Visitor Review: Kirby Heritage II

Kirby Heritage II

I purchased a Kirby Heritage II vacuum cleaner new in 1997. I wheeled and dealed until I got basic machine and shampooer and zip brush for half of what the asking price was for just the basic machine.

I have been using the Heritage II from Kirby for the past 22 yrs and wouldn’t trade it. Kirby does make a well built product. I like the cleaning performance of the machine and always did. Being in the professional cleaning business I have access to many makes and models and none have changed my interest in Kirby.

My personal experience with the Kirby product started 40 yrs ago when I was 3 (yes no joke). My grandmother had one she purchased in 1959, we used that one until it needed some minor repairs.

At which time she purchased the Classic Omega model in 1971. We are still using that vacuum 9 yrs after Grandma passed away. Her sister in law had one she purchased in 1957 and used until 1989 when she passed away. Her’s was used at the apartment complex she lived in and her daughters home weekly.

Folks, you need to remember you are buying a well built machine. The machines we have in our family have seen it all. From remodeling clean up to daily cleaning. Sand, dust, gravel, dog /cat hair and the occasional erector set or tinkder toy part and just about anything eles you could imagine going thru it.

Yes you will pay more than at the local department store. But how long will you have that all plastic machine? It does take a little learing how to set it up for the jobs you want to do but in the end it is worth it.

And yes at times a bit heavy but there are tricks to over come that for most of us. Buying one is like buying a car you need to be a wheeler dealer.

I have also used the newer models with the drive tech and wasn’t disapointed. It is nice, I however like the classic design of my Kirby Heritage II and plan on keeping it for another 22 years or more.

I also like the rebuild plan; it is worth it. I have sent in two machines from 1971 and both came back looking like new and worked great.

Yes, I’m passionate about my Kirby but from what you’ve read above you can see why. No I’m not a sales man of Kirby’s (Don’t want to deal with folks that have already decided it’s too ????? I’ve heard every excuse in the book.)

Besides Guys like toys that are well built that you can take it apart and put it together and see if you can make it work.


  1. Andrew

    It is the best vacuum cleaner ever. It has so much suction. That vacuum traps so much dirt. It is so much better than dyson. I liked kirbys ever since I saw the brave little toaster. Than here in 2009 I bought a kirby herritage 2. It is the best vacuum ever.

  2. Grace

    Kirby Heritage II Model 2HD: My Kirby vacuum cleaner is 28 years old and still works like new. It was a hand me down from my parents. I absolutely love it because it still has a very powerful suction (and great “beater brush” which is great for rugs and floors) and I’ve never had to bring it in for repair.

    I’m a clean freak and have had pets all my life so it’s really gotten a lot of use. I’m looking for a vacuum cleaner now only because I’m a lot older and the Kirby that I have is pretty heavy and a little hard to maneuver. Kirby would be my first choice if their newer model is much lighter.

  3. D J

    All Kirby Models: I inherited my grandmothers Kirby, it was brown and a good one. I used it for all kinds of real dirty stuff. I also got my Mothers green one and used it too. The brown one finally died and the green one went on for years. I bought a Heritage II (i think) in the early 1990’s and it has been a champ for years. It is heavy when full of dirt but I have loved it!

  4. Phyllis

    Heritage II: I purchased my Kirby Heritage II way back on May 14, 1988. I bought every attachment that was available and have used most of them. I have had to replace only the brush roll (new one has ball bearings) back in ’93. Of course, I’ve had to replace a belt or two.

    The last time I was at the Kirby store in my area to purchase bags and cleaning fluids, they tried to interest me in a new one. I told them there was no need for a new one, ’cause my old one worked just fine. Love this Kirby. I’m glad my son was selling them back in ’88.

  5. Ray

    Kirby Heritage II: This is a beast of a vacuum cleaner. Very strong suction. Very HEAVY construction. Cast aluminum, and steel. These are vacuums from the Industrial Age. The Kirby Heritage II is a vacuum a man can show to the other guys and defend as a legitimate “power tool”. It’s the same model vac Darth Vader’s minions use to clean the carpets on the Death Star.

    Kirbys can be had cheap at thrift stores and yard sales. Unlike modern plastic snap-together vacuums that are thrown out when something wears out, Kirbys are designed to be repaired when they break. Parts are readily available online and fixing them is a cinch.

    My Kirby Heritage II is from the late 1980s. My brother has used a very old model (late 1930, I think) for the last 20 years. Both work great. I stumbled upon a Tradition model (~1980) today at a thrift store for $8. However, no accessories were included.

    I paid $20 for the Heritage II 10 years ago with a rug shampooer, upholstery sprayer, hose, handle and a scary-dangerous thing called a turbo-brush, which makes quick work of cat hair on carpet but would take a 3-year old’s finger off at the knuckle.

    Synopsis. Great vacuums. Manly. The kind of vac a black tee shirt-wearing Harley rider could use without feeling like a sissy. If you are willing to fix it when it breaks, it will likely outlive you. Five stars.

    • Karin Tans

      This review of the Kirby Heritage Machine is one of my top ten favorite reviews of vintage vacuums. Avid vintage vacuum wierdos and review reviewers like myself will not be disappointed with this review.

  6. Anonymous

    Best thing ever made. I used to sell the newer ones and sure they are easy to handle but they have nothing on my heritage 2. It runs great and still has the stickers on. It runs forever and I don’t have to deal with sales people.

