What is the Difference Between Smoke and Haze Machines? Essentially it’s the thickness but lets look a bit closer at why and when to use them. A smoke or fog machine is traditionally used for nightclubs and bars and produces a thick fog which introduces particles into the air in order to give a reflective surface for light to bounce off. A haze machine does the same thing but with less particles and less intensity. It is more commonly used in theatres and conferences or places where you want to see the beam of lights but want to keep the smoke (fog) levels less noticeable. It is the introduction of particles that enables us to see beams of light travelling through the air in theatres, clubs and at concerts. With nothing to bounce of, the light isn’t reflected and we would only see the lights once they hit the walls or flooring. Thus intelligent lighting can create awe inspiring and mood setting lighting shows simply by reflecting light. It allows lighting technicians to showcase their skills in manipulating light to their advantage. While they serve a similar purpose, there are some key differences between the two. Particle Size: The main distinction between smoke machines and haze machines lies in the size of the particles they produce. Smoke of fog machines generate a thicker fog by heating a special fluid creating a thick visible fog. On the other hand, haze machines produce a more subtle, dispersed mist that hangs in the air for a longer duration. The particles produced by haze machines are typically smaller and lighter, resulting in a haze that is less opaque than the fog generated by smoke machines. Visibility: Smoke machines are designed to produce a dense fog that more noticeably obscures visibility. This effect is often used for creating a mysterious or eerie ambiance or for enhancing lighting effects. Haze machines, on the other hand, produce a fine mist that enhances the visibility of light beams and laser effects without significantly reducing overall visibility. Haze provides a softer, more even spread of light throughout the environment. Duration: Smoke machines generally produce clouds of fog that dissipate quicker, often within minutes. The thick fog created by smoke machines is needs more regular thick bursts to top up a level. Haze machines, however, produce a longer-lasting effect. The fine mist created by haze machines can linger in the air for an extended period, often hours, creating a consistent atmospheric effect throughout the event with a less intense output. Application: Due to their differences in particle size and visibility, smoke and haze machines have different applications. Smoke machines are often favoured in nightclubs, halloween, haunted houses, or for creating dramatic effects in theatrical productions where a thick fog is desired (think dragons and special effects). Haze machines, on the other hand, are commonly used in situations where a subtle, atmospheric effect is required. They are frequently employed in theatres, concert venues, bars, photography studios, or film sets to enhance lighting effects and add depth to the environment without hindering visibility. Health and Safety: Smoke machines typically use oil or water-based fluids to create the fog effect. The particles produced can be thicker and may contain irritants, such as glycol or mineral oil. Haze machines, however, use water-based haze fluids that produce finer particles, making them generally safer to use. Nevertheless, it is essential to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines safe environment for performers and audiences. To make it a bit easier to understand when to use the a smoke or haze machine we have compiled the following lists for our favourite applications. Smoke MachineHaze MachineNight ClubsStage and StudioHalloween , Haunted HousesBarsSpecial Effects during Theatre Shows(Dragons Breath, Geysers, Simulated Fires)Theatres and Concert Venues(Ambient, Stage and Intelligent Lighting)Fire and Emergency TrainingConferencesCommon smoke and haze machine applications When we recommend a machine it is highly dependant on the nature of each individual event. Ultimately it comes dow to what effect you as the event manager or the lighting technician is trying to achieve. Think carefully about the ambiance of the room and the end goal of the effect. From there you can determine what machine best suits your needs. If you are still unsure please Contact Us and we can provide some guidance based on your events needs. In summary, smoke machines produce dense fog with larger particles, resulting in reduced visibility. While haze machines create a subtle mist with smaller particles that enhance lighting effects without significantly obscuring visibility. Smoke machines provide a short-lived effect, while haze machines create a longer-lasting atmosphere. The choice between the two depends on the desired ambiance, visibility requirements, and specific application. Please note we do not recommend using a smoke or haze machine in buildings with an active fire or smoke alarm system. The particles in the smoke or haze will be picked up by the smoke detectors and set off these alarms. Some systems will trigger a call out by the fire brigade and these will cost in excess of $1000 and be charged by the fire department directly to the user. Click on the link for more information on the use of smoke or haze machine with fire alarms.