Today we’ll talk about a highly disputed product, from a 100 years old 100% American producer: Kirby. The Kirby Sentria II Vacuum is currently the latest and most technologically advanced vacuum cleaner produced by Kirby (except Kirby Avalir which is not even sold in most states), succeeding its older counterpart, the Kirby Sentria I, and bringing a new range of features that make it an effective and versatile cleaning machine. I.e., the powerful airflow is enhanced by a HEPA filtration system, a LED headlight provides enough light to brighten even the darkest corners, the sturdy aluminum construction grants extra maneuverability and the adjustable height ensures every member of the family can use it. But let’s not jump into conclusions, and star with the beginning. After reading this ultimate review, you’ll get:
- all the information needed to help you take an informed buying decision
- the place where you can find the best price for a Sentria 2
- to know what real people are saying about the product
- a complete negotiation guide that will help you lower the price door salesmen usually offer
If you’re in a hurry, check out this infographic that highlights the main qualities of this cleaning system:
Sentria 2 infographic
|Suction power||All Kirby products perform very well at this chapter. Users can set the height of the floor contact point by using the pedals located on the front wheels. Several studies showed that the Sentria 2 has the strongest suction power of all Kirbys: about 115 CFM. The machine comes with 2 brushrolls coupled to the motor through a belt, a soft one meant for carpets and rugs, and a stiff one designed for picking up pet hair.|
|Input power||Naturally, the vacuum has different input powers, depending on the usage. For normal nozzle usage, Sentria consumes around 630 Watts (5.9 Amps) at which the the brushroll reaches a speed of 4000 RPM. If you use the hose, the power input raises to 710 Watts.|
|Dust capacity||You can get a 6 pack of Kirby ALLERGEN disposable bags for as little as $18. These bags are the only ones that work for the G10D model (F style), unless you use a reversal kit that will allow you to install bags designed for older models. A bag like this measures 2 gallons and can easily hold up to 6 months of use. Check out the difference between the 2 types of bags:|
|Filtration system efficiency||Sentria has filtration at different levels. First, the bags presented above filter most mites and small dust particles. Second, the HEPA filter is not allowing airborne particles smaller than 0.3 microns to leave the air fan.|
|Weight and Dimensions||Since it's mostly built of aluminum and polymer (an improvement from older models) is weights around 20 pounds and measures 43 x 15 x 15.|
|Warranty||This is where things get complicated. You'll get a 3 year warranty only if you buy from one of the 900 distributors from US. You will NOT get any warranty if you buy this product online. Together with the warranty, you can also get a Lifetime Rebuild Plan, for an additional $100 or so. This feature allows you to send the vacuum back to the factory for a full service repair, including change of broken parts and polishing of the aluminum structure. Your vacuum should look like new when you get it back.|
|Accessories||This vacuum cleaner has the best accessories I've seen. Along with the standard brushes, crevice tools and wands, Sentria 2 also features a turbo brush, a zipp brush, accessories for sanding, buffing and scouring flat surfaces and for shampooing carpets. Check out this pick which contains all the Sentria 2 package:|
|Special features||This vacuum has a lot of special features:|
Carpet shampooing - You can clean your carpets with a quick-drying shampooer.
Headlight - A powerful LED light that allows you to see what you vacuum.
Portable mode - This vacuum cleaner can be transformed into a handheld.
