For nearly one-hundred years, The Kirby Company has manufactured superior, American-made home cleaning systems. Kirby does not sell directly to the public but continues a long tradition of distributing its home cleaning systems through independent distributors, who are responsible for running their own businesses. Over the years, this distribution system has afforded thousands of men and women the opportunity to live the American dream of owning and operating their own businesses.
Experience has taught us that customers prefer to try our premium cleaning systems in their own homes before purchasing. Customer satisfaction is our top priority. If customers have any questions or concerns regarding the in-home demonstrations of Kirby cleaning systems or the cleaning systems themselves, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call us at 800-494-8586, Monday – Friday, 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., EST.
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First, I'll comment on the salesman experience since that seems to be the main reason Kirby has gotten so many low reviews. Yes, it was very long. I'd say around 4 hours, however, to be fair this vacuum does A LOT so it would be very difficult to see what all it can do in a super short amount of time. The gentleman that did our demonstration was super nice. I'll throw in here that I had 9 kids at the time who were all into the demonstration and he was really cool about it and even let them use it. He was very thorough and in the process vacuumed my sofa, loveseat, walls, curtains, ceiling and mattress as well as cleaned a couple of windows. Even if I hadn't bought it, it was worth the time just to get all that cleaning done for free!
Now, onto what the Kirby can do. What really sold me on it was the fact that I had literally just washed and dried my sofa and loveseat cushion covers and put them back on about 10 minutes before he arrived. The dirt that the Kirby was sucking out when I had just cleaned them really amazed me. It even pulled a tremendous amount of dirt out of the living room area rug I had just bought that day! Besides all that, this vacuum does it all...vacuums, shampoos, air cleaner, inflator, window cleaner, unclogs sinks...you can even paint with it (spray). It has tons of attachments for basically anything you'll ever need to do in the cleaning world. I've kept my vehicle upholstery looking brand new and cleaning curtains while they are still hanging and vacuuming ceilings are a breeze. I have had my Kirby for almost 2 years now and it is by far the smartest purchase I have made for all my cleaning needs.
Hi Rhonda! Thank you so much for your review! We are pleased to hear you had such a positive experience with the independent distributor who demonstrated the Kirby.
Remember family having one that was probably 20 years old when I was 7. They replaced it over something stupid without letting me look at it (I was already repairing lamp cords and other kids toys lol). Found a Heritage II dumped out for the trash 5 years or so ago. This vacuum would have been brand new when I was 7. Couldn’t pass it up. $40 and I did a complete rebuilt including replacing the broken plastic part that connected the bag to the vacuum. This machine blew me away. I have never seen a vacuum work as well as it did. I had a Shark professional that it replaced as a daily cleaner. I had no attachments so I decided to make the plunge and get a new one. Contrary to what rumors spread these can be purchased for a lot less than the price usually seen floating around on reviews.
In comes my Avalir 2. Put it all together and it’s absolutely awesome. It makes a much more stable vacuum when using the hose and not as an upright than the shark. It’s extremely powerful, and even comes with power assist. Using this is nowhere near clunky like a mower. It’s butter smooth requiring you to do absolutely nothing. It has a transmission in it and it senses when you push forward and pull back. It’s literally butter smooth. You don’t know it’s powered. You just click it on and it simple makes the vacuum feel 1/4 the weight it is. The attachments are well thought out and useful rather than some crappy junk thrown together to say it has a bunch of features. The Kirby’s are well designed and useful. I have no problems reaching my 10 foot ceiling without it being uncomfortable. In canister mode it rolls around with me easily I don’t have to constantly pick it up and move it a few feet. The ability to adjust height is great and easy to use.
Needless to say there is no better vacuum made. I’ve seen and or used about all the other so called top of the line ones and they felt cheap and were almost all plastic. When you buy a Kirby, you buy it for life. The maintenance is even simple enough anyone what can change oil would have no trouble at all keeping one going for decades without ever needing serviced at a shop.
