Window Vacuum Cleaners - How to Choose One?

Window vacuum cleaners are type of wet vacuums that are used for cleaning windows, tiles, shower doors, car windows, countertops and similar, flat surfaces.

Window vacuums are mostly small and compact handheld units, featuring squeegee (rubber blade), vacuum motor for creating suction, and dirt liquid tank. Depending on the model, they can also feature detergent tank with spray, microfiber pad and similar.

Published: September 10, 2019.

window vacuum cleaner 1

Manual Squeegee vs Window Vacuum Cleaner

Squeegee is window cleaning tool that is basically a rubber blade on the handle. As the squeegee traverse the window surface, rubber blade is pressed onto the glass, removing practically all water/liquids from the glass surfaces, leaving the surface clean and shiny, without marks and streaks.

squeegeeProblem is the removal of that water from the rubber blade itself. Some squeegees also feature sponge/microfiber pad to help remove excess water, but they have to be squeezed periodically.

Window vacuums also feature rubber blades like manual squeegees, but the blade is combined with vacuum motor that create suction, removing all the liquids that is collected by the rubber blade.

Note: both manual squeegees and window vacuums can have blades made from other materials like foam or plastic, but the rubber blades are most common as they are both flexible and firm.

Because of all these features, manual squeegees are lighter and cheaper than window vacuums, but the window vacuums generally do their job easier and faster.

Handheld Window Vacuum Cleaners

window vacuum cleaner 2Most window vacuums are cordless, handheld, wet vacuums, featuring:

- 8-12 inches (20-30 cm) wide rubber blades for cleaning windows, mirrors, showers etc. The wider the blade, the more surface can be cleaned with one stroke. However, too wide blades can be awkward to use on the smaller surfaces and they also demand stronger motors, leading to heavier, larger and more expensive vacuum cleaners.

- dirty water tank is used for storing the dirty water/liquids onboard the vacuum. Since these units are rather compact, tank capacity is usually limited to 0.1 - 0.2 liters, which is nonetheless usually enough for most cleaning tasks.

- lithium ion, fade-free power, battery. Window vacuums don't require very strong motors like 'common' cordless vacuums, hence onboard motors are limited down to 10-30 watts. Such motors can be easily powered with 1-2 cells lithium ion batteries for 15-30 minutes on the single battery charge.

- spray bottle with the microfiber pad is usually made as separate cleaning tool and is used for dispersing the window cleaning solution (usually mix of water and window detergent concentrate) and cleaning the window with the microfiber pad. Solution bottle/spray and microfiber pad can be integrated with the window vacuum cleaner, but that leads to more complex and larger unit. Personally, I prefer them as two separate units.

- range extension set is used for increasing the cleaning range, which can be really important for cleaning elevated surfaces. Range extensions sets may be standard part of the window vacuum set, or they must be ordered separately.

Note: window vacuums are really simple to operate and maintain units. However, most of them have features that are different from other, even very similar, units and when the window vacuum cleaner is purchased, it is highly recommended to read the manual/instructions before the very first use.

Robot Window Vacuum Cleaners

window vacuum cleaner 4Robot window vacuum cleaners are (semi-)automatic robot vacuums, designed to clean large, bare and flat surfaces.

Robot window vacuum cleaners allow the users to avoid unnecessary risks when climbing the ladders in order to clean outside, tall or hard to reach high house and/or building windows.

In order to decrease the weight, most robot window vacuums feature long, but relatively thin power cord, keeping the weight of the unit to the minimum.

Most robot vacuums have two motors, one motor for powering the rotating microfiber pads (depends on the cleaning tool) and another motor for creating suction, required for removing the liquids off the glass and for holding/sticking to the vertical glass surfaces.

To prevent any possible issues with the power or motors, window robot vacuums often feature safety wire - if there is power failure of any kind, safety wire holds the vacuum from falling all the way down.

 Window robot vacuums are controlled via IR remote, WiFi in combination with smartphone Apps and similar - note that these robots can operate outside, while the user is inside, for example, drinking coffee :)

Window Cleaning Detergents

window vacuum cleaner 5Window cleaning detergents are usually sold in the form of concentrates and must be mixed with water prior use.

Such detergents help remove not only dust and similar relatively loose dirt, but also stubborn, dried stains (pigeons around?).

Also, the window cleaning detergents prevent the buildup of new dust particles and other dirt, keeping windows and mirrors cleaner for longer period of time.

Often, these detergents have refreshing scent added in order to increase the feeling of freshness and cleanliness.

Window cleaning detergents must be used as recommended by their manufacturer and in most situations, they are safe to use and environment/pets/kids friendly - just be sure to read the instructions, small letters included.

Tap Water vs Demineralized Water?

Perfectionist or not, nobody wants to see streaks, stains and marks on the newly cleaned windows.

Tap water mixed with window cleaning detergents usually doesn't leave streaks (if removed off the surface properly), but if one is not careful when cleaning, after the water evaporates, streaks and stains from water residue may form on the window.

In order to avoid such streaks, one can use distilled/demineralized water with (almost) no mineral residue to be left on the window when water fully evaporates.

Demineralized water is manufactured using reverse osmosis process, while distilled water is manufactured by condensing the water steam after boiling the water.

Demineralized water is slightly cheaper than distilled water, but it is not as clean as distilled water - using any of these water types, in combination with window cleaning detergents, user can really clean his/her windows, leaving no streaks or stains.

On the other hand, tap water is much much cheaper :)


For short: if you have the need to clean large surfaces like windows, mirrors, showers, car windows, countertops etc. and you want to speed up the cleaning tasks, consider getting a good window vacuum cleaner.

They do cost more than common manual squeegee, but they also do the same job faster and more easier.

For more reviews and recommendations, check Window Vacuum Cleaner Amazon link (link opens in the new window).