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Fog machines play an important role in live shows, events, and parties, helping to create the right atmosphere, while potentially enhancing lighting effects and obscuring aspects of the show that you would prefer to keep hidden.
However, you need to know that the fog machine you have purchased is up to the task!
There are a number of different factors to consider when purchasing a fog machine, from the warm-up time and fog output to the additional features and, of course, the cost. This also means that the various options on the market may offer different plus points and drawbacks, and may be ideally suited for slightly different needs and settings.
Below, you can find out a whole lot more about five of the very best fog or smoke machines available for purchase, so that you can make a more informed decision about how to provide fog for your live events.
What are the Best Fog Machines?
Fog Machine Reviews
Anyone looking for the very best fog machine for live shows and parties would do well to explore the Chauvet DJ Hurricane 1800.
The machine offers a range of excellent features, including DMX control with 180 degrees adjustable angles, allowing fog to be output into the ideal direction for your needs at any given time.
The machine uses water-based fog fluid and boasts an impressive 5L tank capacity. It also offers a fog output of 29,600 cfm, making it well-suited for indoor events and party venues of almost any size.
At under 30lbs, the fog machine can be transported from venue to venue easily enough, making it ideal for touring musicians or other live performers.
The fog machine is controlled by a wired controller and it comes with a low fluid indicator, while the fog machine automatically shuts down when it reaches a low enough level.
- Excellent fog output levels
- Solid range of controls
- Suitable for even large venues
- Not the most affordable option
For those with a bigger budget, the ADJ Fog Fury Jett RGBA Illuminated Vertical Fog Machine is the ideal professional fog machine, especially if you have advanced needs in terms of creating the right mood through a combination of smoke and attractive colors.
The machine allows users to mix colors into their fog display through the use of 12 LEDs, which can produce stunning visuals for parties, concerts, and other live shows.
Meanwhile, the 20,000 cfm fog output makes the machine ideally suited for medium-sized venues and perfectly sufficient for many larger venues as well.
Fog is produced using water-based fog fluid and the machine automatically cuts out when the 3L tank runs low.
A wireless remote allows you to control the fog output from afar, and the tank can be moved from the front to the rear, or vice versa, allowing the fog effect to be directed either upwards or downwards.
- Ideal for medium or large venues
- Able to add color to fog displays
- Automatic cut off when fluid runs low
- Not the most affordable option
If you are operating on a limited budget and seeking a cheap fog machine, or if you are intending to only utilize fog effects in more modest venues, you should seriously consider purchasing the VF400 Portable Fog Machine from ADJ.
The fog machine is highly portable and weighs just 4lbs, making it extremely easy to move from one location to the next. Although it’s a small fog machine, it’ll get the job done reliably,
Boasting a fog output of 3,000 cfm, it is more than capable of adding the right mood and atmosphere to smaller live shows and parties, and it can help to enhance laser effects and other similar small-scale displays.
Its 0.5L tank may be smaller than some alternatives but is ideal for occasional use or shorter bursts. The machine can be controlled through the use of a wired controller and it is designed to work with water-based fog fluid.
- Lightweight and portable
- Perfect for use in small venues
- A great, budget-friendly option
- May not be suitable for large events
Another excellent professional fog machine option for the more budget-conscious buyer is the ADJ VF1300 1300W Compact Fog Machine.
This particular machine combines the compact nature of more portable options with a mid-range fog output of 12,000 cfm and tank size of more than 2.5L, allowing it to function in a variety of venue sizes.
Users have the option of either a wired or wireless remote control, meaning you can control the fog output even from a distance. Meanwhile, Electronic Thermo Sensing (ETS) helps to optimize the levels of heat produced.
At 15lbs, the fog machine can be easily carried and transported between venues, and the physical size of the machine also lends itself to travel.
Finally, the ADJ VF1300 has been carefully designed to protect its own pump through the use of a shut-off sensor, which automatically switches the pump off when fluid levels are low.
- A cost-effective solution
- Compact and portable
- Can be used for mid-sized venues
- May not be suitable for large events
If you are seeking a small fog machine with rapid warm-up times, the Chauvet DJ Hurricane 700 Fog Machine makes a perfect choice.
Weighing just 4lbs, it can be easily transported from location to location, while the swift setup means it can be warmed and ready to output fog after just two-and-a-half minutes.
The machine provides a fog output rating of 1,500 cfm and has a 1L tank. Its small size makes it simple to move from place to place, and its quick startup times help to provide the kind of flexibility that allows the machine to be moved from one part of a venue to another at short notice, or even in the middle of an event.
Although the machine is not likely to be the best option for larger venues, it can provide smoke for lengthy performances in smaller settings and it is one of the best fog machine choices for those with a limited budget.
- Small and portable
- Very budget-friendly
- Excellent start-up times
- Will not suit large events
Buyer’s Guide – How to Find the Best Fog Machine
When looking for the best fog machine, buyers need to think carefully about a number of key elements, including the budget they have available, the types of venues they are going to be using the fog machine in, the amount of fog they need, and the level of control they require and then compare the different products on the market.
In this buyer’s guide, you can find out more about some of the main features to look for and some of the most important questions you need to ask yourself when trying to find the ideal fog or smoke machine.
Smoke or Fog Output
One of the most important features to check when seeking the best smoke machine is the level of output the machine is capable of. This will help to determine how much smoke or fog will be produced, and knowing this can be essential for understanding whether a particular product will be suitable for use in a specific venue.
As a general rule, fog output is measured in cubic feet per minute, or cfm for short, and this is essentially a measurement of airflow. Generally speaking, a larger cfm rating for a fog machine means it will be able to produce a greater amount of fog.
With that being said, this is not an entirely foolproof method for determining suitability, because cfm does not factor in smoke density. To be absolutely certain, you should also check features like the size of the tank and the power consumption, while also reading product descriptions to see what venues they are designed for.
Controlling the Machine
Although the flow of fog and its density are key considerations, it is also important to take the time to look into how each fog machine option is actually controlled. The two primary control methods are wired remote controls and wireless remote controls, while some machines may offer both of these control methods.
Wired connections like the ones in the Chauvet DJ Hurricane 700 Fog Machine and the ADJ VF400 400W Portable Fog Machine tend to be more reliable, but they are limited in terms of how far away from the fog machine you can be while controlling it. Wireless controllers, on the other hand, allow for greater distance, but reliability is slightly reduced due to issues like signal, Bluetooth connections, or batteries in the controller.
The best possible solution here is to find a fog machine that offers a wireless controller but also provides a wired controller that can be used in the event that you encounter a problem with the wireless one. Some modern fog machines may also include options to control them via a smartphone connection, while many solutions will allow for timer-based control, enabling you to keep your hands free during a performance.
Other Key Features
Some of the other features to explore when looking for fog or smoke machine include the length of time the machine will take to warm up, as well as the weight and physical size of the machine. Smaller fog machines like the ADJ VF1300 1300W Compact Fog Machine are more portable, which can be advantageous, but they are unlikely to be the best choice for larger live shows or parties.
You should also check whether your fog machine works using AC power, or whether it is battery powered. The majority of options here will use AC power and these tend to be higher quality and more reliable. Of course, the primary advantage of battery-powered options is the ability to use them anywhere.
Some fog machines have adjustable angles, allowing the fog to be aimed in different directions, and this can be useful for those with more advanced needs. Most fog machines will use water-based fog fluid, but there are still some exceptions to this and it is important to take the time to research these alternatives and the pros and cons.