Fire Extinguishers: Review & Recommendations

Welcome to our big fire extinguisher test 2020, where we present you all fire extinguishers that we have tested in detail. We have put together detailed background information for you and also added a summary of the customer reviews on the net.

We want to make your purchase decision easier and help you to find the best fire extinguisher for you.

You can also find answers to frequently asked questions in our guide. If available, we also offer you interesting test videos. Furthermore, you will also find some important information on this page, which you should pay attention to if you want to buy a fire extinguisher.

The most important facts in brief

  • Fire extinguishers are important for every household and also for commercial areas, as they can be used to fight incipient fires
  • Fires are divided into different fire classes according to the fire object. There are several extinguishing agents that can be used for the different types of fire.
  • Depending on where the fire extinguisher is to be used in the event of an emergency, other properties such as extinguishing agent, size, extinguishing power or the technical design are suitable.

Fire extinguisher test: Favourites of the editorial team

  • The best powder fire extinguisher
  • The best foam fire extinguisher
  • The best foam fire extinguisher with stand & wall mount
  • The best small fire extinguisher
  • The best small fire extinguisher in a double pack

The best powder fire extinguisher

The ANDRIS® 6L powder fire extinguisher, a continuous pressure extinguisher, offers you a solid all-round device for your home at a low price. As a frost-proof device (down to -20°C), this extinguisher is also perfect for outdoors and garages. With this fire extinguisher you can extinguish fires of fire classes A, B and C.

The extinguishing agent filling quantity of the powder extinguisher is 6 kilograms. Together with all components, such as the bottle and the handle, this results in a total weight of 9.6 kilograms. The plastic stand and the hose holder ensure a safe and stable hold.

The best foam fire extinguisher

The ANDRIS® 6L foam fire extinguisher is a continuous pressure extinguisher, which is perfectly suited for living rooms, offices and delicate equipment and furniture. As this extinguisher is not frost-proof, it should not be stored in cold garages, workshops or outside. As a standard household and office fire extinguisher, this foam fire extinguisher is designed for fire classes A and B.

The extinguishing agent filling quantity of the foam extinguisher is 6 litres. Together with all components, such as the steel cylinder and the handle, this results in a total weight of 9.8 kilograms. The plastic stand and the hose holder ensure a safe and stable hold.

The best foam fire extinguisher with stand & wall mount

The Neuruppin S6SKP eco foam fire extinguisher is a rechargeable extinguisher (extinguishing agent and propellant are separate), which offers you good extinguishing performance, high durability and a suitable wall bracket. It is not frost-proof and should not be stored at temperatures below 0°C.

As a standard household and office fire extinguisher, this foam fire extinguisher is designed for fire classes A and B. The extinguishing agent filling quantity of the foam extinguisher is 6 litres. Together with all components, this results in a total weight of 10.6 kilograms.

The best small fire extinguisher

This powder fire extinguisher is a small compact device with an extinguishing agent filling quantity of 2 kg and a total weight of only 3.5 kg. This makes this fire extinguisher particularly easy to transport. This small fire extinguisher is also ideal for smaller households, for camping or for your car.

It is suitable for extinguishing fire classes A, B and C. The fire extinguisher is frost-proof to -30°C, which makes it suitable for storage in the garage, cellar or outdoors.

The best small fire extinguisher in a double pack

These powder fire extinguishers from HausundWerkstatt24 are available in a practical double pack. The fire extinguishers have a low extinguishing agent filling quantity of 1 kg, making them handy, easy to install and easy to transport. They are also especially suitable for use in cars, motor homes or motor boats.

The fire extinguishers have a total weight of 1.9 kg each, so they are particularly light. They also have a pressure gauge for checking the pressure and a holder for securely stowing the extinguishers. These extinguishers are suitable for fires of classes A, B and C.

Advisor: Questions you should deal with before you buy a fire extinguisher

How much does a fire extinguisher cost?

Depending on the size, type of extinguishing agent and whether it is a rechargeable extinguisher or a permanent pressure extinguisher, prices can vary considerably. It is important to know what you want to use the extinguisher for before you buy it.
Permanent pressure extinguishers with foam are available from about 40 euros. They are cheaper than rechargeable extinguishers with the same extinguishing agent (from about 70 euros), but you should expect higher maintenance costs.
Grease fire extinguishers are more expensive to purchase because of the special extinguishing agent. As an alternative you can therefore use fire extinguishing sprays.
They are available from approx. 18 Euro, but be careful: with a shelf life of 2-3 years and a low filling quantity, fat fire extinguishing sprays are better suited as a supplement for the kitchen.

