A SMOKE MACHINE
Chosing a smoke machine for
the first time can be quite a confusing ordeal. On this page we
aim to assist you with guidance for the important decision.
This page focuses on the electromechanical water based fluid units
predominantly, but reference is made to all types of machine. By
no means is this a comprehensive list as new machines are being
produced very regularly. The advice on this page should not be construed
as recommendation, as we do not know the specific requirements for
your application to give you a guarantee of suitability.
Essentially, there are two types of smoke machine:
(which have only really been around for a few years due to
advances in technology) are small smoke machines which are used
in the home for parties and the like. These units are generally
simple in operation (on/off), have limited output and a dead-band,
which is a period of time where the machine cannot be operated as
the heating block is below temperature and being re-heated. Professional
smoke machines are capable of much larger output of smoke
and many have the option of continuous output (with no dead-band).
Reliable professional units can cost upwards of £300.
Location, location, location!
Perhaps the most important factor when chosing which smoke
machine to use is the location and environment the unit will be
Building leak test?
Air flow test location?
Concert / stadium?
Outdoors for film / TV shoot?
* Electricity powered
smoke machines are not designed for outdoor installation, but can
be used outdoors, weather permitting.
Of course, you may wish to have more than one machine
in use in any one area. When using low lying fog effects in large
areas, it is recommended that several units are used that are carefully
placed to optimise coverage.
If the smoke machine is being used outside in large
open spaces, smaller units pale in comparison to the larger professional
models. Wind is always a problem, especially with smoke machine
useage outdoors. On a windy day, the smoke does not hang in the
air and is blown away continually.
Note that to make smoke or fog hang in the air for longer,
use fans or wafting units which will 'dilute' the thick white dense smoke
freshly produced by your machine into a thinner fog (similar to haze)
which will fill all corners of the room and take more time to exit.
Frequency of Operation
The frequency of smoke machine operation is important -
will the machine be required to make smoke at parties every so often
OR will it be generating smoke continuously 24/7/365?
In general, the more expensive professional models will offer infinite
control and be able to operate for much longer periods with less
maintenance than cheaper units. Pro units can run continuously for
the duration of however much fluid remains in the tank.
For fixed intsallations in theme parks for example,
running costs and reliability are the most important factors (which
is why we only recommend one of our machines for these applications).
We hope this helps you a little on the way to making
a choice of smoke machine. If you're really stuck, we can always
help. Contact us.