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I tested a portable fog machine and it's way more fun (and useful!) than I expected

Add drama to photos and videos, ambiance to parties, mystery to plays or presentations. The Lensgo Smoke B's possibilities are limitless.
Written by Adrian Kingsley-Hughes, Senior Contributing Editor
Lensgo Smoke B portable fog machine
Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNET

ZDNET's key takeaways

  • Lensgo Smoke B portable fog machine is currently $20 off on Amazon, bringing the price down to $148.
  • Portable, easy to use, reliable, and generates a lot of fog.
  • Fog fluid tank can leak in storage.

What's better than a fog machine? A portable fog machine! Photographers and videographers constantly seek ways to add drama to their shots, and fog has been a go-to effect since the early days of photography and videography.

Traditionally, fog machines were bulky, noisy, and required AC power, making them anything but portable. But those days are over. Now, you can get a fog machine that fits in your hand and can generate huge clouds with the touch of a button.

For the past few weeks, I've been playing with -- ahem, I mean testing -- the Lensgo Smoke B portable fog machine, and I must say, it's incredibly fun.

View at Amazon

Lensgo Smoke B portable fog machine key features

  • Tank capacity: 72 ml
  • Charge time: Approximately 2 hours
  • Runtime: Approximately 18 minutes
  • Fog generation: 20 cubic meters per minute
  • Battery: Rechargeable, using USB-C 

I'd like to say there's some skill or finesse required to use a fog machine, but really, it's quite simple. You press and hold the button to turn the unit on, press the button again to start generating fog, and press it once more to stop.

It produces a lot of mist in a very short time. When I first used it, I filled the room with dense fog in just a few minutes. It's quite lingering, so keep in mind that it might surprise, alarm, or even upset some people.

Dry ice effect

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNET

This kit includes two nozzles for various effects. A dry ice effect nozzle creates thick clouds of fog, perfect for filling glasses and containers. Another nozzle is designed for injecting smoke into shots more precisely.

Precision smoke

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNET

Additionally, the kit comes with a rechargeable diffusion fan that attaches to the top of the unit, used to create more wispy smoke effects.

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The fog machine features a built-in rechargeable battery, and it charges using a USB-C connection, so there's no need to remember a proprietary cable or charger. This adds the convenience of moving the unit around easily and using it in a handheld manner.

The handheld nature of this unit allows for a high degree of flexibility in how it's used

The handheld nature of this unit allows for a high degree of flexibility in how it's used.

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNET

There's also a remote control unit for turning the fog generation on and off, which could be handy for creative types who are working on their own and don't have a spare pair of hands to help them operate the machine.

Remote control unit

Remote control unit

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNET

While I've primarily been using the Smoke B portable fog machine for photos and videos, it's versatile enough to be used in stage or theater settings, by DJs, or even at parties or weddings.

The machine's possibilities are limitless, really. You can generate mists of varying thicknesses, and there's nothing to stop you from enhancing that with colored lights or lasers. Let your imagination run wild!

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I do recommend getting plenty of spare fog fluid, as you'll go through that rather fast, in my experience.

ZDNET's buying advice

Sure, not everyone needs a fog machine, but if you're a creative type, the Lensgo Smoke B portable fog machine might be just what you're looking for. It's strategically priced at $170 compared to other fog machines of a similar caliber, and the kit includes pretty much everything you'll need. I've used several tanks of fog fluid with my machine, and it has performed flawlessly. I'm impressed with both the build quality and the quality of all the accessories.

One button does everything

One button does everything

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNET

It's important to note that the unit can get quite hot during use, so caution is necessary. It's definitely not suitable for children, and I recommend becoming familiar with it before using it around others.

I've noticed that the unit can leak a bit of fog fluid even when stored with the stopper fitted correctly. The storage case advises keeping it upright, and I strongly recommend following this guidance to prevent leaks.

Despite all this, the Lensgo Smoke B is the safest, most convenient, and easiest-to-use fog machine I've ever tried. The one-button design makes it ideal for beginners, while the variety of nozzles and attachments along with the large amount of fog that this machine can generate makes it ideal for professionals looking for portability. 

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