Choosing the best reptile misting system is probably the most difficult decision you’ll make when it comes to selecting reptile supplies.
Despite the claims made by manufacturers many misting systems have a terrible reputation for leaking, for emptying their water reservoir in the blink of an eye or simply for dying after a matter of months (if not weeks).
Even price is no guarantee of success; chat to enough reptile keepers and you’ll find that the most expensive reptile misters aren’t always the best – sometimes the more budget options are actually just as reliable.
In this guide we’re going to discuss some of the most popular misting systems to help you decide on which really will be best for your needs (and your budget)…
- 1 Reptile Misters vs Reptile Foggers
- 2 The Best Reptile Misters & Foggers
- 3 How to Select a Reptile Mister or Fogger
- 4 Important Considerations When Using A Reptile Mister
- 5 Conclusion
Reptile Misters vs Reptile Foggers
There are two different types of system available to reptile keepers. These are typically known either as “misters” or “foggers”. Before we look at the best misting system for your pet it is worth taking a moment to understand the key differences between these two systems. In this way you can ensure you’re choosing the most suitable setup for your needs.
If you’ve ever used a houseplant spray gun then you’ll know the effect of squeezing water through a tiny gap – it squirts out in tiny droplets covering a wide area. This is essentially what reptile misting systems do. Using narrow hoses and spray attachments you decide where in your tank you’ll like the water to spray.
Different misting systems allow you to attach different numbers of spray heads, so for larger cages be sure to find models that are most generous on this front. A powerful pump or fan then pushes water from the reservoir through these spray heads, creating a find “mist” of rain in your reptile cage.
Reptile foggers are rather different to misters, as they tend not to use powerful pumps. Instead, they use ultrasonic sound to essentially “vaporise” liquid water. As the name suggests, this shoots the water molecules up into the air, creating an effect rather like mist or fog.
This can achieve a similar result to reptile misters in that it can increase the humidity in your cage and allows your reptile to drink when the water droplets condense. It also looks awesome in a reptile or amphibian cage. The lack of a pump can be beneficial as reptile foggers also tend to be quieter than traditional misters.
What Should I Choose?
There are pros and cons to both reptile misters and foggers but both essentially create a very similar end result; water droplets for your pet to drink from and an increased humidity.
Indeed, so similar are their actions that many reptile keepers consider these two types of kit as essentially the same, with many people using the terms interchangeably.
In truth, there are a number of downsides to misters that you should know. Firstly, the small holes through which the water sprays can easily get clogged, creating problems. Additionally you should be aware that the pump/fan that they use can be reasonably noisy.
Foggers, in contrast, emit their mist through a wider tube which is far less to become clogged, while the ultrasonic pulses which push the water vapour into the air are much quieter than a pump. There’s also no denying just how cool a fine mist looks in a reptile or amphibian tank!
While it may be necessary to make a few modifications ot your vivarium to fit the outlet pipe I think that for most people a fogger is likely to be more reliable and easier to use than a more traditional misting system.
However, whichever option you choose, below we will run through some of the most popular options in both camps…
The Best Reptile Misters & Foggers
Now that you understand the basics of how these systems work let’s take a closer look at some of the most popular products on the market. We’ll discuss the pros and cons of each, allowing you to make an informed decision about which will be best for your needs…
Evergreen Pet Supplies Reptile Fogger
In many ways the Evergreen reptile fogger offers the best of all worlds, and has the features that many more expensive products would kill for.
To start with this particular fogger has an impressively large water reservoir which holds roughly 2 liters of liquid. With the variable mist controller this can mean some days between refills; definitely a breath of fresh air for those keepers sick of having to refill their reservoir multiple times a day.
This fogger also offers one of the most generous tubes through which the mist is released. The tube itself is concertinered so that it can be expanded or shrunk to suit your setup. The shortest length is 1.5 feet (45cm) while fully extended it will stretch to 5 feet long (150cm) meaning that it will fit almost any setup or size of cage.
This fogger is also one of the few with a safety cut-off feature, so that if the water tank runs dry without you noticing the device simply switches itself off rather than damaging the hardware.
Lastly, as an ultrasonic fogger its activity is very quiet indeed, which is quite different to the pulsing motors of the more powerful misters it competes against.
All in all, and especially when you consider how cheap this piece of kit is, this may well be the best reptile mister or fogger currently on the market.
