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!
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Linda Williams says
Your article promised:
the place where you can find the best price for a Sentria 2
a complete negotiation guide that will help you lower the price door salesmen usually offer
I didn’t find either of these in the review. Am I missing something? Do I need to subscribe for that information?
Thanks for the excellent and balanced review.
Jason Roberts says
Hi Linda, I was just updating this, I’ve added the negotiation guide. As you can see, you can find the Sentria 2 either online (which is easy going for most of us, but you won’t get the Kirby warranty), at the Kirby local store or if you’d get an in-house performance.
Wish I had seen this a week ago. My Dyson caught on fire (due to a housing outlet issue) and I am in need of a vacuum. I did a quick social media survey and several 15yr Kirby owners popped up. Interesting. I didn’t do much research ahead of time and called for an in-home demo. I didn’t have the nightmare experience, but the guy did try to stay as long as possible after my husband left the room to put our children to bed. Unfortunately the Kirby guy knew I wanted the machine. We ended out at $1430 “Don’t tell your neighbors, okay?” and I still did not convince my hubby to purchase. Now a week following, I’m debating if I should buy a used Sentria 2 that looks like new, although I can’t say it had incredible suction (not that I have the plastic demo plate to test) for $350 or try and negotiate for a new one if I can get them down to $800. Likely I’d have to call a different Kirby guy.
I loved this review and the negotiation guide. Thank you!! Now if I only knew what to do; my carpets are getting dirty.
Cathy Fletcher says
I have a G4 Kirby. Will the Sentria2 carpet cleaner fit it?? Please let me know ASAP.. Thank you .
Jason Roberts says
I haven’t tested this, I may be wrong, but I don’t think the head fits your G4.
I bought my first kirby used in 1973, it was not self propelled or assisted, it was very heavy and hard to push for my wife, but it never broke.
I bought another used one in 2000 a G3 that worked great until I broke the shift selector by stepping on it too hard. I bought another one but kept this one for a spare.
I bought a used 2001 model that I’m using now and I have to say I really like these Kirby vacuum cleaners.
I bought two new Dyson vacuums in the last ten years also but I sold one and gave the other one to my brother because Dyson is bagless and I could see after a while that with all the connections that the vacuum uses they leak air and I could see dust accumulating around these connections which tells me it leaks dust back into the house.
Dyson is not built nearly as well as a Kirby, I broke the handle clean off of one of them lifting it over an object but I have to say Dyson sent me a new one (for free) immediately which was an indication of their excellent service, but
with a bagless model you have to empty the canister outside or you will have dust flying all over the house.
I pick my Kirby up by the handle all the time and even as heavy as it is, I have never had anything break yet. I lift it up by the handle to a high bench just to change the bag.
I’m 6’1″ @ 300 Lbs which explains why/how I broke the shift selector on my second Kirby and probably why I broke the handle off my Dyson.
I need something tough and rugged, Kirby fits the bill….
Jason Roberts says
Thank you Gabriel, for sharing your thoughts.
Jason, thank you so much for this review and for the great negotiation guide! I might have read it a bit too late as I just agreed two days ago for Us$1400 (Mauritius – an island off the African continent..!) – but I did say that I need to arrange for the money as I did not take their financing schemes. Now I know I could probably go for lower – perhaps not US$700 9we are far from US soil 😉 but definitely around US$800-850 area. I will propose to pay him cash and see the response.
Btw since they are new to our region, I did give him many contacts (phone numbers) of friends and that is how I got to $1400 instead of the $2800 initial price. I must say that even at the suggested price of $700/ it remains a very costly investment, but as you say it is built to last and the rebuild program is quite reassuring. Buying vacuum cleaners for $200-300 every 2-3 years might not be the best strategy either.
They are selling the Avalier model only – could you perhaps guide us on how it compares to the Sentria II in terms of build and suction power / features?
Jason Roberts says
From what I saw a few weeks ago, the Avalir is definitely an improvement over the Sentria models. Kirby changes the name of their main selling line around once per decade, so there’s that. As main starting points, the Avalir is also mainly built out of metal, and has a similar motor to the Sentria II, very powerful and dependable. I can’t help you with a complete comparison because I didn’t get the chance to look closely, but I’m planning to investigate it by the end of this month.
It is great to know that the avalir compares favourably with the Sentria2 – this model did score quite well in your review. I eagerly await your review/comparison of the new avalir model. Hopefully you can give us a realistic baseline price for the avalir (similar to the $700 baseline price for the Sentria2) through the authorized distributors. This will help for the negotiations. Thank you for your helpful guides and for sparing time for your online fans.
Dean Kennedy says
We bought a Kirby G4 back in 1996. It is still going strong with no rebuild yet. I have found it is built very well.
Dean Kennedy says
P.S. we were not very smart on negotiations and paid $1200 way back then can you imagine. We liked it so much we told a few of our friends and they got them for $800. We felt stupid but never regretted the quality or performance. They still have them too.
Avalir is too difficult for us to use. We are in our 70s and we are trying to cancel our purchase.
quincy webb says
Big ,bulky, heavy ,wont roll unless it is on,dinosaur, for 2500.00 never ever again
Bought a Kirby 13 years ago. It works as advertised. I recently got it serviced and a cord replacement for about $80.00 and it is as good as new. Best Vacuum ever. Extremely durable. Expensive? Yes, but you buy it once and enjoy it for a very long time.
