Kirby Vacuum Cleaners - Are They Worth The Money?

For over 90 years, Kirby Vacuum Cleaners have been sold through in-home demonstrations by an authorized Kirby salesman. It’s the only way you can purchase a Kirby vacuum cleaner and maintain its warranty.

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The look of the Kirby vacuum is unmistakable. But while it may look like its early cousins, the technology behind the Kirby sure has changed since they were first introduced in the early 1900s.

Things like the addition of TechDrive Variable Power Assist has made vacuuming almost effortless; Kirby’s patented bag system, rated HEPA 11, filters more than 99% of particles as small as .3 microns including household allergens; the basic power unit now has a stronger, more durable fan, redesigned with the help of NASA.

Kirby’s complete line of Home Care Products offers tools, accessories, and cleaning supplies that can tackle tough cleaning problems on carpets, upholstered furniture, appliances, and other hard surface areas. Whether you’re battling dust, mold, bacteria, allergens, stains, or stagnant smells, the Kirby Company has a product designed to meet your toughest challenge.


Approved by Experts

The Carpet and Rug Institute (CRI) of Dalton, Georgia, approved the Kirby home care system for maintaining indoor air quality under its Green Label Testing Program. According to CRI, "The CRI Indoor Air Quality Green Label Testing Program identifies cleaners that do each of three tasks well: removes soil; contains dust within the filtration bag and the machine itself, effectively keeping it out of the air; and doesn’t damage the carpet and helps keep its appearance looking good. The Kirby Company excels in all three of these categories."

Be aware that the Kirby Company considers any of their vacuums purchased at retail stores, or on the internet, as not new and are therefore not covered by the Kirby Factory Warranty or Rebuild Plan.

Fortunately, many Kirby vacuum cleaner accessories, bags, filters, and parts can be purchased at a local retailer or online at


Kirby Vacuum Cleaner Models

Kirby SentriaKirby Sentria

The latest model from Kirby is billed as, "12 Separate Machines in One Easy-to-Use Unit" because it easily converts to a Deep-Cleaning Upright, a Carpet Shampoo System, Canister Vacuum, Floor Buffer, and more.

Kirby Ultimate GKirby Ultimate G

The Ultimate G incorporates Kirby’s latest technologies to tackle all of your cleaning jobs. It has good airflow, Certified HEPA Micron Magic Filtration, and Kirby’s patented Tech Drive.

Kirby SentriaKirby Ultimate Diamond

The latest model from Kirby is billed as, "12 Separate Machines in One Easy-to-Use Unit" because it easily converts to a Deep-Cleaning Upright, a Carpet Shampoo System, Canister Vacuum, Floor Buffer, and more.

Kirby SentriaKirby G6 / Gsix

The latest model from Kirby is billed as, "12 Separate Machines in One Easy-to-Use Unit" because it easily converts to a Deep-Cleaning Upright, a Carpet Shampoo System, Canister Vacuum, Floor Buffer, and more.


Consumer Reviews of Kirby Vacuum Cleaners

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  1. Matthew Christensen says

    My mother owned a Kirby for around 20 years and never had a problem with it. 3 years ago Kirby showed up at my door and did a demonstration and I purchased it. Beyond have to buy replacement bags and 2 belts which are dirt cheap my Kirby has ran perfect. I’ll admit their starting price is high, but for a lifetime warranty and for how strong it is I wouldn’t have changed anything about my purchase.

    The Vacuum is heavy but with the new power-drive that moves the Vacuum for you it’s not noticeable unless you need to clean the stairs. Dyson might be cheaper but it will not last 50 years.

  2. I purchased a Kirby, like the others, my Mom had one, & it seemed have lasted her a lifetime. But reminiscing on the good old days and the reality will surely set you back a couple of thousands bucks, I promise you that is not buyers regret, it was a stupid purchase, one I hope the readers won’t make. If you are a glutton for punishment, get one from the Goodwill or Craigslist. Even w/ the tech drive, this baby is heavy, don’t use it on steps, you will throw your back out, permanently & trying to change the accessories, is harder. I lost count of how many times I have viewed the video, hoping I would eventually become proficient, well needless to say I’m gonna have to review it again, I got this thing off and I can’t get it back on, just to use an attachment you got to be a muscle bound engineer. I wish I knew then what I know now, the offer to clean my carpets would have been met w/ a resounding loud scream of NO!

