If you’re hunting for a seriously powerful pre-wash for your car, our eight-way snow foam group test will help you pick the best one.
Work smarter, not harder is a phrase that applies to car detailing. Squaring up to a particularly mucky machine may be daunting, but the right tools make the job so much easier. Snow foam is an essential part of the pre-wash process, and a powerful snow foam will remove loads of dirt on its own.
This way, there will be less work involved in washing it, which makes your life easier. As a bonus, if your car is cleaner when you start washing, there’s less chance of damaging the paint. The 10 minutes or so that snow foaming takes is absolutely worth it.
There’s a huge range of snow foam out there to choose from. As Fast Car’s Detailing Product tester, I’ve done the hard work to make it easier for you to choose. I’ve picked eight popular snow foams and pitted them against each other in a group test.
I’m looking for snow foam that delivers impressive cleaning performance first and foremost. I will take value for money into account as well, but I want something that will do some serious cleaning. There are some very impressive products here, so read on to see my picks for the best snow foam.
Best Snow Foam At A Glance
- Best Overall and Editor’s Choice: Bilt Hamber Touch-Less. RRP: $59.95, buy now! £19.13, buy now!
- Approved: Gtechniq W4 Citrus Foam. RRP: $21.95, buy now! £13.99, buy now!
- Approved: Griot’s Garage Foaming Surface Wash. RRP: $21.99, buy now! £24.99, buy now!
- Best Value: Koch Chemie Gentle Snow Foam. RRP: $30.99, buy now! £17.72, buy now!
Bilt Hamber Touch-Less – Best Overall and Editor’s Choice
- Exceptional cleaning performance
- Working out panel impact ratio is fiddly
Bilt Hamber Touch-Less is about maximum cleaning, pure and simple. It’s not pH-neutral, there’s no fancy smell and doesn’t make a mountain of foam. It’s been designed to get your car as clean as possible in the pre-wash stage. And it does. Using it for the first time is a little tricky. To get the correct dilution ratio, you need to work out the panel impact ratio for your foam lance. Bilt Hamber provides instructions on how to do this, thankfully. And you don’t have to worry about it unless you use a different foam lance.
You will find that you need more product than with other snow foams because of this. But that’s why Touch-Less comes in such a large container. The cleaning power is second-to-none, and it pulls dirt from your car’s panels like you won’t believe. Bilt Hamber Touch-Less is the definition of work smarter, not harder. This is my go-to snow foam and the best on the market.
Take a look at our full review of Bilt Hamber’s Touch-Less snow foam here.
Gtechniq W4 Citrus Foam – Approved
- Impressive cleaning power despite being pH-neutral
- Just not quite as good as Touch-Less
Gtechniq’s W4 Citrus Foam snow foam is a coating-safe pH-neutral formula. That would normally suggest it won’t perform that well, that’s not the case here. The secret to W4’s impressive performance is that it combines a citrus degreaser with a foaming agent. A citrus pre-wash is something you can use before applying snow foam. By integrating it into the snow foam, Gtechniq has upped its cleaning power significantly. At the same time, it’s still pH-neutral, which means it won’t degrade any wax you’ve got on the paint.
W4 Citrus Foam comes out a little watery but clings well. It really impressed me, and the combo of citrus degreaser and foaming agent cuts through the dirt with ease. Using 3.38 fl. oz (100ml) of W4 as per the instructions means you’ll get 10 washes, which is not bad. The combination of impressive cleaning power and pH-neutral formula is a real winner. Gtechniq W4 Citrus Foam is another snow foam that I will be adding to my collection.
For more advice, rear our full review of the Gtechniq W4 Citrus Foam.
Griot’s Garage Foaming Surface Wash – Approved
- Good cleaning performance while also being pH-neutral
- Just falls short of matching the top two
I’ve tried a few of Griot’s products in the past and have been impressed. I was therefore looking forward to seeing what Foaming Surface Wash was like. I have to say, this is another Griot’s product that impressed me. This milky liquid has a very pleasant coconut smell, for starters. Following the instructions for the Griot’s The Boss Foam Cannon is best as it’s like a normal snow foam lance. That means using 1.6 fl. oz (47ml) per wash. That means you get 20 washes per liter, which makes it good value, despite the higher price.
The foam had a nice consistency and stayed on the panel for a long time. Despite its pH-neutral formula, Griot’s Garage Foaming Surface Wash delivered impressive cleaning power. It was one of the best foams here, and this is another snow foam I will be using personally.
Read the full review of Griot’s Garage Foaming Surface Wash.
Koch Chemie Gentle Snow Foam – Best Value
- A little goes a long way
- Cleaning performance is only average
Yet another multi-purpose product, Koch Chemie GSF doubles up as a snow foam and shampoo. It’s got a nice cherry scent and is pH-neutral so it’s coating-safe. With it being German, I had high hopes for this snow foam. You only need 0.7 fl. oz (20ml) of product in a 1-liter snow foam lance, which means if you’re looking for value for money, this is your champion.