Which fire classes are there?

Not all of them can be used for the same types of fires. For orientation, there are so-called fire classes (A, B, C, D & F). A distinction is made between solid, liquid and gaseous substances; in addition, metals and edible fats form their own fire classes. Until 1978 there was also a category E, which stood for fires in low-voltage electrical installations (up to 1,000 volts). Since these fires can be extinguished nowadays with all fire extinguishers except water fire extinguishers, no separate classification is necessary any more. The other classes are:

fire class A

Fires of solid materials, which usually burn with embers.
Examples: Wood, coal, paper, straw, textiles

Fire class B

Fires of liquid substances or substances becoming liquid.
Examples: petrol, benzene, oils, fats, lacquers, alcohol, wax, tar, ether

Fire class C

fires of gaseous substances, including those under pressure. Examples: hydrogen, natural gas, methane, propane, butane, town gas
Note for fire class C: The most important measure is to interrupt the gas supply. Otherwise, extinguishing is pointless. The situation could even get out of control due to new fire possibilities or explosion hazard.

Fire class D

Fires of metals. Examples: Aluminium, magnesium, lithium, potassium, sodium and their alloys
Caution: Extinguishing metals can have fatal consequences if the wrong extinguishing agent is used. Only use fire extinguishers that state on their sticker that they are suitable for metal fires (pay attention to the D!).

Fire class F

Fires of edible fats and oils (vegetable and animal).

Please note that there may be exceptions, such as that a grease fire extinguisher is also suitable for fire class A. What is actually stated on the extinguisher always applies.

In the following video these fire classes are explained to you again in detail:

How do I use a fire extinguisher?

The steps for operation are the same for most devices and are described directly on the label. So basically you can’t do much wrong.
When operating a fire extinguisher, the following 3 steps must be observed:

Pull off the safety tab or pin
drive in the hammer button hard
extinguish with the extinguishing pistol intermittently and selectively

When using a fire extinguisher, there are a number of things to consider in order not to endanger yourself or others. Here we show you the most important rules to remember when extinguishing a fire:

attack fire into the wind

The wind should come from behind and blow the smoke away from you. You should also aim at the embers, not the flames.

Extinguish from front to back and from bottom to top

Always start deleting at the point nearest to you. This prevents flames from spreading to you.

BUT: Extinguish dripping and flowing fires from top to bottom

If the burning substance drips down from above, extinguish first at the point of exit. Otherwise, fire will continue to develop, which makes extinguishing much more difficult.

Monitor the fire until rescue services arrive

Even though the fire may appear to be extinguished, there is probably still a great deal of heat in the source of the fire and the fire may flare up again. It is therefore important to extinguish the embers with water and to keep an eye on the area until the fire brigade arrives.

Using several extinguishers at the same time

If several extinguishers and persons are on site, it is advisable to use several extinguishers at the same time to fight the fire more quickly. This gives the flames less chance of renewing themselves (e.g. during a short pause in extinguishing).

Have used fire extinguishers refilled

Once you have used or even activated a fire extinguisher, you should never simply put it away again, but have it refilled immediately by a specialist. Only then can the operational readiness of your device be restored.

Do I have to have a fire extinguisher in the house?

Whether fire extinguishers are compulsory varies from place to place and from country to country. It also plays a role whether you live in an apartment or a detached house and what kind of heating you have. The best thing to do is to ask your local chimney sweep or the municipality.
In principle, fire extinguishers are mandatory for business premises and public spaces, but not for private residential buildings. But apart from the regulations, buying an extinguisher is a good investment for your own safety. In residential buildings, one extinguisher per floor is recommended.

Where can I buy a fire extinguisher?

Offline, you can buy portable hand-held fire extinguishers in almost any home improvement store, as well as in some electronics stores. Especially online you have the possibility to compare several extinguishers with each other and get a faster overview.
According to our research, most fire extinguishers in Germany and Austria are sold on the Internet via the following portals:

Amazon
Want
ebay
Conrad
Obi
Bauhaus
Fire protection professional (for Gloria brand)
Onlineshops of the respective manufacturers

How often should I have my fire extinguisher checked and where?

