Foam Cannons and Foam Soap Buyers Guide

Cleaning Truck with Foam Cannon

The best foam cannons and snow foam soaps compared – what to buy?

Wait, what is a Foam Cannon?

A foam cannon is an automotive detailing tool that produces thick sudsy foam soap (snow foam) that is connected to the end of a pressure washer. Foam Cannons (snow foam cannons) produce a generous amount of thick soap that sticks to your car/truck allowing for a touchless car wash or a precursor to a hand wash.

The idea behind a foam gun or foam cannon (yes, there is a difference) is to minimize the number of particles scratching your body compared to traditional washing or to be used as a touchless wash.

It’s also incredibly fun!

Foam Gun Vs. Foam Canon?

  • Foam Gun: Use with garden hose
    • More affordable
    • Easy to use
    • Thin suds
    • Use with any car soap
    • No pressure washer required
  • Foam Cannon: Use with a pressure washer
    • More expensive
    • Easy to use
    • Use with foam cannon soap (although, most soaps work)
    • More powerful than foam gun
    • Thicker suds than foam gun
    • Gas or electric pressure washer compatible
    • Professional detail use

Gas or Electric pressure washer for Foam Cannon?

Gas or Electric Pressure Washer Foam Cannon

If you want to buy a foam cannon, start with a decent pressure washer. You don’t need a gasoline-powered pressure washer to use a foam cannon.

Electric pressure washers, like this one that I own (2150 PSI) offer plenty of pressure (PSI – Pounds Per Square Inch) to wash your truck’s body, frame, wheels, and tires.

Electric pressure washers are often a safer alternative than some gasoline powered pressure washers (2500 – 3500+ PSI).

With higher PSI ratings on your pressure washer, you run the risk of damaging your paint.

Some pressure washers are adjustable, though, so keep that in mind if you are using a gas-powered pressure washer.

Local Car Wash or Washing on your Own

Sometimes I will go months without washing the 4Runner because the 4Runner just looks good dirty. At the end of the day, though, I should start washing the truck more often. I spent about 40K on the damn thing, I should probably take care of it.

We usually take our 4Runners to the car wash down the street. I joke around with my girl about it. They don’t “miss a spot” they “miss every spot”.

The cost is about $30 to wash the 4Runner inside and out, mats are another $5. Every time I pay that money, I cringe because I know they do a terrible job.

I took matters into my own hands. 

I recently did a detail on the interior with the Boat Bling conditioner and holy shit was it amazing. If you have not heard of that stuff, check it out. The whole Boat Bling line is pretty high-quality stuff (I have the condition sauce, vinyl sauce, and hot sauce). I felt like I was riding on comfortable plush leather in a caddy. And, the smell was pretty amazing.

Needless to say, I recently started washing the 4Runner more often because I know I can do a better job.

Moving onto the cannons!

I have used these cannons about 5-6 times each over the last couple of months.

Some of my neighbors probably thought I was crazy for washing my truck so often. But, for the cool neighbors, I let them borrow the set-up to test out as well.

Holy shit, these things are fun. Everyone on the block loves the foam cannon.

Types of Foam Cannons – What to buy?

There are plenty of options to choose from when looking at foam cannons. From $15 to almost $100, there is a foam gun in everyone’s price range.

I bought a few different foam cannons to compare the difference and really to see if the more expensive model was worth its weight. A few names to note in the car washing and detailing industry are Adams Polishes, Chemical Guys, Meguiar’s, Mothers, and many others.

Adams Polishes and Chemical Guys both make foam cannons but the Chemical Guys got crappy reviews.

So, I bought the Adams Polishes cannon, TriNova, McKillans Professional, and the MATCC Snow Foam Cannon for general comparison.

All four of these got kick-ass reviews.

How to rate each foam cannon?

  1. Brass head unit (plastics and the brass together)
  2. Fittings (well-made fittings or nah?)
  3. Threaded bottle (how easy does the unit thread on?)
  4. Foam thickness dial (adjust the thickness of foam)
  5. Foamer nozzle (adjust the vertical height of foam)
  6. Stand up (does the cannon freely stand or fall over?)

Below, we are going to cover key areas of each foam cannon. I am quality checking the actual unit, not the quantity or quality of foam produced.

