Best Foam Cannons: A New Way to Wash Your Car
Our picks for the best foam cannon make washing your car exciting again.
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BY Noelle Talmon / LAST UPDATED ON April 27, 2021
Some people don't mind cleaning their cars, while others find it to be a chore. If you want a squeaky-clean vehicle but don't want to spend a lot of time on the process, a foam cannon can help you get the job done in a fraction of the time. Most foam cannons are connected to a pressure washer and provide similar results to a drive-through car wash. Simply attach the device to your equipment, fill the bottle with soap, adjust the nozzle, and you're ready to go.
A lot of different foam cannons are available online and in stores. If you're not sure which one is the best, check out some of our top picks in the buying guide below.
Affordably priced, adaptable to most pressure washer wands, and adjustable, this foam cannon will easily tackle any cleaning job.
- Its ergonomic shape makes this bottle easy to grip during use
- Quality brass connectors allow for a sealed connection that won’t fail under high pressure and flow
- Weak translucent bottle may end up cracking at the base of the neck if not stored properly
Not only do you get a foam cannon, but you also get a wash mitt you can use to spread the suds around. Blisstime’s foam cannon is a true value pick.
- Translucency isn’t the only feature of this foam cannon
- You can also use the provided measuring marks to carefully dilute your car wash soap
- Because this foam cannon is cheaper than most, you may need to replace it after a few uses, regardless of whether you dry it properly after use or not
Intense foaming action without the need for a pressure washer makes this product an easy choice. Simply hook it up to your garden hose for delightful foamy fun.
- Chemical Guys include not only the foam gun, but also a garden hose spray nozzle you can use separately or as part of the foam gun system
- Lacking in adjustability, this foam blaster gun will only spray the ratio you already set when preparing the soap-water mixture
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Benefits of Foam Cannons
- Conserve water and soap. When you wash your car with a hose by hand, you can waste a lot of water. By connecting a foam cannon to the pressure washer, you won't have to dump out a bucket full of soapy water that you no longer need after finishing the job.
- Clean up easily. Since a foam cannon connects to a pressure washer, you don't need to dig out a bucket and other supplies to wash your vehicle. Simply store the pressure washer alongside the cleaning products when you're done.
- Store the car shampoo for future applications. If you wash your car with a mitt and bucket, you usually have to dump out the soap and water that you don't end up using. Foam cannons are sealed, so you can keep the cleanser inside and simply use it the next time you need it.
- Save time. A foam cannon is powerful and easily spreads soap over your entire vehicle. This can take a little longer if you do it by hand. Simply turn on the pressure washer, aim the cannon, and it does the work for you.
- They're versatile. In addition to cleaning your car, a foam cannon can freshen up your sidewalk, patio furniture, siding, roof, and more. Plus, they're great for cleaning motorcycles, campers, and trailers.
Types of Foam Cannons
Known as a quick release or quick connect, this characteristic can be found in most products on the market today. Opposite the adjustable nozzle, you’ll find a 1/4-inch male fitting that attaches to most pressure washer wands. Having the option to quickly and efficiently remove the foam cannon whenever you want makes it easier to switch between rinsing and washing your vehicle. There’s no need to purchase a special attachment.
Foam cannons with this feature can often be adjusted to not only spray more or less foam but also spray in a fan or stream pattern. Having both of these adjustable features allows you to customize your dilution ratio based on how dirty your vehicle is, as well as to adapt to the parts of the vehicle that you’re rinsing. A fan pattern works best over the entire vehicle, while a more direct stream allows you to target certain stubborn areas like wheel wells.
Interchangeable Nozzle Tips
Many foam cannons will also come with interchangeable nozzles that are differentiated via the angle at which they spray. For example, common angles may include 15, 25, and 40 degrees. While these nozzles attach to the end of the pressure washer wand and not the tip of the foam cannon, they help direct water flow where it’s needed most.
