Last edit: 11/22/15

Sharp Air Purifier Reviews

Sharp Plasmacluster air purifier is designed in Japan by Sharp Electronics, a global leader in microelectronics.

Most production has migrated to China.

Sharp's products include Liquid Crystal Displays (LCD), HDTV, 3g mobile phones, thin-film photovoltaic power systems, and a wide range of consumer and industrial electronics.

Sharp was founded in 1912, listed on the Osaka Stock Exchange in 1949 and on the Tokyo Stock Exchange in 1956.

Traded worldwide, the shares have over 50% institutional ownership.

Introduced in 2003, Plasmacluster Air Purifiers quickly became the top seller in Japan.

Sales in South Korea, China, Canada, Australia and UK are substantial.

It is important to realize that the air cleaner market is fragmented globally, with completely different manufacturers in other parts of the world.

Sharp models sold outside the US are different, a wide variety of market specific models lead a world scale penetration.

Sharp air purifiers have tended to turn over relatively quickly, with new models every couple years.

Sharp Electronics

Sharp Corporation is a Japanese multinational giant, reaching every part of the globe with numerous subsidiaries.

The American subsidiary is Sharp Electronics Corporation.

Quality of the market penetrator designs was better than what is available today.

The analogy is to Toyota Motors, early models of which just kept on running beyond anything America had ever experienced.

But when the market was secure, they accidentally let quality slip.

Made-in-China, Sharp KC860U is of good quality relative to other mainland products, as Sharp has the volume (think big-screen TVs) to apply pressure on Chinese builders.

A one year warranty covers parts and labor.

Users with warranty issues must contact Sharp to locate a service center, and are responsible for shipping costs.

With so many disparate designs, a big issue with Sharp air purifiers is replacement filter availability.

With many models, each needing a distinct replacement filter, dealers tend to stock only those filters that sell well.

Sharps entered the U.S. market with five year filters, discouraging their dealers from carrying replacement filters.

Plasmacluster Ion Technology

The revolutionary ozone-free plasma-ion streamer oxidation technology distinguishes these advanced purification products.

Sharp's air purifiers employ active purification, a relatively safe breakthrough has nearly replaced hazardous ozone emissions, formerly prevalent in residential room air cleaners.

Plasmacluster Ion technology creates combined positive and negative ions, which cluster around airborne contaminants, releasing hydroxyl radicals which oxidize the air pollutant.

Fine particles, microorganisms, and volatile organic chemicals are eliminated, without necessarily having passed through the air purifier.

The company's tests indicate that airborne substances such as fungi, viruses, microbes, bacteria, plant and mold spores, are substantially reduced.

Automation Leader

The company's products are also state of the art in automation.

Sensor driven, chip controlled, and not prone to error or electronic malfunction, they lead the industry in smart technology.

The ionizer (Plasmacluster) function is manually controllable for those uncomfortable with the idea of close exposure to oxidants.

This allows noise, energy use, filter life, and purifier life expectancy to be optimized.

Sharp air purifier pioneered very low noise-to-power ratios, though other Asian builders have now matched the Sharp achievement.

Sharp was the first to experiment with washable carbon filters, (no longer available on Sharps), and many air cleaner builders have copied the Sharp air cleaner's innovations.

The Plasmacluster feature had popped up on numerous imitators, notable successes are the Korean-built Winix Plasmawaves.

While products feature quality construction, the gaskets and seals are not as tight fitting as I think they could be.

Ordinarily I would be pretty critical here, but the company has used this to advantage, reducing weight, prolonging useful life, and lowering noise to a whisper.

Other builders just use loose fit to run cheaper internals which unsophisticated buyers don't notice.

The result is an air purifier with long filter life, low maintenance requirements, and fairly low operating costs. on the market.

I (still, in 2015) use a 2005 Sharp FP-N60CX Air cleaner which still runs perfectly 24/7, and a 2010 KC-C150U.

Around 2010, Sharp shifted the entire Plasmacluster line to combined humidifier/air purifiers. One-by-one the "dry" plasma ionizers were discontinued.

I viewed the dropping of the "dry" Plasmaclusters as a serious strategic error by Sharp.

The humidifier based Sharps are more expensive and require frequent maintenance that most users just don't care to perform.

In 2012, after an erie two year absence, the dry Plasmacluster air purifiers were brought back, and have regained some market share for Sharp

Sharp Plasmacluster FP-A80U Air Purifier Review

Sharp FP-A80U, introduced in 2012, represents the long-awaited return of the DRY Plasmaclusters.

A few years ago, Sharp went to the humidifier-purifier ("wet") Plasmacluster design exclusively.

I said at the time that this was a mistake, despite the fact that plasma ionizers rely on airborne water molecules to function.

The humidifier-purifiers were too expensive, and the constant filling of the water tanks was too time consuming for most consumers.

Hey, I like my Sharp KC-C150U, a humidifier-purifier model, but I quit filling the humidifier tank (twice a day) after the first week

Surprise, a couple years, a recession, and lots of lost market share later, here comes a whole new stable of "old fashioned - dry" Plasmaclusters, priced in the mid-range where Asian air cleaners fit.

