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, but 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. An 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 used only by banks, jewelry, and other high-risk retailers. Luckily they became affordable enough even for individuals recently. Pricing starts typically at $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's worth considering.

⚠️ Before installing a fog cannon, we recommend informing your local police officers and firefighters and double checking your local law.

Content

1. How a security fog cannon works

2. Typical usage scenario

3. Choosing fog cannon - features to compare

4. Recommended fog cannons
5. Where to get more help


1. How a security fog cannon works

"Thieves can’t steal if they can’t see."

  1. 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 a liquid refill.

  2. 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's real-time security plan)

  3. A fog cannon creates a smoke barrier within seconds, and after a while, it fills a room with dense fog.

  4. Burglars typically get startled and leave the scene immediately.

  5. In the rare case, they don't leave instantly, a smoke is preventing the intruder from seeing anything, so they are leaving just then.

  6. 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).

  7. The fog cannon can be triggered again to increase fog density if needed.

  8. Typically fog generated has pleasant citrus or other scents to not be mismatched with fire smoke.

  9. Smoke is breathable, safe, and harmless. The smoke produced by most devices leaves no residue.

2. Typical usage scenario

💡Scenario below requires Angelcam's real-time security plan, suitable hardware, a professional integrator to set up, and appropriate service by the central monitoring station.

Prevention & Detection

A perimeter has been breached. A security camera with built-in loitering detection triggered a pre-alarm: pre-recorded message urging potential burglars to leave the private property & recording has been initiated.

Verification

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.

Action

Analytics confirms it's a real person not leaving the site so:

  1. Another pre-recorded message, this time more loud and vigorous, is being automatically replayed.

  2. A customer and central station operator have been alerted. A trained security operator is using a variety of on-site cameras to keep watch on the person.

  3. 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.

  4. The operator sees a burglar trying to break in.

  5. The operator triggers a fog alarm and alerts the police.

  6. The burglar left the site.

Investigation

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

  1. 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 stand-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 the fluid-based device, unless you are having a site (e.g. boat) with not enough electricity.

  2. 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 require 30 - 50 W on average. Only a few brands & models are using technology consuming close to nothing while in standby mode and consuming about 400W or more ONLY during fog creation.

    💡 Our advice: For most customers, both systems will do a great job. For battery-powered systems (RV, boat, off-grid houses) go with a device that 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 the 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.

  3. Integration options: Most devices have only a 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 the fog cannon automatically, yet if you want to have your fog cannon under control to I) prevent launching during false alarm and II) control fog releasing time remotely (to save costs for


    💡 Our advice: Go with fog cannon with remote control feature, that allows you or the operator to trigger (and ideally stop as well) a fog cannon remotely. Angelcam real-time security customers can control almost any fog cannon remotely by using Chester.

  4. Fog releasing volume vs space/room size: While comparing different models, check how much fluid it can transform into a fog. 10ml per minute is enough for very small spaces, e.g. cars, boats, caravans, and small rooms. Max. recommended space size is always coming within product specification, yet sometimes it's more marketing than reality.

    💡 Our advice: In most cases, it's not necessary to fill the whole space within a few seconds, as for deterring the burglar it's enough to create a fog barrier between him and valuable items or even persons on-site.
    I) If you are optimizing for the maximum level of security, go with the model recommended for your space size, or even with one product line higher.
    II) If you are optimizing for the 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 burglar will be still provided. Just install a fog cannon against the door or other expected entry point, heading directly to a potential burglar's 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 checking 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 an almost family business approach: a direct sales approach (no distributors), individual support, and worldwide delivery. And no public pricing, or online store. Yes, you have to e-mail them :) Old-school, but working surprisingly well. They have more than 80 devices for any kind of purpose, including the two below.

What we love about both models:

  1. Test/demo button on the device

  2. No warm-up time

  3. Much smaller size than typical, making it easier to hide

  4. Standby current only 1.5mA = works for cars, boats, RVs, and off-grid locations as well

  5. < 1 sec latency

  6. Continuous output (8 minutes or more)

  7. Cheap spare fluid (yet the chance the one coming with the purchase will be enough for you for years)

  8. Compatible with Chester = can be remotely switched on/off via Angelcam apps and API

We believe both models are no-brainers for off-grid systems having 12V or 24V DC systems. For 110V or 230V AC systems, you will need to use a power adapter, e.g. this one for the 12V model.

PS18 SecuriSmoke 12V, ≅ $800

The cheaper version is suitable for smaller spaces (shed, garage, caravan, RV) or even bigger spaces with one possible entry point. It quickly fills about 12 m3. We had tested this unit inside a 24 m3 space with two entrances and it was clear we were able to protect perfectly just one entrance, while the second will stay unprotected for about 15 sec. So if you have a bigger space or more entrances, use two units or a more powerful model.

PS 17 SecuriSmoke 24V, ≅$2.700

We didn't test this more powerful brother, yet it shares all the basics from the 12V model, except promising about 9x more power (it consumes about 3 kW, compared to 400W in the 12V model). So it's safe to assume it will work well in bigger spaces. This model 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 the blackout) or consider 110/230V AC models.

PROTECT: www.protectglobal.com

EU/Denmark-based producer claiming they are the biggest fog cannon producer worldwide. Thanks to one of their distributors ADI Global we had been able to test Xtratus Flex.

Pros:

  • High fog output - 60 m3 room has been filled with fog quickly

  • Nice design that fits even into the living room

  • Antisabotage design

  • Power backup after power failure: 17 min

  • Compatible with Chester = can be triggered remotely from Angelcam apps or API

Cons:

  • 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 the power cut

  • A liquid container lasts only 2, 3, or 4 fog discharges based on the 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 be 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 the operator to operate a fog cannon via Angelcam apps.

😇 We are here to help

Just say hello@angelcam.com or check out Angelcam Community to connect with other users sharing their own experiences and insight into various security topics.

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