Window Vacuum Cleaners - How to Pick the Right One
Window vacuums are small and compact vacuums designed for cleaning windows, mirrors, countertops, tiles, showers, and similar bare, flat surfaces.
Window vacuums remove any liquid and dirt from cleaned surfaces, leaving the area shiny and streak/spot-free.
Manual squeegees can do such cleaning tasks well, but window vacuums can do them at least as good as squeegees, but faster and easier, saving time and effort.
Updated: January 21, 2021.
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Window Vacuums - Features and Specifications
Manual squeegees use blades made of plastic, rubber, silicone, even sponge to collect and remove the liquids from flat surfaces like windows, mirrors, and similar.
Window vacuums operate using a similar principle - they commonly feature plastic/rubber/silicone blade to collect the liquids from the surfaces, but the liquids are removed using vacuum suction.
Blades are usually 7-12 inches (~18 - 30 cm) wide, allowing the user to clean even large surfaces quickly. Dirty liquids tank capacity is usually in the 0.1 - 0.3 liters range, allowing the user to complete the cleaning task without the need to empty the tank more times during the cleaning.
Most window vacuums are cordless, handheld units, featuring power fade-free lithium-ion batteries and suction motors in the 10-30 watts range. Such motors require relatively small and lightweight batteries and can operate up to 30-40 minutes on a single battery charge, model dependent, of course.
Window vacuums are designed to operate in most positions, but generally, they clean well in vertical and side positions, with some models working well even when turned upside down.
Note: these vacuums are simple to use and maintain units, but before the very first use, be sure to thoroughly read the manual/instructions. Better safe than sorry.
Most window vacuums are actually two units in a set: a window vacuum cleaner and a spray bottle.
A spray bottle is filled with window detergent concentrate and water. Such cleaning solution is sprayed over cleaned surfaces and gently scrubbed using microfiber pads. As the surface is scrubbed, the cleaning solution removes dust and dirt, including stubborn stains and spots.
Finally, a vacuum cleaner removes the dirty liquids off the glass.
Note: some window vacuums feature microfiber pads and two tanks on board: one for cleaning solution and another for dirty liquids. The idea behind such design is to have just one device and to speed up the cleaning - this approach is highly individual and some people like it, some don't. Personally, the author of this article prefers separate units (separate window vacuum cleaner from the spray bottle).
In order to increase the cleaning range, manual window vacuums feature extension sets - these sets come by default, or can be ordered separately.
Kärcher Window Vac WV 2 Plus
The physical dimensions of the window vacuum are 12 x 28 x 32 cm and it weighs ~0.6 kg with the battery.
Dirty liquids tank capacity is 100 ml, battery charging time ~120 minutes, with a runtime of ~25 minutes.
Also, Kärcher Window Vac WV 2 Plus comes with the windows cleaning detergent concentrate - having separate tanks/bottles allows the cleaning solution to remain clean and can be used over several cleaning tasks.
Kärcher Window Vac WV 2 Plus is very similar to other Kärcher window vacuums, but it comes with several improvements over previous models.
For more reviews and recommendations, feel free to check the Kärcher Window Vac WV 2 Plus Amazon link (link opens in the new window).
BESTEK Telescopic Window Vacuum Cleaner
The telescopic handle extends the reach from 10 to 40 inches (~25 to 100 cm), allowing the user to clean areas that would otherwise require some sort of ladders.
BESTEK Telescopic Window Vacuum Cleaner is powered by a 3.7V 2000 mAh battery, providing a runtime of 30-35 minutes. The charging time is ~180 minutes.
Dirty water tank capacity is 180 ml, allowing the user to clean larger areas without interruptions, but also allows the user to use the BESTEK Telescopic Window Vacuum Cleaner as a wet vacuum - very efficient in drying the shower/tile walls, picking up smaller spills, and similar.
The suction nozzle (squeegee) width is 11 inches (28 cm).
BESTEK Telescopic Window Vacuum Cleaner comes with 18 months limited warranty.
For more reviews and recommendations, feel free to check the BESTEK Telescopic Window Vacuum Cleaner Amazon link (link opens in the new window).
Leifheit 51107 Click System Window Cleaning Tool Kit
Physical dimensions of the Leifheit 51107 window vacuum are 6.1 x 12 x 11.02 inches (~7.9 x 30.5 x 28 cm), and in combination with a lightweight design (0.7 kg with an empty tank) ensure long reach.
Wet vacuum cleaner is designed to operate in any position without dripping, including vertical, horizontal, and overhead.
Unit is powered by a 3.7V 1700 mAh onboard battery that ensures constant runtime of ~30 minutes. But, Leifheit 51107 also features a standby sensor which can prolong the runtime up to 40-45 minutes of cleaning. Also, the unit features two suction modes (High, Low).
Dirt tank capacity is 100 ml, which is enough for most cleaning tasks.
