From time to time, TTAC will highlight automotive products we think may be of interest to our community. Plus, posts like this help to keep the lights on around here. Learn more about how this works.
For a good many gearheads, washing their car is a form of relaxation, if not outright therapy. From the initial hosing off of loose dirt to the final wipe of a chamois, taking one’s ride from dirty to clean hardly a chore for most people reading this post.
We’ve assembled eight options of foam cannons designed to help you make the most of that time. Whether one uses the two-bucket method or a foam cannon shown here, no one wants to scratch the heck out of their vehicle’s paintwork. Pro tip: if you drop your sponge or cleaning cloth, pitch it into a dark corner of the garage and don’t use it again until it has been thoroughly cleaned.
A clean car is a happy car (it’s my twisted belief it runs better, too). Here are a few options to help you get it your whip in top form.
(Editor’s note: As noted above, this post is meant to both help you be an informed shopper for automotive products but also to pay for our ‘
90s sedan shopping habits operating expenses. Some of you don’t find these posts fun, but they help pay for Junkyard Finds, Rare Rides, Piston Slaps, and whatever else. Thanks for reading.)
Besides being lime green, the seller of this product shows the thing in action, always a bonus when buying stuff online. This unit includes the wash gun which hooks up to a standard garden hose. No additional tools or attachments are required. The foam gun combines the soapy water solution with air and running water to spray foam.
An adjustment wheel allows users to choose the correct combination of soap concentration, reducing waste compared to an all-or-nothing unit. Here, one simply turns the dial to adjust the dilution ratio of soapy foam sprayed from the nozzle. Toll-free customer service numbers are provided, a rarity in this age of faceless online selling.
Pros: All-in-one unit, adjustable soap dispenser, funky color
Cons: Cheaper options exist, unlikely to provide the force of a pressure washer
This foam cannon connects to a pressure washer, unlike the unit above in which nothing else is required to play. However, it is a cheap and easy way to ratchet up the usability of the tools you may already own. A variable, adjustable spray nozzle allows for accurate mixing and foam generation.
Its container has a one-liter capacity, which should be more than enough for most people unless Captain Picard has tasked you with washing the Enterprise. The seller recommends mixing warm water with the soap solution before letting the H2O fly. Like others on this list, a thumbwheel allows for more precise mixing of soap and water.
Pros: Brass fittings, big mixing bottle, very affordable
Cons: Requires a pressure washer to use
The advertising tagline of this company is “dirt just disappears,” which is clever enough to suggest the place has at least a few switched-on people working there. A stainless-steel filter resists rust and corrosion, ensuring thick foam is created for many washes. Customer reviews are one of the best on Amazon for this type of product.
There are actually a pair of adjustment nozzles on this unit: a foamer nozzle turns to adjust vertical height of foam spray while a knob on top adjusts the thickness of said spray. The neck of the soap bottle is made of brass, an important distinction in a market where most bottles of this type are plastic. Again, you’ll need a pressure washer to use this unit.
Pros: Neck of the bottle is brass, two opportunities to fine tune spray, great reviews
Cons: Can’t be used solo
Similar to another option listed here, this is a cheap way to add foaming action (so exotic!) to your pressure washer. At less than twenty bucks, one shouldn’t expect a brass neck on the bottle and it is indeed plastic here. There is an adjustment knob on the top for sorting out foam delivery, of course, with the whole unit simply attaching to the end of a pressure washer wand.
English-as-a-fifth language product descriptions are of some concern but the unit is cheap enough to warrant taking a chance on it. Both fan and cylindrical patterns are available as water settings. At a grand total of 1.6 ounces, it is featherweight.
Pros: Costs little, weighs nothing
Cons: Potential to get what you pay for
The cannon you see here has a bottle of slightly different shape than the others we’ve seen so far. Hey, your author is a sucker for a good surprise. Like others, it works in-line with a pressure washer that flows at over two gallons per minute and can spurt out water at pressure levels greater than 1,000 psi. Don’t get your hands in the way, folks.
Its listing states that all connectors are made of brass but doesn’t specify, and doesn’t show, if the bottle’s neck is brass or plastic. Methinks if it were the latter they’d be shouting about it. Control the foam concentration with a wheel atop the unit, whether one wants more water and less bubbles or vice versa. That spray knob is adjustable for the water pattern, too.
Pros: Water pattern adjustability, cheap
Cons: Bottle may have a plastic-threaded neck
With a heavy duty core made of brass, the seller alleges this foam cannon is much thicker and heavier than competitors, able to be firmly manhandled by hamfisted car wash attendants. A filter block weeds out harmful particles than could spray forth and damage your car.
Pressure washer requirements are similar to the other items we’ve seen so far on this list, with two adjustable knobs for soap concentration and water pattern. It can’t handle really hot water, with a maximum water temperature listed at 140 F. It is said to be capable of simply attaching directly to the gun of a pressure washer, which must create a wand nearly as long as the car itself.
Pros: Easy to attach, brass core for stability
Cons: Can’t handle the heat
Rather than have an attachment on the end of a pressure washer wand, why not pop for an entirely new spray gun? With this solution, one reduces the chance of damaging the gun that came with the pressure washer, while also reducing wear and tear on OEM parts. The foam cannon gun quickly swaps out with the stock gun but does, of course, take up more space in your tool box when not in use.
The head is on a swivel, helping to prevent binding and coiling of the pressure washer hose, a characteristic of such units to which your author can personally attest. The works of it weighs about a 1.5 pounds.
Pros: Swaps out the stock pressure washer gun, swiveling head for ease of use
Buying from a brand that has been around for ages has some advantages, even if they are mostly placebo. Regardless, the Karcher name is well known in the car-wash industry. This compact foam cannon is great for applying a thick heavy foam onto vehicle surfaces. One simply adds detergent concentrate to the canister and top it off with water.
This rig attaches straight to the end of a pressure washer wand but, as noted below, only fits certain makes of Karcher washers. At a weight of less than eight ounces, however, it likely won’t spoil the wand’s balance. There are no adjusters for foam concentration.
Pros: Known brand name, compact design
Cons: Designed for specific Karcher pressure washers only
General Notes and Thoughts: Be careful when using a pressure washer. Some of those things, with the proper nozzle, have enough force to punch though stuff … including you. Don’t point the wand at anyone and definitely don’t use it to water your wife’s flower bed. Ask me how I know.
Be smart when choosing a soap, too. Household detergents generally don’t have the right mix of ingredients to be tough on dirt but gentle on a car’s paint finish. Do yourself a favor and invest in some proper car cleaning supplies, including one of the foam cannons shown here.
[Images provided by the manufacturer, featured image © Shutterstock.com / Jaroslav Francisko]
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