Thread Number: 36557  /  Tag: Brand New Vacuum Cleaners
Vacuum tech ama on reddit opinions
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Post# 391501   5/3/2018 at 18:27 by MapleBanjo (Montana )        

Has anyone read the various AMAs (ask me anything) with the vacuum cleaner repairman on reddit? If so I was wondering what your guy's opinions were for his opinions on best vacuums. He's pretty adament that kirby's are overpriced junk that break fans all the time, don't filter air, and are too heavy. He also says they aren't capable of a true deep clean like a riccar or miele is with their higher suction. This seems to be pretty much the opposite consensus regarding kirbys with you guys here. Any thoughts?


Post# 391508 , Reply# 1   5/3/2018 at 21:52 by kirby519 (Wisconsin)        

Probably sells Riccar and Miele vacuums. Most vacuum shops won't recommend a Kirby. Unless it is misused or abused not much to repair or need of purchasing a new machine. Kirbys are far to reliable for repair shops to deal with. Mostly sell bags and belts for them.

We had a vacuum repair shop run by two women. They hated working on Kirbys and would try to sell you something else in their shop.

Post# 391513 , Reply# 2   5/3/2018 at 23:21 by huskyvacs (Northern Indiana, United States)        

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I never heard about him, but I think he's full of it. Seeing as he was a auto mechanic and technician, and then a hair stylist, and then a vacuum repairman? That's worrying. "Career hopping" so to speak. Not someone who has been in vacuum repair for a lifetime and garnered a lot of knowledge. He just went through the standard sales routine about Miele and Sebo that vacuum shops give you when you apply for the job and went on with his day of telling people to throw out all their old outdated vacuums and get the best Miele and Sebo and Riccar vacuums.

When asked about Rainbow, Kirby, or Filter Queen, he just responded with a snarky "There's this new thing called "The 21st Century". You should look into it."

Again when asked about a Rainbow: "Toss that dinosaur to the recyclers. At best, the Rainbow would pull half the suction of a Miele, and be far harder and more expensive to use."

Like mostly everyone on the entire userbase of reddit, they are likely very obstinate and inexperienced on their given subject and want to prove to everyone they know things so they sit on reddit for some hours posting whatever they just learned to people looking for a simple place to get an answer by someone, regardless if it's true or not. It's the equivalent of asking the kid clocking in his 20 hour week in the hardware store on how to strip and stain a deck.

They probably got brainwashed on some on the brands of vacuums they follow and they probably believed some fancy corporate sales flyer that sold them on a plastivac. He does seem to pump those Miele canister vacs so much, I guess that is what he has been led to believe. It's like a drinking game - take a drink every time he says "Miele" in those AmA's!

The weight of a Kirby is attributed to the power drive system on the Kirby and the build quality of the motor and their thick metal construction built to endure. Those 90's self-propelled Hoover Windtunnels are just as much of a boat anchor as the Kirby is - odd nobody complains about those?

Also the fan quality of a Kirby is a null point because it is dependent on how you run the vacuum and if you abuse it or not. Any janitorial job will tell you first off the bat to inspect the floor prior to vacuuming to look for any large foreign objects or materials. Makes sense to do that at home, right? I've never needed a fan change on my 2002 Ultimate G.

Also I find it funny that in one AMA he tells you to avoid washing vacuums with soap because it attracts dirt and makes them get gunked up faster - but then in the next AMA he tells you to have your carpets professionally cleaned yearly, who use....guess what? Lots of soap. Where does it go when you vacuum? Into your vacuum. It also gums up your carpeting to boot.

I also got a good laugh at him saying Kirby "having poor suction and being overly complicated". Right, a vacuum that has no "quadruple helix gas fusion turbine powered root cyclones" and has never changed its design in 60 years has bad suction and is too complicated? Oooooookay then.

Also for someone that knows 'so much' about vacuums, his youtube account is pretty pitiful and vacant:

My recommendation: get some of the real experts here on this site to teach that guy something so he can stop sucking people into his deep space Miele wormhole.

