The best bucket for cleaning your car: yes, it does matter

An essential up there with water and an actual car when it comes to car cleaning, so is it time you upgraded your bucket?

A man cleaning a car wheel next to a bucket

by Ryan Gilmore |

The bucket is never going to have lashings of praise thrown at it. By its very design, the best compliment a bucket can receive is "it holds water well." And while build quality, aesthetics and price are all factors in the bucket-choosing process, they're all basically the same anyway so just buy the cheapest one you can?

Well yes and no. While a £20 bucket won't hold water better than a £1 model it doesn't mean that there aren't valid reasons why you should look at a proper detailers bucket, or simply one that costs a couple of quid more.

We're dedicating time to bucket research because it's an important aspect of the car cleaning process. For a start, you should be using at least two buckets to wash your car to ensure you aren't contaminating your wash mitt. This means storing an extra bucket which in turn means you need to take storage seriously. You should also look at getting a decent grit guard to ensure you don't scratch up your paintwork as you clean which means checking to see if one will fit in your bucket.

So here are our favourite buckets for making car cleaning that little bit easier. Just remember to buy two.

The best buckets for washing your car

Meguiar's Yellow Large Car Wash Bucket

The best bucket for car cleaning
Meguiar's RG203 Yellow Large Car Wash Bucket 5US Gallon
Amazon

View offer

Can a bucket ever be considered an icon of design? Not that anyone's ever thought that before but if there is it has to be the Meguiar's Five Gallon Yellow Bucket. Not only is it well made, offers a 19-litre capacity and is designed for car cleaning, but it has optional extras you can spec. The plastic lid will keep the insides clean during storage while the grit guard is designed to fit this bucket perfectly. The bucket is even available in blue, perfect for differing your buckets during the double bucket wash method.

Addis Eco 100% Recycled Plastic Premium Cleaning Bucket

The best bucket for the environmentally minded
Addis Eco 100% Recycled Plastic Premium Cleaning Bucket
Amazon

View offer

Aside from metal, plastic is the best choice for bucket construction because it's lightweight, strong, cheap to make and above all else, waterproof. However, like diesel, plastic has taken a battering in recent years for damaging the environment. This bucket seeks to fix that however by being made out of recycled CD cases. It can hold 10-litres of water, has a robust handle and comes with a 10-year guarantee. It's also easily stackable and a generic grit guard should fit in the base.

Halfords 10 Litre Bucket

The best bucket on a budget
Halfords 10 Litre Bucket

View offer

As simple (and cheap) as a bucket realistically gets, this option will hold 10-litres of water, comes with a handle and is a rather fetching shade of green. The only way you're finding something cheaper is if you get a complementary spade and it's castle shaped.

Kleeneze KL065438PNKEU Collapsible Cleaning Bucket

The best bucket for easy storage
Kleeneze KL065438PNKEU Collapsible Cleaning Bucket
Amazon

View offer

As good as rigid buckets are, they aren't perfect especially when it comes to storing them. That's where this folding bucket comes in. It offers an amazing 30-litres of storage before folding nearly flat for easy storage. We've tested a grey version and found it to be a mixed offering, but there's no getting away from the fact it's a clever evolution of the bucket.

Faithfull Polyethylene Flex Tub 42L Yellow

The best bucket for carrying stuff
Faithfull FAIFLEX42Y Polyethylene Flex Tub 42L Yellow
Amazon

View offer

Buckets are more than one-trick ponies, they can be designed for carrying solids as well as liquids, as shown with this 42-litre flex tub bucket. Made from heavy-duty polyethylene this bucket can flex but is strong enough to carry tools, liquid and whatever you can fit into it. It's not the best for large volumes of water because of the flexible sides but is perfect for carrying tools.

READ NEXT:

The best snow foam lances for better car cleaning

The best wash mitt for better car cleaning

The best car pressure washers

For verdicts, scoops, news and analysis from the team, delivered direct to your inbox, subscribe to the CAR newsletter.

You can enjoy CAR in its traditional print format, or one of the swelling number of digital editions, optimised for Apple iPhones, Android devices, iPads, tablets and desktop computers.

Just so you know, whilst we may receive a commission or other compensation from the links on this website, we never allow this to influence product selections - read why you should trust us