Pros: Zip brush attachment-excellent. Hoses and hose attachments-good.
Cons: Everything else-horrible!
Purchased a new Kirby Heritage II back in 1989 from the local door to door salesman. Salesman was excellent! The Kirby has turned into nothing but a pain! I still have it and still have to use it as I can't afford to do anything else at this point.
It is a heavy machine and to vacuum places such as stairs is a major project. Regardless of what they say regarding it not putting dust particles into the air when you are using it, it does. I have allergies to dust thus I can tell immediately when it starts kicking out dust from the bag when in use. I use the micro bags and it still puts dust into the air.
About two years ago the fan assembly broke and I replaced it. Needed to do it myself as I couldn't afford to take it in.... Kirby repairs are not cheap! I am adept at "mechanical" type work, but trying to get past all of Kirby's hidden mechanisms to replace the fan was a challenge. And trying to get help from Kirby was a "no-go". They don't want you working on your machine yourself in any way shape or form. I was lucky to find a shop that walked me through part of it on the phone, otherwise it might not have turned out well at all.
Replacement parts....simple things like belts and bags are not easy to find. Can't just walk into a store to buy them. The brush roller does not hold up as well as I feel it should and replacements are expensive (approximately $25.00 each). Have replaced mine at least once a year. The zip brush attachment is the one item that has true merit. It actually does a fantastic job. And it has lasted a long time. I am, just now, in need of replacing it and I use it on a regular basis ... but here again, the going price seems to be around $40.00 for a replacement.
I will say that the hoses have held up fine, no cracks or problems with them as well as most of the attachments for the hose..they too have held up fine.
I should have known better than to follow thru with the purchase of this Kirby right from the very beginning. After the salesman left, I dug the little round patches of material out of the garbage that he had used to show me how great the Kirby worked. These were used to show how much more stuff Kirby would pickup than the current Sears vacuum that I had at the time. I reinacted the demonstration he did in reverse, using my own vacuum and the patches and the Kirby became the "bad guy". And guess what, using the same demo in reverse gave the exact same results, making my Sears vacuum look fantastic. But I was hopeful that all the other "features" would make it a worth while purchase. In the end, they certainly have not! Wish I had just held onto my "Sears Best" vacuum and saved a whole lot of money, time and aggravation!
Overall, I am very disappointed in this machine. I paid a huge amount of money and expected it to do a superb job of cleaning but it has not done the job well at all. I would NEVER recommend a Kirby to anyone! Way too much money in the beginning and then continuing on for the upkeep. And as far as the cleaning of simple things like regular carpet...it just doesn't do the job the way they convince you it will!