Anyone have a Kirby vacuum cleaner?

I just had a free carpet cleaning/ demonstration of one of these [enormously overpriced] puppies. My front room carpet looks great and the claening was free so I have no complaints – well, the demonstrator was a little too nice and easy-going… I was hoping for some of the high-pressure tactics that I’ve heard about.

That said, after she left I started wondering about a few of her claims. One of the things that she did was to put a white filter in the machine and show how much crap she was picking up out of my carpet. Kind of gross, but is it really conclusive of anything?
She didn’t have a white filter for my old vacuum, so maybe it picked up a bunch of crud, too. And she didn’t go over the area with the Kirby again, so maybe it would have picked up a load of crud again – maybe it isn’t possible to get all the crud out of a carpet, ever.

And what about the skin mites? She had a big, scary picture of this horrible looking (but actually microscopic) monster. So what? Don’t we ingest many, many microscopic monsters in the course of a day?

Finally, has having a Kirby been proven to help alleviate allergy symptoms? As in scientific studies, not just anecdotal evidence from people who, having spent a mortgage-sized chunk of money on a bloody vacuum cleaner, are now eager to justify that decision.

I should have asked these questions during the demonstration, I know. But, I had no intention at all of buying a vacuum – I was just interested in the free carpet cleaning – so I didn’t pay particularly close attention to the demonstration. However, my mom was at my house at the time and she did pay attention. Almost enough attention to buy one of the damned things and, when we discussed the demo afterward, the questions above occured to me.

So, anyone have a Kirby? Or has anyone had a demonstration and actually asked the questions I should have asked? Is there any possible way that $1500 is a reasonable price for even the best vacuum on the market?


Um my grandparents have a very very old kirby they never use… too big and bulky!

I swear by my eureka… it has a hepa filter and a reglar filter and with no bag you see all the crud as it picks it up. We have 4 cats a dog and a toddler and this does a great job sucking up stuff.

Plus it was $100 … I’ve had cars that cost less than that vaccuum you’re considering :slight_smile:

One thing far more valuable than the vaccuum is the hoover shampooer … this is great when milk ends up in my rug :slight_smile:

Even so grand total on the combo is $350 … and not only can I vaccuum but I can shampoo too! (Grandma’s kirby does both too but since it is too big and complicated to use… I have no personal experience with it – she keeps trying to give it to me)

Put the $1150 to something far more useful/fun!!!

My dad bought the Kirby after the cleaning demo (just recently). He’s in love with it and already has plans for a schedule for my sister and I to share it once he’s gone. And I’m not kidding.

My mom has a Kirby. I guess she likes it OK. I don’t know how much she paid for it. Even after getting a demonstration and buying a vacuum the place kept on calling. She told them if they called again she’d return the vacuum she’d already bought.

Looking for summer work I responded to a help wanted ad and it turned out to be working the phones for the local Kirby distributor. The ad was misleading (IMO), it said “no telemarketing.” I guess they could get away with that because it wasn’t cold calling because they got your number by getting you to enter a drawing for free groceries (the drawing was real). The whole operation seemed shady and there’s no way I could have respected myself if I would have done it. The guy “training” new recruits said that you should always ask to talk to the women and try hard to sell to them, because the husband wasn’t the one that was going to buy a vacuum cleaner. You were supposed to bring up how much the husband spent to take care of the car, etc. and say that this vacuum cleaner was equivalent blah blah blah. You had to pay some fee to work a phone too, the fee didn’t come out of your pay, they would just hand you a money order for the amount, and you’d sign it. I think it had to do with taxes or something.

I’m surprised too that you say the woman that tried to sell to you wasn’t aggressive because the place I went trained salespeople to be aggressive.

My mom got a Kirby back in 1968 (really!) and stopped using it two or three years ago because she got tired of carrying the thing up and down the stairs. She had to bring it to the repair shop a couple of times back in the 80s because a belt burned out, and the first two times they replaced it, they put the wrong belt on it. Other than that, it worked (and probably still does) like a charm.

Now, on the other hand, my wife buys those “broom-vacs” for about $30 at WalMart (or some-such), and they last around a year before they give up the ghost.

