Earlier this year, Kirby released a new line of vacuums, the Kirby Avilir 2. It succeeded the Avilir 1 and came with a few tweaks here and there. Kirby has, for years, earned the wrath of many homeowners for their door-to-door spelling strategy. Few people are ever comfortable with the persistent salespeople who visit homes pitching Kirby vacuum cleaners. They view them as nagging, cunning people who often end up selling the vacuums at exorbitant prices to the unsuspecting customers. This has led to the many negative reviews the company has been receiving online – from people who are angry for feeling duped into coughing huge amounts of money for the vacuums. Most of the time, the sweet talk of the sales agents and the amazing cleaning ability of Kirby vacuums to clean is what makes people part with their cash. The financing that sees you obtain the vacuum without having to pay the full amount at once is another bait the salespeople use. Also, the fact that you can trade in your existing vac with a Kirby one often makes people fall for it.
The Kirby marketing method aside, it would be good to talk about the product itself, how well it cleans or doesn’t. Because let’s be honest, Kirby vacuums can really clean. That partly explains the success of the company’s selling strategy as well as the huge numbers of people buying these vacuums. The truth is that Kirby continues to enjoy enviable sales figures even with the negativity going around on online forums. Selling an average of 500,000 units yearly, the company isn’t doing badly. It means there are still thousands of homeowners who find these vacuums satisfactory. The latest line, the Kirby Avalir 2, comes in different models and with an incredible array of useful accessories that are unlikely to be found on any other vacuum. Biased reviews can paint a one-sided story about a product. It’s the reason I came up with this review; to give an honest description of the specifications of this vacuum, the features, pros and cons, and advice on how not to be forced into buying it at an inflated price. That will allow you to view this vacuum from an impartial angle so you can decide if it’s worth buying or not.
At a glance, we have:
|Dimensions||15" × 43" × 16"|
|Color||Sparkle silver and blue plastic insertions|
|Cord length||29 ft|
|Cleaning path width||14"|
|Cord storage||Wrap up|
|Floor compatibility||All types of floors|
|Tank capacity||2 gallons|
|Suction power||400 AW|
|Noise level||70 db|
|Country of manufacture||USA|
|Price||Between $1000 and $3000|
Here’s the company commercial. Not to shabby if you ask me:
The airflow created by the Kirby Avalir 2 is impressive. It’s one of the strongest for a vac in its class of motor amperage. Measurements indicate that the airflow and suction of this vacuum reach 132 CFM and 40″ water-lift, figures that not many vacuums can achieve. The great airflow is characteristics of Kirby vacuums. It enables their products to be really good at picking up dirt especially from carpets. You now know why their salespeople are ever looking to demonstrate the cleaning prowess of these vacuum cleaners. Their airflow, combined with the efficient agitator brush, can pick up dirt from a high-pile carpet that many other vacuum brands won’t.
If you’ve ever allowed a Kirby salesperson in your house, they must have gone ahead to clean your carpet with a Kirby after your usual vacuum cleaner. I believe you were amazed at how the dirt embedded deep in the carpet was able to resurface and cleaned by their vacuum. It happened because of the excellent airflow technology, the superb brush roll, bristles, and other attributes. Now you know why thousands of people end up purchasing these vacs. The Kirby Avalir 2 is no exception. It cleans your carpets and bare floors efficiently and with ease. In addition to the suction, the vacuum’s floor head makes a 14-inch cleaning path, wide enough to make vacuuming large areas easy. For those with several rooms to take care of, a broad cleaning head is necessary if you’re to take less time to finish your cleaning tasks.
The Kirby Avalir 2 takes in 7 amps from the standard American power outlet. The amperage is much lower than that of many other vacuums from reputable brands that suck up dirt powerfully. It makes this product an energy efficient one. Kirby vacuums have even earned a Gold Seal from CRI for that. Despite the low input power, do not expect the suction power of this vacuum to be any lower. The company has ensured that the vacuum maintains the ability to pick up dirt and debris that Kirby cleaning units are famed for.
