The Sharp FP-P40CX HEPA Air Purifier: Plasmacluster Technology Plus Great Features Equals Great Buy-air filter

Ideal for rooms up to 252 sq. feet (about 16’x16′), this is Sharp’s mid-size model. As with all five models offered by Sharp, the FP-P40 utilizes a true HEPA air filter; it traps 99.7% of particles.3 microns in size and larger. This is an important standard that I prefer in an air purifier I consider for purchase. Many of the common allergens and irritants in our homes are of a very small size and if I am paying good money for a product- I want efficiency and effectiveness. The HEPA filter that Sharp uses also has an antimicrobial layer to help kill viruses and bacteria.

There are also three other cleaning methods in this purifier. The first being a feature that I like which is a washable prefilter. This traps large particles like hairs and helps prolong the main HEPA filter. It is reusable so it should last the life of the purifier. To combat the gaseous compounds that cause offensive odors, a washable activated charcoal filter is used. This takes care of some of those things that the HEPA filter doesn’t. Lastly is Sharp’s Plasmacluster technology. This is a feature that is becoming increasingly popular in many air purifiers today – an ionizer. Although I’m not usually a sucker for marketing gimmicks, ionizers are effective, and I quite like the catchy name they chose to attach to their’s.

This works by splitting water molecules, creating positive and negative ions. These are charged particles which are very reactive. What this means for us is that they bind contaminants of the opposite charge in the air, resulting in particles of a larger size. This works with the HEPA air filter by allowing these larger particles to be more easily trapped. It also forces some of the new heavier molecules to fall out of suspension and drop to the ground or to stick to walls, etc. I know that does not sound ideal, and its not, but it is surely a better option than having them remain in the air to be inhaled. As part of a regular schedule, you should be vacuuming and dusting anyhow so it’s not like this side effect is a huge problem. To be clear, this is an occurrence among all ionizers, so it is not a specific issue with this model.

A nice feature on this model is the auto mode. The FP-P40CX has a built in air quality sensor which allows it to judge which fan speed is appropriate and which Plasmacluster setting to use to most efficiently and effectively clean the air. Additionally, it has a “quick clean” mode which puts it on its highest setting for 20 minutes before returning it to a lower, quieter, more energy efficient setting. I like this because you do not have to be there to change it back. You can set it and leave. Very convenient. There is also a “pollen” setting which essentially puts the purifier on a cycle, switching between high and medium in 20 minute intervals. Something I’ve really come to appreciate in purifier is a remote and with this unit, all of it’s features can be accessed this way, a very nice extra.

While subject to change according to the environment used (ie-smoking household, multiple pet household, etc…), Sharp claims that both its carbon filter and true HEPA air filter can last up to five years. I have seen claims of this length with some other purifiers, but typically it is anywhere from 6 months to 2 years per filter. I would expect in a normal home you could get into the upper half of the claimed 5 years with the filter in this unit and possibly even go 5 years, but I would replace before that myself.

This does happen to be a pretty quiet purifier. A HEPA air purifier can get noisy because for the filter to be so efficient, it has to really get in the way of the air flow. Sharp calls this feature its “Library Quiet” technology. This is not a setting but just a statement as to how quiet this purifier is relative to some others. They claim 17-49 decibels. To top it off this Sharp purifier has an indicator letting you know when to clean the filter and a timer, allowing you to set the purifier to be on for 1, 4, or 8 hours.


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