9 Best Fire Extinguishers for Home Kitchen & Garage (2020)

Reviewed by an Emergency Services Professional: This article was reviewed by James*, a trained firefighter. However, this information is stated as personal opinion for our circumstances and does not constitute advice, professional or otherwise, to you and your circumstances, or guarantee quality or fit for purpose of the following products. By visiting and using this website, you accept and agree to be bound by our Disclaimer along with our Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy posted on the website. As an Amazon associate we earn from qualifying purchases.


Our top Pick for Home Use:

Amerex B402 5 Lbs ABC Fire Extinguisher



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We chose the Amerex B402 5 pound ABC Fire Extinguisher as the best fire extinguisher for our circumstances. Here’s why we chose the Amerex B402:

  • It is defined as ABC rated for home use.
  • It is light enough for us to carry.
  • It is from a brand we respect.
  • It comes with a wall mount when purchased from many retailers.
  • We feel it is sturdy and well-built, with all-metal valves and handle.

Our research shows NFPA recommends a minimum 5 Lbs ABC extinguisher such as this one “per floor level” in a house. A heavy duty extinguisher for a garage that we like is the Amerex B441. An additional small kitchen fire extinguisher that we like for our circumstances is the Kidde RESSP.

This year we finally got around to researching for a fire extinguisher. After some research, we decided we liked the Kidde RESSP as a good kitchen extinguisher, the Amerex B402 for each level of the home, and the Amerex B441 for a heavy duty general home extinguisher.

Don’t forget that while we consulted professionals in our research, we’re not professionals and not offering personalized advice professional or otherwise to your circumstances, so seeking professional advice for your situation is a must.

Key Points in this Buyer’s Guide:

  • It is a good idea to have one dedicated kitchen extinguisher.
  • We decided to get one ABC extinguisher for the house and another in the garage.
  • We chose the Kidde RESSP for the kitchen (its the only one we found that meets UL 711A standard for domestic cooking fires).
  • We chose the Amerex B441 for the garage.
  • Everyone’s circumstances will be different, so pick one that suits you best.

There’s a full buyers guide and Q&A at the bottom of this article. But we know you just want to hear our what we settled on as our top picks for ourselves. So here they are.

The Best Fire Extinguishers for Home Use

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#

Fire Extinguisher

Canister Size

Class

Quick Review

Our Rating

 1 Amerex B402 5 Lbs. ABC This was our pick for the best extinguisher for the home. We like the idea of having one of these for each level of a house. (Check Today’s Price on Amazon)

10/10

 2 Amerex B441 10 Lbs. ABC We chose this as the best heavy duty fire extinguisher for a workshop or garage. It’s large and more powerful than many smaller extinguishers. (Check Today’s Price on Amazon)

9.5/10

 3 Kidde RESSP 2.5 Lbs (UL) 711A This was our pick as the best fire extinguisher for our kitchen. We like that Kiddle state that it conforms to UL 711A standard for domestic cooking fires. (Not available on Amazon)

8.5/10

 4 Ansul 436500 Sentry 10 Lbs. ABC We think Ansul is a great brand so we like this 10 lbs extinguisher as an alternative to the Amerex B441 model. (Check Today’s Price on Amazon)

8.5/10

 5 Ansul Sentry 434732 5 Lbs. ABC Here’s another non-Amerex 5 Lbs fire extinguisher for regular home use. (Check Today’s Price on Amazon)

8.5/10 

 6 First Alert KITCHEN5 2 Lbs. B:C This kitchen fire extinguisher uses a sodium bicarbonate dry chemical and is advertised as for kitchen use. (Check Today’s Price on Amazon)

7.5/10

 7 Buckeye 13315 2.5 Lbs ABC In our review of fire extinguishers for cars, this one was our favorite for a car. It’s super lightweight and small but we also like the quality. (Check Today’s Price on Amazon)

7.5/10

 8 Amerex B417T 2.5 Lbs. ABC In our review of fire extinguishers for boats, this one won as our pick as our favorite for small boats. (Check Today’s Price on Amazon)

7.5/10

 9 Kidde 466204 Pro 10M 10 Lbs. ABC For a large extinguisher, this one is nice and light compared to other 10 pounders. (Check Today’s Price on Amazon)

7/10

1. Amerex B402 – Best for in the House

Bottom Line: We like the Amerex brand. The Amerex B402 also uses a newer powder formulation than its predecessor, the B500, and we liked that it was an upgraded model.



