Top 8 Best Foam Cannons
By | Last updated: October 28, 2021
best foam cannons

For a good many gearheads, washing their car is a form of relaxation, if not outright therapy. From the initial hosing off of loose dirt to the final wipe of a chamois, taking one’s ride from dirty to clean hardly a chore for most people reading this post.

We’ve assembled eight options of foam cannons designed to help you make the most of that time. Whether one uses the two-bucket method or a foam cannon shown here, no one wants to scratch the life out of their vehicle’s paintwork. Pro tip: if you drop your sponge or cleaning cloth, pitch it into a dark corner of the garage and don’t use it again until it has been thoroughly cleaned.

A clean car is a happy car (it’s our twisted belief it runs better, too), plus it is more likely to retain a smidgen more value when it comes time to sell the thing. Here are a few options to help you get your whip in top form.

1. MATCC Adjustable Foam Cannon

Similar to another option found here on our best foam cannons list, this is a cheap way to add foaming action (so exotic!) to your pressure washer. At less than twenty bucks, one shouldn’t expect a brass neck on the bottle and it is indeed plastic here. There is an adjustment knob on the top for sorting out foam delivery, of course, with the whole unit simply attaching to the end of a pressure washer wand.

The missive to “contact us if tube is missing” is of some concern and doesn’t bode well for the company’s quality control but the unit is cheap enough to warrant taking a chance on it. Both fan and cylindrical patterns are available as water settings. At a grand total of 1.6 ounces, it is featherweight.

Pros/Costs little, weighs even less
Cons/Potential to get what you pay for
Bottom Line/Worth a shot for the price

2. TriNova Foam Cannon and Gallon Car Wash Soap Kit

With the suggested 800 and 3200 minimum and maximum PSI respectively, TriNova Foam Cannon comes with a barrel assembly that comprises an underneath female port to connect the suction tube; a high-quality ¼” quick-connect male connector that ensures a continuous and consistent supply of water from the pressure washer; and an adjustable air pressure regulator and a nozzle to set the thickness of the foam and controlled stream concentration respectively.

The container of the cannon has a wide neck that makes filling and refilling pretty easy, and also warrants the durability of the bottle. The wide base helps the vessel stay balanced and steady when filled with the solution and placed on a surface, thus making your entire car washing experience quite convenient.

Pros/Excellent reviews, actual thought put into its build quality
Cons/Requires a pressure washer
Bottom Line/Post pics of that mountain of soap

3. MTM Hydro Professional Premium Foam Cannon

This kit has received top marks from over 350 customers, earning itself an aggregate 4.8 out of 5 stars. It would seem that with foam cannons, one tends to get what they pay for. Several fittings and components are included with this product, most of which are either brass or stainless for longevity. This is one of the areas in which this cannon is highly praised.

The seller goes through the trouble of listing pressure washers with which this thing is compatible, always a good sign. Customers seem to like the style of quick disconnects deployed by this cannon, which will save time compared to fumbling around with soapy screw-type connectors. As a bonus, the company throws in a bit of Teflon tape for good measure.

Pros/Top-tier reviews, includes all the gear, works with most pressure washers
Cons/More expensive than other options on this list
Bottom Line/Well-regarded by those who splashed out their own money

4. Chemical Guys Torq Foam Blaster 6

Besides being lime green, the seller of this product shows the thing in action, always a bonus when buying stuff online. This unit hooks up to a standard garden hose, so there’s no need to splash out (pun intended) for a costly pressure washer. It includes the wash gun which combines the soapy water solution with air and running water to create foam.

An adjustment wheel allows users to choose the correct combination of soap concentration, reducing waste compared to an all-or-nothing unit. Chemical Guys are a relatively new company in the grand scheme of things but are well-regarded in the enthusiast community. Customers can buy this cannon with or without a bottle of suds; we recommend going ahead and getting the soap rather than picking it up separately.

Pros/Adjustable soap dispenser, all-in-one unit, 4.3 out of 5 star rating
Cons/Cheaper options exist, unlikely to provide the force of a pressure washer
Bottom Line/A great option to pair with a simple garden hose

5. Twinkle Star Foam Cannon

Embarrassing brand name aside, this foam cannon seems to be a good option for those of us who are trying our hand at achieving slightly more professional results. The kit comes with no fewer than five different nozzle jets, meaning users can fine-tune the level and shape of spray emanating from the cannon (keep those lewd jokes to yerself, alright?).

There are a few troubling English-as-a-fifth language slip-ups in the ad copy but, by and large, the product gets good reviews from real-world customers. In fact, out of the very nearly 6000 respondents, a full 86% of them gave this product 4 or 5 stars. Some customers complain the cannon only dispenses a thin layer of foam but there’s a solid argument to be made that’s down to user error (being cheap and not adding enough soap to the container).

