Home fire extinguishers are as important to the safety and security of a home as are smoke detectors and door locks. A home fire extinguisher enables you to respond quickly and prevent a small fire from growing into a life-threatening conflagration.
The average fire doubles in size every 60 seconds. If there are flammable liquids involved that time is reduced to 30 seconds. That is why having home fire extinguishers at the ready is so important.
There are hundreds of home fire extinguishers on the market today. Determining which ones are the best can be a time-consuming process. But don’t worry, we’ve done the homework for you and determined that the following are the best home fire extinguishers of 2021.
1. First Alert 5 lb Fire Extinguisher
The First Alert 5 lb Fire Extinguisher is perfect for living rooms, bedrooms, home offices, and rec rooms. It’s rated to extinguish type A, B and C threats, which include electrical fires, wood, paper, grease, flammable liquids and more. The extinguisher is rechargeable, meaning even if you are forced to discharge it at some point you can have it refilled and put it back in service.
The First Alert 5 lb Fire Extinguisher is light enough for most reasonably healthy adults to wield effectively, is fashioned from corrosion-resistant metal, and has a metal value that is rated for commercial use. First Alert has been producing reliable fire safety products for more than 60 years. They’re a name you can trust and they stand behind this versatile, effective fire extinguisher with a 12 year warranty.
2. Amerex B500 5 lb Dry Chemical Fire Extinguisher
Amerex is another trusted name in fire prevention and mitigation. The company’s B500 5 lb Dry Commercial Fire Extinguisher is an effective, durable device that is extremely well-made and easy to use. This is a 5 lb extinguisher that is rated to handle the type of Class A, B and C threats commonly found in the home. That includes wood, paper, furniture, grease, electrical fires and more.
The Amerex B500 dry chemical fire extinguisher will provide 14 seconds of discharge, which is usually more than enough to extinguish small fires in their early stages. This particular Amerex B500 is offered as a pair, which is great for large houses as you can place one on the first and another on the second floor. They come complete with wall brackets so you can install them in a safe, easily accessible place.
3. First Alert Aerosol Spray Fire Extinguisher
5 or 10 pound extinguishers are great for family rooms, bedrooms and garages. But you don’t always need something like that for the kitchen, where the most common type of fire threat is the grease fire. Grease fires almost always start in a pan on the stove top and, if addressed quickly, can be effectively contained and extinguished. The First Alert Aerosol Spray Fire Extinguisher is the ideal firefighting tool for this threat.
With the First Alert Aerosol Spray Fire Extinguisher you don’t need any special training. Just point it at the fire and press the top as you would with any other aerosol product. And that’s not the only thing the First Alert Aerosol Extinguisher has going for it. It also discharges for 32 seconds, which is 3 or 4 times longer than most canister extinguishers. All in all it’s simple, effective fire mitigation at an affordable price.
4. Kidde Pro 210 Fire Extinguisher
There is nothing revolutionary or ground-breaking about the Kidde Pro 210 Fire Extinguisher. Instead, it’s just one of those products that does exactly what it claims to do and does it well. This is a 4 pound extinguisher, so it could conceivably be a good choice for both a living room or a large kitchen. It’s rated to handle Class A, B and C fire threats and features a discharge time of 13-15 seconds.
At 4 pounds the Kidde Pro 210 is light enough to be handled by most any adult. It’s also very easy to use. Simply pull the pin, point and squeeze the trigger. The tank is powder coated to prevent corrosion. The extinguisher is rechargeable so you don’t have to toss it after using it. And it is fully compliant with all UL requirements for fire extinguishers.
5. Amerex B441 10 lb Dry Chemical Extinguisher
While the kitchen is the most common place for a house fire to start, it’s not the only place. Each year thousands of house fires start in the garage. These fires can be hard to deal with because they often go unnoticed in their early stages, and because things like gasoline and oil are often involved. As such, most fire experts recommend a 10 lb extinguisher for the garage that is rated to deal with flammable liquids.
Enter the Amerex B441 10 lb Dry Chemical Extinguisher. The B441 will effectively extinguish oil, gasoline, wood, plastic, and electrical fires. And it provides a full 20 seconds of discharge, and has an effective range of 21 feet. The B441 also comes with handy wall brackets and it is guaranteed for 6 years.
6. First Alert Standard Home Fire Extinguisher
The First Alert Standard Home Fire Extinguisher is just that; an all-purpose extinguisher you can place in the bedroom, living room, laundry room, hallway and elsewhere. It’s rated for Class A, B and C threats, weighs 4 1/2 lbs and has a sleek design that many will no doubt feel is easier to wield than bulkier extinguishers. That somewhat unusual weight is made possible by the fact that the tank is fashioned from lightweight aluminum, rather than steel.
The Standard Home Fire Extinguisher will fit well in small, medium or large size homes and apartments. It comes with an easy to install mounting bracket and it’s rechargeable. That way if you ever have to use it you can get it refilled instead of having to throw it out. There’s also a very generous 10 year warranty.
