Kirby vs. Dyson Vacuum Review
Kirby or Dyson Vacuum- which is better?
For years the Kirby vacuum has been king of the vacuum. 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 remained for a few years and lots of people
have been buying them. But are they as good as all the hype? Hi my name is Dustin
Chaffin, General Manager of Great-Vacs. We have sold over 10,000 vacuum cleaners
online. I get tons of emails saying, “which is better the Kirby or the
Dyson”. I feel qualified to write this article because unlike most shops
we sell both the Kirby and the Dyson vacuum and can give an honest review. People
LOVE their Kirby or LOVE their Dyson.I am going to perform most tests that I
have ever done before. My comments will be minimum and I will present the facts.
In the end we will know who is the King.

This guide is detailed & it turned out to be very long. So read
my Conclusion where I sum up all the details.
So lets get right to it. How I am going to write this article is I am going
to write like I am reading a diary to you.
Test #1 – Best Vacuum not to CLOG: What causes clogs is small
suction tubes and corners
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 blocked.
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. For example I saw a Kirby
clogged with a tooth brush, a rope, and a shirt and the Dyson that came in clogged
just had dirt and pet hair in it.

When was the last time you saw a Dyson commercial and they said, “Guaranteed
not to clog”? Also on the Dyson the suction tubes on the vacuum are made
to be taken off. If it never clogs why are they made to be taken apart?
Winner of the Test #1 Best Vacuum not to Clog – KIRBY VACUUM

Test #2 – Most Airflow and Vacuum power :
So this is one of the most important tests after all no matter how a vacuum
looks, we buy a vacuum to pick up the dirt. Suction power is very important.
This is the reason we buy a vacuum to vacuum up all the dirt?
Kirby Motor Size = 7 amps
Dyson Motor Size = 12 amps
In order to test power and airflow we are going to use a Airflow Indicator meter
tool made by Baird.
On the tool is the saying “You have to move the air in order to move the
dirt”. This tool is a tube with a ball attached to a spring. I have 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 meter
will read. 0 is really bad and 10 is amazing suction. So we will hook up the
pipe to the Kirby vacuum and Dyson vacuum in order to test them. We will test
it. 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
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 pipe the
more suction you loose. That’s why uprights are usually more powerful than canisters
and why central vacuums in huge homes (a 100 feet of wall tubing to get to the
central vacuum) can be the weakest vacuum of all.
Hooked up to the vacuum on the Dyson the Power Meter read = a 2.8 out of 10
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.
The winner Test #2 The most Airflow and Vacuum Power is = KIRBY
Test #3 – Most Suction Full of Dirt:
The other Dyson promise is that it is guaranteed not to loose airflow as the
vacuum fills us. That not clogging Guarantee bombed so lets test out this Guarantee.
Dyson – So we grabbed 3 Dyson’s. 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
On the Power Meter they all pulled the same = 2.8
Kirby – We grabbed a full Kirby bag (see picture) 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 on hooked
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
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 loose suction as it fills
with dirt. This is not true. I can personally think of 5 other vacuums that
don’t loose suction. The rainbow vacuum for example uses water to filter with
and does not loose suction. The rainbow has been around for nearly a century.
Winner of Test #3 – Most Power Full of Dirt = KIRBY
Test #4 – Cleaning and Vacuums:
This is the most important test. Which vacuum actually vacuums the most dirt.
What I did here was I went next door to the Carpet Store that is next to us.
I marked off the carpet with a tape. 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
I took 2 cups and filled them up with normal dirt and sand I then measured
the 2 cups so they had the exact amount of dirt in them. I then poured the dirt
onto each side of the carpet.
I weighed the dirt that is now in the carpet and going to weigh the dirt that
comes out of the carpet. So we use a tester 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).
So because of those 2 things the Kirby was at a small disadvantage. I knew that
we were not going to get up all the dirt because in each vacuum a small part
of it would stick to the dirt chamber and fans etc. in each of the 2 vacuums.
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 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 weight)
was able to pick up 12.1 oz’s of dirt from the Kirby or 75 % of the dirt was
picked up.
Since the Dyson picked the least amount of dirt it was the loser. I was able
to pull out 44 pads of dirt that the Dyson left behind. I had no idea that the
Kirby would pick up that much extra dirt behind the Dyson. These pads where
not just dusty but jam packed full of dirt and sand (see picture) Looking at
the dirt sample pulled from each vacuum. The Dyson really did not pick up much
sand at all.
Fact – Sand ruins carpet. When it gets down deep into the carpet it has sharp
jagged edges and when people step on your carpet it cuts the carpet fibers.
That’s what causes “trails” in your carpet. High traffic area’s get
sand tracked in them from people coming in from outside, then if the vacuum
does not have the power to pick up the sand the brush roll grinds it deep in
the carpet. Then when people walk on the carpet it cuts the carpet fibers and
the next time you vacuum the carpet fiber gets vacuumed up. If you have a vacuum
that can pick up the sand and a deep cleaner you can extend your carpet by years
and save thousands of dollars.
Winner of Test #4 – Best Cleaner = KIRBY
Test #5 – Durability :
The Kirby is made of a lightweight 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.” Its average life span is of 25years.
The Dyson vacuum is made from a low grade plastic. A vacuum made of plastic
does not mean that it is not durable. Aerus Vacuum (used to be Electrolux) is
a good example. The Dyson is so new that we don’t have a durability time to
work with at this time.
I also did the following test but the results were inclusive because the Hydraulic
press only measured in increments of 500 lbs.
With this test I tested the breaking point of both Kirby and Dyson heads. We
have a Hydraulic press with a stress gauge that tells you how much pressure
something endures before it breaks. The problem with it is that it only gauges
it on 500 lb. increments.
So I performed the test on the Dyson first. The plastic started bending and
then it broke through. The problem (and the reason I don’t like this test) was
it did not even register on the gauge. It could have broke at 100 lbs of pressure
or 499 lbs of pressure.
Then I performed the test on the Kirby again its metal starting bending without
even registering on the gauge (I wish I had a more accurate gauge). But then
it started registering and right before it broke it got to about 1000 lbs before
it broke.
Because of the gauge problem with the above test I am not going to count it
in this contest to determine the winner.
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
3 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. Common parts to break
in shipping on the Dyson are the head, the handle, and the cord wraps.
Winner of Test #5 – Reliability = 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. So the Kirby weighed a little more than 5 lbs than the Dyson. The second
test was easy of vacuuming. Both seemed easy to vacuum with but the Kirby seemed
better because of its self-propelled transmission. It is smooth and I could
vacuum with one finger. Kirby has the Self Propelled transmission is because
of its weight. That’s only partially true. The main reason is it actually creates
a vacuum and seals itself to your carpet, which is then hard to push.
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).
For Kirby lovers this is the only complaint I have heard from them is the wish
their was a easier way to put on your tools without taking off the power nozzle
(which you have to do with the Kirby).
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 for me to go from vacuuming and the Kirby took me
25 seconds to go from vacuuming.
So the on board tools were 6 seconds faster on the Kirby than the Dyson.
So actual ease of vacuuming (could vacuum with one finger) I would say the
Kirby was easier. However with carrying weight and use of tools the Dyson won
Winner of Test #6 – Weight & Ease of Vacuuming = Dyson
Test #7 – Tools and Accessories :
Depending on this Dyson Model the Dyson comes with 5 tools (3 of which are
on board). Those tools are :
1. Duster Brush (on board)
2. Upholstery tool (on board)
3. Crevice Tool (on board)

About the author:

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