Pros/Great reviews, comes with a bunch of handy nozzles
Cons/Asinine brand name
Bottom Line/Put a speed shop sticker on the bottle

6. Yamatic Pressure Washer Spray Gun with Heavy Duty Foam Cannon

With a heavy duty core made of brass, the seller alleges this foam cannon is much thicker and heavier than competitors, able to be firmly manhandled by hamfisted car wash attendants. A filter block weeds out harmful particles than could spray forth and damage your car.

Pressure washer requirements are similar to the other items we’ve seen so far on this list, with two adjustable knobs for soap concentration and water pattern. It can’t handle really hot water, with a maximum water temperature listed at 140 F. It is said to be capable of simply attaching directly to the gun of a pressure washer, which must create a wand nearly as long as the car itself.

Pros/Easy to attach, brass core for stability
Cons/Can’t handle the heat
Bottom Line/Not affiliated with Yamaha

7. Bravex Foam Cannon

Occupying some middle ground in terms of price and feature count is a product from the what-was-that-name-again school of mysterious branding. This foam cannon is said to be made with a thick all-brass core (we suspect this refers to the bottle’s neck) and rigid plastic that’s leak-free and durable under high pressure.

Like another product mentioned above, this Bravex foam cannon comes with five different pressure washer nozzles, permitting a change in spray density or angle. The company is also proud of its bottle design, one in which the mouth is wide rather than narrow. This is said to help prevent breakage since forces are distributed over a larger area. Makes sense to me.

Pros/Decent price, five nozzles
Cons/What's that name again?
Bottom Line/The wide mouth is an interesting concept

8. Karcher Foam Cannon Soap Dispenser

Buying from a brand that has been around for ages has some advantages, even if they are mostly placebo. Regardless, the Karcher name is well known in the car-wash industry. This compact foam cannon is great for applying a thick heavy foam onto vehicle surfaces. One simply adds detergent concentrate to the canister and top it off with water.

This thing attaches straight to the end of a pressure washer wand but, as noted below, only fits certain makes of Karcher washers. At a weight of fewer than eight ounces, however, it likely won’t spoil the wand’s balance. There are no adjusters for foam concentration.

 

Pros/Known brand name, compact design
Cons/Designed for specific Karcher pressure washers
Bottom Line/Sticking with a known quantity can work well

Best Foam Cannon for Car Washing

How do foam cannons work?

Note: Although almost all the foam cannons work on the same principle, depending on the vendor and model, their form factor may vary. To answer this question, TriNova Foam Cannon is used as a reference.

A typical foam cannon comprises three major components namely:

  • Container

This bottle holds a solution of car wash soap and water. Generally, 2oz of soap/shampoo and 15oz to 17oz of water are poured into the container and are shaken properly to form a solution.

  • Barrel Assembly

Typically made up of high-quality material, this barrel assembly comprises a rotatable knob that is used to regulate the air pressure to define the thickness of the foam, an adjustable nozzle that controls the concentration of spray stream, and a built-in ¼” quick-connect male connector.

  • Suction Tube

A small tube that connects to the barrel assembly (that also works as a cap for the container), and is responsible for pulling the solution from the bottle and sending it to the spray nozzle according to the pressure the assembly is adjusted to.

Setting Up the Foam Cannon

  • Fill the container with the solution (around 2oz of car wash soap/shampoo and 15oz to 17oz of water), and shake well to properly mix the two
  • Connect the suction tube to the underside of the barrel assembly
  • Tightly close the container with the barrel assembly
  • Connect the female connector of the pressure washer (electrical or gas-operated) to the assembly’s ¼” quick-connect male connector
  • Turn on the pressure washer, and adjust the thickness of the foam and concentration of the stream using the knob and adjustable nozzle of the barrel assembly of the foam cannon respectively

How a Foam Cannon Works

  • The pressure washer pushes the pressurized water through the pressure washer to the ¼” male connector
  • The barrel assembly pulls the solution from the container
  • The barrel assembly then uses the right amount of air and water pressure according to the set thickness and concentration level to spray out the stream of foam from the nozzle

Best Practices

  • Use the pressure washer to wash the car with plain water so all the thick dust particles and other debris is removed without leaving any scratch marks on the paint
  • Use the foam cannon to spray and cover the drenched car body with the suds of foam
  • Use the pressure washer again to remove all the foam from the body
  • Use pressurized air to get rid of all the water droplets to get a clean car ready to hit the road

Pro-Tip

Always start with the dirtiest part of the car – the tires, and then go with the body.

Is a garden hose or pressure washer better for washing my car?