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Amerex is our go-to brand for fire extinguishers. They have a very good reputation in an industry well-known for more product recalls than you’d want! But, we have heard Amerex’s extinguishers are known to last a long time and be made with the best materials.

James Says: “The NFPA recommends an extinguisher rated at least 2A:10B:C “per floor level and in any attached garage;” the minimum to meet this would be a 4 – 5 lb ABC unit.”

The B402 has replaced Amerex’s B500 as their flagship 5 pound extinguisher. Their 5 pound model has now stepped up from 2A:10B:C to 3A:40B:C while maintaining the same size and weight of the predecessor.

Its valve and handle are all made of solid metal (unlike some plastic handles on the market), which we felt would add to its durability. We also like that the pressure gauge is clear and large, facing outwards when sitting on its mounting bracket.

It is possible to save money by recharging this extinguisher after discharge. Consult your local fire department for a recharging service near you. Some fire departments will do it for you.

Why This Fire Extinguisher

Keep in Mind

Not too Heavy for Us: It’s 9.5 pounds overall. That includes 5 pounds of dry chemical compound and a 4.5 pound canister. This is was small and light enough for easy usage in the home. It’s lighter than its B441 bigger brother, but also has less extinguishing chemical inside.

Fits in a Cupboard: The Amerex B402 is 15 inches tall, meaning it would fit discretely in many cupboards. A wall mount that comes with it allows consumers to mount on a wall in an accessible location.

We Like the Design: We wanted a canister and valve component that were metal and reusable. The plastic varieties seem flimsier and of lower quality to us. So, this piece satisfied our need for something a little more heavy duty while still coming in at a reasonable weight for us. The 6 year warranty also showed us that the manufacturers back the quality of their product.

Less Powerful than the B441: We are happy with this one as a smaller 5 pound model, but when it came to the workshop and garage, we decided we would stepped up to the B441 which has a longer discharge time and range.

2. Amerex B441 Rechargeable – Best Large Capacity Extinguisher for Garage and Workshop

Bottom Line: We like this extinguisher for a garage and workshop option. It has a discharge time and range much higher than several competitors. However, it is heavier than the B402 so might be too heavy for some people’s liking.

the best 10 pound fire extinguisher for garage

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The Amerex B441 fire extinguisher is our top pick for a heavy duty home extinguisher for our circumstances. This heavy-duty extinguisher holds 10 pounds of chemical agent which we feel would be good for a workshop environment. It has a heavy duty chrome plated brass valve (as opposed to the aluminum valve on smaller models) which is good for durability.

This extinguisher is the 10 pound version of the Amerex B402. So, no wonder we chose this one given we also liked its smaller counterpart.

This is the big daddy of fire extinguishers. According to Amerex, it has an above average 20 second discharge time and 21 foot discharge range.

James Says: “I do agree that the Amerex 441 is probably the highest quality and largest capacity extinguisher that you could want for a home, it has a heavy duty chrome plated brass valve as opposed to the aluminum valve on smaller models and is still light enough to lift.”

You can save money by recharging this extinguisher after discharge. Simply take it to a recharging point – consult your local fire department for a recharging service near you. Some fire departments will do it for you.

It complies to the ABC fire standard recommended for home fire extinguishers and comes with a generous 6 year warranty. Its dimensions are 20.5″ high x 8.75″ wide x 5″ depth. It usually comes with a wall mount, which we were impressed by.

One thing that does annoy us about this model is that it contains a hose, which gets in the way during storage. But James set us straight on why this is the case:

James Says: “Since 1984, UL Standard 299 requires that any extinguisher rated 2-A or greater, or 20-B or greater, must be equipped with a hose.  There is no choice.”

In other words, larger extinguishers all have hoses.

