Used to be that it took know-how, patience, and elbow grease to clean windows perfectly so as to make the glass clean and spotless yet also free of smears and streaks. But what used to be (low) art is now (simple) science courtesy of a relatively new gizmo that your poor grandma never heard of or got to enjoy.
This novel little home-cleaning aid is the window vac. It is an uncomplicated gadget that is simple to use and makes the tedious hit-or-miss chore of cleaning windows a can’t-miss breeze, saving you hours and hours of time and leaving you with crystal clear windows. Simply spray water or cleaning solution on a window, turn on your window vac, swipe it up down the window a few times, and . . . you’re done!
Bear in mind that a window vac does not limit you to cleaning windows; it is just as good for cleaning all kinds of smooth surfaces – mirrors, windshields, countertops, tiles, shower screens; these are all window vac territory. What’s more, a window vac will remove condensation from windows and other surfaces, leaving them both cleaned and dry. It is a multi-purpose cleaning aid that’s a must-have for the houseproud homeowner.
In short, you can choose between a collection of squeegees, sponges, cleaning cloths and paper towels, or one window vac. But which one? You need to look into various factors.
Ergonomics, battery life, durability, suction power, tank capacity . . . these and other factors vary from kit to kit. Underneath we take you through the U.K.’s five best window vacs, differentiating between their strengths and weaknesses.
Last update on 2020-08-14 / Affiliate links / Images / Pricing from Amazon Product Advertising API
Whichever one you choose we think you’ll end up agreeing that this nifty little thingy is heaven-sent for the housewife as well as the housekeeper; for the carefree bachelor and also the henpecked husband!
Very good suction, very easy wastewater removal, very smart head design – Vileda’s vac is very good here, very good there, we’ll say it’s the best overall.
Vileda Windowmatic’s rechargeable Li-Ion battery has a longer run time per charge than those of most other window vacs. It can clean about 120 square metres (at the regular suction level) off a single charge.
It has two suction levels, not that you’ll be needing the higher one all that often.
The suction head’s width is 27 centimetres.
This one doesn’t have any small parts that may end up coming loose and irritating you.
The wastewater tank at 100 millilitres is about average but its maximum fill level is 90 to 95 millilitres. It is very easy to remove the tank and empty the waste water, more so than most other window vacs.
It is not overly noisy but not exactly quiet either.
The only real weakness of the Windowmatic is the positioning of the on-off switch. It is ‘un-ergonomic’ and leads to inadvertent switch-offs.
Perhaps it is the springy head that makes it easier to get streak-free surfaces with this window vac than with other window vacs. To get the best results with this kit you need to apply a little less pressure than with most others.
The neck is not exactly ‘flexible’ as stated in the marketing materials; however, it allows you to bend the head some ways and adjust its angle. This useful feature lets you avoid bumping into window sills as you swipe down near the bottom of the window pane.
We feel that this Vileda kit somehow outperforms other brands in vac’ing away heavy condensation.
The unit will produce a mist through the vents if used at an angle but it can be used even at a 180-degree angle if the tank is empty or near-empty.
The tank is dishwasher safe.
All said, it was a tough choice between the Vileda Windowmatic and the Karcher WV 1, reviewed below. Although Karcher is the market leader and most-popular maker of window vacs, Vileda displaces it for our Best Pick position. To quote ABBA, ‘The King has Lost his Crown’ as the WV 1 has met its ‘Waterloo’ in the Windowmatic. The Vileda kit just has fewer annoying flaws and overall is just a touch better than the Karcher.
Vileda provides a one-year guarantee.
- The neck can be vertically adjusted, and the suction head is springy.
- Has excellent suction and even has a second, higher, suction-strength level.
- Very good in this, very good at that; it all adds up to making this kit best-in-class.
- The switch is not smartly positioned, leading to unintentional switch-offs.
Giving a lot of cleaning for little cash, TECCPO’s window vac may not be anything to shout about but it does the job very well, and at its price… it’s a steal.
TECCPO’s ‘kit’ is really a kit. This window vac is a two-piece deal; along with the window vac itself you get a small spray bottle with a trigger and a microfibre cleaning head.
Consequently, you don’t need any other cleaning materials; everything you’ll need is in the box.
The 3.6-volt 2-Ah rechargeable battery is rated to last for about 30 minutes and clean about 105 square metres off a single charge and we are pleased to report that it really does!
The vac’s suction head is 28 centimetres. Its wastewater tank’s effective volume of only 70 millilitres is at the lower end.
The spray bottle has a 300-millilitre capacity and its nozzle has two spray patterns. Its head has a microfibre pad.
