Best Fire Extinguishers of 2021 (Pricing & Features)
|Provider||Price||BBB Rating||Best for||Weight in pounds||Fire types||Discharging time||Warranty||Extinguishing agent||Corrosion-resistant||The material of the handle|
|First Alert Tundra Extinguisher||$11.99||A-||Industrial kitchens||0.22||A, B, C, K||32 seconds||3 years||Non-toxic chemicals||No||Plastic|
|First Alert Rechargeable||$19.97||A-||Easy to grab||4,5||A, B, C||10 seconds||10 years||Mono ammonium phosphate||No||Metal|
|The Fireman Extinguishing||$21.99||NR||Industrial use||5,1||A, B, C, K||15 seconds||6 years||Non-toxic chemicals||No||Plastic|
|Kidde Pro 210||$44.97||A+||Medium places||4,0||A, B, C||13-15 seconds||6 years||Multipurpose dry chemicals||Yes||Aluminum|
|Amerex B417||$45.00||A+||Strong users||2,5||A, B, C||10 seconds||6 years||Multipurpose dry chemicals||No||Aluminum|
|Kidde FA110||$39.82||A+||The elderly||7,32||A, B, C||14 seconds||6 years||Multipurpose dry chemicals||Yes||Plastic|
|First Alert 2.5 Pound||$29||A-||Strength and durability||2,5||A, B, C||10 seconds||10 years||Multipurpose dry chemicals||No||Metal|
|Amerex B500||$55.99||A+||Standard homes||5||A, B, C||14 seconds||6 years||Dry chemicals||No||Metal|
|Amerex B402||$54.90||A+||Durable build||5||A, B, C||14 seconds||6 years||Multipurpose dry chemicals||No||Steel|
|Kidde 466204 Pro 10||$75.72||A+||Easy maintenance||16||A, B, C||10 seconds||6 years||Multipurpose dry chemicals||Yes||Steel|
The ABCs of Extinguishers
Not all combustions are the same. Depending on what caused them, the chemicals necessary to extinguish them differ. This is why having the right type of extinguisher is essential. Otherwise, one might end up kindling the flames instead of putting them out.
These are the most common types people will find.
- Class A: Caused by solid combustible materials, excepting metals. Some examples are wood, paper, rubber, plastics, and cloth.
- Class B: Produced by flammable liquids, such as oil, paints, and gasoline.
- Class C: Initiated due to electrical products, like outlets, tools, and appliances.
- Class D: Metals that are likely to burn. These are usually found in factories.
- Class K: Caused by elements generally found in commercial kitchens, like grease, cooking oils, animal and vegetable fats, etc.
Ideally, every home should have an ABC extinguisher available, since that is the type of flames they are most likely to encounter, especially electrical ones. Yet, having a K model in the kitchen too would be smart.
Once one has picked and bought the item that fits his needs, he may be tempted to put it right next to our oven. But this is not the smartest location to choose. How does one choose the best place? There are some aspects to consider.
First, fire extinguishers should never be subject to high temperatures. This could turn them less effective or even unusable.
Still, they should be close enough in case of combustion. So, the smart thing would be to identify all possible sources and put a fire extinguisher within 5 to 8 feet from it. In this way, it should be easily accessible if needed, but it still is at a good distance from the heat.
Some of these fire extinguishers also come with a number before the letter. In the case of types A and B, they indicate how many different types of chemicals were included. Class C products do not come with a number because the materials are not conductive.
Types of Extinguishing Agents
There are many different types of extinguishing agents. They will vary depending on the class being used since not all types of flames can be put out with the same chemicals. So, the contents of a class A device will be different from those of class B.
The most common ones are the following.
- Dry chemical: for classes A, B, and C.
- Water mist: for classes A and C.
- Carbon dioxide: for classes B and C.
- Water and foam: only for class A.
- Clean agent: usually only B and C, but sometimes also A according to the type and size.
Dry chemicals work on pretty much any type of combustion, so they are the most commonly used. They are the ones that most people recommend to be used for homes, for example.
Yet, bear in mind that it is necessary to clean right after applying them since these agents are corrosive. Especially so, if the incident took place in a kitchen.
Cooking without cleaning thoroughly not only is unsanitary, but it could also mean intoxicating someone.
