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Pressure washers have become more affordable in the past fifteen years. Nowadays, they’re affordable enough for ordinary people to buy and use them. A pressure washer is a lot better at removing stubborn dirt and grime than an ordinary garden hose.
But, the truth of the matter is, a pressure washer by itself won’t cut it. What you need is a foam cannon to attach to your pressure washer. Using a foam cannon and a pressure washer is the ideal way to clean your vehicle to perfection while minimizing scratches and other abrasions.
The days of the traditional two bucket wash are numbered. New, innovative tools like the foam cannon and pressure washer can offer professional detailing quality in minutes.
The Best Foam Cannon
Let’s take a closer look at some of the better options available:
1. TriNova Foam Cannon
TriNova’s Foam Cannon is a top-of-the-line product for a fairly affordable price. The bottle’s wide neck reduces the chance of pressure damaging the finish or the bottle itself. While you can find cheaper options, TriNova delivers the most while still being budget-friendly.
Getting started is quite simple. Fill up the provided TriNova bottle with a car wash soap, attach to your pressure washer lance, and adjust the knob to your desired foam level.
As far as specifications, TriNova recommends using a pressure washer with 1000 PSI for the best results. Keep in mind that this product cannot be used with a regular garden hose. Refer to the fifth product on this list if you only have a regular garden hose available.
If TriNova ends up disappointing you, they are also backed by a 100% satisfaction guarantee.
- Pros: Wide mouth to prevent cracking. Sturdy and well-built. Requires only 800 PSI (1000 PSI recommended).
- Cons: Lines on the back of the bottle are cosmetic.
2. MATCC Foam Cannon
The MATCC Adjustable Foam Cannon is the most affordable option on this list. But surprisingly, it’s one of the better ones. With a quarter inch quick connector made of stainless steel and brass, it boasts a sturdy and durable construction.
True to its name, it features an adjustable water regulator, which lets you decide how sudsy or how diluted you want your soap to be. It also features an adjustable spray nozzle, which lets you choose how wide or how vertical you want the pattern to be.
The MATCC has a capacity of 0.22 gallons (1 liter) and requires 2 GPM and over 1,000 PSI in order to operate effectively.
- Pros: Adjustable and made of quality brass, stainless steel, and plastic. Adjustable spray nozzle and water regulator.
- Cons: Can go through soap quickly.
3. SudMagic Foam Cannon
The SudMagic Foam Cannon is made with durability in mind. It’s well-made and an incredibly functional product.
The finish on the bottle is made of threaded brass, which prevents it from stripping. If you run into any problems there is also a lifetime warranty, meaning it won’t strip. Accompanying that is a stainless steel filter and a bottle made from high-density polyethylene (HDPE).
Altogether, the SudMagic is an incredibly sturdy and durable product. It comes with both the 1.1mm and 1.25mm orifice for electric and gas powered pressure washers. The bottle also features marks on the side of the bottle for adding the perfect amount of soap.
- Pros: Heavy-duty construction. Adjustable nozzle and foam thickness. Easy to use.
- Cons: A few customers noted leaks. Brass fittings may wear out.
4. MTM Hydro PF22
The MTM Hydro is the least affordable product on this list, however, it is a well-designed tool. What holds it back, admittedly, is its price tag.
There’s no denying that the MTM Hydro PF22 is well built and does its job well. It produces a thick, sudsy foam when used with a gas-powered pressure washer. The bottle feels thick and durable, despite being plastic.
MTM also identified that several people required the 1.1mm orifice and as a result, it now comes with the attachment and allows you to use an electrically powered pressure washer. The MTM requires a bit more pressure than other units, rated at 1100 PSI.
- Pros: Produces a thick, sudsy foam. Engineered to prevent leaks. Comes with the 1.1mm orifice that other foam cannons lack.
- Cons: Somewhat pricey.
5. Gilmour Cleaning Spraying Foamaster
The first thing we should note about the Gilmour Foamaster II is that it isn’t a foam cannon, it’s a foam gun. You can learn about the difference below, but in essence, this foam gun isn’t meant to be used with a pressure washer. Instead, it is meant to be used with a garden hose.
As a result, it can’t produce the thick, sudsy foam a foam cannon can. That isn’t ideal, but if you can’t afford a pressure washer at the moment and only have a garden hose to work with, then Gilmour II will is your best option.
For a foam gun, it produces a surprising amount of suds. It’s comfortable to use and has a nifty dial to adjust the foam concentration to your desired level.
- Pros: Affordable. Works with a regular garden hose.
- Cons: Doesn’t produce the thick, sudsy foam that a foam cannon and a pressure washer can.
Best Foam Cannon: Benefits, Features, and How to Use
If you’ve always used a garden hose to wash your vehicle, you might find it hard to see the benefits of using a foam cannon and a pressure washer. Let’s look at some of the benefits of this tool.
Benefits of Foam Cannons
The truth of the matter is, using a foam cannon and a pressure washer is a lot more efficient than using a garden hose and a sponge. Both in cleaning ability and time spent washing your vehicle.
Without a foam cannon, you are going to have to be the one to apply the soap over your entire vehicle. The point of a pre-wash is to remove the dirt and debris on your vehicle. After which you need to get soap into all the nooks and crannies that your vehicle might have. This can take a significant amount of time.
