Thread Number: 42939  /  Tag: Recent Vacuum Cleaners from past 20 years
Which modern (last 20 years) Kirby should you buy?
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Post# 449583   1/26/2022 at 09:08 (369 days old) by Gvox (Georgia)        

Not a collector, but I want a used Kirby upright to replace a long line of Dysons.  Are there any years to avoid?  Are there any years which stand out as better than others?  

 

From my limited knowledge it appears the design really hasn't changed that much.  But are there tweaks that I should look for, or look out for?

 

Thanks  


Post# 449601 , Reply# 1   1/26/2022 at 10:47 (369 days old) by KirbyCollector (Columbus Ohio USA)        
The Diamond Edition

kirbycollector's profile picture
Is a more desirable Kirby for its delicate switch. Which allows you to switch between normal and low speeds for different carpets and rugs, as well as drapes and furniture with the hose.

Post# 449604 , Reply# 2   1/26/2022 at 13:29 (369 days old) by Human (Pines of Carolina)        
They're all good...

human's profile picture
Yes, with the exception of the G7 Diamond Edition's unique speed switch and a few minor tweaks from one model to the next, all of the Kirbys from the past two decades are essentially the same, other than cosmetics. Unless there's a color scheme you strongly like or detest, you really can't go wrong with any of them. Condition would be the most important consideration. Fortunately, it's fairly easy to find one in nice condition, fully kitted out, for about what you'd pay for a brand new plasticrap vac at Wally World. Last spring, I picked up a G7 Diamond and a first generation (gray and orange) Sentria, both with full accessory kits, including the shampooer, for $50 each from two different thrift shops. They would have gone for four or five times that much on eBay.

Post# 449665 , Reply# 3   1/28/2022 at 00:57 (368 days old) by Gvox (Georgia)        
I just picked up an Avalir,,,

...which I intend to take apart and completely refurbish and polish. 

 

I may not like Kirby at $1200, or their sales tactics.  But for less then the price of a cheap plastic vacuum, I don't think you can beat them in value when purchased used.  After a breakdown, bath, some work with my shop polisher, some new belts a little grease here and there, and a Saturday afternoon it'll look and function good as new.  I didn't get any tools with it, but the machine itself is in good working order and for less than $100, I'm not complaining.  

 

I might pick up some tools on eBay, I at least want the hardwood floor attachment.

 

So I own an Electrolux Silverado Deluxe, TriStar CXL, and now a Kirby Avalir.  I wonder what price the original buyers paid in adjusted 2021 dollars?   All in I've spent less than $300 for all three, including PNs and attachments.  These old machines are really a great value, as long as you can recondition and service them yourself.  

 

Thanks for the info!


Post# 449667 , Reply# 4   1/28/2022 at 04:45 (367 days old) by huskyvacs (Gnaw Bone, Indiana)        

huskyvacs's profile picture
Wow how in the world did you get an Avalir for $100? It literally just came out!

The MSRP of all the recent Kirbys I do believe you are correct that it has been $1,200. I have forgotten the specific price but I do believe I remember seeing $1,200. That's off the shelf price. Getting it from the Kirby salesman you might get stuck for $2,300 for everything like my mom did in 2002. All that profit goes to the Kirby dealer to spend at his fancy.

Mostly all the Kirby vacs you can get the entire toolbox for them for $25-$30. Shampooer kit might run $15-$20. Keep in mind the shampooer kit is a dry suds system and is only a touch up cleaner for fluffing and freshening the carpet, it's not a full extraction cleaner.

But yeah if you have a lot of area rugs i'd recommend the diamond edition. otherwise the entire G-series lineage is vastly the same. it's basically down to what style appeals to you. It is one of those "buy it for life" appliances, you will never need another one!


Post# 449685 , Reply# 5   1/28/2022 at 14:37 (367 days old) by Gvox (Georgia)        
Oh, this machine isn't new.

I've no idea how old it is, but I Googled it and apparently the Avalir was sold between 2014-2018.  From the looks of this unit I think it was sold closer to 2014 than 2018.   

 

I haven't dug into it, but I'm guessing it's never been serviced.  There is a slight burning rubber smell, which I think is a belt, and there is a kind of light squeal or squeak that can be heard after the motor is shut off and the fan winds down.  I think something needs grease, or maybe a bad bearing?  Finally there is a distinct musty scent of, odeur de cat.   ...I have no idea.  I'll know more when I tear it down.   

 

 


Post# 449688 , Reply# 6   1/28/2022 at 15:01 (367 days old) by human (Pines of Carolina)        

human's profile picture
You should be able to date the machine from the serial number. The first few characters show the factory location and date (month and year) of manufacture.

Post# 449701 , Reply# 7   1/28/2022 at 21:12 (367 days old) by panasonicvac (Northern Utah)        

panasonicvac's profile picture
I think that was a good call of picking up the Avalir. If I wanted to buy a used modern Kirby that I would use for myself personally, I'd go for as newer as I possibly can. For one, you know what they say the newer the better. The Avalir has two carrying handles, an LED headlight, slightly more powerful, etc. Also, you'd get a better chance of finding matching colored parts for them since they're more recent. And I could send in the Avalir to the rebuild center and it would cost the same price as I would send in any other Kirby, especially my oldest one in my collection. Anyways, that's just me. Enjoy your new Kirby!

Post# 449717 , Reply# 8   1/29/2022 at 10:23 (366 days old) by Gvox (Georgia)        
Kirby Rebuild Center?