With FP-A80U, also marketed as FP-A80UW, on the market three years in the spring of 2015, there are some user reviews available.

Buyer reviews at Abt Electronics average a strong 4.7 stars. is one of the few vendors to sell the stronger 80-series Sharp, which competes with its slightly lower priced sibling Sharp FP-A60U.

Amazon user reviews average 4.0 stars.

So far I have received one email from a buyer who had returned a couple competing models and was delighted with the dust-eating power of his Sharp FP-A80U.

There is no water tank to fill on these puppies. FP-A80U air purifier

At $300, the flagship FP-A80U brings a powerful plasma ionizer back to earth.

Good CADRs: Sharp FP-A80U

FP-A80U is the top-of-the-line Sharp, with strong AHAM-certified Clean Air Delivery Rate (CADR) numbers;

Dust 303,
Pollen 360,
Smoke 293.

The AHAM-recommended 454 sq. ft. room size is, as usual, way too big.

I think the 400 sq. ft. medium-size advertised room recommendation is also a bit large.

340 sq. ft. is my suggested maximum room size.

Remember that room size ratings are based on standard 8 ft ceilings, while many homes have higher ceilings in the largest room.

Automated FP-A80U

FP-A80U automation features a single dust sensor which automatically regulates the three-speed fan according to particulate levels in the air. cat

On the front panel, the Sharps Clean Sign Indicator lights up to depict air quality.

Users can manually operate the FPA80U's fan or choose to stab the Quick Clean Mode button for a 15-minute high speed cycle and return to previous setting.

FPA80U has NO remote, but unlike previous models, the plasma ion streamer is user switched from the panel.

A frequent cause of user unhappiness with automated air cleaners involves sensor baseline setting.

If the room's air was be impure when the FP-A80U was first plugged in, its baseline may be too high.

After running the Sharp on high for a good clean-up - maybe an hour - unplug FP-A80U, wait one minute, then plug it back in.

The Plasmacluster will adjust its baseline to the cleaner air and work from that reference point going forward.

Buyers are reminded NOT to rely exclusively on auto mode with any sensor driven air cleaner.

Best air quality requires running the air purifier on high, especially right before a room is to be occupied.

Filter Train

FP-A80U has no fiberglass prefilter screen, the deodorizing filter doubles as the prefilter.

The deodorizer filter is made of polyurethane foam, impregnated with activated charcoal, and held by a paper frame.

The carbon odor/prefilter is NOT washable, but can be vacuumed to remove particulate.

It has a projected useful life of 6 months.

The replacement carbon filter 2-pack, Sharp part number FZ-A80DFU, is priced at $87.00.

That is $87 NOT a typo.

Sharp's true HEPA filter is made of polypropylene fibers in a polyester frame.

Projected life is two years continuous operation.

Replacement HEPA, Sharp part FZ-A80HFU, is $97.00.

That projection makes annual filter costs $135.50. (97/2 = 48.50, 48.50 + 87 = 135.50)

Sharp filters are a bit pricey.

FP-A80U seems perfect for a prefilter experiment - add just two little rectangles, one of carbon cloth and another of fiberglass window screen...

Plasmacluster FP-A80U is a
Plasma-Ion Oxidizer

FP-A80U's dual-polarity ion streamer creates oxidizing radicals by splitting airborne water molecules. earth

Positive and negative ion flows create both flocculation and oxidation, which can operate outside the air cleaner to destroy ultra-fine particulate and gas phase (chem/odor) impurities.

I have used the plasma ions, both Sharp Plasmacluster and Winix Plasmawave, since 2005.

There is an eight percent negative review level, consisting largely of one star reviews, many critiquing "start up odor" for both new and replacement filters.

I think this represents a blossoming problem area, they are taking back as few as possible but still have a growing issue.

Despite some disappointments from Sharp Electronics - notably replacement filter shortages for the many discontinued models - I still like the Plasmaclusters - just not as effusively.

Low humidity will reduce the oxidizing effectiveness against odors, chemicals, and ultra-fine particles.

Over time a plasma ionizer will dry the room.

Before the humidifier Plasmaclusters were introduced, some dry Sharp users were adding moisture to their rooms.

This protected plants and increased oxidizer generation.

Others found nasal drying when running the plasma ion streamer over night - they too began using water to humidify the room.

Sharp then began adding water tanks to their newer air cleaners.

So buyers should be aware of the dehydration issue and monitor plants and humidity in the room where FP-A80U is generating ions.

Sharp has sold maybe 30 million Plasmaclusters without a single injury claim resulting from the ionizer.

However, unlike my beloved 2005 model Plasmacluster, current Sharps have no independent negative ion function - the ionizer generates BOTH polarities, positive and negative - simultaneously.

Plasmacluster Quiet

Sharp Plasmacluster FP-A80U, like all Sharps, is extremely quiet.

On low fan setting it produces just 23 dB(A), borderline inaudible.

The ticking noise of the plasma streamer is noticeable on low, and does annoy some users.

Ironically, it is only because FP-A80U is quiet enough that the streamer cycling can be heard.

