Thread Number: 39291  /  Tag: Brand New Vacuum Cleaners
Kirby Sentria 2 not outcleaning a rainbow e2 black
[Down to Last]

Vacuumland's exclusive eBay Watch:
scroll >>> for more items
Post# 416880   12/3/2019 at 18:20 (302 days old) by Tekjunkie28 (Roanoke Va)        

I have a sentria 2 with very few hours on it. I bought it previously from a lady who apparently only used it a few times. The machine was in brand new condition when I bought it about a year ago. I also have a a 3 year old Rainbow E2 Black. After seeing the airflow tests and flow density numbers I figured the Kirby to have MUCH more power than the rainbow. When Iím cleaning though I donít really feel like it. I feel like my rainbow picks up much better and I have no clue why. I have looked over the machine and everything is correct. Another thing I donít get but itís very interesting is that the rainbow gets a silver award from CRI and from some other users tests here that show it as the lowest air glow at the nozzle.

As a side not my rainbow hepa is dirty again with a bit of dust on it. I think Iím
Not dumping the water often enough. What are yíall strategy on that?

Post# 416888 , Reply# 1   12/3/2019 at 22:10 (301 days old) by ralph123 (Little Rock, AR)        

Like many Rainbow owners you have been conditioned to "feel" that it is the most amazing vacuum on the planet. That doesn't make it true. Perhaps the dirt in your home is special, that is, the mass is such that the frequency of oscillation of the Rainbow brush roll is near the resonance frequency best able to vibrate the dirt out of the rug. Just enjoy your Rainbow without worrying about it.

Post# 416893 , Reply# 2   12/3/2019 at 22:33 (301 days old) by Tekjunkie28 (Roanoke Va)        

Idk about conditioned... I can literally feel the dirt that the Kirby didnít pick up go through the hose. I can hear it too. Iíve never been impressed too much but I will say it does clean and it does a good job. It definitely gets up pet hair better then the Kirby. I really like the fact that it makes the house less dusty and I can vacuum under beds.

Post# 416902 , Reply# 3   12/4/2019 at 12:24 (301 days old) by sptyks (Skowhegan, Maine)        

sptyks's profile picture

Maybe you didn't have the carpet height adjustment set properly on the Kirby.


I assume the belt, brushroll and fan are in good condition?


Does the Kirby perform close to or better than the Rainbow when a brand new bag is installed?




Post# 416906 , Reply# 4   12/4/2019 at 13:27 (301 days old) by kirbyklekter (Concord,Ca.)        
Kirby's are deep cleaners

There are carpet installers who say they can tell when a carpet was maintained by Kirby. When they pull up the carpet and padding, there is considerably less to no fine "sand" there on the flooring. There could be other reasons of course, like the age of the carpet and the traffic it sees. This was just based on the many years they've installed carpet and what they see. So I'm wondering if the brush roll is adjusted to where the brushes extend about 1/8inch beyond the rug plate or what shape the belt is in. It may be stretched from being stored before you bought it.

Post# 416909 , Reply# 5   12/4/2019 at 15:00 (301 days old) by superocd (PNW US)        
Very odd...

I've just about abandoned my 6HP Shop-Vac in a dark corner of my garage in favor of my Kirby Avalir, which is basically the same machine as your Sentria II. I first discovered how awesome the Kirby is at cleaning when I was trying to vacuum the carpeted surfaces of my wife's car not covered by the WeatherTech mats with my Shop Vac after we've spent a weekend at the beach. While the Shop-Vac struggled to pull up the granules of fine sand in the carpet and the stray bits of sand in the seams of the leather seats and odd crevices that the sand ended up, the Kirby made quick work of it. I was impressed. From then on, I've used the Kirby to clean the vehicles and anything else that may need to be cleaned with a hose (the dryer, between the sofa cushions, baseboards, etc). My Shop-Vac is now only used to tidy up the garage or for wet pickup (which I've never had to use it for, thank God). I've never used a Rainbow but I was very suprised how much power a direct-air machine like my Avalir had with the hose.

Post# 416911 , Reply# 6   12/4/2019 at 15:28 (301 days old) by Tekjunkie28 (Roanoke Va)        

I adjust the carpet height by going down until I hear the change in sound which is usually the dot above 3 and then 1 more click. That puts the brush roll at 3. The brush roll is still set to 1 in the head assembly itself so I have 2 more to go. The large middle divide that protects the belt sticks out a little further but here is the pics.

