5 Best Fire Extinguisher Cabinets (Surface Mounted) – 2020

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Our top Pick: The CATO 10551-P



Our pick for the best fire extinguisher cabinet is the CATO 10551-P. This model is designed for a small 2.5 – 5 Lbs fire extinguisher to be kept in an outdoor space. It has a rust-free plastic design and glass-free pull-tab entry.

There are different rules and regulations about fire extinguisher cabinets all over the place. So you’ll need to do your research on what’s needed in your circumstance. Once you know the requirements of your jurisdiction, this selection of cabinets below may help.

When selecting your fire extinguisher cabinet, the main consideration is size. Obviously, it’s important to get one that is just big enough to fit an extinguisher. But there are also other important considerations like weather resistant rust-proofing, ‘maintenance’ entry mode (usually via a key), and ’emergency’ entry mode (break glass or plastic pull-tab).

Don’t forget that we’re not professionals and not offering personalized professional advice, so seeking professional advice for your situation is a must.

But first, we’ll show you the selection of extinguishers available on the market today.

In our opinion, the best fire extinguisher cabinets are:

  • CATO 10551-P Red Plastic Chief Cabinet (2.5-5 Lbs)
  • CATO 11051-H Red Plastic Chief Cabinet (10 Lbs)
  • Kidde Surface Mount Cabinet Model 468043 (20 Lbs)
  • Kidde Surface-Mount Cabinet Model 468042 (10 Lbs)
  • JL Classic Series 9263Z30 (10 Lbs)

Best Fire Extinguisher Cabinets

#

Top Cabinets for Fire Extinguishers

For Extinguisher Size

Quick Review

Our Rating

1. CATO 10551-P Red Plastic Cabinet 2.5 – 5 Lbs This cabinet is designed for a small fire extinguisher and is supposed to be kept in an outdoor space. It is made of rust-free plastic and has glass-free pull-tab entry. (Go to review)

8/10

2. CATO 11051-H Red Plastic 10 Lbs This cabinet is designed for a medium-large fire extinguisher and is supposed to be kept outdoors. Cato plastic cabinets are designed for with a no-rust plastic exterior and glass-free pull-tab entry. (Go to review)

8/10

3. Kidde Surface Mount Cabinet (468043) 20 Lbs Kidde’s metal casing cabinets feel more sturdy than plastic models but may rust quicker. It has a traditional break-glass entry system via handle rather than hammer. (Go to review)

7.5/10

4. Kidde Surface-Mount Cabinet (468042)
10 Lbs  This is the smaller of the two Kidde cabinets. This one is the same style as the larger one above, but is designed for 10 Lbs extinguishers. (Go to review)

7.5/10

5. JL Classic Series 9263Z30  10 Lbs There’s something comforting about this old-style ‘break glass’ extinguisher cabinet. This model comes with a breaker bar and chain. (Go to review)

6.5/10

1. CATO 10551-P Red Plastic Cabinet

Quick Review: This model is designed for a small fire extinguisher to be kept in an outdoor space. It has a rust-free plastic design and glass-free pull-tab entry.


The CATO range of fire extinguisher cabinets are designed to be affordable outdoors options. They’re all-plastic to prevent worry about rust or erosion and the stickers on the outside are UV resistant to minimize fade over time. The extinguisher is placed on a rubber mat (provided) that holds the extinguisher off the base, allowing water to roll away and preventing corrosion on the base.

This case is glass-free. Instead of breaking class to gain entry to the cabinet, you pull the plastic cover out. There’s a black pull tab sign about 3/4 of the way up the face of the cabinet. On the base is a lock where you can access the case for maintenance without having to break the plastic using the pull-tab.

To mount the cabinet, there are holes in the back for your to push through a screw. You might need a drill to drill into the wall. We’d lean towards getting a washer as well to help prevent damage when applying the screw.

This cabinet is only for a 2.5 – 5 Lbs fire extinguisher, so if you’ve got a heavy duty 10 to 20 Lbs extinguisher you’ll need to step up to the larger CATO extinguisher cabinet below.

This video is for a different CATO model, but gives you a good general idea of how the CATO extinguishers are designed:

Why This One

Keep in Mind

Affordable: They’re a really good cheap option.

Good for the Outdoors: Being all plastic, these ones don’t rust and weather storms very well.

Simple Wall Mounting: You just screw it into any wall that is safe to hold the weight.

No Glass: Don’t worry about broken glass. It opens with a pull-tab instead.