Bought a new Kirby Sentra 2 during 2014. Used three times, burnt the belt off. Bought three new belts, put one on. Same thing. Has set in closet since. Tried to call the representative but phone is always busy or no answer. No return calls. I called Kirby Headquarters this morning explaining that vacuum cleaner has been junk since day of purchase and that the salesman said that Kirby would purchase it back. She said they would credit us a said amount toward a purchase of another Kirby. We were not told this by the salesman and ended up buying a Shark. We do not want the Kirby, and will never purchase another Kirby for it is not practical or as homeowner friendly as suggested by the salesperson. $1836.00 later and all we have is a junk Kirby and a great Shark. To think we traded a Shark in towards the purchase of Kirby.
The accessories in the picture are fake. I sold Kirbys for 3 years and those are NOT the right parts. The only parts that are correct are the shampooer, the housing, the hose, and the rubber belts. Everything else is crap plastic. If you’re going to do an in-depth review and analysis make sure youre using and displaying the right parts.
Jason Roberts says
That is because they are extra, as I got this kit from a third party (Ebay). The accessories are discussed in the accessories section (check out the product table).
Hello, i found a G6 on the side of the road driving home from work one night, I knew it was a kirby because my brother and sister both paid over $3000 for a vacuum cleaner and I thought they were mad. I pulled this thing apart and searched YouTube, I cleaned and polished it and put it back together it worked perfectly. I was converted I am now the proud owner of an avalir, 5 x sentrias, a G6 which I found, a heritage, a legend, a legend 2, a G4 and a G5, all which cost less than $1300. I plan to sell 3 of the sentrias on eBay which should pay for all,of them.
You should not be concerned about purchasing a second hand kirby on eBay, these things are really built to last and there is not much that can go wrong with them, it is cheaper to buy a second hand kirby just for parts than to buy the parts of a kirby if required, once I called my local kirby dealer for some parts a new bag and lead for a sentria he quoted $160 for the bag and $90 for the power lead you can buy a lightly used sentria of eBay for under $300 with all accessories and shampoo kit. I think the most of the unhappy kirby customers are just kicking themselves about how much they paid for a vacuum cleaner and not the actual product. I also can’t believe that some people would update from a sentria to avalir essentially they are exactly the same except for color and a different handle on the avalir, the avalir has a lot more plastic components which would have to affect durability.
Jason Roberts says
Thanks for your insights Tom. I agree with your last statement, the Avalir and the Sentria are very similar.
Mary Lynne Schuster says
I paid $1,000 and traded a Simplicity vacuum and Hoover shampooer for the Kirby Sentria about 2 years ago (2014). I regret it. Here is why (I’m comparing the Kirby to the two machines I traded)
1. It was too expensive. I had no business spending that on a vacuum when I had a perfectly good vacuum and shampooer. I know that’s on me – I shouldn’t have bought it if I couldn’t afford it. But the salesman’s pitch was not to designed help me make the best long-term decisions for my resources, it was to sell me a vacuum, and it did.
2. It is much heavier and more awkward to use than the Simplicity. Even with the drive with flip of a switch, it’s harder to maneuver. And the drive button is inconvenient – remembering to switch it back and forth so you can move when it is off or on is a small thing, but an inconvenience I did not have with the Simplicity.
3. The attachments are awkward. They are bulky and hard to store, and much harder to switch in and out on the machine. You have to take the whole front off and it is a little tricky to line it up again. Again, a small thing but it adds up, and I sometimes end up not doing some detail cleaning I would have on the old machine because it is less convenient.
4. I can’t do the stairs. With the Simplicity I could pick the whole thing up and just run it on each stair for a quick job, or balance it on the stair with one hand and use the attachment with the other. The Kirby attachments don’ t reach as far and it is way too heavy to maneuver on the steps.
5. It’s complicated. I am educated, normally intelligent person, and I’ve watched the video, read the extensive owner’s manual and ended up calling the distributor to figure out different issues that have come up to get this thing to work. I feel like I should not have to be a rocket scientist to use an appliance.
6. The shampooer is a pain. I know it is possible for it to do a good job because the guy did great at the demo, but I can’t get the same results. It is awkward to use and dirty water sloshes on the carpet.
1. It absolutely cleans better than the other vacuum. The vacuum bag fills up three times as fast. Unfortunately, it turns out that picking up dirt I didn’t know I had in the first place does not add to the quality of my life, and because it is so much less convenient to use than the other appliances I end up cleaning less. If I could trade half of what I paid for it to get my Simplicity and Hoover back, I would.
Charlotte Lakies says
I have a Kirby G4 and love it. No rebuild, just tune-up. I am interested in buying a used Sentria 2 from a distributor for $350, minus the attachments (I have attachments from my G4). They have told me I would have a 1 year warranty. Is this a good price? Thanks
Jason Roberts says
I think it is. Maybe you can stretch it to $300. If you like the Kirby, you should take it.
Sir Timothy says
I have experience with a few Kirby models, ranging from our current Heritage, to a Diamond Edition, a few G4’s, and a Heritage II. None of them have ever disappointed, not even the G4 from the barn. Turned right on once connected to power, and who knows how long it has been sitting. It is heavily oxidized, and is missing a few pieces, but it worked line a charm and had great suction first thing! These things are tanks!