When I use a brand new bag it roars but soon goes to the usual. I donít typically let the bag get up to the line though. When I had my kenmore elite with a similar style cloth bag it would be packed full before I knew it. Which bags should I use? I have both the green ďhepaĒ and the red bags.

I also have some Berber carpet in the bedrooms but in the basement I have no padding on that carpet so sim how that afffects the Kirby.

If the Kirby performs close to the rainbow with an old bag then maybe I should just use the rainbow. That would save money in bags at least.

  Photos...       <              >      Photo 1 of 2         View Full Size
Post# 416912 , Reply# 7   12/4/2019 at 15:32 (301 days old) by Tekjunkie28 (Roanoke Va)        

I should also add that the brush roll light is a constant green and doesnít flicker.

Post# 416914 , Reply# 8   12/4/2019 at 16:24 (301 days old) by superocd (PNW US)        

The quicklist for a Kirby that's not performing would be a full bag, bad belt or worn out brushroll. Since you've ruled out all of that, the next items you should check are the emptor and fan. Check your emptor by removing it (carefully twisting it away from the motor unit) and check for clogs in the emptor and the discharge horn. Check your fan by looking into the inlet with a flashlight and rotating the shaft, looking for cracked or chipped blades.

As for bags, use HEPA whenever possible. One of the benefits of a modern Kirby is that it is a very clean, allergy-friendly machine provided you use HEPA bags (and if it is ever serviced, the emptor/hose assembly is in good condition with no gaps, cracks or holes, the fancase is sealed with RTV or silicone and the seal of the front bearing plate is intact).

Post# 416918 , Reply# 9   12/4/2019 at 18:24 (301 days old) by vacuumdevil (Vacuum Hell )        

vacuumdevil's profile picture
@Tekjunkie28 I've been saying this for years. Despite popular belief on vacuum land, Kirby's are only mediocre in terms of power and performance.
I do really like Kirby Vacuums but they're they're definitely lacking in power compared to modern alternatives.
Stepping said rainbows aren't the most powerful vacuum either but they're definitely not underpowered
I talked about this in-depth in this video which upsets a lot of people.

Post# 416920 , Reply# 10   12/4/2019 at 18:55 (301 days old) by Lesinutah (Utah)        

lesinutah's profile picture
Imo wow that's all.

Post# 416924 , Reply# 11   12/4/2019 at 20:29 (301 days old) by Tekjunkie28 (Roanoke Va)        

The fan have some tiny tiny bits out of it from something hitting hit. Itís not cracked or chipped though. No way that could impact air flow.. otherwise it would be like that on all kirbys.

Emptor is fine. I checked it the other day. Itís totally clear.

Is there a way to unscientifically and quickly test if itís working correctly? It does pick up the carpet though. Maybe itís my carpet??

Post# 416933 , Reply# 12   12/4/2019 at 23:32 (300 days old) by huskyvacs (Indiana)        

huskyvacs's profile picture
The last vacuum to go over the carpet will always pick up additional dirt than the previous vacuum because the agitation from the first vacuum raises the nap and combs the fibers up. Then when you go over it with the other vacuum, it has a clear air path down to the backing where it finds more dirt. Kirby salesmen love to exploit this when they demo vacuums in homes where they have you use your own vacuum first, and then they go over it with the Kirby and it "magically" picks up more dirt and then presto they get a sale. You could go over it with a Dirt Devil even and it would still pull more dirt out (not hating on Kirby - just stating what the sales tactic is).

The Rainbow E2 black is a water filled straight suction tank vacuum with a power nozzle, the Kirby is a full size HEPA upright. You cannot compare them as to who is better - it is apples to oranges. Contrary to belief, I do not think this is is a battle of Kirby owners vs. "the more money you waste the better it is" owners.

What I think might be happening is it is just simply an issue with the carpeting and how it is made today. Carpeting has recently started being made with rubber backing for better flexibility and spill and germ resistance compared to your standard nylon weave backing.

