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Updated Oct 28, 2021 3:06 AM

It’s no secret that vehicles get dirty. Whether from bugs or dust, water streaks, or fallen leaves, the only way to keep a car clean is to wash it regularly. Helping you achieve this goal is a trusty car wash bucket. These handy tools help tow your soapy water around the vehicle, making lighter work of the cleaning process. Ideally, your wash bucket should be sturdy enough to withstand some bumps yet lightweight enough to carry easily. A bucket should hold several gallons of water and be easy to maintain. The handle should be ergonomically friendly and slip-resistant. The best car wash bucket lasts over the long term and is compact enough to store in tight quarters. Naturally, every garage requires a high-quality car wash bucket. Of course, this means there is no shortage of product choices. So to make your shopping journey easier and more enjoyable, we’ve curated a list of the best car wash buckets on the market. Let’s take a look at the contenders.

The Best Car Wash Buckets

Given its thick material and firm structure, the Chemical Guys Detailing Bucket is a suitable heavy-duty choice. Easy to maintain, the strong plastic washes quickly. Through its condensed design, the bucket offers optimal storage opportunities in even the smallest areas. Compatible with industry-leading gamma seal lids, the bucket enables you to safely store pre-mixed chemicals for future car washes. Tough enough to withstand weight on its top, you can store this bucket under other items in between uses. With a thin yet solid metal handle, affixed through strong attachments, the bucket supports heavy materials. At just under two pounds, this bucket is a fairly heavy model. The rigid base prevents the unit from skidding when partially empty and the tough sides prevent damage from impact. In terms of strength and overall utility, this bucket from Chemical Guys is a fitting heavy-duty selection.

Key Features
  • Firm construction
  • Safely stores pre-mixed chemicals
  • Solid metal handle
  • Supports heavy contents
Specification
  • Brand Chemical Guys
  • Model ACC_103
  • Weight 3.05 pounds
PROS

Simple to maintain

Heavy-duty

Base doesn’t skid very easily

CONS

Fairly heavy

No lid included

A little pricey

Able to hold 15 quarts of water, the Rubbermaid Roughneck Utility Bucket is a quality selection overall. Featuring twin spouts on each side for quick pouring, the large bucket is constructed to accommodate an easy fluid transfer. The spout helps reduce the chance of splashes and spills. This sturdy bucket is lightweight, at a little over a pound. Manufactured using thick plastic material, the bucket is highly durable and ideal for long-term use. At about 12 inches in diameter, the sound structure easily supports a hose for efficient filling. This bucket is easy to maneuver, as the heavy-duty wire handle makes it extra durable. Considering its strong design and extensive features, this is a favorite option overall.

Key Features
  • 15-quart capacity
  • Twin spouts
  • Lightweight
Specification
  • Brand Rubbermaid
  • Model FG296900BISQU
  • Weight 1.6 pounds
PROS

Easy fluid transfer

Very durable

 

CONS

Smaller than it appears

Handle has a tendency to come out

Handle missing in some shipments

In terms of its comfortable handle and angular design, the Ettore Compact Super Bucket offers significant ergonomic benefits. This bright yellow container holds up to three gallons of fluid. Easy to use, the broad opening and sturdy design make it easy to either set the item down or hold it during filling. Considering its compact structure and rectangular shape, you can store this bucket in any location. Wide enough to fit large cleaning supplies with a 14-inch wide interior, the bucket enables quick cleaning of both your car’s body and windows. Fitting with a separately-retailed lid, the bucket provides the opportunity for sealed fluid storage. Lightweight at little over a pound, the product features an ergonomic handle for comfortable carrying. Thick and grooved for grip, the tough handle makes it easy to maneuver while holding this bucket.

Key Features
  • 3-gallon capacity
  • Angular design
  • 14-inch-wide interior
  • Very visible
Specification
  • Brand Ettore
  • Model 86000
  • Weight 1.2 pounds
PROS

Lightweight

Tough handle

Fits large cleaning supplies

CONS

No gallon markings

No shelf for a squeegee

Too small for the Ettore 14-inch squeegee

Considering its sturdy design, the Casabella Four-Gallon Bucket is well-suited to long-term use. It incorporates a lid to prevent spills while you wash your car. With a bright yellow handle and graphite-colored body, the bucket is easy to spot when in storage. The sturdy handle attaches firmly to the bucket, incorporating a grip-friendly component for easy carrying. The bucket resists corrosion, making it well-suited for chemical cleaners. The thick material insulates its contents to retain warmth for longer. Due to its structure, particulate naturally settles to the bottom of the bucket. Incorporating a strong base and firm sides, the bucket resists cracks and other damage from impact. Weighing just over a pound, the tall bucket is heavy enough to remain sturdy over the long term. Given its heavy-duty structure and durable design, this is an ideal car wash bucket.