Middle speed produces decent airflow with only 40 dB(A) emitted.

High speed operation puts out lots of clean air along with 55 dB(A) noise - a very good sound-to-power ratio.

For bedroom use, there is a button to select lights off mode. Too many air cleaners, including many premium machines, have negative feedback on the bright night-lite issue.

The strong power, low noise, and low light emissions make Sharp FP-A80U the ideal bedroom air purifier.

Some Plasmacluster users reported a slight odor associated with the plasma streamer function.

This is NOT ozone. It seems to me to vary with humidity.


Measuring 24 3/8 inches high by 15 7/8 inches wide and 9 5/8 inches deep, FP-A80U weighs 17.6 lbs.

The recessed handles on the case sides make it fairly easy to relocate around the house.

A 6.5ft cord is too short, as is so common nowadays.

Sharp Plasmacluster FP-A80U is Energy Star qualified, burning 98 Watts on high and a miniscule 4.8 Watts on low.

FP-A80U uses 0.3W of standby power when turned off.

Sharp Electronics and Warranty

Sharp Electronics is a Japan-based multinational corporation.

Air purifiers are a sideline business which sometimes does not get all the focus it could.

Perhaps the biggest issue with the Sharps is planned obsolescence marketing.

New models are introduced, prices tend to fall over a one-to-two year period, and out comes a new set of tail-fins to entice buyers.

Contrast this style to industry leaders - IQAir, Blueair, Austin Air, and more - who are extremely conservative about modifying their product line.

With these builders, admittedly having initial purchase prices more than double Sharp FP-A80U, you never get left without replacement filters.

Sharps are well built and last longer than the department store brands - Holmes, Hunter, Bionaire, Honeywell - but tend to become obsolete from a marketing standpoint just about the time they need replacement filters.

Sharp has belatedly recognized this issue, and is now making filter bays the same size across several models.

Customer service is handled by real Americans in the Chicago suburbs.

Sharp Electronics Corporation
Customer Assistance Center
1300 Naperville Drive
Romeoville, IL 60446-1091

FP-A80U is warranted by the builder for 1 year from the documented date of purchase for both parts and labor.

This is a short warranty and the user pays shipping.

All builders are focused on costs, and warranty claim payouts, far from the view of purchase-price focused consumers, are always among the first casualties of a price war.

Conclusions - Sharp Plasmacluster FP-A80U Review

I have waited for the return of the dry Plasmaclusters - I wasn't sure Sharp Electronics was ever going to "get it."

There is not a heavy load of carbon in the prefilter, as Sharps rely on the plasma ions to remove odors.

So those who are very environmentally sensitive might need to look at higher-priced brands with more weight of carbon blend in the filter train.

Yes, there has been some image slippage, but I still like the Plasmaclusters.

If I was looking for a bedroom air cleaner for a 150-400 sq. ft. room, the strong, quiet, under $300 Sharp FP-A80U would be on my short list.

Sharp FPA80UW Plasmacluster at

END Sharp Plasmacluster FP-A80U Air Purifier Review

Sharp Plasmacluster FP-A60U Air Purifier Review

Sharp Plasmacluster FP-A60U

Return of the dry Plasmaclusters.

A few seasons ago, Sharp Electronics dropped most of their existing Plasmacluster air purifier line and focused on offerings which combined humidifier and air cleaner functions.

Plasma ionizers split water molecules in the air, so adding a humidifier increased the effectiveness of the Plasmaclusters.

It also added to price.

Daily filling of water tanks, while useful in dry western climates, was not popular in the humid eastern states.

After the "recession" cut into sales, Sharp introduced a new line of "dry" Plasmaclusters to supplement the water tank purifiers.

So FP-A60U is the 60 series continuation model. You will also see this model referenced as "FP-A60UW."

I guess Sharp is using the "W" to indicate the white color, for I see no difference in the two model designations.

In the photo below, the FP-A60U looks almost identical to FP-A80U.

But close inspection reveals the FP-A80U's auto mode light and clean sign bar are absent.

Strong Enough for Mid-Sized Rooms

FP-A60U is manually switched, there is no auto mode or pollutant sensor.

There is NO remote control. FP-A60U air purifier

A button on front panel selects from three fan speeds.

Dust Sensor and auto mode available on the $300 Sharp Plasmacluster FP-A80U.

Plasmacluster FP-A60U is a mid-powered air cleaner, as evidenced by AHAM-certification with Clean Air Delivery Rates (CADRs);

Dust 232,
Pollen 238,
Smoke 220.

AHAM's recommended room size is 341 square feet - this is based on 24/7 top speed operation.

In the real world, air cleaners, even the quiet ones like Sharp FP-A60U, run on lower speeds at night and when TV or conversation warrant lower noise.

My general rule is one square foot per average CADR.

But due to the plasma streamer's ability to work outside the box, I rate the FPA60U, a bit higher, for 260 square foot rooms.

Two Filters in FP-A60U

You may see some vendors advertising this Sharp as having a micromesh screen prefilter on the rear panel - this is incorrect and applies to humidifier/purifier units only.