They all produce a similar amount of foam and the same pattern range. Also, that is more of a soap question, not a cannon question.

Let’s focus on the actual units.

  1. Adams Polishes: Check Price
  2. TriNova Cannon: Check Price
  3. McKillans Professional Cannon: Check Price
  4. MATCC Snow Foam Lance: Check Price

1. Adams Polishes Cannon

Adams Snow Foam Cannon

The head unit and nozzle on the Adams Polishes cannon are the highest quality compared to these competitors below. If you are running a detail shop, or only want the best quality nozzle, then consider the Adams Polishes foam cannon.

But this foam cannon is not for everyone. At such a high price tag, you may want to consider other cannons.

Adams cannon has a quality head unit, the fittings are nice and snug, and the thickness dial/ foamer nozzle is very smooth.

The problem with Adams is that does not stand up on its own. You stand it up, it falls over. No Bueno!

The Unit: Check Today’s Price

  1. Brass head unit: Strong, well-built.
  2. Fittings: Quality
  3. Threaded bottle: The threads can be difficult to match up and seamlessly thread on. It may take you 5-10 thread attempts to get the lid to catch. It’s annoying, to say the least.
  4. Foam thickness dial: Firm and Smooth.
  5. Foamer nozzle: Firm and Smooth.
  6. Stands up: Nope!

Would I buy it again? Probably not. It’s too expensive for what it is.

2. TriNova Snow Foam Cannon

Trinova Snow Foam Cannon

This is probably my favorite option but it does have a quirk. The Trinova blends a solid head unit with an exceptional design.

The widebody container allows this unit to freely stand up without any support unlike any of these other designs. This is one of the key selling points for me and many others.

Foam cannons that don’t stand up are annoying. The Trinova can stand full or empty.

The brass head unit is strong and well-built, it threads nicely onto the plastic, but the foamer nozzle and dial are a little less smooth than the Adams head unit.

The Unit: Check Today’s Price

  1. Brass head unit: Strong, well-built.
  2. Fittings: Quality
  3. Threaded bottle: The threads roll onto the plastic nice and smooth. There is also a huge opening in the mouth of the cannon that allows for less spillage when pouring in your soap.
  4. Foam thickness dial: A little loose.
  5. Foamer nozzle: A little loose.
  6. Stands up: Yup!

Would I buy it again? Yes, this would be my first choice out of these four options.

3. McKillans Professional Snow Foam Cannon

McKillans Professional Snow Foam Cannon

The term “professional” might be a little overrated here.

McKillans features a firm and smooth foamer nozzle and foam quantity adjustment dial. The foamer nozzle and dial are smoother than the Trinova but less smooth and firm than Adams cannon.

It fails the stand-up test and the ability to smoothly thread the head unit onto the plastic. Two big deal breakers for me.

Although the McKillans foam cannon does produce results it still fails the stand-up test. For me, its a fail but for some, it may work.

The Unit: Check Today’s Price

  1. Brass head unit: Strong, well-built components.
  2. Fittings: Quality
  3. Threaded bottle: The threads are not smooth here. It was more frustrating than any other cannon.
  4. Foam thickness dial: Smooth and firm.
  5. Foamer nozzle: Smooth and firm.
  6. Stands up: Well kinda, sometimes it stands up and sometimes it falls over. It’s stubborn.

Would I buy it again? Probably not, although its better than the MATCC!

4. MATCC Snow Foam Lance

MATCC Snow Foam Lance

Not a great cannon but it does work.

If you are looking for a serious budget cannon, this is for you. It has its flaws but it still gets the job done.

The head unit was crooked when it arrived. Not a joke, it was crooked, the whole unit. The foamer nozzle and dial are not smooth and firm at all. They are both closer to “janky” and borderline about to fall off.

The threads on the plastic don’t quite match up with the brass. When it’s mounted, its full crooked again. So the head unit is crooked and the unit connected to the plastic is crooked.

For $16 what do you expect, though?

The Unit: Check Today’s Price

  1. Brass head unit: Flimsy and crooked.
  2. Fittings: Fitting tape was falling off.
  3. Threaded bottle: The threads don’t match up on this one.
  4. Foam thickness dial: Janky and loose.
  5. Foamer nozzle: Janky and loose.
  6. Stands up: Nope!

Would I buy it again? Probably not. It’s falling apart after the first few uses.