Key Features
  • 4-gallon capacity
  • Sturdy design
  • Bright yellow handle
  • Corrosion-resistant
Specification
  • Brand Casabella
  • Model 33066
  • Weight 8.8 ounces
PROS

Thick, insulating material

Strong base and firm sides

Crack-resistant

CONS

Sides are short

Handle is short

Only fits small bottles

Featuring extensive user-friendly components, the Quickie EZ-Glide Bucket On Wheels is a popular option. Holding five gallons of fluid, the bucket is lightweight enough to move with minimal effort. Touting a molded interior, it clearly highlights measurements for simplified chemical mixing. At its base are four wheels, letting you pull the bucket along flat surfaces. The rubber wheels themselves are capable of swiveling over a full 360 degrees. With a wide brim, the bucket prevents issues from spilling. The heavy wheels keep the unit firmly in a position both when both empty and full. Rising to well over a foot off the ground, it keeps your cleaning solution accessible. Coming with a sturdy metal handle, thickened at the top, the bucket is easy to grip. Simple to fill and pour, this option is a very user-friendly model.

Key Features
  • 5-gallon capacity
  • Lightweight
  • Highlights measurements
  • Four wheels
Specification
  • Brand Quickie
  • Model 20000ZQK
  • Weight 2.29 pounds
PROS

Wide brim to prevent spills

Sturdy metal handle

Simple to use

CONS

Hard to maneuver due to size

Tips over a little easily

Wheels are flimsy

This cute set of car wash buckets is eco-friendly and easy to stow away after usage. Coming in pastel aqua and orange, they are very affordable compared to others on the market. They are made from eco-friendly PP and flexible TRP materials that are nontoxic and odorless. They are soft and pliable, making them comfortable and easy to handle. When you are done with these buckets, they can be easily folded away to save space. There is a groove at the lip to help control the direction of water flow. There is also a grip groove along the bottom to help stabilize the bucket while pouring water or carrying it around. The buckets can hold up to 10 liters each. Given their soft nature and easy storage, these buckets are also great for indoor usage, watering your garden, fishing, camping, and doing laundry. When it comes to washing your car, you can certainly find buckets that hold more water. You will also get some that are more specialized for harder chemicals or removing grime. But they cost more, as well. So if you are looking for a product that is lightweight for the occasional simple wash of your car, this is a good bet.

Key Features
  • 10 liter capacity
  • Lightweight
  • Eco-friendly material
  • Colorful 
Specification
  • Brand N/D
  • Model B08FBXMKDY
  • Weight 10.4 ounces
PROS

Two buckets in one set

Affordable

Easy fold-up storage

CONS

Not a large capacity

Won’t handle chemicals well

Not super durable

This car wash kit from Aovavo comes with a blue water bucket that can hold up to 8 liters. It is also collapsable, making it easy to stow away and dynamic enough to be multi-purpose. You can use it for a picnic, in your garden, or for indoor projects. The entire kit also comes with a tire brush, a wheel brush, a car wash mitt, a car wash towel, a duster, a tool to clean your windshield, an air conditioning brush, an organizer for your backseat, and eight concentrated glass cleaning pellets. This provides you with a full-clean experience for all aspects of your car. And for the amount of items you get, it is not too expensive, either. When it comes to the bucket itself, it is not the most competitive one on the market. It holds little water comparatively, and it is not super durable. However, it is affordable and comes with a car wash kit to offset this. But you may find yourself having to fill it up a few times, depending upon the size of your car or how many you are washing.

Key Features
  • 8 liter capacity
  • Lightweight
  • Simple design
Specification
  • Brand Aovavo
  • Model AOUS-QIPEI
  • Weight 2.99 pounds
PROS

Comes with a washing kit

Affordable

Easy fold-up storage

CONS

Not a large capacity

Won’t handle chemicals well

Not super durable

If you are looking for an all-around durable bucket for a good price, Meguiar’s car washing bucket is a great choice. This bucket can hold 3.5 gallons, but it has the same width as a 5-gallon bucket, making it just as accessible but with better handling overall. It is made of highly durable plastic in a bright yellow color with the company logo on the front. It has a sturdy steel handle as well as a molded plastic grip for good ergonomics. While Meguiar sells this bucket separately, they also have a line of car washing items to go along with it, so you can build your collection with items that will all work together seamlessly. These include the Meguiar’s Grit Guard, Microfiber Wash Mitt, and Water Magnet Microfiber Drying Towel. The price is quite good for the product. You can, of course, get buckets for cheaper. But the capacity and durability of this product makes it worth the price. It does not hold a tremendous amount of water, but it should be enough to last through all or most of the wash. It does not fold away, but that just makes it more durable. Keep in mind that if you want to remove grit while washing your car, you will have to buy the company’s Grit Guard since it does not come with it.