Post# 391517 , Reply# 3   5/4/2018 at 00:58 by MapleBanjo (Montana )        

That was honestly my thought too. Its just some shop manager trying to push his brands. Im not saying those vacuums aren't good, but to say that kirbys are best used as boat anchors is kinda ridiculous. I've grown up with kirbys and old Electroluxs and recently bought a g4 as my first personal vacuum since moving out for college. I got tired of my roomates garbage dyson and found a g4 for 35 dollars. Its literally as old as me and only needed a new brush roll. Works as good as my moms sentria.

Post# 391520 , Reply# 4   5/4/2018 at 02:15 by huskyvacs (Northern Indiana, United States)        

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Yeah I have a....1984 I think, Legend II that I recently got and even after being flooded out and not even being repaired it still works and will lift the carpet up. The motor has more of a sewing machine hum than the roar of the Ultimate G I'm used to, but I will hopefully get it all cleaned up this summer and some TLC.

Post# 391522 , Reply# 5   5/4/2018 at 09:09 by bryan1980 (Texas)        

Well, I'd agree with him that Kirby's are overpriced, at least when they're new. And they are not the best for people with severe allergies, since they're not sealed units. But, I don't think any clean-air machine is going to beat them for deep-cleaning. There's nothing that matches their airflow.

The brands he's pushing are great brands, but not everyone has $800+ to spend on a vacuum. For $100 bucks or less, used Kirbys are everywhere, easy to fix, and a much better option than any big box store vacuum at around the same price.

Post# 391533 , Reply# 6   5/4/2018 at 16:08 by vacuumdevil (Denver)        

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There are quite a few vacuum Tech's on Reddit. (Myself included)

I generally agree that Kirby's are overpriced new . Especially considering the German offerings for a quarter of the price ,2-3 X the performance.
At best if you're on a budget pick one up used for cheap.
As far as the average person's concerned.

As far as vacuum collecting goes no collection would be complete without a few Kirby's or all of them 😀
I have a special place in my heart for Kirby's.

Post# 391537 , Reply# 7   5/4/2018 at 16:49 by MapleBanjo (Montana )        

What do you mean by better performing though? Obviously those German vacs are better with hoses and filtration, but a lot of people seem to say that bulky direct airs clean the carpet best. I'm a broke college kid though so a 35 dollar kirby is probably as good as gets for me.

Post# 391538 , Reply# 8   5/4/2018 at 17:19 by blackheart (North Dakota)        
2-3x the performance of Kirby?

Elaborate. In what way do these German machines out perform Kirby 2-3x?

Post# 391540 , Reply# 9   5/4/2018 at 18:40 by vacuumdevil (Denver)        

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Well if you measure suction at the hose on a Kirby and then measure it at the hose of a Miele the Kirby will get about 30 inches of water lift" suction"
The Miele will get between 85 and 100 inches of water lift.
Of course those numbers will increase about 20% across the board when you're not measuring 1 mile plus above sea level which is where all of my testing has been done.

You could also take the fact that I vacuum with a long life belt will have far more consistent cleaning than a vacuum with a rubber Stretch Belt that needs to be changed constantly.

Post# 391541 , Reply# 10   5/4/2018 at 18:41 by vacuumdevil (Denver)        

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@ MapleBanjo when you're first starting out in life a $35 Kirby is a great first vacuum to have just keep plenty of supplies on hand.

Post# 391543 , Reply# 11   5/4/2018 at 18:48 by blackheart (North Dakota)        

Well my ball guage has read about 36 for Kirby and a shaky 90 for Miele. However as the collector community knows it is not suction that cleans, but airflow. If we compare Airflow at the base of the machines we get about 138 from a Kirby Avalir, 53.95 from a "german" upright (on smooth) and 67.31 from a "german" canister. and while it's true that a stretch belt will eventually cause a loss of agitation It's safe to say that Kirby's agitation is far more powerful. I am not saying the german brand is bad, I quite enjoy my canister, but in terms of pure carpet cleaning power it cannot compare.

Post# 391545 , Reply# 12   5/4/2018 at 19:04 by vacuumdevil (Denver)        

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@blackheart both suction and air flow are equally as important . Agitation can be important on carpet. Many vacuums have shown that lack of any brush roller can still clean carpet with the right amount of air movement.

