Sharp KC-A60J-W Air Purifier Review

Sharp’s rather large KC-A60J-W Air Purifier does a solid job of cleaning the air around your house, as long as you’ve got rooms large enough to really justify it.

The air we breathe is dirty stuff. It’s not just a mix of oxygen and nitrogen, but all sorts of other particles, from pollens that get up your nose to bits of pet dander that get up your nose to pollutants that (you guessed it) get up your nose. All of this contamination can really get up your nose.
OK, I think you get the idea.
Your sensitivity to such issues can vary however, with some folk capable of standing more “polluted” air better than others with larger allergy or sensitivity problems. It’s this market that Sharp targets with the KC-A60J-W Air Purifier, a large combination ioniser and room humidifier, which, as per the box, “cleans the air to protect your family”.
Quick tip: If that kind of marketing works on you, you might want to stop those pesky oxygen molecules from invading your house altogether. It’s a problem that’s quickly self-correcting.
Snark about marketing terms aside, there’s a definite market for folks with breathing conditions, allergies or hayfever-style symptoms for humidifiers and ionisers, although the debate about the overall effectiveness of such solutions is still somewhat up in the air.
The KC-A60J-W Air Purifier is a large unit, measuring in at 416 x 643 x 295mm with a carrying weight of 11kg sans water in its humidification chamber. It’s on wheels so you can shuffle it around a little, but it’s still a fairly large unit for the purposes of lifting.

You'll need a solid amount of space to accommodate the Sharp KC-A60J-W in your home.
You’ll need a solid amount of space to accommodate the Sharp KC-A60J-W in your home.
Image: Sharp

Controls on the top of the KC-A60J-W Air Purifier allow you to select from three different operation modes: Clean Air, Clean Air & Humidify and Clean Ion Shower, with a variety of speed settings and illumination settings for if you’re using it in a bedroom at night. Clean Air simply passes air through the KC-A60J-W Air Purifier’s inbuilt filters, while Clean Air & Humidify uses the inbuilt 4L water tank to additionally humidify the room. You can’t specify a humidity level, as this is automatically detected and adjusted for. If your humidification needs are rather precise (and you happen to know them) this might not be the unit for you.
The final setting is Clean Ion Shower, which releases positive and negative ions into the airflow to reduce odours and reduce the incidence of allergens in the air. Combined with an inbuilt HEPA filter, the KC-A60J-W Air Purifier should be capable of reducing the incidence of such pollutants in a reasonable sized room. Sharp states that the KC-A60J-W Air Purifier is suitable for rooms up 48 square metres, and given its size and airflow, it’d be a poor match for significantly smaller rooms.
In terms of consumables, apart from the need to top up the water tanks if you’re using the humidifier function regularly, the KC-A60J-W Air Purifier also uses inbuilt filters that are rated for around 720 hours of operation before needing maintenance, and around 10 years in full operation, although that’s based on smoking five cigarettes in front of it daily for those 10 years. I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that if you’re smoking five a day for 3,650 days, no amount of ionisation is going to adequately repair your lungs, and your sense of smell in terms of detecting its cleaning ability will also be significantly compromised.
Despite Sharp's promotional graphics, you can't actually see the ionised particles floating around the room. That's probably for the best. Image: Sharp
Despite Sharp’s promotional graphics, you can’t actually see the ionised particles floating around the room. That’s probably for the best.
Image: Sharp

In terms of power draw, the Belkin Wemo Insight Switch reports an average draw of around 34W from the Sharp KC-A60J-W Air Purifier when using the Ion Shower mode, and signficantly less in straight clean or humidify modes. The practical upshot is that it shouldn’t be terribly expensive to keep running on a relatively consistent basis.
Operation of the KC-A60J-W Air Purifier is easy enough, although it’s somewhat annoying that Sharp doesn’t provide a remote control with the unit. I could see scenarios where elderly users with limited mobility and breathing issues might not be easily able to access the KC-A60J-W Air Purifier if they needed to change settings.
Aside from primary functions, you can also adjust the unit’s brightness and fan speed. At full tilt speed it’s moderately noisy. Sharp rates it at a maximum of 49 decibels, which you probably wouldn’t want near your bed overnight, although the lower settings do drop that down to a more palatable 19db. The front of the KC-A60J-W Air Purifier shows the current detected humidity, odor and detected dust levels with visual colour indicators.
That’s a nice way to get a quick precis of your room’s condition, although my own testing suggested that it could be a little more sensitive. In a regular room, it detected all levels as green, but even in a room with a stinky cat litter tray, it stayed green. Maybe it just likes the smell of cat poop?
What about the actual overall effect? I’ve got to be careful here, and you should be too, because I can’t scientifically test the overall effect of the KC-A60J-W Air Purifier, but more give an anecdotal report of its effectiveness. That’s a tricky business, because as with anything of this sort, the possibilities of a placebo effect sensation are readily evident. If you spent the money on an air purifier and switched it on and ran it, you’d naturally expect to “feel” the air was cleaner, but without blind testing with a regular fan in identical temperatures and environments, it would be tricky to say at an absolute level that you weren’t in some way psychologically compensating to one degree or another.
That out of the way, the KC-A60J-W Air Purifier did appear to have a pleasant effect on the air in every room I tested it in, with or without the humidifier switched on. I’m not a smoker, so to give it a solid odour test, I sat it in a room with a cat litter tray, took a mental note of the relative odour, and left the room and the KC-A60J-W Air Purifier for an hour. It still only detected the odour as “faint” (green), which is not the term I would have used.
After an hour, the room did have a distinctly fresher overall smell to it, more than I would have expected simply by running a fan in the same area. As a cat odour prevention device it’d be a pricey prospect, but as a more general air purifier if you’ve genuinely got the need it could have some merit.
That’s the rub, however, because the KC-A60J-W Air Purifier has an RRP of $899 in Australia, and that’s a fair amount to lay down for a device to clean your air.
If you’re a persistent asthma sufferer or someone with similar breathing issues it could well be a small price to pay, and the overall effect of the KC-A60J-W Air Purifier is a pleasant one.
For the wider market, however, I’m a little cautious to go too wild with recommendations, simply because it does fall into that category of “health” products where a large proportion of the population may well be entirely fine without it. It worked well in my home tests without a doubt, but it would be a pricey way for me to keep cat poo smells at bay.

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