Key Features
  • 3.5 gallon capacity
  • Durable plastic
  • Ergonomic grip 
Specification
  • Brand Meguiar’s
  • Model VBUCKET3.5GAL
  • Weight 1.72 pounds
PROS

Simple and strong product

Will last a long time

Has other accessories available

CONS

Decent water capacity

Does not fold away for storage

Decent price

This fun green car washing bucket from GreatCool comes with a car washing mitt for a relatively low price. The bucket itself is foldable for easy storage and has a hanging hole if you want to put it up on the wall. It has a pour spout to better control the water, along with a notch along the bottom for you to grip, which gives you better control overall. The bucket holds 2.5 gallons, or 10 liters. Since it is so light and easily stored, it makes the bucket great for other activities, as well. The mitt it comes with is part microfiber and is highly absorbent. It is great to first absorb soap and water and then dust off your car afterwards. It is machine-washable, giving it a long lifespan. It is scratch-free and lint-free as well. The bucket has a decent carrying capacity for water. There are some reports of the product wearing out after extended usage, but with collapsible buckets they are not as sturdy as hard plastic ones. For less than $20, this is an all-around good deal.

Key Features
  • 2.5 gallon capacity
  • Foldable for easy storage
  • Ergonomic grip
Specification
  • Brand GreatCool
  • Model GCCWBCWM
  • Weight 1.75 pounds
PROS

Comes with a washing mitt

Bottom notch for gripping

Hole to hang it on the wall

CONS

Smaller water capacity

Not super durable

Can wear out after extended use

If you don’t care about extra features, ergonomics, or accessories, then this bare-bones bucket is perfect for your car washing needs. It is even plain white, without any logos or pictures on it. It is made from reinforced plastic and can hold 2 gallons for a very low price. It is good for a variety of uses outside of just washing your car. It is also lightweight, weighing less than a pound. For the most basic and straightforward of products, this bucket from Bon Tool is excellent. It does not fold, so it will take up storage space. It is not very ergonomic, lacking any lip for the water or extra grip to control the pour. It is also not as large in capacity as others. But if none of that really matters to you, then this bucket is highly durable and very affordable, making it an excellent product all around. 

Key Features
  • 2 gallon capacity
  • Plain white exterior
  • Reinforced plastic material
Specification
  • Brand Bon Tool
  • Model 84-715
  • Weight 6.4 ounces
PROS

Very affordable

Straightforward design

Extremely durable

CONS

Lacks any ergonomic design

Does not fold away   

Not visually appealing

Best Car Wash Buckets Buying Guide & FAQs

It’s a good idea to wash your vehicle regularly to remove dirt, grime, dead bugs, and other debris. Not only will your car or truck look more attractive, but it will also be better protected as these elements can wreak havoc on your paint finish. While you can take the vehicle to a car wash, you can often get better results by cleaning it by hand.

We put together this buying guide so you can choose the best car wash bucket for your needs. We include the different types of buckets as well as the features you should look for before spending your hard-earned cash. We also offer some tips and provide answers to some frequently-asked questions about car wash buckets.

Do You Need a Car Wash Bucket?

Do you own a car, SUV, or truck? Do you have access to a garden hose and cleaning supplies? Then it’s not a bad idea to invest in a car wash bucket. If you want to preserve the condition of your vehicle, you should wash it on a regular basis. It doesn’t take too long to give your vehicle a quick wash, and it will look nicer when it’s clean versus when it’s dingy and dirty.

Going to the car wash can be a little risky because it may remove the protective finish on the paint. If you have an area on your vehicle that requires a gentle touch, then simply wash it yourself. Plus, it can be costly to go to the car wash, and it’s much less expensive to wash it by hand.

Car wash buckets are available in a wide range of sizes, colors, and prices. No matter what you’re looking for, there’s a good chance you will find one that suits your needs. Some products even come with supplies, such as shampoo, polish and other cleaning items.

