The classic alarm systems that we all know have an increasingly evident limit: they are not able to stop the thief. They only warn of the current theft. This means that the thief has at least 3, byt mostly 5 to 15 minutes to make a mess, touch our personal belongings and steal everything he wants.
Fog cannon can be a last resource for customers suffering from grab & run situations. In optional upgrade with sounders and powerful strobe lights it produces an absolute "no go area" for even the most experienced burglar.
In the past high cost and integration complexity made fog cannons being used only by banks, jewelleries and other high risk retailers. Luckily they became affordable enough even for individuals recently. Pricing starts typically on $1.500 including integration. That's not anywhere close to cheap, yet at the same time it's one of the best prevention and deterring solutions available, so it worth considering.
⚠️ Before installing a fog cannon, we recommend to inform your local police officers and fire fighters and double check your local law.
1. How a security fog cannon works
"Thieves can’t steal if they can’t see."
Fog cannon is using a special liquid to release a fog. Depending on liquid tank size, device power and fog releasing time (customizable by user or integrator), a full liquid tank is providing liquid capacity for one or (typically) many usages, anywhere between 30 sec to even 20 minutes or more, between the need of liquid refill.
A fog cannon is being triggered automatically by an alarm system, or most often remotely by a customer or central monitoring station operator when needed (included in Angelcam Deter)
A fog cannon creates smoker barrier within seconds, and after a while it fills a room with dense fog.
Burglars typically get startled and leave the scene immediately.
In the rare case they don't leave instantly, a smoke is preventing the intruder from seeing anything, so they are leaving just then.
Visibility stays obscured anywhere between 20 minutes and several hours, depending on fog cannon power, fog production time, room size, and air ventilation (opening windows or even using fans).
Fog cannon can be triggered again to increase fog density if needed.
Typically fog generated has pleasant citrus or other scent to not be mismatched with fire smoke.
Smoke is breathable, safe, harmless. The smoke produced by most devices leaves no residue.
2. Typical usage scenario
💡Scenario below requires Angelcam Deter, suitable hardware, professional integrator to setup and having appropriate service by central monitoring station.
Prevention & Detection
A perimeter has been breached. A security camera with build-in loitering detection triggered a pre-alarm: pre-recorded message urging potential burglars to leave the private property & recording has been initiated.
A video from a security camera is being analyzed in near real-time by AI to decrease the chance it's a false alarm caused e.g. by an animal.
Analytics confirms it's a real person not leaving the site so:
Another pre-recorded message, this time more loud and vigorous, is being automatically replayed.
A customer and central station operator have been alerted. Trained security operator is using a variety of on-site cameras to keep watch on the person.
The operator is speaking to a person live, using personal identification details, e.g. "Hey you, in the red hoodie, ..." to emphasize to a person it's being tracked.
The operator sees a burglar is trying to break in.
The operator triggers a fog alarm and alerts police.
The burglar left the site.
Police receive time-limited access to a live and recorded video immediately so they know who they are watching for and in which direction he fled.
👉 In most cases, a combination of pre-recorded and live audio calls forces trespassers to leave, so there is no need to utilize a fog cannon. Fog cannon provides the highest level of protection for the rest of the minor cases - when the burglar continues in his attempts. With fog cannon, you'll probably end up with a broken door or window "only" at worst, yet your other valuables stay untouched.
3. Choosing fog cannon - features to compare
Smoke vs fog: Devices using smoke (pyroelectric) patrons create instant real smog, while fluid-based devices are continuously generating fog. The only advantages of devices using smoke patrons are a lower price, zero electricity consumption in stan-by mode, and very low electricity consumption when triggered. On the other side, limited power makes them suitable only for small rooms, they require new (not cheap) smoke patron after each usage and most importantly, there is a visible amount of dust everywhere nearby. For this reason, we are focused on fluid-based devices in this post.
💡 Our advice: Go with fluid-based device, unless you are having site (e.g. boat) with not enough electricity.
Electricity consumption: Most fog cannons need some time (typically about 60-120 minutes) to heat up while consuming about 150 - 300W. After heat up they requires 30 - 50 W in average. Only few brands & models are using technology consuming close to nothing while in stand-by mode, while consuming about 400W or more ONLY during fog creation.
💡 Our advice: For most customers both systems will do a great job. For a battery powered systems (RV, boat, off-grid houses) go with a device requires no power in stand-by-mode. The technology used in these devices has also another advantage we love: fog releasing time is flexible - it's just up to you or operator how long will be fog triggered: it's possible to release a fog e.g. just for a few seconds, what's useful for testing, demonstration or warning purposes. Then - only if needed, it's possible to continue for a longer period of time.