I do understand that there's a certain sector vacuum collectors that believe Kirby's are the end-all to vacuums.
Unfortunately as cool as Kirby's are that's just not true.

Post# 391546 , Reply# 13   5/4/2018 at 19:17 by blackheart (North Dakota)        
Suction v airflow

I don't believe that. I do recognize some suction as being necessary as it's the "force" behind the movement of air and without it any vacuum would be extremely prone to clogging. It's needed to be able to force air through a vacuum's airpath as well as force air through the back of carpeting that said a vacuum with 140 cfm and 40" (like a bag on the back style Eureka) Would clean carpeting better than a machine with 40cfm and 140"

Post# 391572 , Reply# 14   5/5/2018 at 11:04 by sptyks (Skowhegan, Maine)        

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It is a known fact that Direct Air vacuums like Kirby and Royal will deep clean a carpet better tan any Bypass Air machine including Miele or Sebo.


I have a 10 amp (1200 watt) Royal Everlast 8300 with 142 CFM that I guarantee will not only outclean a Kirby Avalir but any other vacuum cleaner you want to put against it.





Post# 391576 , Reply# 15   5/5/2018 at 12:37 by dysonman1 (undisclosed)        

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Has anyone else noticed that many of the so-called 'experts' on some of the self-help groups (and there have been many over the past 20 years) have very little actual knowledge? Many are kids pretending to be something they're not. One forum (defunct for more than a decade now) featured a very old man from Las Vegas who went on and on about Hoover Tempo being the best. Carmine was very, very old then, so I'm sure the grave called his name years ago. He hated Dysons. But he always wanted to argue with anyone about vacuums. He also believed people should go to Wal-Mart to buy their vacuums.

Post# 391584 , Reply# 16   5/5/2018 at 16:49 by n0oxy (Saint Louis Missouri, United States)        
rainbow obsolete?

That is a joke, whoever said that has no idea what they are talking about. The current model Rainbow uses a brushless motor, that technology is fairly recent, and in fact more and more appliances are starting to use it.
Regarding suction and airflow, you need some of both in order to clean well, they don't have to be equal but airflow is probably the more important of the two. I'm not an upright person, I much prefer canisters, from what I have seen the Kirbys do clean well and are well made. If I liked uprights I would probably want one, but uprights just do not appeal to me. A new Kirby is quite expensive because of how they are sold, Rainbows are the same way along with a few other water filtration machines. If someone is looking for a new water filtration vac, I would suggest looking at the Sirena or Quantum, they clean just as well and are much cheaper.

Post# 391592 , Reply# 17   5/6/2018 at 08:58 by mariotron (Texas )        

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I pretty are Kirbys sealed machines. There's a gasket at the base where the nozzle attaches to, one where the emp-tor attaches to, the rubber boot where the outer bag attaches to the emp-tor and the membrane (Rubber?) where the filter bag attaches to the adapter.
They're filtration is rated gold by the CRI too.

Now unless you mean the cooling fan which releases carbon dust but I don't think there's anything wrong with because I have pretty bad dust allergies and it doesn't bother me.

Post# 391593 , Reply# 18   5/6/2018 at 09:44 by sptyks (Skowhegan, Maine)        

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The newest Kirby Sentria's and  Avalir's are considered to be sealed machines. They do have a Gold rating for emissions from CRI.


  The minute amount carbon dust emitted from the motor cooling exhaust is considered to be harmless by CRI.





Post# 391594 , Reply# 19   5/6/2018 at 10:08 by vacuumdevil (Denver)        

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@sptyks again that's a opinion!
I believe we have had this discussion before.
Many bypass Vacuums do clean better . Even Royal realize that and made the power cast which cleans better then the previous direct air machines.
I stated before Kirby's have their place but for the most part are not practical in today's market.

Also why the Kirby bag filters well, it is not considered a sealed system in any sort of way. Especially with how the fan gasket rots . The cooling fan circulates dust. picture is an example of that .

