Thread Number: 37848  /  Tag: Recent Vacuum Cleaners from past 20 years
Thinking of buying a Kirby and conflicted between models
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Post# 403460   1/2/2019 at 10:14 by got2bjennyg (Brunswick, Ohio, USA)        

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I'm intrigued about owning a Kirby because of the quality construction, made in the USA, good at deep cleaning carpet.

I found a Kirby Avalir for $100 about an hour or so away. I'm concerned about the weight when it comes to dragging this up and downstairs, and cleaning the carpeted stairs.

I also found a Kirby Heritage II locally for $60. It's in decent shape, but probably going to benefit from a proper servicing (new fan, brush roll and a going over). I'm concerned about how hard this will be to push on the upstairs carpet (see information below)

What do I need to consider in trying to decide between these vacuums? Am I missing any important points?

I have 4 dogs, and vacuum almost daily.

The main level of the house is all hard surfaces for which I generally just use a straight suction only canister with a hard floor nozzle to vacuum. I use this for above the floor cleaning as well.

The upstairs level is all carpet except for bathrooms and the lower level is carpet except for the bathroom and utility/laundry room.

I'm a very fit, but petite person in my 50's. I have no problem carrying my 17 lb Sanitaire S675A up and down the stairs, and I'm sure I could lug a 23 lb Kirby too, but at my age, things can change at anytime, so I wonder if that is really a good idea.

My upstairs carpet (hall, stairs, bedrooms) is Shaw lifeproof carpet with the waterproof backing which is really tricky to vacuum. If I set my Sanitaire low enough to engage the brush roll and deep clean on both the forward and backward stroke, I go through belts like mad (every bag change). If I raise it up one then it only engages the brush roll onto the nap of the carpet on the forward stroke, but not when I pull it back. I'm hoping a Kirby might handle that a bit better. I also have a Hoover Windtunnel max bagged that is decent at cleaning the carpet, but not as good as the Sanitaire.

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Post# 403468 , Reply# 1   1/2/2019 at 14:18 by crazykirbydude (Lexington, KY)        

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Really anything GSix or up will be pretty close to the current Avalir 2 model. I would recommend a Kirby Ultimate G or Sentria.

Post# 403469 , Reply# 2   1/2/2019 at 14:18 by crazykirbydude (Lexington, KY)        

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Really anything GSix or up will be pretty close to the current Avalir 2 model. I would recommend a Kirby Ultimate G or Sentria.

Post# 403471 , Reply# 3   1/2/2019 at 15:20 by KirbyClassicIII (Milwaukie, Oregon)        

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Usually the reason the Kirby might be hard to push around is if you over-adjust it.


Common sense says to begin adjustment with the cleaner at full height, bringing it down one notch at a time until the motor changes sound and/or the brush roll bristles contact the carpet (if desired, you can adjust the toe-touch control down one more notch after the change of sound). Over-adjustment would not only make it hard to push, but would also shorten the life of the belt.



Post# 403475 , Reply# 4   1/2/2019 at 16:32 by Lesinutah (Utah)        

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I'd get the avalir. The newer transmission ratio change. It has a new handle. The best item is avalir carpet shampooer kit. I used my sentria with Sentria version and avalir version it's so nice.
With lighter weight led lights and shampoo system. There is a difference. It is easier to adjust heighth too.

Post# 403476 , Reply# 5   1/2/2019 at 16:34 by got2bjennyg (Brunswick, Ohio, USA)        

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I do start with the vacuum at the highest setting and lower it, one level at a time, until I hear the tone change. I think the waterproof backing off the LifeProof carpet is making this difficult.

If I get a Kirby without the tech drive, I wonder if it has more precise levels of adjustment compared to my Sanitaire.

I've ruled out any of the G series Kirbys due to weight and the number of levels in my house.

