Today, we’re reviewing the 5 best fire extinguishers for homes and vehicles, as well as teaching you how to read their classes. Having a fire extinguisher is not only required by law. Extinguishers come in extremely handy during extreme situations. Here’s a list of top models to get:
Fire safety is no joke, and so, you must have at least one fire extinguisher at home (one per floor for multi-level houses) and in your car.
- 1 5 Best Fire Extinguishers for Homes and Vehicles
- 2 How to Read Fire Extinguisher Classes
- 3 Best Fire Extinguisher – Wrap Up
5 Best Fire Extinguishers for Homes and Vehicles
1. First Alert PRO 5 Fire Extinguisher
- The First Alert PRO5 Fire Extinguisher is UL rated 3 A: 40 B:C and exceeds minimum 2 A:10 B:C code requirements; It features durable all metal construction with a commercial grade metal valve and...
- Heavy duty fire extinguisher is ideal for home offices and small businesses, and fights wood, fabric, paper, flammable liquid, and electrical fires
- Uses mono ammonium phosphate extinguishing agent; Rechargeable by certified professionals after use
Thanks to its affordability, availability, and reliable ability to put out common household fires, the PRO 5 by First Alert is our top choice for homes and small offices. It has a 3 A: 40 B:C, which means it’s effective against a wide array of fires including paper, wood, burning liquids, fabric, and electrical fires. The PRO 5 also exceeds the minimum size recommendations of the NFPA for home extinguishers.
This unit weighs just 10 pounds and you can recharge it after use for only half the cost of purchasing a new one. Additionally, it features an all-metal construction including the head and discharge valve, deeming it more dependable than fire extinguishers with plastic valves.
Backed up by a 12-year warranty, the First Alert PRO 5 comes with a mounting bracket and a color-coded, corrosion-resistant pressure gauge that’s easy to read.
2. Amerex B402 Fire Extinguisher
- 6 Year Manufacturer's Warranty when purchased from an authorized distributor
The Amerex B402 is also an excellent choice for a fire extinguisher, but it may be just a bit trickier to find than the First Alert PRO 5. Other than that, we’re looking at essentially the same product.
The B402 fire extinguisher is A:B:C rated, which means it’s effective against common fires including paper, wood, burning liquids, fabric, and electrical fires. It’s suitable for homes, offices, large vehicles, and more.
It has an all-metal construction including an aluminum discharge valve, so it’s more rugged and reliable. The B402 is also an economical option as it’s easy to service and maintain.
3. First Alert HOME 1 Rechargeable Fire Extinguisher
- First Alert's HOME1 FE1A10GR Fire Extinguisher is UL rated 1-A: 10-B:C; it features durable all-metal construction with a commercial-grade metal valve and trigger to meet demanding needs
- Multipurpose fire extinguisher fights wood, paper, trash, plastics, gasoline, oil, and electrical-equipment fires
- First Alert’s Rechargeable Fire Extinguisher can be recharged by a certified professional after use, allowing for reuse.
The HOME 1 by First Alert is the smaller sibling of the PRO 5, weighing in at 5 pounds. It’s a more portable option rated at 1A: 10B:C, which makes it effective against all sorts of fires including wood, oil, paper, plastics, gasoline, and electrical equipment.
Due to the lower capacity, the HOME 1 extinguisher is more affordable. Still, it has the same reliable all-metal construction and comes with a color-coded, corrosion-resistant pressure gauge that’s easy to read.
4. Amerex B417 Fire Extinguisher
- ABC Dry Chemical, Class A:B:C Extinguisher
- For use on Class A (ordinary combustibles), Class B (Flammable liquid) spills or Fires involving live electrical equipment (Class C)
- 10 sec. discharge time
The Amerex B417 is also the smaller version of the B402, differing only in its weight of 5 pounds. It’s A:B:C rated, so it’s effective against common household fires including paper, wood, burning liquids, fabric, and electrical fires.
It features an all-metal construction including an aluminum discharge valve, so it’s more rugged and dependable. The B417 comes with a wall bracket and is refillable.