Depending on the manufacturer, foam cannon bottles will land somewhere on a spectrum between opaque and transparent. Opaque bottles won’t allow you to see the contents, so if you enjoy watching the foam cannon work, you should lean more towards a transparent bottle design. While this characteristic won’t necessarily affect how the foam cannon works, you will need to rely on weight to recognize when the opaque foam cannon is near empty.
A lot of manufacturers will specialize in offering a higher-quality foam cannon they label “professional grade.” Really, what this translates to is heavy-duty materials (such as stainless steel) that are more apt to withstand abuse. Quick disconnect fittings are made of stronger metals, the bottles themselves are sturdy and built for durability, and a thicker foam can often be produced. Higher-quality materials often mean a higher price point.
With more than 40 years in the business, the experts at Chemical Guys have taken their native Californian sun and used it to develop a number of useful products. If you’re looking for a package deal, check out the company’s Professional Foam Cannon and Honeydew Snow Foam Cleanser. It’s a great addition to your car care collection.
Based out of Colorado, Adam’s combines the founder’s years of experience with products directed towards the do-it-yourself enthusiast. Choose the Adam’s Car Shampoo if you’re looking for a great wash to pair with your new foam cannon.
The family business MTM Hydro was founded in 1977 in Cherasco, Italy, where its headquarters are still based today. The company produces a variety of parts for pressure washers, including foam cannons like the MTM Hydro Professional Foam Lance.
Foam Cannon Pricing
- $15 to $25: The majority of foam cannons available will be priced around $20. Some manufacturers market just the foam cannon itself, while others include accessories such as interchangeable nozzles or wash mitts. Bottles tend to be one liter in volume, typically made of plastic with a brass core nozzle. The ¼-inch fittings are often quick disconnect for convenience.
- $30 to $60: Paying just a bit more for your foam cannon will also get you a few more accessories. A few manufacturers have even come up with a foam cannon design that allows you to hook it up to a garden hose instead. Many companies also include their car wash soap products with the foam cannon at this price point.
- $75 to $100: Professional-grade car washing kits made of high-quality materials can be found anywhere from $75 to $100 or more. They typically include a large amount (often one gallon) of car wash soap. While most cannons priced around $20 are adjustable in terms of the dilution ratio and direction of spray, these higher-priced foam cannons can be dialed in more efficiently.
Pressure Washer Requirements
There are two specifications you’ll want to pay attention to when buying a foam cannon. The first is the rate of water flow through the cannon itself. Many can handle upwards of 2 gallons per minute (GPM). This characteristic will be listed alongside the pressure (in pounds per square inch, or PSI). Foam cannons typically require between 1,000 and 3,000 PSI. Pressure washers of light to medium duty have a pressure of anywhere from 1,400 to 2,500 PSI, so make sure you check your power washer specifications and align them with the specifications of the foam cannon you choose.
Bottle Size and Shape
Many manufacturers differentiate themselves based on the shape of the foam cannon they sell. Most bottles will have a capacity around one liter or 32-33 ounces, but it’s the shape of the bottle itself that you’ll want to pay attention to. Most foam cannons resemble a scuba tank. A short, broad neck sits atop wide shoulders that drop straight down the length of the cannon. However, some manufacturers add an ergonomic twist which makes it easier to hold the cannon as you loosen and tighten it.
Quick Release or Quick Detach
You won’t necessarily have to worry about searching for a quick release foam cannon because most products on the market include this as a standard feature. However, you will want to make sure the platform you are working with accepts the ¼-inch fitting found on most foam cannons. There are ways of adapting your platform to the ¼-inch fitting, but it’s better to be aware of this concern before you purchase a product. Quick release fittings are desirable because it allows you to store the pressure washer without the foam cannon attached, and you can also easily switch between spraying foam and rinsing the vehicle.
Adjustable Dilution Ratio and Spray Pattern
Just like with a pressure washer, sometimes you’ll want to adjust the water spray pattern to more easily direct water towards a specific area of concern. Being able to do the same with a foam cannon allows you to target hard-to-reach areas that require special attention. The ability to adjust the dilution ratio of your foam cannon is another great feature. That way you can go heavy on the areas that need more attention—think wheel wells and front grilles—while staying lighter across the paint and windows, for example.