It’s a bagged vacuum, which means the vacuumed dirt is stored in a disposable bag. The dirtbag in the Kirby Avalir 2 is a large one, enough to allow you many vacuuming sessions before it fills up. It fits in an outer cloth bag and comes with HEPA filtration for assured trapping of allergens. The bag is conveniently located on the units side. It has a “fill line” that shows you the point at which you must replace it. This vacuum doesn’t come with a mechanism to detect and warn you of a bag that’s filled up. However, considering that it has ample space to store dirt for days, you may not find that a bother. Bags like the one from the left image are about $5/piece.
The filtration level in the Kirby Avalir 2 is excellent; it could almost find a place on my allergies list. According to the company, it’s HEPA which means the vacuum presents no health risk to allergen sufferers. The dirtbag can trap 99.97 % of particles measuring as tiny as 0.3 microns. The dirt holding bag is a disposable one that requires replacing once it fills up. The bags are available in distributor stores, at an affordable price and in packs of several. Another attribute of the vacuum’s filtration system is the superb seal the company has ensured for the unit. It means there’s no danger of the cleaned allergens finding their way out through openings other than the filter.
Weight and Dimensions
The unit weighs 23 pounds. You may have heard that Kirby vacuums are heavy, and indeed they are. At 23 pounds, the Avalir 2 is pretty much on the heavier side. That means quite some effort would be required to move up a staircase, for example. However, the versatility of this vacuum helps you work around this problem. It can convert to a handheld for use on mattresses, furniture, and higher places. When vacuuming carpets, you can engage the self-propulsion to make moving the unit easier. The vacuum measures 15″ × 43″ × 16″ which makes it somewhat big-sized compared to many other uprights.
It comes with a limited warranty that covers 3 years. Usually, you buy the Kirby Avalir 2 from distributors who are authorized by the manufacturing company. The distributors employ the door-to-door selling method which means you can only purchase it through a salesperson who visits your home. As long as the papers indicate the sales date and other particulars about you, you are entitled to a 3-year warranty for your Avalir 2. It’s good to note that the company only recognizes warranties for the vacuums originating from appointed distributors. In instances where you purchase it online, the warranty indicated isn’t from Kirby but the seller’s. The Kirby warranty is a limited one and covers both the vacuum cleaner’s parts and labor. There’s also the program known as “Lifetime Rebuild” that buyers of Kirby vacuums are entitled to. The program offers registered owners the privilege to have their vacuums either repaired or restored to an as-good-as-new condition. This is done at a small fee, and you can request for it at any time in the life of the machine.
The Kirby Avalir 2 will amaze you with the many accessories it supports. It seems the company aimed to create a cleaning machine that does everything in your home, from vacuuming, mopping, shampooing, refinishing hard floors to painting your home’s walls. The accessories you receive include:
- a portable sprayer
- a shampooer
- extension tubes
- carry handle
- an inflator
- a replacement belt
- an utility tool
- a crevice
- a duster brush
- a wall/ceiling brush
- an air intake guard
- the upholstery nozzle
- the grip for suction control
- a surface cleaning head
- an attachment hose
- the user manual (which you can also download from the producer’s website)
Optional accessories include:
- a zippbrush
- the multi-surface system to shampoo carpet
- the multi-surface system to shampoo hard floors
- the miracleShine kit
- the tile/grout kit
- a rotary mop
- a turbo tool
As I said earlier, the Kirby Avalir 2 is an exceptional cleaning machine. It comes with a wide range of accessories and attachments all meant to help you carry out different tasks. The main unit is itself loaded with various features to improve the cleaning ability and usability of the vacuum. The various features include the following.
Pile Adjust System
One thing that makes this vacuum suitable for carpets is that you can manually adjust the height of the floor head. It allows you to vacuum just at the right height and pick up dirt efficiently. The adjustment is operated by a foot pedal which makes it easy for you to do it while vacuuming. Because it’s manual, this feature allows you to test the efficiency of each height as you choose the right one. A floor head that’s too low can create a tight seal in carpets making vacuuming activities difficult. On bare floors, it could lead to damage to the surface or blowing about of debris. Set too high, it causes suction to lower considerably and could mean debris that’s left unpicked.