The other thing James suggests as a ‘con’ of this extinguisher is its weight. James likes the extinguisher and has one himself, but warns that it’s a little heavy.

James Says: “While I wholeheartedly support having one of these and have one at home myself, the B441 weighs around 18 pounds and may be a bit heavy for some people.”

Why This Fire Extinguisher

Keep in Mind

Stronger than Most: The discharge time, distance and quantity of dry chemical exceeds that of many smaller extinguishers.

Great Brand: Did we mention we like Amerex’s great reputation? Hey, no harm in repeating ourselves again. They really back themselves, too, with a 6 year warranty.

Sturdy Design: Just like the B402, the B441 is designed with all-metal components and no plastic junk.

Comes with Wall Mount: Depending on the retailer, this model should come with a wall mount. The wall mount is great for keeping it neatly stored, ready for use.

It’s Heavy: With all that power comes some weight. The reason this wasn’t our first pick for the main level of a house was because of its weight and size. Including the 10 pound dry chemical and canister, it comes in at 19 pounds total weight.

3. Kidde RESSP – Best for Kitchen

Bottom Line: As of the time of writing, this is currently the only fire extinguisher for kitchen use that is UL 711A listed for residential cooking fires that we could find. Unfortunately, it’s not currently available on Amazon but it is available from Kidde’s website.

While Kidde isn’t our go-to brand for fire extinguishers, we liked the idea of this fire extinguisher for our kitchen. This extinguisher is the only one on the market today that has been tested and certified for the UL 711A rating. This rating is a specific rating for residential cooking fires, meaning Kidde back this as a specific fire extinguisher for kitchen use.

James Says: “This is currently the only kitchen extinguisher on the market certified to the UL 711A standard which covers “use on residential cooking equipment.”  It supposedly has a more diffuse discharge with less potential for splatter of burning oil on a stovetop.”

It’s a small extinguisher with 2.5 Lbs of agent and an overall weight of 3.9 Lbs. We think this makes it a good size for fitting in a discrete but accessible location in the kitchen, and is also lightweight enough to be used without too much exertion.

But, it may not meet NFPA’s recommendation for a 2A:10B:C extinguisher in a residential home (regulations change regularly – so this may change in the future), so we would not personally have this as our only nearby extinguisher.

We consulted James on this model, and he gave us some great advice. He notes that newer versions of this model come with a metal valve whereas older iterations come with a plastic valve unit. He strongly suggests buying the newer version with the metal valve:

James Says: “Since the Kidde recall of a few years ago it now comes equipped with a metal valve, the purchaser should be sure they aren’t buying a recalled plastic-valve unit.”

This model can be bought directly from Kidde, but unfortunately, there is not currently a retailer on Amazon who carries this unit.

4. Ansul Sentry 10 Lbs.

Quick Review: Ansul is a well known and respected brand in the fire extinguisher industry. We like that this 10 pound extinguisher ships with the approved bracket for no-stress compliance with USCG (boating) regulations.

Ansul is a top brand in the industry

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We are big fans of Ansul as a fire extinguisher brand. They’re probably our second pick after Amerex. They have a very solid reputation in the industry for creating sturdy, reliable extinguishers.

Similar to the Amerex B441, this one is much stronger than many others on the list. It has a relatively long discharge range and time, so it can be helpful in a space where there’s the chance of a rapidly starting fire (e.g. in a garage where accelerants like gasoline may be involved in the fire ignition).

We also like that it’s all-metal, rechargeable, and has a clear pressure gauge. Ticks all around there.

We’re also super impressed by the sturdy mount that’s included. A lot of extinguishers provide a flimsy plastic holder – but the mounting bracket provided in this one is USCG approved, so we wouldn’t need to buy an additional mount.

The one complaint – and it’s our regular complaint – is that it’s probably too big and bulky for our kitchen. It’s really better for workshops in our opinion.

Why This Fire Extinguisher

Keep in Mind

Great Mounting Bracket Included: A good quality mount comes in the pack and it’s nice that Ansul explicitly states in their product catalog that the bracket is USCG approved for boats.

Great Brand Reputation: Ansul is our second pick when it comes to fire extinguisher brands.

