We researched and tested the best foam cannons and foam cannon soaps for 16 hours last week.
To help you find the best one:
- To pre-soak and snow foam your car
- To lubricate the surface and decrease risk of swirls and scratches from your wash mitt
- So the 2-bucket wash method works like a charm.
Let’s jump right in.
Here’s 7 things everybody ought to know about the best foam cannon and foam cannon soap before using.
Table of Contents
- Best Foam Cannons
- Best Foam Cannon Soap
- Pressure Washer Requirements
- Best Pressure Washer to Use
- Do They Work Well?
- How to Setup and Use Properly
- Foam Gun vs. Foam Cannon
1. The 3 Best Foam Cannons
Here’s the deal:
All foamers will blanket your car in thick suds. How thick and sudsy is what will vary. When you move up the budget ladder you are paying for build quality. Here are 3 of the best foam cannon options for different budgets.
Now let’s look at those 3 in more detail:
The Best Foam Cannon Money Can Buy
After foaming 4 cars and a campervan using 5 of the highest rated snow foamers we are confident in recommending the MTM Hydro PF22 foam cannon as the best money can buy.
Here’s 3 reasons why:
1. Build quality
All 21 parts inside the PF22 cannon ‘head’ piece are precision engineered and built with the durability of the product in mind. Just look at the ‘body’ (the part that connects to the bottle) and how much more rugged it is than the other foam cannons on the market.
2. Precision to detail
Since hitting the market in 2017, the team behind the MTM Hydro PF22, Veloci Performance Products, has listened to customers and improved upon several aspects. The original bottle (pictured above) tends to tip over when no soap is in it. So they changed the design to a wider bottom and it’s now more sturdy. They also now provide a smaller orifice in the box to allow the PF22 to work with pressure washers down to 1.4 GPM and 1,100 PSI.
3. Quality of foam produced
Auto detailers will tell you the pillow of foam on the car should be shaving cream consistency. This dense foam stays on the car longer allowing the chemical soap to work.
We found the MTM PF22 to have the best ‘shaving cream’ foam. This is important because if the foam is not thick it falls off the car quickly and doesn’t provide the lubrication layer needed between your wash mitt and the paint.
Can it be used with any pressure washer?
But, you need to know this…
Straight out of the box the MTM foam cannon comes with a 1.25mm orifice nozzle (on the inlet side of the cannon). With this orifice size the foamer works best with pressure washers starting from 1.8 GPM and 1,100 PSI (and up to 5,000 PSI and 5.3 GPM).
MTM also supplies a different orifice nozzle of 1.1mm that allows operation down to 1.4 GPM pressure washers. (They also have a 1.7mm sold separately if you have a pressure washer above 5.3 GPM).
Is it worth the premium price?
We researched the 12 best then bought and tested 5. Those 5 can all get you 80 – 90% of a perfect thick foam coat on your car. It’s not all that technical of a device and that’s why you can get the cheap one below for less than $20. But if you want the top quality foam cannon to last you many years of daily/weekly use with no issues then we feel the MTM Hydro PF22 is your best bet.
Best For Under $40
The thing with foam cannons is they all do the same thing: layer your car in thick suds.
So if they all achieve it how do you justify paying $90? $35? When you can pay $15 for the same end result?
The answer is: lifespan is the difference maker.
With the professional auto detailers chiming in many have been using the $90 MTM PF22 for 5+ years of daily use.
Anyways. The TriNova is the mid-range $30 – 40 price range and has a wide top to make pouring soap easier. It also has a wide base bottle for extra sturdiness.
Best Cheap Foam Cannon (For Under $20)
As is always the case not everyone needs the best-of-the-best.
If you prefer to stick to a budget then this one from Dusichin for less than $20 is for you.
It does everything it should do:
- Foams a car
- Can adjust foam spray pattern and suds
- Quick connects to your pressure washer gun.
The only difference is it seems to have a high number of reviews saying the quick connect plug does not properly fit their pressure washer hose. This could be quality control issues at the factory in China – who knows?
We had no problems and since Amazon has a 30-day refund policy and this cannon is only $15 it’s still a no-brainer for the budget friendly.
2. The Best Soap for Foam Cannons
What’s The Deal With Foam Cannon Soap?
Let’s keep things simple here – when it comes to the best foam cannon soap:
- You want a pH neutral soap so it doesn’t strip wax
- You want it to produce heaps of suds to get a nice lubrication layer all over the car
- You want it to be an all purpose cleaner (APC) you can use on the tires, windows, headlights etc. without a worry.
So which is the best foam cannon soap (brand and type)?
Let’s take a look:
Best Foam Cannon Soap For Cars, RVs and Big Rigs
The best all purpose soap is this car shampoo by Adam’s Polishes.
You squirt a few ounces (100 – 150 ml) in your foam cannon bottle and then fill with water. After that you’re ready to foam the car.
It is pH neutral and won’t strip the wax or be an issue using in the sun.
If you want even more foam ‘Mega Foam’ by Adam’s Polishes will be your best bet.
It is the same as the above car shampoo just more concentrated and a different smell.
Let’s not complicate things: both these work great in foam cannons (pressure washer) and foam guns (garden hose) to get you the thick ‘shaving cream’ layer of suds on your car before using your wash mitt.
3. Requirements: Do All Foam Cannons Work With All Pressure Washers?
The gist: You need the foam cannon internal orifice nozzle size to match your pressure washers GPM and PSI specs to work properly. They all come stock with the most commonly needed size orifice (3.0 or 1.25mm) installed.
