extra punch to go all the way.

Another thing to be mindful of is noise. Compared to compressed air, the Hurricane uses a motorized system to force air centrally through the front nozzle, so it’s considerably louder than a standard can of air. Again, this is the tradeoff for working with a rechargeable system of this nature, but you need to be mindful of your surroundings when attempting to use this in quieter office settings. If there is no background noise in a given office, the Hurricane will be very audible and may create a stir for workers. But you’re the best judge of how your clients are, so just be sure to warn them before turning this puppy on for minutes at a time.

One of my buddies said that he has had a good experience with an alternative product called the DataVac (available from Newegg) which has a comparable price to the Hurricane. However, the product’s reviews on the site are a mixed bag at best so it’s hard to say which one would fare better in a matchup. My personal opinion is that I will likely supplement my own toolbag with a Hurricane. While I can’t say that it will replace my favored air compressor just yet for all jobs, it’s certainly a good pick for when I need to visit locations that require public transit access only.

For the weight, price, and packaging, I have to say the Hurricane is a good product, but it doesn’t win my top accolades due to some of the minor grievances from our findings above. If you’re looking for the cost savings that an air compressor provides, but need the portability that canned air affords, then the Hurricane could be a good pick for you as a mobile onsite technician.

The Hurricane retails at $80 USD for the original version and $110 USD for the industrial (heavy computer repair) version direct from CanlessAir.com. You can find them for a few bucks less at various retailers around the web, however.
If you’ve personally used the Hurricane yourself, let us know your thoughts in the comments section!

Final rating: 3 out of 5 stars



Derrick Wlodarz

About the Author

Derrick Wlodarz
More articles by me...
Derrick Wlodarz is an IT Specialist that owns Park Ridge, IL (USA) based technology consulting & service company FireLogic, with over 8+ years of IT experience in the private and public sectors. He holds numerous technical credentials from Microsoft, Google, and CompTIA and specializes in consulting customers on growing hot technologies such as Office 365, Google Apps, cloud hosted VoIP, among others. Derrick is an active member of CompTIA's Subject Matter Expert Technical Advisory Council that shapes the future of CompTIA exams across the world. You can reach him directly at derrick@wlodarz.net.

Comments (26)

  • trendless says:

    I got a Metro ED500 earlier this year and it’s been great so far. It’s not cordless tho’.

    http://www.ncix.ca/products/?sku=73297

    • Kevin says:

      trendless – That product seems to be the same as the one linked to by Derrick. The difference being, that yours is 120V.

    • Ace says:

      Yep been using the metro for quite some time now works great, this product is overpriced and just a gimmick

  • Andrew Hargreave says:

    I’ve had the DataVac from NewEgg for the last year and it does an awesome job at blowing everything out of the system. However, it’s very loud and with that much force coming out of it, you need to take it outside since it would just displace all that dust around the office…likely into the other systems you just cleaned. I haven’t bought canned air in over a year though. 30 seconds with the DataVac has cleaned out the worst I’ve ever seen on a system.

  • UprightTech says:

    Derrick, the DataVac that you linked to is the 220V version that won’t work with most outlets in the US. All of the negative reviews on NewEgg are people who bought it not realizing this. The US 120V version has 5 full eggs and can be found here…http://bit.ly/13DB8yP

    We’ve been using a DataVac in the shop for close to 2 years now, and it is
    awesome! It has FAR more power than canned air, can be tipped and turned any way you need without freezing up or losing force, never runs out of power and is much smaller than most air compressors. One of the best tool purchases we have made!

    Thanks for the great review! I had seen the Hurricane recently and considered purchasing it for use at on-site jobs, but I was worried that being a cordless system it wouldn’t have near the power required to dust good. Based on your review, I think we may buy one.

  • Chad Faison says:

    Completely agree with the above posters about the DataVac. LOVE LOVE LOVE IT!!! It is loud and I always use it outside to clean PCs but it was one of the best tools I have bought for PC repairs!

  • fRequEnCy says:

    I too use the DataVac and have been happy with it as well. Very powerful and cleans machines great. Not much bigger than this unit. Thanks for the article though as it’s very interesting and am curious to see how well it works. So far according to reviews, I’m happy with my DataVac.

  • Lex says:

    I used the Data Vac and was not impressed at all – other seem to be happy with it so maybe I got a bad unit? The noise was almost unbearable and it was not powerful enough to shift as much dust as compressed air cans.

    The Hurricane looks interesting but as I’d be using it at only one location a compressor might be better. I’ve heard they can sometimes blow out oil or moisture so I’ve been hesitant to try one. Any advice on a good one?