I get a lot of satisfaction from fixing and restoring things.  I'm the same way with cars and motorcycles.  So, sending something off to be rebuilt or restored by someone else isn't something I would do.  But just out of curiosity how much does Kirby charge for this service?


Post# 449719 , Reply# 9   1/29/2022 at 14:19 (366 days old) by huskyvacs (Gnaw Bone, Indiana)        

huskyvacs's profile picture
I believe it is something like $400 or $500 and they do a total teardown rebuild of your entire vacuum. If you have documented proof you are the original owner it's $100 or $200. I think the prices vary depending on the region and what the model is. Evidently they have archives of everyone that owned a Kirby documented with serial # and name and can check those old records in their filing system, I guess? Or they just act on good faith and if you have the original sales slip you're good to go. lol

They clean and repair everything and replace missing and broken parts and polish the vacuum to a mirror-like shine. They do a great job, but if you know how to do it and you own the tools already, you can do all that at home for free and get really close to their quality.

The bad thing is they replace all the trim, wheels, etc with wrong color parts, and I think the bag gets replaced too. They will add on extra cost for any parts missing that need to be replaced and will replace fan and motor too. So if you sent in - say - a 4C that was all original, it would come back with yucky tan parts and generic aftermarket bag and a plastic fan. The rebuild isn't really aimed for collectors, mainly people that want their Kirby rebuilt without caring what it looks like.

Strangely I have a Kirby Classic 1CR factory rebuild from 1989 (not sent in by me, bought it off someone) and it has all its correct parts and trim. But I'm not sure about the internal bits and gubbins.


Post# 449723 , Reply# 10   1/29/2022 at 18:15 (366 days old) by Gvox (Georgia)        

@huskyvacs

 

Thanks for the info.  Honestly, I'm my own electrician, plumber, carpenter, mechanic, gunsmith, and appliance repairman.   Not because I can't afford to hire it out, but because I enjoy it.  It gives me a lot of satisfaction to take on challenges and see them through to completion.  Nothing is more satisfying to me than when I get over that "oh shit what have I gotten myself into this time" moment,  to finally complete it.   

 

A HUGE part of my recent vacuum craze is because I like good engineering, and I enjoy being able to make things work.  So, I'm not a person who would buy a new Kirby.  Nor am I the guy that would send one off to be reconditioned.  I guess I never lost that childhood habit of taking things apart only to put them back together again just to learn how they work.

 

I wasn't able to get to the Kirby today, so it'll probably be over the next week or two.  But I can't wait to dig in to it, and return it to like new condition.     


Post# 449729 , Reply# 11   1/29/2022 at 20:52 (366 days old) by huskyvacs (Gnaw Bone, Indiana)        

huskyvacs's profile picture
I hear ya. Same here. I've been teaching myself my own work with help from folks on here and random YouTube videos and long forgotten articles on the internet.

You should be fairly well off with the Avalir since its so new. It likely just needs a new belt. I doubt the grease has even wore out yet. My Sentra gets squeaky when the belt starts wearing out and the same burning smell starts coming out. Kirbys are pretty tough, not even leaving them outdoors for years will kill them.


Post# 449736 , Reply# 12   1/29/2022 at 22:29 (366 days old) by human (Pines of Carolina)        
Nothing last forever...

human's profile picture
...but Kirbys come damned close. They're amazingly tough machines, designed to be serviced and rebuilt the way few things are anymore. I believe that in terms of value for the money, a used Kirby is pretty tough to beat.

Post# 449775 , Reply# 13   1/31/2022 at 23:06 (364 days old) by huskyvacs (Gnaw Bone, Indiana)        

huskyvacs's profile picture
Agreed, especially if you can get a newer model for like 90% less than retail, I'd say that's a big win. $100 is even cheaper than a top of the line Dirt Devil. lol

Post# 449822 , Reply# 14   2/2/2022 at 22:25 (362 days old) by Gvox (Georgia)        
I like this Kirby...

...but it's not worth what some pay for it. Don't get me wrong, I think I got a deal, but I'm not sure how I would have felt if someone had tried to sell it me for $1200.  

 

If new, I'd probably go as high as $800, only because craptastic plastic Dysons sell in that range, and I think this is a better unit.

 

I'm a patriot, so if it's built in the U.S.A from US-sourced parts I might go as high as $1,000, just because of MERICA!. 

 

But this thing has Chicom CCP parts on it. There is a shake in the handle; the plastic and metal handle feel light and a little flimsy even when detached from the machine. I wish the whole handle were metal, maybe a 100% metal frame wrapped in rubber or plastic. 

 

The unit itself is cool-looking. I like the overall design. With the LED light it reminds me of a Cylon from BattleStar Galactica ...which is cool.  

 

I wish the belt release handle weren't just chromed plastic. Getting the body apart was fine. I just wish the whole outer shell was made from the same metal, as well as the bag tube. Not the inner bag tube. I get that plastic flexibility might be proper there, but I wish the outer connect pipe were metal. 

 

I also wish the wheels were more substantial. I don't know, maybe metal with outer rubber wheels. Something that felt like quality.  

 

Overall, I like this vacuum. But there is no way I would have paid much more than I did, not used.  

 

On the upside it is very serviceable for me.  I know I can make it "like new" for less than $150 all in, so that's a great value to me.  

 

 

 


Post# 449828 , Reply# 15   2/3/2022 at 00:34 (362 days old) by panasonicvac (Northern Utah)        

panasonicvac's profile picture
Glad to hear that you're liking it! Even having Kirby factory rebuild it themselves to like brand new condition is still cheaper than buying it new. That's what I would do if I were to buy a used modern Kirby that I would use for myself personally.


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