It is a good idea to use either a garden hose or pressure washer to wash your car as they both can significantly reduce the chances of letting the debris put scratch marks on the body. Furthermore, with these pieces of equipment, you also don’t have to get your hands dirty by frequently dipping the cloth into the bucket to get the job done. However, many people prefer a garden hose over a pressure washer as the latter might be harmful to the paint if used with high intensity.


From time to time, TTAC will highlight automotive products we think may be of interest to our community. Plus, posts like this help to keep the lights on around here. Learn more about how this works.

(Editor’s note: This post is meant to both help you be an informed shopper for automotive products but also to pay for our ‘90s sedan shopping habits operating expenses. Some of you don’t find these posts fun, but they help pay for Junkyard Finds, Rare Rides, Piston Slaps, and whatever else. Thanks for reading.)

[Main photo credit: Jaroslav Francisko / ShutterStock.com. Product images provided by the manufacturer.]

17 Comments on “Best Foam Cannon for Car Washing: Son of a Gun...”


  • avatar
    brn

    Never used a foam cannon. Came to see the comments as to when and how people use them vs using a sponge (I’ve never had an issue scratching with a sponge).

    Anyone?

    • 0 avatar
      ToolGuy

      brn,

      I’ll weigh in since I went through this today. If a car is new to me (or has been sitting for awhile) and is dirty dirty, step one is to hit it with the ‘foam cannon’ (not a very nice one) which came with my very basic ‘Sun Joe’ ~1500psi electric pressure washer, with ‘Vehicle and Boat’ pressure wash concentrate (might be ‘Purple Power’ brand?) mixed at 20:1 in the ‘cannon’ receptacle [resembles #8 but has a screw adjustment on top] – this happens at low pressure. Then I use the 40 degree high pressure tip to clean the vehicle from top to bottom. The cheap pressure washer with the 40 degree tip isn’t powerful enough to damage most paint and trim [I use my ‘real’ 3100psi gasoline pressure washer to clean siding/driveways/etc. but never on vehicles]. This excels at getting crud out of little cracks and crevices (including emblems and lettering).

      THEN I move immediately to the two-bucket system (Chemical Guys buckets and ‘cyclone dirt traps’) with a long-handle microfiber ‘brush’ and a microfiber ‘bug scrubber’ for little problem areas. (Using basic car wash soap the first time around.)

      Then, depending on how much I care about the car, I would clay bar (using soapy water because it works), machine polish (3M ‘Perfect-It’) and wax the vehicle. And from then on I would use the two-bucket wash system (with Chemical Guys ‘Hybrid V07’ car wash soap) – never back to the foam cannon and pressure washer unless it gets neglected again.

      Here is a more advanced user with a more specialized pressure washer mixture:
      https://youtu.be/LaNwsb07QR8?t=341

      And here’s how they use a (really nice) foam cannon in Germany:
      https://youtu.be/PU5orW-mtVs?t=658

      • 0 avatar
        brn

        Thank you.

      • 0 avatar
        ToolGuy

        Update: We acquired a “GRANT’S Extreme Foaming Spray Gun” for evaluation here at the ToolGuy School of Applied Technology.

        [functional equivalent of the “GRIOT’S GARAGE 51140” but priced for those of us who find ourselves funding rehearsal dinners at the tail end of a global pandemic]

        No pressure washer required; just the hose.

        My new favorite way to wash a generally-well-cared-for and not-terribly-dirty vehicle is to thoroughly wet it with water (using the ‘nozzle’ of the ‘foaming spray gun’ without the ‘sprayer’ and ‘bottle’ attached), then cover it with foam [see below], then move to the modified two-bucket system (half the usual amount of soap in the ‘soap’ bucket) and thoroughly rinse.

        The instructions say to add water to the 32-ounce line on the bottle before adding 1-3 ounces of soap. For luxury-level suds, go light on the water (try 20 ounces first time out, then adjust to your vehicle size) and relatively heavy on the soap (perhaps 2 ounces to start). I recommend a pretty-good but not-extra-special vehicle soap (something like “Meguiar’s Gold Class”).

        If you are working in full sun, use half the soap solution at first [over the entire vehicle] and the rest halfway through (to prevent soap drying on the vehicle). In the meantime, don’t tarry with your long-handle microfiber ‘brush’ and you can probably finish the entire vehicle in one pass (rinsing and soaping the ‘brush’ after each section).

        • 0 avatar
          ToolGuy

          Because I was curious, I also got a “MATCC Adjustable Foam Cannon” (#4 in the list) for evaluation. It works well, producing almost shaving cream level foam. “-” on the top dial adjustment means less water, “+” means more water (go all the way to “-“). Then turn the nozzle to get the fan width you want.

