The Sharper Image Air Purifier is Combining Great Design with Solid Cleaning

The best known Sharper Image air purifier is the Ionic Breeze which was widely advertised and promoted when the consumer demand for air purifiers began to grow a few years ago.

When it comes to a Sharper Image air purifier, the company would probably prefer to let the Ionic Breeze fade into history. This was a best selling item that was recommended by consumer sites and praised for its design, etc. In reality, it has become a bad joke when people talk about air purifiers.

One of the most often mentioned comments about the Sharper Image air purifier that was called Ionic Breeze was that if you placed an empty shoebox next to the air purifier for a few days both the shoebox and the unit would be filled with dust.

Consumers are a fickle lot. The same people who buy a fad product can quickly become its worst critics. In the end, the Ionic Breeze was the first model sold and there were a lot of buyers.

The Company

It should not surprise anyone that the main focus of the original Sharper Image air purifier was "image". After all, that is both the name and the focus of this large company. Sharper Image is a company designed to cater to those consumers who like things that look good but are buying on a budget.

Ionization was all the rage a few years ago. No one worried about the ozone created as a byproduct and creating negatively charged ions is not a complex process. Air cleaners were becoming more popular with consumers and the brand catered to that crowd of buyers.

Although the products from Sharper Image have improved over the years, the initial focus was to provide a stylish image with little or no concern about function. The original Sharper Image air purifier clearly stated there was no mechanism for air flow but the focus was on "clean smelling air".

Apparently many thousands of customers believe that air that smelled clean was truly clean and the Ionic breeze flew off the shelves at prices that were unbelievable for the weak technology used.

The original product was nothing more than an ionizer. It released negatively charge ions which added a fresh, crisp scent to the room and made buyers think they were breathing cleaner air.

Sharper Image now offers a line of air purifiers that use the ionization of the original Ionic Breeze with fans and filters that actually do provide cleaner air in your room.

At $300, the Ionic Comfort Compact Air Purifier is a small upgrade of the original Ionic Breeze. The small size allows placement on a shelf or table and the unit is very quiet when in use.

A removable, washable filter does a fair job of removing larger particulates from air that passes through the machine and two fans provide air movement. The main feature, of course, is still the ionizer which adds a pleasant clean scent to the areas where the unit is located.

Ion Flow is a stylish Sharper Image air purifier. It will look good in the room and there is a smaller model just for table tops. This is pure ion technology with no filters to bother with.

The claim is that the filterless air cleaner loses no cleaning effectiveness like filter models. The question for buyers is whether there is any cleaning effectiveness provided in the first place. At $495 this is one expensive ion generator but it is very stylish.

Additional Options

The Ionic Breeze was a big earner for this company but also damaged the company image when the faddish nature of the product became apparent. The addition of other lines of air purifiers to the Sharper Image catalog and website was a logical and smart move on the part of the retailer. Not all air purifiers that work well are ugly boxes but not all sleek air cleaners work well, either.

The product category for the Sharper Image air purifier has been expanded to include Blueair and HEPASilent products. Both manufacturers provide the styles that Sharper Image customers are looking for yet the air purifiers themselves provide excellent filtration and cleaning capacity.

The array of products now offered by this retail chain includes some interesting items. A water globe air purifier is mostly an air freshener while a closet ionic air purifier hangs on the clothing rack and might add some freshness to stored clothing.

The Sensing air purifier uses a 3 state HEPA filter and has won an award for the design of it's softly curving shape. The main focus for the unit named Sensing is the pollution indicator lamp that changes color in response to the level of pollution in the air. There is no explanation for how the sensor detects pollution in the air but as with other Sharper Image air purifiers, it looks cool.


The initial air purifier was nothing more than an ion generator in a stylish housing that had a catchy name and rather high price. The reputation of Sharper Image as a company on the leading edge of design for middle class consumers provided a boost for the Ionic Breeze.

The popularity and high sales lasted for some time before the public realize there was little real benefit to using this air purifier. In response to continued consumer demand for air purifiers and to repair the damage done to its customer based during the decline of Ionize Breeze sales, Sharper Image now offers a variety of air cleaning products. Some like the Blueair unit are high end products ($800) but may do a good job of cleaning the air in a room. Others may have more style than function.

If you are looking for a room air purifier that works hard to clean the air in your home the Sharper Image air purifier may not be the best buy. If design is important and you are looking for a moderately priced air purifier that looks like more than it is you may find this popular brand name is just the ticket.

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