Computers & Electronics

CBC Marketplace: Is an $800 purifier best to clean your home's air? Marketplace tested 5 top brands and their claims

  • Last Updated:
  • Feb 11th, 2021 1:22 am
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Deal Addict
Jan 21, 2018
4322 posts
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Vancouver
Might be better to put this in the Home & Garden forum.

We have one of the Sharp Plasmacluster air cleaners, which offers air quality sensor for automated operation, hepafilter for filtering small particles, activated charcoal filter for removing odors, and optional ion generation. CBC dismisses anything "plasmacluster" with the categorical comment that ion generators (including specifically-named Plasmacluster) can generate hazardous ozone. Sharp categorically denies that their air cleaners generate ozone, and offers a bunch of test results in proof. Who do you believe? CBC might want to watch their statements more carefully, since Plasmacluster is specific to Sharp, and they might be in a litigious mood.

In any case, I've always found the Sharp air cleaner and all similar device completely useless, no detectable effect on air quality. The only time I've really wanted it to work is when we have those terrible air quality conditions in the Vancouver area in the summer caused by forest fire smoke. Didn't seem to help significantly with clearing the air in a closed room. Maybe it's only partly effective on that type of air pollution, and maybe you need a really high capacity unit to clear the air in a reasonable time and keep it clear.

Next time I'll try CBC's suggestion about taping a MERV-11 furnace filter over a box fan.
Deal Expert
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Apr 16, 2001
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I'd try a MERV-16 charcoal filter, if you want any chance of smoke mitigation. Just make sure your furnace can handle it.
Whenever someone asks a question that starts with "Why do they..." or "Why don't they...", the answer is always a) money, b) stupidity, or c) both.
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Aug 4, 2007
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I actually bought a Dyson HOT+COLD (Refurb) and can attest, this thing feels useless
Deal Expert
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May 22, 2005
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I have two, one for bedroom and one for living room, it helps with condo dust and pet hair.


It won't solve anything but reduction of allergies and sneezing has improved. However, with so much air movement, the humidity drops by a lot!
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Dec 10, 2004
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coriolis wrote: I have two, one for bedroom and one for living room, it helps with condo dust and pet hair.


It won't solve anything but reduction of allergies and sneezing has improved. However, with so much air movement, the humidity drops by a lot!
Astonished Face Shouldn't you change that filter more often??
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Aug 29, 2001
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anabioz wrote: I actually bought a Dyson HOT+COLD (Refurb) and can attest, this thing feels useless
You can bring friends over to show it off.

But since it doesn't really work and won't get the covid out of the air - you'll have to settle for standing beside a picture of it.

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Deal Guru
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Nov 21, 2002
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Winnipeg
interesting about the diy

its been mentioned before on other sites on diy air filter. They recommend a filter should be at the front not the rear where it sucks in as recommend by the air expert in cbc video. Now why? Its a fire hazzard if you suck air thru the filter on a sealed diy.

The diy air filter like all filters can run 24/7 and the motor on the fan is rated for its flow of air. Once you inhibit the air flow you will add a strain to the fan motor to work properly. Quick example hold your hand over your vacuum's hose/end and you'll here the engine noise get substantially louder and work harder. When the air flow gets too bad you could potentially cause a short in the fan motor as it will over work from too much resistance and could potentially causing a fire if not monitored.

The recommended method I read was one piece of tape across the top of the box fan that is slightly tillted so it rests by its own weight on the fan so it pushes the air thru at lowest speed. Once the filter is too clogged to blow thru. The filter will push away from the fan and so air flow can escape before it risks undo strain on the motor and you'll also know it needs to be replaced.
Deal Expert
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May 22, 2005
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dazz wrote: Astonished Face Shouldn't you change that filter more often??
The hair was stuck on the first prefilter which is washable, so I vaccuumed that. The HEPA filter and activated charcoal/carbon? filter was replaced recently, they last about 2 years when you can feel the air output is not as strong. I've had the pair of air purifiers for about 7 years, replaced the filters every 2 years. It is not magic but considering how much hair and dust the filter picks up, its work it for us.
Newbie
Nov 22, 2018
79 posts
85 upvotes
Brampton, On
lead wrote: interesting about the diy

its been mentioned before on other sites on diy air filter. They recommend a filter should be at the front not the rear where it sucks in as recommend by the air expert in cbc video. Now why? Its a fire hazzard if you suck air thru the filter on a sealed diy.

The diy air filter like all filters can run 24/7 and the motor on the fan is rated for its flow of air. Once you inhibit the air flow you will add a strain to the fan motor to work properly. Quick example hold your hand over your vacuum's hose/end and you'll here the engine noise get substantially louder and work harder. When the air flow gets too bad you could potentially cause a short in the fan motor as it will over work from too much resistance and could potentially causing a fire if not monitored.

