Pros: Works like the pro it is, easy clean up.
Cons: Heavy but reliable, and expensive!
Update: Since writing this review my Kirby has had all parts now replaced at least one. I had the motor replaced again in July 02 and its still working well. (That prices was still 99.00 for the new motor.) I have also had several Kirby salesman come along my way and I send them packing because I still like the one I have for it still does a great job. Of course they are very sadden by this. One guy even had the nerve to tell me that it was sad that he couldn't sell a new Kirby to a person who loved them so well. I told him that he would have to find a way to get over it.
I dont use the unit to dust with as much any more because it is heavy and lifting heavy things has become harder for me to do. But, I vacuum with it all the time, carpets and tiled floors and I still use it to clean out the cars with. Of course I get someone else to take it outside for me!
Overall, this is a great vacuum and I am happy I still have mine. Besides, who can afford the new ones!
Original review below:
I have owned a Kirby Heritage II since 1988. Over the years we have used it for sanding, painting, plumbing, and of course cleaning.
Any Kirby that you may be interested in can be bought through a Kirby dealer, an in home demonstration or you can find them at Flea Markets or used furniture stores. (Mind you they are cheaper at these places but they are used models.)
If you do have an in home demonstration a sales-person will come to your home and vacuum and shampoo one room of carpet. Most of the time it is the room the family spends the most time in. Living Room, Den, Family Room, etc.
The salesperson will tell you all about the Kirby and what you can expect from it. For instance the fact that you can do so much with it, sanding, painting, plumbing and the cleaning.
The Kirby comes with attachments that are easily used. You have to take the head (floor position) off and add the hose to use the attachments. There are attachments for cleaning the drapes, the baseboards, the TV and Computer screens, and those hard to reach places like behind the refrigerator and beside the stove. The hose is made from the state of the art plastics, which can last a long time if used properly. (I have not had to replace the hose as of yet and I have used it since 1988.) The cleaning tools are also made of plastic material in which they are durable in use. (Those have not been replaced either.) I must add here that the attachments for cleaning the TV and Computer screens are brushes that are made of very soft materials that will not scratch the screens. You can also use the brushes to dust lampshades and other soft materials in your home.
A shampoo machine comes with the Kirby if you would like to purchase it. There are several uses for the shampooer; you can use it to polish your floors as well as clean the carpets. You get Kirby Suds to use with your shampooer/floor polisher. The suds cost from 10.00 or more depending on which size you buy. (I have not had to replace the shampooer either.) I use the shampooer to clean my furniture as well. There is a sprayer bottle that comes with the Kirby that allows you clean the sofas, loveseats, cushions, etc. This spray bottle is also used for painting, but you do have to clean it well after painting! The clean up from shampoo back to vacuums is very simple. Now at first I have to admit I had to read and reread the directions in order to figure everything out with switching from vacuum to shampoo, but after 13 years I am an old pro at doing it! The Kirby suds smell pleasant and leave the carpets and furniture smelling fresh. (I have used, although not advised by the Kirby dealer, other liquid carpet cleaners, that have worked okay but not as well as the Kirby suds.)
The bags are designed to keep dirt and dust in. They are made with a micro product that allows the dust to stay inside and not fly around outside the bag and bother your sinuses. (This is one of the best features Kirby has to offer in my opinion.) The bags cost for a set of three around 10.00 depending on where you buy them. I have found both the bags and the suds in local flea markets for less than half the price as well as the belts needed to run the machine.
Now another great feature is that you can convert the Kirby from upright to canister position. The canister position
Allows you to carry the machine with you while strapped on your shoulder (if you choose) or carry/hold in your hand while cleaning the drapes and the stairs and all those hard to clean places. I like to use mine in this position to clean the car.
Changing the bags is very simple. The Kirby bag has a zipper that runs the length of the bag and the paper bag is inside. You simply pull the old one out and pop the new one it. You have to be sure though that the hole of the paper bag is fit well over the connection of the Kirby bag because the dirt will not flow properly into the paper bag.
You can however use the Kirby bag without a paper bag. Most people don't use it this way because clean up of the Kirby bag can get rather nasty. Paper is better.
The cord is long and allows for cleaning from room to room. I have added an extension cord to mine so I don't have to plug and unplug. I like to keep going and not stop until I get through. The on/off switch is conveniently at the base of the machine where you can use your foot to turn the unit on/off by simply pressing the switch. There is a light that will allow you to see directly in front of you which allows you to get all those little pieces of trash/dirt, and also allows you to see anything that may tear up your Kirby, like nails, screws, toys pieces etc.
I have replaced the motor now twice in 13 years, the Kirby bag once, the beater bar once (The beater bar is the animal that picks up all the dirt!) I have replaced the cord twice as well; I seem to have the tendency to run over the cord once in a while.
When I bought my Kirby I got a certificate with it that allowed me to have a lifetime replacement of the motor for only 99.00. Now this has come in handy, however the last time I got the motor replaced I also got a new cord, beater bar, light and switch for 125.00. You have to shop around with your local vacuum dealers that do repairs and sometimes you can get a better deal with them as opposed to going to a Kirby dealer that repairs.
Now there are Kirby's in all sorts of shapes and sizes, new looks and less weight. Mine is heavy but when the unit is being used I have no problems moving the unit back and forth. It is heavy like I said and you need to be real careful when lifting. (Because of my health now days, I allow my husband and oldest daughter at home to lift mine for me.)
I have many a Kirby salesman try to sell me a new one, but I refuse to so because I like the one I got. He was really upset because he could not sell a Kirby owner a newer model. Sorry guy, but when you got something that works, don't replace it.
And one other thing, I don't care which vacuum you try to use or which one you buy, a new one will always pick up better because it is new.
I trust in the Kirby name and like my mother I have used Kirby a long, long time.
They are expensive, but if you can afford one do get one. I have had mine like I already said for over 13 years and to me it works just as good as any new one.
When cleaning your home with your Kirby, as with any vacuum, you really need to be careful of what you pick up with it. There are many things that can cause a blade to brake or the motor to burn out.
Be sure to read the instructions completely.
I hope that this has helped in some way.
?LKD 2001, 2003