Typically I would run my shark over the wood floor and then follow up with a mop. The mop would always be filthy. After a good pas with the Kirby and running the brush quickly around the corners I went back with the mop to shine it and get some stick spots up. The mop was so clean I didn’t have to wash anything off it before putting it up. Basically it just added floor shine and removed some sugary drops that got sticky. I have not received the shampoo, grout and tile, and wood floor cleaning parts, at that point it will replace the old shampooer I have and the little Swiffer like mop. You might think you bought a Cadillac vacuum at 300 bucks, but a Kirby is the Rolls Royce of vacuums, and no you don’t have to pay 3000 dollars for one, you can get one under a grand. They are also extremely nice looking with polished aluminum bodies.
There are two types of people in the world, ones with clean houses and others who don’t yet own a Kirby. It’s worth every cent and it will stay with you for life, and that counts for something today when everything is designed to be disposable. After you buy 2 sharks, you have basically paid for a Kirby. Just get the Kirby.
I cannot rate the salesman service as there weren’t any within 300 miles of me so I had to order it online and assemble it myself, and I don’t get the special Kirby perks. I dont work for Kirby or own Kirby stock. It’s the truth. The Kirby is not all just hype. It’s worth every penny, both my 40 something year old heritage II and the new Avalir 2 both prove it. They are built the same with the same high quality parts. In fact if it wasn’t due to Kirby adding a safety switch on the new model to keep it from turning on the motor without something covering the suction fan all the attachments and heads would be interchangeable. The parts to keep it alive forever are dirt cheap, and easy to change.
Hi Ash, thank you for your review on your Kirby experience! We are pleased to hear you are happy with your new Avalir 2!
I've had my Kirby Sentra for 6 years now. It's the best vacuum cleaner I've ever owned. I've had every other type of big box retail cleaner - Dyson, Shark, Toshiba, Sharp, Bosch, Dirt Devil, Hoover, and every type of shop-vac imaginable - and all have worked fine, however nothing compares to the Kirby. The Kirby is by far, one of the best vacuum cleaners made worldwide.
A few notes; a brand new Kirby is like a brand new Mercedes - they're expensive brand new. If you're looking to buy a Kirby, do what I did and buy a used one from eBay or Amazon. A Kirby is not some Chinese made piece of plastic junk - it'll last a lifetime and there are thousands of testimonials to back that up. It's a solid, heavy duty piece of American made machinery and the company has been in business since 1906. The brand has an international reputation for quality and performance that is over a hundred years old - so for those that don't know the history of the company and product, it's sold on a door-to-door basis, however you can find dealers that repair them and sell used ones.
Many reviewers seem to be in sticker shock at the price of a new Kirby, but put it in perspective. An iPad or tablet computer would set you back the same amount and you'd be lucky if the thing lasted 3 years. Used Kirby's are usually in fantastic shape, however there may be one that was used by some idiot to vacuum gravel driveways, so do your homework just like you would with a used car. Once you've familiarized yourself with your Kirby use it properly - don't lug it up and down the stairs, use the proper disposable cloth bags which do an excellent job of catching dust. The suction power on a Kirby is amazing as well. Once a year, just like your car, take it to a Kirby dealer for a major tune up and cleaning. You'll be glad you did. Your Kirby will last you for much longer than any other vacuum cleaner you've ever bought. I know, because every brand of vacuum cleaner I mentioned above, I don't have anymore. They all broke.
Clearly the reviews other than how Kirby's are sold on here are caused from owner operator. Btw let me begin by saying we had a Dyson, Hoover & Dirt Devil and all are in our dump now. Wife had a Dyson when we married. After owning Kirby of my own for almost 20 years and using my mom's old design in the 60/70's I absolutely know the do/don'ts on them and I'll explain.
If the owners saying they don't have suction would only go to Youtube and watch vids or read how to set the machine upright, maybe even paid attention to the demonstration if they ever had one they'd know it's not set correctly so it will indeed fail to pick up dirt & small particles of paper. Its nozzle has to be set correctly or it will fail because Kirby aren't designed to just skim above carpet like a Dirt Devil, Hoover or Dyson etc.