How to Use an Extinguisher
Home fire extinguishers are very easy to use. Yet, there are some steps to follow. And being in front of a flame is not the best time to practice. Many devices have the instructions on the front. But there is no time to read them during an emergency. It is also a good idea to encourage other people at home to practice this.
The key is in remembering the P.A.S.S acronym.
- Pull the pin
- Aim at the base of the flames
- Squeeze the trigger
- Sweep the spray from one side to the other
Most safety organizations recommend having at least one fire extinguisher per floor, and if possible, one in every room. And most importantly, they should be checked every year.
To make sure that they are working as they should bear in mind the following aspects.
- Test the pressure: make sure that the needle of the pressure gauge is in the green zone. If it is in the red one, that is an alert to pay attention to. It means that the unit has to be replaced or taken to a professional for maintenance.
- See if there is damage: first of all, check if the tamper seal and pin are intact. Then, take a look at the cylinder to see if there are any dents, leaks, corrosion, or anything similar.
- Shake: This is essential for fire extinguishers with dry chemicals. In this way, the dust does not settle.
- Take it to a pro: every few years, an expert should test the pressure of the device.
- Refill it: Every used fire extinguisher needs to be refilled. Even if not all of the content was released. If just a little chemical came out, then the product needs to be recharged.
- Throw them away: when fire extinguishers are not usable anymore, make sure to discard them.
Make sure to do this every year. It does not take much time, and with just a few minutes, one should be able to rest easy, knowing that he is protected against potential combustions of any type, including electrical ones.
Factors to Consider before Buying an Extinguisher
Though they may seem the same, there are some key areas in which fire extinguishers differ. And these are things that one should bear in mind before making the purchase. Otherwise, one might end up buying something that is not useful for the room where it is going to be used.
To know what to look for, read on.
- Distance: To know which range to get, it is important to bear in mind the size of the home or kitchen where the device is going to be used. Most of them work in an area of 12 to 18 feet. So, if the room is much larger than this, then it may be wise to have more than one product.
- Refill: Most extinguishers are designed to be used one time and not more. There are some models that can be recharged. But only pros should do it. There are no DIY options. If the item cannot be refilled with a chemical, then it should not be used again, even if it was triggered by mistake.
- Size and Weight: fire extinguishers will weigh as much as the content inside them. In general, they do not go over 5 pounds. They also tend to be reduced in size. Otherwise, they would be quite difficult to use in homes. This aspect is also important if the fire extinguisher is going to be mounted on a wall.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Does an Extinguisher Work?
A fire extinguisher has a large aerosol can inside with two chemicals in it. One of them is the chemical designed to put out the flames, like water mist.
The other substance is a propellant. It is pressurized so that it forces the chemicals to come out when someone presses the handle.
In this way, they come out with enough strength to cover a relatively large area. This system can be used with practically any type of chemical.
How Much Should I Spend on an Extinguisher?
It will all depend on the type of device.
Here are some approximate estimates:
- Non-rechargeable A, B, or C device: between $15 and $20.
- Multi-use product: $35 to $75.
- Products for specific areas, like the car or kitchen, single-use: $10 to $20.
- Industrial extinguishers: $300 to $800.
How Often Should I Inspect My Extinguisher?
There are three main forms of inspections that should be carried out regularly.
- Visual inspection: it should be done every month. It consists of checking that the extinguisher is where it should be.
- Maintenance: this has to be done every year. This one is more thorough than the previous one, and it has to be done by a pro.
- Internal: this is done every 6 or 12 years, depending on the model. They are done by pros, who empty the can to see that everything works well on the inside.
How Far Should I Stand Away From the Fire While Using the Extinguisher?
Most fire extinguishers have a range of 8 to 12 feet. So, in case of fire, it is best to take a step back and be at least 6 to 8 feet away from it. Once it starts to extinguish, it is possible to get closer to boost the effect.
What’s Most Effective on Class B and C Fires?
The best fire extinguisher agents on B and C are dry chemicals. They do not allow the flames to reignite after being used. They work by interrupting the chemical reaction that started the combustion. There is also a multipurpose type that works on type A too.
The Process Step-By-Step
Getting the best fire extinguisher for home or office should be a priority. To make sure that the device is the most suitable one for the needs of the user, there are some key aspects to bear in mind, like potential flame types and weight. Once the decision has been made, make sure to place and maintain the device, as explained here.