There is no screen-type prefilter, a deodorizing filter catches large particulate and bigger debris.

FP-A60U shares the odor-prefilter with its automated and more powerful sibling, Sharp Plasmacluster FP-A80U.

HEPA filters differ between the two Plasmaclusters.

Sharp's odor-catcher is constructed of charcoal embedded polyurethane, constrained by light cardboard.

This is a much lighter carbon filter than previous Sharps carried.

Consumers are demanding economy, and Sharp's new air purifiers are coming in at lower price points than past models.

FP-A60U odor/prefilter can be vacuumed to remove particulate.

Users are cautioned NOT to wash any of the new filters.

Replacement intervals are projected at six months.

The $87.00 replacement carbon filter package, Sharp part number FZ-A80DFU, contains two prefilters.

This is pretty weak chemical and odor filtering, but the Plasmaclusters will oxidize many odors.

However, many users of older Plasmacluster models have run through their 3-pound carbon filters in short time frames, despite having the ion streamer operating 24/7.

So, I do not recommend Sharp FP-A60U for heavy odor environments like smoking rooms or pet litter box odor abatement.

FP-A60U has a true HEPA filter, which captures 99.97% of .3 micron particles.

Combined with the plasma oxidizers ability to grind down very fine particles below .1 micron, this makes Sharp Plasmacluster a pretty good particle getter.

The HEPA, constructed of water-phobic polypropylene fibers to resist mold growth, is framed with polyester.

HEPA filter replacement is advised at two years of 24/7 operation.

HEPA filters, # FZ-A60HFU, go for $97.00.

Replacement filters for Plasmaclusters have always been on the expensive side.

Sharp's two stage design sets up FP-A60U for experimental prefilters.

A growing Plasmacluster community here at air-purifier-power will no doubt be adding some screening to the front end of the FP-A60U and its cousins.

FP-A60U Uses Hydroxyl Radical Oxidation

FP-A60U's positive and negative ion shower splits water molecules in the air, creating hydroxyl radicals that destroy gas phase and micro-particulate pollutants outside the air purifier.

While Sharp's claims of working "throughout the room" are suspect, the plasma ion technology has been established to work effectively.

There have been several imitators which achieved market success, notably the Winix Plasmawave series.

Automobile manufacturers have begun featuring Plasmacluster ion emitters in car interiors.

In the room, there is also a flocculation effect, as electrostatic forces cause clustering and precipitation - some particulate falls to the floor.

I use three Sharp Plasmaclusters and a Winix Plasmawave.

One weakness of the Sharps is rapid new model introductions, which have created some replacement filter shortages for discontinued models.

Again, the dry Plasmacluster may be less effective in low-humidity western states or world desert areas.

A room-drying effect has been noticed in these arid areas.

Here in central Texas, I notice it only in the driest months, when I might occasionally fill the water tank on my Sharp KC-C150U humidifier/purifier.

With many millions sold, Sharp can and does brag about the absence of a single Plasmacluster injury claim.

Older Plasmacluster models had independent single-polarity negative ionizers for users who were cautious around the dual-polarity streamer.

FP-A60U has no negative-ion-only setting.

FP-A60U is Very Quiet

Operating on speed one, FP-A60U emits sound at only 25 dB(A), almost below the threshold of hearing.

38 dB(A), still pretty quiet, comes with second speed. This is quiet enough for most folks to notice their spouse snoring instead of the air purifier.

Top speed runs at 50 dB(A) noise, a good percentage of heavy sleepers can use this on high.

Lights can be extinguished for sleep.

This may seem like an obvious feature, but numerous air cleaners are annoying users with too-bright lights at night.

Quiet operation, lights-off mode, and mid-range power combine to make Sharp FP-A60U a very good air purifier for TV watching or sleeping with.

There are quiet "ticking" noises with plasma ion streamers. Some find this annoying, due to the near-silence of the air cleaner, which allows the sounds to be heard.

Myself and several users have noticed the ticking fading with years of use - is the Plasmacluster still working after the ticking subsides?

So far nobody has been able to measure the ion output.

Our tools, designed for stand-alone negative ionizers, are too primitive.

ENERGY STAR® qualified, FP-A80U consumes 65 Watts on high, and an economical 14 Watts on mid-speed - while blowing an impressive 134 cubic feet per minute.

Low speed consumes just 4.5 Watts.

Sharp FP-A80U air purifier measures 15 7/8 wide and 24 3/8 high.

The air cleaner is easy to carry by built-in grips and weighs just 16.1 lbs.

Sharp Electronics Warranty

A Japanese multinational, Sharp Electronics corporation makes a huge variety of products, most unrelated to air quality.

Premium air cleaners are generally built on modular designs intended to last years.

These have few filter retrofitting issues.

At the bottom of the market, many department store air cleaners are secretly intended to be disposable, having short mean-time-between-failure (MTBF) designed into the product.

Sharp falls between the extremes, with good quality that tends to outlast their marketing cycle.

This leads to frequent model changes and backward filter compatibility and some availability issues.

Unlike many competitors whose product quality creates high warranty claims, the lack of filter standardization is Sharp's weakest point.