Discharge Time and Range: Strong discharge time (21 seconds) and range (20 foot).

Heavy and Hard to Carry: While the substance is 10 pounds, the overall weight is 16 pounds. It’s not the heaviest in the 10 lb category but still heavy.

5. Ansul Sentry 434732

Quick Review: This is our favorite 5 Lbs extinguisher from the Ansul brand. We like Ansul as a brand and we feel it’s good quality.



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Ansul is a top brand in the fire extinguisher industry. So, we also took a good hard look at one of their regular 5 Lbs extinguishers that would be a good alternative to the Amerex 402. It’s comparable in many respects to the Amerex 402, including the use of sturdy metal components, a clear and visible pressure gauge, and long 14 second discharge time.

This 3A:40B:C model meets NFPA recommendations for household use, but many fire authorities recommend one on every level of your home. So people who have a multi-story home often consider getting one for each level.

Why This Fire Extinguisher

Keep in Mind

Wall Bracket: Comes with a wall bracket for mounting when it arrives.

Rechargeable: It’s possible to recharge this one after discharge, which saves money (and the environment).

Great Brand: Ansul is a respected brand in the industry and a good alternative to an Amerex model.

Less powerful than a 10 Lbs model: For more power, Ansul offers a step up to the 10 Lbs Ansul Sentry (also reviewed in this article).

6. First Alert KITCHEN5

Bottom Line: This is a dedicated fire extinguisher for kitchen use. It uses a sodium bicarbonate dry chemical which is considered by some as better than an ABC dry chemical for cooking fires, but it lacks a gauge and we don’t like its pressure checker. So, we rate it well below the Kidde RESSP for a kitchen extinguisher.



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When selecting a kitchen fire extinguisher, we knew the type of fires that ignite in a kitchen are unique. ABC extinguishers are not particularly effective for grease and cooking oil fires. As the NFPA 10 Standard on Portable Fire Extinguishers, states under Selection of Residential Fire-Extinguishing Equipment, Combustible Cooking Media Fires, “an ABC dry chemical extinguisher is not the extinguisher of choice because of the possibility of reignition.”

James Says: “ABC extinguishers are notoriously ineffective on cooking oil fires. YouTube is full of examples showing fire reflash time after time after using an ABC extinguisher on a stovetop fire. A commercial Class K extinguisher is overkill for the home kitchen, but a class B:C extinguisher containing sodium bicarbonate or potassium bicarbonate is [my preference] for a kitchen extinguisher.”

As James states, many people choose to go with a B:C rated kitchen extinguisher that uses sodium bicarbonate or potassium bicarbonate dry chemical. The above extinguisher does just that. But James is still more bullish on the Kidde RESSP than this model:

James Says: “I agree with [your choice of] a sodium bicarbonate unit for kitchen use, but I would [prefer] one with a gauge and rated 10 B:C instead, which would be a 2 1/2 lb – 2 3/4 lb capacity unit. I’m going to go against my grain and [say I prefer] the Kidde model RESSP.”

However, this model lacks a gauge and uses a push-pin to check pressure, which is not our preference. So, while we’re sharing this as a kitchen fire extinguisher available on Amazon that we considered, we prefer the Kidde RESSP due to its UL rating.

Furthermore, this model may not meet NFPA’s recommendation for a 2A:10B:C extinguisher in the home, so we would not personally have this as our only at-home fire extinguisher. We’d still want another in the house somewhere.

Why This Fire Extinguisher

Keep in Mind

Grease and Cooking Fires: ABC extinguishers won’t cut it for home cooking fires. Instead, we prefer a 5-B:C rated model such as this one.

Lightweight: The item weight is just 2.7 Lbs, making it a nice small extinguisher to keep in the kitchen.

Non Rechargeable: Once it’s discharged, it has to be disposed of and a new one needs to be bought.

Small: We find dedicated domestic kitchen fire extinguishers tend to be quite small.

Can’t be a home’s only Extinguisher: We decided it was a good idea to have a larger ABC rated extinguisher in the home as well.

7. Buckeye 13315 2.5 Lbs Extinguisher

Bottom Line: A small extinguisher that would be good for a confined space. We like the idea of this one for a car.

