Is it Hype or Is it Really That Good??

Joined
Sep 4, 2007
Messages
3,246
Location
Fairfax, VA
Hello all,

My elderly mother gave me her lightly used Kirby G4D upright vacuum cleaner. My parents bought it brand new in early 90s from 20-something door-to-door salespeople for an obscene amount of $$$ (New Nikon 85 f/1.4D range). She is not able to use it any longer because it's really heavy. She is now using a Dirt Devil Featherlight. My mother told me they felt sorry for her because her commission was a trip to the Bahamas.

My parents budgeted, saved and were frugal (my mother saved used ice cubes) with their finances to pay for the things they wanted for themselves and 4 kids. They did well. Looking back when they bought the Kirby, it was a signal and the first time I thought my parents as old and beginning the normal mental decline. It's weird how that happens.

OK, what's the hype with Kirby vacuums because I'm not seeing it? The G4D is heavy and hard to maneuver. My thick plush carpet does not appear any cleaner? However my biggest beef with Kirby is that I have to pay a small fee and shipping for an Owner's Manual. I remember reading someplace that you can use your Kirby as a yard vacuum. :confused:

Is Kirby living in Leave it to Beaver land? I expected to go to their website, download a .pdf and be fat, dumb and happy. Is it good marketing? Perhaps it is because it's gotten me to vent about it :tongue:

FWIW, I called my mom. She has the owner's manual and all of the original attachments. I guess I will try it in my yard. :biggrin:
 
Joined
Jun 8, 2010
Messages
93
Location
Oklahoma
My mom bought one of those big heavy ones back in the 60"s. She finally retired it in the 90's. Thing was built like a tank. Hers had so much suction and beating from the brush that you had to make sure you had the height adjustment right or it would rip the carpet fibers up.

I remember them replacing the carpet in that house after it had been down for years and there was not any dust under the carpet or pad. It was almost spotless.
 
Joined
Aug 23, 2007
Messages
3,407
Location
Missouri
I have the new one and it has a feature that is called drive so it's not heavy at all, I love mine!! I had the ealier one and upgraded to the newer one, love it!!
 
Joined
Jan 8, 2009
Messages
5,301
Location
San Jose, CA
My parents paid something like $1900 for a Rainbow vacuum when I was a kid. I would seriously pay that amount for one of their vacuums. They are awesome.

Can't speak for Kirby though.
 
Joined
Oct 7, 2008
Messages
2,550
Location
Littleton, Colorado
They are awesome vacuums, but dont ever let their salesmen in, they cling to your house like barnacles, short of shooting them its damn near impossible to get them to leave.
 
Joined
Feb 16, 2006
Messages
528
Location
Sublimity, Oregon
Kirby vacuums suck!

So do the other brands.

Kirby's are built like a tank, and manuever as well also. My mom has one that she still uses, that WAS bought in the 60's.

I really like our whole house vauum, though. It sends the dust outside where it should be, no blowback or bag seepage whatsoever. The canister is in the garage and exhaust to outdoors.

Here's a humorous warning about the salesman:
http://www.cockeyed.com/citizen/kirby/kirby.html
 
Joined
Jan 29, 2005
Messages
33,633
Location
St. George, Utah
Kirby is a very good vacuum with lots of suction. They will keep your carpet clean of dirt that others will miss. That said, I find my whole house vacuum much easier to use and I like that it is located in my garage and vents to the outside.
 
Joined
Sep 27, 2007
Messages
1,144
Location
Las Vegas
My parents bought one of those when I was a kid. I remember they said it cost a fortune as well. The thing is very heavy. It did a decent job, but it was a pain to use. I think my parents kept it for like 10 years or something. It was a situation where they would have dumped it faster, but since they paid some much for it, they felt married to it. I think I remember them complaining that getting bags and belts for it was a huge pain. I guess now with online buying it doesn't matter any more.

I don't remember it doing a much better job than a regular vacuum. I'd say get rid of it, and get a regular vacuum and spare yourself the effort of lugging that tank around.
 
Joined
Feb 10, 2009
Messages
1,956
Location
St. Paul, MN
My parents have had two Kirby vacuums in my lifetime. I remember when the Kirby guy showed up. The amount of dirt it sucked up was insane. The amount of dirt that my Dyson sucks up is almost as good at 1/4 the cost. Would I buy a Kirby? No, I don't hate dirt enough to pay the equivalent of a D700 for a vacuum, plus bags, plus etc.etc.etc.

What is a "whole house vacuum"? I've never heard of such a thing. Do you just turn it on and it sucks the air and dust out? Confused.
 
Joined
Jan 25, 2009
Messages
1,496
......I really like our whole house vauum, though. It sends the dust outside where it should be, no blowback or bag seepage whatsoever. The canister is in the garage and exhaust to outdoors......

Agreed! After get a whole house vacuum, I will NEVER go back to the portable machine system. No matter how good they claim to be.
 
Joined
Jan 29, 2005
Messages
33,633
Location
St. George, Utah
What is a "whole house vacuum"? I've never heard of such a thing. Do you just turn it on and it sucks the air and dust out? Confused.

