Solar power has been increasing in popularity exponentially over the past few years. Today, not only is solar energy cost-effective, it is at the forefront of the green energy revolution, actively decreasing our global carbon footprint, and helping to offset some of the damage caused by non-renewable energy sources. When maintained properly, solar panels can produce high amounts of electricity without damaging the environment, whilst saving you money year-in, year-out, for many years to come.
Solar Panels require little maintenance aside from regular cleaning in order to work at maximum efficiency. Rain water alone is insufficient in cleaning, and so a versatile scrubbing brush tool is required. We review the best solar panel cleaning pools available today, with feature breakdowns, pros, cons, and reviews.
Solar panels require little maintenance, and can last many years without requiring replacement parts. However, one thing all solar panels do require, in order to operate at maximum efficiency, is a regular cleaning. A dirty solar panel may be producing 15-25% less electricity than a clean one. In other words, the cleaner your solar panels are, the more efficient they will be, the more electricity you’ll produce, and the more money you’ll save.
When looking for cleaning tools and supplies to keep your solar panels sparkling, you’ll be glad to learn that there are myriad products available to you. In this list, we discuss our top five choices for solar panel cleaning tools, examining their features, pros, and cons. It’s our hope that by the end of this article you’ll feel ready to make an informed decision and an educated purchase. Let’s dive in.
Let’s take a brief look at our top picks across a small range of categories.
The Camco Flow-Through Wash Brush is a super affordable alternative to the more up-market options on this list. Straightforward and simple to use, it has a telescoping handle (47 to 74 inches) which easily locks into place, allowing you to reach all corners of your solar panels. Connect any standard hose and use the On/Off button on the handle to regulate the flow of water.
The EVERSPROUT 20-foot scrub brush and squeegee is without doubt one of the finest solar panel cleaning products on the market. Extending up to 20-foot, whilst remaining lightweight, this brush allows you to reach roof-mounted panels from the ground with ease. The built-in squeegee allows you to easily wipe water away, though note that this brush does not enable to user to pump water directly through it, as do other competitor products.
If you’re looking for the very best solar panel brush and cleaning tool your money can buy, then look no further. The EQUIPMAXX water-fed pole is made from aerospace-grade aluminium, and has sturdy brass fittings allowing you to securely attach your outdoor faucet or hose, with which you can then wash, brush and clean your panels in one. Extending from 6.5-20 feet, you’ll have no problems cleaning solar panels wherever they’re installed. Rave reviews from customers suggest that this is the very best solar panel cleaner out there.
How Do Solar Panel Cleaning Tools Work?
Whilst these products are fairly straight-forward, it’s worth taking a brief look at the inner workings of the brushes and flow-through panel cleaners reviewed in this article, so that you are fully aware of what you’re looking at.
Generally speaking, solar panel cleaning tools consist of a long, telescoping (extendable and retractable) pole with a brush at one end and an easy-grip handle at the other. Some of these tools can be connected to a hose or outdoor faucet so that you can pump water through the pole and out at the brush end to enhance the tools’ cleaning potential.
Whilst small variations do exist from product to product, there are some standard parts and processes which we’ll now discuss.
The brush end of solar panel cleaning tools holds a soft-bristled brush, sometimes with two layers of brushes (one for lifting dirt, one for brushing it away). The bristles are designed to be soft enough that they’re not liable to scratch the surface of your expensive solar panels (obviously an important feature). In short, the brush head works as does any domestic brush.
The pole onto which the brush head is attached is telescoping, meaning that it can be extended up to a maximum reach, clipped into place there (so that it is secure), and then retracted for storage or for more accessible cleans. The reach range of solar panel cleaning products varies greatly, from just 4-6ft, to 6.5-20ft. The poles are made of a wide range of materials, all lightweight, with the very best being made from aerospace-quality aluminium (strong and light).