We love the 2.5 Lbs Buckeye fire extinguisher
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We love the 2.5 lbs Buckeye extinguisher. The only reason it’s not top of the list is that it’s small – probably too small for our home. However, we’d consider it for a car or RV.

We feel this extinguisher is very well built. It’s built with a solid metal trigger and valve mechanism … and it’s shiny! (Okay, that’s got nothing to do with the quality. But it looks really nice – you know, for a fire extinguisher).

The other thing we love about the 2.5 lb Buckeye is that it doesn’t have a hose. Hoses can be really annoying and require additional dexterity when discharging the extinguisher (unfortunately they’re necessary for any extinguisher rated 2-A or greater, or 20-B or greater). But with 2.5 pound extinguishers like this one, users can point the nozzle at the fire rather than a hose. In other words, we feel it’s super easy to operate.

But, it may not meet NFPA’s recommendation for a 2A:10B:C extinguisher in the home, so we would not personally have this as our only nearby extinguisher. We’d have a larger one nearby also.

It also comes with a car mounting bracket – which is probably no use for the house!

James Says: “The Buckeye 13315 is slightly shorter and fatter [than the Amerex B417T – reviewed below] and for that reason may be a better fit in some vehicles.  Buckeye also sells their models in retail stores under the Shield brand name, the 13315 is available in a rechargeable as well as a disposable model with the same metal valve.”

It’s possible to get this both as a rechargeable and non-rechargeable model, but as James says, the rechargeable model may not be economical anyway:

James Says: “Recharging any small extinguisher such as this is likely to equal or exceed the cost of a new unit.”

Why This Fire Extinguisher

Keep in Mind

Easy to Operate: With a simple nozzle discharge, users can focus on pointing and pulling the trigger. We like this more than the hose system of larger extinguishers.

Nice Build: Buckeye is known for its high quality components, including all-metal valves and handle mechanisms.

Great Brand: We’ve only heard good things about the Buckeye brand.

Too Small: It’s really nice, but probably too small for our home.

8. Amerex B417T 2.5 Lbs. ABC Dry Chemical

The Amerex B417T comes with a vehicle mount

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The B417T is the other 2.5 pound extinguisher that we like. No guesses for why: it’s an Amerex extinguisher! 

We think the B417T and the Buckeye above are comparable in just about every regard. But, it’s possible to also get the B417TT which comes with a double strap aircraft bracket which can rattle less which might be preferable for a vehicle.

James Says: “The Amerex B417T is a good 2 1/2 lb extinguisher with a vehicle bracket, it is also available with a double strap aircraft bracket as the B417TT which is more secure and rattles less in vehicle use. “

This extinguisher has all metal valve and trigger mechanisms, is rechargeable after discharge, and comes with a nozzle discharge rather than hose discharge (hoses are required for larger models). On these factors, we gave it ticks all around.

And like the Buckeye, it also comes with a vehicle mount. However, this is probably a good indication that these smaller extinguishers aren’t really designed for homes, but cars. Nonetheless, if we needed a small or secondary extinguisher in the home, we would consider thees great little ABC rated extinguishers.

Another important considerations is that it may not meet NFPA’s recommendation for a 2A:10B:C extinguisher in the home, so we would not personally have this as our only extinguisher in our house.

Why This Fire Extinguisher

Keep in Mind

Relatively Easy to Operate: With a simple nozzle discharge, it feels easier to use than the hose system of larger extinguishers.

Good Build: It has all metal valve and handle mechanisms.

Great Brand: Amerex is the our favorite brand for fire extinguishers in our opinion.

It’s Small: It’s really nice, but probably too small for our main home or kitchen fire extinguisher.

9. Kidde 466204 Pro 10M

Bottom Line: A larger extinguisher. We considered this one for our garage as it exceeds all of our requirements for a heavy duty 10 pound home use extinguisher. The Kidde 466204 Pro 10M gets an honorable mention as one of the best fire extinguishers for garage workshops in our opinion.

another decent Kidde rechargable extinguisher

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The Kidde 466204 Pro 10M is a heavy duty fire extinguisher that we’d be happy to use in our garage or workshop. We would consider it if we were working on cars or other machinery.