  3. Lisa Palevo says

    I purchased a Kirby sentria vacuum last year when my son was trying to sell them.. I love my Kirby it cleans great.. I don’t care for the distributor here in Sherman Texas.. He never returns calls.. I had to have my cord replaced took it to the vacuum sales and service center although it has a lifetime warranty.. I guess I need to look in my book for who I can contact to replace it free the cord cost me 35 plus tax.. No other problems.. It does clean better than most other vacuums.. I’m happy with it although it was expensive it will last so I guess I’ll end up with my moneys worth.. Just wish the salesman was reliable or could find a good one..

  4. The Kirby can’t really be compared to any other cleaner because it is so far more advanced than anything else on the market today. If you want to waste your electricity and vacuum with your orecks and dysons, replacing them every year…then go ahead, they only pick up surface dirt and emit tons of allergens back into the air. I’m so sick of people saying how heavy it is, it has tech drive and unlike ALL other vacuums, nothing on it is made from plastic. They have a life time warranty and will last you 20-30 years, so damn right their expensive. I would never waste my time with anything, anyone who says different is clear misinformed and ignorant.

  5. Mark James says

    I bought an Oreck Platinum with a 27 year warranty for 700 bucks and it only picks up surface dirt. I vacuum over the same area with my new Kirby and it finds dirt the Oreck would never pick up. Side by side comparison is like night and day. Don’t waist your time with cheap models. Buy just one vacuum for your whole life. You won’t have embedded dirt in your rugs every again.

  6. Lisa russell says

    Best thing i ever did was get one! i hate when people write about how they hate when the sales people come into their home, i LOVED HOW THEY SHOWED ME ALL THE DIRT ECT.. was not picking up! and the mattress was incredible i will never ever use any other vacuum again! theirs no comparison! it’s already saved me thousands of dollars from replacing my carpets, stairs and getting my carpets shampooed the list goes on and on…. thank you kirby! best money i ever spent!

  7. I purchased a Kirby Sentra. It is a very good vacuum. They aren’t as heavy as you think they are. They pick up a lot of dirt that nothing compares to at all. The down fall would have to be the price of it most defiantly. But it is something that you will have for a lifetime. It is American made, which is rare. I think the best feature on it is that it is diverse you can use it on any flooring and there is an attachment for it. You can even do your furniture with it. Previously I have a vacuum that did just carpet then I had to buy something to use on the stairs and little places and then something for my hard floors. This is like an all in one you can even shampoo with it. It is so easy to push I have to keep my three year old off of it. Once you turn it on and put in drive she wants to take it over.

  8. over priced and hard to use.If you are an older person save your money and get a cheaper lighter vacuum that you can handle..The attachments are hard to use,you have to get book out to do any change .Hire a shampoo your rugs and furniture you will be glad you did..Enjoy your time travel,enjoy your Kids and Grandkids,forget about the major cleaning.

  9. Our experience with a Kirby was brief, but I believe we got a good idea of its worth. We had a Kirby salesman come to our house. She was not pushy at all, but wanted to show us the features of this vacuum, which was nothing short of amazing. The suction is by far greater than any vacuum Ive used. We are both engineers, so I did my best to make sure the demonstration wasn’t a set up to con us. With the full metal chassis, I believe the stories on the internet of 25 yr old Kirbys. We bought it at the end. We used it for a day, going over areas that had already been cleaned recently and watching how insufficient our old vacuum was. Only then did we realize that since we were building a new house, we should consider a central vac instead to add value to the house, so we returned it. I believe we’d have kept the Kirby if the situation was a bit different.

  10. I used to sell Kirby’s and I have always owned one. Once I went to a new house that just bought an electrolux. I first vacuumed with there vacuum and then with the Kirby. With a new house you would not think that there would be much dirt. But the Kirby did pull alot of things up. Mostly pieces of wood and debri that the carpet was laid over. It pull the material through the carpet but did not hurt the carpet. I was amazed and the owner wished he could return his electrolux.

