Whereas every car owner wants their car to look as good as the day it left the factory, not every owner enjoys having to carry around buckets of water, mixing car shampoo and spending a Saturday morning washing a car. Fortunately, technology has solved the problem by giving us the foam cannon. Investing in the best foam cannon will not only make life easier but save money on car shampoo while delivering a superior wash. And in this guide, we’re going to go through everything you need to know about foam cannons.
So, What Is So Special About Foam Cannons?
Because the foam cannon, also sometimes referred to as a “lance”, is powered by a pressure washer it is capable of delivering significantly more soap suds than the foam gun, fitted to a garden hose. This ability to apply copious quantities of foam to the exterior of the car makes it very effective at loosening dirt without the abrasive action of a washing-mitt. At the same time, the best foam cannons can be adjusted to continually meter the correct amount of car wash soap, thereby reducing waste while ensuring a consistent foam.
To further enhance the foam cannon’s ability to create a rich lather many manufacturers of car wash soaps have formulated products with increased “foamability” to enhance the cleaning process. It should be noted that shampoo formulated for use with foam cannons requires dilution with (preferably) warm water before being used. However, while it’s always a good idea to stick with these special formulations, it is ultimately more important to select a soap that best suits the application. For instance: Ceramic Coatings require a pH-neutral car wash soap.
Review Of The Best Foam Cannons
Gone are the days of spending your Saturday afternoon slaving away in the hot sun trying to rid your car of a week’s road grime, dirt and other contaminants; with the TriNova Foam Cannon, you can get a sparkling finish without breaking a sweat. Simply plug the cannon into your pressure washer lance or trigger, fill up the reservoir with soap, adjust the knob for the level of foam you want, and treat your car to a luxurious foam wash. The recommended operating pressure of 1,000 PSI also allows you to use a less powerful and less costly electric pressure washer. Moreover, a few ounces of soap will foam up an entire vehicle, which means you can stretch a bottle of car wash soap to dozens of washes and save yourself money in the process. What sets the TriNova apart from other foam cannons is its sturdy design: The wide neck and base not only eliminate the common problem of cracking around the neck but also make for easier filling of the bottle.
What sets Adam’s Foam Cannon apart from its competitors is that it’s designed around a company culture that aims to change the way people care for their cars. The objective being to turn what was considered to be a chore into a simple and enjoyable experience. In so doing this cannon comes with several features focused on enhancing the user experience: The 33.814 oz bottle means you will probably complete a car wash without having to refill the container, while the all stainless steel quick connector allows you to easily connect the cannon to a pressure washer. In keeping with a focus on the customer experience, the cannon allows you to easily control the foam thickness by simply regulating the water flow, while an adjustable spray nozzle lets you control the foam pattern. It’s these features that make this foam cannon so popular with detailers and deserving of our “premium choice” rating
Many car owners shy away from using a foam cannon because they think the equipment must be expensive – The Blisstime car wash foam cannon packaged with a convenient chenille microfiber car wash mitt is proof that this needn’t be the case. If you’re in the habit of washing your car once in a while, this cannon with its adjustable valves that control the amount of soap as well as the spray pattern of the foam is just what you need. The flow control valve and connectors are made of premium brass, while the 1/4-inch fitting will couple to most pressure washer wands. The most striking feature of the Blisstime foam cannon is, however, the translucent bottle with its clearly marked graduations that make mixing the soap solution a cinch. This convenience isn’t found on most competitors’ products, irrespective of their price.
Key Features of The Best Types of Foam Cannons
Being a pretty simple piece of equipment that basically only requires a high-pressure cleaner to work, there are no major differences in the types of foam cannon – instead, they are generally differentiated by their most important features.
1. Quick-release connector
This feature allows this type of cannon to be easily and quickly disconnected without any tools. Being able to effortlessly remove the lance makes switching between rinsing and washing modes a snap. When considering a quick release it is advisable to select one that is equipped with a brass connector, as fitted to the well-priced Blisstime Snow Foam Lance car wash pressure washer that comes with a 1/4″ quick release made from premium-grade brass.
2. Adjustable mixture and spray pattern control
This is a great feature to have, as it allows you to adapt the amount of car wash soap applied by the cannon to the task at hand. Matching the amount of foam to the dirt and grime to be removed not only saves on the soap but also ensures the best wash. At the same time, an adjustable spray pattern allows you to easily switch between a fan or stream format, which comes in handy when swapping from washing to rinsing.