It also has a metal valve component, is rechargeable, and has overall impressive specs.

But, as with the Amerex B441, our main concern is it’s too large and heavy to keep in a kitchen – we really want an extinguisher that we could sit in our cupboard and whip out without too much effort. And this one’s not that small and nimble for us.

At the end of the day we felt more comfortable going with the Amerex B441 due to the Amerex brand reputation. But we’re sure this one would have kept us happy, too!

Why This Fire Extinguisher

Keep in Mind

Lighter than Comparable Heavy Duty Extinguishers: At a respectable 16 pounds, the Kidde 466204 Pro 10M is on the lighter end of the spectrum for extinguishers with 10 pounds of chemical agent.

Relatively Strong: Like the Amerex B441, the Kidde 466204 Pro has a relatively long discharge time and range. Its range is 20 feet and has a discharge time of up to 21 seconds.

It’s Big: Extinguishers with 10 pounds of chemical agent tend to be larger than necessary for a kitchen. At 21.5 inches high, 8.25 inches wide and 5.25 inches deep, this extinguisher may be a bit difficult to hide under a kitchen sink.

Not our Favorite Brand: Kidde is a known and widely used brand, but in our opinion it’s not got the reputation of an Amerex or Ansul in the fire extinguisher industry.

How to choose a home fire extinguisher

Key Points:

  • Class: ABC rated fire extinguishers are popular for home use.
  • Rechargeable vs. disposable: There are both rechargeable and disposable extinguishers. Rechargeable extinguishers are our choice because they’re more environmentally friendly and often have better quality valve mechanisms.
  • Size: There are three main fire extinguisher sizes: 2, 5 and 10 pounds. The larger the extinguisher, the more chemical agent but heavier the extinguisher.

a) What class of fire extinguisher should I get for home use?

ABC rated fire extinguishers are common for domestic home use, but not always best for kitchen use.

Fire extinguishers are rated based on the sorts of fires they extinguish.

There are 5 types of fires. Each type of fire can is best put out by a specific compound in a fire extinguisher. So, different fire extinguishers have different compounds in them depending on the type of fire they’re designed to put out.

Here are the 5 types of fires:

Class A: Paper, wood and plastic fires. Examples of fires that are classified as Class A include trash pile fires and campfires.

Class B: Flammable liquid fires. Class B fires include burning paints, gasoline, grease and oil. Burning gasses like butane and propane are also considered Class B fires.

Class C: Electrical fires. Examples include fires started by overloaded power boards, short circuiting appliances and frayed power cords.

Class D: Metal fires. Some forms of combustible metals that cause Class D fires include: sodium, potassium, aluminium and magnesium. Most home fires are not caused by Class D fires.

Class K: Class K fires put out burning cooking grease and animal fats. They’re usually used for commercial kitchens with 80-pound fryers that aren’t found in family kitchens. Many residential kitchen fire extinguishers are BC rated.

Class K extinguishers have specialized ‘wet chemical’ compounds that are effective for only Class K fires, making them less versatile than domestic home use extinguishers. That’s why Class K extinguishers aren’t usually recommended for domestic home use.

Manufacturers have come up with fire extinguishers called ABC fire extinguishers. These extinguishers have ‘dry chemical’ compounds in them that are best for putting out Class A, B, and C fires. These ABC extinguishers are common for home use.

As always, check your local regulations.

b) Should I get a rechargeable or disposable fire extinguisher for my home?

We prefer rechargeable extinguishers as they’re sturdier and last longer.

There are both rechargeable and disposable single-use extinguishers.

Rechargeable extinguishers often have sturdier metal mechanisms that will last longer. They’re also a little heavier than single-use disposable extinguishers. Disposable extinguishers will often have plastic mechanisms which we feel are not as sturdy.

A rechargeable extinguisher often costs a little bit more. However, recharging is pretty cheap (around $10 – $25). Many fire departments provide a recharging service.

