The best window vacuum cleaners are tailor-made to remove the fine dirt and dust from your window using any window cleaning spray, resulting in a streak-free finish. They're also great for removing condensation from windows and cleaning induction hobs and shiny worktops. So what do you need to look out for when you’re buying your window vacuum cleaner? First, the run time. While a window vacuum cleaner with an average 35 minute charge time may be perfectly fine for whipping your way around a bungalow in one go, or indeed cleaning your car windows, those with a three-storey townhouse will need to accept that multiple charges will be required. Why not leave it to recharge while you do the floors with the best vacuum cleaner or best cordless vacuum cleaner?
Second, you’ll need to consider the shape of the head – has it been optimised to get into the tightest grooves of the window frame or is an additional head required to get into these nooks and crannies? Finally, the price. Think about how often you’re going to use your window vacuum cleaner and whether it’s worth splashing the cash for one that won’t cop out on you halfway through a cleaning mission.
It's fair to say Karcher dominates this market, as it does the best pressure washers, but other brand options are available. Read on for our full, smear-free rundown.
The best window vacuum cleaners we've tested
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If you’re in the market for a high-performing window cleaner that really does excel at the task, this model should be top of the list. The WV 6 comes with a light 800g vacuum unit replete with 150ml dirty water container, two silicone suction heads (one 28cm in width, the other 17cm), a squirty bottle for the cleaning solution, a 20ml sachet of window cleaning concentrate and a small plastic scraper for hard-to-remove substances like bird poo. The solution bottle is also equipped with an integrated holder for the two supplied microfibre cloths.
To use, simply squirt the solution from a foot away (you can use any cleaning brand) and use the attached microfibre mop to spread it around. Then reach for the vacuum unit, press the button and slowly draw it downwards or across the glass. It’s that simple. Amazingly, there are no streaks and the silicone vacuum heads suck up all remnants of solution right to the very edge, even at the bottom of a down stroke where the head meets the window frame.
The WV 6’s battery last longer than other models in the range – up to 100 minutes – while its small LCD screen provides the user with a minute-by-minute countdown of remaining battery juice available.
In the arena of window vacs, Kärcher reigns supreme and this model is the company’s finest endeavour yet.
•Read our full Kärcher Window Vac WV 6 Premium review
They say you get what you pay for and with this mid-range model vacuum cleaner, you get a lot. Karcher has designed the product with efficiency in mind – so users get quick cleaning and drying of flat surfaces.
Karcher promises a streak-free, drip-free finish when used with its own branded cleaning products, although any window cleaner will do.
In addition to the product itself, you get a spray bottle, a micro-fibre head to remove stubborn dirt and two suction nozzles: 170mm for smaller windows and 280mm for larger ones.
At just 700g, the Kärcher WV 5 Plus N feels light in the hand and it performs exceptionally well on any flat shiny surface. However, its battery system isn’t as appealingly efficient as the marginally more expensive WV 6 Premium reviewed above.
Leifheit has optimised this window vac so it removes water and condensation from windows well. It promises 360 degree non-leak manoeuvrability, which means skylights aren’t a problem for it either.
Working alongside a decent window cleaner, Leifheit says the gadget should provide a streak-free finish, although reviewers say the the hoover head that it comes with struggles to get right into the edges.
While cheaper than the Karcher at the top of our list, the accessories for this window vacuum must be paid for as an extra. Accessories include Leifheit’s click-system telescopic handles, which are perfect for reaching conservatory roofs.
The smaller sibling of the WV5 comes with just one long 280mm suction head and no squeezy bottle with microfibre cloth like the more expensive models. This means you’ll need to reach for some Blitz paper towels or a sponge and a bottle of Windolene or Kärcher’s proprietary window cleaner to give the window a pre-wash before using the WV2 to suck up the liquid.
You do save quite a few quid this way, mind, though it has to be said that the WV2 isn’t as pleasant to use as the more expensive WV5 and WV6 reviewed above, even though it's a fraction lighter.
If you’re looking for a window vacuum cleaner that’s lightweight as well as powerful, this one ought to fit the bill. Offering up a 30 minute battery life, it’s not the longest runner in the list but enough time to clean a fair amount of windows.
Minky boasts that the quick and powerful motor also hoovers up condensation and steam, storing it in the 150ml storage tank, which is larger than both Karcher products.
While cheaper than the Karcher models, the accessories included with the hoover are limited, with a spray bottle, polishing cloth and just one head in the box.