Last updated: October 21, 2021

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Window cleaners - whether automatic or equipped with a rechargeable battery - are designed to speed up the often annoying task of cleaning windows and thus save a lot of time and energy. They also clean reliably without leaving streaks or stripes and are relatively easy to use.

With our big window cleaner test 2021 we want to give you an overview of the available cleaners on the market. We present different types of window cleaners and have looked at the advantages and disadvantages of each device for you. We would like to inform you comprehensively with our list and thus make your purchase decision easier.




Summary

    Window cleaners (also called window vacuums) are electrically or automatically operated devices that make cleaning windows and smooth surfaces easier and faster.

  • There are battery-operated devices and steam window cleaners. Battery-operated devices usually only require wetting with a cleaning agent. Steam devices only work with steam generation and without chemical cleaning agents.
  • The various devices from different manufacturers differ in battery running time, cleaning performance and area of application. For example, window cleaners with an extension unit can be used for cleaning high windows or glazed skylights.

The Best Window Cleaner: Our Picks

Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying a window cleaner

How do window cleaners work and how good are they?

Electric or automatic window cleaners are similar to a hand-held hoover that removes dirt from dirty windows instead of crumbly kitchen benches. This is why you will often come across the synonym "window vacuum cleaner" when looking for a window cleaner.

Window cleaners consist of a suction nozzle, a removable dirty water container, a motor and are usually powered by a rechargeable battery. In this case, the window cleaner must be charged before use.

As with conventional window cleaning, the dirty windows are first moistened with a cleaning agent. The window vacuum cleaner is now applied and draws the dirt and water from the windows to be cleaned into the collection container with the suction effect.

At the same time as the water is sucked out, the window pane is dried, resulting in clean window panes free of streaks and smears. This saves having to clean and dry with additional cleaning cloths.

Fensterreiniger-1

Cumbersome window scrubbing is a thing of the past with an automatic window cleaner.
(Image source: unsplash.com / Unknown)

In addition to automatically operated window cleaners, you can also clean with a steam cleaner. Steam cleaners work with water vapour, and the cleaning result depends on the pressure, temperature and speed of the water vapour.

They are mainly used for cleaning tiles, floors and other smooth surfaces. For window cleaning, however, only devices marked for this purpose or with the appropriate attachments should be used to avoid damaging the windows.

For which areas can a window vacuum cleaner be used?

A window vacuum cleaner can be used for most smooth and waterproof surfaces. These are, for example, mirrors, glass tables and glass doors, shower cabins and bathroom or toilet tiles.

For hard-to-reach places, such as high skylights and transom windows, an extension can be used to clean.

As already mentioned, steam cleaners are also versatile. In addition to cleaning windows, they can also be used for cleaning ceramic hobs, fittings, carpets or furniture surfaces, depending on the model and design.

You should only use models that are designed for steam window cleaning or, for example, with special glass brushes for window cleaning, which are often already included in the scope of delivery.

What does a window cleaner cost?

The purchase price of an automatic window cleaner depends on the brand and model. Inexpensive devices can be purchased for as little as 30 - 50 euros; if you need something more, the higher price range is around 100 euros upwards. In addition to the purchase costs of the device, you will also have to pay for additional accessories such as a replacement battery, extension handle, etc.

Steam window cleaners, i.e. those devices that are intended exclusively for cleaning windows, cost from 35 - 60 euros, depending on the model and manufacturer.

Fensterreiniger-2

A window cleaner is a small investment, but it saves time and nerves so that you can devote yourself to other things.
(Image source: usplash.com / Kinga Cichewicz)

It can make you think twice, especially since a normal squeegee and a few cleaning cloths for window cleaning usually only amount to a few euros, which means you get off much more cheaply. However, you will save some valuable time and nerves and at the same time you can do something for the environment (a steam window cleaner does not need any chemical cleaning agents).

Are there alternatives to window cleaners?

There are currently no alternatives to window vacuums on the market in terms of user-friendliness and flawless results.

What is still relatively new and unknown are window cleaning robots that do almost all the work for you. You can read more about this below.

Otherwise, the only other option is to use a squeegee, spray can and wipes - the tried and tested manual cleaning method.

Decision: What types of window cleaners are there and which is the right one for you?

If you want to buy a window cleaner, you should first get an overview of the different types. In this guide, we distinguish between two types:

  • Electric window cleaners
  • Steam window cleaner

In the case of steam window cleaners, there are those that are intended purely for cleaning windows and steam cleaners that can be fitted with additional cleaning accessories.

Both alternatives have advantages and disadvantages and differ from each other in their application. Depending on your needs and requirements for your window cleaner, one is more suitable or the other. With the following information, we would like to make the decision a little easier for you.

How do electric window cleaners work and what are the advantages and disadvantages?

Advantages
  • Streak-free cleaning
  • Easy to use
  • Time and energy saving
Disadvantages
  • Battery power often too low - constant recharging
  • Noise could be annoying

When cleaning windows with an automatic window cleaner, the surface to be cleaned must first be moistened with a cleaning agent, just as with manual cleaning. Next, you apply the window vacuum cleaner from top to bottom, which sucks up the water and dirt and dries the surfaces at the same time. The water is collected in the removable dirty water tank.

