If you just bought a fog machine but you’re not quite sure how to use it, you’ve come to the right place. We’re here to give you all the details about fog machines, including how to operate one without a remote.
Before we get into details, though, it helps to understand what a fog machine is and how it works so you can decide whether you’ll be satisfied with simple manual controls or if you’d rather have a remote.
Here are the basics. Fog machines (also known as smoke machines) are devices that produce a thick vapor that closely resembles fog. You’re likely to see them used in the entertainment business, at concerts, in theatrical productions, or even at themed parties to give that extra spooky or dream-like feel. There are different shapes and sizes so it’s pretty easy to find one that suits your needs.
Now, there are two different types of fog machines. They differ in the method they use to make fog. The most popular type uses a heating element that warms a fogging solution, turning it into a vapor that condenses when it hits the cooler outside air and spreads out in the air as fog. The other type uses an aerator instead of a heating element and spreads a fine mist or molecules throughout the air. While both of these machines create amazing effects, they do look a little different. Machines that use a heating element create a more cloud-like effect near the ceiling while those with an aerator result in a general haze dispersed throughout the room.
There is a wide variety of fog machines on the market today so you can find one suitable for just about any event or venue. Not only are these machines increasingly used by professional photographers, party planners, and club owners but homeowners are also starting to invest in smaller fog machines for their own use. Whether it’s for small-scale parties, personal photoshoots, or just plain old fun, the smaller models of fog machines are growing more and more popular.
Different Ways To Use Fog Machines
You might be thinking, do I really need a fog machine? Well, that’s a fair question. But a fog machine is one of those things that you didn’t know you needed until you have one. Once you do, you’ll find all kinds of ways to use it.
If you need some help figuring out how to make the most out of your fog machine, here are some ideas to inspire you:
Birthday parties. No matter how old you are, a fog machine is one way to make your birthday one to remember. Plus, when these machines are used properly, they’re perfectly suitable for a kid’s party.
Summer BBQ. Add some ambiance that your guests won’t soon forget. This one is especially effective if your party goes into the night. Think about how awesome fog would look billowing around your garden lights as you and your guests wait for Fourth of July fireworks or enjoy a starry night sky.
Photoshoots. If you’re a professional photographer or just want to take your social media posts to the next level, a fog machine can help you get there. Add fog to outdoor shoots on the lake, create a dreamlike atmosphere for prom pictures, or set up one of those horror engagement shoots that go viral on social media with a zombie, dinosaur, or movie monster chasing the couple through the foggy woods.
Halloween. Is there a better time for a fog machine that Halloween? Probably not! Whether you want to take spooky photos, elevate your front yard decor, or turn your garage into a haunted house for neighborhood trick-or-treaters, a fog machine is an absolute must.
Dances and other social events. Imagine how excited you would have been to have a fog machine at your middle school dance or high school prom. Imagine kids taking selfies and posing together while a fine mist swirls around them. Adding a fog machine creates an ethereal look that’s sure to help make some memories to last a lifetime.
Now, depending on the kind of effect you want, you may also want to invest in a chiller. Fog machine chillers cool the fog once it comes out of the machine so it sinks and creeps along the floor instead of floating to the ceiling. There are plenty of great chillers for sale but it’s pretty easy to make your own using simple materials, most of which you might already have laying around your home.
Operating Your Fog Machine
Fog machines can be tricky to operate, especially for first-time users who are used to remote-controlled devices. Many fog machines come with remotes but not all of them do. Plus, there’s always the chance that you’ll lose the remote or the batteries will run out and you’ll have to rely on manual controls. Regardless, it’s best to learn how to use your machine without the remote.
Here are some basic tips for how to get your fog or smoke machine up and running… without the remote control.
Setting Up Your Fog Machine
Depending on the type of fog machine you buy, you’ll either have to add batteries or plug the machine into an outlet. Some battery-operated machines have an internal battery that you can charge between uses. Most don’t. Make note of this when making your purchase so you know whether or not you need to buy batteries and, if so, what size batteries you need. All of this should be clearly spelled out on the package.