    • UprightTech says:

      Lex, make sure that you keep the foam filter in the bottom good and clean. When we first got ours, I would forget about the filter and then wonder why the air pressure had gotten so weak. Now, I take the filter out at least once a day and blow it off real quick. Takes about 5 seconds and keeps the pressure good and strong.

  • Kevin says:

    I have used the DataVac for a couple of years. I was going to buy canned air at TigerDirect & the sales person talked me into the DataVac. I’m glad he did, I have saved a lot of money.

    It works great. But as stated above it is loud.

  • compudoctor says:

    Count me as another satisfied DataVac customer. I love this thing and I have saved tons of $ in 1+ year. It’s still very powerful so I’m not sure what happened to Lex above, but I haven’t had any lack of oomph issues.

  • Lex says:

    I’m starting to think I got a bad unit! Still interested in a proper compressor though so if anyone has any suggestions I’d appreciate it.

  • Simpson Home Computer Support says:

    DataVac user for about a year. Has saved me a bundle as I’m often doing preventative maintenance on an entire building (20 to 60 systems). As far as blown air, its great. Blows hard, never gives up.

    Only thing to comment on is I’ve found them to be fragile. Even small drops will damage the motors. I had to replace my first unit after what I’d consider a pretty mild drop. Also, the DataVac is Ginormous bordering on too big for your typical bag. Well it is too big for your typical bag.

    For size, the Hurricane reviewed looks perfect for the work bag, but I’d still prefer a powered unit. Batteries tend to let you down when you need them most.

  • StoneSatellite says:

    Still using my $100 pancake air compressor and a 1250W power inverter for areas where I can’t use an extension cord for the compressor. Compressor is small, light, easy to tote around, has a quick recovery time and makes short work of the worst crud.

    I never blow out a pc inside of a home or office building so it works out for me. When I have to take several pc’s from an office building they are loaded on a cart and taken outside. Some keyboards and other peripherals get canned air but it still takes me at least 3-4 months to go through a three pack, not to mention most of my customers have their own.

    The reviews of the Hurricane system on Newegg are precisely why I’ve never been trusting of these types of units to get the job done.

  • Matt D. says:

    I think I have tried everything on the market except the Hurricane and I think I will need to purchase one soon. I love the power and staying power of compressors, but they are not portable. Leaf blowers…not portable again. The Data Vac is good, but as someone said above they seem to not be tough enough for our use and their form factor is not great for a computer techs tool kit. My ideal product would be a portable battery powered unit like the Hurricane, but it would also need to have the ability to act as a vacuum. I hate it when I am onsite and blowing dust around the clients home or business; not very professional. I inherited the following Metro Vacuum and I DO NOT recommend anyone get it. It’s bulky, does not have enough power (suck or blow) and portability is out of the question.
    http://www.amazon.com/Metro-Vacuum-MDV-1BA-DataVac-Computer/dp/B00006IAOR
    Hurricane here I come!!!

  • Jeremy says:

    We have the Hurricane and it can’t compare to the forceful air from a can of air. It’s a “ok” product but won’t replace your canned air for systems with bad dust or a smokers PC. It just can’t clean tar/dust from smoking PC’s. I’d spend my money elsewhere. This review seems to hype up the usefulness, it’s just not that great and is no where near 200mph. Stick your hand out the car window doing 40-50mph and that’s about the amount of air you get. If the product had a smaller air straw to increase velocity it would probably work great.

    • Jeremy says:

      We tried to modify the air tube to increase velocity. Nothing worked as planned. The motor appeared to not be able to handle more back pressure so performance was worse.

  • TechLady says:

    Another happy DataVac fan here. Can’t even imagine going back to crappy canned air now.

  • Tyler McFarland says:

    I too have been using the DataVac for about 2 months now and will not be going back to canned air. I absolutely love it! It can clean out the worst of systems in a matter of seconds! I’ve had some systems that were so bad you couldn’t see the components and they look new after using the DataVac!

  • Person says:

    I also use the DataVac. Very awesome. Like others said it is bulky so I bought a small tool bag from sears that I keep it in along with other items such as my voltmeter and misc. items. Too loud to use in office buildings though. Unless you can close the door where you are working.

  • KCW says:

    Datavac is a great product. If it’s too large for your toolkit leave it in you vehicle. As far as in the shop we have a fairly large compressor with an air drying system. Nothing really compares the pressure it offers.

    I find it hard to believe anyone blows their customers computers out in the office. Unless it’s raining or snowing they ALL go outside to get cleaned with us, either in the office or on-site.

    • Person says:

      Not if you are 30 stories up in an office building downtown, which I frequently am. Kind of hard to do. Most customers don’t care as long as you do it in an area that can be easily cleaned.