Car wash buckets are surely… well, just water buckets that you stick your wash mitt into? That is correct to a certain degree as there really aren’t many features to compare from bucket-to-bucket, however, if you’re into car detailing and washing, you’ll know there’s a few different qualities that a good bucket should have. The main thing obviously is that the bucket needs to be strong and durable enough to handle having water in it regularly.
Why would you not just buy a cheap, plastic water bucket over one of these car washing buckets though? Well, the truth is that most of these buckets for auto washing are just simple plastic buckets, but some are specially designed to withstand having harsher car cleaning products mixed in them and can even have a grit guard attached to the bottom of it. We’ve laid out our 5 top washing buckets for cars picks down below, with what will hopefully help you decide how much you should spend on one for washing your vehicle.
Best Car Wash Buckets in the UK Reviews
2 x 20 Litres
#1. Meguiar's Yellow Large Car Wash Bucket 22 Litre
Meguiar are well renowned for producing excellent car detailing products around the world, with our top pick being this large car washing bucket. You’re buying into 1 large yellow bucket that has a water capacity of 22 litres, measures 37 x 35 x 33 cm and weighs 500g.
This is our number 1 selection on the reviews list because it is the best quality bucket overall and is designed exclusively for car washing by a company that gets auto detailing.
The bucket is large and sturdy, with a water capacity of 22 litres it’s one of the biggest pails out there. Although this is slightly heavier than other similar picks, it’s sturdiness makes up for that as you can throw it around without having to worry about it cracking or breaking. It also has a nice and strong handle for easy carrying.
This model is grit guard compatible and there is a specific guard designed by Meguiar to fit it - the X3003 grit guard.
Please note: This bucket purchase does NOT come with the grit guard mentioned above and has to be purchased separately.
It might be seen as quite an expensive purchase, especially for what looks like a bucket for holding water, but you are paying for quality. The purchase does add up though if you go with a 2 bucket method and purchase an additional grit guard.
Overall though one of the most expensive picks, it is the best quality bucket you’ll find for car washing being specially designed by a reputable car detailing company, this is backed up by the overwhelming number of positive reviews you’ll find online for the product.
- Superb heavy-duty plastic construction
- Good strong handle
- Large water capacity
- Grit guard compatible
- Slightly more expensive
- Heavier than similar models
- No lid - if that’s a concern to you
Verdict: Best Overall
#2. Smart Tech Car Care x2 20 Litre Bucket Kit
The second pick comes from Smart Tech Car Care, who have come up with a quality, cost efficient bucket kit with everything you need to get washing straight away. The purchase includes two 20 litre buckets with a grit barrier for each and a wash mitt.
This makes the list as it includes everything that’s needed for a proper car hand wash, without having to spend extra on guards, another bucket etc. If you’re serious about detailing, then you’ll probably use the 2 bucket method to avoid putting grit and dirt back into the water you’re using to wash the car, this purchase covers that with two 20 litre buckets provided.
It’s not just a chosen pick because it has everything you need for a wash at a great price, the pails themselves have a heavy-duty quality design, are robust enough for frequent use and have strong metal handles for carrying around. All the pieces included such as the barrier guards and wash mitt are also of decent enough quality to last as long as the buckets.
One thing that does let this purchase down is the size of the grit guards provided, they are a little small and have a bit of an awkward fit because of this. You may need to purchase extra grit guards if the fit isn’t working for you.
Overall if you want a professional wash bucket setup for cleaning your car without having to spend lots or having to buy extra stuff, then this a great all-in-one purchase for money, though as mentioned above, you might have to purchase other grit guards if you’re not happy with the fit.
- Great all-in-one car washing purchase
- Good price for everything included
- Well-made robust bucket and handle
- Grit guards provided aren’t a great fit
Verdict: All the kit you need for a great price
#3. Martin Cox MOGG105 20L Detailing Bucket
This is a basic 1 bucket purchase from Martin Cox who have designed this 20 litre pail specifically for professional car detailing.
We choose this as it’s much like the first pick on the list, a simple straight-forward one bucket purchase that’s designed for regular car washing. It can hold 20 litres of water which is more than enough for most car washing jobs and has a decent metal carrying handle.
This is a true detailers water bucket that’s mighty tough and is specifically designed to have cleaning products and chemicals used in it regularly. The biggest selling point of this pail is the robustness of the plastic and carry handle.
The only gripe we have is with the price of the bucket. The top pick on the list from Meguiar is priced the same and is slightly better in terms of quality and water capacity.
