Review: Sharp Plasmacluster Ion Air Purifier Helps You Breathe Better

GeekMom Household Gadgets
Sharp makes air purifiers in six different sizes, with prices ranging from $149.99 to $499.99. Image: Sharp.

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve become more of a hypochondriac. I’d like to think that I’m not alone. However, this summer, I had a truly frightening few minutes. I found myself pacing and frantically searching the web for stroke symptoms. Soon after, I was reviewing emergency procedures with my 6-year-old, who luckily, couldn’t tell that his mom was in complete panic mode.

You see, the side of my face had gone completely numb and I was struggling to breathe.

An incredibly long 10 minutes or so into this session, I realized that I was having an allergy attack. I’ve had allergy issues before. For the most part, though, this is a new thing. I could rub my face into flowering plants, cats, and other allergens well into my adulthood. However, lately I’m getting sniffles, sneezes, and swelling.

Someone must have been reading my mind (or at least my web browser), because it was shortly after that I received some info about the Sharp Plasmacluster Ion Air Purifier. This isn’t your average air purifier. It doesn’t look like one or perform like one. It also isn’t priced like one.

Sharp makes air purifiers in six different sizes, with prices ranging from $149.99 to $499.99. The model that I got to sample was the KC-850U (MSRP: $399.99), which boasts “True HEPA Filtration.” This is fancy speak for the device’s filter system. Sharp says it can snag 99.97 percent of the particles floating. While I can’t dispute or prove that claim, I know that between my husband, my son, and my dog, we have plenty of particles. It was time to put this thing to work.

Unboxing the Purifier
Don’t let the size scare you. The KC-850 is kind of large. I already have two laundry hampers in my bedroom. This is like adding a third. Also, it has some sci-fi-looking lights on the front, which would be really cool if you wanted to know what it’s like to sleep inside the Enterprise. This area displays the conditions and humidity of the room, which isn’t all that important at 3:00 a.m. It took me about a week to realize that the lights can be dimmed or turned off altogether. Yes, there’s a button right on top that says “lights,” but when my eyes feel like they are about to separate from their sockets, I’m not always that thorough.

Other buttons include one to reset the filter, one for fan speed, and one for power. There’s even something to turn the Plasmacluster portion on and off, although I’m not sure why you’d ever want to go without. (That’s for someone without the magic!) There’s also a trio of buttons for Clean Air, Clear Air & Humidify, and Quick Clean mode if you’re ready to start breathing—like right now. Yes, this unit has a humidifier function. A full water tank should get you about 10 hours of humidifying goodness.

KC-850 Air Purifier
The front panel of the KC-850. Image: Sharp.

The KC-850 is designed for a room that’s about 254 square feet. If you need something a little more powerful, there’s also the KC-860U. That can do about 341 square feet.

It’s also important to note the unit’s three-stage filtration. This includes the aforementioned HEPA filter, which needs to be changed every two to five years, depending on the use. The other two layers include the washable micro-mesh pre-filter and the deodorizing charcoal filter, which is also washable, but should be changed around the same time you do the HEPA filter.

Does It Work?
The hook on the KC-850 is not its size or slick looks, but that Plasmacluster technology. This makes the unit even more Star Trek-like. One could also argue that it sounds like marketing mumbo-jumbo. The concept behind Plasmacluster technology is that it cleans the air by releasing negative and positive ions into the air.

That said, it works. After just a few minutes, my husband ran into the room to declare that it “smelled clean.” (No thanks to him!)

According to a Sharp spokesperson, you’ll get the best results in a closed room. That means the room should have no open doors or windows, with no AC running. Of course, that’s not always possible, especially in those sweaty, high-allergen months. If you must have the AC running, put the purifier closer to where you are sitting or hanging out. If it’s by an open door or window, it’s basically cleaning the air that’s coming from the outside. At the very least, you should place it in the opposite corner for the best results.

I did notice that the unit worked a lot better when I left it running for a few minutes in a closed room. There were nights where I left the door open or had the AC running, but the KC-850 was also right next to my bed.

During my time with the unit, we had quite a few high-pollen-count days—and those were days that I spent holed up in my bedroom. It’s not a perfect existence, but it’s one where I breathed a lot better. The room smelled better, too. Even after cooking fish, there was a noticeable improvement. Also, I didn’t have that freshly botoxed feeling that I had experienced oh-so-many days before. Of course, most people can’t lock themselves away from the world every time an allergy attack arises. However, the KC-850 was helpful at night, allowing me to breathe my way into a nice, relaxing sleep. I also had a lot fewer wake-up calls that involved a runny nose.

My one gripe about the KC-850 is that it doesn’t have a remote, which would seem sensible, given its price, size, and many functions. Yes, it’s pricey. It also delivers, as advertised. If you have the occasional sneezing fit, the KC-850 probably isn’t for you. For some, breathing comfortably makes Sharp’s unit a very worthwhile investment.

GeekMom received this item for review purposes.

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8 thoughts on “Review: Sharp Plasmacluster Ion Air Purifier Helps You Breathe Better

  1. Based on your article,the KC-850 is designed for a room that’s about 254 square feet, which I feel too small. Maybe KC-860U will be more practical for a sleeping room. I always believe the HEPA fiter, according to the wikipedia, it is high standard made by the United States Department of Energy. Based on the standard, it should remove over 99.97% of particles which has a size of 0.3 micrometers or bigger. Well, I will love it more if it has a remote control.

  2. Yes, D. According to Sharp, that’s what this model is designed to accommodate. It was fine for my room. However, I completely agree about the remote thing. For the price, this unit should come with one!

  3. The KC-850 is designed for a room that’s about 254 square feet. It would be an an excellent choice for a bedroom. It feature all kinds of great technology .

  4. Hey Janet: I completely agree that this product is expensive. As I said in the article though, it delivered on its promises. Unfortunately, this was a stand-alone review, so I wasn’t able to compare it to other air purifiers… but I do own a Honeywell model. It’s a less expensive one, but honestly, I don’t think it performs as well. It just doesn’t deliver that same “clean” smell. That said, another Honeywell model may deliver the goods. There are so many!

    To answer your other question, the Sharp manual says the following: “Plasmacluster Air Purifiers emit small traces of ozone which may produce an odor.”

    Hope that helps. Thanks for reading!

  5. Have you figured out how to clean the air outlet? I’ve had mine for 6 years now & the outlet vent is starting to look a little gross with all the dust. I can’t figure out how to pop the top out so I can clean it. I’ve looked at the manual & internet but haven’t found anything. Let me know. Thanks!

  6. No scientific/expert comments available on whether it works… looks like yet another marketing hoax.

  7. The first 2 paragraphs are irrelevant BullSh!t, and should not be part of this product review. You think you are having a stroke and you decide to “Google” it? Sounds more like a Drama Queen than a sensible Mom.

    The side of you face was numb from a “Allergy Attack” what a great way to create panic for your readers, and introduce an air filter….. and what an amazing coincidence about how suddenly you discovered this product……

    I don’t think i can take anything you write / review seriously, what a joke….

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