If your carpet backing is rubber this further exacerbates the problem because vacuums will grab right to the rubber and form a seal when they get close enough to it. Kirbys have a lot of suction, and if you give them the opportunity, a Kirby will eat a throw rug whole.

The Rainbow's nozzle is a lot lighter than the Kirby and looks to be plastic, so it floats across the top and doesn't really weigh down the carpet much. The Kirby is heavy, and sinks itself into the carpet (you mentioned you had berber, it looks like a plush nap in the photos). When this happens, it creates a similar effect to the blowing into a bottle metaphor. The vacuum has suction, agitation, etc, but there is no airflow passing though the ultra thick carpeting around the nozzle for the vaccum's suction to lift it out and remove it. So the vacuum is sucking on the carpet with all its might, but nothing is being picked up and carried through into the bag. You can't raise it up any higher obviously as then you won't get deep into the carpet to agitate it. This explains why you are getting all the fine debris off the surface, but the heavier stuff is getting left behind that is deep in the carpet pile.

Usually vacuums become harder to push when they start gripping into the carpet too much, but because the Kirby has power drive strong enough to push furniture out of the way to help motor it along, it usually will go unnoticed.

When I was Googling this problem - I actually found a Vacuumland topic from 2013 of the same circumstances you described - Kirbys hard to push on berber carpet.

If you skip down to Post# 257931 on that link, there is a mention of changing the brushroll to a softer bristled brushroll for delicate carpets on the Sentria. Maybe that is what you need too?

This all just my theory and I make no claims of it being correct, it's just my best guess on what's going on since you went over the entire Kirby and everything is all in order, and the Rainbow is also working properly, so there's not much left that could be the issue other than the carpeting. Good luck!

PS: Here's a Consumer Reports report on vacuums and ultraplush carpeting.

  View Full Size
Post# 416934 , Reply# 13   12/4/2019 at 23:35 (300 days old) by Lesinutah (Utah)        

lesinutah's profile picture
It's amazing. I love rainbow and I love Kirby's. I also have or had a rainbow black/platinum and a sentria. I sold rainbow and now have a silver. My sentria has a avalir nozzle.
I don't think a rainbow can out deep clean a Kirby. It's apples to oranges. Kirby deep cleans carpets well. I use the rainbow and it smells clean. I don't know about the dirt but the air is cleaner. The rainbow brush roll isn't as aggressive. You have a screamer royal, eureka/sanitairre or a central vac. Those are closest in CFM. The Kirby CFM is roughly 130-150.. rainbow is 95-120.
There completely different machines I think there stop the bagged and bagless water filtration systems. I will note I've never owned or tested a miele, or sebo. I have read great things but this is from vacuums I've used.
You can suck dirt mites etc out of a pillow with a Kirby but rainbow fluffs it up with clean HEPA filtrated air.

Post# 416938 , Reply# 14   12/4/2019 at 23:44 (300 days old) by vexorgtr (Sheffield, Ohio)        
As a former rainbow user.....

I never had any problem "getting the job done" with the rainbow vacuums. Even with my central vacuum now, I can tell you that you'll spend lots of time if you're waiting to hear nothing but air in the hose. Sometimes even after 10 passes, I'll get another "click" of something through there.

My question would be, design wise, a vacuum like Kirby or Metal Royal has to lift the dirt vertically to pick it up, whereas a power nozzle like Rainbow, or a central vac needs only to push it at a slight angle to get it into the air stream at the back of the nozzle. In this manner, I would wonder that heavier sand may be a bigger challenge for a vac that must lift vertically.

Mind you, my question/comment isn't really an endorsement for anything, since I am not a collector/tester, and am admittedly a central vac fanboy.

Post# 416942 , Reply# 15   12/5/2019 at 08:24 (300 days old) by Tekjunkie28 (Roanoke Va)        

I only have Berber in two rooms. The carpet you see in the pictures is cheapest carpets from Loweís that I used to build a cat tower with. My regular carpet is just that, regular typical medium pile (I assume) carpeting. Itís the same stuff you find in most apartments around that I know of. It has a lot of wear though. I can notice that both vacuums groom well when vacuumed over brand new carpet. Since we moved the living room around to put the Christmas tree up there is a difference in how the machines perform. I can say that my carpet is regular nylon. Although Iím interested now in the rubber backed carpet. Does a Kirby even work on them?