          As orange260z points out below, if you are using a smaller pressure washer, you can install a 1.1mm orifice nozzle on the foam cannon to get better foam production (unless it came with a 1.1mm, which it might).

          More detail (before and after changing orifice nozzle):
          https://youtu.be/KUfU8-kjpyk?t=344

  • avatar
    EX35

    I have the MTM. Nothing but problems. I do not recommend.

  • avatar
    rd56110

    For those who live in a drought area consider Frothe from Ammo NYC. I have been using it for over two years. http://www.ammonyc.com

  • avatar
    random1

    I have the Griot’s Garage foam cannon, on a friend’s recommendation. I have to say, it’s really quick and easy, and works pretty well. I’m not going to tell you it’s better than a really good hand wash and wax, but I do this much more often than I would the manual version. Good investment for me.

  • avatar
    jdmcomp

    I live in an area of lots of water so no rules on use. One of those yard weed sprayer leftover bottles filled with soap does the trick for me and free to boot.

  • avatar
    orange260z

    Some feedback to those who run this site:
    I understand the need to write these “product recommendations” to generate advertising dollars, but I don’t feel that they are fulfilling the Editor’s note of “help[ing] you be an informed shopper for automotive product”.
    Firstly, the writer should have and share real knowledge about the product, not just condense the Amazon vendor’s ad. For example, for #5 this is straight up incorrect – ” no fewer than five different nozzle jets, meaning users can fine-tune the level and shape of spray emanating from the cannon ” – the nozzles are not for the foam cannon, but rather for the sprayer itself.
    Secondly, it would be much more useful for readers if the writer differentiated the products and explained the relative features and benefits of each.
    Thirdly, the article would benefit from having an explanation of “foam cannon” vs “foam gun”,and tips about operation and maintenance.
    There’s value-added ways to present the advertising links in a way that benefits users instead of just being an ad.

  • avatar
    orange260z

    WRT the above products:
    I personally own the non-CG branded version of #1 (which is a foam gun), as well as the exact product in #4 (which is a foam cannon).

    I’m guessing that #3, 5, and quite possibly 6 are exactly the same product inside (aside from the obvious differences). I’ve been quite happy with my MATCC cannon, but you need to use the right soap concentration, the right orifice for your pressure washer, and have a clean mesh filter inside to get the best results like in the Youtube videos.

    I find the foam cannon to be a great way to clean my ceramic-coated cars when only pollen and road dust (which have never gotten wet) on the car. When I do this, I pressure-rinse, foam, rinse and then air dry. I don’t touch the car unless it’s been washed with a mitt.

    When the car is dirtier, I pressure rinse, foam, rinse, and then two-bucket wash the car, and dry with MF towels. An alternative to the two-bucket is to use the foam gun as the source of soapy water, running it ahead of the mitt keeping the paint surface well-lubed; doing this you only use one bucket for rinsing the mitt.

    Bottom line is that you touch your car, you scratch your car. Only you can decide how far you want to go to reduce the scratching, and foam guns and cannons can be a way to reduce the scratching and increase the time between polishing/re-coating your cars.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    Hard to imagine that people can actually wash in their driveways. I’d create a mess in the street and violate all sorts of local water rules by doing so.

    My technique is to go to the self-serve carwash and use their gun to water a sponge.

    • 0 avatar
      Flipper35

      It is pretty easy to do in the driveway.

      On these canons, what is the advantage over the built in soap dispenser in the pressure washer and the car was nozzle that comes with it?

  • avatar
    NeilM

    I’m so glad they have these things called Automatic Car Washes here where I live. Available summer and winter and every season between — what will they think of next?

  • avatar
    el scotto

    Foam Cannon recommendations in October? Perhaps we’ll have Snow Tire recommendations in May?

  • avatar
    burgersandbeer

    I don’t like foam cannons. Dragging out the pressure washer is a hassle. Using the pressure washer is a hassle. Between the power cord, garden hose to pressure washer, and the pressure washer hose there are trip hazards everywhere. The pressure hose is always kinked. It’s only 25′ so you have to move the pressure washer to reach the whole car, along with the garden hose and power cable attached to it. It’s impossible to dry the car before water spotting occurs, even in the shade. My leaf blower runs out of battery long before the car is dry. Gas blowers and pressure washers solve some issues, but I wouldn’t use those on a car.

    I like rinseless washes. It’s quick and gets good results. It’s drought friendly and you don’t have to worry about violating water run off laws. If the car is filthy, rinse off first (at a car wash if that’s inappropriate to do in the driveway in your region), then do the rinseless wash.

    For me the foam cannon uses an ocean of water, is more work, and gets worse results.

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