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Which? reviews the Kirby vacuum cleaner

Is it worth the £1,000+ price tag?

Kirby vacuum cleaner in a home

You can do a lot of things with £1,000. Go on a lovely holiday, buy a second-hand car, or perhaps splash out on that dream home cinema system. Not many would consider spending that much on a vacuum cleaner. But you might wonder just how spectacular it would have to be at cleaning to justify the price.

Our researcher went undercover to buy the notoriously pricey Kirby vacuum cleaner, handing over £1,100 for the privilege. We then promptly put it through our tough lab tests to find out how it compares with cheaper rivals.

Kirby sell vacuum cleaners all over the world, but you won’t find one in the shops. They are only sold direct to customers via an in-home demo, in a similar way to the Thermomix food processor. We sat through a three-and-a-half hour sales pitch to get the inside track on how the Kirby demo works, how much you’ll pay, and if the vacuum cleaner is really worth buying.

To get our verdict on this pricey vacuum cleaner and whether it lives up to its bold performance claims – including being better than a Dyson – read the full Kirby vacuum cleaner review.

Kirby vacuum cleaner costs

It’s difficult to pin down the exact price that a Kirby vacuum cleaner costs, as it very much depends on your negotiating skills. We were initially quoted a whopping £2,500 for the Kirby Avalir, but managed to negotiate the salesmen down to £1,100.

We’ve heard from Which? members who bought a Kirby and have paid anything from £950 to more than £2,000. That’s significantly more expensive than even the priciest Dyson vacuum cleaner, which will set you back around £550.

You can find out more about Kirby pricing and sales tactics in our guide to buying a Kirby vacuum cleaner.

What you get with a Kirby

Kirby claims its vacuum cleaner is the best that money can buy, offering superior dust pick-up on carpets, hard floors and other home surfaces compared with rivals. It’s also meant to be excellent for allergy sufferers, easy to use and a versatile cleaner that can tackle everything from floors to mattresses.

We put all of these claims, and more, to the test when we sent the Kirby to our test lab – read our full verdict in the Kirby vacuum cleaner review.

It is fair to say that the Kirby is more than just a vacuum cleaner, which can begin to justify the price in your mind during the sales demo. The Kirby has a couple of other neat functions, such as its carpet shampoo setting and also the ability to reverse the air flow so the Kirby blows out air instead, turning it into an air compressor.

Should you buy a Kirby vacuum?

Our independent vacuum cleaner reviews compare the Kirby to vacuum cleaners from brands such as Dyson, Hoover, Miele and Vax. Each vacuum is rated in the same way: we test how well it can suck up dust, hair and dirt, as well as how easy it is to use, and how good it is at keeping allergens locked up. This means you can easily see if the Kirby delivers on key performance measures against cheaper vacuums.

We’ve also gathered the views of nearly 40 Which? members who have bought a Kirby vacuum. Many who got in touch were pleased with their purchase. A number praised the durability of their Kirby cleaner – some have had theirs for more than 25 years.

However, a significant proportion got in touch to talk about their poor experiences with Kirby, citing its perceived pushy sales tactics and frustration at ongoing costs including expensive repairs that are raised during the annual service.

UItimately, there’s no need to spend this much on a new vacuum for your home. We’ve found top-notch vacuums for a tenth of this price – head to our pick of the best vacuum cleaners to see our top-rated budget picks.

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