It features a motorized beater brush with extended bristles. While this feature may not be suitable for some floors, it improves the cleaning ability of the Avalir 2. The brush serves to agitate the dirt and debris prior to pick up, allowing the strong suction of the unit to clean with unrivaled efficiency. This is what Kirby salespeople capitalize on when they confidently ask to demonstrate the cleaning capability of their machines. True to their word, their vacuums suck up dirt superbly which leaves you wondering why you don’t have a Kirby as yet. It’s the reason why many homeowners end up trading their existing vacuum for a Kirby one after the demonstration. The spinning brush roll together with the powerful suction of these vacuums does the trick. The Kirby Avalir 2 brings this vacuuming power to your home to help you clean different surfaces, from upholstery, bare floors to dense and high-pile carpet floors.
Brush On and Off
The Avalir 2 allows you to turn the spinning brush roll on and off at will. You only need to press a lever to disengage the belt that connects the brush to the motor, and it will not turn anymore. This feature is essential when cleaning sensitive carpets and you don’t want the bristles of the beater brush to damage the delicate fibers. Also, when cleaning sensitive hard floors that are easily damaged by a motorized agitator brush. Some people find the lever control of the brush roll on the Avalir 2 a bit clumsy. Because it involves disengaging the belt, you have to wait for the motor to stop running before working it. Some users feel that a separate brush roll motor and a convenient on and off switch would be better. It would make everything quicker and easier. However, it seems Kirby didn’t want to make their already pricey and heavy vacuum even more expensive and heavier by having a second motor. So it looks like the current on and off mechanism for the brush roll will be there for a long time to come.
The vacuum comes with a headlight that shines a bright light ahead The one on the Avilir 2 has been upgraded from the smaller earlier one to a more powerful and energy-efficient LED lamp. It illuminates the vacuum’s path so well, allowing you to clean areas with inadequate lighting. I bet Kirby understands that many of their customers are people living in large homes with dark areas that need a vacuum with a strong headlight, and is the reason they had it on the Avalir 2.
Featuring what the company calls TechDrive, the Kirby Avalir 2 is easy to pull and push while cleaning. A lever at the rear of the unit lets you engage and disengage this feature. When the mechanism is on, moving the vacuum on the floor becomes easy, almost effortless. This can be useful when vacuuming carpets and the wheels get stuck in the pile. With the self-propulsion, you won’t experience wrist or arm strain and tiredness every time you vacuum your home. The feature also means you won’t feel the heavy weight of this Kirby vacuum since not much of your effort is needed to push or pull it. The good thing about the TechDrive functionality is that you can decide when to use it and when not to.
Long Power Cord
The cord is a 29-feet length. Although not too long, it’s the average length that’s required to make cleaning a typical home easy. The only downside about the Avalir 2 cord is that it doesn’t feature an automatic mechanism for winding and rewinding. You have to do it manually, which can be cumbersome and tiring. I’m not sure why Kirby didn’t see the need for the automation of this particular part of their vacuum.
Because of the unsuitability of a motorized brush roll on some carpets and hard floors, it’s advisable that you know if it’s turning or not. Switching it off may not be enough since you may forget or have a faulty mechanism without your knowledge. Kirby introduced a way to tell whether the brush is spinning or not. The mechanism involves the use of a magnet at the side of the brush roll that powers an led lamp. Because it only lights when the magnets is rotating and producing current, you can be sure that the brush is stationary when the lamp is off. This feature, though minor, helps to assure you that there is no risk of damage to your delicate and expensive flooring.
The Kirby Avalir 2 features a powerful airflow. This can be a hindrance when vacuuming high-pile carpets. It creates an air seal that causes a lifting of the carpet and the possibility of damage to the fibers. To prevent that, Kirby placed a button on the vacuum’s handle that you can use to control the airflow. Depending on the surface being cleaned, you can raise or lower it.
