Kirby Sentria 2 Review: An Old School Option

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A lot of people miss the good old days where products were built to last, from cars to appliances.

Ask your parents and even grandparents and they will tell you that a lot of the products made in the past were made from metal, yes that includes vacuum cleaners.

Kirby Sentria 2 Review

 

Kirby is one such product, if you look at the rich history of vacuum cleaners, Jim Kirby was one of the pioneers in the vacuum cleaner industry.

He’s one of the first to utilize water filtration (nope Rainbow isn’t the first to develop water filtration).

But he was frustrated with disposing dirty water so he later developed his own version of the cloth filtration (a.k.a. the bagged vacuum) to make it easier to dispose collected debris.

The Sentria 2 was first launched by Kirby in 2006. but more improvements were made with the 2012 model that includes a polymer base pan that reduces overall weight, an F-filter bag to make it easier to change bags, longer lasting LED lighting and better airflow to improve cleaning performance.

This product is more than a vacuum cleaner, if you buy this variant in Amazon, it comes with a carpet shampooing system and HEPA filtration which allows you to shampoo and deep clean your carpet in addition to the vacuum functionality.

If you’re nostalgic and appreciate history, this is one such product you should have in your cleaning arsenal. It isn’t cheap but it will last for a few generations.

Remember that this isn’t your typical vacuum cleaner made from plastic like the Shark or Dyson, this is made mostly from metal so it is build to last but at the expense of weight.

There will be two options in buying this, first would be buying it directly from a Kirby salesman.

While it will be more expensive (ranging between $1,800 to $3,000++ depending on how good you haggle).

But it comes with a 3 year warranty. Go with this option if you don’t mind haggling and dealing with pushy sales pitches.

Second option would be going online through Ebay and combing through a few listings to find the best deal possible.

There is a risk here since most of the listing there are second hand but if you look hard enough you’ll find some gems.

There are also sellers who sell this in Amazon so make sure to do your due diligence and checking the seller first before purchasing the product from them.

A quick look at the features

  • Bagged vacuum system with a fully sealed HEPA filtration system
  • Made from mostly aluminum
  • Tips the scales at 25 pounds
  • Comes with a carpet shampooing attachment
  • LED headlights
  • 2012 version comes with improved airflow thanks to the less restrictive air path of the Mini Em-Tor
  • 3 year warranty (if you buy it from an authorized seller)

Pros

  • Versatile – in addition to its vacuum functionality, you can shampoo your carpet, clean upholstery, stairs and even use this as a canister vacuum to clean nooks and crannies
  • Strong suction – it will deep clean carpet
  • Combines old school durability to new school conveniences like LED lighting and HEPA filtration
  • Great for people who suffer from asthma or a related respiratory condition
  • Built to last for years

Cons

  • This is a heavy piece of machinery at around 25 pounds
  • Expensive (around $1,800 and up if you buy it direct) but you have to remember that it can vacuum and shampoo your carpet
  • Not for weak or older people who have a hard time carrying heavy stuff
  • Durability is a big concern (belt being the weakest point but these are cheap and is easily replaced) and weakening suction over time
  • Very noisy, some people describe it as a coffee grinder sound
  • If you buy this through a kirby salesman expect a lot of arm twisting and very strong sales pitches

What to expect from this old school upright?

This product is a blast from the past with a modern twist.

What do I mean?

The all metal construction gives this a very strong foundation and is as solid as they come.Features

All the metal adds to the weight, if you look at the spec sheet in Amazon, this product tips the scales at 25 pounds – not for the weak armed! If you struggle with carrying a large hunk of metal, then I suggest you go with something lightweight.

When you look at suction power, Kirby vacuums are known to have very good suction power – strong enough to deep clean shag carpet.

But weight there’s more…

In addition to the vacuum functionality the Sentria 2 can also shampoo your carpet thanks to the carpet cleaning attachment that shampoos your carpet. After shampooing you can suck up excess shampoo with the same attachment leaving an almost dry and good smelling carpet.

You can say that kirby is an all-in-one solution for your carpet floors.

Here’s an actual demonstration…

Bare Floor Performance

The main floor attachment has a brush roll on and off feature so if you don’t want to do any dis-assembly simply turn off the brush roll when cleaning bare floor.

Another option would be using the hard floor attachment, specially designed to clean hard wood surfaces.