Post# 403477 , Reply# 6   1/2/2019 at 16:41 by Lesinutah (Utah)        

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The heritage does do a good job. But transmission added almost same weight. The heritage is good but avalir has a more user friendly machine.

Post# 403478 , Reply# 7   1/2/2019 at 16:59 by rivstg1 (colorado springs)        

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Big Kirby fan ( among with others as well) and I have them all virtually. My Kirby models prior to the Tech driver's (1990 on up, G3 on up) aren't hard to push I find on my carpet. I don't experience 'the workout' others have described using 'old' Kirby(largely b/c I set it correctly for the carpet)s, so, that Heritage II is a great modell!!! I don't find the differences between the Generation series models (G5-Avalir) of mine, enough to put too much concern over which model. I don't feel a noticeable difference on using my G5 to Ultimate Diamond Edition, to Sentria, Sentria II to Avalir 2. I'd go for whatever color combo you like the most, have it gone through mechanically for peace of mind, and use with confidence. The newer the model, most likely, will have fewer hours on it....and if you like 'newer'...then...

Weight: I really don't understand so many people's OVER concern with weight of their vacuum. I almost never carry my vacuums...unless I"m changing out my 'daily drivers' for a different model on a diff floor of the house. Most of the time, all we need to do is push/pull the Kirby to another room, weight is nothing to concern ourselves with. If, you only have 1 vacuum, and multistory home, and vacuum every other day, THEN I could see a bit more in the terms of weight of your vac. Picking the Kirby up at the lower handle, balances it and gets rid of the majority of the 'heaviness' of 19-23lbs ( Heritage- Avalir). It's like carrying' a child up stairs...or a piece of luggage for a trip you'll take...... is it really THAT bad/heavy needing to avoid at almost ALL costs? Lifting by the vacuum handle...and it will feel "LIKE A TON", b/c all the weight is centered on your wrist and bicep.

You will age of course, maybe have some physical limitations that can happen to anyone, you might have to evaluate that when that occurs. I found most powerful vacs, most, weigh very close to each other. My Rainbow, Filter Queen, Kirby, Miele U1 upright.....weight about the same. Only my Royal upright and Oreck are much less weight.

hope that helps, some,

Post# 403500 , Reply# 8   1/3/2019 at 04:43 by got2bjennyg (Brunswick, Ohio, USA)        

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Those are all very good points. Thank you for you well thought out and well informed comments. It was very helpful.

- Jenny

Post# 403501 , Reply# 9   1/3/2019 at 07:31 by suckolux (Yuba City, CA)        

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I loved my H2 Legend, pretty but on the carpet I have, can not push it. It is set right, but clamps on this carpet. It went to the almost grandson, I can push it on their modern short shag style carpet. It came back to my home between his move, had to try again, one living room try and my lower back was out over a week. Not everyone has the same limitations. I like using my Diamond to clean the landlady's home a few hundred feet away, miles of high 80s plush which I love to clean, but there are days that it's not a good idea to carry or pick it up, even down low. But my back is shot.Those things can happen as we age. 62, 188 lbs 6' it happens

Post# 403515 , Reply# 10   1/3/2019 at 16:23 by craig_1982 (Newcastle Under Lyme (England))        

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In my opinion the heritage/legend series machines are the best Kirby models produced they were simple, rugged, with great performance. I think the Generation series (Avilar) machines are less manoeuvrable than the older machines but the latest Avilar is a fantastic machine. like all Kirby's it's built to be pretty reliable, but things do go wrong and there is more to go wrong with a Avilar machine over a much simpler pre generation machine also you have to consider that parts for a Heritage machine are cheaper than parts for the Avilar. Performance wise the Avilar is a fantastic deep cleaner but the older models like the Heritage aren't too shabby either, set up rite I find that there's not a huge difference between the two But it's that pushing, the Latest Kirby's big ace is the tech drive assist and with you being concerned about being able to push a Heritage then you have to go with the Avilar.

