What is the Difference Between a Foam Gun and a Foam Cannon
Tips & Tricks

What is the Difference Between a Foam Gun and a Foam Cannon?

When it comes to pressure washing, the additional accessories play a huge part in making it more efficient. And what better way to do so than by getting an accessory that allows you to soap and rinses your car and other surfaces you are washing.

You will need a foam gun or a foam cannon to do this. But how do you know which option is best for your needs? Keep reading to learn which one you should buy and when to use it.

Foam Cannon

A foam cannon is used when you have a pressure washer. Each foam cannon will be slightly different regarding the fittings you’ll need to fit your pressure washer. In addition, there are different manufacturers of different foam guns for pressure washers.

The price of a foam cannon can range between $20 to $80, not including the fittings you need to buy. You can also use the foam cannon with a quick release to make it easier to set up.

Most foam cannons are handheld, and they are used on cars for easy washing. It is equipment that uses a certain quantity of shampoo, air, and water to emit thicker suds all over the car with the help of a pressure washer.


  • Thicker suds
  • Apply to surfaces faster and longer.
  • Requires less shampoo or soap to generate thick suds and gives no scratches while washing.


  • Not suitable for urgent or emergency use
  • It takes much time and effort to set up

Foam Gun

A foam gun features a barrel and a canister for soapy water. It is attached to the canister is a nozzled hand that triggers suds linked to the barrel. The barrel connects to a hose and other control apparatus that regulates water flow whenever you press the nozzle handle.

A foam gun is used with your typical garden hose. No special fittings are required as long as you buy a foam gun for a garden hose. You can always buy a quick release, so you don’t have to screw in the gun every single time.

Instead, you can pull and insert with the quick release. A foam gun can run between $20 to $60, but that’s about all you’ll need to get started.


  • Easy to use
  • It comes with three clay bars
  • It picks up a lot of grit


  • Detailer spray leaves a light blue residue

Comparison between Foam cannon and Foam gun

Below is an in-depth comparison between foam gun vs. foam cannon;

Similarities between the foam gun and the foam cannon

  1. Both Foam Gun and Foam Cannon work by mixing water, soap, and air to spray a soapy solution on your vehicle.
  2. Both wash accessories can be equipped with an easy connect fitting.
  3. They use the same kinds of soaps.
  4. There are two types of Foam Guns and Cannons. They are the adjustable and non-adjustable types. The major difference between these two types is that the adjustable foam gun and foam cannon give more room for suds’ control and flow. You can adjust the settings from 0 to 5 or 6 for both.

Differences between the Foam gun and the Foam Cannon.

  1. Foam cannon requires a pressure washer, while a foam gun can use a garden hose.
  2. The foam gun is a much cheaper alternative.
  3. Foam guns typically have a lower output than foam cannons, better suited for smaller projects. On the other hand, Foam cannons have a higher output and cover larger areas more quickly.
  4. Foam cannons are also better at reaching tight spaces, while foam guns are more versatile and can be used for more comprehensive projects.
  5. Foam guns loosen dirt and grease easily in minimal time. However, a foam cannon offers a layer of thick, white lather on the car’s surface when connected to a pressure washer.

How to set up a foam gun or foam cannon

Setting up a foam gun is like a foam cannon, except for the pressure washer. You can either decide to use a meter cap to control the flow of sud or not. Here are the steps:

  • Fill up the canister to 80% with water, then apply 3-4 spoons scoops of shampoo or soap.
  • Wind the barrel around the canister and shake it thoroughly to mix.
  • Connect the foam gun or foam cannon spray-nuzzle to a water source.
  • Regulate the barrel handle till it clicks into the right place
  • Be sure it clicks tightly to avoid falling off or damaging while spraying.
  • Once this is set, press the trigger on the nozzle to spray suds onto your car.
  • Once suds soak for some minutes, rinse off, and begin the usual car wash.

How to use a foam cannon and foam gun

Here are a few tips to help you use a foam gun or cannon properly;

  • Make use of a car wash soap specially made for generating suds.
  • Based on the directions on the canister, add the right quantity of soap required.
  • Too little soap will produce less foam texture, and too much can clog the foam gun/cannon cap.
  • You can keep a mark on the bottle to indicate how full the container should be when you’re filling up.
  • Put soap in water and pour it inside the canister. Shake the mixture properly.
  • Connect the canister to the foam device and ensure the sprayer and nozzle are properly affixed.
  • Start spraying suds on your car. You should begin from the top and spray downwards.
  • Disconnect the device from the sprayer via its quick disconnect latch, then rinse the car.

How to Apply Foam to your Car

To best prevent swirl marks, it’s important to use foam correctly. However, the principles remain the same whether you use a foam cannon or a foam gun.

Before getting started, make sure you use foam in the shade or an area without direct sunlight to prevent the foam from drying.

Fill your foam gun tank with suds (per the device instructions) and attach the gun to your hose.

  1. Start by rinsing off your vehicle with water to remove any surface dirt and loose debris. You never want to apply soap to a dry, non-lubricated surface.
  2. Then apply a layer of foam to one section of your vehicle and let it run down your car for about 20 to 30 seconds.
  3. Rinse off the foam with clean water and apply a second foam layer. You can use a mitt to assist in sliding dirt off the car.
  4. For best results, dip your mitt in a clean bucket of water along the way to avoid trapping dirt.
  5. Then rinse your car again, and you’re good to go.

Which One Is Better?  

Ultimately, the choice between a foam gun or foam cannon depends on the size of the project and the level of coverage required. If you live in a city with water restrictions or an apartment complex, you may not be able to use either as they’ll both use up a lot of water. You also have to decide how much money you want to spend on these items.

When the foam cannon is linked to a pressure washer,  it will have a thicker spray and will stay on the car a lot longer than what the foam gun will be able to do. This is because the foam gun will be much thinner and roll off the car as there’s a lot of water mixed in with the soap with not a lot of pressure.

On the other hand, a foam gun can both drastically increase efficiency levels and get car shampoo in hard-to-reach areas. Using a foam gun as a form of pre-washing a car is a fantastic way of getting a base layer of suds applied in a very short time.

The more aggressive the foam, the more lubrication you’ll produce, further reducing the risk of swirl marks and surface scratches, and other unpleasant car wash encounters.

Are they worth it?

Most foam guns mirror Gilmour’s revolutionary design and are typically constructed from plastic materials. Lesser expensive products tend to be almost entirely constructed from plastic. In contrast, higher-end offerings are often brass, stainless steel, and reinforced polymer design but come with equally strong price points.

If you are looking for something simple and affordable, a non-adjustable foam gun with a selector switch for purified water is the way. These foam guns are easy to use, offer effortless maintenance and disassembly, and don’t require a tremendous amount of car shampoo.

Check this too: How to Clean Gas Spills in the Garage

Adjustable foam guns or all-out pressure washer foam cannons are your best bet, as they provide the widest array of foam-control options. The key takeaway is to ensure you purchase a foam gun or foam cannon from a reputable seller with solid reviews.

Using a higher setting on an adjustable foam gun or cannon will require a crap-ton of car shampoo, so be sure to have an extra jug or two of car wash soap on-hand before testing out more foam-intense settings.