Conversion to Many Different and Useful Cleaning Units
The versatility of the Kirby Avalir 2 is astounding. It’s an all-in-one machine that can do virtually anything that concerns the cleaning of your home. With the ability to convert to as many as 12 different and unique machines, this vacuum is in a class of its own. From a unit you can use for the mopping and vacuuming of bare floors, shampooing carpets, sanding and waxing of hardwood floors to painting the walls, the list is almost endless. It makes it the kind of vacuum to have in your home so you can carry out different cleaning tasks without the need to purchase many different machines. However, the versatility of the vacuum doesn’t come that easily. Its price is on the higher end, plus it takes time to understand how to use all the tools and attachments.
Other features unique to the Kirby Avalir 2 include the metal construction. Most of the unit is made from polished aluminum, making the vacuum visually appealing and durable. However, the metallic construction contributes to its heavy weight and makes it difficult to carry around. The bristles in the brush roll are adjustable. As they wear out, you can extend them to the required length so the vacuum doesn’t lose its ability to clean carpets and other surfaces.
The Kirby Avalir 2 is not difficult to assemble. However, because of the many accessories it comes with, the unit can be too complicated to operate in the different modes. The conversions can overwhelm you before you get a grip of how you’re supposed to use the different parts it comes with. To make things easier, the company often includes an instructions DVD in the package so buyers can get to understand its usage visually.
Using it in the upright mode is no hassle, though. Most of the control levers and switches on the Kirby Avalir 2 are conveniently located. They’re hand operated, on the handle, or foot operated and located in the unit’s rear.
The company incorporated a variety of features that make this vacuum user-friendly. Among them is the TechDrive, a mechanism to propel the wheels and make pulling and pushing the vacuum easier. You will find this functionality of great help when vacuuming carpeted floors. The unit becomes pretty light when in drive mode. Only ensure that you don’t use it when cleaning sensitive hard floors as it could result in damage to the surfaces.
It comes with a handle that comes it easy to carry around. You attach it when converting the unit to a handheld that can be used on the stairs or to clean upholsteries. A variety of other attachments allow you to change the unit into a machine that fits a particular task. For example, you can use it to shampoo your carpets by attaching the appropriate accessory, or you can make it mop your hard floor by connecting the right tool.
The incredible versatility of the Kirby Avalair 2 is one of its greatest attributes. The manufacturer markets that by calling the vacuum a complete home-care system. And it is. The things you can do with this vacuum are many, some of them tasks you never thought a vacuum to do. With it, you may not need to buy different machines for each task to keep your home in top condition. It sweeps, mops, sands, polishes, paints and even blows. Many homeowners would be more than willing to pay any amount for a machine that can do so much from so compact a size.
The Avalir 2 scores high when it comes to suction power and dirt agitation. The airflow is higher than you would find on many high-end vacuums that are currently on the market. As a result, the vacuum cleans excellently and can be used on both bare floors and homes with wall-to-wall carpets. With a brush roll that can be turned on and off, you’re assured that your delicate hardwood or carpet flooring is safe from the damage caused by a spinning beater brush. That makes this vacuum one of the best for any type of home. The vacuum even comes with an LED indicator for the turning brush roll which would prevent cases where you clean delicate surfaces while it’s on.
The vacuum is energy efficient. Despite it having a powerful motor, the Avalir 2 doesn’t draw much current. If you’re the energy conscious person but wants a vacuum that won’t let you down, the Avalir 2 would make a suitable choice for you. It’s an upright vacuum but with the ability to convert into a canister as well as a portable handheld. You can be vacuuming your carpet this minute, the stairs in the next, and in no time the mattress. It allows you to perform a variety of cleaning tasks from a single machine. That’s in addition to the adequate cord length that makes cleaning large rooms possible. You will not have to keep switching power outlets unless the rooms are too large, in which case you would need to invest in an appropriate extension cord.
Concerning ease of use, the vacuum doesn’t come with fancy features and controls. The levers and switch are placed within reach and easy to operate. The Avalir 2 offers no resistance when pushing or even pulling it along. The self-propelling wheels increase the vacuum’s traction, and you can use it on a variety of floors including deep carpets. The vacuum also features wheels that are large enough to allow for easy turning on carpets.