Overall a basic detailers water bucket that won't let you down, though it is quite expensive for only one. If you don’t like the look of the number 1 choice on list, then this is a great alternative to try.
- Tough and durable plastic
- Strong handle
- Designed for detailing
- Expensive for a purchase of one
Verdict: Great alternative pick
#4. Beldray® LA028495GRY 10 L Collapsible
A bit of a different pick this one, a collapsible bucket that’s designed with storage in mind from the manufacturer Beldray®. It’s a 10 litre bucket that measures in at 31.5 x 31.5 x 25 cm and weighs just 400g.
The reason this is one of our top choices is the fact that the bucket can be easily collapsed and stored away. This makes it ideal for people going away camping or travelling and need a water bucket on standby that you can fold away and keep in the boot of your car.
The design is not just a highlight because of its versatility and storage saving ability, the actual strength of the bucket and handle are excellent also, even although it is flexible, it is designed to be fully break resistant.
One negative that we would highlight is maybe the price for a lower water capacity bucket, although the price is reasonable enough when the foldable design is taken into consideration.
Overall if you’re not fussed about having a larger sized water bucket, but are looking for something that can be stored away anywhere, even in the boot of your car for trips, then this is a great choice for the money.
- Durable plastic
- Good handle
- Very light
- Portable, versatile design
- Smaller water capacity
Verdict: Best design for portability
#5. Jantex CD806
Our final pick comes from Jantex and it really is as simple as it gets when it comes to a washing bucket. It’s a budget-friendly bucket that can hold upto 10 litres of water, measures 26 x 28(W) x 29.5 cm and weighs just 250 grams. There are also 3 different colours to choose from - green, red and blue.
The reason this is on our reviews list is that it’s as simple as it gets when it comes to a car washing plastic bucket at a good price.
It has a simple plastic design with a reasonable handle for gripping. The pail is very light in weight making it easy to carry around and store.
The 10 litre water capacity might not be big enough for some car detailers. The quality of the plastic is also average, nothing special but it should last enough washes for you to get your money's worth.
Overall a no thrills, perfect budget pick for a straight forward hand car wash, though if you’re looking for something a bit more robust in terms of quality, then look further up the list.
- Cheap price tag
- Basic, reliable design
- Very light
- Not got the quality to be a professional car detailing wash bucket
- Might not be big enough for some car washing jobs
Verdict: Our Budget Pick
Washing Bucket for Cars Buying Considerations
Most of the buckets we have reviewed have a water capacity of between 10 and 20 litres which is the ideal sweet spot for a car washing bucket. However, some professional detailers might prefer to use something a bit bigger, that’s where our number one choice comes in, having a water capacity of 22 litres.
Grit Guard Compatibility
Grit guards are essential if you’re serious about car detailing and washing, as the name suggests, they catch any dirt or grit that comes off your car wash mitt when you’ve run it across the car and go to put it back in the bucket of water again.
Grit guards can essentially put across any bucket of water, but the chances are that they won’t fit. Some manufacturers have designed guards to specially fit their car washing buckets that they produce, like the number one pick on our list from Meguiar.
If you are considering a grit guard for your car washing bucket, be sure to check out our recommended grit guards to purchase first.
Strength and Longevity
Any wash bucket that’s used on a regular basis for washing a motor should be able to withstand having water and other car cleaning products used in it without wearing away. It should also be robust enough and not so flimsy that when you throw it down or store it away, it breaks. Most of the designs on this list are heavy-duty plastic and should hold up for many years no problem.
The handle of any bucket needs to be strong enough to support the bucket at full capacity, otherwise you’re not going to get very far carrying it around. Most manufacturers have this spot on and are aware of the importance of a good handle.
Two Wash Bucket Method
If you know your car detailing game, then you’ll be well versed in the two bucket method. If you’re doing things properly, you’ll have one bucket for dipping your wash mitt in, and another for rinsing it, avoiding the chances of putting the dirt you’ve cleaned off back onto the car. This, of course, means that you need 2 of your chosen buckets, raising the price of your purchase if it only comes as one (which most do).
Let’s be honest, washing buckets for cleaning cars really isn’t the most complicated purchase out there, as there really aren’t a lot of features to compare. It all comes down to how much you value your whole car washing process and how serious you are about it, and whether you want a grit guard, 2 buckets etc. We’ve tried to cover every corner with our 5 best car wash bucket picks, with a selection there for every hand car wash and budget.
Last Updated On: October 18, 2021.