  11. I was surprised as heck when a Kirby sales team shoed up at our door! I thought door to door vacuum sales was a dead art. Anyway, after the demonstration, and some aggressive salemanship, we traded in the Dyson and bought the Sentria. We’d known for years the Kirby, like the original E’Lux, Rainbow, FilterQueen, Compact, was a robust and long lasting unit, but the $1300 sales price gave us some buyers remorse, until we began using it. This will be the last vacuum we’ll buy.

    Other than a faulty switch on the powerhead repaired at no charge, the Sentria has worked flawlessly!!! Our carpets are cleaner and feel better, the floors are super clean… yes, it’s heavy, but very well made and easy to use. It picks up dirt and keeps in t in the HEPA bag…since it works so well, we go through a bag about once a month. And it does a great job on the matresses, you actually sleep better after its been vacuumed!!!

    The shampoo attachment was tricky at first, but once it was in place, it did a great job of our downstairs carpets.

    After 4 years, we have no regrets, some broken pieces: I stepped on the hose and broke it; the sofa attachment that got chewed up by the dog; but, it works great!!! Now I know why the old ones kept their vacuums for many years, even outliving them in some cases, to be handed down and rebuilt!!!! Try that with a Dyson!!!

    Cons? Yes, a bit heavy, the nearest factory authorized service center is not nearby, bags, and parts, have to be ordered direct from Kirby. And you will go through a few hoses in the machine’s lifetime.

    In short, we like it very much and highly recommend it!!!!

  12. I recently bought a Kirby sentria and I has been the best vacuum I have ever owned ! I have 3 cats and 3 long haired dogs and the kirby goes right on through everything with no problems at all . The attachments are easy to change and doesn’t take long to change them . People complain about it’s hard to change them because they are just to lazy to do it . I will never have to buy another vacuum ! I shampoo my carpets with it about twice a month and it cleans well … I vacuum once every day and i fill up a bag every two weeks but after all I know my carpet it clean when it needs a new bag very two weeks. I have no complaints about the machine and i would recommend it .

  13. How much did you pay for it?

  14. I bought a Kirby years ago when my son was little because he had horrible asthma. It has been one of the worst purchases I have ever made. The thing is too heavy to move around easily and the belt burns out ever other time I use it. I can never get the belt back on right and get it put together withour help. The things does not pick up all the dirt. I usually have to walk back through and pick all of the bigger pieces that it could not manage to pick up.The belts and bags are very difficult to find since Kirby has no stores…this would be nice for service! I definitely can’t figure out how to use the carpet shampoo attachment. I have severely broken a toe when I backed the vacuum over it. For the fortune I paid, the thing should be easier to use and work better. I think this is a HUGE scam!

  15. Is a Kirby really worth the price? Salesman was here last night would not take no for an answer. I have sent back paperwotk to cancel the sale. My husband thinks it is worth the money… but I am the one who has to pay for it. I am 6 on disability and regrets purchase money too tight.

  16. I bought a Kirby Diamond after having had another Kirby for quite a few years. I am having a lot of trouble with this one in re-attachment the carpet attachment (with the brush and rollers) after using the tool attachment. I can’t seem to get the belt to work correctly so the brushes will rotate.

    Any thoghts?

    • The new Kirbys can be a bit tricky. Alignment of the belt, carpet head, and motor must be just right or the vacuum will not function properly, as you have discovered.

      It sounds like you may not have disengaged the belt lifter properly before removing/re-attaching the head. Reference your owner’s manual for detailed instructions on doing this properly, or check out this video –

  17. Denise Mangum says

    I wish I would have read these reviews before my purchase. This is by far the most expensive and difficult to use vacuum I have ever owned. It’s heavy and the attachments are a pain to use having to dissemble and reassemble with ever use. I also found the shampooer reduclious with the foam and small tray, trying to remove it and make it to the sink without spilling. Neither the vacuum or shampooer clean well at all. I find myself picking up stuff off the carpet and hard floor by hand or having to use my old fashion broom! I absolutely hate the Kirby Sentria that cost me a small fortune. I can’t even find anyone to buy it used at a quarter of the price I paid!