|Usability||Several technologies increase the usability of this vacuum cleaner: the adjustable height, the TechDrive Power Assist which helps you push it around with ease (if the vacuum is placed in drive mode) and the length of the cord (standard is 32 ft long, but you could purchase for $30 a 50 ft power cord). The noise produced is medium.|
|Price||The price is one of the hottest discussion points of any Kirby product. Kirby states that their simple business model (the in-home demonstration) ensures that each user learns all there is to know about all of the features of the product. Most of the times, the sales person will offer you a giveaway (such as a carpet shampoo, or a hardwood polish) if you allow them in. Personally, I don't like to have people I don't know in my home. The presentation usually lasts around 2-3h. The circus begins as soon as the distributor sets foot into your house. All his actions follow carefully a certain plan (set up long before you even meet the guy), and the price that he will first ask for this vacuum cleaner will blow you away: around $3000. This price may decrease if you trade in your personal vacuum cleaner. If you are a good negotiator, you may get a brand new Sentria 2 for as low as $800. However, you may get a similar product at a much cheaper rate if you buy online a new one, or a second hand (and then sent it to be rebuilt).|
As for the pros of the Kirby Sentria II vacuum cleaner, there are many aspects that should be mentioned in order to showcase the functionality of this machine. In the first place, the Sentria 2 provides an extremely powerful airflow that ensures you of consistent suction while you are vacuuming your home. The machine has been specifically manufactured not to lose suction when switching between different surfaces, ensuring you of optimal floor contact on hardwood, tile, vinyl, carpets, area rugs, and upholstery.
A remarkable feature of the Kirby Sentria II is the outstanding TechDrive power assist it is equipped with, which makes maneuvering the vacuum back and forth effortless. Though it is not a self-propelled system that drags you behind the machine, the TechDrive power assist intuits the direction you want to go, sensing how fast or slow you are moving the system. This is ideal particularly if you are planning on cleaning larger areas, such as a living-room, a master bedroom, or an attic, which are usually more time-extensive to clean. To turn on the TechDrive power assist, you have to either push down the drive pedal, or simply press the “D.” To turn it off, press the “N” instead, which will revert the machine to neutral mode.
The shampooer system that comes with the Kirby Sentria II makes the machine stand out. This system can clean your carpets and rugs without soaking them, drying them off quickly. As such, not only will it properly collect dirt and dust that has been accumulated in your carpets for so long, but this upright will also freshen the fabrics, giving them a shinier appearance, and eliminating unpleasant smells that might affect the cleanliness of your home.
As with most other Kirby vacuums, the Sentria II is equipped with a HEPA filtration system, which is efficient at reducing dirt, dust, and debris from your carpets. As such, you can expect the performance of this Kirby upright to be superior as compared to your average vacuum cleaner, keeping your home free of bacteria, mold, and allergens that can threaten your family’s health and well-being.
As for the construction itself, the Sentria II is made from sturdy aluminum, which makes it a lot more durable, enhancing its resistance to proactive use as well as accidental blows that are normal when vacuuming the underneath of furniture, beds, and chairs. The height of this upright is adjustable, which offers more versatility, therefore allowing individuals no matter how tall or short to use it. This can be convenient especially if you are not the only one doing housekeeping, as it can easily be adjusted to fit the height of another person, therefore making vacuuming a breeze. The cord is 32-foot long, which is a decent length if you need to also go upstairs to vacuum.
The Kirby Sentria II has been reported to be particularly lightweight, which makes it easier to maneuver, and less likely for you to get tired while vacuuming your home. At the same time, there are several attachments that come with this machine, including a duster brush, upholstery nozzle, crevice tool (with removable brush), and wall and ceiling brush. As such, you can always switch over to the most convenient of them depending on where you need to vacuum, not to mention that the LED headlight will brighten even the darkest spot, thus making the job simple and effortless.
As you were probably expecting, the Kirby Sentria II has its own drawbacks as well. First and foremost, this vacuum cleaner has only one speed, meaning that you will not be able to select between a more efficient and quicker one, which are very convenient if you need to clean your carpets properly, or cannot afford spending much time vacuuming.
Another downside of the Sentria II is the durability of this upright vacuum cleaner, which leaves much to be desired. Though its construction is made from sturdy aluminum, you might have issues with its suction power, which may start to weaken over time. This has been reported by a couple of customers who have purchased and used the Kirby Sentria II, claiming that the machine was inoperable after an average time span of 9-13 months. The belt also was reported by some of the customers to brake often. This is a huge letdown considering the expensive price of this vacuum cleaner, which goes beyond $1,000, unlike cheaper models that have been reported to last longer, and provide the same good performance for over two years.