7. First Alert Kitchen Fire Extinguisher
More house fires occur in the kitchen than anywhere else. The First Alert Kitchen Fire Extinguisher is designed to address the threat in a simple and effective manner. The extinguisher weighs less than 3 lbs and has a compact size that allows it to be wielded by most any adult. The extinguisher is rated 5 B:C, which means it’s perfect for handling grease, gas and electrical fires, the most common types of kitchen fires.
This extinguisher is very easy to use. Simply pull the pin and press the button at the top of the handle. It also comes with a typically excellent First Alert guarantee of 10 years. If there’s a downside it’s the white color, which may meld with kitchen decor better, but makes the extinguisher harder to locate.
8. Buckeye 13315 ABC Dry Chemical Fire Extinguisher
The Buckeye 13315 ABC Dry Chemical Extinguisher has an imposing look that belies its ease of use. It’s modestly sized and rated for A, B and C Class fire threats, which makes it a good choice for the kitchen or laundry room, where so many dryer vent fires get started.
If you think there’s something about the 13315 that’s a bit off, it’s that it does not have a hose like many other standard extinguishers. We found this a plus actually, because it’s one less thing to worry about handling. The cylinder itself is only 3 3/8 inches in diameter so it’s very easy to hold. And because there is no hose it’s very easy to aim and control.
9. Amerex B417T 2.5 lb Dry Chemical Fire Extinguisher
If the Buckeye 13315 appeals to you in principle but the price is a bit steep for your budget, consider the Amerex B417T instead. It’s the same size as the Buckeye and the same basic dimensions, but it cost about 20 bucks less. And, although the B417T is the less expensive option the company has not cut corners on quality.
The B417T is another ABC rated extinguisher that you can deploy in a kitchen, laundry room, home office or small bedroom. There’s no hose to deal with, which frees up a hand to better control the rest of the extinguisher. Finally, the B417T is rechargeable and all components are fashioned from metal rather than plastic.
10. Mini Firefighter All Purpose Fire Extinguisher
The last of our best home fire extinguishers is the All Purpose Fire Extinguisher from Mini Firefighter. This is another aerosol extinguisher that brings all four types of fires (Class A,B,C, and K) under control quickly, before they get out of hand. You can keep one in the cabinet next to the stove, on the shelf over the dryer and even in the car or RV.
This All Purpose Fire Extinguisher projects a fire suppressing foam that expands and suffocates the fire. The foam is non-toxic, biodegradable, and cleans up in minutes. It’s a simple, practical solution to fire hazards that can be deployed by anyone who can operate an aerosol can.
What Is a Home Fire Extinguisher?
A home fire extinguisher is a portable device, typically in canister form, that contains fire suppressant material under pressure, along with a squeeze handle and nozzle that enables you to deliver that suppressant to the fire. Home fire extinguishers contain different types of fire suppressing material intended to deal with different types of fire, including grease fires, electrical fires, gasoline fires and wood fires. Home fire extinguishers are usually (not always) smaller than commercial or industrial fire extinguishers seen in office buildings and factories. This enables anyone familiar with their operation to use them effectively.
What are the Benefits of a Home Fire Extinguisher?
Home fire extinguishers save lives. The first and primary reason anyone gets a home fire extinguisher is to prevent small fires from becoming big fires and threatening life and limb. Cooking fires are the leading cause of home fires. They are also the leading cause of injuries from home fires and the second-leading cause of death from home fires (1). Having a home fire extinguisher in the kitchen is just common sense and can prevent a small fire from becoming a life-threatening conflagration.
Home fire extinguishers are portable. If you walk from the kitchen to the laundry room and spot flames coming from an electrical outlet you can hurry back to the kitchen, grab the extinguisher from there and put out the fire before it spreads. In other words, the home fire extinguisher can be taken wherever it’s needed. It’s not limited to only serving the area where it’s located, the way sprinklers are.
Home fire extinguishers may help you escape. Sometimes the home fire extinguisher will be enough to put out a small fire before it spreads. But sometimes you may not spot a fire until it’s too large for the extinguisher to handle. But that doesn’t mean the extinguisher is useless. It may, repeat may, still be useful in helping you escape by extinguishing burning items between you and the exit. However, that is strictly a no-other-choice scenario. If the fire is out of control, and there is a clear escape route that doesn’t require you extinguishing anything, take it.
Home fire extinguishers are easy to use. Most home fire extinguishers take only a couple of seconds to pick up, pull the pin and spray toward the fire. Also, because home fire extinguishers tend to be much smaller than most commercial fire extinguishers you’ll find in office buildings and malls, virtually any reasonably healthy adult can make productive use of them. The most important thing is to make sure you know the right way to use the extinguisher you have (2).
Home fire extinguishers are cost-effective. The average house fire does about $45,000 in property damage (3). That number is much lower if a home has a sprinkler system installed. But the reality is not many US homes have sprinklers. In fact, according to recent estimates, only about 6 percent (4) of US homes currently have sprinklers installed. Since most fires start in the kitchen, and small kitchen fires can often be effectively extinguished if a person acts quickly, that $20 fire extinguisher can be a very cost-effective investment.
