Dyson vs. Kirby Which is Better

The Kirby vacuum cleaner has been among the leaders of the vacuum cleaner industry since 1919 and classed as the king of quality vacuum cleaners. It was the preferred choice when it came to buying a vacuum cleaner. This was due to the fact that it could not be beaten for durability and cleaning power, as well as being able to last for decades.

However, when Dyson came on the scene, it gave Kirby a run for its money, with its high tech motor and generous warranty, the Dyson emerged as a direct competitor of Kirby and is now regarded as the new force in cleaning power.

So Which is Better – the Kirby or the Dyson?

So which is better - the Kirby or the Dyson?

What is a Kirby?

Jim Kirby was a man with big ideas, he was an inventor for most of his adult life and was best known for his home care system that bears his name.  He developed his first vacuum cleaner in 1906 and his company has improved and enhanced its vacuum designs ever since.

In 1907 he developed a vacuum that pushed dirty air into a cloth bag that filtered out the dirt and in 1925 he designed the Vacuette Electric vacuum cleaner with its removable floor nozzle and handle.

This machine became the forerunner of today’s multi-attachment model,  which gave birth to what was is now the world famous convertibility feature on the modern Kirby home care system. More than 200 patents and a host of products still used today are a tribute to his career success.

In the 1920s, Kirby became a direct-selling organization, being the first to pioneer the in-home demonstrations to introduce the Kirby home care system to consumers. The idea was to allow consumers to see and try the vacuum cleaner in their own homes before deciding to buy the product.

Kirby home care systems have only been sold through in-home demonstrations by independent, authorized Kirby distributors. The Kirby Company manufacturer the unit and then sell it to a group of authorized distributors, each of these distributors is an independent business, so, therefore, they set their own price for the unit and conduct their own business operations. Today, Kirby home care systems are sold in more than 55 countries.

The Kirby can also be used as a carpet shampooer and cleans just as well as the Bissell carpet cleaner its advantage is that it’s lighter and more compact than the Bissell.  The Kirby comes with a wide variety of attachments, it is worth noting that the Kirby attachment hose is far longer and can reach higher than most other vacuum hoses. Though the vacuum head has to be taken off before the hose can be put on and used.

The detachable vacuum head can also be used separately for cleaning such items as sofas, chairs, and mattresses, although these can be cleaned with the hose, the detachable head has a deeper suction. A well-maintained Kirby should last 20 years, though it has been proved that Kirby’s can last much longer.

What is a Dyson?

James Dyson was also an inventor and in the years since he first started the company in 1978, his name has become synonymous with top of the range vacuum cleaners. Dyson vacuums are famous for never losing suction over a period of time like other vacuum cleaners do. The same powerful suction will get carpets clean whether the machine has been used for the first time or for the 100th time.

Dyson is a trusted name in the vacuum cleaner industry and the powerful suction and ‘ball’ technology have helped James Dyson to revolutionize the vacuum cleaning industry. His vacuum cleaners offer an array of features and benefits the other companies could not come close to providing.

They are long lasting, tough built machines, made from the same materials as crash helmets which means the vacuum is more durable and will withstand the bumps and knocks of any cleaning regime.

With cyclone technology, a Dyson vacuum is more powerful at sucking up the dirt and debris from the floor, keeping the dust inside the vacuum cleaner rather than throughout the air in the home. You can ensure that all of the dirt is removed from your carpets using these powerful machines. Using a Dyson will leave you with a clean home after it has been used.

The Dyson vacuum cleaner is designed not only for the household but also for commercial and on-the-go use. There are many different types and models of Dyson on the market, so no matter which Dyson is selected, you can always count on the same quality provided time after time. The bright colors of red, yellow and turquoise, to name but a few, make cleaning a delight and the ease of use makes an otherwise thankless job, much less of a chore.

The Dyson company comes up with innovative ways each year to improve on their original upright model that was first designed and manufactured over thirty years ago. That is why they are such a world-leading business.

James Dyson’s vacuum cleaners are now the most popular and largest selling vacuum all over the world including the USA & UK.

Performance – Dyson vs. Kirby

Performance - Dyson vs. Kirby

Suction Power

A vacuum cleaner must have good suction to be able to pull the most minute dirt particles from the carpet, therefore the performance of any vacuum cleaner depends on that suction power.

The Kirby suction tube is double the size of the one used in Dyson cleaners, yet Dyson does not lose suction capacity despite the smaller suction tube. In theory, smaller suction tubes get clogged up more often than the larger ones, so maybe the Dyson design is the exception to this rule.

Dust Bag vs. Bagless

The Kirby vacuum cleaners use the conventional dust bag to collect the dirt, whereas the Dyson range collects dirt in the canister. The difference is that dust bags need to be constantly replaced while canisters just need to be removed and emptied into a dustbin when full.

It’s a matter of choice as to which method the individual prefers but in the long run, the bagless Dyson is a lot less messy and easier to empty than the bagged Kirby.

Durability and Warranty

The Kirby brand of vacuum cleaners is made of light metal and offers better durability.  On the other hand, the Dyson company manufactures its vacuum cleaners from plastic.

However, the notion that anything made from plastic is not durable is not true. Dyson vacuum cleaners come with a five-year parts and labor warranty. Whereas, Kirby vacuum cleaners come with only a three-year warranty on parts and labor.

Ease of Use

The Dyson cleaners are made from plastic and are lighter in weight when compared with Kirby cleaners which are made from light-weight metal. Being lighter, it is easier to maneuver Dyson cleaners in and around hard to reach areas, such as under beds or sofas.

The Kirby cleaner is heavier and cannot get into the places a Dyson can, it is more cumbersome to carry, especially up a staircase,  although, Kirby cleaners have a carrying handle which reduces this difficulty.

