Kirby vs Dyson – What You Need To Know

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When you go to vacuum your home, you want to have the best tools possible. There are lots of brand names out there, and each of those brands has lots of models to consider. Today we are here to do a Kirby vs Dyson vacuum comparison. To be specific, we will be comparing the Kirby Avalir 2 and the Dyson Ball Animal II

Before we get into the detailed comparison of these two vacuums, we will first have a look at the Kirby vs Dyson company brands since they are quite different.

Kirby vs Dyson Vacuum Brands

The Kirby Company

You may have already heard about The Kirby Company; after-all it has been making vacuum cleaners for over 100 years. Kirby's American-made, hand crafted Kirby Home Cleaning System was originally invented by Jim Kirby starting way back in 1914.

Direct Selling is in Kirby's DNA

Soon afterwards the company became a direct selling organisation using in-home demonstrations to introduce Kirby vacuum cleaners to new customers.

This business model continues to this day and is one of the main differences between the Kirby and Dyson vacuum cleaner companies.

Quality, Reliability & Performance

Kirby vacuums do not come cheap, however they may just last you a lifetime.

Like other quality American-made vacuum cleaners such as Riccar, Kirby vacuums are made of metal components rather than plastic.

This ensure that the vacuums can stand the test of time. Kirby back this up with their Lifetime Factory Rebuild Program.

“Wow is all I can say when I opened up the box! It looked and worked just like brand new, and my Kirby Classic III is 42 years old! Very impressive work. Thank you so much, I will enjoy my vacuum for many years to come now!”

Karl S.


The Kirby Home Cleaning System also provides much more cleaning versatility than a Dyson upright. For instance, the Kirby Avalir 2, which we will look at in detail below, converts into twelve separate units so you can clean every inch of your home.

Dyson - The World's Most Recognised Vacuum Cleaner Brand

We've covered Dyson vacuums extensively here at Home Vacuum Zone and in our Miele vs Dyson comparison we took a detailed look into the Dyson brand and the vacuum technology that has made it a popular choice for many households. 

Dyson continue to innovate, most recently with the release of the Dyson V10 Cordless, which Sir James Dyson has said is so good that they will not be making any new corded models. 

Of course it wouldn't be fair to compare a Dyson cordless with a Kirby as they are very different indeed. Cordless stick vacuums are great but they do have drawbacks and we think full powered corded uprights will have plenty of demand for the foreseeable future.

So for this Kirby vs Dyson comparison we will be looking at the latest full-sized upright model, the Dyson Ball Animal II.


Kirby vs Dyson

The Kirby Avalir 2 is a unique looking vacuum cleaner and is very different to the Dyson

The Kirby Avalir 2 is a really fine vacuum cleaner to keep in mind. Whether you need it for hard floors, for carpets, or to get rid of pet hair, it  gets the job done.

In comparing the Kirby Avalir 2 with the Dyson Ball Animal II, the key difference to note is that the Kirby is not just a vacuum cleaner. It can also shampoo carpets, rugs and furniture and also mop and scrub hard floors. It really is a complete home cleaning system and so is much more versatile than the Dyson, which is only a vacuum cleaner. 

It has quite a few features and benefits that are worth talking about, so let’s do that right now.

Suction and control

What does need to be said here is that the Kirby Avalir 2 is a very powerful vacuum cleaner. It comes with a high-efficiency motor that can really put a hurt on the dirt!

When it comes to vacuum performance, there are 3 things that you should be concerned about:

  1. Airflow - the amount of air the vacuum moves;
  2. Agitation - the vibration and grooming of the carpet by the brushroll to bring dirt from the bottom of the carpet pile to the surface;
  3. Suction - the pressure exerted to pull air through the vacuum.

The airflow, agitation and suction on the Kirby is super strong on your carpets. Furthermore, the suction can be controlled and turned down when necessary for more delicate jobs.

The airflow on the Kirby Avalir 2 is one of its main selling points and what the salesman will seek to fully demonstrate on your carpets. The cleaning power of a Kirby vacuum at the floor head is due to its motor design which maximizes airflow and agitation. As a result, Kirby vacuums will perform better than Dyson vacuums by this measure.

The impressive performance of the Kirby Avalir 2 is supported by independent reviews. Consumer Reports noted that the vacuum scored the highest of any upright in their tests on carpet and bare-floor cleaning.

Kirby vs Dyson Vacuum Design

Kirby vacuums have a direct air motor (also known as dirty air) rather than a bypass motor (also known as clean air) that you will find on the Dyson.

Direct air machines like the Kirby have more airflow at the floor head because the fan is located only a few inches away from the carpet.

In a bypass machine like the Dyson, the fan is placed after the dirt bin and cyclone which is much further away from the floor head, hence the reduction in airflow.

However, when it comes to suction at the hose rather than the floorhead, Kirby will NOT perform as well as the Dyson for the very same reason, since now the fan is further away on the Kirby.

We talked about the differences between direct air and bypass motors in our recent Riccar Vacuum Reviews so check that out to learn more.

The video below provides a great explanation of the difference between direct air vacuums such as the Kirby Avalir versus bypass vacuums like the Dyson Ball.


If you forward to 8:16 on the video you will see tests performed showing the better airflow and agitation capability of direct air vacuums. The demonstration uses a Royal vacuum, however the Kirby has essentially the same motor configuration.

Suction Test Data

Whilst conducting our review of Kirby vs Dyson vacuums we compared a fair amount of test data on airflow, agitation and suction power.

This post: provides a lot of test information for those interested, however older models of Kirby and Dyson were used.

Carpet and Rug Institute Certifications

how often should I vacuum?

Often its hard to know who to trust when looking at vacuum cleaner reviews and independent tests.

