Foam Cannons & Garden Hoses

foam covered car

Do you like clean cars? What about those ultra-satisfying Instagram videos of cars covered in snow-white foam that are then cleaned spotlessly? Are you wondering if you can use a foam cannon with a garden hose? If you answered yes to any of those questions, you’re in the right place. Today, we’re talking about if you should use your garden hose with a foam cannon, why/why not, and how (if the answer is yes).

So what’s on the docket today?

Today’s Topics Include:

This will be a short and sweet little article, so let’s just dive right in, shall we?

Garden Hoses, Foam Guns, and How to Use Them

Let’s start with the super basic stuff – can you use a foam cannon with a garden hose? While this answer will be super quick, it’ll inform the rest of our reading today. Let’s not waste any more time and get going!

Can You Use a Foam Cannon With a Garden Hose?

man cleaning car with foam cannon
*Note that this is a foam cannon – not a foam gun – as made clear by the pressure washer attached.

I’ve got a bit of bad news for you – though it does come with some good news.

You cannot use a foam cannon with a garden hose. However, you can use a foam gun with a garden hose.

So what’s the difference?

  • Foam Cannons (AKA Foam Lances):
    • Foam cannons are designed from the ground up to be attached to a pressure washer.
    • They’re designed to reduce extra marks from wiping the car (as you would traditionally to clean it)
    • Foam cannons spray a thick layer of foam and cover your car from top to bottom.
  • Foam Guns*:
    • Foam guns are designed to be simple to use. They are made to be handheld and don’t require a pressure washer – think a spray bottle on crack.
    • They come with a spray nozzle handle, just like your garden hose’s nozzle, and can be attached to hoses for more water pressure.
    • Foam guns deliver a thin layer of foam and lightly cover your car.
    • Foam guns still require that you wipe down/rinse your car – potentially leaving marks, unlike the foam cannon.
    • *Note that while the linked foam gun is actually a foam gun, it’s marketed as a foam cannon. It does, however, mention that it hooks up to, “any standard garden hose, no additional tools or machines needed,” making it a foam gun.

In short, buy yourself a pressure washer if you want to use a foam cannon, and get a foam gun if you want to use your garden hose.

How Do You Use a Foam Cannon Without a Pressure Washer?

foam on car from foam lance

No matter what videos like this tell you, foam cannons cannot be used without a pressure washer. What you see in that video is a foam gun – and despite the common misconception, they are not the same thing.

Foam cannons are designed to be used with a pressure washer. This means that the tubing is designed for high-pressure systems – something your garden hose can’t say it is. If you’d like to get more information and see why this is so important to know, check out our guide to garden hoses and water pressure.

The basic idea, though (for those who don’t want to read more) is that using a garden hose in a high-pressure system is an excellent way to end up with teeny-tiny bits of garden hose scattered across your yard, driveway, and in the neighbour’s pool.

In short, you do not use a foam cannon without a pressure washer – you use foam guns without a pressure washer.

Can You Connect a Foam Cannon to the Garden Hose?

A foam cannon cannot be connected to your garden hose. However, foam guns are explicitly designed to be attached to your garden hose and, importantly, are much cheaper. Trust me – your wallet will thank you for grabbing a foam gun.

Though your inner child may wish you got the cannon.

Can You Use a Snow Foam Cannon With a Hose?

Spraying car with garden hose nozzle

And we make it back to another common misconception. Snow foam cannons are the same as a foam cannon/lance. It’s literally just another name for the same thing.

Snow foam, specifically, is a particular type of foam designed to help strip wax, grease, and heavy-duty cleaners from your car without damaging the paint. It is not the same as the “standard” foam used in foam cannons and has a different pH content than snow foam.

So to answer the question, no – you cannot use a snow foam cannon with a hose, garden or otherwise. They are designed to be used with pressure washers, and for good reason, so don’t doubt the engineers who designed your foam cannon. Believe it or not, they knew what they were doing, and should be trusted.


All in all, that was a very long-winded way of saying that you should not use a foam cannon with a garden hose. Instead, you should find yourself a foam gun. You’ll save yourself money, speed up the carwashing process, and get to keep your beloved garden hose in one piece. Despite the countless videos you’ll find online saying to the contrary, each of them is using a foam gun, not a cannon/lance with their garden hose.

Shocker, I know – people just go on the internet and lie for views? Crazy.