Which fire extinguishers are best?

The risk of fires breaking out is always present. Basic household safety recommends that all homes contain at least one fire extinguisher with many safety experts recommending having a fire extinguisher in most rooms of homes, especially if the home is large. Fire extinguishers come in more forms than one which can make it hard to know which extinguisher is right.

One of the best fire extinguishers is the Amerex B402 5 Pound ABC Dry Chemical Class A B C Fire Extinguisher. This fire extinguisher is rated to handle almost any source of fire.

What to know before you buy a fire extinguisher

Fire extinguisher classes

Fire extinguishers are separated into five classes with each class covering certain types and sources of fires. Never use a fire extinguisher against a fire it isn’t rated for as you could accelerate the fire instead.

  • Class A: Class A covers fires sourced from solids like wood. Its image is that of a burning trash can and/or campfire.
  • Class B: Class B covers fires sourced from liquids and gasses like oil and propane. Its image is that of a burning gas canister.
  • Class C: Class C covers fires sourced from electricity like shorted wire. Its image is that of a burning plug.
  • Class D: Class D covers fires sourced from metals like aluminum. Its image is that of a burning gear. These fires are unlikely in residences
  • Class K: Class K covers fires sourced from cooking oil. Its image is that of a burning pan. These extinguishers are usually found in commercial kitchens as residences can use a class B extinguisher for their cooking fires.

What to look for in a quality fire extinguisher

Extinguishing materials

Each class of fire extinguisher uses different extinguishing materials, which target the kinds of fires those classes are rated to fight.

  • Carbon dioxide: Carbon dioxide is designed to remove heat and oxygen from fires. It’s typically used in class B and C models.
  • Dry chemical: Dry chemicals are the most common residential-intended material found in fire extinguishers. They’re found in classes A through C.
  • Wet chemical: Wet chemicals are typically found in class K fire extinguishers. In rare cases, they are also found in class A models.
  • Dry powder: Dry powder is largely restricted to industrial fires covered in class D extinguishers.
  • Liquified gas: Liquified gas is less commonly found in fire extinguishers. It is typically used in classes B and C, and rarely found in class A models.
  • Foam: Foam is as equally common as dry chemical, especially for use in residencies. Foam is found in classes A through C.
  • Water: Water is rarely used outside of the high pressure dispensers of fire departments, though in rare cases it can be found mixed with foam in class A fire extinguishers.

How much you can expect to spend on a fire extinguisher

FIre extinguisher prices typically coincide with the amount of extinguishing product they contain. Miniature fire extinguishers can cost as little as $20, while the largest capacities can hit up to $100. The average cost of a fire extinguisher is $45.

Fire extinguisher FAQ

How do I maintain my fire extinguisher?

A. Fire extinguishers should be examined for signs of defects at minimum once a year. Each fire extinguisher has its own set of maintenance needs that should be clearly listed on the canister. Common areas of concern for fire extinguishers are the valve, nozzle and safety pins that prevent accidental discharge. All extinguishers should have their pressure examined as pressure can leak out over time, with some needing to be shaken every three months to maintain their pressure. You can also contact your local fire department to see if they can inspect your fire extinguisher for you.

What size fire extinguisher should I buy?

A. The appropriate size fire extinguisher depends on what room of the home or other areas it’s supposed to be able to cover. Large fire extinguishers are designed to put out larger fires that may have been burning for a few minutes, like in a garage. Medium canisters should be enough to handle fires found quickly in commonly accessed areas, while small canisters are typically meant to cover cooking- or car-related fires.

What’s the best fire extinguisher to buy?

Top fire extinguisher

Amerex B402 5 Pound ABC Dry Chemical Class A B C Fire Extinguisher

Amerex B402 5 Pound ABC Dry Chemical Class A B C Fire Extinguisher

What you need to know: This top choice fire extinguisher is highly versatile in what it can cover and easy to use.

What you’ll love: This fire extinguisher’s extinguishing agent can be refilled once it’s expired or used so you don’t need to purchase a new tank. It covers fires sourced from electricity, liquids and dry elements. It includes a small loop that can be placed on a hook for quick access.

What you should consider: Some models arrived to consumers with broken safety seals or with empty tanks. Some consumers also reported pins falling out on their own, causing discharge.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon and Home Depot

Top fire extinguisher for the money

First Alert Home Fire Extinguisher Rated 1 A 10 B C

First Alert Home Fire Extinguisher Rated 1-A:10-B:C

What you need to know: This budget fire extinguisher is a great choice for those looking to save some money without sacrificing reliability.

What you’ll love: This fire extinguisher can be refilled once it’s expired or used. This extinguisher is approved for use by U.S. marines. This fire extinguisher includes a mounting bracket for quick and easy wall access. The product has a limited 10-year warranty.

What you should consider: This fire extinguisher is small, small enough to only handle fires that have just started. The capacity dial can be inaccurate.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

First Alert Kitchen Fire Extinguisher

First Alert Kitchen Fire Extinguisher

What you need to know: This miniature fire extinguisher is designed and marketed for use in the kitchen, but can be used anywhere with the potential for small fires.

What you’ll love: This fire extinguisher is rated to handle flammable liquids and electrical fires. This fire extinguisher’s pressure can be checked with an easy-read push-button sensor on the top. It includes a wall mounting bracket for quick and easy access. 

What you should consider: The wall mounting bracket can be difficult to install. This fire extinguisher has a small capacity and isn’t capable of being refilled.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

 

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Jordan Woika writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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