Sharp USA customer service is not outsourced to a foreign country.

Sharp Electronics Corporation
Customer Assistance Center
1300 Naperville Drive
Romeoville, IL 60446-1091

FP-A60U has a one-year warranty. Parts and labor are covered, but the OWNER must PAY for SHIPPING the air purifier for service or replacement.


Everybody in the air cleaner business is cutting corners to hold price.

Sharp has joined the trend, but at $228 we are in what airline pilots call "Indian country" - low altitudes full of small aircraft named after Indian tribes.

There are many competitors down here, notably the $200 Winix Plasmawave 5500.

But Sharp Plasmacluster is well made and quiet, a better choice than the Hunters, Holmes, and even Honeywells which sell so many units just below this level.

Sharp FPA60UW Plasmacluster at

END Sharp FPA60U Review! ==============================================================

Sharp Plasmacluster KC-860U Air Purifier Review

Sharp Plasmacluster KC-860U, at around $460, is NOT the most popular Plasmacluster model.

But it is the strongest of the current humidifier-purifier designs.

Sharp KC-850U and KC-830U are less powerful, but similar, sister humidifier-purifier Plasmaclusters selling at lower prices.

I have purchased three Sharp air purifiers.

FP-N60CX (2005) runs in the front room of our uptown Houston apartment.

FP-P40CX (2009) was a gift for my son's new-construction bedroom.

The third is a 2010 KC-C150U humidifier-purifier, direct predecessor to KC-860U.

The KC-C150U is nearly identical to its successor KC-860U, except for the KC-860U's upgraded front panel displays.

So I have direct experience with both "wet" (humidifier-purifier) and "dry" Sharps.

KC-860U CADR and Room Size Ratings

Pulling air in through the rear and exhausting out the top louver, KC-860U's 12 Volt DC electric motor provides mid-range Clean Air Delivery Rates (CADRs). KC-860U air purifier

AHAM-certified CADRs are;

Dust 231,
Smoke 220,
Pollen 245.

These Clean Air Delivery Rates are almost identical to my KC-C150U's.

KC-860U is rated and advertised to 341 square feet using AHAM's 1.55 sq. ft. per average CADR rule.

As usual, advertisers mislead buyers - this official room size rating is too big.

I use the Dylos DC1100 .5 micron Laser Particle counter to test my KC-C150U in three rooms;

1.) My 8 by 10 low ceilinged winter office - a very small room.

In that room the KC-C150U quickly achieves "excellent" air quality, according to the Dylos scale (readings below 7,500 particles per cubic foot).

2.) My 10 by 16, eight-foot-ceiling, 160 sq. ft. bedroom.

The 230-CADR Plasmacluster lowered counts from 50,000 to 4,500, well into the Dylos "excellent" range, in less than one hour.

I'd say KC-860U was perfectly sized in that room.

3.) My 16 by 22 cathedral ceiling open-plan living room.

At 352 floor square feet, this room close to the seller's recommended room size, plus a bit for the high ceiling.

This is a room much like those that many air purifier shoppers are looking to service with 150 CADR air cleaners - a complete impossibility.

My test room is also quite similar in size to rooms featured in air purifier photo and video brochures.

All but the most powerful 400+ CADR air purifiers will have trouble attaining healthy air quality levels in this room.

The over-$1,000 IQAir Healthpro Plus did lower particle counts appreciably, using a .3 micron laser counter, but it took 6 hours.

Again we start at 50,000 p/cf, a fairly typical day - weather fronts and agitation within the room will vary the background reading considerably.

After an hour, the count has barely moved, to 45,000.

Continued full power operation for 24 hours hits a floor of around 28,000 p/cf, barely in the particle counter's "good" range.

Conclusion (surprise!) over-installed air cleaners fail to deliver healthy pollutant levels no matter how long they run on high.

Builders know this perfectly well, but consumers just can't understand the facts, insisting on "saving money" buy using air cleaners too small for their room and achieving little air quality gain.

If builders tell the truth about room size, some other vendor's puffing grabs the sale.

Because the Plasmacluster boosts performance I rate Sharp KC-860U a little higher than its CADRs suggest, for a maximum 260 sq. ft. room.

Automation = "KC-860U"

KC-860U has three sensors which can automatically adjust settings and fan speed in response to air quality.

When auto mode is engaged, the KC-860U's dust sensor regulates fan speed.

Users can easily select fan speed manually.

Temperature and humidity sensors determine the required level of water output.

The Clean Sign Indicator informs users of the current state of particulate air quality, as measured by the dust sensor.

My KC-C150U reads out humidity in gradients of ten (e.g. 30%, 40%, 50%).

An upgraded digital display on KC860U shows humidity in large single digits, with increased precision (35%, 42%, 57%).

KC-860U has NO timer or remote control.

Filter Train

One thing I like about the KC-series Sharps is the strong Micro Mesh Pre-filter screen, built into the rear cover.

This permanent screen is easily and quickly vacuumed whenever you vacuum the room - no need to dismantle the air purifier.