Kirby are deep cleaning units that "when" set up right actually lift the carpet up off the actual floor in front of the suction head. So' if you don't see it lifting carpet you're not setting it right. Having said this Kirby does miss a serious step when teaching operation and so my own trial and error came into play. Missed step? Oh yes' because if you have small paper/plastic/food pieces lying all over the room then one must start with the Kirby vacuum just above the carpet like a cheap vac runs at first. This is where the above mentioned cheap vacs are set even at their lowest settings and why people "think" they clean so great when they actually miss the deep down dirt/sand that destroys all your carpet fibers over time.
Oh yes cheap vacuumed carpets look clean and you see the dirt in the canister but your deep dirt remains unless a Kirby gets it out. In truth "No" vac built today will get it all out not even built in wall vacs but nothing gets you as close to this as a Kirby. NOTHING! Now after what I call the top skimmer setting is ran, I set my Kirby to its "advertised" normal setting position as shown in the Kirby videos.
The reason for an extra step is there is no room between the roller brush and carpet for the larger pieces so it pushes them around since a Kirby actually lifts the carpet up. It's why it cleans under carpets too and others will not come close to that. So I just set mine exactly how Kirby says but I'll raise it a click or two as I encounter any larger pieces sitting on top of the carpet to allow it to pass between brush/carpet. Nothing hard about that and it makes a world of difference. Kirby must know it & should include it.
So if a Kirby working good/bad is all about the setting folks! Also there are several aftermarket bag companies selling bags too restrictive so buyer beware on your bags. Had some bad ones myself. Heavy? Not at all after learning how to use/pick it up correctly. I have 7 bad discs in my back and it's not an issue. I don't have stairs though but learn on vids how to pick one up right. It's not bad.
It's heavier built to last and have real power. Truth is lightweight electric motors have very little copper windings inside and why they simply wear out after a few yrs. Many today now use junk China copper plated aluminum winding even. This is for any electric motor btw, it need the copper to last. It's why Kirbys are passed down generations but many who inherit them have no idea how they even work and leave bad reviews everywhere and touting Dyson's rule when they don't.
They don't mention how many times the cheap vacs been to a shop or they're on their 3rd unit or motor in ten yrs. Simply stop in and ask any vacuum repair shop to see their back room you'll see what truly keeps them in business. Hoovers & Bissels but mainly Dysons line these shops. WATCH A KIRBY VIDEO OR READ UP ON THEM IF YOURS IS NOT VACUUMING, IT WILL HELP IN OPERATION. I ASSURE YOU... By far Kirby makes the best vacs made in over 100 yrs if you know exactly how to operate one. I can only hope these people never ever inherit bulldozers.
The first Kirby my family ever purchased was back in the early 90's. I remember the vacuum salesman coming in and my dad being a bit annoyed. We had that particular one for about 10 years before he bought a new one around 2002. Fast forward to 2016. I have been through pretty much every cheaper brand of vacuum from Bissell to Hoover to Dirt Devil to Shark. I have used Dyson's at work and they don't last very long. Actually most store bought brands do not last long at all with proper care. I decided I wanted a Kirby like I had growing up. It was always reliable as actually cleaned.
I found a person selling a used one for $50 because they had just bought the newest version. The version I got was the Sentria, so not that old at all. It has been well taken care of. I got home and I vacuumed the whole house. The new bag I had put in ended up getting completely full—that's how dirty our carpet was even though I vacuumed religiously. I've had this vacuum for two years now and today I used the shampooer on a stinky rug that my dog vomited on. It cleaned it well and took the smell out. I want to now list the pros and cons of the system.
PROS: It doesn't just vacuum. You can shampoo, use as an air pump, sand things, and a ton more... Kirby's last forever. They are the Toyota of vacuum cleaners. Changing the bags are easy. Putting on basic attachments and using the regular head is easy. Finding parts is easy since you can find pretty much anything in Amazon. Great suction. Versatile. Durable (I spent the same amount of money in vacuums over a 7 yr period when I could have just bought the Kirby). CONS: It's clunky and heavy. There are tons of parts so reading the manual is a must if you want to do more than basic vacuuming. It's hard to find a system that isn't being sold by a salesman. Sales tactics suck when you come in contact with a salesperson. (JUST BUY USED AND SKIP THE MAN.)