3. Canister capacity and material
While the best foam cannons will typically have a bottle capable of holding about 33oz (1Lt) of soap-mix, some products such as Adam’s Polishes’ Foam Cannon – a premium choice sudsy car wash and detailing pressure washer tool that comes with an adjustable spray pattern that can easily be changed from a jet stream to a fan pattern – holds 35 oz. It’s not worth going for anything smaller than 30oz. A bottle that is too small might require topping up before the job is completed. It is also handy to have an opaque or transparent reservoir that makes monitoring the mixture level easy.
4. General construction and quality
While many manufacturers market “Professional Grade” foam cannons, these heavy-duty washers are not always necessary for the user that only washes their car every other weekend. It is, however, important that the general construction and quality of the lance not be flimsy. An excellent example of such an “every day” cannon with great quality comes in the form of TriNova’s best all-round Foam Cannon, recommended for detailing trucks or SUVs, that is designed with an extra-wide neck to prevent cracking, often found in other products
What to Look For When Buying the Best Foam Cannon?
Over and above the key features that define the various types of foam cannons, there are several other important attributes to look out for when comparing products:
1. Pressure Washer Requirements
All foam cannons are powered by a pressure washer, and as such, when shopping for the best foam cannon it is important that, if you already have a pressure washer, the cannon matches the washer’s performance:
- The pressure (in pounds per square inch, or PSI). While most commercial pressure washers are able to deliver between 1,400 to 3,000 PSI, and should therefore be capable of meeting the typical foam cannon requirement of 1,000 to 3,000 PSI it’s important to confirm this critical specification before committing to the purchase.
- The flow-rate of water. Typically the pressure washer’s flow rate would be greater than the 2 gallons per minute that most cannons require, but this needs to be confirmed.
2. Compatibility of the quick-release
Because the best foam cannons mostly come equipped with a quick-release connector, it is important to make sure that it will fit the equivalent fitting on the pressure washer – usually a ¼-inch coupling.
3. Interchangeable nozzle tips
Not to be confused with the adjustable mixture and spray pattern feature that is built into the foam cannon’s tip, the interchangeable nozzles that vary the spray angle, attach to the end of the pressure-washer wand. Typically the nozzles would be adjustable to 15, 25, and 40 degrees.
4. Bottle Shape
While we’ve already discussed the container’s capacity, the profile of the bottle is also important. Most foam cannon bottles are shaped like an air tank. However, there are a few manufacturers that have stylized bottles that, because of their form, simplify removal and replacement.
How to Achieve the Best Results to Wash Your Car?
Although washing your car with a foam cannon is quite straightforward, following this procedure will ensure you achieve the best results, every time.
- Gently rinse the car with clear water to remove any loose dirt and grime.
- Using the recommended dilution ratios as a guide, slowly add warm water to your chosen car wash soap in the foam cannon’s bottle. The exact amount depends on the size and condition of the vehicle.
- After replacing the lid or connector on the bottle, gently agitate the product by moving the bottle in a circular motion. Do not shake as this will cause the soap to foam.
- Attach the foam cannon to the pressure washer lance.
- Beginning at the top of the car and working your way down, cover the car’s surface with soap suds. While applying the foam, the quantity of foam and spray pattern can be adjusted using the mixture control knob.
- On application, the foam will loosen and lift dirt from the surface.
- If you’re using snow foam, make sure to leave the foam on the surface for the time recommended in the instructions.
- Using the quick release, you can now disconnect the foam cannon and connect to a clear water source for the final rinse.
- Lastly, gently dry and buff the vehicle with a high-quality microfiber cloth or wash-mitt.
By following the tips and advice laid out in this guide the average DIY enthusiast will be able to achieve results worthy of a professional car wash operation.
Nevertheless, there may be a few lingering questions that the guide has not touched upon.
The primary difference is that the foam cannon is powered by a pressure washer, whereas the gun only requires the low pressure supplied by a garden hose. The higher operating pressure and flow rate produced by the pressure washer results in superior foaming and ultimately, a superior finish.
To effectively wash a car the cannon must be capable of operating at between 1200 and a maximum of about 2000 PSI. Although most pressure washers are capable of delivering 3,000 PSI, this would be unsafe for washing a car and only be required to clean a non-automotive surface such as a concrete driveway.
As long as you are using a car wash soap you will have no problems and achieve a good result. Most products marketed specifically for foam cannons are merely formulated to produce more foam. As a guide always make sure you select the soap that meets any special requirements – such as pH values that are not acidic or too alkaline.
Yes, wash and wax deliver good results when applied by a foam cannon. The only caution is as above: Make sure the pH level of the wash and wax isn’t too acidic or too viscous. A thick formulation can block the foam cannon’s nozzle.
As the foam loosens the dirt and grime from the surface it dissolves and runs down to the ground – a process that should take about 10 to 15 minutes. It is important that the foam is not applied to a hot surface, or in direct sunlight, as it will dry before loosening the dirt.
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