For reference I have 4 cats and 2 dogs and 2 kids. Berber carpet in 2 rooms and the rest is tile and medium pile carpet thatís worn down to a short or no pile in a high traffics area. In the basement I have short pile carpet I think. Itís hard to vacuum with both. The Kirby doesnít do great I feel bc there is no padding and the rainbow PN just bounces on the floor sometimes so I have to go slow.

Post# 416966 , Reply# 16   12/5/2019 at 17:14 (300 days old) by kloveland (Tulsa, OK)        

kloveland's profile picture
I agree. Not many people discuss the different carpet types. I do agree! Thanks for bringing it up.

Post# 416978 , Reply# 17   12/5/2019 at 22:04 (299 days old) by ralph123 (Little Rock, AR)        

When I had my first Rainbow demo, the poor salesman was very frustrated because he barely got anything out of my rugs. I opened up the Rainbow power nozzle and noticed that dirt was sitting in the bottom of the power nozzle as well as some carpet fibers. It was obvious that the vacuum had been used for several demonstrations. I was surprised that the fibers could get stuck in the power nozzle like that. Perhaps they need to copy Hoover's wind-tunnel feature. I've never had a Kirby demo, but Consumer Reports has reported that they removed the most dirt of any vacuum tested on medium pile carpeting. Kirby received an Excellent test score for carpet. Rainbow hasn't been tested in a while, but the last time it received a middling "good" score. Canister vacuums have to pull the dirt a long ways through a narrow hose. In my humble opinion, the power nozzle designs of the Rainbows have been their downfall. The lowly Sirena actually was rated better by the carpet and rug institute for removing soil from carpeting in industry standard testing. The Sirena achieved gold status versus silver for the Rainbow.

Post# 416979 , Reply# 18   12/5/2019 at 22:19 (299 days old) by Lesinutah (Utah)        

lesinutah's profile picture
The consumer reports are mostly bogus.
Kirby probably is best carpet vacuum. Rainbow is better than siren and any other water base vacuum
I use my wessell werk on rainbow and it gives Kirby a run for the money. I'm not buying a top performer from each. The Kirby would deep clean the carpet.
Rainbow could be a better all around vacuum but it's not a better deep carpet cleaner.

Post# 416987 , Reply# 19   12/6/2019 at 10:18 (299 days old) by ralph123 (Little Rock, AR)        

Rainbow may make a better quality machine than Sirena, but the power nozzle designs have been flawed. I have not tested the latest Rainbow, so I cannot comment on that one. I do trust the carpet and rug institute tests. Iím not surprised that a Wesselwerks power nozzle would improve the performance of the amazing Rainbow. Canister vacuums are very versatile. I prefer a bypass upright even if it cannot perform as well as a Kirby. If rainbow has independent test results showing better performance than Kirby on carpeting then they should make them public.

Post# 416988 , Reply# 20   12/6/2019 at 11:45 (299 days old) by Mike811 (Finland)        
Proof how good Kirby is

mike811's profile picture

I can confirm that Kirby is the ultimate carpet cleaner.
This test shows it:

Post# 416997 , Reply# 21   12/6/2019 at 17:05 (299 days old) by vacuumdevil (Vacuum Hell )        

vacuumdevil's profile picture
@Mike811 I don't think anybody's saying that Kirby's performance is bad.
At least here in the USA with the hundred 110V units I can't say it's anything special.

I believe rainbow tout clean the Kirby based on both having good airflow and good water lift numbers. I have found over the years that machines that have both of these things clean very well better than a machine that has one or the other.

Post# 417011 , Reply# 22   12/6/2019 at 20:21 (299 days old) by Lesinutah (Utah)        

lesinutah's profile picture
Saying a rainbow could outperform a Kirby. It nor any other cannister is going to pull CFM the Kirby does. The Kirby bush nozzle vs any hose cfm.
Kirby is 130-150. The highest any hose I've seen was 118 CFM. My point is there is no rainbow made it any cannister that's going to pull near 130 CFM.
You can say " I feel this way". The airflow is a fact. The vacuum cleaning is an opinion. Your opinion is not a fact.
You can believe what you want and so can I.
You like apples I like oranges.
There's no need to upset probably the two most popular vacuums.
It's only ones opinion on which they prefer.
I think everyone can understand this post.

