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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Cleaning your car with a personal pressure washer beats the inconvenience of a self-serve or drive-thru car wash. However, you’re still faced with the problem of soaping your vehicle. If you’re looking to make washing your car more convenient, take a look at our buying guide for the best foam cannon. This simple device may even change how you feel about washing your vehicle.
- Best OverallMcKillans Snow Foam CannonSummarySummaryAffordably priced, adaptable to most pressure washer wands, and adjustable, this foam cannon will easily tackle any cleaning job.ProsProsIts ergonomic shape makes this bottle easy to grip during use. The quality brass connectors allow for a sealed connection that won’t fail under high pressure and flow.ConsConsThe weak translucent bottle may end up cracking at the base of the neck if not stored properly.
- Best ValueBlisstime Foam Cannon with Wash MittSummarySummaryNot 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.ProsProsTranslucency isn’t the only feature of this foam cannon. You can also use the provided measuring marks to carefully dilute your car wash soap.ConsConsBecause 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.
- Honorable MentionChemical Guys Foam Blaster Wash GunSummarySummaryIntense 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.ProsProsChemical 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.ConsConsLacking in adjustability, this foam blaster gun will only spray the ratio you already set when preparing the soap-water mixture.
Benefits of Foam Cannons
- Use less soap and water to wash your car. Drawing water directly from the pressure washer and then mixing it in the foam cannon means you won’t be dumping out excess soapy water once you’re finished washing your vehicle.
- Make clean-up a breeze. With a foam cannon, you won’t have to dig out your sponge and wash out your bucket. All you have to do is roll up the pressure washer and store your car wash concentrate—conveniently bottled—for next time.
- Store car wash for next time. Storing soapy water in a bucket for a few weeks isn’t practical, but with the air-tight seal of a foam cannon, you can be sure your car wash soap will be ready for the next time you want to wash your ride.
- Cut down on time spent washing your vehicle. Car wash soap won’t magically cover your entire vehicle—you’ll have to be the one to apply it, making sure you get it in all those tiny cracks and crevices. With a foam cannon, though, you can spread soap just by turning the pressure washer towards that section of the vehicle.
- Other uses. Foam cannons aren’t just for cleaning your vehicle. You can also use them as a quick solution to a dirty porch, lawn or patio furniture, siding, roof, etc. It works well on motorcycles, trailers, and RVs too.
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 ¼-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 over 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.
Foam Cannon Pricing
- $15-$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-$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-$100: Professional-grade car washing kits made of high-quality materials can be found anywhere from $75 to over $100. 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 Cannon Reviews & Recommendations 2019
Best Foam Cannon Overall: McKillans Snow Foam Cannon
We chose McKillans Snow Foam Cannon for a variety of reasons, least of which is the affordable pricing. The 1-liter bottle is ergonomically shaped and the ¼-inch fitting will adapt to most pressure washer wands. There are adjustable valves which control the dilution ratio of soap and water as well as the spray pattern. If you’re looking to get a snow foam cannon to try out, McKillans is definitely one you should consider.
As we mentioned, the bottle is ergonomically designed so that you’re not having to grip a slick surface with soapy hands. The brass fittings that allow the cannon to adapt to a pressure washer wand are of high quality that will withstand lots of use. The ability to adjust the soap-water dilution allows you to target extra-dirty areas, wherein you can also adjust the spray pattern for maximum efficiency. The bottle is also transparent so you can see the car wash soap level as you spray.
A drawback of this product is that it may not necessarily withstand prolonged use. The translucency of the bottle weakens it, and it may end up tearing at the base of the neck. However, anyone with a pressure washer and a few hours to kill can use this foam cannon to clean whatever their heart desires.
Best Value Foam Cannon: Blisstime Foam Cannon with Wash Mitt
Washing your car doesn’t have to cost you extra each month, especially with the foam cannon package from Blisstime. Included with the foam cannon is a wash mitt you’ll find handy when it comes to spreading all those soapy suds around. This product made our list for more than just the price, however.
We appreciated that the bottle included reference marks for measuring out the soap to water dilution ratio. Those marks are in milliliters as well as ounces so you can use either method you prefer. The ¼-inch fitting on this foam cannon adapts to most pressure washer wands and the brass composition allows for durability and longevity. Adjustable valves control the amount of soap distributed as well as the direction of the spray pattern.
The biggest problem we see with this product is that although it’s affordable, the quality may not be similar to higher-priced alternatives. Failure may be more likely to occur. However, together or alone, the adjustable foam cannon and wash mitt are easy for almost anyone to use.
