#1 Vacuum for Carpet Cleaners-KIRBY VS DYSON (W/VIDEO)

rob allen

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Here is a video of why the Kirby vacuum cleaner is the best machine (actually 3 machines in one, pre-vacuum,pre-scrub and post groomer) for carpet cleaners imo. It is followed by an independent study of how Kirby beat out the Dyson by a long ways and retains it's crown as the King of Vacuums.
Enjoy!
Rob Allen.

[ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vOpjXyaAIC8"]YouTube - BEST VACUUM FOR CARPET CLEANERS[/ame]

DYSON OR KIRBY - Which is the KING?


For years the Kirby vacuum has been king of the vacuums. As far as cleaning power and durability goes they could not be beat. But now their is a new kid in town...the Dyson vacuum. Dysons only been around for a few years but making a big splash and lots of people have been buying them. But are they as good as all the hype? I get tons of emails saying "which is better the Kirby or the Dyson". I am excited to write this guide and answer this question once and for all. So lets get right to it. For our tests we used the high end Dyson DC14 Animal that was about 1 year old. For our Kirby Test we used a 2004 Kirby Diamond (3 years old).



Test #1 - Best Vacuum not to CLOG
What causes clogs is small suction tubes and corners Below is a picture of a Dyson tube next to a Kirby tube.
As you can see from the pictures the Kirby suction tube is almost twice the size as the Dyson one. The Dyson one also has a sharp corner in some of its tubing.


Fact – The very first used Dyson we got traded in was clogged.
Fact - If you read other reviews on the internet they say people have had a problem with the Dyson clogging with long pet hair.
Fact – There is no vacuum that is impossible to clog. From normal vacuuming conditions have never seen a Kirby clog.

Test #2 - Most Airflow and Vacuum power

So this is one of the most important tests after all no matter how cool a vacuum looks, we buy a vacuum to pick up the dirt. Kirby Motor Size is 7 amps and Dyson is 12 amps. For this test we are going to use a Airflow Indicator meter tool made by Baird. This tool is desiged to test power and airflow (see pictures below).


This tool is a tube with a ball attached to a spring. I has a rating of 0 to 10. You hook it up to a vacuum and turn on the vacuum to test the vacuum power and airflow. The higher the suction the further up the scale the the meter will read. 0 is really bad and 10 is amazing suction. For our first test we will test the power by hooking it up to the hose. Each hose it tested at the same length away from the vacuum.

After we tested the Dyson the Power Meter read = a 1 out of 10 (see picture)


After we tested the Kirby the Suction Meter read = a 7 out of 10 (see picture)


Now we are going to test the power hooked up to the vacuum itself. You are about to learn a new principle here. It’s a fact that the longer the hose the more suction you loose. Hooked up to the vacuum on the Dyson the Power Meter read = a 2.8 out of 10 (see picture)
On the Kirby it read = a 10 out of 10 (see picture)


Fact – The motor size in amps does not mean a vacuum is more powerful
Fact – The Kirby had over 3 times the power and airflow as the Dyson when testing it with the airflow meter.


Test #3 – Most Suction Full of Dirt
The other Dysons promise is that it is Guaranteed not to loose airflow as the vacuum fills us so lets check it out.

Dyson – So we grabbed 3 Dysons. One was our tester Dyson that was cleaned and had no dirt in it, one was 1/3 full of dirt and one was ¾ full of dirt.

On the Power Meter all 3 Dysons pulled the same = 2.8

Kirby – We grabbed a full Kirby bag and put it inside our Kirby. We tested it with the full bag and the Power Meter read a 10 out of 10 (the meter only goes to 10). So then with the full bag still in it I hooked up the 9 foot hose to the vacuum and tested it and the meter read = a 5.9 So hooked up to the hose it with a empty bag the kirby had a 7.0 and with a full bag it read a 5.9


Fact – James Dyson is correct the Dyson did not loose power as it filled with dirt.
Fact – As a vacuum bag fills up airflow and power does decrease.
Fact – Even with a full bag the Kirby had over DOUBLE the airflow and power as the Dyson as measured by our Air Flow Meter.
Fact – Dyson claims to be the first vacuum not to lose suction as it fills with dirt. This is not true. I can personally think of 5 other vacuum’s that don’t lose suction.