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Post# 391624 , Reply# 20   5/7/2018 at 01:52 by tolivac (Greenville,NC)        

Powercast vs Royal metal direct air machines---Afraid NOT!!!The direct airs are MUCH better,more effic ient and have larger bags.The Powercast FAILED-and it was just too heavy and fragile.Have two of them.
Both my Royals and Kirbys are sealed-the IQ Air particle meter reads zero on either if the synthetic cloth bags are used.I measured at several areas of their bags and got ZERO!
Oh yes-the Powercasts could trip 15A breakers,too-even if they are the only appliance used on that circuit.The Powercasts were a handsome machines---nothing else.The Powercast needed a powerdrive to make it easier to push.A cleaning service in town here tried them-PROMPLY returned the Powercasts because of weight,small bag capacity(No synthetic bags available)and they were fragile.The cord hooks and handles broke.That cleaning service went back to their Sanitaires!

Post# 391630 , Reply# 21   5/7/2018 at 08:42 by bryan1980 (Texas)        
Wow, heated topic!

I've seen vaccumdevil's particle counter video of a Kirby, and yes, it does read a "0" at the bag, but not at the little vent on the motor housing. That's most definitely the motor fan stirring up dust. And, if your rug nozzle to fan gasket is dried-out, it's going to leak there, too. Not to mention if your fill tube is split anywhere, or isn't properly connected to the Emp-tor. Lots of areas for potential leakage.

None of this means that I'm getting rid of my Kirbys; I use them because I like using them. The seals/fill tubes on all of them are all in good shape, and I could care less about whatever dust the motor fan kicks up. If I ever start to have problems with allergies, I'll look in to getting something like a Miele or Sebo upright (or even better, a central vac perhaps). I love Kirby's, but they are not the "end all/be all" of vacuums.

Post# 391638 , Reply# 22   5/7/2018 at 13:24 by sptyks (Skowhegan, Maine)        

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I'm sorry, but you just don't know what you are talking about: I can see in your profile that you do not even own any G series Kirby's or 10 amp Royals. The royal 880 that you list is an older 4 amp model that does not even come close to the 10 amp Royal Everlast in cleaning performance.


And, Just like any other fine piece of  machinery or vacuum cleaner, The Kirby's and Royals do need  periodic maintenance on gaskets, fill tubes, and brushrolls to maintain top performance. Believe it or not all vacuum cleaner motors will accumulate dust over several years of use. This does not mean that the Kirby motor spews dust everywhere while you vacuum. I have taken apart many Kirby motors over the years and I have never seen the amount of dust shown in the BOGUS photo you posted.


Also, there is no such thing as a Bypass Air vacuum that will clean better than a Kirby G series or 10 amp  Royal metal upright! The Royal Powercast was a horrible failure. It was the heaviest cleaner on the market and it's performance was much worse than the 10 amp Royals or G series Kirby's.


If CRI, the foremost authority on all vacuum cleaners says that Kirby is tops in it's class for cleaning performance and emissions, then that says it all. I suggest you get your facts straight before posting any more of your biased and misguided information on this forum.



Post# 391639 , Reply# 23   5/7/2018 at 14:18 by vacuumdevil (Denver)        
how many times are we going to have this conversation?

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@sptyks I've worked in a vacuum shop full-time since 2006 I have plenty experience with the generation series of Kirby Vacuums.
The power cast was definitely a failure but you asked for a vacuum that would out clean a Kirby that was portable bypass system. There are plenty of other vacuums I could have named.

There are plenty of vacuums on the CRI list that are ranked the same as Kirby that are bypass machines. So I guess you just proved yourself wrong.

We've had this conversation before if you recall.
I know it is in your opinion that Kirby's are the best vacuum ever and that will never change which is okay !

That doesn't make Kirby's being the end all to vacuums fact.

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Post# 391642 , Reply# 24   5/7/2018 at 16:02 by Royalfan (Chicago)        

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You must understand the obsession that comes with autism @vacuumdevil

@sptyks Can't help himself but obsess over Kirby's.

Post# 391643 , Reply# 25   5/7/2018 at 16:33 by Mike811 (Finland)        

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I really like my Kirby G6, but it doesn't work for all types of carpets/rugs. Kirby is best if you have flow trough high pile carpet. Kirby is clearly designed to pull air through the carpet and if the carpet is rubber backed it causes problems. I noticed this in my latest "deepclean" test. I tested Dyson Dc40 mkII, Sebo Felix and Kirby G6 (latest stiff brushroll). I was blown away that the Felix was the best. I used a lot of time to get the test accurate as possible.
So because Kirby has high airflow and low suction it couldn't keep up with the Felix. But this was tested on the medium pile rug (rubber backed).

