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

Reviewed by an Emergency Services Professional: This article was reviewed by James*, a trained firefighter with extensive experience in the industry. He has worked with the National Park Service and in emergency management for hospitals in the United States. We’d like to thank James for his valuable feedback in preparation of this article. Ensure you follow our terms of use before making decisions related to the information on this site.


Our top Pick for Home Use:

Amerex B402 5 Lbs ABC Fire Extinguisher


Our pick as the best fire extinguisher for regular home use is the Amerex B402 5 pound ABC Fire Extinguisher. Here’s why we chose the Amerex B402:

  • It is ABC rated for home use.
  • It’s strong but light enough to carry.
  • It’s from a quality, respected brand in the industry.
  • It comes with a wall mount.
  • It’s sturdy and well-built, with all-metal valves and handle.

NFPA recommends an extinguisher such as this one “per floor level” in a house. If you want a heavy duty extinguisher for your garage, we’d recommend the Amerex B441 (see our review). If you want a kitchen fire extinguisher, we’d recommend that Kidde RESSP (see our review).

This year we finally got around to buying a fire extinguisher for our family home.

We were surprised to learn that the experts recommend several: one dedicated kitchen extinguisher, one ABC model for each floor of the house, and one heavy duty 10 Lbs model for the garage.

Rosie and I selected 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.

Key Points in this Buyer’s Guide:

  • You need one dedicated kitchen extinguisher
  • You need one ABC extinguisher in the house and another in the garage
  • We chose the Kidde RESSP for the kitchen (its the only one that meets UL 711A standard for domestic cooking fires).
  • We chose the Amerex B441 for our garage.

There’s a full buyers guide and Q&A at the bottom of this article. But we know you just want to hear our suggestions. So here they are.

Here are all 9 fire extinguishers we reviewed and their pros and cons:

#

Fire Extinguisher

Canister Size

Class

Quick Review

Our Rating

 1Amerex B4025 Lbs.ABCThis is our pick for the best extinguisher for home use. You need one of these for each level of the house. (Go to review)

10/10

 2Amerex B44110 Lbs.ABCThis is our pick as the best heavy duty fire extinguisher for workshop and garage use. It’s large and packs a punch for larger fires. (Go to review)

9.5/10

 3Kidde RESSP2.5 Lbs(UL) 711AThis is our pick as the best fire extinguisher for kitchen use and is the only extinguisher that conforms to UL 711A standard for domestic cooking fires. (Go to review)

8.5/10

 4Ansul 436500 Sentry10 Lbs.ABCAnsul is a great brand, and anyone after a non-Amerex extinguisher in the 10 lbs category should take a good hard look at this one. (Go to review)

8.5/10

 5Ansul Sentry 4347325 Lbs.ABCGet this one if you want a non-Amerex 5 Lbs fire extinguisher for regular home use. (Go to review)

8.5/10 

 6First Alert KITCHEN52 Lbs.B:CThis kitchen fire extinguisher uses a sodium bicarbonate dry chemical which is better than an ABC dry chemical for grease fires. (Go to review)

7.5/10

 7Buckeye 133152.5 LbsABCIn our review of fire extinguishers for cars (see that full review article here), this one won hands down. It’s super lightweight and small but still good quality (Go to review)

7.5/10

 8Amerex B417T2.5 Lbs.ABCIn our review of fire extinguishers for boats (see that article here if you’ve got a boat), this one won as our pick as the best for boats under 26 feet. (Go to review)

7.5/10

 9Kidde 466204 Pro 10M10 Lbs.ABCFor a large extinguisher, this one is nice and light compared to other 10 pounders. But still, we wouldn’t put this in our home as it’s large and bulky. (Go to review)

7/10

The Best Fire Extinguishers for Home Use in 2020

1. Amerex B402 – Best for in the House

Bottom Line: The Amerex B402 uses a newer ABC powder formulation than its predecessor, the B500, making it a more powerful extinguisher at the same size and weight as its predecessor.


Amerex is our go-to brand for fire extinguishes. They’ve got a very good reputation in an industry well-known for some brands that do more product recalls than you’d want! But 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. I think it is realistic to recommend the Amerex B402 as your top pick for home use and recommend the B441 for use in a garage or workshop, if you want something a little larger or more heavy-duty.”

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), giving it durability and a solid feel. We also like that the pressure gauge is clear and large, facing outwards when sitting on its mounting bracket.

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 extinguishers will do it for you.