Test #4 - Cleaning and Vacuums up better

This is the most important test. Which vacuum actually vacuums the most dirt. What I did here was I went and got a large piece of brand new carpet (so our results would not be tainted)

I then took a piece of tape and marked off the carpet. On the left side of the tape is where we are going to vacuum with the Dyson and on the right side of the tape we are going to vacuum with the Kirby. Then I took 2 cups and went outside and filled them up with normal dirt and sand. Just like would be tracked into your house. I then measured the 2 cups (see picture) so they had the exact amount of dirt in them – 1 pound and .2 of one ounce in each cup. What I was planning on doing was I weighed the dirt that is now in the carpet and I am going to weigh the dirt that comes out of the carpet. Now the Kirby is not bagless so we have to use a tester with filter pads to show the dirt that is picked up. I am afraid this test was a little harder on the Kirby because every time I changed the pads (lots of times) dust would escape from the tester. To be fair after I put the Kirby tester on the Kirby I tested the power again with the hose. With the tester on it read a 6.5 on the airflow meter, it had read a 7 when the bag was on (bag has more surface area for air to push through). Before I started the test I decided that the vacuum that pulled the most dirt I would go and vacuum another 50 strokes in the vacuum’s area that pulled the least dirt.


Dyson Results - We put the dirt down and vacuumed 50 strokes on each side. We put 1 lb of dirt down and was able to pick up 6.5 oz's of dirt from the Dyson vacuum (see picture) or 40 % of the dirt was picked up.

Kirby Results - We put the dirt down and vacuumed 50 strokes on its side. We put 1 lb of dirt down and (after subtracting the dirt meter filter pads wieght) was able to pick up 12.1 oz's of dirt from the kirby or 75 % of the dirt was picked up.
(see picture)
Then since the Dysons had the least amount of dirt was picked up and it was the loser we vacuumed in the Dysons area with the Kirby. The picture below is how much dirt and sand that we pulled out. I was able to pull out 44 pads of dirt that the Dyson left behind. In fact I was still pulling out dirt when I ran out of pads. (see picture). I wish you could have seen this in person. I had no idea that the Kirby would pick up that much extra dirt behind the Dyson. Picture below is how many dirt pads were vacuumed up by the Kirby that the Dyson left behind.

Fact – Sand ruins carpet. If its not picked up by the vacuum it gets down deep and cuts your carpet fibers and creates “trails” as the carpet fibers get vacuumed up and there is less carpet fibers and the carpet starts laying down.


Test #5 – Durability

The Kirby is made of a light weight metal and is one of the most durable vacuums made. In fact “Kirby home care systems are rated #1 in reliability by a popular consumer products magazine.” We have noticed a average life span of 25 years for the Kirby vacuum. (With my videos it will last virtually a lifetime)

The Dyson vacuum is made from a low grade plastic. Just because a vacuum is made from plastic does not necessarily mean that it is not durable. A perfect example of this is the Aerus Vacuum (used to be Electrolux).

Fact – When packing the Kirby Vacuum we wrap it in ½ of bubble with no breakage.
Fact – When packing the Dyson vacuum to avoid breakage we have to pack it in 2 inches of bubble. Because of this fact we have to use a extra large box to hold the Dyson and all the extra bubble they require and it costs more to ship than a Kirby.

Test #6 - Weight & Ease of Vacuuming.

For the first test on this one I got out our shipping scales and weighed each vacuum. The Kirby weighed 23 lbs and 14 oz. and the Dyson weighed 18 lbs 10 oz.’s. The second test was ease of vacuuming. Both seemed easy to vacuum with but the Kirby seemed better because of its self propelled transmission. With Ease of Vacuuming we also have to consider how easy it is to use your tools. Now the Dyson has on board tools (very nice) and the Kirby does not. So you have to have your kirby tools somewhere else (most likely your closet).

So for this test I timed myself. Going from vacuum mode to putting on the duster tool (in this example) how long does it take?

The Dyson took 19 seconds

The Kirby took me 25 seconds to go from vacuuming, shut off the vacuum, casually stroll to my pretend closet grab the hose and duster tool go to the vacuum, take off the power nozzle and put on the hose and duster tool.

Test #7 - Tools and Accessories

Depending on the Dyson Model the Dyson comes with 5 tools (3 of which are on board)and the Zorb Accessory.

