Foam cannon vs Foam gun

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Hello, I am Santy, the funder of I have been in cleaning machinery field for more than 5 years now, and the purpose of this article is to share with you the knowledge related to pressure washer from a Chinese supplier's perspective.

If you’re someone who takes pride in keeping your car spotless or a professional detailer aiming to provide the best service for your clients, you’ve likely explored various methods of vehicle washing. Two popular options are the foam cannon and foam gun. But what sets them apart, which one gives you the most “bang for your buck,” and how do you choose the right one for your needs?

What the difference between foam cannon and foam gun? Foam cannon vs foam gun, in this article, BISON will compare these two side by side to help you choose.  BISON pressure washing experts will make your car wash not only more effective but more enjoyable too.

What is a Foam Cannon?

bison foam cannon

A foam cannon is a car washing tool that attaches directly to a pressure washer. It uses a mixture of car wash soap, water, and air to generate a thick lather of foam which is then sprayed onto the vehicle’s surface. Foam cannons are specifically designed for use with pressure washers because they require a certain amount of pressure to properly mix the solutions and produce high-quality foam.

What is a Foam Gun?

pressure washer foam gun

Foam guns also called pressure washer gun, on the other hand, are designed to be used with a standard garden hose. They also mix soap, water, and air to create foam, but the lather produced by a foam gun is typically less dense compared to that from a foam cannon due to the lower pressure involved.

How does the foam cannon work?

A foam cannon is an attachment for a pressure washer designed to dispense soap in a rich, frothy lather over the surface you’re cleaning, such as an automobile or a deck. Typically, it is made up of a plastic or metal container that holds the soap and is attached to a nozzle assembly that connects to a pressure washer wand.

Here’s how the foam cannon works:

  1. Attachment and Mixture: First, you fill the foam cannon’s container with your desired amount of car wash soap, which is then diluted with water following the manufacturer’s instructions. The proportions can be fine-tuned depending on how thick you want the foam to be.

  2. Pressure Washer Connection: Then, the foam cannon is connected to the pressure washer gun or wand. This can usually be done quickly and easily through a standard fitting, such as a quarter-inch quick connect.

  3. Mixing Process (Venturi Effect): When the pressure washer is turned on, water flows through the foam cannon. Inside the foam cannon, there’s a small tube that extends into the soap and water mixture. As the water passes through the nozzle at high speed, it creates a vacuum (this is known as the Venturi effect), which draws up the soap mixture.

  4. Aeration: The soap and water mixture is then forced through a mesh or a series of small nozzles that aerates the mixture, blending it with air. This process is much like how a garden hose nozzle aerates water to create a spray pattern.

  5. Foam Creation and Application: The result is a high-pressure stream of thick, clinging foam that you can then adjust using the nozzle at the end of the foam cannon. You can often control the pattern and spread of the foam as well as the richness or dilution.

  6. Covering the Surface: The user then covers the vehicle or surface with this foam. The foam acts as a kind of pre-wash, loosening dirt and grime, making it easier to clean the surface without directly scrubbing particles against the paint, thus reducing the likelihood of scratches.

  7. Dwelling and Washing: After letting the foam sit, or ‘dwell’, for a few minutes to encapsulate the dirt and lift it off the surface, it can then be rinsed off with the pressure washer or followed up with hand washing using a microfiber cloth or a wash mitt.

A well-operating foam cannon should produce a thick, even blanket of foam that sticks to the surface, maximizing the contact time that the soap has with dirt and grease, and improving the overall cleaning process.

Comparing Foam Cannons and Foam Guns

Foam Quality

Foam Cannon: The higher pressure from the pressure washer allows the foam cannon to produce a more dense and thick foam, which can better cling to the surface of your vehicle. This is advantageous as the foam has more time to work on the dirt, effectively breaking it down and making the wash easier and more thorough.

Foam Gun: Foam guns produce lighter foam, which may run off the vehicle surface more quickly and may not provide the same level of cleaning and soaking as a foam cannon.

Ease of Use

Foam Cannon: Requires access to a pressure washer, which may add to the complexity and setup time. It’s also usually more costly than a foam gun because of the pressure washer requirement.

Foam Gun: Foam guns are generally more user-friendly, especially for those who do not have a pressure washer. You simply attach it to your garden hose and you’re good to go.


Foam Cannon: Although the initial investment is higher, the foam cannon is often more cost-effective in the long run for those who wash frequently or professionally because it’s more durable and provides a deeper clean, reducing the need for repeat washes.

Foam Gun: The upfront cost of a foam gun is lower, making it an attractive option for those on a tighter budget or for infrequent use.

Environmental Impact

Foam Cannon: Less water is used in comparison to a traditional hose, which is an environmental benefit. However, depending on the power of the pressure washer, it can be loud and potentially disruptive.

Foam Gun: While foam guns use more water than foam cannons, they are typically quieter.

Adjustability and Customization

Both foam cannons and foam guns often feature adjustable settings such as spray nozzle angle and soap dilution control, allowing the user to customize the foam consistency and spread.

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