Kleeneze Collapsible Bucket review: the miraculous shrinking bucket

If Q-branch designed buckets (without the mandatory explosives).

The Kleeneze Collapsible Bucket next to a Honda Civic Type R (EP3)

by Ryan Gilmore |

Here’s a brief history of the bucket. Vessels open at one end have been found that date back to ancient times and were often made from metal, leather and even terracotta. They were basic but worked for holding various things.

Then came the Medieval era where the biggest advancement was made. Yes, this period saw the introduction of the handle/pail that continues to be used to this day. In short, the bucket was perfected over 800 years ago. That last part is significant.

Since the addition of handles, there haven’t been any real developments to the fundamentals of bucket design. Sure, materials, colours and the like have changed but nothing has really moved the game forward with buckets since before sliced bread, the radio and the car were invented.

Does this make the Kleeneze Collapsible Bucket a game-changer like the first touchscreen mobile phone or hybrid car? And while collapsing buckets have been for sale for a while, this is the biggest I've seen. At a more than generous 30 litres is the Kleeneze Collapsible Bucket a worthy upgrade for your car cleaning arsenal? We've been testing one to see if you need a high-tech bucket.

First impressions

The bucket collapsed and erected
©Photo: Ryan Gilmore/CAR

It certainly doesn't look like a bucket when it first arrives packed flat. In this position, it's only 7.3 cm thick and resembles a serving tray more than a bucket. The main body is made from plastic with TPR (thermoplastic rubber) used to make it collapse.

The handles are nothing more than nylon rope tied at one end but do have a reassuring thickness to them. Overall, this bucket does have a feeling of quality and sturdiness to its construction, hopefully perfect for holding 30-litres of water.

Collapsing the bucket is a simple affair, simply press down and it will fall. You'll need to be careful you do it evenly or it'll collapse into the shape of a crumpled tin can, however. Erecting it is equally easy, simply pull evenly on the handles and it pops up.

Should I use it for car cleaning?

It's very easy to overlook the bucket (or buckets for proper car detailers) when it comes to cleaning cars which makes this interesting bucket worth looking into. The specs look good, 30-litres of water will have a Lamborghini LM002 cleaned without needing a refill, and importantly, most conventional grit guards will fit in the bucket with no issues.

Filled to the brim with water the bucket is difficult to carry. The large dimensions (45 x 45 x 36cm) make it exceedingly hard to carry if your arms are in any way small and the nylon handles are too small and rough to carry the bucket comfortably. Add in the 30kg water weight and the bucket is a right pain to carry.

Those soft silicone sides also have an annoying habit of going weak and folding in on themselves if you move the bucket. Even more annoying is that it's even keener to do this when there's a hefty volume of water in the bucket, causing water to spill out like one of those clips of a swimming pool collapsing you'd see on You've Been Framed.

I found the best way to use this bucket is to treat it like a water reservoir. Fill it with a lot of water, carefully position it and then don't move it until it's empty. Not ideal for car cleaning, but not exactly the end of the world either.

The benefit of the collapsing nature is only noticeable when it comes to storing it. One great aspect of the design is that it's really easy to wall-mount the bucket, simply hang it off a hook using the handle at it'll store vertically. Alternatively, it can be stored flat too, great if space is a real premium.

Verdict

The collapsing bucket next to a car
©Photo: Chris Williams/CAR

How do you assess a bucket? Is it how well it holds water or how ergonomic it is? On both fronts the Kleeneze is good but could do better. It holds a giant 30 litres of water but is susceptible to collapse if handled incorrectly. It's cleverly designed for storage but features naff handles that dig into your hands.

If space is a premium and you can't realistically store proper buckets, or you're a fan of novel and clever products then this is a solid bucket, even with the irritating flaws.

3.5/5

Pros Cons
• Folds nearly flat • Occasionally collapses
• Holds 30-litres of liquid • Nylon handles are rubbish

The best conventional buckets

Not convinced you need a collapsing bucket in your life? Take a look at our favourite buckets for car washing below.

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