While the prefilter is washable, I can't imagine a valid application that would require a wash. Maybe in heavy tobacco smoking rooms...

Some vendors are incorrectly calling the prefilter screen "Micron Mesh."

This is probably a typo - just eyeballing the screen, I'm guessing 200 microns...

Opening the back panel, we find the "Deodorizing" activated carbon filter.

Constructed of polyester and rayon impregnated with activated charcoal, the deodorizing filter is washable.

Sharp pioneered the washable carbon filter, but have drifted away from the concept, encouraging users to replace the deodorizing filter.

This seems contradicted by the projected life of up to 5 years.

Replacement odor filter for KC-860U is Sharp Model FZ-C150DFU.

Carbon weights have declined over the years - this filter is too small for heavy chemical/odor environments, especially smoking.

Users say KC-860U does an adequate job of suppressing light odors when the Plasmacluster is selected.

Behind the deodorizing filter lies the HEPA filter.

KC-860U has a true-HEPA filter (captures 99.97% of particles as small as 0.3 microns that pass through the filter).

HEPA materials are water-repellent polypropylene fibers in a polyester frame.

An "Antimicrobial Layer" resists micro-organism build-up, helping the filter last "up to five years."

My 7 year old Plasmacluster still has the original HEPA, so with careful maintenance (keeping coarse dust out with good prefiltering), these filters can be very economical in some environments.

In heavy coarse dust, freeway/industry proximity, or smoking situations, I doubt any filter can last 5 years.

Replacement filter is Sharp Model FZ-C150HFU (for KC-860U)

A check filter indicator light comes on after 720 hours of use, not necessarily meaning that the HEPA needs replacing.

KC-C150U and its successor KC860U use the same filters, offering the possibility that Sharp has heard the complaints about filter shortages as the company moves on to newer models.

The wet Plasmaclusters have numerous air inlet routes dry models lack, allowing efficiency to drop as dirty air uses these routes to bypass the filters.

KC-860U: Plasma Ion Streamer

Plasmacluster Technology splits water molecules into positively and negatively charged oxidizing radicals which spread throughout the room.

These attack molecular-sized odor and chemical pollutants, micro-organisms, and ultra-fine .1 micron particulate, destroying them.

There was an upgrade to streamer power with KC-860U, increasing the audible clicking/crackling when plasma-ions are generated.

Plasmacluster technology is much safer than the ozone oxidants which preceded it. Plasma ions decay quickly, doing their job and being extinguished.

Switch the Plasmacluster KC-860U air purifier ion streamer off, the hydroxyls are gone in a few seconds.

Ozone lasted for many hours after the previous class of machines were turned off.

Sharp has sold over 25,000,000 Plasmacluster generators without a single personal injury claim.

But plasma ionizer oxidizing power will irritate my sensitive eyes and nose when used continuously.

And, in my opinion, folks with immune-compromised illness - MCS, fatigue/fibromylagia...- should avoid long-term close-range exposure to the hydroxyl radicals produced by the streamer.

This is easy to do with just a little situational awareness - no reason not to buy and use the technology.

The stand-alone negative ion generator (green light on older Plasmaclusters), is gone.

But Sharp cannot resist invoking nature imagery in advertising.

Oxidizing technology does NOT restore ion balance, comparison to "waterfalls" is misleading.

"Wet Plasmacluster"

When the "Clean Air and Humidify" button and high fan speed are selected, KC-860U can put up to 1.5 pints per hour of water into the room.

On lower speeds, the rates are .6 and .9 pints/hour.

Tank Capacity is NOT 9.1 gallons as printed in error on the official Sharp specification sheet and propagated widely across the web.

The tank holds 1.14 gallons, around 9 pints, of water.

Astute readers will look at tank size and depletion rate, make some quick calculations, and reach the conclusion that KC-860U can run dry in just a few hours operation.

Refilling the water tank, about twice a day, is required to keep the humidifier running.

Eventually humidifier parts will accumulate scale, and the pan and rounded evaporator "filter" will need cleaning.

To avoid these chores, I run my wet Plasmacluster's humidifier only when the built-in hygrometer reads below 40% humidity, which here in central Texas is rare.

There are also microbial contamination issues with water tanks left sitting half full for any period of time.

I always run the tank dry before switching off the humidifier.

Some users add silver-wire or colloidal silver drops to the water to control microbes.

What is important is: Buy a humidifier-purifier ONLY if you need increased humidity AND are willing to maintain the humidifier functions.

Sharp has reintroduced a line of dry Plasmaclusters, with much lower maintenance, at reasonable prices.

Emissions and Details of Use

Sharps produce negligible ozone.

Like all Sharps, KC-860U is among the quietest air cleaners sold anywhere, especially considering the air-cleaning power generated.

Noise specifications, in decibels on the human-hearing-weighted dB(A) scale, are;

Air Purifier with Humidifier running;
High 49 dB(A),
Medium 37 dB(A),
Low 28 dB(A).

Air Purifier Only;

High 54 dB(A),
Medium 37 dB(A),
Low 19 dB(A).

That 19 dB(A) on low is really quiet, I have to look at the panel to know mine is running.

