Finding the best foam cannon isn’t easy. They all do a similar job, but some work better than others. Some are more robust so they should last longer, and stand up to more use. If you’re using it regularly, you’ll want something that can handle the rigors of everyday use.
What is a foam cannon?
You may have heard the phrase ‘foam cannon’ but don’t really understand what it’s all about. Basically, it’s a car detailing or valeting tool. You can use it to turn cleansing fluid into huge amounts of foam when detailing your car. The idea is that you can literally cover your whole car or vehicle in a cleansing foam. Then, just rinse it off for the perfect ‘no-touch’ wash.
We’ve discussed swirl marks before, and how to get rid of them, but anytime anything touches your car, there is a chance that it could do some very light damage to the finish of the paintwork. Ironically, this risk increases each time you wash or clean your car. The action of rubbing the dirt off with soap and towel actually increases the likelihood of them. So instead of touching the paintwork, people are turning to foam cannons instead.
They do work well, but they’ll never replace a full detailing session with separate stages for washing, rinsing, waxing, etc.
We’ve selected five of the most popular foam cannons. While they all do a similar job, you need to consider budget, amount of use, and longevity. If you intend on using it every Sunday, you want something hard-wearing and reliable.
Best Foam Cannon For Pressure Washers
The TriNova snow foam lance is a good compromise for pricing, but just like the DUSICHIN model, I was pleasantly surprised by the quality.
As with all the specialist foam cannons, the metal parts are made from brass and stainless steel, so rust will never be an issue. However, the TriNova cannon scores well with the extra-wide base (great for stopping it toppling over when standing) and the wide filler neck. It makes it easier to fill and cuts down on the problem of the neck cracking. This is surprisingly common, even on some of the more expensive foam cannons.
The information says that it will work with any psi sprayer. But actually, you need a minimum of 800 psi. I found the best results came with a minimum of 1,000 psi. However, it only needs a minimum flow rate of 1.4 GPM, unlike some of the others that require at least two gallons per minute.
This is a great mid-range snow foam lance, but the results did vary with different shampoos. So while you can save a few dollars on the foam cannon, stretch that bit further for the shampoo and it’ll work just great.
Another super low-priced snow foam lance, another great bargain. Unlike the TriNova, this needs a minimum of 2 gallons per minute water flow, and a 1,000 psi washer. But, most do anyway, so that shouldn’t be an issue.
Does it work as well as the more expensive snow foam lances? Yes, it does. And the adjustments work well and are easy to use. The dial at the top adjusts the amount of foam dispensed. The nozzle itself adjusts the spray pattern – from a wide fan to almost jet-like, it really couldn’t be simpler.
As with all the others, the main body is made from brass for corrosion resistance. It’s heavy with a capital H – heavier than the others (of course, we haven’t actually weighed them.) The tank itself holds 0.22 gallons (1 liter), but you’ll only really need to fill it ¾ full unless you’re doing a full-size SUV or truck.
If you’re looking for the best cheap snow foam lance, it has to be this.
Many buyers of the DUSICHIN snow foam cannon will be put off by the price, purely because it’s so much cheaper than some of the competition. But, it’s a quality product, I guess I’d call it value for money.
It still offers a fully adjustable and variable pattern. However, you do need a minimum of 1,000 psi, as opposed to some of the competition that can get away with slightly less. You’ll also need a minimum flow rate of 2 GPM. The body and connectors are all brass. DUSICHIN says that it’s heavy-duty, designed for everyday use.
The foam it produces doesn’t seem quite as thick as some of the other foam cannons, but that could just be setting it up correctly. It is definitely the best value snow foam cannon on the market right now.
The Chemical Guys have made a worldwide reputation for all things car care chemical-related – washing products, waxes, detailing kits, etc, They specialize in pretty much anything and everything you need when it comes to getting your vehicle spotless and shiny. The 310 Professional Foam Cannon does exactly what you want it to.
A lot of thought has gone into the TORQ foam cannon. From the use of brass and stainless steel fittings (so the internals won’t rust) to the patent-pending Threadlock system for attaching the shampoo tank.
The ‘Guys’ also make a feature of the air injection technology, which combines the shampoo with oxygen to create the perfect amount of foam. They say it’s capable of producing the thickest foam, even if your pressure washer maxes out at 800 psi. A 32 oz. tank means that there’s plenty in the reservoir. However, it shouldn’t be too heavy when it’s full. I’d say that the 310 cannon is perhaps the most professional foam cannon.
Don’t be fooled by the pictures. This looks super basic, not even any decals on the tank, but it works great. This particular model is supplied with a Karcher K series bayonet adaptor fitted. It comes with a quick-release connector and threaded connector. You just need to be careful if you need to swap them over. Breakages are relatively common if you’re a bit of a gorilla with the wrenches.
It will hold a full 34 oz. of fluid/shampoo, enough for pretty much any vehicle. Of course, the rate at which it empties is dependent on just how much foam you want to make. It will make plenty if you want – a good ¼” thick foam that clings to your car.
Despite looking like it’s at the cheaper end of the scale, the materials used are all high quality. It’s also labeled as a professional model, so should cope with weekly usage if that’s your thing.
How to Use a Foam Cannon
Using a foam cannon is relatively easy and straightforward. Typically, it attaches to the end of any pressure washer, however, you do need to make considerations to the output pressures. If it’s too low and it just won’t foam up as it’s intended.
The design of the foam cannon relies on water pressure to draw the foaming fluid through the nozzle as capillary action. Most manufacturers recommend a minimum pressure of 800 psi, but I’d say that realistically, the higher the better.
Adjustable foam cannons are a thing – both for spray patterns and pressure. A wide, fan-type spray pattern to cover the whole vehicle, or something closer to a small jet for the smaller nooks and crannies or gaps in the bodywork.
Depending on the exact model, the fitting methods can differ. But typically, the foam cannon screws to the lance of a pressure washer, with the fluid bottle hanging underneath the lance. It’s simple and quick. You just need to be careful not to break the screw-thread fittings or ‘strip’ the thread, especially if they’re made from plastic.
Most come with a ¼” quick release coupler (you really don’t want to be having to screw it on or off every time). Another good tip is to look for one with a wide filler. This helps in two ways. Of course, it makes it easier to fill, but it also means that the weight of the foam cannon reservoir is spread over a larger area. This should mean there’s less risk of the tank snapping off at the neck.
Typically, you’ll use around 1 – 2 oz. of foaming shampoo per wash. However, that rate does depend on how much foam you want, the water pressure, and the mixing pressure.
A snow foam cannon is a great tool and aid for cleaning your car regularly. Many people find it so easy with a foam cannon that they wash their vehicles weekly. After all, it’s a ten-minute job, and that includes setting up the pressure washer.
Most of the kits here come as standard with a quick-release coupler that should fit straight into the lance trigger housing. But, if your lance doesn’t use a coupler like that, you can usually MacGyver something quite easily. However, the MTM foam cannon does come with a selection of coupling adaptors.
Whatever foam cannon you use, it’s the ideal way of doing the ‘no-touch’ wash to your car. It should hopefully reduce the chance of swirl marks, but if you’re of the polishing persuasion, you can always give your vehicle a good waxing and polish after. It’s the ideal way of finishing it off.