The Kirby standard tools include 14 tools, the caddy and the hose.
The Kirby also has several additional accessories that you can use on it.

1. The Kirby carpet shampoo system.
2. Floor Care system
3. Turbo Accessory System.
4. Zipp Brush.


Test #8 – Filtration

The Kirby vacuum can filter as small as .1 of a micron. To be considered a HEPA filter you have to filter at least .3 of one micron.

The Dyson was rated at .1 of 1 micron.

So as far as published Filtration it is a TIE between the two vacuums.

The bad news is that on the Dyson vacuum I counted 7 different seals. 7 seals is a lot of places for air and dirt to blow out.


Test #9 - Marketing & Cool Factor

The Kirby is not sold in stores or retail. In fact you cant get a new one except from a authorized Kirby dealer. There are some dealers who take the risk of trying to sell some new ones on ebay. But Kirby is usually pretty proactive about finding out who is doing that and shutting them down. So aside from that if you want to buy a new Kirby with the Kirby warranty you will have to buy from a Kirby Salesman direct. He will come to your home and demonstrate the vacuum for you. Usually they will charge from 1300 to 1700 for a new one (from what I have seen).

In other words the Kirby is an awesome product but because of how its marketed its really limited to a lot of people.

The Dyson on the other hand is everywhere. It is in most independent vacuum shops, it is most big box stores, it is on the internet and it is even on ebay. So just about everyone has access to buy a Dyson vacuum. With the Dyson where it is for sale most of the time it cant be demonstrated so James Dyson had to make it visually appealing to get the extra money out of it. He must have known most people would buy them at a super store or on the internet and only have looks to go on their purchasing decision.

Dyson and Marketing. Lets review some of there marketing strategies.

1. Guaranteed not to clog.
2. “The first vacuum cleaner that doesn’t lose suction
3. 100 times the force of Gravity

So Dyson has done a AWESOME job at marketing. They continue to add models and different Dysons (like the canister Dyson or the light weight Dyson) and make improvements to there image and there product.

COOL FACTOR-

A nice buffed out (rebuilt/used)Kirby that looks all chrome is very nice and is very cool
The Dyson has this new bagless system like no other vacuum. It looks very modern and very new age.


Test #10 – Suction & Vacuum Seal

Aside from the test vacuuming up the dirt I think this was the most important test. I kept it to the very last because I had to order in some special equipment for this test.

For this I used a suction plate and then I attached a set of scales that measures resistance (see picture). This test actually measures Suction. Remember we already tested airflow so the other test to see how good a vacuum tests is Suction. This will determine if the vacuum actually seals down on the carpet and gets the deep down dirt or if the vacuum is essentially a “good sweeper” with a some suction.


So the suction plate represents your carpet. So what I did was to put it on the Dyson and Kirby vacuum (shut off the brushroll so it does not knock off the plate) and then when it seals to the powerhead I am going to put the pull scales on the suction plate and see at how many lbs of pulling before the suction plate comes off. The higher the # of lbs to pull off the suction plate the more suction the vacuum has and the better the Deep Cleaner it is. This tension scale is harder to pull than you think I pulled on it as hard as I could and could only get it up to about 35 lbs.

The Dyson vacuum had 1.5 lbs of pressure on it before it came off.
The Kirby vacuum had 12 lbs of pressure on it and it was very hard to pull off by hand.



CONCLUSION-


1. WINNER of the Test #1 Best Vacuum not to Clog - KIRBY VACUUM CLEANER

The Kirby vacuum had almost twice the size of suction piping (see pictures in test #1). The Dyson tubing at its smallest point measures right at 1 3/8 inches, the Kirby tubing at its smallest point measured 2 1/4 inches nearly a inch larger.

2. The WINNER Test #2 The most Airflow and Vacuum Power is = KIRBY VACUUM CLEANER

The Kirby had over 3 times the power and airflow as the Dyson when testing it with the airflow meter.

3. WINNER of Test #3 – Most Power full of dirt = KIRBY VACUUM CLEANER

Full of dirt on the dirt meter the Dyson pulled a 2.8 and the Kirby pulled a 5.9 with a bag full of dirt. The Kirby did loose power full of dirt (pulled a 7 with a empty bag) but was still almost twice as powerful full of dirt. The Dyson pulled a 2.8 empty and a 2.8 full so Dyson was right it did not loose any power as it filled with dirt.

