Best EVAP Smoke Machines for 2023

In today's article we will be looking at the frustration of vacuum hose leaks and how tricky they can be to locate. We will be looking at a collection of some of the best EVAP smoke machines available right now to help you decide which unit might best serve your needs.

1. Stinger Pro 2 Smoke Machine

This lightweight unit weighs in at just 5 lbs. and requires a simple 12-volt power source to operate. It is arguably one of if not the best EVAP smoke machines on the market.

This machine is not light on the smoke which is important in a diagnostic tool such as this and it is of course a tough piece of kit. Packed full of accessories the Stinger Pro 2 is American made and like other models requires a separate air compressor.

The one thing this model lacks is a detachable power cord which would be handy as at present the cord makes it tricky to add oil when you need to.

2. AutoLine Pro

The AutoLine Pro sits at the budget end of the smoke machine market and is perfect if you are working with limited spending cash. It is a very compact unit weighing around 4.62 lbs. It is not the cheapest of options but it does come with a supply of smoke fluid included in the price.

The makers of this product clearly have faith in their work as they offer a 1 year warranty on all parts and a lifetime guarantee on the ceramic smoke coil. So although you may have to replace parts later down the line you should have the bulk of the unit for a very long time.

As is normal with smoke machines there is no built in air compressor so this will be an additional cost. A good air compressor of course should be part of a well equipped garage anyway so this should not be a problem.

With the exception of the air compressor this unit comes with all you need to get started with your diagnostic needs. It should be noted however that as this is a budget option it is not perhaps as durable as some units out there. As such it would be more suited to light use than a more commercial application.

3. Autool EVAP Vacuum Automotive Smoke Machine

This is a professional quality EVAP smoke machine which is reflected in the price, more than double the previous entrant in this list. The extra cost is justified by its more durable nature and the manufacturer's confidence in their product by offering a 3 year warranty.

A very user friendly unit it is not hard to operate and it comes with both overheat and anti frost protection. This means you would have to work hard to damage this machine which is great.

Another aspect that justifies the increased price point is the rare addition of a built in air compressor. Most smoke machines require an external compressor so this is a definite bonus. Of course if you already own an air compressor this isn’t quite the selling point it might be for others.

Despite the built in air compressor it is still a lightweight machine when compared to other units that have compressors . You have control over smoke output with this machine but you can not regulate the airflow. In most cases this won't be an issue but it can be a drawback on certain projects.

4. RhinoTuning Automotive Smoke Tester Leak Detector

Returning to the budget end of the market the RhinoTuning Automotive Smoke Tester Leak Detector is considered a great value buy. It is similar to a few other units on the market which will be mentioned in this list but it stands out by having a few more accessories overall.

It is rare for a budget option to come with a built in compressor but astonishingly this unit does have one which is always a bonus. With a good selection of nozzles you should find this unit helpful for a few different tasks that some others might need additional parts to perform.

This is a very durable unit which is surprising due to its lightweight nature weighing a little over 3 lbs. You wont get any smoke oil with this so you will need to buy some and you can't control airflow so you will be limited in what you can use it for.

5. Mr. Cartool T130

For the home mechanic who is not messing around this is a premium option which very much earns its higher price tag. A hefty unit weighing in at 8.6 lbs. This is a tool for semi-pros and professionals which comes equipped with a vast array of accessories.

You should not encounter a job that this smoke machine can not handle and it is considered one of the top automotive smoke machines as well as just a fantastic smoke machine in general.

Extremely durable if you use this machine with care and correctly it should last far longer than the two years it is covered by the manufacturer's warranty. Unlike cheaper options you can not only control smoke output but also airflow which is always good.

At over $300 you would be right to expect a built in air compressor and you get just that. You will need to get smoke oil however but once you have that you can pretty much cover any job that requires a smoke machine.

This may be an excessive buy for a home garage setup but if you want the best then at the end of the day it's your money.

6. Vacuum Car Smoke Machine Leak Detector

This very basic looking unit is deceptive in its simplicity. Weighing in just under 3 lbs. it has what you need for most jobs for a low end price. This includes an air compressor which is always a bonus and its uncomplicated design means it is very easy to operate.

You can get some really thick walls of smoke coming from this unit which is great for diagnosing but you can not control the air flow, which causes some limitations. When you go for the budget options you do expect that you may have limitations but at the price this is definitely worth consideration.