Apart from the bottle of window cleaning agent, you therefore save the utensils that are needed for manual cleaning. As a rule, a single swipe with the suction cup is enough to keep the windows clean and free of streaks. This also eliminates the need for dry wiping with a window cleaning cloth.

Most electric window cleaners are powered by a rechargeable battery. Since these batteries only last for about 30 minutes on average, or a maximum of 45 minutes depending on the model, the battery level should be checked before each use and charged after each use. With replaceable batteries, you can get a spare battery that can be easily replaced for longer cleaning sessions.

You should also bear in mind that most electronic cleaning devices make a certain amount of noise. Here again, it depends on the model and manufacturer, as well as on the individual threshold of irritation, to what extent this is perceived as tolerable or particularly annoying.

How do steam window cleaners work and what are their advantages and disadvantages?

Advantages
  • Environmentally friendly - no chemical cleaning agents
  • Effective against bacteria and viruses due to high temperatures
  • Easy to use
Disadvantages
  • Streaks can occur - clean up afterwards
  • Noise
  • Larger devices very expensive

Steam window cleaners do not require any additional chemical cleaning agents. Depending on the model, this dirt is either automatically captured by the appliance or removed with a squeegee. Some manufacturers recommend carrying out two passes each time for optimal cleaning.

Unlike conventional steam cleaners for larger surfaces, these work at rather low temperatures, yet they often reach up to 200 degrees.

This not only removes dirt, but also kills bacteria and viruses through the steam effect.

Simple steam window cleaners are available for as little as 30 euros, but if you want an all-rounder for the entire household, a steam cleaner can cost a higher, three-digit sum. However, you have the advantage that you have a versatile household appliance at your disposal.

As with automatic window cleaners, there is also the noise level of steam window cleaners and the fact that they may have to be cleaned several times can be somewhat annoying, which is why we advise you to get good advice and compare several different suppliers before buying.

Buying criteria: You can use these factors to compare and evaluate window cleaners

In the following, we will show you which aspects you can use to decide between the many possible window cleaners.

The criteria you can use to compare iron pans with each other include:

In the following paragraphs we explain what the following criteria are.

Weight

Cleaning windows can take some time. A few grams more or less in your hand over a period of more than 30 minutes can make a considerable difference. That's why you should take the weight of the respective device into account when making a purchase decision.

Type of appliance weight in g
Automatic window cleaner approx. 500 - 930 grams
Steam window cleaner approx. 700 - 1000 grams

So you see, the difference can be up to half a kilogram. Especially if you have wrist problems or tend to have heavy arms, a light device might be better for you.

From our point of view, there are no major differences in terms of equipment. The difference in weight of heavy devices can often be explained by the size and weight of the battery or the size of the dirt collection container.

Steam window cleaners have a slightly higher weight. This depends on whether you are using a device that is intended purely as a window cleaner or, for example, a hand-held steam device with several different attachments.

Battery life

The different battery runtimes of the window cleaners should also play a role in your decision-making process.

Type of device Battery runtime Battery charging time
Automatic window cleaner 20 - 45 minutes 2 - 3 hours
Steam window cleaner Mostly corded Warm-up time: 1 - 6 minutes

The battery lasts 20 - 45 minutes, depending on the device. Some manufacturers also promise a battery runtime of up to one hour.

Do you only have a few small windows to clean? Then a device with a battery life of 20 minutes will do. However, if you have a lot of windows or surfaces to clean, a battery with a long runtime of 45 minutes or more makes sense.

Most batteries are replaceable, which means you can buy a spare battery that can be easily replaced when the first battery runs out for longer cleaning jobs. However, some devices do not have a replaceable battery, so find out before you buy whether this is possible with the device of your choice.

The battery charging time is usually about two to three hours. So it can be a bit inconvenient if you have to stop cleaning for three hours in the middle because the battery has to be recharged.

When it comes to steam window cleaners, there is a choice between battery-operated devices and those that have to be plugged in. However, most steam window cleaners are equipped with a rechargeable battery.

Volume

As mentioned above, a power-operated window cleaner also produces noise. Although these are still within the tolerable range of 54 - 72 db (hoovers are in the range of 65 - 70 db), this may already be sufficient for noise-sensitive people.

You should therefore also take this factor into account when choosing and seek good advice.

You can also ask for a demonstration in a specialist shop so that you can roughly estimate the volume. Steam window cleaners are in a similar volume range.

Width of the suction nozzles

Depending on the number and size of windows, you should choose either narrow or wide nozzles. Nozzles, i.e. the extractors, range from 17 - approx. 30 centimetres.

For small windows, the large nozzles may be too wide and you may not be able to reach the corners of the windows. With large windows, small nozzles take an unnecessarily long time.

Some units have interchangeable nozzles so you can change the size depending on your needs. Some manufacturers automatically include two different sized nozzles in the delivery.

Accessories: supplied and/or available for purchase

A big difference between the machines and different suppliers is the range of additional accessories.

Besides a replaceable battery or additional suction nozzles, these include, for example, extension devices for high windows. Here it depends on whether the device is suitable for these additional functions at all and whether the accessories are included with the purchase or have to be purchased additionally.

There are serious differences from manufacturer to manufacturer and this is often expressed in different price categories. Depending on what extras you expect from your window cleaner and what you can do without, you should look for appropriate devices.

Image source: Koldunova/ 123rf.com

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