Home fire extinguishers have never been more important. While the number of home fires has been dropping for years, the speed with which fires spread inside a house has been accelerating. 30 years ago inhabitants had on average about 17 minutes from the time the smoke detector went off to the time the fire became overwhelming. Today, that escape time is down to 4 minutes or less (5). It’s never been so important to catch a fire quickly. And a fire extinguisher is the best way to do that.
Home fire extinguishers provide peace of mind. Whether you live by yourself in an apartment, or with a large family in a stand-alone house, the threat of fire is ever-present. Every year there are an average of 354,000 house fires in the US (6). That’s almost 1,000 per day, every day. Having a fire extinguisher or fire extinguishers on hand can go a long way toward alleviating the worry about a potential fire and allow you to sleep better at night.
What is the Right Way to Use a Home Fire Extinguisher?
Not all home fire extinguishers look the same or employ the same type of material to neutralize a fire. That said, most are operated in what is essentially the same manner. And it’s important to understand the right way to use home fire extinguishers, because the average fire doubles in size every 60 seconds (7). In most cases fire experts recommend using the PASS method. That is Pull the pin, Aim the extinguisher at the base of the fire, Squeeze the trigger, and Sweep the extinguisher back and forth.
Are There Different Kinds of Home Fire Extinguishers?
There are, and just as it’s important that you understand how to use an extinguisher, it’s also crucial that you get the right kind of fire extinguisher for the area you want to protect. There are four main categories of fire extinguisher.
A Class A extinguisher is used on things like wood, paper, rubber and plastics.
A Class B extinguisher is used to put out fires caused by flammable liquids like gasoline, grease, oil, and paint.
A Class C extinguisher is used on electrical fires, such as those in outlets, as well as appliances that may catch on fire.
And Class K extinguishers are designed to fight fires caused or fed by animal or vegetable fats.
In most cases, homeowners will want a fire extinguisher that is rated to handle Class A, B and C threats. Some will also be rated for Class K.
Where’s the Best Place to Put a Home Fire Extinguisher?
Once you have decided what type of fire extinguisher is right for your particular purposes you need to determine the best place to put them. For kitchen extinguishers, it’s important to keep one near, but not right on top of, the stove, since that is where most kitchen fires start. The extinguisher should be 5 or 6 feet away so that you don’t have to reach through any flames to get it, and so that it is not subjected to excessive heat. For the rest of the house, it’s suggested that fire extinguishers should not be more than 40 feet away from each other. And that there should be at least one on every floor.
What’s the Right Size for a Home Fire Extinguisher?
Like a lot of other things it depends on how and where you plan to use it. Smaller extinguishers are typically all that’s needed in a kitchen. Something in the 2-3 pound range. For the rest of the first floor, and any upper floors, a 5 pound extinguisher is usually called for, simply because the area is larger than the kitchen and typically loaded with flammable furniture etc. Garage fires often go undetected at first. They may also involve gasoline, oil, and other flammables. For those reasons and more a 10 pound extinguisher is usually suggested for the garage.
Do Home Fire Extinguishers Require Maintenance?
Yes and no. ‘No’ in that they don’t require you take them in for a tune-up as you would a car. But ‘yes’ in that you need to keep an eye on them to make sure they are always in proper working order. That starts with checking the pressure of the contents. You can do that by looking at the pressure gauge (8). If the needle is in the green area, the extinguisher is fine. If it’s in the red area it needs to be replaced or recharged.
After checking the pressure, check to see if the pin is still in place. If it is, check that the extinguisher has not been damaged in any way. If it has, replace it. If the extinguisher is of the dry chemical variety you should shake it once a month to prevent the contents from settling. And remember, if the extinguisher has been used, it must be recharged (if it’s a rechargeable model) or discarded.
How Many Fire Extinguishers Should I Have in My House?
It depends on the size of the house. If you have a one-story house with a few rooms 2 extinguishers should be fine. One for the kitchen, one for the rest of the house. If you have a multi-floor dwelling, there should be a 5 pound extinguisher on each floor. Plus a smaller one in the kitchen, and perhaps a 10 pound extinguisher in the garage. The general rule is that there should never be more than 40 feet between extinguishers.
Shouldn’t I Leave Fires to the Fire Department?
Fires move fast. The average fire will double in size every minute. If there are flammable liquids involved that’s reduced to 30 seconds. Even in the best case scenario, in a city where there are multiple fire companies, it will typically take them 5-10 minutes to reach you (9). Again, that’s the absolute best case scenario. In five minutes a small fire left unattended will likely become life-threatening. But if you are able to respond quickly, a fire extinguisher can prevent a small grease fire or piece of burning paper from engulfing the house.
The Bottom Line
Home fire extinguishers are not a luxury, they’re an absolute necessity. When coupled with properly working smoke detectors, fire extinguishers can save your home, and in many cases, save your life and the lives of your loved ones.
Not all home fire extinguishers are the same. Different ones are intended to handle different types of fire hazard. And they come in different sizes that are appropriate for different size spaces. Use the above information to determine which of our best home fire extinguishers is right for you.