Zoo Med Reptile Fogger
Firstly, one of the most recurring niggles with this fogger is just how unreliable they can be. Numerous forum discussions focus on how the Zoo Med fogger seems to die at random intervals – sometimes just a matter of months or even weeks after purchase.
Bearing in mind the cost of this fogger, this is quite a disappointing experience for many people and should be a cause for concern if you’re looking for the best system around.
Like the Evergreen fogger, this uses ultrasonic waves to vaporize water, and has an extending tube that measures between 10” and 36” – perfectly satisfactory for most uses.
Unlike the Evergreen fogger, however, the water reservoir on this model is just half of the preceding product, offering just one liter of capacity. This makes for far more effort as you need to continually remember to refill it. It also tends to be slightly noisier in operation than some other models on the market.
The fact is that if you’re lucky enough to buy a unit that works then this isn’t a bad mister/fogger. Sadly, the many limitations it offers means that in most cases you’re going to be better off selecting one of the many alternatives currently available.
Blue Spotted Deep Jungle Fogger
Fortunately, there is a better alternative. The fitting of the reservoir means that a standard plastic soda bottle can be used instead. Upgrade to a two liter bottle and you’ll be able to significantly reduce the number of refills necessary each week.
Like the Evergreen fogger (but unlike the Zoo Med fogger) this is another “fanless” design which helps to make its operation very quiet; ideal if it is to be used in the living room or a bedroom rather than a dedicated reptile room or office where noise is less of an issues.
While this is a “budget” fogger, and so some compromises should be expected, it is worth noting that the tube to attach the fogger to your vivarium is reasonably short (roughly 12” / 30cm) and that as with the Zoo Med fogger some users complain that their unit has randomly stopped working in the past. In general, though, this model seem to be an improvement on the Zoo Med model, especially if you’re rather a tight budget.
Exo Terra Monsoon RS400 Rainfall System
As the name suggests, the “rainfall system” is a mister not a fogger – it sprays fine jets of water into your reptile cage rather than producing the attractive “mist effect” of the foggers.
The RS400 appeals to my nerdy side because it is possible to control the mister using a remote control (sold separately) so you can increase the humidity in your reptile and amphibian cages without even needing to go close.
The mention of cages is also important, because the Exo Terra RS400 not only offers one of the very largest water reservoirs of any model on the market – an impressive 9.5 liters – but it can also service up to six water nozzles. That means that this one system has the potential to mist up the six different cages at once – quite a feat!
Unlike many of the foggers, which offer a single control for how much mist to create, the Exo Terra version offers two different controls – a cycle length and a cycle duration option. So you could, for example, opt for it to spray for five minutes every two hours or suchlike. Great in theory. Sadly, not quite so impressive in practise…
Reptile forums are full of people who have found these controllers to be less than reliable, often getting home from work to find their reptile cage flooded. If you are going to use this system, therefore, you might want to consider ditching the main controllers in favor of a stand-alone timer. Either that, or only turn the unit on while you’re at home so that you can monitor the output.
Lastly, like so many other misting systems there is a risk that the water outlets, being so tiny, can become blocked. Certainly, soaking these in vinegar or a limescale remover can often bring them back to life but it does mean additional work for you.
While the idea behind this mister is a decent one, there is obvious room for improvement, and it seems that this particular model has some pretty serious limitations. What a shame to have to admit it when I’m such a fan of other Exo Terra products!
Zoo Med Reptirain Automatic Terrarium Mister
Yes, just like the Zoo Med fogger it seems that this system seems to suffer from a similar poor build quality, with many consumers complaining that their unit packed up within a matter of months of use – or just as bad started to leak.
Now, in truth, it is not all bad news. For those customers whose units have continued to function correctly there are a number of positive points. Like the Monsoon RS400 you can set both the spray duration and the interval time. You can also use this system to mist two different tanks, though the reservoir is one of the smallest on the market – just 28 oz – or 800ml meaning regular refills are necessary.
In truth, while the Reptirain was once quite a popular system, the reality is that there are now much better and more reliable systems on the market. Unless you’re absolutely desperate for this system I would suggest that you look elsewhere to meet your needs.
How to Select a Reptile Mister or Fogger
If the above information isn’t enough for you, and you opt to do your own research, the obvious question is what features you should be looking for. Here is a rundown of the more crucial elements to consider when weighing up all the various options available to you…
Water Reservoir Size
It’s simple math: the bigger the water reservoir a mister or fogger has, the less often you’ll need to refill it. In some instances the smallest misters may need to refilled multiple times a day – at which point you might as well just use a manual spray gun.