So that your fire extinguisher is really ready for use when things get serious, it is a legal requirement to have the device checked and serviced regularly, i.e. every 2 years. You can easily tell when it is time for this by looking at the inspection sticker.
The inspection must be carried out by a professional. This can be a certified member of the local fire brigade or a specialised company. The costs for the inspection itself, the sticker and the inspection certificate are usually not more than 10 Euros.

How long does a fire extinguisher last?

Depending on whether it is a rechargeable or continuous pressure extinguisher, a service life of 20-25 years can be expected. This naturally requires regular checks and maintenance.

Decision: What types of fire extinguishers are available and which one is right for me?

Basically, fire extinguishers can be distinguished by the extinguishing agent. It is the substance that extinguishes the flames, usually by suffocation. These are the most common extinguishers:

  • Powder fire extinguisher
  • Foam fire extinguisher
  • CO2 – fire extinguisher
  • Water fire extinguisher
  • Fat fire extinguisher

We will now take a closer look at the respective fire extinguishers, describe their advantages and disadvantages and hopefully make it easier for you to decide which device is right for you.

How exactly does a powder fire extinguisher work and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

Powder extinguishers are the so-called all-rounders among the extinguishing devices. They are often used because they form a barrier layer and thus prevent backfiring.

There are different types of powder, so for metal fires a different powder is used than for standard powder extinguishers. These are usually suitable for fire classes A, B and C.

Advantages

frost resistant to -30°C
no backfires
Glowing fire powder for A, B and C fires applicable

Disadvantages

highly adhesive residues on walls and furniture
irritating to mucous membranes (but otherwise harmless, except for metal fire powder

A major disadvantage of these extinguishers is the dirt they leave behind after use. Powder residues are often still found in joints and grooves years later. Powder extinguishers are therefore rather recommended for outdoor use.

In principle, the powder is completely harmless, but it can nevertheless lead to irritated mucous membranes. Please read what it says!

How exactly does a foam fire extinguisher work and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

Foam extinguishers are approved for classes A and B. They have gained acceptance because they leave almost no residue. On the outside, the foam blanket forms a barrier layer, which makes backfiring and a renewed flare-up considerably more difficult.

There are different types of foam, such as organic foam, frost-resistant foam or high-performance foam.

Advantages

less damage in retrospect compared to powder
Foam blanket forms a barrier layer, which makes re-ignition more difficult

Disadvantages

more expensive
only with additives frost resistant

A disadvantage of foam extinguishers is the slightly higher price compared to powder extinguishers. But if you do not want to have to clean for a long time after use, you should definitely invest in such a device.

Foam fire extinguishers have become the most popular hand-held fire extinguishers for the household.

How exactly does a CO2 fire extinguisher work and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

In CO2 extinguishers, carbon dioxide is used as the extinguishing agent. Because they are the only ones among the fire extinguishers that do not leave any residues, they are particularly suitable for electrical appliances. Besides electrical equipment, they are usually only approved for fires of liquids! Only if it is noted on the extinguisher can it be used for gas fires.

Due to the fact that carbon dioxide evaporates quickly outdoors, CO2 fire extinguishers are designed for closed rooms. Due to their weight, these devices are mainly used in professional areas.

Advantages

frost resistant to -30°C
well suited for fires of electrical appliances
no damage due to residues/moisture

Disadvantages

Risk of suffocation for humans and animals in the immediate vicinity
ineffective against possible re-ignition
more expensive

It should also be noted that CO2 fire extinguishers are ineffective against possible re-ignition because the extinguishing agent does not form a barrier layer at the source of the fire.

CO2 extinguishers should not be directed at people, as there is a high risk of suffocation and frostbite.

How exactly does a water fire extinguisher work and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

Water is also considered a residue-free extinguishing agent and is available frost-resistant. Because water fire extinguishers are only suitable for fire class A, they are used less and less.

Water extinguishers are among the more economical variants, even when refilling. They are also extremely environmentally friendly and safe.

Advantages

environmentally friendly
harmless

Disadvantages

only applicable to solids
very dangerous in case of metal and grease fires

Particularly with liquids, metals and greases, extreme caution is required! Never use a water fire extinguisher here!

It is recommended not to have water fire extinguishers as the only extinguishing device in the household.

How exactly does a grease fire extinguisher work and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

Fat fires are not uncommon. Therefore, especially in large kitchens, the necessary safety precautions should be taken. But a grease fire extinguisher can also prevent major damage at home.