    • The very first Kirby I had (which lasted over 30 years) was a dream – easy to use, the vacuum head was easy to get on and off, and the attachments were all effective (I never did use the shampoo attachment).

      Then I got a new one several years ago and it is a nightmare to use. The vacuum head is almost impossible to get back on correctly for those us not mechanically inclined.

      So my solution is to never take off the vacuum head. I use it for all the carpet. I bought a Dyson with attachments which I use on my wood and tile floors and use the the attachments from the Dyson.

      The Kirby works well on the carpets, but it is an expensive price to pay for a one-trick pony. Never again.

  18. Kari Diaz says

    I am not understanding the difficulties with the attachments. During the demo, my 4 year old successfully changed it from the shampooer back to the vacuum head. Now, I understand my 4 year old has a vacuum obsession, but honestly, who doesn’t have the strength of a 4 year old? While we were in another room with the paperwork, he was having a blast moving it room to room, changing out the little demo pads every time he found dirt. He actually cried when we put the bag on. He wanted to keep that little demo attachment with the pads. We bought the vacuum, and will now enjoy watching my son use it to death. If they last as long as people say, he may just get it as a wedding present 20 or so years down the road.

  19. Just about the worst purchase I’ve ever made, no, on second thought, it is the worst I ever made. Heavy, can’t get under anything with it, hard to maneuver around anything. As much as these cost, there should be a cord retractor, it should be able to fold down to get under furniture……… many things that should be, but aren’t. Nothing but a pain! The money spent on one of these would be better spent over the years on less expensive vacuums that you actually can use.
    I only wish I’d used it more quickly and filed for a return on it, and get a refund. Stuck with the damn thing now.
    Can’t give them away on Craig’s list, I doubt even the thrift shops don’t want them!

    • Patricia Tucker says

      I have to agree with you 100%. I was ‘talked” into one and have been sorry ever since. It’s the most inconvenient vacuum I’ve ever used. Have to have that bag of attachment with you to use them. They should have been attached to the cleaner like all of my other ones was. Had to go to the internet to remind me how to change from regular to using the hose. It was very very expensive and not worth it. Too heavy to move up and down steps. All around a pain in the neck o use.

  20. Their is a switch at the bottom of the handle, switch it to the middle position. This allows you to go under furniture, tables,etc. For those who complained about stairs, if you have a new kirby, avalir, you put the new zippy brush on your wands with the elbow piece which will clean your stairs without every walking up or down them. For those who have problems with belts burning, raise the height all the way up and than take it down one by one until you hear the sound change, go one below that and your belt should last for years. Also you have three belts, one on the kirby, the ms3 shampooer as well as a spare on the duster brush.

  21. Okey doke. (Kirby salesman-2 years)
    To get under furniture with a newer kirby, their is a switch at the bottom, slide it to the middle position to allow the handle to go all the way down, the left spot is to help you carry it and the right spot is for shampoo. For stairs, if you have a sentria or Avalon you should also have a zipp brush, place this on the elbow piece then both wands as well. It will clean your stairs without you ever climbing up and down and is less than 2 lbs.
    For belts that are burning up, raise your power heads height all the way up, than take it down one by one until you hear a change in sound, go one more below that and you have created a true vacuum like that of space which is what makes it crazy strong and allows the belt to last for years. Also, when you purchase a Kirby you have 3 belts, one on the power head, one on the ms3 shapooer, as well as one on the duster brush.

  22. I cannot comment on sales techniques as the two distributors were so far away from me I think they didn’t seem it worthwhile to come to me, neither returned my call or setup an appointment to come see me, i explained i had a 36 year old Kirby i had restored but i didn’t have accessories so i figured id just opt in for the new model, I’m pretty direct and i assume they caught on to the fact i wasn’t going to pay 2 grand for one.

    Anyways on to the Kirby, the vacuum itself is the best home cleaning product made, many compare these to others as a Cadillac vacuum, this isn’t true, its actually the Rolls Royce of vacuum cleaners.

    I had a shark, poor coverage area even though it did have decent suction, the accessories were all but useless with the exception of the extended long thin tool, i would most of the times just use the hose open ended and the hose fought with me to return to the vacuum and the vacuum always tipped over.