This Sharp Plasmacluster is quiet enough for sleeping.

The lights off feature turns off the bright front panel, leaving the small top lamps lit.

Measuring x 24 3/4 in tall, 15 3/4 in wide, and 11 3/8 in deep, KC-860U is a mid-sized air cleaner.

Weighing 25.8 lbs, plus maybe 7 lbs extra with a full water tank, the air purifier needs to be moved carefully.

The user manual advises against moving KC-860U with water in the tank.

Air exhaust is deflected toward the rear, which combined with the rear intake, make it difficult to place the machine right against walls and objects.

I eventually took to placing mine against a wall, facing backwards.

Of course now I can't see the front panel displays, but this has turned out to be very convenient for vacuuming, room air circulation, and aesthetic synergy with furnishings.

ENERGY STAR® qualified, KC-860U uses 50 / 16 / 9 Watts with humidifier, and 87 / 14 / 8 Watts in dry mode.

KC-860U Quality and Warranty

Sharp Electronics Corporation, is a U. S. subsidiary of Japan-based conglomerate Sharp Corporation.

Executive focus tends to be in areas like the new huge-screen TVs or the solar energy venture, rather than listening to air purifier consumers.

When the first Japan-built Plasmaclusters arrived back in 2005, the US air cleaner market was dominated by Sharper Image and Oreck electrostatic models.

Sharp Plasmacluster outperformed these ozone-based machines, and helped accelerate their downfall.

Sharp quality was obvious in those early market-penetrator designs, but has declined slowly once the beachhead got established. Think of those bullet-proof, but ugly, early Toyotas.

KC-860U is made in China.

Sharp does a good job supervising manufacturing quality control, there are relatively few out-of-round fans and other quality issues when compared to other mainland-built air cleaners

For warranty claims users must find the location of the nearest Sharp Authorized Servicer, and pay shipping or carry in the air cleaner.

KC-860U Conclusions

Sharp Plasmacluster KC-860U is an ideal air purifier for medium-to-large bedrooms and medium living areas to 260 sq. ft.

The big question is do you really NEED the humidifier function?

Folks who need to run a humidifier constantly year-around probably need to get a stand-alone humidifier to separate the maintenance tasks of filling and descaling.

KC-860U works perfectly well in dry mode whenever humidification is not desired.

But if you plan to use the humidifier intermittently, or live in the north and need a bit of extra humidification thru the dry winter months, or just want the maximum possible oxidizing power from a plasma-ion oxidizer, then the strong-and-silent Sharp KC-860U is a very good choice, it could solve two problems at once.

Sharp KC-860U Plasmacluster at

END Sharp KC-860U Review!

Sharp Plasmacluster KC-850U Humidifier/Air Purifier Review

Sharp Plasmacluster KC-850U is a lower-powered humidifier-purifier from Sharp Electronics.

Sharp KC-860U is the stronger Plasmacluster humidifier/air purifier.

I have been a Plasmacluster owner since the brand was introduced in 2005, my 2010 model KC-C150U humidifier/purifier is very similar to the big KC-860U.

Using the humidifier-purifier has been an experience, to say the least.

I consider my old 2005 Sharp FP-N60CX to be the best Sharp ever.

But the outsourcing to China characterizes all but a few stalwart brands, and every builder is cutting corners to hold price in the "low inflation" economic environment.

KC-850U Clean Air Delivery Rates

AHAM-certified Clean Air Delivery Rates fall in the mid-to-lower range of CADRs.


CADRs are;

Dust 164,
Smoke 164,
Pollen 174.

KC850U is a low-powered air cleaner.

Sharp advertises KC-850U for rooms to 254 square feet, based on AHAM's room size rating.

Industry-standard room size ratings are based on continuous high-speed running.

Nobody operates an air purifier always on high, not even a quiet unit like Sharp KC-850U.

Puffed-up room sizes fool consumers into over-installing air purifiers.

Air purifiers installed in rooms too big for their cleaning power will not lower contaminant levels to the healthy range, despite running on top speed.

AHAM conducts small-chamber (1008 cu. ft.) tests and applies a constant factor (1.55), to derive room size ratings.

The Plasmacluster oxidizer adds a bit, but I can recommend KC-850U only for a 165 sq. ft. maximum room size

Automated Features of Sharp KC-850U

KC-850U has particle, humidity, and temperature sensors which modulate fan speed and water output in response to environmental conditions.

The plasma streamer is not automated, just the fan.

Sharp's "Clean Sign Indicator" displays odor levels as green-orange-red.

My testing suggests that at least 30 minutes of high speed running will achieve better air quality than 24/7 automatic operation.

The display also has fan speed, Plasmacluster-on, and Humidify Mode lamps for quick status updates.

KC850U can be manually switched, through three fan speeds, from the front panel.

There is no timer or remote with Sharp Plasmacluster KC-850U.

KC-850U has Three Filters

Sharp's Micro Mesh Pre-Filter screen is a good adaptation of the coarse prefilter.

Previous generations had a snap-in fiberglass pre-filter inside the purifier. Users had to stop the purifier, lay it down, and remove the front cover to clean the prefilter.