Post# 417017 , Reply# 23   12/7/2019 at 02:07 (298 days old) by vacuumdevil (Vacuum Hell )        

vacuumdevil's profile picture
@Lesinutah There's a lot more to cleaning than just CFM. 😂🤣

The overall nozzle design between the two is light years difference.
Again I'm not asking you to understand the physics or technicalities of it.
Just understand that new Kirby is not the undefeated carpet cleaner that's so many folks put it up a pedestal as.
There've been lots of threads on here and talk about machines that do out clean Kirby's I'll let you search that for yourself.

You don't seem like technical guy car guy.

but it's like people who only care about a car's horsepower rather than its weight ,handling and maneuverability.

Post# 417021 , Reply# 24   12/7/2019 at 09:16 (298 days old) by pr-21 (Middletown, OH)        

pr-21's profile picture

I have both and think they both clean well. With that said, seeing the actual dirty water and carpet fuzz

seems very impressive even though I vacuum more than once a week. I do enjoy the fragrance that

you can put in the Rainbow. Pine is especially nice during the holidays, but you should only use

the genuine fragrances..... The later power nozzles with the side rotary brushes work very well.


I don't find it hard to clean. I pull the carpet fuzz out of the basin and put it in the trash can that

is in the bathroom, next to the sink. Then I flush the dirty water down the toilet and flush a few times

after. I have never had a problem.







Post# 417025 , Reply# 25   12/7/2019 at 15:21 (298 days old) by Mike811 (Finland)        

mike811's profile picture

What it comes to carpet cleaning performance the brushroll/cleaning head is the most important aspect. High airflow vacuums usually are great at fine dust pick up. Especially if the carpet is deeper pile. They don't need stiff brushroll. Suction is needed for long hoses to maintain the airflow. For heavy particle pick up you also need good suction.
Low airflow/high suction vacuums are the worst vacuums for optimal carpet cleaning.
Many cheap vacuums with low airflow and low suction try to compensate it by using extremely stiff brushroll. They can be pretty good at carpet performance, but the tradeoff is high carpet wear effect.
What I have tested and experimented even some of my old canister vacuums like Miele S234i is great at carpet cleaning if I use proper full size powerhead like Wessel Werk EBK 340 or Sebo ET-1.
Surprisingly some of these old canisters have high airflow and suction like the old Miele S234i. It's just slightly less powerful than my Miele C3 with a 1600 watt motor.
So far what I have tested my best carpet deep cleaner (sand) is my commercial Kšrcher upright (Sebo BS36).

Post# 417035 , Reply# 26   12/7/2019 at 21:52 (297 days old) by Lesinutah (Utah)        
I know

lesinutah's profile picture
My point was logic based. I just said Kirby creates the highest CFM. What do vacuums do. Vacuums move air. That Kirby has highest CFM means it moves the most air.
I never said it was a better vacuum.
I stated a fact.
One is a cannister vacuum with a 7' hose water based bagless. The other is a direct air bagged vacuum.
There two different systems completely. I never brought up my opinion as fact. I was pointing out opinions are not facts.
I'm not on here throwing around my opinions are facts. You can't compare the 2 vacuums and expect people to believe your opinion.
Everyone has an opinion.
If your reading into my post that's fine. I never stated one was a better vacuum. Other people on this thread are.

Post# 417039 , Reply# 27   12/8/2019 at 06:52 (297 days old) by Mike811 (Finland)        

mike811's profile picture
High airflow does have benefits:

Forum Index:       Other Forums:                      

Comes to the Rescue!

Woops, Time to Check the Bag!!!
Either you need to change your vacuum bag or you forgot to LOG-IN?

Discuss-O-MAT Log-In

New Members
Click Here To Sign Up.

Discuss-o-Mat Forums
Vintage Brochures, Service and Owners Manuals
Fun Vintage Washer Ephemera
See It Wash!
Video Downloads
Audio Downloads
Picture of the Day
Patent of the Day
Photos of our Collections
The Old Aberdeen Farm
Vintage Service Manuals
Vintage washer/dryer/dishwasher to sell?
Technical/service questions?
Looking for Parts?
Website related questions?
Digital Millennium Copyright Act Policy
Our Privacy Policy