When setting up your fog machine, place it in a location where it’s far away from things that could easily catch fire, including paper, curtains, and any party decorations. Also, keep your device away from any liquid that could spill. Fog machines do not pose any real danger to users when they’re used properly but it’s best to take these precautions during the planning stages. Remember that fog machines can get very hot and there’s a risk that they can leak or spill fogging liquid on the floor.
It’s also important to use the right kind of fogging liquid for your machine. Don’t worry, this should be clearly spelled out on the side of the package or in the instruction manual. Why is this so important? Well, there are a few reasons. For one, aerosol machines work differently than those with a heating element and the fogging liquid used in each type has different ingredients. Another big reason that using the right fogging liquid is so important is that using the wrong one can result in harmful chemical byproducts. If the liquid isn’t heated to the right temperature, it doesn’t do what it’s supposed to do and can end up releasing harmful things into the air instead of cool-looking fog.
About Remote Controlled Fog Machines
Some machines include a wireless remote control that you can use to control the machine from across the room. Most people are familiar with remote systems and these are all pretty easy to operate. Fog machine remotes are incredibly convenient but, depending on the model, they could also be a tad dodgy. Some of them don’t work as well as you’d like them to and you don’t want to be standing across the room trying to turn your fog machine on while everyone waits to see what big surprise you have in store.
The best thing you can do to make sure you get a machine with a reliable remote is to check out the user reviews of the fog machine you’re thinking about getting. You might see customers reporting that they had problems with the remote not working properly or running out of juice quickly. If you’re investing in a machine with a remote – especially if the remote is something you’re passionate about – then you want to make sure you pick the best one.
About Fog Machines Without Remote Controls
Not every fog machine has a remote control and even those that do can also be operated manually so you can still use them if you lose the remote or if it runs out of batteries. Manual controls are usually located underneath a panel on the top of the machine. The panel can be touchscreen or button-operated, depending on the model. All the necessary buttons or controls are available to you on this panel so you can make all the adjustments needed to get the effect you want.
When it comes to price, you can expect to pay about the same depending on the quality of the machine. The remote is a nice feature but it’s not going to change how well the machine works. High-quality machines with or without a remote cost more than low-quality machines with or without a remote.
Benefits and Drawbacks of Using Fog Machines Without Remotes
Whether or not you get a fog machine with a remote control or not is completely up to you. In the end, it boils down to personal preference. That said, if you’re still on the fence, here are some things to keep in mind while you’re deciding.
- Depending on the product, fog machines with panels may be a lot simpler to operate than remote controls. Most manual controls are straightforward and only give you what you need to get the results you want.
- You should already be checking your machine routinely to make sure the fog fluid level is adequate and to make sure that nothing spills. So, since you’re already interacting with the machine, making adjustments on a panel shouldn’t be that difficult.
- You never need to worry about the remote running out of batteries. Even if you have a machine with a remote, it’s worth learning how to use the manual controls (if there are any) so you can still use the machine if you find the batteries run out of juice.
- Some remotes can only be used within a few meters of your device so a remote itself may not be able to cover the area you need it to. If you have to be standing close to the device to use the remote, what’s the point?
- Remotes are easy to lose, especially in the excitement of a party, dance, or photoshoot. On the other hand, a control panel is attached to the machine so it’s literally impossible to lose.
- If you aren’t keen on kneeling down and adjusting your machine from the floor, a remote might be something worth investing in.
- Remotes can be more convenient when making adjustments because you don’t have to worry about leaving your party guests for a few minutes to play around with the fog machine.
- Depending on the quality of the remote control and the unit itself, you may be able to make adjustments from across the room. This comes in handy if you have a lot of other stuff going on that’s distracting you, like preparing food for guests, handing out candy to trick-or-treaters, or trying to get the lighting just right for a photo shoot.
Remember, every fog machine has its advantages and disadvantages. Everything depends on what you want to get out of your device, the effects you’re going to create, how much you’re going to use it, and how much you’re willing to spend. No matter what your preferences are, there’s surely an easy-to-use device out there for you. Whether it’s for a birthday, private function, holiday festivity, or something as simple as a personal photoshoot, a fog machine is sure to take the atmosphere to the next level.