Located at the air intake on the exterior rear, the permanent screen can be vacuumed very quickly, without even turning off the air cleaner.

A rectangular polyester and rayon deodorizing filter is second, carrying less than one pound of activated carbon.

The deodorizing filter is washable, but Sharp is dropping the sales pitch for washable carbon filters.

It seems they are relying on the ever-increasing power of the plasma streamer to control odors.

In normal use odor filters can last up to 2 years.

Replacement odor filters are Sharp Model FZ-C100DFU.

A true-HEPA filter is third.

True HEPA filters capture 99.97% of particles 0.3 microns in size, and other sized particles with similar efficiency.

Anti-microbial layers of polypropylene fibers with a border mad of polyester yield a two year predicted filter life.

Environments with smoke, moisture, or heavy dust will shorten filter life.

Sharp Model FZ-C100HFU is the HEPA filter set to fit KC850U.

A filter check light comes on when 720 hours have elapsed.

Humidifier/purifier construction tends to have additional ports into the interior where particles can slip into the airstream.

While this occurs behind the HEPA, some dust will be sucked through the humidification chamber.

KC-850U Plasmacluster Ionizer

Sharp Plasmacluster KC-850U emits positive and negative ions.

These ions break water molecules into charged radicals, powerful oxidizers which can destroy pollutants of any size class, without having them pass through the KC850.

The ions also flocculate larger airborne particles, making them too heavy to continue floating in the air.

KC850U lacks negative-ion-only mode.

The oxidizers from Plasmacluster KC-850U are relatively "safe," millions have been sold without a reported incident.

But users with MCS, Chronic Fatigue, or other compromised immunity should NOT bask in the oxidizer stream.

KC-850U is a Humidifier/Purifier

KC-850U puts up to 1.3 pints of water into the air every 60 minutes, enhancing the effectiveness of plasma oxidizers.

Tank size is 7.7 pints, about a gallon.

OK, who was the first to notice?

7.7 pints divided by 1.3 pints/hr means a dry water tank in about 6 hours on high speed in arid conditions.

Most users will get real tired of filling the tank unless they also needed additional humidity in the first place.

The water reservoir is easy to service, but still tends to get ignored as time passes.

KC-850U will keep right on chuggin' water tank dry or not, so why rush things.....

Shoppers are cautioned NOT to disregard the MAINTENANCE WARNING!

Water sitting around is a magnet for breeding micro-organisms.

The KC-850U's User Manual says refill the tank with fresh tap water every day, even if you are not running the humidifier, and purging all water when KC-830U is left off for any longer period.

Many users will run the water out on every use, sometimes even filling the tank partly full.

KC-850U uses a rectangular-style humidifying filter which sits in the water tray.

Two years is the projected wet "filter" life.

Humidifying filters are constructed of rayon and polyester.

Humidifying filter is Sharp Model FZ-C100MFU.

After humidifying for several months, humidifier cleaning becomes a chore.

Then the humidifier tray, tank, and evaporator filter must be cleaned and scale accumulation dissolved using citric acid.

Hard-water means scale cleaning chores arrive sooner.

These issues would haunt most humidifiers.

But few air purifiers, even notoriously labor-intensive electrostatic models, require this much maintenance time.

"Dry" Plasmaclusters have lower prices, higher CADRs, and far less maintenance.

KC850 is Quiet for Bedroom Use

Sharp purifiers use brushless (BLDC) 12 Volt DC motors which produce very low noise levels.

Sound emissions, in decibels on the dB(A) scale, are almost identical with humidifier on or off;

High 51 dB(A),
Medium 34 dB(A),
Low 19 dB(A).

On low fan, humidifier noise raises the sound to 23 db(A).

On low speed and lights-off mode, you will hardly notice KC-850U is running.

As Plasmacluster emitters have stepped up to higher power, users have begun to notice sounds emanating from the plasma ionizer itself. Some reviewers note that these whirring and/or crackling noises, while not loud, can be distracting.

Using the Sharp KC-850U

Sharp KC-850U is 23 inches tall, 15 inches wide, and 10.5 inches deep.

Moving a 20.5 pound air purifier is pretty easy, but the User Manual cautions owners to avoid moving the KC-850U with water aboard.

ENERGY STAR® qualified, KC-850U consumes just 50 Watts on high, 11 Watts on medium, and a very parsimonious 6.6 Watts on low. in either mode (wet or dry).

With KC-850U turned off but still plugged in, standby power is 0.3 Watts.

KC-850U Review Conclusions

At this (lower) end of the humidifier/purifier product spectrum, buyers should focus on their degree of need for the humidification capabilities of KC-850.

Added moisture will assist the oxidizers, but those who do not really need a humidifier might be better served by a dry Sharp air purifier.

Despite the slight decline in quality and some replacement filter shortage issues, I still think the Sharp Plasmaclusters are still the best air purifiers in the under $500 price category.

In my opinion, KC850 just isn't strong enough to justify the price premiums for automation and humidifier gear, which boost the tab to almost 400 bucks.

See the

Sharp Plasmacluster KC-850U at amazon.

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