If you feel that the upright is too big, you can remove the main floor tool, attach the hose to use this as a canister vacuum.

The video above shows that this machine has some versatility. And you’ll be able to convert this to canister vacuum.

Here is a hard floor test…

Based on the amount of dirt picked up by the dirt meter, this machine is fully capable of cleaning any bare floor surface.

One potential issue is would be dirt getting inside the wheels that you’ll need to clean from time to time.

It isn’t hard to clean but it is time consuming.

Carpet Cleaning

Now this is where the money you invested pays off. Kirby is known to have excellent suction and agitation.

This combination makes it one of the best uprights to own if you want to deep clean your carpet.

If you don’t mind carrying this around, this will be a very good investment.

Here’s how it works vacuuming carpet…

The second functionality of this product is it can double as a carpet pre scrubber.

A demo…

If you don’t know what a pre-scrubber does, it basically applies a cleaner and agitates the carpet – separating dirt from the fibers.

This step will remove any stains on carpet before applying any cleaner or shampoo. It’ll help prep the carpet before running a carpet cleaner on it.

This is the steps professional carpet cleaning companies use to prep the carpet before applying shampoo.

The third functionality that this vacuum has is applying carpet shampoo then sucking it up afterwards.

This product is basically gives you everything you need keep your carpets in tip top shape. And help you save because you will not need to hire a professional as often.

If you’re religious enough in deep cleaning your carpet, you may not need to hire a professional at all.

Check this video out to see how the carpet shampoo system works – from assembly to usage tips…

Upholstery Cleaning

Yes, you can actually use the Kirby to clean upholstery. You can separate the main floor tool and handle to clean above floors.

Why do you want to vacuum upholstery?

If you see the amount of dead skin cells this vacuum picks up, you will probably do the same thing.

These dead skin cells is what feed bed bugs and one of the main causes of several skin conditions like eczema.

If you have a toddler that suffers such then you better vacuum your sofa and beds more often.

To convert it from an upright to a portable hand held, follow these steps…

Can This Clean Area Rugs?

Even with the strong suction, you can still use it on area rugs. There’s an option to shut off the beater bar if you’re cleaning large bits of dirt.

Take note that if the area rug you are cleaning is small, you may want to use a hand vacuum for it then wash it inside a washing machine.

Here’s a demo comparing the Kirby and the Rainbow vacuum…

Even with several back and forth passes Kirby didn’t clean all the sand on the rug.

The Rainbow was still able to pickup bits and pieces of sand and even pet hair.

Pet Hair Removal

This upright can clean pet hair on carpet, bare floor and rugs thanks to the strong suction and agitation.

When you add being a bagged vacuum with HEPA filtration, this is great for pet owners who have asthma.

Attachments and Accessories

The Kirby Sentria 2 comes with a lot of accessories, to give you an overview have a look at this diagram.

These attachments allow you to use this as an upright, carpet cleaner, handheld capable of cleaning upholstery and as a canister vacuum to clean hardwood or bare floor and to reach hard to reach areas.

Here’s an overview of the different parts of the vacuum…

Parts Of Kirby Sentria 2

Here’s the complete list of accessories. Take note that some of these are optional…

Kirby Accessories

Cord Length

Cord is around 32 feet long but it does not have any cord rewind so you will have to manually wrap the cord around two cord hooks.

Filter Clean Up and Maintenance

Since this is a bagged vacuum, there are really no filters to clean up. Don’t worry though, these bags don’t cost a fortune, a pack of 6 will cost around $18 and since it holds up to 2 gallons of dry dirt which will last a long time.

As for maintenance (mainly the how to replace the belt and brush roll), here are some tips from Kirby themselves…

Product Specifications

Features
AttachmentsCarpet Shampoo System

Hard Floor Pad

Portable Sprayer

Kaddy

2 extension tubes

Duster Brush

Upholstery Nozzle

Wall and Ceiling Brush

Suction Control Grip

Attachment Hose

Hard Floor Nozzle

Zippbrush
Adjustable handle height
Yes
Cord Length32 feet
Auto Cord Rewind
No
Motorized brush
Yes
Brush on/off switch
Yes
Swivel
No
Headlight
Yes
Filter clogged indicator
No
Full bin indicator
No
Bagless
No

* This is a bagged vacuum
Multi-surface
Yes
Self propelled
Yes
Net weight25 pounds
Shipping weight42.2 pounds
Hose lengthN/A
Cleaning Path12"
Overall reachN/A
Dirt capacityN/A
Filter typeHEPA
PowerN/A
VoltageN/A
Manufactured inUSA
Warranty3 years (if you buy it from a Kirby salesman)

Consumer Reviews

While the performance of this vacuum is great, the sales tactics used by the sales personnel was not. Several consumers shared their experience with Kirby salesmen and they said while they were nice at the start of the demo, they became pushy and abrasive when they haggled with the price.