Best Foam Cannon Honorable Mention: Chemical Guys Foam Blaster Wash Gun
It could be said that there are more people who own a garden hose than a pressure washer. For this reason, we chose the Chemical Guys Foam Blaster Wash Gun to be our honorable mention as well as an alternative to pressure washer-specific foam cannons. Rather than connecting to a wand via a ¼-inch fitting, this product connects directly to the nozzle of a garden hose sprayer attachment.
One of the defining features of this product is that you can get the same foaming action of a cannon without having to own the pressure washer. In fact, the spray bottle is broader and attaches via a stronger method. The wide neck allows for increased pouring accuracy and the bottle still holds about a liter of liquid. The included spray nozzle means you won’t have to search for an adapter between your garden hose and the wash gun itself.
What the Foam Blaster Wash Gun lacks is adjustability. Sure, you can move the nozzle of the foam gun itself to direct the spray, but you won’t be able to adjust the dilution ratio on the fly. At the same time, the adaptability of the product itself makes it an easy solution for anyone with a dirty car, house, motorcycle, RV, lawn furniture, etc.
- If you intend to use the foam cannon on your vehicle, practice using it on a porch or driveway first. That way you can get used to how the foam cannon works without worrying about damaging your vehicle. You can also dial in the dilution ratio and spray pattern settings you prefer.
- Many foam cannons will apply the soap for you without requiring much in the way of scrubbing, but for cars that are extremely dirty, they can be a great solution to breaking away that first layer of dirt. For example, you may want to rinse your car, use the foam cannon, and then rinse again for best results.
- If you don’t want to use the car wash soap you purchased, you can use dish-washing liquid instead. It’s much cheaper and will suds up in a similar fashion to the car wash soap. Just remember to notate how much soap you used so that you can repeat those same results with car wash soap instead.
- Do you already own a pressure washer? Search on the unit for the gallons per minute (GPM) and pounds per square inch (PSI) ratings before you purchase a foam cannon. Depending on the type of pressure washer you own, you may need to search for specific ratings. This will also help narrow down what foam cannons are available to pair with your unit.
- When using a foam cannon, follow the same rules as you would if you were washing your vehicle with a bucket of soapy water and a sponge. That means you don’t want to leave the soapy residue on the car’s paint for very long if you are working in direct sunlight. You should also be carefully scrubbing the paint.
- After rinsing the vehicle and then applying the foam spray, wait at least five minutes for the solution to work. Use this time to spray the wheels and tires with a separate cleaner if you so choose. That way once the thick foam has penetrated, you can rinse the entire car clean.
- It’s important to rinse your vehicle thoroughly after using a foam cannon. You’ll want to make sure you remove the car wash soap from any cracks and crevices. Pairing a good rinse with a drying method will increase your final results. Consider investing in a chamois devoted to drying your vehicle.
Q: Will a foam cannon fit onto my garden hose?
A: Look closely at the product you’re thinking about to answer this question. There are some products out there designed specifically to adapt directly to a garden hose, but attempting to attach a foam cannon intended for a pressure washer wand to a garden hose often requires attachments that adapt one output to another input.
Q: What other applications besides car washing can I use a foam cannon for?
A: We focused on automotive cleaning in this article but there are endless uses for a foam cannon. Houses with dirty siding will benefit from the use of a foam cannon, along with lawn and patio furniture, motorcycles, ATVs, RVs, and so much more. If you can easily spray it down with the garden hose and water alone, chances are a foam cannon will simplify the job even more.
Q: Can I use a different brand of car wash soap than the brand of foam cannon I purchased?
A: Yes, the foam cannon is not specifically designed to operate with a particular type of car wash soap. Dilution ratios may vary from one manufacturer to another, but the overall concept remains the same.
Q: What other brands offer foam cannons that I can choose from?
A: We can’t feature every foam cannon product on our guide, but there are a few that didn’t quite make the list. The MATCC adjustable foam cannon is a respectable alternative to the products we mentioned above. Dusichin also offers a similar product, alongside the TriNova Foam Cannon that goes well with their car wash soap, too. Price tags on these products vary however, so check our pricing guide to see what you should pay.
Q: Should I be worried about the amount of foam or foam thickness as I spray my car down?
A: More is not necessarily better when it comes to foam. You should first rinse your vehicle to remove as much debris as possible before soaping it. The foam then acts as a cleaning agent, penetrating deep to remove any stubborn contaminants left over. You’ll want to get a decent coating of foam on the vehicle to where the entire surface is covered, but any more than that is probably just wasting the product.
McKillans Snow Foam Cannon won our vote for best foam cannon based on the affordability and capabilities it offered.
A close second, the Blisstime Foam Cannon with Wash Mitt is our budget pick. Combine a wash mitt accessory with the foaming action of a cannon and you’ve got the beginnings of a cleaner car.
Which foam cannons do you find the most effective and entertaining? Share your picks with us in the comments below!
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