Most of the reviews I read had more to do with the sales tactics than the actual machine. The ones where people had complaints about the machines was because they didn't want to do the work to put the attachments on or didn't read the instructions. You actually don't even have to read now. There's tons of videos on YouTube with how to use the Kirby. Overall, Kirby is a great product. I'd buy another one in a heartbeat. It cleans better than store bought vacuums and it lasts forever. I'd recommend buying used or going to a vacuum/sew shop and purchasing—skip the salesman. They are independent sellers and can price things how they want.
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I recently purchased the Avalir 2. I was impressed with the number of capabilities offered. After having it awhile, I am not so impressed. I have trouble with it picking up larger, but still small, things off the carpet. It’s not pleasant to have to haul out a bag of attachments and switch out heads to get the floor and the edges in a single cleaning session. I am used to quickly getting the crevices as I go along, not having to stop the work to switch attachments and go back around the room. But the reason I am writing a one star review is because the multi-surface shampoo system was supposed to clean my hard floors. “Make them shine.” It didn’t. Just followed the instructions to mop my floor, with the proper floor tool, roller, water, solution and tank...and I effectively got wet floors.
It took a couple of passes of a drizzle on the floors before I realized I neglected to drop it down to the lowest setting.
Then I thought it was cleaning. It only picks off a fraction of the water put down. I dumped out the tray a couple of times and the water was dirty as the floor really needed attention. But shortly after dumping the waste water the first time, the machine was leaving puddles smeared wherever I went forward. It also seemed to be jumping a bit if I tried going faster than a turtle's pace backwards. I “finished” my floor by setting it for extended periods on spots that were a bit gunky then going over the floor backwards to pickup the puddle smears of dirty water.
There’s no chance of getting corners mopped with the machine and many 3” edges weren’t mopped because it’s not possible to get the side of the machine along all edges. When I stopped and cleaned things up, I let the floor dry. What I have now is a floor that is sticky all over instead of in just the spots where pop spills hadn’t been properly cleaned at the time of the incidents. So, while I thought I was getting a decent deal on an investment of $1500 for the vacuum, MSSS, a bunch of bags and belts, and all the attachments, I now am doubting our investment.
Shouldn’t have let them take my old vacuum so it could pickup the bigger pieces before using the Kirby. And I definitely still need a mop and bucket. I have yet to try and shampoo my carpet, but I am pretty sure I will be disappointed as well. The lady that asked if I wanted a presentation said he would clean my carpet in one room. So my family quickly moved all the furniture out of the way as we had moved and vacuumed everything earlier that day. Then the salesman came and did a lot of vacuuming, but not shampoo, because it was late and the last day of the month.
Hi D, we are disappointed to read about your experience with your MSSS, and would love to further assist you on your cleaning system. If you could, please PM us a good number to reach you at, or if you prefer, give us a call directly at 1-800-494-8586. Thank you for your honest review, as we take customer feedback seriously. We look forward to hearing from you! - The Kirby Company
It started with a knock at my door offering a free carpet cleaning. I specifically said only the stairs because my infants were sleeping. They walked in and said, "I'm sorry but we need to clean a whole room to show you what this vacuum can do." Once plugged in my kids woke up. After 4 hours or more with some very fresh comments about my relationship with my partner and comments about what we do in the bedroom he told us the price and we had won a family trip for a weekend. I purchased it WITHOUT them saying I had 3 days to cancel. I didn't use it for a week until I finally did and the Kirby didn't work my $10 broom. Had to pick up dirt that the KIRBY HAD LEFT. I'm so agrivatted and trying to get legal help to stop the payments and harm my CREDIT.