Fat fire extinguishers are often also available in smaller versions, from just a few 100 millilitres, to make it easier to find space in the kitchen.

Most grease fire extinguishers today are also suitable for extinguishing fires of fire class A.

Advantages

well suited for kitchen and household
often also suitable for fire class A

Disadvantages

usually low extinguishing power, as they are designed for small fires

Burning fat is several hundred degrees Celsius hot and extremely dangerous. It should therefore only be extinguished with suitable extinguishing agents.

Purchase criteria: With these factors you can compare and rate fire extinguishers

In the following we would like to show you which factors you can use to compare and evaluate fire extinguishers. This will make it easier for you to decide whether a particular device is suitable for you or not.

In summary, these are:

  • The technical structure
  • The fire classes
  • The extinguishing power
  • The deletion duration
  • The extinguishing agent units
  • The filling quantity
  • The weight
  • The dimensions
  • The suitability range
  • Frost protection
  • Equipment (manometer/ holder)

In the following paragraphs you can read what the individual purchase criteria are and how they can influence your purchase decision.

The technical structure

When considering the technical design of a portable fire extinguisher, a distinction is made between higher quality rechargeable extinguishers and the standard continuous pressure extinguishers. The main difference here is the interaction of extinguishing agent and propellant.

In supercharged extinguishers, the extinguishing and propellant are physically separated and the extinguishing agent is therefore not under constant pressure. Only when operated . Because the area to be sealed is kept small, leaks are extremely rare in rechargeable extinguishers.

In contrast to this, the propellant gas exerts permanent pressure on the extinguishing agent and the extinguishing agent container in the case of continuous pressure extinguishers. Due to their simpler technical design, these extinguishers are the cheaper solution, but usually have a shorter service life. Even minor damage can lead to pressure loss and unsuitability for use. For this reason, it is recommended to buy an extinguisher with pressure gauge for self-checking. This will immediately show whether the bottle is leaking.

The fire classes

The different fire classes (A, B, C, D & F) are described above in detail in the advice section. Nevertheless, we would like to point this out again here, because the types of fire for which a fire extinguisher is suitable are probably the most important feature.

If you are looking for a fire extinguisher for your home to protect against small room fires, you should buy a device for fire class A. Even better are of course so-called all-rounders, which are usually suitable for A, B & C fires. In order to keep the subsequent damage indoors as low as possible, you should also use foam rather than powder as an extinguishing agent. This is not dangerous and does not leave a crust on furniture and appliances.

Metal fires (fire class D) are very delicate matters and should absolutely only be fought with extinguishers that are suitable for this fire category. If the wrong extinguishing agent is used, the consequences can be fatal.

Fires of edible oils and fats also form a separate fire class (F) and are extinguished with special fat fire extinguishers. Such fires are not only common in catering trade canteen kitchens, but are also a danger at home. With a small extinguishing device for the kitchen you can already prevent the flames from spreading to other objects next to the stove.

The extinguishing power

Like most products on the market, portable fire extinguishers are also standardised, to be precise according to DIN EN3. This means that number/letter combinations are given on the devices from which you can read the extinguishing power.

The letters simply stand for the fire classes, so you can see again where you can use your device. The number stands for the maximum size the fire should have.

For fire class A, the scale used is standardized wood stacks with a height of 56 cm and a depth of 50 cm. The width in decimetres is the key figure to be observed. This means that with a rating of, for example, 55A, the stack of wood may have a width of up to 5.5 metres.

With fire class B it is somewhat more complicated. It is assumed that the burning liquid has a round surface. The higher the number, the higher the surface may be. With a rating of 34B this is 1.1 m2, with 183B it is already 5.75 m2.

The easiest way to understand the extinguishing performance is with fire class F. The number in the rating indicates how many litres of burning grease can be extinguished. The extinguishing performance of grease fire extinguishers ranges from 5F to 75F.

There is no such ranking for gas and metal fires (fire classes C and D). Only the letters are given.

Here is an overview of the possible / tested extinguishing services for categories A and B

Fire class A: 5A, 8A, 13A, 21A, 27A, 34A, 43A, 55A

Fire class B: 21B, 34B, 55B, 70B, 89B, 113B, 144B, 183B, 233B

The deletion duration

The extinguishing duration is the time in which the extinguishing agent leaves the extinguisher with continuous spraying until it is empty. It depends on the extinguishing agent and the size of the extinguisher. Unfortunately, there is no fixed connection and therefore no exact reference value.