Integration options: Most devices has only local integration option to an alarm system by default, so they can't be triggered remotely by a customer or operator. You can definitely request your installer to do a local integration with your alarm system and trigger fog cannon automatically, yet if you want to have your fog cannon under control to I) prevent launching during false alarm and to II) control fog releasing time remotely (to save costs for
💡 Our advice: Go with fog cannon with remote control feature, that allows you or operator to trigger (and ideally stop as well) a fog cannon remotely. Angelcam Deter customer can control almost any fog cannon remotely by using Chester.
Fog releasing volume vs space/room size: While comparing different models, check how much fluid it can transform to a fog. 10ml per minute is enough for very small spaces, e.g. cars, boats, caravans and small rooms. Max. reccommended space size is always coming within product specification, yet sometimes it's more marketing than reality.
💡 Our advices: In most cases it's not necessary to fill the whole space within few seconds, as for detering the bulglar it's enough to create a fog barrier between him and valuable items or even persons on-site.
I) If you are optimizing for maximum level of security, go with model recommended for your space size, or even with one product line higher.
II) If you are optimizing for price, consider even the cheapest model available - especially, if the room/space you are protecting has just one entry point. It will still provide much better protection than having no fog cannon, as the startle effect for a bulglar will be still provided. Just install a fog cannon against the door or other expected entry point, heading directly to a potential bulglar face. There's a very good chance he'll immediately turn and run, without waiting whether fog will reach every corner or not and when.
In both cases, consider to check product reviews or demonstration videos before purchase to know what you are buying.
4. Recommended fog cannons
Pea Soup: www.smokemachines.net
This UK based company will surprise you with almost family business approach: direct sales approach (no distributors), individual support, wordwide delivery. And no public pricing, nor on-line store. Yes, you have to e-mail them :) Old-school, but working suprisingly well. They have more than 80 devices for any kind of purpose, including two below.
What we love on both models:
Test / demo button on the device
No warm-up time
Much smaller size than typical, making it easier to hide
Standby current only 1.5mA = works for cars, boats, RVs and off-grid locations as well
< 1 sec latency
Continuous output (8 minutes or more)
Cheap spare fluid (yet the chance the one coming with the purchase will be enough for you for years)
Compatible with Chester = can be remotely switched on/off via Angelcam apps and API
We believe both models are no-brainer for off-grid systems having 12V or 24V DC systems. For 110V or 230V AC systems you will need to use power adapter, e.g. this one for 12V model.
PS18 SecuriSmoke 12V, ≅ $800
Cheaper version suitable for smaller space (shed, garage, caravan, RV) or even bigger space with one possible entry point. It quickly fills about 12 m3. We had tested this unit inside 24 m3 space with two entrances and it was clear we were able to protect perfectly just one entrace, while the second will stay unprotected for about 15 sec. So if you have bigger space or more entrances, use two units or more powerful model.
PS 17 SecuriSmoke 24V, ≅$2.700
We didn't tested this more powerful brother, yet it shares all the basics from 12V model, except promising about 9x more power (it consumes about 3 kW, comparing to 400W in 12V model). So it's safe to assume it will work well in bigger spaces. This model is requires a bit more than 3 kW of power on 24V DC - it would run smoothly on boats, RVs, buses or off-grid systems with 24V DC system voltage. For other installations use two 12V batteries wired in series (if you want to have a security system working even during blackout) or consider 110/230V AC models.
High fog output - 60 m3 room has been filled with fog quickly
Nice design that fits even into living room
Power backup after power failure: 17 min
Compatible with Chester = can be triggered remotely from Angelcam apps or API
Fixed fog release time - you can pick from 7, 11 or 16 sec - hard to change (needs to be done manually in the device itself)
Once triggered, it can't be switched off - it's releasing fog for a defined time even when power cut
A liquid container lasts only 2, 3 or 4 fog discharges based on selected release time
High liquid consumption (discharges 250 m3 of fog at full speed in 16 seconds
Hard to test or launch demo
Hard to re-fill, not intended to by done by users
Heat up power consumption 1 kW, stand-by consumption 60 W
UR fog: www.urfog.com
EU/Italy based manufacturer focused on security fog cannons. We are just testing some of their latest models and will share our learnings later, yet so far we like the company and products, so feel free to explore e.g. www.urfog.com/fogging-systems/fogging-system-modular-200/ for about≅$1,200. If you want remote control, pick any model from these three product lines: Pro Plus systems, Modular and Modular Plus - these can be enhanced for network card (≅$300) to enable you or operator to operate a fog cannon via Angelcam apps.