The way a fog machine works is by heating the fog fluid or juice in order to create fog. Fog juice is pumped through thermostatically temperature controlled heat exchanger that vaporizes the fluid into thick clouds of fog. All fog machines require around 5 minutes to heat up, which can be the problem with most cheap models. They tend to generate fog, but will need to take pauses to reheat before they can make fog again. Different fog machines create different types of fog. Fog machines are more likely to set off fire alarms. A smaller fog machine will tend to have a smaller wattage, which is fine for a small house party but probably won’t fill up a large stage. For example a 700w fog machine is perfect for an at home partier and a 3000 –1500w machine is perfect for a wedding or banquet.
A hazer also uses fog fluid, but the fluid is sent into an enclosed chamber where an air compressor shoots the fluid into a vapour, which is then blown out by a fan in the form of a vapour. Hazers never produce thick clouds, in fact you can barely see the haze in the air. Their main purpose is to add atmosphere and dimension to any performance area through lighting effect enhancement, they also work great with lasers. Hazers are less likely to set off fire alarms but it’s not guaranteed. It’s always good to do a bit of research before renting/ purchasing one.
Different types of Fog/Haze Machines
These smoke machines are regular ones you see. It creates a cloud of smokey fog 5′-10′ tall. The longer you run the machine, the bigger and higher the fog goes. Because this is heated fog the mist with be slowly moving higher as you run the machine. These type of foggers are the cheapest priced ones available. The very cheap units probably won’t have DMX control, but there are many cost-effective models that do.
NOTE: It is not a fog effect that will lay low, this fog will rise due to the heated vapour.
Now how about that epic looking ground fog? How do you do that? Well since we said to make fog you need heat, but heat rises… That means we need to cool the fog after producing it with a fog chiller.
NOTE: Chilled fog will only lie low for as long as it is cold, once it has warmed up it will rise back up into the air.
There’s also another option where you could use a low-lying CO2 fog machine. They work perfectly without the fog rising, but are expensive and need to be monitored as they could cause breathing problems. Water based ones like the ADJ Mr. Kool II are much more friendly to use. (and cheaper)
Haze machines create a fine haze and tend to stay in the air longer – the particles linger in the air for a long time before disappearing making them ideal for use at parties and concerts. They produce a less noticeable effect than smoke or low fog machines, as they are designed to emphasize the lighting effects allowing you to see rays and patterns you would not normally see. For example the laser effect at a party.