5. First Alert AUTO 5 Fire Extinguisher
- Durable metal head designed to meet demanding needs.
- Corrosion resistant metal gauge easy-to-read color coded gauge provides accurate measurement.
- Metal pull pin with safety seal to help prevent accidental discharge and discourage tampering.
Last but not least, we have the best fire extinguisher for cars; the Auto 5 by First Alert weighing in at only 3 pounds. This fire extinguisher is compact enough to store in your car without space issues.
It has a 5B:C rating, which makes it effective in putting out fires caused by electrical equipment and flammable liquids. It’s quite accessible in emergencies since you can simply keep it in your glove compartment rather than back in your trunk.
Like its First Alert siblings, this unit features an all-metal construction including the head and discharge valve, so it’s more durable and dependable than fire extinguishers fitted with plastic valves.
It comes with a color-coded, corrosion-resistant pressure gauge that’s easy to read. Also, the AUTO 5 includes a bracket, mount, and strap for secure placement.
How to Read Fire Extinguisher Classes
The following standards are set by the worldwide safety certification company UL (Underwriters Laboratories). According to the National Fire Protection Association and the Fire Equipment Manufacturers’ Association, fires are classified into:
This includes fires that involve common combustibles such as paper, wood, paper, fabric, trash, and plastics.
This includes fires that involve flammable liquids such as oils, gasoline, tars, petroleum greases, oil-based paints, alcohols, and solvents.
It also includes fires that involve flammable gases such as butane and propane.
However, it doesn’t include fires that involve cooking greases and oils.
This includes fires that involve electrical equipment such as appliances, computers, engines, servers, and transformers.
Note that if you remove the power source of the equipment, a Class C fire turns into a fire of another class depending on whatever is burning.
This includes fires that involve combustible metals such as titanium, magnesium, zirconium, lithium, sodium, and potassium.
This includes fires that involve cooking greases and oils such as vegetable and animal fats.
With the above classification in mind, keep the following points in mind:
- The ABC combo class of fire extinguishers is considered the standard type for home use because it’s effective against a wide range of common household fires.
- Although it may seem that you can use a Class K extinguisher for fires of home kitchens, you shouldn’t do that because these extinguishers are made to put out fires involving animal greases and fats used in commercial kitchens.
- Experts approve of Class B extinguishers in fighting against a small Class K fire, which may occur in a home kitchen. However, the vice versa isn’t applicable, so a Class K extinguisher is rendered ineffective in homes.
In this context, one of the main ways people mess up when putting out a grease fire is using the wrong method. For example, if you use water against such a fire, you’d only be spreading the burning grease around and creating a bigger fire.
- Ideal “KITCHEN USE” fire extinguishers
- Wet Chemical Class A:K Extinguisher
- For use on (Class A) Ordinary Combustibles fires or (Class K) Cooking Appliances that involve combustible cooking media: vegetable or animal oils and fats
Next to the letter(s) in a fire extinguisher’s rating or class, you may also see numbers. These values refer to the strength of the effect of each letter.
For example, the number next to the letter A indicates the level of its effectiveness in comparison to 1.25 gallons of water. As such, if an extinguisher is rated 2A, this would mean that it’s as strong/effective against class A fires as 2.5 gallons of water.
For the letters B and C, the numbers next to them refer to the area that the extinguisher can put out in terms of square feet. Usually, manufacturers will shorten the code to be written as (number)B:C instead of (number)B (number)C.
Accordingly, if a fire extinguisher has a rating of 10B:C, this means it can put out 10 square feet of fire.
When it comes to Class D fire extinguishers, they feature a 5-point star identification showing the letter D. Unless these extinguishers are multi-purpose for other fire classes, they won’t have any numbers in their rating.
Lastly, Class K fire extinguishers are rated with just the letter K inside a hexagon without any numbers next to it. Again, this is unless the extinguisher is multi-purpose for other fire classes.
Best Fire Extinguisher – Wrap Up
There you have it, a complete guide on the best fire extinguisher for homes and vehicles. Remember, fire safety is a serious matter, and owning a fire extinguisher in your house or car can be the difference between life and death.