- Quality of Materials. When working around water and varying temperatures, some materials withstand abuse better than others. Going with a higher-quality foam cannon will be a benefit if you are someone who will be using the product more than once a month. Drying the foam cannon and its components after use will help extend the life of the product, but starting out with stronger parts will make a huge difference. Consider investing in the mid-range price point foam cannons if durability is a high priority.
- Preferred Platform. Not everyone owns or has access to a pressure washer. Often a garden hose is more easily accessible. The majority of foam cannons on the market will attach directly to a pressure washer wand, but there are a few companies who’ve come out with similar products that fit typical garden hoses. The main difference between a pressure washer and garden hose is the water pressure, so consider your particular needs when shopping. Pressure washers are able to remove debris more quickly than a garden hose, but they have their drawbacks as well.
Best Foam Cannons Reviews & Recommendations 2021
- Before using the foam cannon on your vehicle, spray it on your driveway or sidewalk. This will give you a better feel for how it works, and you're less likely to damage your car. You can also experiment with the spray pattern and dilution ratio to find the combination that works best.
- If you have an extra-dirty vehicle, you may need to use a little elbow grease in addition to the foam cannon. It's great for breaking up a little bit of grime, but on cars and trucks that are covered with dirt, you may want to rinse the vehicle, spray it with the soap from the foam cannon, and repeat.
- If you run out of car shampoo, do not use dish soap. While it's designed to remove grease and food from dinnerware, it's not good for your vehicle's finish. Dish soap is abrasive and can make the paint look dull and even oxidized. It will also break down any wax you have on the finish.
- Check the gallons per minute and pounds per square inch on your pressure washer before buying a foam cannon. Some products are designed to work with specific types of pressure washers. Make sure to choose one that's compatible.
- Whether you wash your vehicle with a bucket and sponge or a foam cannon, make sure to rinse it in a timely manner. You don't want to leave a soapy residue on the finish in direct sunlight for extended periods of time.
- However, don't rinse the foam spray off immediately. Let it sit for a few minutes so the formula does its job of breaking down the dirt. While you're waiting, you can clean the wheels and tires using a separate cleanser.
- After you're done using the foam cannon, thoroughly rinse the vehicle. Make sure the cracks and crevices near the door edges and hood are clear of soap. For an even better result, dry your vehicle using a chamois.
Q: Will a foam cannon fit onto my garden hose?
Some foam cannon products are designed to work with a garden hose, but most are designed to operate with a pressure washer. Make sure to check the product's instructions to see what it requires.
Q: What other applications besides car washing can I use a foam cannon for?
While foam cannons are commonly used to clean cars and trucks, you can use them on a variety of different items. They’re great for cleaning other vehicles such as motorcycles, ATVs, and RVs. You can also use them to freshen up outdoor furniture, sidewalks, or your home’s siding.
Q: Can I use a different brand of car wash soap than the brand of foam cannon I purchased?
Absolutely. Foam cannons can tolerate all different brands of car shampoo. However, check the dilution ratio to make sure you get the proper mixture.
Q: What other brands offer foam cannons that I can choose from?
The good news is that many companies make good-quality foam cannons. The MATCC adjustable foam cannon is a great option, as is the model from Dusichin. You can also purchase the TriNova foam cannon, which is made by a company that produces a lot of car cleaning products.
Q: Should I be worried about the amount of foam or foam thickness as I spray my car down?
More foam isn't always best. First, rinse your vehicle to remove as much grime as you can. Then use the foam cannon to penetrate the dirt and clean off any contaminants. You just need enough foam to cover the entire surface. Any extra foam beyond that is extraneous.
Our pick for the best foam cannon is the McKillans Snow Foam Cannon due to its affordability and capability.
For a more budget-friendly option, consider the Blisstime Foam Cannon with Wash Mitt. Simply add a wash mitt with the foaming action of a foam cannon, and you’re on your way to having a cleaner vehicle.