Post# 391644 , Reply# 26   5/7/2018 at 16:45 by bryan1980 (Texas)        

I just took my Legend II apart not that long ago, and the internals were covered with dust, so I don't believe vacuumdevil "faked" that video. The motor fan can't help but pull it in along with the air.

I like my Kirby's, but I'm no fanboy. I recognize that they have their faults, and I choose to live with them. I don't feel the need to defend them on a forum, because I recognize that there are vacuums around that are just as good or better.

Post# 391652 , Reply# 27   5/7/2018 at 20:29 by huskyvacs (Northern Indiana, United States)        
@ Mike811

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All vacuums are having trouble now with rubber backed thick plush carpets, it is not a problem exclusive to Kirby.

Post# 391659 , Reply# 28   5/7/2018 at 23:36 by Mike811 (Finland)        

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My rug is medium pile and not so thick. Sebo Felix is easy to use on it without problems, but the Kirby sucks the rug to the nozzle and it becomes very hard to use. It just tries constantly drag the rug with it.
Kirby rely to the airflow, suction is very low. High air flow vacuums need a flow through rug to work right.
What I meant is that Kirby would most likely won the test if it had change to do it on the flow through rug.
I have higher pile flow through rug and Kirby shines on it. Not other vacuums what I have can match the Kirby on it :)
Here you can see the problem:

Post# 391668 , Reply# 29   5/8/2018 at 06:25 by tolivac (Greenville,NC)        

The Orecks do a good job on the sealed back and glued down carpets-that's is what they were designed for.The Oreck floor nozzle doesn't seal to the carpet as the Kirby,Royal,Tacony tandem air machines do.If I have to use the Kirby,Royal on sealed carpet-you have to raise the nozzle just to the point where the brush just touches the carpet-no further down.The variable height Royals are good for this as opposed to the "Aut-To" matic ones with the height pedal that tries to mimic the Kirbys.

Post# 391671 , Reply# 30   5/8/2018 at 09:39 by jp10558 (Southern Tier, NY, USA)        

I'm no expert on Vacuums, but I have read a bunch on this forum and on the subreddit, as well as youtube. Due to recommendations I have recently purchased a Sebo D4 to compliment my Oreck machines (XL21 and IronMan). I could have had my late grandmother's 1987ish Kirby for free.

I think what we've determined is that there's a lot of good vacuums, but what you're doing with them will matter a lot. The Kirby I found impractical - the size and weight and difficulty for people in my family to service it just make it mostly non-working a lot of the time (it's pretty complicated to change a belt or unclog compared to the XL21 anyway - it also weighs 3x or more as much).

The Oreck XL21 was great when we had a LOT of open carpet, but it's not practical for us once we replaced the living room flooring with laminate and throw rugs. (The Orbiter now... it's very practical, but you have to vacuum or sweep first).

The Sebo seems to have the best of both worlds - it's not as light as the Oreck, but it's not as heavy as the Kirby. The ET-1 Powerhead is as even more maneuverable than the XL21, and can get in places the Upright sort of struggled with (we have too much stuff making open areas very non "straight" and lots of chairs to dodge). It has the brushroll off option the XL21 doesn't so we can switch to area rugs or the couch without switching vacuums like we had to with the Oreck XL21 to Iron Man).

Now, maybe we never had the "right" carpets (my grandmother got the Kirby for a a very low pile, and an almost felt over concrete carpet) - but the Kirby never cleaned in any amazing way. We also never hauled it over to the medium carpets for any testing, so IDK if it would have blown away our Orecks there either. But it never really impressed me for anything except being a tank and the little penny catcher thingy. Maybe we just never really understood how to use it either. But no other vacuum I've seen required any special knowledge to use reasonably well. So I really don't get the Kirby love - at least for us it is a great conversation piece, but isn't ever actually used by anyone.