The handle of solar panel cleaning brushes tends to be made of material which makes it easy to grip, usually some sort of foam or plastic.
Hose Attachment/Water Functionality
Whilst not included in all solar panel cleaning products, the best tend to be compatible with outdoor faucets and hoses in one way or another. Hoses and/or faucets may usually be screwed onto the handle-end of the solar panel cleaning tool, from which they send water up the telescoping pole to spray out of holes in the brush end. This water functionality enhances the cleaning experience by ensuring that dirt is not only lifted and brushed away, but washed away with clean, fresh water, too. Some solar panel cleaning tools even have ON/OFF buttons to regulate the flow of water as and when needed.
How to Choose a Solar Panel Cleaning Tool
Now that you know what components go into the construction of solar panel cleaning brushes, let’s answer a few questions you need to consider before purchasing one.
Location of Solar Panels
The accessibility of your panels will be the biggest factor affecting your decision to buy a panel cleaning kit. As we stated earlier, cleaning tools for solar panels tend to have telescoping poles of varying lengths. It’s the length of the pole which you need to consider. If your panels are mounted on the roof of your house to catch the most sun, then it’s very likely you’re going to need a tool which can extend up to 20 feet. However, if your panels are ground mounted, say in your garden, then you could of course get away with a cleaning brush which has a much shorter extension range.
Most of the tools on this list are compatible with hoses and outdoor faucets, but that’s not the case for every item reviewed here. Before you buy, it’s worth considering whether you want the ability to wash your panels with water directly through the brush or not. If your panels are roof-mounted, water-compatibility is probably a good option, since you can’t always rely on rain water, and it would be hard to get up there with a bucket of water yourself. However, if the panels are more easily accessible, then you may feel you only need a dry brush.
As always, budget is a necessary consideration for most of us. Thankfully, these tools tend to be pretty affordable, especially in relation to the panels. Most come in at under $50, with still others as cheap as $25-30. The difference tends to come from functionality and materials used, and whilst not always true, in this case a little more cash does seem to buy you a more quality product.
Best Solar Panel Cleaning Tools Reviewed
Having taken a look at our top picks in three categories, and addressed the inner-workings and considerations relating to these products, it’s time we took a more in-depth look at the best solar panel cleaning tools on the market in 2021-22. We’ll examine their main features, reviews, pros, and cons.
1. Camco Flow-Through Wash Brush
- Brand: Camco
- Color: Blue, White
- Telescoping handle ranges from 47-74 inches
- Versatile brush features a 10-inch wide wash head
- Flow-through handle includes built-in on/off switch for water regulation
- White bristles help lift dirt, and gray bristles help brush it away
- Wash head won’t swivel while in use
The Camco 41960 is a simple brush with an aluminum handle that has a button to regulate the water that flows through the handle. The brush is designed to clean cars, boats, RVs, and other items, but works great for cleaning solar panels. The aluminum handle is sturdy and can telescope to reach closer or further, depending upon the application. The brush is 10-inches wide and has firm and soft bristles for scrubbing dirt that is caked on and brushing it away. Note that the short reach of this brush makes it unideal for inaccessible and roof-mounted solar panels. It’s attractive price, however, made this our ‘Best Budget’ category winner.
- Adjustable handle length
- Wide brush head with versatile application
- Easy on and off switch to regulate water flow
- Different bristles with varying stiffness
- Wash head does not swivel while in use
- It is not specifically manufactured for cleaning solar panels
- Telescoping handle only extends to a maximum of 74-inches long (about 6ft)
- Does not include water tank or hose
2. EVERSPROUT 5-12ft Scrub Brush
- Brand: EVERSPROUT
- Color: Blue, Black
- No-scratch soft bristles with protective rubber bumper
- Has a 20ft reach from standing
- Multi-purpose for incredible value
- Brush only, no water/hose-compatibility
The EVERSPROUT scrub brush is a simple telescoping pole with a detachable scrub brush on the end. The head is rubber, not hard plastic, which means that it should never scratch your solar panels during use. The EVERSPROUT also includes a built-in squeegee on the end for effectively cleaning and wiping glass surfaces, once they’ve been washed (though note that the brush itself has no water compatibility for washing). The handle can extend up to 12 feet long, giving it a reach of approximately 20-feet when used from a standing position. The EVERSPROUT also comes with a 1-year warranty. This scrubber is multifunctional and of simple design. We awarded this our best in ‘Brush-Only’ category.