Feels a little Cheap: While the plastic is quite a good idea, if you’re a higher-class establishment plastic can feel a little cheap.

For Small Extinguishers Only: If you have a 10 Lbs extinguisher, you’ll need to step up to the next size.

2. CATO 11051-H Red Plastic

Quick Review: Designed for a medium-large fire extinguisher to be kept outdoors. Cato plastic cabinets are designed with a no-rust plastic exterior and glass-free pull-tab entry.


This CATO fire extinguisher cabinet is a little larger than the one above, coming in at 9 1/4″ wide, 7 1/4″ deep, and 23 1/4″ high. With this extra size it can hold 10 Lbs extinguishers.

As with the above CATO cabinet, this one is designed to weather the outdoors. It’s entirely plastic with UV resistant decals to minimize fade over time. The plastic design can be a huge advantage over metal models that both rust and tend to have more holes where water can seep into the cabinet.

Furthermore, these models are designed to minimize chances of cuts when used. All edges are soft and rounded, and like the above CATO model, there is no class to be broken to get access. For this one, you use the hammer (included) to break plastic panels. So, it works similar to traditional glass models, but you’re breaking plastic instead. You’ll need to hit the weakened lines between the panels to cause them to collapse. The instructions are clearly written beside the hammer, which hangs on the right-hand outer side of the cabinet.

Mount the extinguisher using the screw holes in the back.

Why This One

Keep in Mind

Affordable: They’re a really good cheap option, especially if you’re buying a ton of them.

Good for the Outdoors: Being all plastic, these ones don’t rust and weather storms very well.

Simple Wall Mounting: You just screw it into any wall that is safe to hold the weight.

No Glass: Don’t worry about broken glass. You break plastic tabs using the hammer.

Looks Cheap: Plastic can look a little cheap so isn’t ideal for a fancy establishment.

3. Kidde Surface Mount 20-Pound Fire Extinguisher Cabinet (468043)

Quick Review: Kidde’s metal casing cabinets feel more sturdy than plastic models but may rust quicker. Break-Glass entry via handle rather than hammer.


The Kidde 468043 fire extinguisher cabinet is your go-to choice for a large 20 Lbs extinguisher. These are those really big ones that you might have in an industrial setting. For these models, you need a cabinet large enough to hold not only the big extinguisher, but also the hose that all larger extinguishers come with. This one’s designed to do just that – with dimensions of 8 x 10 x 28 inches.

Unlike the above CATO models, this one is in a metal case which may rust over time (however, it is designed to be anti-rust). It’s also got a glass cover, so when activated the glass will break. But you won’t use a hammer like traditional cabinets. Instead, you turn the handle to break the glass.

This is a surface mounted extinguisher, meaning you’ll need to screw it into a wall – preferably by a structural beam (get a professional to do it).

You may want to get some ‘fire extinguisher’ stickers to stick on the outside of this one – especially if your jurisdiction requires it.

If you like this model, you can also opt to get a 5 Lbs version on the Amazon product page.

Why This One

Keep in Mind

Looks Good: It looks a lot more sturdy and professional than the CATO models.

Handle Opening: You don’t smash the glass with a hammer. You turn a handle which breaks the glass.

Fits a Large Extinguisher: This is the best cabinet for a 20 Lbs extinguisher than we found.

Will Lead to Broken Glass: Unlike the CATO models, emergency access requires breaking glass.

Not the best for Outdoor Weather: Being metal, it’s likely to be rust over time. They’ve designed it to be rust resistant, though.

4. Kidde Surface-Mount 10-Pound Fire Extinguisher Cabinet (468042)

Quick Review: The smaller of the two Kidde cabinets, this one is the same style as the larger one above, but is designed for 10 Lbs extinguishers – which is usually more than enough.


This Kidde fire extinguisher cabinet is very similar to the one reviewed just above, but is made for a 10 Lbs extinguisher model. The other main difference is that the handle will come down from the lid of the cabinet rather than the side.

But the main premise of both models is similar. The glass is broken via a handle rather than a hammer. And of course the cases are metal rather than plastic. This looks a lot nicer than a plastic model, but also may lead to rust eventually.

The dimensions for this cabinet are  6 x 23 x 7.5 inches.

As with the above model, we’d recommend getting nice clear stickers or signs to signify that a fire extinguisher is held in the case – this is often a requirement in many jurisdictions. You’ll need to check the extinguisher requirements in your jurisdiction before making a choice.