Types of Foam Cannon Soap and Snow Foam – What to buy?

I decided on Adams Polishes, Chemical Guys, and some classic Meguiar’s. There are some key differences in the brands, but don’t start overthinking your purchase on soaps.

If you have a truck or SUV that sees travel and exploration miles, odds are you are not particular on PH balanced soaps with stroke-free prevention shine. Our trucks and SUVs take beatings from gritty mud particles, tree branch swipes, and the beloved manzanita bush pinstripes.

Most soaps are going to get the job done on your dirty truck or SUV.

If you are looking to wash a Porsche 911, a Berlinetta (or in my case, a new Porsche Macan GTS), then maybe you should look a little closer at the quality soaps.

If you want a quick opinion for a dirty 4Runner, buy the Citrus Wash and Gloss and then some  Mr. Pink. Mix them up and blast your truck after a pre-pressure wash.

Then hit a two bucket wash if you are up for it. If not, a one-bucket single mitt wash should be just fine for the rest of us pin-stripe folk.

Finally, don’t expect 100℅ dirt and debris removal with a “touchless” foam cannon wash method.

  1. Adam’s Polishes Car Shampoo: Check Price
  2. Adam’s Polishes Ultra Foam Shampoo: Check Price
  3. Chemical Guys Honeydew: Check Price
  4. Chemical Guys Citrus Wash and Gloss: Check Price
  5. Chemical Guys Mr. Pink: Check Price
  6. Meguiar’s Car Washing Soap:  Check Price

How to rate each soap?

  1. pH balanced: (Neutral or acidic wash?)
  2. Cleaning performance
  3. Foam thickness: (Weak, Thick, Very Thick)
  4. Dwell time: (Long or Quick)
  5. Scent
  6. Size options

I am not saying this is the best formula to pull from but it did help me narrow down “the one”.

1. Adam’s Polishes Car Shampoo

Adam's Polishes Car Shampoo

The Adams selling point on their car shampoo is being pH neutral and that it creates thick, luxurious suds without leaving streaks, scratches or water spots behind.

The Adams car shampoo smells great and it works for removing loose dirt, but not for stuck-on grime. Even after letting the Car Shampoo sit for three full timed minutes, it didn’t “clean” stuck on dirt grime. This soap is a single or double bucket wash unless your truck is already fairly clean.

I would hand wash your truck with this soap, or at least I had to in order to remove any serious stuck-on dirt or grime.

The Soap: Check Today’s Price

  1. pH-balanced: Yes
  2. Cleaning performance: Great for loose dirt
  3. Foam thickness: Thick
  4. Dwell time: Quick
  5. Scent: Moderate Wild Berry
  6. Size options: 5 Gal, 1 Gal, 16 Oz bottle

Would I buy it again? No,  too expensive for what it is.

2. Adam’s Polishes Ultra Foam Shampoo

Adam's Polishes Ultra Foam Shampoo

This soap is better than the regular Adam’s Car Shampoo.

The Ultra Foam Shampoo is super sudsy, slick, and smells great. The best part about this shampoo over the regular version is that it actually did remove some of the stuck-on grime.

The shine was a bit more noticeable than the basic blue soap as well.

The 16oz bottles that the Car Shampoo and Ultra Foam Shampoo are incredibly convenient in fulling up the cannons. But, you may even go a little overboard here. They make it a little too easy to waste soap.

Everything about this soap was on point except for the price.

Its super overrated, just like their foam cannon. I honestly wouldn’t buy the Adams soap again. It’s just too expensive for what it is.

The Soap: Check Today’s Price

  1. pH-balanced: Yes
  2. Cleaning performance: Great for loose dirt and stuck-on grime
  3. Foam thickness: Thick
  4. Dwell time: Long
  5. Scent: Potent Grape
  6. Size options: 5 Gal, 1 Gal, 16 Oz bottle

Would I buy it again? No, too expensive for what it is.

3. Chemical Guys Honeydew Snow Foam

Chemical Guys Honeydew Snow Foam

This is going to be your classic, easy to buy, no looking back snow foam soap.

It’s reasonably priced and produces on par, if not better results than the Adam’s Car Shampoo and Ultra Foam Shampoo.

This soap smells great, it removed a fair amount of stuck-on grime after letting it sit for three minutes and left a glossy shine after I dried the truck off.