- Soft bristles with a no-scratch rubber head
- 20-foot reach at full extension
- Comes with a 1-year warranty
- Weighs only 1.5lbs
- Flip tab locking for telescoping pole ensures it is secure at full-extension
- Pole tends to bend at longer lengths of extension
- Does not allow water source to be attached
- Parts are mostly static and non-adjustable
3. EQUIPMAXX Water Fed Pole Kit
- Brand: EQUIPMAXX
- Color: Black, Blue, Green
- Extends from 6.5-20 feet
- Made from aerospace grade lightweight aluminum (5.12lbs total)
- Foam grip handle for comfort
- Hose length from base 17 feet / 1/4″ brass connector valve
- Included brass coupling makes it easy to connect to the garden hose or outdoor faucet
This telescoping brush setup is very sleek and effective. It allows the user to connect the pole to a garden hose so that water can be sprayed out of the brush head for cleaning. The pole extends up to 20 feet, though even without extending it is still a good 6.5 feet long. The included hose is 17 feet long from the base of the pole, giving great manoeuvrability. The material the included hose is made from is more lightweight than an average garden hose, allowing for maximum flexibility. The bristles on the EQUIPMAXX tend to be a little on the soft side but are still effective. Overall, this model is exceptionally made and very durable: we awarded it our ‘Best Deluxe’ category winner.
- Extends to 20 feet long
- Has water hose compatibility
- Has included hose attachment that is 17 feet long and allows for easy manoeuvring
- Comes with all necessary components
- Sturdy and sleek design
- Manufacturer provides lifetime warranty
- Does not include squeegee
- Some additional adapters may be needed for hose connection
- Depending on your water pressure, a hose clamp may also be needed
- If cleaners are to be used, a tank must be used, as the pole does not allow cleaning solutions to be added directly
4. DocaPole 5-12 Foot Extension Pole
- Brand: DocaPole
- Color: Black, Silver, Yellow
- 5-12 feet extension, providing 17 feet of reach
- Solid metal tip and screw-on 180 degree hinge tip
- Rubber handle grips
- Easy-use thumb lever clasps
- Standard threaded tip for easy use with other attachments
- Includes three different-sized squeegee heads for varying uses
- Nail hook for easy hanging
The DocaPole is a simple squeegee with a washing cloth on the other side of the head. Typically used for washing windows, this pole scrubber is perfect for solar panels as well. The pole can be extended up to 12 feet in length, giving it a maximum total reach of about 17 feet. This particular scrubber is not compatible with a water hook-up, but is easily dipped manually in water, and includes a chenille scrubber head with micro-fibers. The head can be tilted and locked into place to achieve otherwise difficult cleaning angles. With three included squeegee heads and solid customer reviews, this is a great ‘brush-only’ choice.
- Micro-fiber scrubber on head
- Squeegee built in (comes with three different size heads)
- Locking angle adjustment for difficult angles
- Telescopes for maximum reach (20 feet)
- Easily dipped for use of soaps and foams
- No water hook-up compatibility
- Can be flimsy when extended to maximum reach
- Micro-fiber is great for dirt and smudges, but heavy build up might require bristles instead
5. Ulihome Professional Window Squeegee with Scrubber
- Brand: ANLIZY
- Color: Blue, White, Silver
- Made of silicon, microfibers, and stainless steel
- 58 inch (4ft) long non-telescoping pole
- 3-in-1 window washing kit
- Combo spray mop/squeegee detachable head design
- 180 degree rotating head
The Ulihome scrubber is another model with a micro-fiber scrubber, making it ideal for glass. The squeegee is made of a durable silicone and comes with a sprayer on the head (pre-loaded water/chemicals can be sprayed from the head with the pull of a trigger in the handle). The aluminum handle has three detachable segments that, when attached, make a 58-inch handle (about 4ft long). This design is better for close range application but is durable and simple to use, and relatively affordable.