Why This One

Keep in Mind

Looks Good: It looks a lot more sturdy and professional than the CATO models.

Handle Opening: You don’t smash the glass with a hammer. You turn a handle which breaks the glass.

Will Lead to Broken Glass: Unlike the CATO models, emergency access requires breaking glass.

Not the best for Outdoor Weather: Being metal, it’s likely to be rust over time. They’ve designed it to be rust resistant, though.

5. JL Classic Series 9263Z30

Quick Review: There’s something comforting about this old-style ‘break glass’ extinguisher cabinet. Comes with breaker bar and chain.


We have this model in our apartment building and it’s the one that most people are familiar with. The cabinet has a cylinder lock at the top to access the extinguisher for maintenance without breaking the glass. On the side there is a breaker bar attached to a chain. To access the extinguisher in an emergency, you break the glass with the breaker bar. In reality, this is what people expect when they need to access an extinguisher cabinet, so getting this model means there are no surprises for people who need to access the extinguisher quickly.

It’s designed for a 10 Lbs extinguisher and has the dimensions of 25.75 x 9.5 x 6.25 inches. Like all cabinets in this list, it’s not recessed but surface mounted. This means you can retrofit it on a wall (we’d strongly suggest reading the manual and getting a professional to install it).

This model is made of rust-resistant aluminum but it’s promoted as an indoor model, so we wouldn’t recommend it for the outdoors.

Why This One

Keep in Mind

Breaker Bar Model: This is the traditional model that most people would be familiar with, so there are no surprises here.

Easy to Install: As a surface mounted model, it can be installed on a wall quite easily (read instructions).

Will Lead to Broken Glass: Unlike the CATO models, emergency access requires breaking glass.

Designed for Indoor Use: Being metal, it’s likely to be rust when exposed to the elements.

What to Look for in a Fire Extinguisher Cabinet

Surface Mounted vs. Recessed

All models here are surface mounted. These are the easiest models to install because it doesn’t involve cutting a hole in a wall. Simply install them by drilling them into a wall pillar (you’ll need to follow the instructions on the manual or get a professional to do it). The other option is a recessed model. Recessed models sit inside the wall, but require you to cut into the wall – which can cause significant damage to the wall, especially if you want to remove the extinguisher cabinet later on.

Rust and Corrosion Resistance

If you are getting a metal model, you’ll need to make sure it’s made of rust and corrosion resistant metal. Nonetheless, there’s a good chance that it’ll still start to rust over time. The alternative is to get one of the plastic CATO models. These ones are designed to weather outside conditions for a long period of time, but they also don’t look quite as classy in our opinion.

Entry / Break-In Feature

There are three main ways you can break into a fire extinguisher cabinet during an emergency. The traditional way is to smash the glass using a hammer or breaker bar. This method leads to a lot of shattered glass, but is also the method that most people expect to see when approaching a fire extinguisher cabinet. Kidde models often now use a handle feature where you simply turn the handle to break the glass. This is effective, but still requires breaking glass. The final method is the CATO method – where you either pull a plastic tab or ‘break’ a series of plastic tabs. This can be good to minimize mess.

Size

We’ve tried to outline the dimensions of the above cabinets to help you plan. Generally, the cabinets are designed for specific sized extinguishers – 5 Lbs, 10 Lbs or 20 Lbs. Make sure you don’t get a cabinet that’s too small to hold the extinguisher. And remember the extinguisher’s hose will take up space, too!

Final Thoughts

If you’re in need of a fire extinguisher cabinet, the most important thing to do is to make sure you follow the rules and regulations of your jurisdiction. They may require a certain type of cabinet or require you to have certain sized signs above the cabinet to draw people’s attention. For example, there are rules specific to boat fire extinguishers.

When making your choice, there are outdoor and indoor options, as well as different ways of breaking-in to the cabinet during an emergency.

Remember also that fire extinguishers are devices for small fires and aren’t an alternative to calling the fire department. Ensure everyone is evacuated safely and you contact professionals immediately during a fire.

This article has shared our opinions for our circumstances only, and is based on our online research and does not constitute advice, professional or otherwise. Your circumstances or experiences will differ from ours. Make sure you do your own research and due diligence and adhere to the rules laid out in our terms and conditions and disclaimer.

We hope this review of the best fire extinguisher cabinets has been useful to you – and good luck with your further research!

Regards,
Chris