Exhaust tubes are plumbed into your house as it is being built and the vents are located at strategic places. You then have a vacuum head on a hand held wand with a long hose attached. Electricity is also connected to these vents and so when you plug in your wand it starts the motor and the suction and you vacuum wherever it will reach. You move on to the next vent and so on. The actual vacuum itself is located in the garage and it has a large container to collect the dust and grunge. The Vacuum is very quiet in your house as most of the noise is in the garage. They are quite powerful and do a great job as well as being light and easy to maneuver. Hope this helps.
 
Joined
Feb 5, 2007
Messages
2,722
Location
Banff National Park, Alberta
So do the other brands.

Kirby's are built like a tank, and manuever as well also. My mom has one that she still uses, that WAS bought in the 60's.

I really like our whole house vauum, though. It sends the dust outside where it should be, no blowback or bag seepage whatsoever. The canister is in the garage and exhaust to outdoors.

Here's a humorous warning about the salesman:
http://www.cockeyed.com/citizen/kirby/kirby.html

There's nothing humorous about that.

When I was 18 and unemployed I answered an ad in the paper that didn't say what the job was but promised a minimum weekly wage (can't remember what it was but it sounded alright at the time). Yes, I was 18 and dumb, and the job was selling kirby. Save for part 1 that is exactly how we were taught to sell those things.

I only did one pitch for an obviously patient and lonely elderly person who was clearly lonely, clearly couldn't afford the thing and clearly couldn't move the thing around even if she needed or could afford it. Obviously they prey on the old, lonely who don't have the spine to stand up to high pressure sales. Despite the fact that my 'sales manager' trying me to push the high pressure sales thing in part 4 I made it sound like I was going through the motions, had coffee with the old lady and left. So I 'sold' kirby for about 15 minutes. The scam artist sales manager made it sound like we'd be earning thousands a month, that the money would literally just fall into our laps and I was 18 and stupid.

All that said I handled the thing quite a bit and I can tell you that it is probably better than your average vac. But who cares? It's a minuscule amount of dirt that you can't see and couldn't hurt you even if you could see it. If you're willing to put up with the salesmen you could probably get one for a grand. But... it's a grand on a vac. You should be able to buy 4 vacs at wal-mart for that price. If you've got a germ hang up like howard hughes then this is the toy for you. For any normal person, go to wal-mart and buy one for $50.
 
Joined
Jul 29, 2005
Messages
9,532
Location
Pittsburgh, Pa.
Agreed! After get a whole house vacuum, I will NEVER go back to the portable machine system. No matter how good they claim to be.

I install whole house central vacs. Buy a Beam. Beam is the original manufacturer of whole house vacs. They were bought by Eureka but still maintain a high standard. I hear people say they don't like central vacs. My answer is: you must not have a Beam.

It's easier to install as the house is being built, however than can be installed "old work" or retrofit.
 
Joined
Mar 27, 2008
Messages
4,813
Location
Chgo/Glenview. my heart, New Mexico
My parents paid something like $1900 for a Rainbow vacuum when I was a kid. I would seriously pay that amount for one of their vacuums. They are awesome.

Can't speak for Kirby though.

Is that the one that you fill with water? If it is I do remember thinking how great they must be. About 30 years ago we had bought carpeting and the store must have given our name out. The guy came on a cold call. We never bought it but the concept was great.

The whole house thing has good points and bad. We had one in a 3200 some ft ranch and all I remember was lugging twenty feet of hose around from inlet to inlet. Now I only have one room left to yank the carpeting out and redo the oak and that's the end of vacuums period/
 
Joined
May 7, 2007
Messages
1,818
Location
Canadian Prairies
There's nothing humorous about that.

When I was 18 and unemployed I answered an ad in the paper that didn't say what the job was The scam artist sales manager made it sound like we'd be earning thousands a month, that the money would literally just fall into our laps and I was 18 and stupid.

I fell into the same trap when I was 18, went through the one hour training shpeel with the con artist sales manager, and got booted out when he finally revealed the price to us. I laughed out loud and blurted out "what??? 1600 bucks, are you serious"??. The scammer turned stone faced and asked me to leave.
 
Joined
May 7, 2007
Messages
1,818
Location
Canadian Prairies
Exhaust tubes are plumbed into your house as it is being built and the vents are located at strategic places. You then have a vacuum head on a hand held wand with a long hose attached. Electricity is also connected to these vents and so when you plug in your wand it starts the motor and the suction and you vacuum wherever it will reach. You move on to the next vent and so on. The actual vacuum itself is located in the garage and it has a large container to collect the dust and grunge. The Vacuum is very quiet in your house as most of the noise is in the garage. They are quite powerful and do a great job as well as being light and easy to maneuver. Hope this helps.

In Canada we call that "built in vacuum". Is that term not used "down there"? (USA) :smile:
 
Joined
Apr 14, 2011
Messages
125
Location
Crossville, Tn
About a year ago we bought a Miele ( German ) vacuum cleaner. The salesman had an instrument that measured the dust particles in the exhaust. He first put in front of our Hoover and it had a lot of particles. He then put in front of the exhaust of the Miele and there was 0 dust particles. I also turns corners extremely well. It costs a little over $ 700.

DaveO
 
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