At that dilution ratio, you’ll get 50 washes from your 1-liter bottle. That makes it the cheapest snow foam here per wash by some margin. It delivered plenty of foam and stuck to the panel for a long time. Unfortunately, its cleaning power was only average, and this is, ultimately, a test of cleaning power.
Read full review of Koch Chemie Gentle Snow Foam here.
Masterson’s Mystic Snow Foam Auto Wash
Size tested: 16 fl oz/473ml. RRP: $14.99 / £10.95, buy now!
- Dual-purpose foam can be used in direct sunlight
- Cleaning power is not that impressive
Masterson’s Mystic Snow Foam is another dual-purpose product. You can use this as a regular shampoo, or put it through your foam lance as a snow foam. I love the marzipan smell, it’s pH-neutral and coating-safe, and it can also be used in direct sunlight. That’s a big deal, as it promises to leave behind no streaks or spots. If you clean your car in direct sunlight, this is the snow foam for you.
However, its performance wasn’t that impressive. We used it at its lowest dilution of 1 fl. oz (30ml), and it was okay. It took a reasonable amount of dirt off the panel, and it’s a mid-position foam in this test. At 1 fl. oz dilution, it is very good value for money, though, which might sway your decision.
Want to know more about Masterson’s snow foam? Check out the Mystic Snow Foam Auto Wash review here.
Auto Finesse Avalanche
- pH-neutral with decent cleaning performance
- Vague dilution instructions
Auto Finesse Avalanche is another snow foam with a pleasant whiff of citrus. However, there’s no mention of there being any degreasing action at work here. There’s also no mention of pH level, but Auto Finesse says Avalanche is coating-friendly. It delivered some lovely foam that really clung to the panel. After rinsing it was clear that Avalanche had done some work on the dirt.
I will say I don’t like the vagueness of the instructions. Auto Finesse says you should use 1-2” of product in a 1-liter bottle. I measured this on the six snow foam lances I tested, and it ranges from around 3.38 fl. oz (100ml) to over 17 fl. oz (500ml). I would much rather have a clearer dilution ratio. No one is going to be using 17 fl. oz in one go, so 3.38 fl. oz per wash will give you 10 washes per liter. That makes it a little expensive here, but it’s not a bad snow foam.
Chemical Guys Sticky Snowball
Size tested: 16 fl oz/473ml. RRP: $12.99 / £15.99, buy now!
- Can be used as a shampoo and snow foam
- Poor cleaning performance
Chemical Guys Sticky Snowball is advertised as being both a shampoo and a snow foam. I like the versatility because it means you don’t necessarily need to buy a separate shampoo. But I care about performance, and sadly, Chemical Guys Sticky Snowball did not deliver as well compared to others here. It made lots of very thick foam, and it stuck around on the panel, as its name suggested it would.
However, it performed poorly here and didn’t seem to do much cleaning at all. It’s well-priced, at least. At 1 fl oz (30ml) per wash, you’ll get just over 15 washes from 16.9 fl. oz (500ml), which means 30 per liter. Even the higher concentration of 2 fl. oz (60ml) will give you 15 washes per liter of product. However, considering its performance at 1 fl. oz dilution, which is how I tested, you’d have to use 2 fl. oz each time. Maybe it would work better then, but I’d rather stick with something that I know performs really well.
For a closer look at Chemical Guys’ Sticky Snowball snow foam, read our full review of it here.
- A decent all-rounder
- Just a bit average across the board
Fastfoam is billed as the British detailing company’s professional detailing snow foam. There’s not a lot of specific information about the formula or anything else, so I wasn’t sure what to expect.
I didn’t get the thickest foam, but it’s not about that when it comes to cleaning – it’s the performance that matters. It did cling to the panel nicely, though. Post-rinse, I could see that it had taken some dirt off the panel. At the recommended dilution ratio, you’ll get 10 washes from the 1-liter bottle. It’s decent value and not a bad choice of snow foam.
Want to know more? Read our full review of Angelwax Fastfoam.
How Each Product Was Tested
I first performed a swipe test using a cotton pad on a section of the car’s panel. Then I applied each snow foam at the lowest suggested dilution ratio onto the dry panel. Some foams tell you to pre-rinse the panel, while others don’t. Tests have shown that snow foam generally performs better when applied to a dry panel, so that’s what I did. The snow foam was allowed to dwell for its suggested time, then rinsed off. The panel was allowed to dry, and then I carried out another swipe test from the same area. This allowed me to directly compare the amount of dirt remaining after using the foam.
What To Look For When Buying The Best Snow Foam
The most important thing is cleaning power and performance. This is why you are buying snow foam. There’s no point buying something that smells nice or delivers mountains of foam if it doesn’t clean properly. A large amount of foam does not automatically mean strong cleaning power. A pH-neutral foam is also worth looking at, as it won’t strip your wax or other coatings you might have applied to your car. If you like to apply wax regularly or use a wash and wax shampoo, then that won’t matter so much to you. But if you want your coating to last, it’s nice to know which snow foam won’t cause it to degrade.