4. Winner of Test #4 – Best Cleaner = KIRBY VACUUM CLEANER

In our dirt test Kirby dominated. It PULLED up almost DOUBLE of the dirt that the Dyson did. The Dyson pulled up 40% of its dirt in this test and the Kirby pulled up 75% of its dirt in the same test.

5. WINNER of Test #5 – Reliability = KIRBY VACUUM CLEANER

The Dyson made of plastic and the Kirby made of metal. We have personally seen a 25 year average lifespan with a Kirby. We have to pack the Dysons with much more bubble than Kirbys when shipping to avoid breakage. According to “ a leading consumer products magazine” the Kirby ranked #1 in reliability and with the least amount of repairs needed. The ranked it based upon 134,000 reader responses and ranked it based upon a point system. The lower the points the more reliable. The Kirby was #1 with only 4 points while the average vacuum they tested got a 10.25. So the Kirby was not only #1 but much more reliable than the average vacuum tested.

6. WINNER of Test #6 - Weight & Ease of Vacuuming = DYSON VACUUM

The Dyson was a little over 5 lbs lighter than the Kirby when we weighted them on our shipping scales. Ease of vacuum the Kirby was better but with on board tools and lower carrying weight the Dyson won this contest. When we tested how long it took to use the tools it took the Dyson 19 seconds and the Kirby 25 seconds when we tested it.

7. WINNER of Test #7 – Tools and Accessories = KIRBY VACUUM CLEANER

The Kirby won this contest because it had about 3 times the tools and accessories as the Dyson.

8. WINNER of Test #8 – Filtration = KIRBY VACUUM CLEANER

Test #8 was very close. They actually said they had the same filtration .1 of a micron. However the concern we had with the Dyson is it had 7 different seals (they were not very tight seals) that air and dirt could possibly leak out. Kirby had 2 seals but were very tight. When “a leading Consumer Products Magazine” tested emissions (filtration) they ranked them the same rating.

9. Test # 9 Marketing and Cool Factor = DYSON VACUUM

The Dyson dominated this test. IMHO Dyson is genius when it comes to marketing. I personally feel that Dyson did not create the best vacuum but they created a vacuum that would lead us to believe it was the best vacuum. Visually it seems to do a very good job and looks very cool.

10. WINNER of Test #10 – Suction and Vacuum Seal = KIRBY VACUUM CLEANER

The Kirby dominated the Suction test. The Dyson only had 1.5 lbs of pull before the seal was broken and the Kirby had 12 lbs of pull before the seal was broken. The air coming into the vacuum on the Dyson appeared to come from on top of the carpet. Where on the Kirby the air coming to the vacuum appeared to be coming from under the carpet. Also the Dyson had great suction on one side of the power nozzle and no suction on the other side while the Kirby had suction all the way across.

MY THOUGHTS

I have tried keeping my thoughts to a minimum in all the tests we did. Here is where I get a chance to give my thoughts. Out of 10 tests the Dyson won 2 and the Kirby won 8. The Dyson won the most user friendly and best marketing and Kirby basically won all the performance tests.

In Dysons defense they are only a few years old (unlike the Kirby who has had decades to make the perfect vacuum) and hopefully will make improvements.

As it stands right now the Kirby and Dyson are not even in the same playing field. In these tests we performed the Kirby handled the Dyson and just blew it away. In the performance tests it seemed to do 2 to 3 times better. Of course for new vacuums the Kirby asks 2 to 3 times the price as well. (UNLESS YOU BUY USED/REBUILT)

I have to say I was a little disappointed with this test. Before I started this guide I really thought it was going to be close. I had seen and heard so many good things. I was fully expecting the Dyson to do a lot better than it did. Remember how above I said “I personally feel that Dyson did not create the best vacuum but they created a vacuum that would lead us to believe it was the best vacuum.”

Sorry Dyson lovers…..THE KING OF VACUUMS IS THE KIRBY!!!

*Source GV Vacuum testing.

KIRBY LEGEND VACUUM CLEANER-299.00
BAGLESS OPTION (EXTRA) 99.00
2 YEAR WARRANTY INCLUDED* NC
DEMO/HOW TO USE CD INCLUDED NC (Separate 10.00)
TUNE-UP VIDEO INCLUDED NC (Separate 25.00)
REBUILD VIDEO INCLUDED NC (Separate 25.00) Or all 3 for 40.00.