Why This Fire Extinguisher

Keep in Mind

Not too Heavy: 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 half the extinguishing chemical inside.

Fits in a Cupboard: The Amerex B402 is 15 inches tall, meaning it would fit discretely in most cupboards. Consider using the wall mount that comes with it and mount it on a wall in an accessible location.

Sufficient Power for a Small Fire: With 14 seconds of discharge time, we were satisfied this unit would be enough for many small home fires.

Sturdy 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. 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 stepped up to the B441 which has a longer discharge time and range for bigger fires.

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

Bottom Line: This is the highest quality heavy duty fire extinguisher we found. This was our pick for Chris’s small garage workshop. It has great discharge time and range which is ideal for bigger fires. However, it is heavier than the B402 so we recommend it for garages rather than kitchens.

the best 10 pound fire extinguisher for garage

The Amerex B441 fire extinguisher is our top pick for heavy duty home extinguisher. It would be good for home, garage or workshop use. This heavy-duty extinguisher holds 10 pounds of chemical agent which is best for a workshop environment where you are working with cars and other machinery. It has a heavy duty chrome plated brass valve (as opposed to the aluminum valve on smaller models) which makes it a more durable model.

This extinguisher is the 10 pound version of the Amerex B402. So, no wonder we chose this one when we had such a good experience with Amerex in the past.

This is the big daddy of fire extinguishers. It packs a punch with its 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 extinguishers will do it for you.

It complies to the A-B-C 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

Excellent Power: If you want a fire extinguisher capable of taking on rapidly growing fires or fires accelerated by gasoline, this might be your guy.

Great Brand: Did we mention we trust Amerex’s quality and 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: 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 our 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: This is currently the only fire extinguisher for kitchen use that is UL 711A listed for residential cooking fires. Unfortunately, it’s not currently available on Amazon so you’ll need to get it from Kidde’s website.

While Kidde isn’t our go-to brand for fire extinguishers, they have eclipsed the competition when it comes to the best fire extinguisher for kitchen use. 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, making it the ideal 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. 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.

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 ensuring you buy 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.”

If you buy directly from Kidde, you’ll ensure you are getting the newer metal valve model. Unfortunately, there is not currently a retailer on Amazon who carries this unit.

4. Ansul Sentry 10 Lbs.

Quick Review: Ansul is a top 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

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 very powerful. It has a very long discharge range and time, so it’s great 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).

And as you’d expect from any fire extinguisher we recommend, 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 you won’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 a kitchen. It’s really more for workshops.

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.

Good Power: 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 too heavy for our liking.

5. Ansul Sentry 434732


Ansul is a top brand in the fire extinguisher industry. We wanted to share a regular 5 Lbs. extinguisher that would be a good alternative to the Amerex 402, and this is it. 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 they recommend one on every level of your home. So if you have a multi-story home, 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: You can 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: If you’re working in the garage, you might want to 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 better than an ABC dry chemical for cooking fires, but it lacks a gauge and has a poor pressure checker. So, we rate it well below the Kidde RESSP for a kitchen extinguisher.


When selecting a kitchen fire extinguisher, you need to keep in mind the type of fires that ignite in a kitchen. 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 a much better choice 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 recommending a sodium bicarbonate unit for kitchen use, but I would recommend 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 recommend the Kidde model RESSP.”

However, we do not recommend this as the only fire extinguisher in your home. It’s advisable to also have a general ABC extinguisher elsewhere in your home for non-kitchen fires.

Furthermore, it lacks a gauge and uses a push-pin to check pressure, which has been shown to be unreliable. So, while we’re sharing this as a kitchen fire extinguisher available on Amazon, we rate it lower than the Kidde RESSP in terms of quality and reliability.

Why This Fire Extinguisher

Keep in Mind

Good for Grease and Cooking Fires: ABC extinguishers won’t cut it for home cooking fires. Instead, consider 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 that you can reserve for a specific purpose: kitchen fires.

Non Rechargeable: Once you’ve discharged it, you have to dispose of it and get a new one.

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

Can’t be your only Extinguisher: It’s a good idea to also have an ABC rated extinguisher in your home.

7. Buckeye 13315 2.5 Lbs Extinguisher

Bottom Line: A small extinguisher that would be good for a confined space. We have this one for our car.

We love the 2.5 Lbs Buckeye fire extinguisher

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 home use. It’s probably better for a car or RV.

But, we’ll show you the pros – maybe this is just what you want.