I wonder if the Vacuum Tech on Reddit is actually basing on price (the Sebo D4 was like $200 or more less than the Kirby, and the Kirby sales is very sketchy for new per the net) and what normal people *might* actually be able to do.

I will say, I agree with him that I don't like bagless (too messy to empty, have to go outside and vacuum the bagless with a different vacuum almost lol), and I wouldn't recommend a Wal-Mart or Best Buy vacuum. The XL21 is still running after 11 years, we would kill the "cheap" ($200) vacuums every 6 months to 2 years. After 3 of those, we decided to risk the $750 on the Oreck, and not only have we not had vacuums breaking seemingly all the time, we also haven't had to buy another - the Sebo was for convenience and getting out of sweeping... Even considering that the needs changed, we paid $750 for 11 years vs probably closer to $1200 and 6 hassles of replacing a useless "cheap" vacuum.

Post# 391677 , Reply# 31   5/8/2018 at 11:47 by vacuumdevil (Denver)        

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The sebo D4 really is one of the best kept secrets in the vacuum industry and a wonderful vacuum! It would be hard to find a better portable vacuum in my opinion as a vacuum technician.

The Oreck xl21 so pretty good machine as well but serves a completely different purpose.

There are a lot of people who trade their Kirby or say they hate their Kirby because of the weight and how impractical the tools are in the use. You are right on the money as good as Kirby's are there just not practical in today's world.

Post# 391682 , Reply# 32   5/8/2018 at 12:08 by MapleBanjo (Montana )        

Last night I checked out the new house I'm moving into and its entirely hardwood besides a loft in the attic. I guess I now have a carpet vacuum for a hardwood house. Anyone have tips on making a kirby more suited for hardwood or maybe another vacuum you wouldn't be scared to buy used on the cheap? Sorry to derail the subject.

Post# 391683 , Reply# 33   5/8/2018 at 12:28 by bryan1980 (Texas)        

I'd look in to getting a canister. Miele offers a wide range of options starting around $200 for straight-suction models (no provisions for a powered head), to around $500 or so for models with a powered head. If you keep your upright for the loft, you might get away with having a suction-only Miele. But if you plan on having area rugs, you might want to pop for one with a powered head, particularly if you have pets.

If you go used, and don't mind having a non-sealed unit, look in to getting a used Electrolux in good condition. I have an Epic 6500 that was refurbished by a seller on eBay. Picked it up for around $250. Love it, use it every day on our laminate floors and our area rug in the living room.

Kirby's will work on bare floors, of course, but having a canister on-hand is very convenient.

Post# 391684 , Reply# 34   5/8/2018 at 12:39 by bryan1980 (Texas)        

You picked a great vacuum. If I were getting a new canister, it would probably be a D4. It's hard to beat Sebo or Miele for the price, especially considering what a new Aerus goes for.

Yes, there is a lot of love on this forum for Kirby, and some of it is blind! I use mine because I like them and they do a good job for what I use them for. I know they're not the best vacuum around, but that doesn't bother me. Kirby's not paying me to defend their reputation!

Post# 391707 , Reply# 35   5/8/2018 at 19:18 by huskyvacs (Northern Indiana, United States)        
@ MapleBanjo

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I'm not sure for what models but mostly all Kirbys have a hard floor tool that you fit over the brushroll to make it a hardwood cleaner. Kirby also has a dedicated hard floor buffer as well.

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Post# 391734 , Reply# 36   5/9/2018 at 09:00 by jp10558 (Southern Tier, NY, USA)        

One other thing about the Sebo I can't get over is how quiet it is. The Youtube videos don't do it justice. It's about 1/2 as loud as "normal" vacuums. You can easily talk over it - it's not a "wake up the house" when you turn it on turbine like the Oreck Iron Man for instance. I keep wondering if it's actually at full suction, but the spinny light and performance assure me it is.

Post# 391897 , Reply# 37   5/12/2018 at 13:32 by n0oxy (Saint Louis Missouri, United States)        
Sebo D series

The Sebo D4 is a great machine, I have the D1 which is very similar but is a straight suction machine and does not use an electric power nozzle, love it. A very quiet full size machine with a large bag. And I'm guessing the smaller K and E series of machines are just as good. And the D series probably has the longest cord on a canister cleaner.

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