House Grail is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Learn more.

Foam Gun vs Foam Cannon: Which is Better for Your Needs?

foam gun vs foam cannon

foam gun vs foam cannon

Both the foam gun and foam cannon are used as a means of quickly covering a car in foam during the first stage of the DIY car wash.

Some debate exists over whether they are actually any benefit to the whole process. Detractors claim that they offer minimal benefit but use up most of your soap. Supporters would never even contemplate washing a car without first coating it in a bubbly mass of soap from one of these devices.

While they both have the same end goal, covering your car in soap foam, they use different water delivery methods to get water to the foam container. While the foam gun attaches to a standard garden hose, the foam cannon attaches to a high-pressure hose. This gives the foam cannon more power, as it enters the foam container which, in turn, means that it swirls the soap up more and gives you a greater concentration of soap suds and bubbles for the cleaning process.

divider 1

Overview of the Foam Gun:

Chemical Guys ACC_326 – Torq Foam Blaster 6 Foam Wash Gun
Image Credit: Amazon

The foam gun is considered the more basic of these two devices. While there are some differences between the gun and the cannon, the aim of both is the same – to enable you to more easily and more effectively clean the dirt and grime that gathers on your car or another vehicle. It negates the need to have to take your car for an expensive car wash, lets you wash your vehicle whenever you want, and allows you to control the amount of foam and soap that you use.

How the Foam Gun Works

The foam gun attaches to the end of a standard garden hose and contains soap. The water is delivered via the hose into the foam gun, where it agitates the soap and creates a soapy foam. When the trigger of the foam gun is depressed, the foam is fired onto the car to completely cover it. This, in the eyes of foam gun proponents at least, ensures a deeper and more thorough clean. At the very least, it does help ensure that you get soap all over the car, which should make it easier to clean. Once the foam is applied, the foam gun usually allows you to switch to pure water, which effectively bypasses the foam container and directs water straight from the hose to the car. This enables you to effectively and efficiently clean the suds and dirt off the car.

Uses Existing Equipment

Most of us have a garden hose at home, and that is all that is required besides the foam gun itself, and the auto detergent or soap that you intend to put in it. You don’t need to buy any special washers or other equipment, although this may also be the case with a foam cannon if you already own a pressure washer.

Adjustable Foam Guns

Some foam guns are fixed pressure guns. They have a foam setting, a water setting, and they can be turned off. Others are adjustable and have adjustable settings. This allows you to alter the ratio of water to soap so that you can cut the cost of auto soap or you can create a bubbly mass of detergent to soak your vehicle.

  • Less expensive than the foam cannon
  • Only needs a garden hose
  • Available as fixed or adjustable models
  • Easy to use
  • Debatable whether it offers any benefit
  • Not as powerful as the foam cannon

divider 4

Overview of the Foam Cannon:

Tool Daily Foam Cannon with Quick Connector
Image Credit: Amazon

The foam cannon is considered the more powerful of the two models. In both cases, the aim is to get soapy detergent onto the exterior of the car. This will work to remove dirt and grime from the vehicle, which is then washed away as you rinse the soapy foam off the car during the next phase.

How it Works

The only real difference between these two devices is that while the foam fun uses a standard garden hose, a foam cannon uses a pressure washer. Pressure washers deliver water at much higher pressure levels. They are used to clean floors, walls, and a variety of other surfaces. Used on their own and without any attachments, they are usually considered too powerful to wash a car because they can damage the paintwork, cause chips, and leave the car susceptible to rusting and other damage. When used with a foam cannon, however, the water is first mixed with the soap before being delivered to the car so it does not fire water at high pressure.

Needs A Pressure Washer

Regardless of the device you choose, you need a water delivery method. The gun uses a garden hose, the cannon uses a high-powered hose. If you already have a pressure washer, there is no additional cost required when buying a foam cannon and the price of a foam cannon is similar to that of a foam gun. However, it is worth noting that a foam cannon will usually use soap more quickly, so it will cost more in this way.

  • Creates more suds than a foam gun
  • Uses a pressure washer
  • Easy to use
  • Needs a pressure washer
  • Uses more soap

divider 9

Do Foam Guns and Cannons Even Work?

There is a lot of debate surrounding the use of these devices. On the one hand, proponents of the foam gun believe that it delivers more soap, and because the soap has been agitated more before it is put on the car, it must be doing a better job of preparing and cleaning the car. On the other hand, opponents argue that such devices make no difference in cleaning effectiveness or efficiency.

If you believe there is a benefit and you have experienced a cleaner wash using either a foam gun or foam cannon, then it certainly won’t be causing any damage to your vehicle. In fact, if it encourages car owners to get out and wash their vehicles, it can only be a good thing.

Consider Your Existing Equipment

When choosing which of these devices will best serve your needs, consider what equipment you already have. The foam gun uses a standard garden hose, while the foam cannon uses a pressure washer. A pressure washer may represent an additional cost that you don’t want, especially just to create some bubbles to wash the car. But if you already have one, the extra pressure tends to mean more bubbles and quicker, which makes the car washing experience even quicker and potentially more effective.

foam wash
Image Credit: Roman Kosolapov, Shutterstock

Divider 2


Foam guns and foam cannons create a sudsy foam from auto soap. This foam is then fired onto the car, where it gets to work removing dirt and grease, which is then washed off when you spray the foam off with water. One, the foam gun, uses your garden hose while the other, the more powerful foam cannon, uses a pressure washer. Choose which you buy according to the volume of bubbles you want and your existing equipment.

Featured Image: Amazon


Related posts

OUR categories

Project ideas

Hand & power tools