  • Keep your car clean and attractive looking.
  • Protect the finish.
  • Save money.
  • Choose from a variety of options.
Blue car wash bucket and cloth
Kevin Williams

Types of Car Wash Buckets

Basically, there are two types of car wash buckets. You can buy a standalone bucket or one with wheels. Both have their advantages and disadvantages. Below we describe the differences between the two, so you can decide which type works better for your particular needs.

  • Standard Wash Bucket

A standard bucket is exactly what you think it is. It has a traditional bucket shape (or a more rectangular shape) and typically comes with a metal or plastic handle, so you can carry it and move it around your vehicle as you clean it. Some buckets are more heavy-duty than others and are made of stronger and more durable materials.

Standard buckets are very popular among car enthusiasts because they stay in place while you wash your car. Some are larger than others and can hold more water and car shampoo. These buckets are practical and easy to use and store. Some even have pouring spouts for added convenience.

  • Wheeled

Another option is a bucket with wheels. This is the type of bucket you typically see in commercial buildings that require a lot of mopping. Look for products that have multi-directional wheels, so they are easy to move around. Also, make sure the wheels and casters are heavy-duty and will last for an extended period of time.

The upside to this type of bucket is that you can roll it around your vehicle as you wash it. However, it may roll down your driveway or into your vehicle if you’re not careful. If you buy a traditional bucket, you can also purchase a bucket dolly separately that has wheels for your convenience.

Green car wash bucket used to wash red car

What to Look for When Buying a Car Wash Bucket

Not all car wash buckets are the same. They come in a variety of colors, styles, and sizes. Some are also very cheap, while others are more durable and more expensive. Make sure the bucket you choose checks all the right boxes before making a purchase. That way, it will last a long time and through numerous car washing sessions.

  • Size

The buckets on our list are capable of holding anywhere from 2.5 to 5 gallons of water, and they can be capable of holding up to 6 gallons, depending on the brand. In general, a bucket that holds 4 to 5 gallons of water is pretty good for washing a large vehicle. Plus, it’s not too heavy to move around while you’re doing so.

Buckets that are larger than that can be more challenging to maneuver. The solution is to choose one with wheels so you can easily move it from the front of your vehicle to the back as you wipe it down.

  • Extra Features

Some buckets come with lids, which is an excellent add-on. If you have to walk a short (or long) distance carrying a bucket full of water and car wash soap, a lid prevents it from spilling. Plus, you can store cleaning supplies in the bucket when you’re not using it and close the lid to keep them securely inside. Another advantage of having a lid is you can sit on the bucket while you’re working on your vehicle (as long as you’re not too heavy).

Also look for buckets with grit guards. They trap dirt, debris, and grime on the bottom, so these elements don’t scratch your car. You don’t want your wash mitt to pick up these particles because they can cause issues with your finish. Oftentimes you have to purchase a grit guard separately; just check the bucket dimensions and make sure it fits properly.

  • Price and Quality

Before investing in a car wash bucket, you need to determine how much you will spend. But keep in mind that cheaper products may not last as long as premium ones, and you may end up buying a second one after a short period of use.

One big complaint about car wash buckets involves the handles. Some are made of plastic and break easily, which can render the product useless. That’s why we recommend choosing a higher-quality item that may cost a little more. These buckets tend to be made of more durable materials that last longer.

Best Car Wash Buckets FAQs

By now you know more about car wash buckets then you probably thought possible. What you believed was a simple buying decision has turned into a more thoughtful one. If you’re still unsure what type of bucket to buy, check out the answers to some frequently-asked questions below.

Q: How do I use a car wash bucket?

Simply pour water into the bucket and add a car shampoo so you can wash your vehicle easily and efficiently.

Q: What is the point of a car wash bucket?

A car wash bucket makes it easier for you to clean your car, truck, van, or SUV.

Q: Should I get a car wash bucket?

If you want to keep your car clean and protected, it’s a good idea to wash it regularly. A car wash bucket is an essential tool in your car cleaning arsenal.

Our Top Pick

Our pick for the best overall car wash bucket is the Chemical Guys Detailing Bucket. It’s made of heavy-duty, thick plastic and is simple to maintain. It’s compatible with a number of lids and has the ability to safely store a variety of car wash chemicals. The bucket also has the ability to hold heavy items.

Final Thoughts

While we love the Chemical Guys Detailing Bucket, we also like the more budget-friendly Rubbermaid Roughneck Heavy-Duty Utility Bucket. It has a spout, so you can easily pour liquids, making liquid transfer easy and convenient. Overall, the bucket is durable, easy to grip, and long-lasting.

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