    The Kirby is a solid metal machine, my old one works much better and so does my new Avalir 2 and it has better features.

    For people who don’t like the vacuum, a lot of this is due to not using it properly, first setting the head adjustment is a MAJOR factor in how these work, i lift mine all the way up then click it down one by one until i hear a pitch change in the motor then knock it down one more notch, this will vacuum everything not glued into your carpet out and will pull construction dust from beneath the carpet also. for those complaining its not picking up larger things what you have to do is raise the head high enough the vacuum wont push them out of the way, this is not really what its designed for but it works like a charm, a Kirby is designed to deep clean carpet, and no other vacuum can compare.

    Changing out parts takes just a little more time but its worth it, first just vacuum the whole house, including the hardwood floors, you can use the main head just raised a bit above the floor or the duster roller in the alternate head that has the ability to swap all kinds of rollers out (the head is one of the parts of the shampoo system) anyways after you have done that pop the handle off, and click the back in the connector on the main body, the bag will sort of bend over, this is not a problem at all, put the main hose on, then go around with the attachments to get the rest of the house clean, i purchased an extra pipe so i have 3 instead of two, the wand will reach my 10 foot ceiling holding my arm at chest level and since the attachments are plastic its light weight.

    All of the tools are very useful. i also purchased a two foot flexible tiny tool that will get under my appliances well. with the basic brush head the Kirby cleaned all of the baseboards and corners and made them look brand new. there were two corners around my tub that had dirt and grime in the corners that the Kirby removed 100%. I have yet to shampoo the carpet, or use the tile and grout brush. i did use the floor cleaner and it worked very well, you might think oh i could just push an easy mop around, but think of this, the speed the mop roller is spinning is equivalent to a hundred passes with a push mop. i used the miracle shine, this was a little messy and i had to learn how to do it myself but it does actually shine the floors and the shine actually stays on and doesn’t come off (this is why it was messy, i had to clean the head out and that was kind of a pain, but this isn’t a process you would ever do on a regular basis, its more of a way to restore your hardwood floor without going the next step and having it re-stained)

    Anyways the vacuum has so much power i think it could chomp up the shark and bag it for disposal. they will not only last 20-30 years, but will last forever, the machine is designed to be repairable, you can replace the motor and turbine and all of the parts, the 20-30 years is just with proper maintenance you can do at home easily.

    I had to purchase mine online since i couldn’t get one in the store or from a sales distributor so i don’t get the super warranty but that’s not an issue as i can rebuild just about anything.

    Attachments and replacement parts are very cheap and can be purchased on Amazon and they are Kirby original parts not knock offs.

    At any rate the 34 year old heritage vacuum kept the carpet in great condition, the new avalir 2 got the rest of my house entirely clean as new. These are the best vacuums ever built, I see them tossed out because they are 40 years old and only need a new roller, belt, and bag to work like brand new, you can polish them to shine them back up too so if you want a great vacuum but don’t want to buy a new one, pickup any no matter how old, remove the head, look at the turbine fan, and kick it on, if the motor spins smooth and quiet and still has suction its in perfect condition. you can easily get an old one working for 30 dollars.

    All of the complaints i see about these vacuums almost always amount up to sales practices, not maintaining them, complaining about the extra 2 minutes to convert it into canister mode (btw it will follow you around effortlessly if it doesn’t have to go over a bump) and also the weight, lets face it ok its a little heavier but now drives itself, its not like mowing the yard, small price to pay for its ability and anyone should be able to use it well unless they are handicapped.

    I’ve ranted on about this too long now, but i want people to know how good these vacuums really are, they don’t sell them in department stores as they would have to sell them cheaper, but from what i gather if you keep refusing the price the salespeople will sell it to you for a pretty decent price. I wish they would sell these in a different manner since they are a high priced product and buying them online is a bit worrisome, but i had no problems with mine.

    I forgot to mention it can even be used as a sander and a spray paint gun ha!

    My website below has some videos about my Kirby i post during using it for new interesting things as i go along but is not an official Kirby site and doesn’t represent the company just my thoughts on the vacuums.

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