Win a Box of Cigar Aficionado's 2017 Cigar of the Year

Cigar Aficionado

Sharp Plasmacluster Ion Generator

The ultimate torture test for anything that calls itself an air cleaner may be the offices of Cigar Aficionado. You’ve seen other products put through their paces by comparable conditions: cars baked in ovens or parked in deep freezes; doors opened and closed a million times; an automatic plunger that presses a button on a electronic device until it breaks. Our smoked-filled confines do the equivalent to air cleaners.

Over the years, we have scrutinized virtually every type—air clearers, air fresheners, smoke removal devices—whatever the manufacturer prefers to call them. Machines with the word ion or ionizer in its brand name have always failed miserably, invariably because they left the distinctive odor of ozone, which for some of us is a deal-breaker. Still others have been undone because their fans sound like jetliners revving up on the runway for takeoff. Some simply couldn’t keep up with the daily assault from cigar smoke.

So when the Sharp Plasmacluster Ion Generator arrived, skepticism prevailed. First of all, it sounds like a device that got dropped off from some twenty-third century “Star Trek” episode: “Spock, bring me the plasmacluster…” Then there were the words Ion Generator in its brand name. But our skepticism quickly turned to admiration.

The device for a small office is about the size of a twin-pack of wine bottles. Its sleek design is available in colors that include white, black and burgundy. The fan is audible, but does not overpower normal office noises. But what truly amazed us was there was not even a whiff of ozone. And, it seemed to extract all kinds of odors from the room, not just the smoke from our cigars. We’ve left it running nonstop, even over the weekends, so when we walk into the office on Monday morning, the air truly seems crisp.

The manufacturer’s handbook says the machine will run for up to two years without replacing the ion generator. It does recommend vacuuming the filter every two weeks or so. If there’s any change in the performance over the next year or so, we’ll let you know. The suggested retail price is $350. That seems a bit high, but then again you’re getting a compact, truly efficient air cleaner that may keep the complaints down from anyone nearby who doesn’t like your cigar smoke.


"hi gordon, do you know what model number the bigger device for commercial space is? thanks." —July 11, 2012 16:26 PM
"David, (and belatedly Ken.) Not only do I still have the small Plasmacluster running in my office, we've gone all in with the product, and put the bigger devices (built for commercial spaces) in every office where smoking occurs. here are my subsequent thoughts; they are not perfect air cleaners, but for a good reason--they create a fairly strong air current in the office to keep the air moving and to cycle the dirty air through the device; therefore, a little smoke still gets out from under doors. But in terms of keeping a room fresh, and keeping smoke from "hanging" in a room, they are darn near perfect. After I put a cigar down, and leave the room for say a coffee break, by the time i return, in less than five minutes, it's hard to detect that anyone had been smoking in the room. So the verdict is still the same: the best air cleaner/smoke eater we've ever tested. " —January 17, 2012 13:49 PM
"I'd like to hear how this has held up. It's been 5 months since your review was posted--any updates?" —January 16, 2012 00:47 AM
"Hi Gordon, Now that you've had this thing for a couple months, are you still happy with it? I'm just about ready to order one of these and wanted to make sure it's living up to expectations. Thanks, Ken " —October 13, 2011 12:52 PM