The snow foamer will always “work” but not 100% perfect if the specs don’t match. You will have watery foam or a starting/stopping unloader causing pulsing foam if the orifice size is too small or big, respectively.
Here are some things to look for if you already own a pressure washer and need to know if a foam cannon will work with it.
Pressure Washer GPM & PSI
The gist: As long as you have the right orifice size nozzle inside the cannon inlet side any pressure washer will work with any foam cannon.
The more powerful your pressure washer the bigger you want the orifice to allow the most flow through.
Orifice size examples:
- 3.0 orifice (1.1mm) – For small electrics less than 1.8 GPM.
- 3.5 orifice (1.25mm) – Installed stock on most.
- 5.0 orifice (1.5mm) – For pressure washers with high flow or pressure but not both.
- 6.5 orifice (1.7mm) – For commercial gas pressure washers with relatively high flow and pressure.
Electric Circuit Amps Draw
If you use the correct orifice size based on your electric pressure washers GPM and PSI you will have no issue with your circuit breaker.
If you are using too small an orifice size for the pressure washer specs the electric pressure washer will have to work harder. This will spike the amperage draw and possibly cause your breaker to switch and you’ll lose power. This only becomes a problem if you use the smallest 3.0 orifice with a bigger electric pressure washer.
Flow Sensing Unloader Valves
Most pressure washers have pressure sensitive unloader valves but the ones that have flow actuated will have some problems using a foam cannon.
4. The Best Pressure Washers (for Car Washing) to Attach Your Foam Cannon to
Electric Powered: Professional Detailer
The best pressure washer to use with a foam cannon to clean your car is the 1122TST from Kranzle.
Because it has the perfect combination of flow and pressure for car cleaning and snow foaming.
Compared to other electrics this one from Kranzle is high flow and perfect for foam cannon use.
It is also not cheap. At around $1,100 this is a buy-it-for-life pressure washer with all the premium features. Easily the most popular in auto detailing businesses.
Electric Powered: Weekend Warrior
It is also very sturdy and won’t ever tip over like the other upright budget electrics
It will require you to plug the foam cannon into the end of the lance quick connect (where you put the nozzle).
This is a popular electric pressure washer due to its cleaning power for the price.
It has all you will need to get started and we’ve tested 3 versions of the Sun Joe and find nothing wrong with them for the price.
If you’re just getting started pressure washing then this would be a starter machine.
Our long recommended entry-level Honda powered pressure washer is the Simpson Cleaning MegaShot.
In addition, it is available on Amazon which we find has the best returns policy online if you’re not happy for some reason.
The foamers will all quick connect at the same place as the nozzles or you can make some fitting/coupler/adapter adjustments to cut out the lance and connect it direct to the trigger gun.
5. Foam Cannon Effectiveness: Does it Replace the 2-Bucket Wash Car Wash Method?
What is the 2-bucket wash method?
- You have 1 bucket with your soap and water solution
- And 1 bucket with only clean water
- You put your wash mitt in the soap bucket, wash car, then rinse it in the clean water bucket before putting it in the clean soap bucket for use again on the car. It keeps most of the dirt from your car out of the clean soap/water solution bucket.
Does a foam cannon replace the 2-bucket wash method?
The purpose of a using a snow foamer is not to replace the 2-bucket wash method. It is to create a layer (a lubrication layer) between the car and your wash mitt so your wash mitt does not scratch the surface or create swirls. In addition, the foam cannon soap layer on the car will remove surface dirt during its dwell time on the car.
6. How to Setup and Use
- Fill with soap. Squirt or fill the bottle with 150ml or 5oz (follow instructions) of the soap concentrate and then fill with water. Tighten bottle to cannon headpiece and shake to mix water and soap solution.
- Adjust spray pattern and chemical draw knobs. Adjust the spray pattern knob to how you want it.
- Attach foamer to end of lance or direct to trigger gun. Foamer cannons come with a quick connect plug so they fit into the end of your pressure washer lance/wand just like a nozzle. We find it easier to attach it direct to the trigger gun as it makes it easier to control.
- Cover car with foam. When spraying the car with foam look for a shaving cream consistency. Let the foam dwell on the car while you prepare your 2 buckets with soap and clean water.
- Proceed with 2-bucket wash method.
- Enjoy your clean car.
7. The Difference Between a Foam Gun and a Foam Cannon
A foam gun hooks up to your garden hose.
A foam cannon hooks up to your pressure washer.
Pros and Cons of a Foam Gun
- Pros: Cheaper and quicker to get started because you don’t need a pressure washer – just your garden hose.
- Cons: Doesn’t provide as thick a foam. Plastic construction.
Best Foam Gun Garden Hose Foamer Attachment
If you don’t own a pressure washer then this foam gun by Chemical Guys will get you a decent foam layer on your car before washing.
It works the same way as a foam cannon with the water flowing through the orifice creating a suction to suck up the soap solution into the water stream.
- Adam’s Car Wash Shampoo. AdamsPolishes.com
- MTM Hydro PF22 W/Standing Bottle. MTMHydroParts.com.
- MTM Hydro PF22.2 – New Bottle. VPPDealers.com.
Jamey is the founder of Pressurewashr.com and has led testing and reviewing since 2013. He has also worked as a commercial pressure washer at a rendering plant for 3 years and has been using commercial and residential pressure washers for 15+ years. He is also a mechanical engineer and while working in the mining industry designed several turn-key light industrial vehicle wash pads.