The suction ranges from adequate to good; now and again some water hangs around on the glass, gets pushed around, and trickles down on the frame or sill.
This is one noisy window vac.
It cannot be used at a tilt, let alone at a 180-degree angle for horizontal swipes, as water will leak and spurt through vents. The secret to this kit is to use it in a simple straightforward way and you’ll find it simple and straightforward to use.
Due to size, design, and angle of blade relative to body, if your windows have wide sills you won’t be able to clean to the bottom of your window pane because the base of the body will come up against the sill.
TECCPO’s is not a quality-controlled offering; sometimes units just ‘switch off’ for good.
This product is one of those love-it-or-hate-it ones; some will take to it and say it’s a life-saver while others will say it’s worthless.
TECCPO provides a two-year warranty.
- Really operates for the rated 30 minutes per single charge – very good performance.
- Use it in a simple straightforward way, and you’ll be a happy camper.
- A serviceable window vac plus a spray bottle at the low price is a real steal.
- Dodgy quality control; now and again a unit will quit for good.
- Cannot be used horizontally, at a 180° angle.
- Definitely noisier than other window vacs.
A couple of off-putting flaws are balanced out by a couple of major strengths, like suctioning power and quiet operation, in Karcher’s really good window vac.
Karcher’s WV 1 runs on a rechargeable 3.7-volt Li-Ion battery. A single charge will suffice to clean about 55 square metres through 20 to 25 minutes running time. It comes with a 10-watt charger with a cable. Unfortunately, this kit has proprietary plugs and sockets instead of standard USB and micro-USB plugs and ports.
The suctioning power, rated at 10 watts, is very good.
The window vac has a wastewater capacity of 100 millilitres and its suction head is 25 centimetres wide.
The maximum fill mark is at about a quarter of the tank’s actual capacity. It is a chore to detach and remove the little tank to empty the waste water.
It is also a bit of a nuisance to fit and attach the tank properly and exactly so as to prevent leaks – but if you do (then and only then) the design of the inner tube will allow you to use this kit in a horizontal position to clean from side to side near the bottom of windows if the sill gets in the way.
It operates very quietly and is among the quietest window vacs. It also ranks highly in quick clearing-up of heavy condensation.
Very efficient and giving very good results, this window vac can sometimes leave streaks but if it does, another useful feature is that the head can be detached and the rubber strip can even be slid out so as to separately and thoroughly clean it, the plastic teeth, and the apertures in the head.
The WV 1 lasts from one-and-a-half to two years and is quite reliable in its lifespan!
Overall a very-good-to -excellent kit, the Karcher’s flaws put it just short of the Vileda while the latter’s overall excellence means it nudges out the WV 1.
- Very good suctioning power.
- Very quiet operation; possibly the quietest.
- Tight seal and the right design allows this vac to be used horizontally, i.e. at 180 degrees.
- Proprietary plugs and sockets mean you can’t use standard USBs/Micro-USBs.
- Detaching and removing the wastewater tank is a fiddly business.
- Attaching it correctly so that it won’t leak is another fiddly business.
The one drawback to Beldray’s vac is that any given unit may quit; but if it stays alive, then in terms of usability and performance it’s truly excellent.
Beldray’s BEL0749 has 10 watts of suctioning power and runs for about 30 minutes per full charge. However, the wastewater tank has a capacity of only 60 millilitres. Though low in capacity, the wastewater tank is just about the easiest to empty as you only have to pull the plastic bung and drain. Design-wise, this kit is tops.
The 28-centimetre suction head is effective. In the main this kit leaves behind streak-free surfaces; it leaves no marks or fewer and fainter ones than the competition.
Due to size, design, and angle of blade relative to body, if your windows have wide sills you won’t be able to clean to the bottom of your window pane because the base of the body will come up against the sill but this window vac is far from the only one with this particular mis-feature.
In fact, no matter what criterion you evaluate the BEL0749 on – battery charge, suction power, design – it gets very good scores. In design and in ergonomics it is a cut above the rest so on this factor it probably nails an ‘A.’
The downside to this window vac is Beldray’s spotty quality control. A few too many defective or short-lived units escape their factory only to die on the annoyed buyer.
This window vac, so long as it stays alive, is very very good – grade it a ‘B+’ or an ‘A-’ even. The problem is that a few too many units decide to lie down and die.
Beldray’s window vac is one of those kits that reminds us of that old Mother Goose rhyme about the little girl with a curl, which should be modified thus: when it’s good, it’s very very good; but when it’s bad, it just sputters and dies.