  7. Anonymous

    Kirby Love: I bought my Kirby back in 1982, I owned that machine until it died 20 years later. Although I had sticker shock in 1982, it was well worth it. My Kirby actually had a small caliber .22 bullet go off in the machine with no damage what so ever, it takes a beating and keeps on cleaning.

  8. Anonymous

    Kirby Heritage: Do NOT buy this vacuum. The Kirby Heritage is the size of a boat anchor and the bags are very very expensive. It also honks dust when I try to clean with it. The worst part is, the salesman were rude and used pressure tactics. Oh yea, they all just happen to be trying to win something at their office. What a load of crap.

    I took this piece of junk to the trash and went out and bought one of those rainbow units. Now this is a good vacuum. It gets rid of dust and dirt and there is no bags to buy at all. All the dirt goes into a pail of water that you just flush down the can.

    • Neil

      Rainbow vacuums designed by Kirby lol

  9. Anonymous

    I would like to say I really loved my machine. I bought it at a yard sale for only 2.00 and it has been a wounderful product for me and I haven’t had no problems. I love the kirby vacuum since I was 2 years old and I will still buy kirby than the other product that really sucks. I have tried the other products and had to get news every 2 years I got tired of it. I was so happy when I found a kirby at a yard sale for 2.00 and it still works great and that was 3 years ago. Yes I would tell people to buy the kirby vacuum they are awesome.

  10. Anonymous

    One of the absolute best vacs I ever owned. Works fine all the time. No problem with anything. The plastic junk that is sold now-a-days is pure junk no matter where it is made. The Kirbys last decades and work and work and work. The plastic crap lasts a few weeks and then it needs replaced the Chinese crap is the worst!

    Kirbys brush adjustment system is flawless and very easy to get the proper height for the type of flooring. Kirby’s vacuum design is much better and efficient than any of the straw kinds of systems used my most of the other manufacturers. Finally who beleives all that crap about 12 and 15 amp motors being better? Those motors are only LESS EFFICIENT and cost the user more on electricity. Kirby does more with their 7.5 amp motors than all the rest put together with the hi amperage motors. Ever wonder why your vacuum cord gets hot? Kirby cords don’t.

    I’ll keep and use Kirby vacuums before anything else.

    Oh, and why is the Heritage-II one of the best? I have a G5 also and with power drive even my wife (wheel chair bound) can easily vacuum.

  11. Anonymous

    Kirby Heritage 2 Cleans Brilliant: I bought my Kirby heritage 2 not long ago now from eBay (used), I was stunned buy it’s cleaning performance both on the carpet and through the hose which brings me onto it’s wonderful attachments there is a whole case full of them I haven’t had chance to use them all but they look really useful. The first time I used the heritage 2 I was amazed by the carpet vibration and the deep cleaning power.

    My heritage 2 came with a rug shampooer system which looks great but I have not had chance to use it yet so I cannot rate that yet I am afraid, the only real con I have with my Kirby heritage 2 is that when I turn it on and try to adjust it down to the floor I click it down once or twice and the Kirby slams down to the floor to then you have to click it back up again to get the correct height but other than that I am really pleased with my purchase.

    I understand this machine is 20+ years old but I am sure that it can last another 20 years with correct maintenance even though Kirby is reliable, powerful and well built.

  12. Anonymous

    I Love My Kirby: I bought my Kirby Heritage about thirty years ago and continue to love its power, reliability, and versatility. I will never, ever go back to the Sears, Hoover, Dyson catastrophes that don’t come close to what a Kirby can do. If you want clean, you want a Kirby.

  13. Matteo

    hi to everyone,
    we are from Italy ;
    my family bought Kirby legend 2 in 1987 or something like that and we continue to use it ; infact i googled kirby bags and i surfed this site, so i take the occasion to leave my compliments to this product.


  14. Kelly

    I bought this older Heritage II model this year and am AMAZED at how well it performs. It still ‘feels’ new…substantial and tight. I changed the belt, cleaned it thoroughly, and put on a new HEPA bag and could clearly see the carpet being lifted up….and the nap of the carpet returning with that suction. Frankly, I don’t see the need to buy a newer Kirby even though since 1990, they’ve had the effective and creative invention of a powered transmission. This model actually weighs around 3-4 lbs less than the powered models and can do every cleaning task just as well…and ….for pennies on the dollar! I paid $25 but have seen them up to $99 but they’d still be worth it. I got the attachments and shampooer which I’ve used….and like it!!

  15. kelton

    I got turned on to Kirby’s in 2018, I started restoring them…for fun…for me. They are truly great vacs….meant to last and of all the ones I own ( and they are many) the Legend II ( same as the Heritage II just a color change) is my favorite model. Not too heavy…the best sound I’ve heard in a vacuum (soothing…as opposed to shreaking ). Like others have stated in past reviews here, with normal maintenance ( which is minimal), and easily obtainable parts for these still available, this is the last vacuum you’ll likely ever need to buy. ….also, because its so versatile ….can easily be converted to a canister style ( as opposed to an upright style vacuum) for cleaning under furniture or hard floors, dusting, cleaning upholstery/mattresses. They are hard to beat.

  16. Bear Free

    These vacuums are bulletproof. The pre-1990 models are my favorites because they are lighter, but still have amazing power. Not to mention that you can send any Kirby (even 1930’s ones) back to the factory and they will make it look and work like brand new. Nothing’s better than a Kirby.


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