Less Potential for Scratching and Marring
As we noted above, a foam cannon can cover your entire vehicle in a sheet of foam in a fraction of the time. You also won’t have to worry about potentially scratching your vehicle or whirling the paint. Before the actual contact wash, the foam cannon will remove surface dirt and particulates with ease. Remember, the pre-wash stage is essential.
Less Soap and Water
The tool draws water directly from the pressure washer and mixes in the bottle. Due to how these tools work, you’ll need less water and concentrate in order to create sudsy snow foam.
With a traditional two bucket wash you’ll end up dumping the remaining soap. Where-as in the closed system you can keep the concentrate in the container for next time.
Foam Cannon Features to Keep in Mind
There are a few notable features to keep in mind. Let’s discuss these features and see how they may affect your purchasing decision.
Pressure Washer Requirements
First things first, you’ll need to consider two metrics for your pressure washer: Gallons Per Minute (GPM) and Pounds per Square Inch (PSI).
The options above are rated upwards of 5.3 GPM. Their PSI also ranges from 1,000 to 5,000 PSI. Most pressure washers are 1,500 – 2,500 PSI and fall right in between that PSI range.
Remember, it’s always important to align the specifications of your pressure washer with that of your foam cannon.
Adjustable Options: Concentration & Spray Pattern
Having the ability to adjust certain aspects of your detailing, especially with a tool is important. The biggest benefit of using a two bucket wash is being able to control the amount of attention certain parts of your vehicle get.
With a foam cannon you are able to adjust the dilution of your soap. Meaning certain areas like your wheel wells that may require more soap can get it. Same goes for areas that might need less soap like your paintwork.
Spray pattern is also important for the ease of use. Being able to target specific areas with the turn of the nozzle is highly beneficial. It makes maneuvering the tool easier and application that much faster.
Materials: Bottle, Connectors, and More
Nothing is worse than using products that are cheaply made. It’s also fairly easy to weed out what ones aren’t going to last long because of their choice in materials they use.
In terms of bottles, you want to look for a heavy-duty, durable plastic like high-density polyethylene (HDPE). You also want to consider the color of the plastic, as being able to see what’s inside the bottle is pretty important. This helps in determining when you’re close to being out of soap.
Most foam cannons will feature brass fittings and connectors. Brass is common construction material that are in high demand for their durability. They offer solid corrosive resistance and are easily machined meaning they can be made into various types of fittings. They are also less apt to rust in comparison to other metals.
Foam Gun vs Foam Cannon
These two products have similar names and they’re used essentially for the same purpose, but they also work very differently.
The main difference is that a foam gun is designed to be used with an ordinary garden hose. A foam cannon, on the other hand, is designed to be used with a pressure washer.
Just as we recommend using a pressure washer over a garden hose, we also recommend using a foam cannon over a foam gun. A foam cannon, as its name implies, is more powerful and can create a thicker, sudsier foam.
Then again, not everyone has access to a pressure washer. A foam gun can get the job done, just not as well.
How to Use a Foam Cannon
Before you start foaming your car, we recommend you pre-wash or rinse. The goal of a pre-wash is to get rid of the heavier, looser, and more abrasive dirt and debris. This will help reduce the chances of scratching your paintwork.
When you do this, it’s important that you start from the top of the vehicle and work your way down. This helps to prevent re-introducing dirt to places you’ve already washed. With your pressure washer, you want to try and rinse off as much dirt as you can before you start foaming.
To properly use a foam cannon, add about an ounce of soap to your bottle and fill the rest with water. Then, attach it to your pressure washer.
Once you’ve finished rinsing your car, attach your foam cannon to your pressure washer wand or lance. If your foam cannon has an adjustable nozzle, you can make it wider or more vertical. An angled nozzles that’s more vertical will you give you a longer reach, but less surface area, while a wider nozzle will you give you more surface area, but a shorter reach.
Keep the pressure washer wand about three or four feet away from the car’s surface. Work in straight lines and try to cover as much of the vehicle in snow foam as possible. Once you’re done foaming the car, give it a moment to emulsify any dirt that’s on the surface. Then, you can wipe the foam off or rinse it off with your pressure washer.
There’s no doubt that using a pressure washer together with a foam cannon is the ideal way to clean your vehicle. If you’ve been using a garden hose and sponge up until now, the whole process can seem like it takes forever. Using a foam cannon is quite straightforward and simple once you get the hang of it. In short, the most important things to remember are:
- A foam cannon differs from a foam gun in that it requires a pressure washer to be used.
- While a foam gun and garden hose aren’t bad, they aren’t the best either. For a true detail job, you need a foam cannon and a pressure washer.
- We recommend a sturdily-constructed foam cannon with a 1L container, at least. An adjustable fan and chemical injector are nifty additions too.
- Lastly, it’s important to remember that a foam cannon isn’t meant to replace a two-bucket wash. However, not everyone has the time it takes to properly wash their vehicles. Not only will you get better results, but you will better protect your vehicle from scratches and unneeded surface damage as well.
- Header image from Nam Ji on Flickr
- TriNova Image from @quality_pro_services on Instagram
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