So, over the course of the next 30 years or so…

Kirby: $1500 + Repars & bags. Estimate around $2000
Throw-Away Vacs: $30 now, may be as mush as twice that in 30 years, so we’ll split the difference. $45 X 30 = $1350

But I think you’re house will be a lot cleaner if you go with the Kirby. Good luck.

Mrs. clubber is a vacuum hobbyist. Has had a kirby, hoover, orick, tried all the rest, prefers a rainbow.

As far as me, my Nature Abhors A Vacuum. I love Zoom Brooms!

Mrs. Mercotan used to sell them over 20 years ago! And we have one. We both agree its a pain, overpriced, and high on maintenance costs.

One of the things that she did was to put a white filter in the machine and show how much crap she was picking up out of my carpet. Kind of gross, but is it really conclusive of anything?

Only that no vacuum cleaner will get everything.

She didn’t have a white filter for my old vacuum, so maybe it picked up a bunch of crud, too. And she didn’t go over the area with the Kirby again, so maybe it would have picked up a load of crud again – maybe it isn’t possible to get all the crud out of a carpet, ever.


And what about the skin mites? She had a big, scary picture of this horrible looking (but actually microscopic) monster. So what? Don’t we ingest many, many microscopic monsters in the course of a day?

Yep. Your bedding is rife with them.

Kirby vacuums work well and hold up well. But the superiority of their performance (if any) over other good quality vacuums doesn’t even come close to how incredibly much more they cost.

My mom ought a Kirby when I was younger. I am not sure what age I was, but I know where we were living, so that vacuum is, at the very least, 18 years old, and still runs well. I only remember her having to take it in for repairs once.
My husband’s mom bought one, probably in the 70s or so, and we still have it to this day, and have not had a single problem with it.
I don’t know that I’d buy one if I had the chance, simply because of the price, but they are very well made and will last. They are also, as mentioned in this thread, very bulky and heavy as well. We have a little broom vacuum that we pull out when there’s just a little mess to clean up, because the Kirby is kind of a PITA to mess with unless it’s a big job.

We have two vacuums, one for each floor (the maid required this back when we had one). The top floor we have a kirby and the bottom floor a Eureka.
We love the Kirby, though agree in hindsight it may not have been worth the money. What sold me on it originally, however, was that my mother has one that she bought in 1974 and still uses it. The fact that it has a ‘drive’ and a ‘neutral’ feature on our model is pretty neat too, makes pushing it along the floor much easier.
From what I recall, we paid about $1100 for it. We kept saying no as they kept dropping the price and finally gave us a price that ‘we couldn’t tell the neighbors about’. Of course this should have sent up a red flag, but since it seemed reasonable for a vacuum that should last 30+ years, and since I didn’t really like my neighbors at the time, I figured why not.

My mom has one.
It works well, but honestly no better than my hoover.

Here’s a question:
Do the new Kirby’s have the same csystem as the old:

you had to put it on a piece of newspaper and shake out the bag.

THAT is a complete pain. Especially if you have cats and you have to pull out clumps of hair from the bag.

IMO, they are not worth it

I have had experience with 2 Kirby’s. My mom had one when I was a kid that my sister and I got to lug up and down the stairs to vacuum with. It worked well but tended to suck up stuff it wasn’t supposed to–like curtains, bedspreads etc. Kind of distressing when you’re 7 years old and can’t figure out what to make it do. :eek:

The one I have now, I inherited from my MIL. She replaced it with her Rainbow and then a second Rainbow when SIL needed a vacuum. My FIL called it his nemesis. They gave it to me–makes you wonder what the in-laws think of me. :rolleyes:

I liked the power but it went through a lot of belts and bags are hard to come by here.

Of course I have a cheapo Dust Devil now and hate it too…Maybe it’s just vacuuming. :stuck_out_tongue:

If you’re really concerned about allergies, get rid of the carpet. Even if it’s as clean as it can be, you ought to see what hangs out under there. We ripped all the carpet out of our first house and Pee-Ew–that was disgusting! :dubious:

And as for dust mites, they are what causes the allergic reaction in most people. Mattress and pillow covers, washing bedding regularly and removing the carpeting works the best for allergy issues.

