Foam Gun vs. Foam Cannon: What’s the Difference?

One of the most unsolved automobile debates of the 21st century is the battle between Foam Guns and Foam Cannons. Although there is a consensus that these devices save valuable scrubbing time and energy when cleaning your vehicles, experts rarely agree on what works best. 

This guide reviews the two spray devices, their similarities and differences, advantages, and disadvantages to help you decide on which washer to use on your vehicle. That said, let’s get right into our Foam Gun vs. Foam Cannon comparison.

Adam’s Standard Foam Gun

Adam’s Premium Foam Cannon

Quick Introduction

What is a Foam Gun?

A foam gun features a barrel and a canister for soapy water. 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.

Adam’s Standard Foam Gun - Car Wash & Car Cleaning Auto Detailing Tool Supplies

Adam’s Foam Gun


  • Easy to use
  • Comes with three clay bars
  • Picks up a lot of grit


  • Detailer spray leaves a light blue residue

What is a Foam Cannon?

On the other hand, a foam cannon is also a handheld device 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.

Though not offering thick lather, Foam guns will still soak your car and 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.

Adam's Premium Foam Cannon - Custom Snow Foam Cannon Soap Sprayer for Car Wash

Adam’s Premium Foam Cannon


  • 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
  • Takes much time and effort to set up

Similarities of Foam Gun and Foam Cannon

They both have 2 Types: Adjustable vs. Non-adjustable

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 gives more room for the control and flow of suds. You’ll have to adjust the settings from 0 to 5 or 6.

The non-adjustable version solely allows you to spray your vehicle with soap filled water without giving you the opportunity to control the flow of the sud. There are also non-adjustable foam guns and cannons that come with switches that allow you to rinse your vehicle. In this case, all that will be released instead of a soap filled water is clear water that gets rid of the soap, dirt and grease, rinsing your vehicle clean.

Beyond functionalities, another difference between the nonadjustable and adjustable versions is the cost, with the former being the much cheaper alternative.

Both Foam Gun and Foam Cannon work by mixing water, soap, and air to spray a soapy solution on your vehicle

Both wash accessories can be equipped with an easy connect fitting.

They use the same kinds of soaps

Main Difference between Foam Gun and Foam Cannon

Difference between Foam gun vs. Foam Cannon.
Foam cannon requires a pressure washer while foam gun can use a garden hose.

Now that we agree that the foam gun and foam cannon actually do have a few things in common, let’s look at what distinguishes these two spray devices.

 Foam GunFoam Cannon
UsageWith just a garden hose, you wash your car easily without worrying about a pressure washer or how to buy oneNeeds pressure washer: Foam cannons are mostly affixed to a pressure washer to function. But if you don't own one, you can make do with the foam gun. The pressure washer is a huge bonus, as you can use it to blast out stubborn debris more efficiently.
Set UpEasy to install or set up: Setting it up is also simpler and less time taking.Longer to set up: Another difference is the setup time. It is a bit longer than that of foam gun.
Suds on SurfaceFewer suds: A foam gun won't generate as much suds as a cannon does.Thicker: Foam cannon uses extra bubbles to generate densely mixed and aerated suds
SafetyRisk of of wash-induced swirl marks scratches.Safer
PriceThe average cost of a foam gun is $25-$30. The cost is a bit on the higher side (well above $50).

How to set up a Foam Gun or Foam Cannon

Setting up a foam gun is pretty much 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:

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

Foam Gun vs. Foam Cannon: How Do They Work?

Your experience with these devices will greatly improve your car washing routine, but here are few tips for you to know how to use a spray gun properly:

1. Make use of a car wash soap specially made for generating suds. Recommended ones are Chemical Guys and Mckees 37 Xtreme Foam Formula.

2. Based on the directions on the canister, add the right quantity of soap required. Too little 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.

3. Put soap in water and pour inside the canister. Shake the mixture properly.

4. Connect the canister to the foam device and ensure the sprayer and nozzle are properly affixed.

5. Start spraying suds on your car. You should begin from the top and spray downwards.

6. When done, disconnect the device from the sprayer via its quick disconnect latch, then rinse the car.


By beginning your car wash with either a foam gun or foam cannon, you lessen the work and rid most of the stains before rinsing.

Foam Cannons will give you better wash because of the pressure washer used, but they will cost you more than Foam guns. Choosing on which wash accessory you would like to use depends on how much you are willing to spend. If you already own a pressure washer, then the best option for you is a Foam Cannon.

However, if you own a regular water hose and don not intend to spend more money, a Foam Gun is a better choice for you.

We have come to the end of our Foam Gun vs. Foam Cannon comparison. Here is our final verdict:

  • Overall Best Wash Accessory Attachment: Foam Cannon
  • Best Budget Wash Accessory Attachment: Foam Gun

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