After using an extinguisher (even for a few seconds), they can’t be just put back on the wall and expected to work again next time. If the extinguisher is below the ‘green zone’ on the pressure gauge, they need to be taken to the fire department or another charging location to get it recharged. People using a disposable extinguisher would have to throw the extinguisher away and buy a new one after discharge.

c) What size fire extinguisher should I get for home use?

Key points:

  • A 2 pound extinguisher is common for use in cars
  • A 5 pound extinguisher is common for use in the main floor of a home
  • A 10 pound extinguisher is common for use in a garage

Extinguishers usually come with either 2, 5, or 10 pounds of chemicals. This is only the weight of chemical and doesn’t count the weight of the canister itself.

So, an extinguisher marketed with 5 pounds of chemicals may have a total weight of about 10 pounds, while a 10-pound extinguisher may have a total weight of 16 to 20 pounds when you add the weight of the canister itself.

One main thing to keep in mind is that lighter extinguishers are easier to lift, carry and operate but don’t last as long.

Often, a 5-pound fire extinguisher will have a total weight of 10 pound and contain about 15 seconds of discharge.

We decided that it was a good idea to have a secondary larger extinguisher in the garage for backyard and workshop fires, so we decided a 10 Lbs for the garage and a 5 Lbs for the house would be our choice. As always, make sure you get one that meets local and federal regulations.

d) What’s wrong with Plastic Valve Fire Extinguishers?

We tend to avoid plastic valve extinguishers. Plastic valves have a bad reputation for malfunctioning.

In fact, one major brand recalled 470,000 plastic valve fire extinguishers in 2005, another 4.6 million in 2015, and another 40 million in 2017. The fact that this brand recalled the extinguishers does not mean this problem was exclusive to that brand. Sometimes a recall is a reflection on a company’s focus on constantly reviewing quality and respecting their warranties.

What are the Main Fire Extinguisher Brands?

The main brands of fire extinguisher (in our order of preference) are:

  • Amerex
  • Ansul
  • Badger
  • Buckeye
  • First Alert
  • Kidde

We’re big fans of Amerex (obviously) and tend to give it five stars in our product reviews (okay that’s a euphemism – we don’t use stars for our ratings). We think that Amerex really excels in this category.

How many fire extinguishers are needed in a family home?

Homes usually need more than one fire extinguisher. The bottom line is that everyone needs an extinguisher within a very short distance of them at any time to prevent flare ups. There is often only a time span of seconds to prevent a small flame from becoming a blaze.

For our home, we decided to place one extinguisher in our kitchen and one in our garage.

The NFPA suggests one extinguisher on each level of a home, and has minimum power requirements. Check current regulations.

Why do you need a fire extinguisher in your kitchen?

A dedicated kitchen fire extinguisher rated for kitchens helps put out small fires started by:

  • Cooking;
  • Kitchen appliances such as the stove and oven; and
  • Laundry appliances such as the washing machine and dryer.

Many home fires start in the kitchen. The kitchen has a ton of electrical appliances, hot plates, stoves and ovens which each are known as high fire risk appliances.

The kitchen is also usually right next to the laundry — and the washing machine and dryer are two more appliances that cause home fires regularly.

So, the kitchen is a logical place to put a fire extinguisher. It’ll be within close reach for the most common fire threats.

Why do we need a fire extinguisher in our garage?

The garage fire extinguisher can help for fires started by:

  • Fire tools;
  • Vehicles;
  • Lawnmowers;
  • The backyard barbecue;
  • Dry grass; or
  • Your neighbors!

Just this summer my partner’s mother’s backyard had a grass fire from a spark caused by her neighbor’s power tool. He didn’t have a fire extinguisher handy and before you know it there were 8 fire engines, 2 police cars, and a news helicopter gathered around the burnt black grass.

This experience validated our choice to buy two extinguishers: one in the kitchen and one in the garage.

How to use a home fire extinguisher

Fire extinguishers are basically first aid appliances. They are designed to fight small fires in their incipient stages. For any fire, you should follow your local authority’s guidelines – this may include getting everyone out of the house and calling the fire department as soon as possible.

Get professionally trained on how to use a fire extinguisher so you’re prepared for when the time comes.