7. Powerbuilt Automotive EVAP Leak Detector Smoke Machine

This is another pro unit that will cost you a hefty price but is definitely worth it You get almost everything you will ever need for a smoke machine with the package which costs in excess of $400. If you consider weight a sign of durability with tools then this unit tips the scales at over 12 lbs.

The weight in fact does kind of work against this unit as it is so much heftier than other units. It also does not allow you to tweak air or smoke outputs which can be tremendously limiting. It does come with a lot of accessories however and it is probably one of the most user friendly units you will find.

Again we are looking at a machine that is better suited to a pro garage but your money is yours to spend so if you want to lay down the cash on this unit for your home garage that’s fine.

Why Would You Need an EVAP Smoke Machine?

This is a good question as in truth you do not always need one to diagnose an issue with your vacuum system. However an EVAP system does not work correctly if there are any leaks or holes.

You might be able to locate a large leak audibly or visually you can't always find those small leaks as easily. This is when an EVAP smoke machine will come in handy as it allows you to pass the smoke through the system and watch for where the smoke escapes.

Having used the smoke to pinpoint the escape point you now know what you need to do to repair this issue. This could be tightening of clamps or replacement of hoses.

It should also be noted that these smoke machines are not just for vacuum hoses; you can also use them to trace fuel system, exhaust and intake leaks. Whatever system you use the machine on the concept is the same.

The biggest benefit to using this diagnostic tool is that the smoke is completely harmless to your car's systems. This allows you to accurately locate leaks in various systems and subsequently repair the issue that has arisen.

Considerations When Buying a Smoke Machine

Does It Have an Air Compressor?

You need compressed air to move the smoke around the system that you are checking so you will need an air compressor. Some of the cheaper units need an external air compressor which is an additional cost. The more expensive models will often have one built in.

It is pointless just to add smoke to a system without a method to make it flow and ultimately locate any leaks. If the unit you purchase does not have an included compressor you should either already have one or else you will need to buy one.

Regulating Smoke Output

Some people wonder why it is important to have control over how much smoke you allow into the system. You might be forgiven for thinking it is a case of the more the merrier. It is true flooding the system with smoke will very quickly locate the holes and allow the smoke to come pouring out.

It’s the pouring out that will become a problem because as soon as the smoke finds its exit point it will continue to do so. This means it can get pretty smokey if the leak leads to a more compact space and all you will see is a cloud of smoke not the precise point the smoke is exiting.

This is why a unit that allows you to control smoke output is often the best option. If you are not seeing the leak for all the smoke then you need to slow the smoke and allow the view to clear. Also if there is not enough smoke it may not be noticeable escaping the system.

Having the ability to adjust the smoke volume will allow you to fine tune the production to make the leak more obvious.

Airflow Control

Introducing the smoke to the system doesn’t do much unless you use compressed air to push it around. This pressure is what causes the smoke to escape. As mentioned you need an air compressor to get this job done.

If you can find a unit that comes with an air compressor and also allows you ro regulate the airflow then you have found a good choice. If the air flow is too light you might not see the smoke escape but if it is too intense you might get the smoke escaping too quickly and not be able to pinpoint the issue.


You will hopefully have some idea what you will be using the device for and therefore what kind of accessories you will need. If your needs are basic you might be fine with a budget smoke machine. However if you plan to work on several systems and a few different vehicles you may want something more expensive with great accessory packages.

The key is to check what the machine comes with and match that up to your expected needs. You can always get accessories later down the line if your needs change.

Overheating and Anti-Frost Protection

When you purchase the top dollar professional EVAP smoke machines you will likely find that they have both overheat and anti-frost protection included. Now these sound like great things and in certain conditions they are.

If you are going to be the only person using your equipment then the chances are you will not be running it long enough for you to require overheat protection. This is something that you would find on a smoke machine in a professional busy mechanic's shop.

In terms of anti-frost protection you will only need this if you are likely to be using the machine outside in exceptionally cold weather. In truth an amateur home mechanic will need these bells and whistles so you can save money by not having these systems in your smoke machine.

Read Reviews

No one can give you a better idea of how great or terrible a certain EVAP smoke machine is than someone who has used it before. Always look at how highly they are rated by former customers and read some of the reviews.

You may discover that a unit you are interested in was no good at performing the task you are looking to undertake.


There are plenty of smoke machines on the market that may fit your needs. Decide what you are looking for and take a look at the options that meet your requirements. Also take note of the views of fellow owners.

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