The recommended method I read was one piece of tape across the top of the box fan that is slightly tillted so it rests by its own weight on the fan so it pushes the air thru at lowest speed. Once the filter is too clogged to blow thru. The filter will push away from the fan and so air flow can escape before it risks undo strain on the motor and you'll also know it needs to be replaced.
Also, if you are thinking of using a one of those high MERV pollen type filters on your furnace, careful you don't kill it. (and cracking the hear exchanger, same as a clogged filter, can be deadly)

The restricted airflow can make the heat exchanger overheat and then the furnace burners keep cycling off/on when the temperature limiter keeps kicking in/out like a yo-yo. You have to make sure that the blower motor can handle the filter you choose and still be able to pull enough air through the heat exchanger without making it overheat or cycle at all until the thermostat shuts it down.
Deal Addict
Apr 22, 2013
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Markham
I'm glad they're testing these, like any product category you really never know whether the claims they're making are true. I do use 2 Sharp Plasmacutter ones, the main reason for using them in the first place was I have a horrible pollen allergy. Outside or in a car I felt fine but when I go home I'm a total mess of runny nose and sneezing constantly. Plopped one of these things and I no longer had these problems at the house anymore, so not a placebo effect for me, although perhaps the house's air system was horrible though. I now moved over to a condo, at this point all these things do is lessen the dust, so I wouldn't mind a really powerful one being used temporarily. I'm curious how much it costs to have that inspector the CBC hired, since we have zero way of knowing some of those things.

Would definitely like them to do another episode specifically on the ion generator or plasma air cleaner part. Are there any that produce no ozone and if they do, how much? Hope not of course.
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Jan 21, 2018
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JeganV wrote: I'm glad they're testing these, like any product category you really never know whether the claims they're making are true. I do use 2 Sharp Plasmacutter ones, the main reason for using them in the first place was I have a horrible pollen allergy. Outside or in a car I felt fine but when I go home I'm a total mess of runny nose and sneezing constantly. Plopped one of these things and I no longer had these problems at the house anymore, so not a placebo effect for me, although perhaps the house's air system was horrible though. I now moved over to a condo, at this point all these things do is lessen the dust, so I wouldn't mind a really powerful one being used temporarily. I'm curious how much it costs to have that inspector the CBC hired, since we have zero way of knowing some of those things.

Would definitely like them to do another episode specifically on the ion generator or plasma air cleaner part. Are there any that produce no ozone and if they do, how much? Hope not of course.
This is Sharp's explanation of how Plasmacluster generates ions: https://global.sharp/pci/en/about_pci/

The ions are generated by splitting water molecules in the air, so neutral H2O molecules get split into H+ and O2- components, negatively and positively charged ions. They don't last long until they meet up and recombine, neutralizing them.

The problem is to provide the energy to split up water molecules without also causing O2 molecules to split and create O3 (ozone) molecules. Ozone is considered hazardous in the air because it's highly reactive and could damage your lungs if it's present in high concentrations. In theory it should be possible to split water molecules without creating ozone, and Sharp claims that their technology does.

Personally I can't detect any effect to know if it's working or not.

As for cleaning the air in your house with just two of the Plasmacluster units, that's not likely - they don't have the capacity to keep up with a house, only with a small room.
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Apr 22, 2013
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Scote64 wrote: As for cleaning the air in your house with just two of the Plasmacluster units, that's not likely - they don't have the capacity to keep up with a house, only with a small room.
I didn't mean the whole house, I placed them where I was very likely to be, bedroom being the primary one, the other one moved if I was going to stay in a room longer than usual. I was the only one who needed it.
Deal Addict
Jan 21, 2018
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JeganV wrote: I didn't mean the whole house, I placed them where I was very likely to be, bedroom being the primary one, the other one moved if I was going to stay in a room longer than usual. I was the only one who needed it.
Did you notice any difference between whether they were supposedly ionizing or not? Just curious.
Deal Addict
Apr 22, 2013
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Scote64 wrote: Did you notice any difference between whether they were supposedly ionizing or not? Just curious.
Genuinely I can't tell about that part. All I could tell it was doing was filtering the pollen supposedly what ionizers are tasked with doing. However, I couldn't tell if it was the ions really making this better for me or whether it was just the plain good HEPA filter that really did the work. I didn't really take the chance, as on a bad pollen allergy day I could dispose of a whole tissue box.
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Apr 29, 2018
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Vancouver
Tried several filters, including 3M Charcoal Coated filters and DIY solutions for smoke, but nothing really works as good as an Ozone generator. I just have it run on a timer for 5 mins. Cleans out all the smell.

Also on the ION generator front, there are several such devices on Amazon, but they don't really work for smoke
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Nov 7, 2016
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Ontario
So funny a box fan with a taped on filter beat a Dyson (but not surprising in the least...)

A friend of ours has a Dyson vacuum cleaner on every floor of the house (4 of them), I tease them about it once in while (they should have gotten a very nice built-in for that kind of money!) lol... ;)
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