Post# 403516 , Reply# 11   1/3/2019 at 16:31 by human (Pines of Carolina)        

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The other consideration that no one else has addressed is the Avalir is some 30 years newer than the Heritage and thus it will have three decades less wear. Just something to think about...

Post# 403523 , Reply# 12   1/3/2019 at 20:09 by suckolux (Yuba City, CA)        

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FYI, not hoping to stir the fire but the trouble for me pushing the Legend H2 is why I have the Royal, smaller size and pulls itself pretty much, lighter too.

Post# 403530 , Reply# 13   1/3/2019 at 21:39 by fairfaxclass (Tillamook, Oregon)        

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My first high-end vacuum, and the first vacuum that I personally owned, was (and is) an Avalir.  Fantastic machine!  It is stored upstairs so I carry it down every time I use it.  Between the two different carry positions, you should have no issues.  I would love to have an older model too, but if this is going to be a daily driver, I would go with the newer Avalir.  The transmission makes it super easy to push.  If you take it to an experience Kirby serviceman, he can lube and adjust the transmission so it is smooth as glass! 

Post# 403535 , Reply# 14   1/4/2019 at 05:37 by got2bjennyg (Brunswick, Ohio, USA)        
Snooze you loose

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So, I contacted the seller of the avalir again, and while I was hemming and hawing, somebody else bought it. I'll keep an eye out for a nice Sentria, Sentria II or Avalir for a good price in my area. Thanks everyone. - Jenny

Post# 403556 , Reply# 15   1/4/2019 at 19:55 by Lesinutah (Utah)        

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That sanitairre is nice. I have one probably the same I just put red allergy arm and Hammer top fill bag. It's pulling 141 142 cfm the highest of my vacuums my sentria was 133cfm.

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Post# 403563 , Reply# 16   1/5/2019 at 01:45 by Lesinutah (Utah)        

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Got2bjennyg hit me up with an email. I may be able to help you out with a vacuum.

My email is
Just put vacuumland in subject line.

Post# 403582 , Reply# 17   1/5/2019 at 14:21 by got2bjennyg (Brunswick, Ohio, USA)        

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Thanks for offering to help me out, but if and when the right vacuum comes along locally, that will be fine. As you already noted, I do have a decent vacuum already with that Sanitaire S675 (also takes the ST bags). Being that the Kirby factory is in my "hometown" I'm just intrigued to own one, but I can be patient.

~ Jenny

Post# 403595 , Reply# 18   1/5/2019 at 18:03 by Lesinutah (Utah)        

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Yeah I realized after I posted. If you are finding vacuums $125 for an avalir I couldn't beat that. I believe I'm going to be the owner of the 13" heritage 2 13"nozzle.
So yes you have a good vacuum and you will find one.
Good luck

Post# 403872 , Reply# 19   1/9/2019 at 22:37 by repairman (Stickney, IL)        

The brushroll in your Sanitaire is backwards.

Post# 403873 , Reply# 20   1/9/2019 at 22:54 by Lesinutah (Utah)        

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It was backwards. Once I noticed the notch for belt wasn't aligned I fixed it. I took it out 3 or 4 times measure, put on eureka tried on brush roll for power nozzle. Ya it's fixed thanks heads up.

Post# 403888 , Reply# 21   1/10/2019 at 11:21 by human (Pines of Carolina)        

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The last time I lived in a place with more than one level, I kept my Gsix on the ground floor and my Electrolux 1205 upstairs. I used the latter machine to do the steps from the top down. It's hard for me to believe now, but they were the only two machines I had at the time, other than my Heritage 1, which has been more or less on permanent loan to my now-ex girlfriend since early 2013. She says she wants to get some sort of plastivac that's lighter weight and when she does, she'll give me the Kirby back but she's been saying that for several years now. At least I do get to use it about once a month to clean up after she cuts my hair and it's not like I don't have a vacuum to use at my house.

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