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, you simply point the nozzle at the fire and pull the trigger. In other words, it’s super easy to operate.

It also comes with a car mounting bracket – which is probably no use for you in 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.”

You can get this both as a rechargeable and non-rechargeable model, but as James says, this may not be economical for you 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, all you need to do is point and pull the trigger. We like this more than the hose system of larger extinguishers.

Very well Built: It has high quality components, inlcuding all metal valve 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 your main home or kitchen fire extinguisher.

8. Amerex B417T 2.5 Lbs. ABC Dry Chemical

The Amerex B417T comes with a vehicle mount

The B417T is the other 2.5 pound extinguisher that we like to recommend. No guesses for why: it’s an Amerex extinguisher! (With enough repetition, you might pick up on the fact that Amerex is the extinguisher brand we most recommend!)

We think the B417T and the Buckeye above are comparable in just about every regard. So, if you’re set on getting a small 2.5 pound extinguisher, you might want to do a price check on both of them and getting the one that’s most affordable. Because there’s not much that separates them.

But, you can also get the B417TT which comes with a double strap aircraft bracket which can rattle less and 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 – these smaller extinguishers aren’t really designed for homes, but cars. Nonetheless, if you need a small or secondary extinguisher in the home, these are great little ABC rated extinguishers that we’d happily recommend.

Why This Fire Extinguisher

Keep in Mind

Easy to Operate: With a simple nozzle discharge, all you need to do is point and pull the trigger. We like this more than the hose system of larger extinguishers.

Very well Built: It has high quality components, including all metal valve and handle mechanisms.

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

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

9. Kidde 466204 Pro 10M

Bottom Line: A larger extinguisher if you don’t mind the extra weight. 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.

another decent Kidde rechargable extinguisher

The Kidde 466204 Pro 10M is a heavy duty fire extinguisher that we’d be happy to use in a garage or workshop. Its ABC rating means it’s useful for most gasoline and oil fires, so it could be a good pick if you are 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 – you really want an extinguisher that you can sit in your cupboard and whip out without too much effort. And this one’s not that small and nimble.

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 keep you 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.

Good Power: Like the Amerex B441, the Kidde 466204 Pro has a 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 your kitchen sink.

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

How to choose a fire extinguisher for your home

how to choose a fire extinguisher
Key Points:

  • Class: Experts recommend you get an ABC rated fire extinguisher for your home.
  • Rechargeable vs. disposable: You can get a rechargeable or disposable extinguisher. Rechargeable extinguishers are recommended.
  • Size: There are three fire extinguisher sizes: 2, 5 and 10 points. 5 or 10 pound extinguishers are best for home use;.

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

Get an ABC rated fire extinguisher for domestic home 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.07

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. A Class B extinguisher is usually enough to put out a home kitchen fire, making Class K fire extinguishers irrelevant for home fires.

Furthermore, 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 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 recommended for home use.

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

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

You can either get a rechargeable extinguisher or a disposable single-use extinguisher.

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

If you get a rechargeable extinguisher, expect to pay a little bit more. However, your extinguisher will last longer and recharging is pretty cheap (around $10 – $25). Most fire departments provide a recharging service.

After you use an extinguisher (even for a few seconds), you can’t just put it back on the wall and expect it to work again next time. You’ll need to take your rechargeable extinguisher to the fire department to get it recharged. If you’re using a disposable extinguisher, you’ll have to throw it away and buy a new one.

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

Key points:

  • A 2 pound extinguisher is good for use in your car
  • A 5 pound extinguisher is good for use in the main floor of your home
  • A 10 pound extinguisher is good for use in your 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 cannister 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.

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

You should expect that a 5-pound fire extinguisher will have a total weight of 10 pound and contain about 15 seconds of discharge. This is usually enough to put out a small kitchen fire.

We decided that we wanted a secondary larger extinguisher in the garage for backyard and workshop fires, so we got a 10 Lbs for the garage and a 5 Lbs for our house.

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

We haven’t recommended any plastic valve extinguishers in our list. Plastic valves have a bad reputation for malfunctioning.

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

Furthermore, Kidde isn’t the only company who have recalled extinguishers. First Alert also recalled 600,000 of their FE1A10G extinguishers back in 2000.

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). But, we tend to avoid First Alert and Kidde. This isn’t to say they’re not great brands – we’ve recommended other First Alert products in other product reviews – but we do thing that Amerex really excels in this category while First Alert and Kidde sit in the middle of the pack – i.e. closer to three stars!