For more reviews and recommendations, feel free to check the Leifheit 51107 Click System Window Cleaning Tool Kit Amazon link (link opens in the new window).
Robotic Window Vacuum Cleaners
Robotic window vacuum cleaners are autonomous window vacuums, allowing the user to clean the windows with minimum effort.
Robotic window vacuums use the power of suction to 'stick' to vertical surfaces like large windows.
In most situations, window robotic vacuums are corded units, featuring safety cords/wires, tied to safety pods, fences, or anything similar that is strong enough to withstand the robot window vacuum cleaner falling off.
Another common safety feature is a small onboard lithium battery which powers a suction motor in the case of mains power failure, preventing the unit from falling down.
These units are remotely controlled using IR remote controls or using Apps (Android, iOS).
As such, window robotic vacuums allow the user to clean external surfaces safely and more comfortably than before.
Gladwell Gecko Robot Window Cleaner
Gladwell Gecko Robot Window Cleaner may be controlled via smartphone app and features 3 automatic cleaning modes and manual cleaning mode.
Unit uses onboard sensors to detect the edges of the windows, cleaning the entire surface using an automatically optimized path.
Gladwell Gecko Robot Window Cleaner features a safety rope, preventing the unit from damage if the unit falls down. Also, the unit features a built-in lithium battery as a backup power source to prevent it from falling.
The unit features two washable microfiber pads, which allows the unit to remove and clean very sticky messes.
According to the manufacturer, Gladwell Gecko Robot Window Cleaner features extra-strong suction that allows the unit to clean even upside down - hence the name 'Gecko'.
If You are looking for a remote powered window cleaner, that is simple to use and maintain, consider this unit - it has been already tested by many users and it has very good reviews.
For more reviews and recommendations, feel free to check the Gladwell Gecko Robot Window Cleaner Amazon link (link opens in the new window).
HOBOT-388 Window Automatic Smart Robot Cleaner
Unit comes with a set of sensors, allowing it to detect window edges - just be aware that, for example, round edges can cause issues with edge-detection (false-negative).
Note: round edges are an issue for most robot window vacuums, not just for HOBOT-388 window vacuum.
Physical dimensions of the unit are 11.61 x 5.83 x 3.74 inches (29.5 x 14.8 x 9.5 cm).
HOBOT-388 window vacuum features two washable microfiber pads, ensuring thorough cleaning and low operating costs.
An onboard lithium battery prevents the unit from falling down in the case of power failure.
The power cord is 5 meters long (1m from the wall to the power adapter, 4m from the power adapter to the window vacuum), ensuring long reach. Also, the power cord features a safety connector, preventing detaching from the unit during operation.
For more reviews and recommendations, feel free to check the HOBOT-388 Window Automatic Smart Robot Cleaner Amazon link (link opens in the new window).
Sophinique X5 Window Robot Vacuum Cleaner
The total length of the power cord is 6 meters, including 7 feet (~2 meters) from the wall power socket to the power adapter and 20 feet (~4 meters) from the power adapter to the unit.
The physical dimensions of the unit are 11.4 x 5.5 x 4.5 inches (~29 x 14 x 11.5 cm) and it weighs 2.1 pounds (0.95 kg) - according to the manufacturer, Sophinique X5 Window Robot Vacuum Cleaner is able to create up to 6 kilograms of suction.
Just in case, the unit also comes with a strong safety rope.
The built-in lithium-ion battery acts as a small UPS (Uninterruptible Power System) - battery features a nominal voltage of 14.8V and nominal capacity of 600 mAh.
Like many similar units, Sophinique X5 Window Robot Vacuum Cleaner features two washable microfiber pads that clean the surfaces thoroughly.
Sophinique X5 Window Robot Vacuum Cleaner comes with a 1-year limited warranty.
For more reviews and recommendations, feel free to check the Sophinique X5 Window Robot Vacuum Cleaner Amazon link (link opens in the new window).
Tap or Distilled Water?
When cleaning floors using steam mops, the use of tap water can lead to a buildup of residue on the water heaters and cause streaks and spots on the floors.
Window vacuum cleaners don't have water heaters, but in the areas with really hard water, water residue can leave ugly streaks and marks on the newly cleaned windows and mirrors.
Call me a perfectionist, but although demineralized or distilled water costs more than tap water (by a large margin), they are worth the price of having perfectly clean windows, mirrors, and other similar surfaces - even when small amounts of liquids remain on the glass, if there is a mineral residue in the tap water, it will be deposited on the window and clearly visible.
For short: if you have large windows and other similar flat surfaces, consider buying a good manual window vacuum and use a cleaning solution made by mixing window detergent concentrate and demineralized/distilled water.
For cleaning both internal and external windows, in order to increase the safety, consider robotic vacuum cleaners and clean the flat surfaces using your smartphone.
Although these vacuums are relatively easy to use and maintain, when the unit arrives, be sure to thoroughly read the Owner's Guide - better safe than sorry..