Comparative Testing

Comparative tests on the Kirby and Dyson vacuum show which vacuum came out best in each category and may help in the ultimate choice but it is still the preference of the individual as to which vacuum is suitable for their needs.


In tests, the air coming into the vacuum on the Kirby appeared to come from under the carpet, whereas on the Dyson, the air appeared to be coming from on top of the carpet.

Suction was greater in the Kirby all the way across the vacuum, but the Dyson had good suction on only one side of the power nozzle


According to tests, the Kirby and Dyson both had the same filtration. However, it is possible that due to Dyson’s 7 different seals, (which were not very tight fitting), the dirt and dusty air could possibly leak out, whereas, the Kirby had two seals which were very tight.


The Kirby vacuum also proved better than the Dyson in airflow tests, it had over 3 times more power and airflow than the Dyson when tested with an airflow meter.


Although the Dyson did not lose any power when full of dirt and the Kirby vacuum did lose power when full of dirt, the Kirby was still almost twice as powerful as the Dyson when full.

Best for Cleaning

In tests, the Kirby came out as the best cleaner because it pulled almost double the dirt from a carpet than the Dyson.


Again, the Kirby came out as number 1 for reliability, with an average lifespan of 25 years and the least amount of repairs needed.

Weight & Ease

With the Dyson weighing over 5 lbs. lighter than the Kirby, the Dyson came out better with its lower carrying weight and on-board tools.

Tools and Accessories

Although Dyson won over Kirby with weight ease and on-board tools, it was the Kirby that took this title as it had about 3 times the tools and accessories as the Dyson.


Dyson is a genius when it comes to marketing, visually it appears to do a very good job and with its designs and colors, which makes it look very cool, therefore, Dyson won over Kirby in this test.

“He Who Vacuums Last Wins”


In 10 comparative tests, the Kirby was best in 8 out of 10 and the Dyson came out with only 2 out of 10. Having said that, the Dyson was the best vacuum cleaner for the most user-friendly and best marketing, while Kirby was better in all performance testing.

Dyson is relatively new to the market compared to the Kirby which has had decades to perfect its vacuum, so it is possible for Dyson to catch up and even overtake Kirby in all future testing.

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 8 comments
Collin - February 27, 2016

Dyson will never catch up, why? becasue they cannot make a vaccum with duel fans becasue kirby has the patent. So dyson will always be stuck with one fan doing both jobs

Joe Goodart - November 25, 2016

Not true Patens are good for 20 years. Modern vacs are designed much better than they were in the 30’s, most place the filters in front of the impellers so no damage when you suck up pennies and cooling can go through the windings on the motor.
I like my Kirby But it is really becoming obsolete.

    Anthony - August 21, 2017

    The kirby is only becoming obsolete for a few reasons
    1. Cleaning Services
    2.Cheap Consumers when it comes to vacuums
    3.Robot vacuums
    4.HardFloors (The systems were primarily designed for hard floors but people arent educated about that).
    5. People dont want to keep up with the new systems and dont want to even let a sales rep in the home.

joe - December 18, 2016

Kirby bags are easy to switch out, only when full, with is really not that often. They are clean and dust free to switch.

Dyson’ bagless system is messy and dusty, you musty empty it more often because it is smaller. Everytime you empty the container you have a big dust cloud around you, you have to wash the air filters and let them dry. Dyson need to come up with a bag to system.

    Kelly - June 26, 2018

    Very good point Joe, I have learned that most owners of these bagless vacuums DONT clean out the filters (up to 7!!!) . talk about work! thats a lot more than on a Kirby. That HEPA bag does an amazing job of filtering the exhaust air out of the bag (watch engineer tested videos on youtube doing just that….won me over!

Brad - February 27, 2018

god no. The bag system prevents myself and many others from even considering kirby machines.

Frank - March 3, 2018

I run a Cleaning Service / House keeping business; and I do Use a Kirby Vacuum;
I use their most recent machine the Kirby Avalir; because it has
Won the “Gold” Award from the Carpet and Rug Institute!

Kirby Vacuums do a Great Job of picking up Dust and Dirt out of the carpet;
Yes they can be easily Damaged if you accidentally pick-up any thing with
the weight and hardness of a Penny; or Similar; However…

That is why I do a Pre-Vacuum Walk
with an Oreck Commercial XL Pro 5 Super Compact Canister Vacuum;
and pick up anything that would damage the fan inside the Kirby.
BEFORE; I even begin Vacuuming my Clients home’s with My Kirby Avalir.

Kirby’s are GREAT at getting Dirt OUT of the Carpet; JUST DO NOT;
use them to pick up drive-way salt; Simply use a Canister Vacuum
without the Power Nozzle attached for that task. (or) a straight suction
Canister Vacuum; which can be found; you just have to LOOK for them!

Gary Gordon - July 26, 2018

I have both a Dyson and Kirby Avilar. There is absolutely no question that the Kirby is a better machine. The Dyson is light and I like the ease of using the hose attachment. The Dyson is a good carpet sweeper. By that I mean it picks up surface dirt. The static suction is good, but static suction doesn’t pull the deep down dirt out of the carpet, you need airflow. The Kirby nozzle distributes airflow evenly across the nozzle not just at one end like the Dyson. The airways on the Kirby are twice the size and go directly from the fan to the bag, not through various tubes as on the Dyson. I have done the reverse of what every Kirby peddler does, I vacuumed an area with the Kirby and then followed over the same area with the Dyson. All that was in the Dyson container was a few carpet fibers. Perhaps Kirby should hire James Dyson to market their machines. The days of door to door Fuller Brush type selling is a thing of the past.


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