How many fire extinguishers do you need in a family home?

how many fire extinguishers do you need in a family home?
Key Points:

  • Experts recommend you place a B:C rated sodium bicarbonate fire extinguisher in the kitchen;
  • Experts recommend you place a fire extinguisher in the garage;
  • Experts recommend you place one ABC fire extinguisher on each floor of the home;
  • You should never be more than 40 feet (about 15 meters) from a fire extinguisher.

You usually need more than one fire extinguisher in your home. The bottom line is that you need an extinguisher within a very short distance of you at any time to prevent flare ups. You often only have 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.

Why do you need a fire extinguisher in your kitchen?

The B:C sodium bicarbonate kitchen fire extinguisher helps for fire started by:

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

Most home fires start in the kitchen. The kitchen has a ton of electricals, 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 the most logical place to put a fire extinguisher. It’ll be within close reach for the most common fire threats.

Why do you need a fire extinguisher in your garage?

The garage fire extinguisher helps for fire started by:

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

I use power tools a fair bit both in the garage and the backyard. I also like to use the barbecue in summer. When I take the tools out to the backyard or do the barbecuing, the garage fire extinguisher is really close by and I’m confident I can access it quickly.

Just this summer Rosie’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 get everyone out of the house and call the fire department as soon as possible. Only then, if the fire seems small enough and you have a safe escape route, should you attempt to fight it with an extinguisher.

Watch a quick video 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

Pull the safety clip, aim at the base of the fire, and pull the trigger. It’s pretty straightforward – but as the video below shows, people still get it wrong!

Aim at the base of the fire, not the flames. Extinguishers don’t last long – usually around 15 – 20 seconds, so aim true. Keep in mind when you’re aiming that your goal is to put out the fire source, which is below the flames.

If it’s the stove that’s burning, you’ll want to aim at the stove, not the flames. If you aim that the flames, you’re just shooting the dry chemical straight at the wall behind the fire and not the fire itself.

Remember that once you’ve discharged a fire extinguisher you need to go to your fire department to recharge it or (if it’s a disposable single-use extinguisher) throw it away and buy a new one.

Important home fire extinguisher maintenance information

Key Points:

  • Check the gauge monthly to ensure it’s pressurized. This takes a quick glance as you walk by;
  • Remember the expiration or maintenance date to know when to replace or update your extinguisher.
  • Ensure the extinguisher is easily accessible and unobstructed;

Every month: Ensure there are not obstructions in front of the extinguisher. Make sure when you’re cleaning or rearranging your home to ensure there’s easy access to your extinguisher. A fire can happen at any time, and will likely happen when you least expect it.

Make sure nothing is stacked or stored in front of the extinguisher. It needs to be easily accessed when a fire starts. You’ll only have seconds to act.

Every 6 months: Check the pressure gauge on the extinguisher. There should be a ‘green range’ on the pressure gauge that will show you from a click glance whether it has maintained its pressure. If it’s lost pressure, you may need to get it checked by your local fire department or replace it.

During your six monthly check, you should also 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 you may want to buy a new one.

Every 6 years: Rechargeable extinguishers usually require maintenance every 6 years, but check your model. 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.

Every 12 years: 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:

  • You also need smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in your home;
  • A kitchen fire blanket is recommended;
  • 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 your home. Rosie and I researched what we needed for our home and created this checklist of home fire safety requirements. Below are other fire safety devices you need in your home: detectors, a fire blanket, and a home fire safety plan.

a) Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors

If you don’t have a complete set of smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in your home, this is the first and most important thing you need to add to your shopping list! Check the buyers guide menu at the top of this website for our tips on which smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors we recommend.

b) Kitchen Fire Blanket

Fire blankets are a quick fix to stove top fires. They also cause a lot less mess than fire extinguishers, so you might find they end up saving your electronics and stopping you from spending too much money in the long run!

Most kitchen fire blankets are made to the same requirements, but you can read here about the one Rosie and I chose for our kitchen.

c) A Home Fire Emergency Plan

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

Fortunately this one’s easy to do. If you’d like, you can print ours as a template and make changes for your own home. Keep it stored in your kitchen drawers and remind your kids about the important points once a year during fire prevention week. Check our menu at the top of this webpage for our home fire emergency plan guide.

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 the best fire extinguisher for home or kitchen and the Amerex B441 as the best for a garage.

Good luck and stay safe!

Cheers,
Rosie & 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 seek professional third party input before acting on the information provided. See our terms of use for more details.