I’ve been eating alot of crow over this choice. For years I relentlessly mocked anyone who paid $1,200+ for a new Kirby vacuum. Seriously, that is ridiculous. However, we go through the plastic, “regular” vacuums (Eureka, Hoover, etc.) every year or so. Our current carpet seems to be too thick, causing our current Eureka 4870 (CR Best Buy) to eat a $5 belt about once per week (seriously). I found a local place (www.greatvacs.com) that sells refurbished Kirby’s. All models are available, along with a detailed description of the differences between each. The reality is that Kirby’s have been largely unchanged for 10 years or so, and minimally changed before that. The owner actually recommends a Gsix model (circa 2001) for the best balance of performance and budget. I spent less than $400 for a new looking Gsix with all the attachments including a shampooer. I bought one for the office without all the gadgets for $260. Both of them have 5 year warranties and like all Kirby’s, they are build for the long haul. These will last 20+ years easily. Performance-wise it is second to none. The carpet is actually sucked up off the floor. The self-propel system is genius. All in all a bullet-proof choice. My wife loves it because she doesn’t have to use it. I’ll vacuum the whole house just for fun. The kids fight over who gets to vacuum.
Kirby Gsix – about $400 – best vacuum around.