Last but not least, it’s made in US:
Price is a major concern for this cleaning machine. Many people who view Kirby vacuums negatively do so for their high prices. Don’t be surprised if you’re sold the Kirby Avalir for an insane amount by a distributor salesman. Despite many cries from customers over the years, the manufacturer has continued to leave the prices to be determined by appointed but independent distributors. This has been the main problem with Kirby vacuums as some unscrupulous sales agents often quote exaggerated prices. There are buyers who ended up paying as much as $2500 which is abnormally high. Since the company doesn’t control the prices, it’s upon you, the buyer, to negotiate the amount you pay for your Avalir 2. However, expect to end up paying a hefty amount still, one that’s close to $1000. It often doesn’t fall below $700 for a new unit. Apart from the high price, the selling method adopted by the distributors can be annoying. Not many people like the idea of strangers invading their home and asking to vacuum it. It can put someone off.
The weight of the Kirby Avalir 2 is another drawback. Moving it around can be cumbersome. However, cleaning with it wouldn’t be a problem due to the self-propulsion mechanism for the wheels. Another drawback is the vacuum’s cable. If you’re used to the convenience of a retractable cord, the manual one of the Avalir 2 could take you by surprise. The vacuum also produces a loud noise when in operation. That could be annoying if you don’t like noisy environments, or if you have a toddler and you have to vacuum your home every day.
How to Get Your Kirby Avalir 2 at a Moderate Price
While Kirby vacuums usually carry high price tags, some of the prices are unusually high. The final price you settle for depends on how well you can haggle. I’ve also talked in my previous Sentria review about how you can get a very good deal. The salesperson is paid a commission and will do anything to sell the vacuum to you at the highest amount possible. Don’t be fooled into accepting their first price right away. Not even after they’ve lowered it a bit. In fact, it would be advisable that you pretend not to be interested in purchasing the vacuum citing the high price and that you could get a different brand for much less. That will get them to lower the price to a fair amount. Most salesmen and women start at the $2500 or even $3000 mark. Now, this is overboard, but that’s what salesmanship is. Only buy the vacuum if they’re willing to bring the price down to below $1000. Make it clear to them that you’re ready to end the discussion if they cannot accept that.
If working with a tight budget, you could consider a refurbished Avalir 2. These come at a much lower price and will still clean superbly. You can even find Kirby vacuums online today, unlike in the past years when you could only get one from company authorized sellers. You can buy one on Amazon or eBay from those who have taken the selling of these vacuums away from the tradition door-to-door model to the internet. These are often cheaper and you won’t have to haggle endlessly. A word of caution though. The manufacturer will only accept warranties from a Kirby Avalir 2 that was purchased from their authorized vacuum sellers. However, if you buy it e.g. from Amazon, you’ll enjoy Amazon warranty instead, which is just a good in most cases.
Despite the negative reviews on online discussion forums, Kirby vacuums aren’t that bad. The Avalir 2 cleans excellently and comes with tools and attachments you won’t find in other vacuum cleaners. It has its downside, no doubt, but the vacuum is not as worse as some reviewers say it is. I find its versatility unmatched and its suction power one of the best you can find in a vacuum cleaner. Suction power and airflow are the most important features in a vacuum and the Kirby Avalir 2 has that. Granted, there are the features that hamper the vacuum’s cleaning prowess such as its weight and the lack of some features.
However, considering that a vacuum is great if can pick up dirt from any surface with ease, I would give the Avalir 2 a high score. Its price can be a hindrance, of course, but you can always work your way to a favorable amount with the salesperson. Or, you can get yourself a refurbished one. What I find disturbing about these vacuums is that the manufacturer allows distributors to have full control of the prices they sell the vacuums for. Some sales agents can be dishonest, using persuasive sales language to get you to buy an $800 vacuum for as much as $2000. It gives the vacuums and the company a bad name for no reason. To conclude, the Kirby Avalir is a good choice if you have a large home with different types of surfaces to be cleaned. It vacuums hard floors, upholstery, and carpets superbly.