Beldray provides a 3-year guarantee but it’s up in the air if the company actually honours it every time.
- One of the best window vacs with which to quickly and easily get streak-free windows.
- Quickest and easiest to drain wastewater from.
- One of the best in overall design and ergonomics.
- Wastewater collection volume is among the smallest.
- Quality control is dodgy – a bit too frequently units are defective or give up the ghost.
- Whether or not the 3-year guarantee will be honoured is a question mark.
Although pricier than the rest, Intey’s vac set includes a spray bottle and even a narrow blade, besides which it ranks near the top in design and suctioning.
Intey’s is another proper ‘kit’ which includes, besides the window vac itself, a spray bottle with a spongy microfibre pad. A narrow suction head of 17-centimetre width is also thrown in. A thoughtful and super-useful addition, this extra blade makes this window vac the best choice for those who have small-paned windows and latticed windows. The main suction head cum nozzle is 28 centimetres wide.
It has a 3.7-volt, 2-Ah Li-Ion battery that lasts for a surprisingly long time, near around 40 minutes, of each full charge.
Its suctioning power of 12 watts is quite good and leaves surfaces, especially glass, very clean and clear. The spray bottle and its microfibre pad also work very well.
While Intey’s window vac is not exactly silent it’s quieter than the competition. All said it is well designed, and it is also more ergonomic than most; however, the colour combination and overall shape makes one think it’s a knock-off of the Karcher WV 1. Or does Intey belong to Borussia Dortmund?!
The water tank not only has a large 150-millilitre capacity, but it is also one of the quickest and easiest to empty.
You can use Intey’s vac at an angle or sideways provided the wastewater tank is empty or near-empty. Regardless of the angle you use it at, if the tank is around the ‘Max’ line, water will start squirting from the vents.
Well designed and fabricated components make the head easy to remove and attach. Important, because – as mentioned above – an additional narrow (17-centimetre) suction head is included.
Intey’s two-piece set is certainly costlier than the other reviewed kits but it’s not difficult to see why – think of it as a ‘deluxe’ option.
Intey provides a two-year warranty.
- A proper ‘kit’ this one includes a cleaning spray bottle and even an additional narrow suction head.
- Very good suctioning power leaves surfaces very clean and clear.
- In design and ergonomics, one of the best.
- ‘Deluxe’ kit or not, it is definitely costlier than the rest.
- If the wastewater tank is full or nearing full, you may get squirted – not very ergonomic here!
- Instead of coming up with their own colour scheme, Intey’s designers imitate Karcher (or Borussia Dortmund).
What Are Window Vacs Good For?
Though window vacs are primarily meant to clean window panes, they are good for any flat or slightly convex (but not concave) smooth surfaces that need a cleaning. Think mirrors, car windows, countertops, shower screens, tiled surfaces, formica, marble . . . the list goes on.
Apart from cleaning, window vacs have another important use: you may get condensation on your windshield on a cold night or moisture on your conservatory wall. Or your shower stall’s panes may get steamed up.
Condensation, moisture, or steaming-up, take your window vac to it and watch it all go away!
How To Use Your Window Vac Effectively
Using a window vac is as simple as it gets. But using it effectively is quite another matter. Not infrequently dissatisfied users ditch their respective window vacs and revert to ‘older technology.’ Try these tips and see if they help you attain crystal clear windows.
• Cover the window-pane with the right amount of water or cleaning solution. Too little, and you may end up with vertical streaks where the endpoints of the suction head rub against the windows; too much, and it may make smears at the lower part of the window (and also make a mess on the window sill).
• If there is any caked grime scrub it off and remove it first; do not accidentally spread it around.
• Start using the window vac right after you have sprayed and spread water or cleaning solution on the window; do not allow it to start to dry.
• Move the window vac in straight swipes, preferably vertical, but, if necessary, in any other direction; do not make curves or zig-zags.
• Make each swipe in a single smooth motion from top to bottom; do not halt in between – no stop-starts.
• Experiment with different levels of pressure against the glass. Different window vacs give optimal results with differing degrees of pressure.
• Inspect the suction head’s blade after you clean a window, and, if necessary, clean it – particles of dirt and dust can adhere to the blade or clog a suction aperture, causing the window vac suction head to malfunction.
• Consider the amount of dirt and grime on the surface, and the type of surface to be cleaned, and experiment with the cleaning fluid. Try a solution of Fairy, ‘neat’ Windex, diluted white vinegar – or plain water.
Though this tip is not related to effective use of a window vac, for your own comfort and to preclude any annoyance, do not let waste water fill up to even close to the marked line; empty the tank frequently.