A year after releasing the BlowerBaby, a battery-powered duster that dealt with dirt and crumbs using a 44 MPH blast of air, Nitecore is already revealing a follow-up, the BB2, that increases the power and the windspeed but also introduces adjustable power settings to help stretch battery life.
Dust is an obvious issue for photographers, but not just because it can necessitate a lot of post-production work in Photoshop to remove unwanted specks when snapping close-up photos: the bane of every gadget reviewer. Dust gets on and often in electronics, and every photographer who uses a camera with swappable lenses knows the annoyance of dealing with dust on the camera’s sensor.
The original BlowerBaby was designed as an easier alternative to canned air dusters that use chemical propellants, or worse, manual squeeze bulbs. Pressing a button activated a 44 MPH blast of air to send debris flying, and that was about it. It worked as promised, but battery life was limited to about 15 minutes: an issue that’s being addressed on the new BB2 Electronic Blower. (Nitecore seems to be moving away from the BlowerBaby branding.)
The most welcome upgrade on the BB2 is a mode dial. The duster can be deactivated completely in Lock mode, which prevents it from accidentally turning on when bouncing around inside a camera bag. There’s a Silent mode that keeps the decibels low at the cost of power, an Optical mode that slightly dials down the power for when cleaning delicate camera sensors, and a Turbo mode that completely releases the hounds and a faster 50 MPH blast of air from an electric motor (which now spins an impeller at 30,000 RPM). That’s only about six MPH faster than the original BlowerBaby, but the blast of air feels more powerful and effective with the increased air pressure.
The BB2 also introduces a retractable brush that works in tandem with the air blast to more effectively remove dust and dirt from electronics.
The brush is held in place with a strong magnet, so it can be easily removed and swapped for an alternative with softer bristles for when you’re cleaning more delicate surfaces, like camera lenses. With the original BlowerBaby I often found myself still needing a microfiber cloth to remove particles that were stuck to devices through a static charge, but the BB2's extending brush makes short work of them.
Nitecore, a company that’s probably best known for its LED flashlights, has also added a flashlight to the business end of the BB2, making it easier to see when a surface is clean or not, and not only when using the duster in the dark. There’s also a beefier rechargeable battery inside that Nitecore promises is good for almost 35 minutes of use in Optical mode (approximately 210 10-second blasts). In Turbo mode you can expect the battery to be drained much quicker.
But while the original BlowerBaby had a price tag closer to $100, the BB2 Electronic Duster is currently listed on Amazon for just shy of $90.