Extinguishers differ based on make and model. But, there are usually the following features:

  • Safety clip
  • Trigger

In the hypothetical generic fire extinguisher, the steps are usually to pull the safety clip, aim at the base of the fire, and pull the trigger. It’s pretty straightforward – but people still get it wrong!

Extinguishers don’t last long – usually around 15 – 20 seconds, so aim true.

Remember that once a fire extinguisher has been discharged, it needs to be recharged or (if it’s a disposable single-use extinguisher) it needs to be thrown away and a new one needs to be bought.

Important home fire extinguisher maintenance information

Key Points:

  • First and foremost follow the laws in your local jurisdiction. We cannot give advice for anyone’s individual circumstances or jurisdiction;
  • Gauge often need to be checked monthly to ensure they remain pressurized. This takes a quick glance as you walk by;
  • Expiration and maintenance dates need to be remembered to know when to replace or update an extinguisher.
  • Extinguishers need to be easily accessible and unobstructed;

We make sure when we’re cleaning or rearranging our home that there’s easy access to the extinguisher. A fire can happen at any time, and will likely happen when it’s least expected.

We also make sure nothing is stacked or stored in front of our extinguisher. It needs to be easily accessed when a fire starts. There are only seconds to act in an emergency.

Regular checks of the pressure gauge on an extinguisher are usually required. There is often a ‘green range’ on the pressure gauge that will show from a quick glance whether the extinguisher has maintained its pressure. If it’s lost pressure, it may need to be checked by a local fire department or replaced.

During regular checks, we like to check the mechanism for rust, corrosion or cracks which may impede the extinguisher’s use. This sort of damage would likely indicate that the extinguisher is getting old, and may mean a new one is required. Check with the rules in your local jurisdiction.

Rechargeable extinguishers usually require maintenance every 6 years, but check your model and rules in your area. You can call your local fire department for information on how to get your extinguisher maintained and refilled in your area. It usually costs around $25 to recharge the extinguisher.

NFPA recommends that non-rechargeable and disposable fire extinguishers be replaced every 12 years. Some models may have shorter expiration dates, so check your manual.

Protect your Family: A Fire Extinguisher is not Enough

Key Points:

  • Smoke and carbon monoxide in the home can help save lives;
  • A kitchen fire blanket is recommended by many authorities;
  • Most residential homes legally require a home fire safety plan.

A fire extinguisher is one of the most important home fire safety devices. But a fire extinguisher isn’t enough to save a home. Other safety appliances include:

a) Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors

Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors can help to warn people of an imminent threat. Many jurisdictions require they be installed by law, so check your local requirements. Even if it’s not a requirement, it’s worth considering.

b) Kitchen Fire Blanket

Fire blankets can help deal with small stove top fires when used effectively. They can also cause a lot less mess than fire extinguishers, so when used properly they can end up saving electronics and thereby saving money in the long run!

c) A Home Fire Emergency Plan

Fire emergency plans are compulsory for most family homes in the USA, UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Again, check local requirements.

Fortunately this one’s easy to do. Access the fire emergency plan requirements from your local fire department and write up a plan for you and your family. If allowed by your local jurisdiction, you can keep it stored in your kitchen drawers and remind your kids about the important points once a year during fire prevention week.

Summing Up…

As you can tell, we put a lot of thought into choosing a fire extinguisher! After our extensive research, we ended up selecting the Amerex B402 as a good choice for the best fire extinguisher for home or kitchen and the Amerex B441 as the best garage extinguisher for our circumstances. These choices were specific to us, so you need to make an informed decision for you and your family based on your own due diligence research and consultation with professionals. All information provided here is only for general entertainment purposes and does not constitute advice or recommendations for your situation.

Good luck and stay safe!

Cheers,
Chris

* Note: James is a real person, but we’ve used a pseudonym and stock photo to protect his identity. His current employer has media relations regulations that limit our ability to share his identity publicly. While we do our best to provide accurate information, including consulting with emergency services professionals like James, we cannot guarantee the currency, validity or suitability of the information on the site for your circumstances. By using this site you agree to our terms of use and no advice disclaimer.