- Microfiber head is great for cleaning glass
- Silicone squeegee
- Spray nozzle attached to head
- Sturdy handle
- Can be disassembled for small storage
- Only extends to 58 inches (4ft)
- Spray nozzle must be depressed manually using forefinger
- Microfiber is great for cleaning glass; however, heavy build-up may require bristles for cleaning
Solar Panel Cleaning Tools Buyer’s Guide
What are the features to look out for?
Does the cleaning tool come with a hose, or even the ability to be attached to an existing hose or outdoor faucet? Such cleaning tools make the scrubbing and washing of hard-to-reach and roof-mounted solar panels much, much easier, whilst those without require either a dry-clean or manually retracting and dipping the brush head time after time until the panels are clean.
Is it possible to use cleaning products directly through the brush? Some brushes can be preloaded with your preferred glass cleaner or cleaning product, which can then be sprayed from the head, whilst others are only compatible with cold water, and still others are dry brushes only.
Materials (Bristles vs Silicon)
What materials is the cleaning kit you’re looking at made of? Is the pole made of flimsy stuff, or aerospace-grade aluminum? Is the handle easy-grip? Has the brush got soft bristles (ideal for lifting layers of dirt) or a silicon mop head (only good for light cleaning)? Depending on how often you intend to clean your panels, and how dirty they tend to get, these are important considerations to make.
A product with a warranty (whether 1-year or lifetime) is without doubt more trustworthy than one without. If a manufacturer isn’t offering their customers a warranty, chances are the product isn’t going to last very long before breaking or malfunctioning.
Solar panels don’t require much maintenance, but keeping them clean is essential to their performance. A clean panel can be up to 25% more efficient than a dirty one. Whilst some solar panel owners opt to wash them down with just a hose, this is insufficient and leaves lots of tough dirt and grime on the panels. Taking into consideration the potential reach, functionality, compatibility and price of all the solar panel cleaning kits we’ve reviewed here, it seems clear to us that the very best product available on the market has to be the EQUIPMAXX Water Fed Pole Kit. With a pole extending up to 20-ft, soft yet hardy bristles, and a water-feeder which comes with its own lightweight, flexible hose, this is your best bet if you want to keep those roof-mounted solar panels clean and optimised for performance.
A: Unfortunately, no. Rain can help to clear off a bulk of heavy particulates but does not effectively rid the glass of smaller dirt and grime. Keep in mind that sap, smog, pollen, bird droppings, and other things that can greatly decrease the efficiency of your panels accumulate quickly, and require more regular, deeper cleaning than you can depend upon from rain alone.
A: To some extent, yes. Cleaners can help to rid the glass of sticky or heavy buildups. Do keep in mind, however, that the wires underneath the panels do not need cleaning and that some cleaners can be corrosive. It is also important to remember that some cleaners can leave a residue. Residue can build up and decrease the efficiency of your panels over time. Check with your manufacturer’s recommendations and restrictions before deciding to use a cleaner, and always thoroughly rinse your panels after cleaning.
A: This depends upon the accessibility of your panels. If you have a two-story home and your panels are on the roof, for instance, it might be difficult to safely get water and cleaners to the roof without a cleaning kit which has water compatibility/a sprayer head built-in.
A: A general recommendation is about every three months, however, if you have severe rain, smog, wind, or snow; it might be a better idea to clean them more often, perhaps once a month.
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