Based on the current models available to reptile keepers I would suggest that you prioritize those offering two liters or more of capacity to make your life easier.
Outlet Pipe Length
In most cases the length of the outlet pipe – that transports the water or mist from the unit to your reptile cage – is unlikely to be a deal breaker. Most are several feet long – perfectly acceptable for most scenarios.
If, however, you have a particularly large tank that you’re looking to spray – such as for a green iguana – then selecting a unit with a long outlet pipe is likely to be a wise investment.
Safety Cut-Off Feature
A mister or fogger that runs out of water is at serious risk of damage. Quite why so few devices offer a safety cut-off feature is therefore beyond me. The tiny handful that do – such as the Evergreen reptile fogger – are therefore worth their weight in gold, and may contribute to their greater reputation for reliability than their competitors.
Controllers are a bit of a difficult topic when it comes to misters and foggers. On the one hand it is easy to get carried away assuming that a unit with more control switches is going to be better. Quite the opposite seems to be true, however.
Considering the models currently on the market it seems that those with more controls actually tend to suffer from more problems. You’ll probably therefore do best with a more basic level of control, even if you opt to pair it with a cheap timer to help you turn the device on and off when required.
When compared with most other types of exotic pet hardware – such as UV lights, heaters and thermostats – reptile misters and foggers tend to be some of the most unreliable pieces of kit available.
A seemingly great-looking system, even from well-known reptile brands like Zoo Med and Exo Terra can quickly develop problems, or simply stop working without warning.
Indeed, my research for writing this article I found time and again that the “no name” brands that many of us haven’t heard of actually seem to offer the greatest levels of reliability out there, with the Evergreen offering the greatest measure of reliability at present.
Important Considerations When Using A Reptile Mister
While there are some very bad quality reptile misting systems on the market, we reptile keepers also need to accept a little bit of responsibility. After all, if we fail to follow the manufacturer’s instructions then this will necessarily shorten the lifespan of any piece of kit.
When buying your first reptile mister, therefore, there are a few points that you should consider…
Use the Right Water
Water is just water, right? Well not so fast there tiger. Normal tap water can be filled with all sorts of minerals such as calcium and fluoride. While these might help to keep our bones and teeth healthy, they can also cause major problems for your misting system.
Over time these mineral deposits can build up, forcing your mister to work harder and shortenings its lifespan. You may also find that sprayers become blocked, causing your mister to overheat as the water cannot escape from the device.
In order to avoid the risk of mineral deposits shortening the life of your mister, therefore, it is advisable to use only distilled or reverse osmosis (RO) water. Such water has been treated to remove mineral impurities.
A further benefit of using such water, which can be bought from many supermarkets, pet stores or aquarium specialists, is that it won’t leave nasty deposits around your reptile tank. No more unattractive limescale building up on the glass. This means that not only will your mister work better, but your beloved reptile cage will also continue to look great long into the future.
Get Your Controls
Stories abound of even the best misters emptying their water reservoir in a matter of hours, and of cages being literally flooded with water. While most misters have a controller for the level of moisture produced these are typically far from perfect.
For best results, therefore, it is worth investing either in a timer – to turn your mister on and off at regular intervals – or a bespoke humidity controller which acts rather like a thermostat. The timer is the easier and cheaper option, while the humidity controller allows more precise control of your reptile’s environment.
Monitor Water Levels
A mister that runs out of water is at risk of burning out. It’s rather like turning on your kettle with no water in – not a smooth move. To avoid such problems you’ll want to regularly monitor the level of water in your misting system.
Furthermore you might want to consider selecting a model with a particularly generous reservoir, as some of the more popular models will churn through their water supply in a shockingly short space of time.
Disinfect Your System Regularly
Standing water can quickly sour, particularly in warm weather. Bacteria and other pathogens can build up, potentially putting your reptile’s life at risk, as well as creating unpleasant smells and shortening the life of your misting system.
It is therefore a good idea to maintain a regular cleaning routine, using a reptile-safe disinfectant to clean out the major parts of your system.
So what is the best reptile misting system on the market? Based on years of experience and hundreds of conversations I would suggest that the top model on the market is the Evergreen reptile fogger. It seems to offer the perfect compromise between reliability, features and affordability. Little wonder that it is currently one of the top-rated reptile misters on Amazon.
Photo by Sahara Frost
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