Hi Aida, we are deeply concerned with your message regarding your recent experience with an independent distributor. We take matters like this very seriously and would like to gather some more information from you and your experience. If you're comfortable, please message us a good number to reach you at or call us directly at 1-800-494-8586 so we can gather more information and assist you. We look forward to hearing from you and appreciate you bringing this to our attention. - The Kirby Company
It started with a knock at the door... The sales representative was very kind and wanted to show us the Kirby Avalir 2 and all it had to offer, with the assurance it would only take 15 minutes. He came in. Vacuumed the same spot for about 45 minutes. We were very impressed with the vacuum's capabilities! Going through the very long process of negotiating we realized it wasn't an investment we wanted to make at this time. Well, an hour later and numerous "no's" we are still trying to get these over persistent sales representatives out of our home. When they FINALLY understood that we were not planning on purchasing at this time, the salesman's charm faded and then left. Not before leaving a few snide and condescending remarks about us and the cleanliness of our home. Kirby makes a superior machine, but sales representatives could use some work.
Hi Seth, thank you for your feedback on your experience with an independent distributor. We take situations like this very seriously and appreciate your review. If you'd like to discuss this matter further, please give us a call at 1-800-494-8586. We look forward to hearing from you. -The Kirby Company
IT has been years since I worked for Kirby - but every now and then I think of the Sault Ste Marie Kirby Power couple (I can't remember their name but they had a ton of kids to feed apparently). They were as dishonest as the day is long. They employed all these sales tactics seen below (tell them you just need to sell one more vacuum so you can win a scholarship) etc etc. Those vacuums are cumbersome, heavy, and are being put to shame by the bagless vacuums with rotating head. I am embarrassed that I ever worked for them, and in spite of several sales, they NEVER paid me. They are as dirty as the vacuum bags (on good machines).
Hi Chantelle, we are concerned with your experience with independent distributors and would like you to give us a call at 1-800-494-8586. Thank you for bringing this to our attention and providing feedback on your experience. We take situations like yours very seriously regarding the independent distributors. We have passed this information along to our Consumer Relations Department.
A woman called me on the phone and said I could get 2 free carpet cleanings. All that they ask of me is to tell them my honest opinion on how their new machine works. They assured that they were not selling anything. This guy pulls up to my house, brings all this stuff in, and does a 3 hour show telling us about each product. He kept giving us different prices, no matter what we said. We told him straight up we didn’t want to buy anything today, and he was so desperate he dropped the price all the way down to $0 down payment $88 a month. We still said no and he even recommended faking my grandma's signature to get a better deal.
He kept saying “before I clean the carpet I need to know if you're buying the Kirby or not, that way I know if I should really clean it good for you.” So when he finally got it in his head we weren’t buying anything, he did the carpets, absolutely horrible. He missed so many spots in the house and left it looking like **. I thought this was a company that did 2 free cleanings and then after I could maybe see if I want their service for any other needs. But no, this place is a total waste of time and not worth it. They will do your carpet horrible if you don’t buy their almost $3,000 Kirby.
Hello Kurt, we are disappointed to read about your experience with an independent distributor recently. Could you please private message us a good number to reach you at so we can gather more information about this distributor? If you would rather, you can always call us directly at 1-800-494-8586. We appreciate you bringing this to our attention and look forward to hearing from you. - The Kirby Company
Kirby expert review by ConsumerAffairs
The Kirby Company is a division of the Scott Fetzer Company, which was founded in 1914. It is named after Jim Kirby, who designed the company's early vacuum cleaners.
Scheduled demonstrations: Potential buyers can schedule demonstrations to help them decide whether they want to own Kirby vacuums.
Useful tools: Kirby home care systems have tools that let them convert into everything from air pumps to carpet shampoo systems.
Customer service: Kirby offers a wide range of customer services, including online how-to videos and phone support.
Limited warranty: All Kirby vacuums come with three-year limited warranties.
Maintenance services: Rebuild and maintenance services are available to lengthen the life of Kirby vacuums.
Best for: Kirby's flexible vacuum system makes it useful for homeowners, renters, landlords and drivers.
Kirby Vacuum Cleaners Company Information
- Company Name:
- Year Founded:
- 1920 West 114th Street
- Postal Code:
- United States
- (800) 494-8586