Lastly, the loud noise produced by the Kirby Sentria II might be another complaint you will probably have after purchasing this machine. From the first moment when you power it on to the very last, the vacuum will sound pretty much like a coffee grinder, which is very inconvenient since much cheaper (and not as technologically advanced) models do not.
The negotiation guide
As soon as the Kirby salesman arrives at your door, prepare for a psychological war. My personal tip: talk with your spouse before this is happening. If you’re both at home, establish who will take the lead in talking, negotiating and so on. It is important to show authority and calm, if you want this vacuum for as low as $700-$800. Here’s the step by step scenario:
- Don’t let the salesman in at first! They are trained to deal with situation. You can state that you have some sort of “no salesman inside” house rule, or that you want to keep your privacy. Don’t say your house is a mess!
- Usually, Kirby salesman travel in pairs. They will try to bribe their way in, with a bonus product, a freebie or discount. At this point you have 2 options: you finally let them in the lobby (you actually want to buy a Kirby), or you don’t (you don’t want the vacuum cleaner, not the case of this article). They might also argue that they will leave and never return, which is not true, since you can always request for an in-house presentation from Kirby.
- As soon as they are in your house, impose limits. Don’t let them wonder around the house. Limits are important, because they increase your authority and show that you are basically the “boss”, the leader in this negotiation.
- They will want to offer you a quick demo of the product. Choose a relatively small carpet! Large carpets take time, and allow Kirby salesmen to get a better grip of what is actually going on. Remember that you want to keep secret that fact that you actually want to buy the vacuum system.
- Just like buying an used car, try to find things that you don’t like about the vacuum cleaner, and complain about them. My preferred method is to complain about a back pain, while emphasizing on the weight of the system, which is a Kirby weak spot. Other things to complain: the less reliable plastic parts (all newer models have these) and the complexity of the system, which requires time and energy in order to learn how to use it.
- The first price which comes out will be something in the range $1500-$2000. Try to look outraged (I guess this part it’s easy for most of us). The price will go down for a couple of hundreds, and the negotiation usually stops at around $1000.
- When you’re down to $1000, you have to appeal to a good scenario, something like to following. Call somebody (a friend, a neighbor, or maybe your adult kid). Ask what was the price of their Kirby. The answer should be something like: they got it for $400 from Ebay. The salesman will talk about the fact that they get no warranty, no rebuild plan. Screw the rebuild plan, it’s a $600 difference. Have a smartphone? Use it! Go online and say you can show them a site where you found a great Kirby deal. Talk about the $100 vacuums you’ve seen at your friends. Talk about the latest Dyson, or how crazy the economy really is. Talk about your next vacation, and how good this money would be. Get in an argue with your spouse. Be a little crazy! Depending on how good you are, you can lower the $1000 to $700. When you’re at this point, you can either take it or leave it.
Verdict, including final recommendations and VGM
Despite a couple of flaws, Kirby’s Sentria II remains a reliable and effective vacuum cleaner that has a good performance overall, providing enough suction power, airflow, and an outstanding HEPA filtration system that keeps your home clean and safe for your entire family. Along with its shampooer system, convenient TechDrive power assist, and LED headlight, as well as the many accessories that ship with the unit, you will be most definitely pleased with your purchase, especially since every authorized model comes with a 3-year warranty that protects your interests. To top that off, the Sentria II is probably one of the very few vacuums that come with an attractive and stylish bag, which adds extra glam to your storeroom. Here’s the VGM of this vacuum cleaner:
Now it’s your turn to talk about Kirby and about the Sentria 2 (G10D). What do you think, is it worth paying $1000 for a vacuum cleaner? Do you own a Kirby, or know someone that does? Have you bough the newest Kirby Avalir? How is it like? I can’t wait to read your comments!