The carpet will be coming out of our “new” house eventually too. :smiley: :smiley: :smiley:

My mom had a kirby when I was growing up, and you do get used to having such a hefty machine. I never much liked those $100 models that you throw away after a year or so. I looked around and ended up buying a Royal. Just as hefty as a Kirby, and more like $400-$600 instead of $1500. Lots of professionals use Royals, and you see 'em in hotels and such. Look into them before you buy a Kirby.

Apparently there’s a bit of wiggle room in the pricing. When the Kirby guy came and did a demo for my mom and told her the price (I think $1100) she told him “I’ll give you $700 for it.” He was dying to make a sale I guess because that’s what she got it for!

She of course told me this after I got mine (I think mine was $1200 but they gave me $200 for my “trade in” which was a piece of crap Fantom.) I have the model with the drive and neutral as well so it’s pretty nice. YOu can also shampoo and convert to a handheld cleaner so there’s a lot of options.

Of course I’d trade it all for a Roomba robot vacuum, lol! (Yeah, I’m guessing those work REALLY WELL! :rolleyes: )

When my husband went through the training (we were desperate for a job) they told him that he could knock down the price if someone was trying to drive a bargain.

Ah what memories. I was a Kirby sales drone for a year. Actually became a field supervisor, a closer, but still starved. Really brings me back. Scraping all the change I could find to eat my one meal of the day at the Chinese buffet and selling plasma to put gas in the car.

Kirbys are damn good but as you saw grossly overpriced. It actually used to be a pretty good deal because it had a lifetime warranty to the original purchaser. For a paltry fee which never changed you could send it back and they would make it as good as the day it left the factory. The warranty was reduced when I sold them and the rebuild price would be keyed to inflation.

For those of you who are interested in actually buying a Kirby vacuum, there’s a fairly large market for them on ebay. My Mom and my brother both got one there for about $200. IIRC, they both bought the Generation 5, which is a few models behind, but since the design doesn’t really change that much and they last for freakin’ ever, buying an older model used one has worked out fine. In fact, a lot of the dealers on ebay sell them reconditioned and guaranteed.

My $0.02. :slight_smile:

My daughter and her husband bought a new Kirby 9 mos ago when they moved into their brand new house. They love it! She recently used it to shampoo one of the rooms and was very happy with how it did that, too. And, yes, her husband was there for the demo and talked the price down a few notches.

I hear it even massages… haven’t inquired about that.

We bought one about 12 years ago. Couple of belts wenton it, otherwise it has stood up well. The asking price was $1700CDN, but they offered to buy our old Electrolux for $300CDN, and any other vacuums for$200 each. After all, how many other vacuums would hicks from a town of 150 people have! The answer was four! I got them for nothing from an old lumbercamp that shut down, and was planning to build one that worked from three that did not. Even the Electrolux was on the fritz. So I paid $600 for the Kirby, including the shampooer! It’s been worth it.

I had a Kirby until about a year ago, until some SCUMBAG stole it from the back of my brother’s car when he borrowed it from me. They even took the attachments and shampooer as well!

All in all, it’s a fantastic vacuum. It’s not magic like the salespeople would almost have you believe, but it certainly does an excellent job. They are overpriced, and my advice is not to buy a new one. Look on eBay, or visit a vac shop which sells reconditioned machines. You’ll pay a fraction of the price for something which, quite frankly, is impossible to tell from new.

One thing you’ve got to be prepared for is that you need to remove the main head from the Kirby in order to use the attachments or shampooer. If this sounds like too much hassle, this isn’t the machine for you. On the other hand, if you think you can deal with that, you’ll probably like the fact that you can choose from several different configurations for different jobs. In order to get your money’s worth, you really do need to make use of all its functions.

Older Kirbys are hard work to use (they require a lot of pushing effort), so look for one of the newer self propelled models; Generation 3, G4, G5 or Gsix. These are all virtually identical to the current Ultimate G model, but will cost you a lot less. The only real difference between them all is the trim colour.