*Some restrictions apply. See TMF for details.

Rob Allen.
 

rob allen

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Video now up!

PS to use it as a Prescrubber you have to use the bagless set-up and slip the filter out. Or you can put the shampooer tank on it!!!!
 

able 1

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I use a $50.00 Bissell and it works great! If it breaks I throw it away and buy a new one. I replace it every year regardless. Would you vac. a pee job with that or have two vacuums on the truck?

I think my mon has an old one do you think I could get that brush attachment for it? thats pretty cool!
 

Lefty724

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Nice review Rob!!! Cool video and testing. One question though......

1. When using the brush attachment to scrub in prespray, does the vacuum motor quit running through the brush? I would think it would vacuum up all the chemical that you put down.:confused:
 

sandstormli

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well i guess i will put in mu 2 cents since i vacuum 6-8 houses a day , 6 days a week for just over 9 years now.
Keep in mind even i will not mention many i vacuumed with anything from $50 to god knows $
Dyson = overpriced plastic junk, weak vacuuming performance, crappy reliability(won't get into detail/fragile )

Kirby is not a vacuum i like to use but sure is 1000... times better then dyson and many (dyson i actually call it diesoon). Great vacuum performance, but for me its just too heavy and ...(best upright type, large open area carpet only)

My favorite are the 3: (all canister vacs )
cheap $169 (light blue) kenmore canister vac (the more expensive ones will deliver the same performance but the added futures will break like there is no tomorrow or/and they are not worth it 3x the $)
moderate price retail $1500 (can get one as low as $900) the newest electrolux canister (not sure the model know but if you want one please ask me as i have used many and there is one very new that beats them all - way way more power i mean wow)

rainbow - $2700 + - somehow it really does get more out of carpets + it smells real nice + job sell point...+ awesome reliability (kind of my all time favorite and all time hated vac lol - gotta admit the water part sure is great and just as pain in the behind )

there are many good and bad out there i like these best for overall ...
 

Lefty724

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Nice review; I also only use a bag Bissell $39 Walmart special. I tried using a kirby I bought used before; Just too expensive to use commercially. I do however still have it for our house.

We went out and bought a Bissell Powerforce "pet hair" model and loved it. Until one day I try to use it on a job where I just finished installing the carpet and it sucked!, I mean no good!!LOL

Ever since that job, we have been looking for the perfect vacuum. We went out and bought a used Sanitatre SC887 and that thing rocks!! I went through the whole vac (I like taking things apart, ask my mom) and change pretty much everything but the motor for $70. With that being said, we were really interested in the Royal and a newer Sanitare but now......we might have to give the Kirby a better look since we have a local Kirby dealer in town. Thanks again for the write up Rob!!!:AddEmoticons0423:
 
Kirby makes a good vacuum but I think the way they are sold diminishes the brand.

I worked for Kirby for one whole day about 20 years ago. I felt filthy at the end of the day working with such low-lifes. Seems such a shame that a company making such a good product would continue to allow this conduct to go on for so many years.

[ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ezqs-DzDVyo&feature=related"]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ezqs-DzDVyo&feature=related[/ame]
 

rob allen

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Buy them on Ebay. Then sell it to your custys of double what you paid for it.... and get the use of it while doing jobs till you sell it... I'm always asked "Whats that" sold a couple that way...

Great idea! :AddEmoticons04233:
 

Jason Whaley

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rob allen

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It looks like a CULT! If I ever walked into a job and this was going on I would RUN!:confused:

I agree Jason. That is why when I worked for them in the mid-80's I told them I would ONLY work in their repair shops. And I spent 10 years rebuilding and repairing all kinds of vacuums. So if anyone needs to know anything about any vacuum I can help them!:AddEmoticons0423:

Rob.
 

JCoviello

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Buy them on Ebay. Then sell it to your custys of double what you paid for it.... and get the use of it while doing jobs till you sell it... I'm always asked "Whats that" sold a couple that way...

That's how I got into Carpet Cleaning in reverse. LOL

I got sick of cleaning carpets for free and only making a sale once in a blue so I started cleaning carpets instead for a steady paycheck and never looked back.

That was back in 1989. :eek:

Kirby is the #1 vacuum out there. Period.
 

rob allen

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That is very close to my story too Jay.
Rob.