The suds produced are similar to Adam’s Car Shampoo rather than the Ultra Foam Shampoo but it seems to pack a better degreasing sud as more “stuck-on grime” was removed.

The Soap: Check Today’s Price

  1. pH-balanced: Yes
  2. Cleaning performance: Great for loose dirt and stuck-on grime
  3. Foam thickness: Very Thick
  4. Dwell time: Long
  5. Scent: Moderate Melon
  6. Size options: Many size options available

Would I buy it again? Yes

4. Chemical Guys Citrus Wash and Gloss

Chemical Guys Citrus Wash and Gloss

This stuff kicks ass. I really enjoy using the citrus wash & gloss for every wash.

Not only does it have a nice smell, but it actually decreases “stuck-on” grime along with undercarriage grime.

I have run multiple washes now with this soap and every time, there’s a better shine on the 4Runner than with any other soap. For the price, its cleaning abilities on a dirty 4Runner, and its high-gloss shine, its a straight win in my book.

The Soap: Check Today’s Price

  1. pH-balanced: No
  2. Cleaning performance: Great for loose dirt, stuck-on grime, and undercarriage degreaser
  3. Foam thickness: Weak
  4. Dwell time: Quick
  5. Scent: Moderate Citrus
  6. Size options: Many size options available

Would I buy it again? Yes – consider adding it in with another sudsy soap.

5. Chemical Guys Mr. Pink

Chemical Guys Mr. Pink

Mr. Pink is my favorite out of this lineup. It produced the best of the best results for me in almost every category.

This soap smells great, cleans well, produces great suds, has a surprisingly long dwell time and leaves an impressive shine. Mr. Pink is also a great value compared to the other more expensive soaps, like Adams.

I have run many washes with Mr. Pink alone and then Mr. Pink combined with the citrus wash and gloss. Combining them has been my go-to set-up.

The Soap: Check Today’s Price

  1. pH-balanced: Yes
  2. Cleaning performance: Great for loose dirt
  3. Foam thickness: Thick
  4. Dwell time: Long
  5. Scent: Strawberry, berry, kiwi something (smells amazing)
  6. Size options: Many size options available

Would I buy it again? Yes

6. Meguiar’s Car Washing Soap

Meguiar's Car Washing Soap

Meguiars is what I have been using before any of these fancy “snow foam soaps”. Meguiars Gold Class is a good all-around choice for a single or two bucket hand wash. For the foam cannon, it didn’t produce thick suds like the other soaps mentioned above.

Its suds were on par with the Citrus Wash and Gloss but it did have an impressive dwell time for the amount of suds that it did produce.

Meguiars Gold Class does its job, it cleans and shines. It’s tough on stuck-on grime and leaves a nice glossy shine behind.

The Soap: Check Today’s Price

  1. pH-balanced: Yes
  2. Cleaning performance: Great for loose dirt, and stuck-on grime
  3. Foam thickness: Weak
  4. Dwell time: Long
  5. Scent: Johnson’s Baby Shampoo mixed with Lever Soap (smells great)
  6. Size options: 1 Gal, 64oz (pictured)

Would I buy it again? Yes, a great all-around car shampoo.

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Adam Truckey
5 years ago

Great write up, definitively helps me narrow down my selections. Question: Mr Pink vs Honeydew?, pros, cons, which one is best overall (not considering the price difference)?. Thinking of grabbing one of these and the citrus to mix like you have suggested.

Byron Richards
Byron Richards
5 years ago

Do your soap recommendations still hold up for washing higher-end cars (You mentioned Porsche)? Looking for a good soap/cannon combo for my Tesla

5 years ago

Thanks for actually comparing more than two cannons like most people. I currently have the MATCC here and agree its not all that great but it has worked for me so ill say that its not all garbage either. There are some highlights about the $16 cannon. My cannon was not shipped and delivered crooked, nor is it breaking like the one you mention. Not saying that yours was not, just saying my unit was fine. The MATCC is still hanging on strong and can see it pushing another year or two at least. With all that being said, I can still feel the cheapness of the unit and would like something new eventually. It looks like the Trinova is a really good option from the highlights you mention. What do you think? Stay with MATCC or upgrade to the Trinova? Thanks Brennan!

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