If you’re curious about the price, one salesman started at $3,100 – easily the price of a 2nd hand car. Another started at $2,100 – an insane price even for a product this versatile.

The most important factor when dealing with these salesmen is to stand your ground and haggle. If they offer you a ridiculous price, let’s say over $2,000, try to haggle down to $1,000 and see how it goes.

Normally these folks will not tell you the price before they make a demo and they will tell you how dirty your carpet is and how their product will beat uprights like Dyson. This can wear on you and if you’re not careful you can give-in to their pushy tactics, you have to be patient and stand your ground in terms of price.

Those who used this vacuum say that it performed very well in terms of deep cleaning carpet but there is a learning curve in terms of assembling the accessories and maintenance. If you are willing to put in the time to learn how to use these attachments then buy this vacuum.

Aside from the steeper learning curve, there is also the issue of weight.

This vacuum is mostly metal so it’s heavy at 25 pounds.

If you have trouble carrying stuff, you’ll be better off with something lightweight like a Shark or a Dyson.

Where can I buy this?

You have a few options when purchasing this.

The best for me would be to buy it direct from Kirby but that process involves a product demonstration from salesmen who can rather be pushy when promoting their product.

You have to remember that when you buy direct, you will pay the full price which is roughly $1,800 (which is close to a price of a Rainbow vacuum). But you will get the full 3 year warranty (you still have to pay for the freight charges though).

Another option would be buying it 2nd hand from Ebay or Amazon, you’ll save roughly 50% when you go this route but at the expense of a manufacturer’s warranty.

Take note that some sellers on EBay do offer warranties on their products. If you decide to buy from any of these sellers please do your due diligence.

That’s the trade off you’ll have to be willing to take to save money. But fortunately there are a lot of resources and third party stores who carry Kirby parts.

If you’re a DIY-type who does not mind to get their hands dirty and repairing their Kirby, this is a great way to save.

To wrap up

If you’re looking for an all-in-one cleaning tool capable of cleaning every nook and cranny of your home then the Kirby Sentria 2 is a great option.

It isn’t cheap – costing over $1,500 (most times it will cost over $2,000 somethings over $3,000) if you buy it from a Kirby salesman.

But 2nd hand or refurbished units can be had for half the price in Ebay or Amazon but you need to do your due diligence in finding the right seller that has some sort of warranty.

7 thoughts on “Kirby Sentria 2 Review: An Old School Option”

  1. I simply got tired of tossing my money out the window on standard vacs. With 2 dogs & 5 people living in the home I’ve owned most brands since they wear out rather fast like Kenmore/Panisonic (3)total, (2)Fantoms, (1)Dirt Devils & (2)Dyson’s to name some.
    I thought I’d try Kirby out but didn’t want to spend the money. So I decided to buy a used one with an 8 year parts/labor warranty off Ebay for $258 to my door. After buying my Kirby almost 5 years ago it’s been a fantastic machine. It’s a 2001 G6 so it was old when I bought it but still looks/runs brand new. Not for one second have I regretted buying a Kirby. My only 2 regrets are not buying it sooner and buying all those other vacs before it. When I think of how much money I

  2. I owned a kerby many years ago i know its an excellent vacuum i want to purchase another one but i dont want a sales person want to buy directly from kerby factory or store tell me where

    • Hello I have a new kirby sentra used twice then got severe rheumatoid arthritis i would like to sell less then half what i paid. Please contact me at [email protected]

  3. I’m still using the one my parents bought new in 1981, still runs strong after nearly 40 years!

    • Hi I have a sentria 2 unit that I bought from Dubai U.A.E. Now I move to Canada and not sure if I would need a power inverter to run the vacuum. Please advise.
      Thank you

  4. I’m still using the Kirby that my parents bought new in 1981 and it still runs strong after almost 40 years!

  5. I want to sell mine. It’s to heavy.

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