Here at Home Vacuum Zone we have faith in the Carpet and Rug Institute's Gold Standards for soil removal, dust containment, surface appearance change and energy efficiency rating. 

The Kirby is one of a select few vacuum cleaners that excel on carpets and achieve this Gold Standard.

It is also the only carpet cleaner that we've reviewed that achieves the CRI's Gold Level Certification for Deep Cleaning Systems. The Kirby Multi-Surface Shampoo System has been awarded the Carpet and Rug Institute’s Gold standards for soil removal, water recovery and appearance retention.


Kirby, like Dyson utilise HEPA filtration on their vacuum cleaners, which is the best standard of filtration you can get. In addition to filtration, the Kirby Avalir 2 has tight seals throughout, which are also important in ensuring no dust particles escape back into your home.

It is therefore a suitable vacuum for allergy and asthma sufferers. The disposable dirtbag can trap 99.97 % of particles measuring as tiny as 0.3 microns. 


What does need to be said about the Kirby Avalir 2 is that is quite heavy. It comes in at around 24 pounds, making it a fairly heavy option. It may be quite maneuverable thanks to the swiveling head, but it’s no lightweight.

Brush and height adjust

Something that is quite nice about the Kirby Avalir 2 is that it comes with a high-efficiency brush head which loosens and removes dirt from carpets with ease. As we've mentioned, the suction power on this vacuum is excellent, and it can actually pick up some fairly heavy debris without issue.

What is nice is that you can turn the brush head on for getting dirt out of carpets, or you can keep it off to vacuum wood floors without scratching them. What can be said here is that the brush is excellent for picking up pet hair.

Cord length 

The Kirby Avalir 2 comes with a 29-foot long power cord and a manual cord wind.

This can be a bit of a drawback as you have to manually wind it each time after use, but the cord itself is quite long, which is a bonus.


Kirby vs Dyson

Kirby vacuums are self propelled whilst Dyson vacuums are not

One really neat feature which the Kirby Avalir 2 comes with is that it is self-propelled. In other words, you don’t actually have to push it at all. It moves itself, so all you have to do is steer it, a very convenient feature.


We are not about to list them all, but do keep in mind that this vacuum comes with a lot of accessories to vacuum, shampoo and mop your floors and clean literally everything and anything in your home.

On a side note, it does have a short extension hose for tight spaces.


As you might expect with the added functionality you get with the Kirby Avalir it is much more expensive than most other vacuum cleaners on the market. For example, you will pay at least twice as much for the Kirby Avalir 2 versus the Dyson Ball Animal II.

As we've mentioned, Kirby vacuums are sold via direct selling and in-home demonstrations and therefore the price paid will vary based on what can be agreed between the seller and purchaser. 

It is up to you to negotiate the best price you can but expect to pay in the region of $1,000 for the Avalir 2. 

Furthermore, it is important not to pay too much for a Kirby as its common for sellers to start there asking price between $2,000 and $3,000 for the Avalir 2. The price on Consumer Reports' website is noted as $1,600.


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The Dyson Ball Animal II is  the cheaper of the two vacuums. It might be less expensive, but does have some great features that are worth talking about.


The Dyson Ball Animal II has a really powerful cyclonic suction system. It’s more than powerful enough to pick up debris and dirt of many sizes, and from quite far away as well.

The cyclonic suction ensures that it will keep picking up dirt even when the dirt cup is mostly full. It gives the Avalir a run for its money.

Brush and height adjust

What is really neat about the Dyson Ball Animal II is that it has an automatic brush height adjustment feature. The brush here is quite nice, and can be used both for hardwood and carpets. It does not turn on or off, and it always runs.

However, the fact that it adjusts its own height by itself depending on the type of floor you are vacuuming is a pretty big deal.

The cord

The Dyson Ball Animal II comes with a very long power cord, which is convenient because you don’t have to keep plugging into new outlets. Also, the power cord is self-retracting, so you don’t have to wind it manually like with the Avalir.

Weight and maneuverability 

The Dyson Ball Animal II weighs around 17 pounds, making it quite a bit lighter and easier to maneuver than the Avalir 2, which makes it much better for stairs.

At the same time, the Dyson uses ball technology for awesome maneuverability.

Bag-free and HEPA filter

What we also like about the Dyson Ball Animal II is that it does not use a bag, but has a dirt cup instead. It’s a fairly large dirt cup, so it does not need to be emptied all that often.

Even better is the high-efficiency HEPA filtration unit that cleans the air of allergens and dust.

Extension hose and accessories

Something we also like about the Dyson Ball Animal II is that it comes with a long extension hose to get to those hard-to-reach areas. It also comes with a combo tool, a stair tool, a stubborn dirt brush, an articulating hardwood floor tool, a tangle-free pet hair turbine tool, and a Dyson groom tool.

Dyson vs Kirby – Final Thoughts

When it comes down to it, both of these vacuums are fine options to go with.

The Avalir 2 appears to have better all-around suction to suck up dirt and grime. It also comes with a long list of accessories so you can vacuum virtually anything. Furthermore you have the added functionality with the Kirby converting to a carpet and hard floor cleaner.

However, the Dyson comes with awesome features like a bag-free design, HEPA filters, tons of accessories, a lower weight, and better maneuverability. Plus it will cost you less than half the price of the Kirby. 

It really depends on what you are looking for and, given the huge price difference between a Kirby and a Dyson, your budget. For the additional cost of the Kirby you are likely getting a much longer lifespan and more functionality in terms of deep carpet cleaning.

Both vacuums are great options to go with and we would recommend taking a much closer look at both of them before coming to a final decision.

Last update on 2024-05-14 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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