In general, however, hand-held fire extinguishers are not designed for large fires and the extinguishing time is usually only a few seconds to half a minute for continuous sprayers.

The spraying time is not announced in all cases, but if it is, you can probably find it in the product description.

The extinguishing agent units

The extinguishing power according to DIN EN3 cannot simply be added up. For this reason, the so-called extinguishing agent units “LE” were introduced. This unit is of particular importance in the commercial sector and is basically irrelevant for private individuals.

Depending on the area available and the fire hazard, a business must be equipped with an appropriate number of fire extinguishers. Assuming a unit has 4 LE in fire class A and 6 LE in fire class B, a requirement of 40 LE in category A requires 10 extinguishers.

The filling quantity

The filling quantity of a fire extinguisher refers to the quantity of extinguishing agent available and is indicated either in kilograms (for powder and CO2) or in litres (for foam, water and fat fire extinguishing agent).

Extinguishing agent quantities for hand-held extinguishers range from a few 100 millilitres (for small grease fire extinguishers) to 12 kg or litres. However, the latter are mainly used in the professional sector and are rather unsuitable for private households.

Did you know that extinguishing foam consists mainly of filler gas?
Usually this filler gas is air. In addition, there is water and a foaming agent. Because of this composition, extinguishing foam is also often called air foam.

The weight

In addition to the filling quantity, the dead weight of the bottle must not be disregarded. Due to the robust construction, which is necessary for safety and because of the pressure, about 2-4 kg are added to the weight of the extinguishing agent. Most fire extinguishers with 6 kg or litres of extinguishing agent therefore weigh around 10 kg in total.

Especially at home you should get a fire extinguisher that you can lift and operate. It makes no sense to buy the largest extinguisher because it has a higher extinguishing capacity if you find it difficult to move it in case of fire.

Especially for the kitchen there are very small handy grease fire extinguishers and grease fire extinguishing sprays under half a kilogram. A lighter device weighing about 2 kg is also recommended for cars.

The dimensions

The dimensions are very similar for fire extinguishers with the same filling capacity. The height is usually 50 – 60 cm for 6 kg fire extinguishers.

As far as weight is concerned, we have already mentioned that there are lighter appliances for kitchen and car. These are also usually much smaller in size than standard extinguishers and therefore easier to store. Fire extinguishers with a height of less than 30 cm and a depth of 10 – 12 cm fit perfectly into almost any car boot.

The suitability range

The suitability range of a fire extinguisher depends on the extinguishing agent as well as the weight and size. We distinguish between household (inhabited rooms) and office, commercial area, kitchen as well as cars, trucks and boats.

Foam extinguishers are particularly suitable for inhabited rooms and for the office, as they do not leave any further damage, unlike powder extinguishers. CO2 extinguishers are used more in the commercial/ professional sector.

For cars and boats rather smaller devices are suitable. They are also often supplied with a special mounting bracket. For trucks, on the other hand, larger extinguishers are logically used; above a certain size of vehicle, separate fire protection is even mandatory.

Frost protection

Not all extinguishing agents are suitable for temperatures below zero and should therefore not be stored outside. However, many extinguishing agents, even water, are now being given extra frost protection.

The temperatures for which a fire extinguisher is suitable are usually indicated on the label directly on the device.

Equipment (manometer/ holder)

On our site we always indicate whether an extinguisher is equipped with a pressure gauge and whether or not it is supplied including a bracket.

A pressure gauge indicates whether the extinguisher is still under sufficient pressure. It is usually quite small and is usually located directly below the carrying handle. If the pointer is no longer within the green range, you should have your fire extinguisher checked as soon as possible and possibly even replaced.

A wall bracket is already supplied with many fire extinguishers. If this is not the case, brackets are also available at a favourable price. In addition to hiking mounts, there are also simple stands and fire extinguisher boxes, which offer the safest storage possibility. It is important to note when buying a mount that the size of the fire extinguisher matches that of the mount.

Stiftung WarentestConsumer organisation

When buying a fire extinguisher, pay attention to the expiry date. Do not buy obsolete goods. The expiry date should be at least 4 years in the future.
(Source: test.de)

Trivia: Worth knowing facts about fire extinguishers

What is written on the label and the inspection sticker?

On the label you will find, next to the brand and the emergency number, which extinguishing agent it is. You can also read the amount of extinguisher and how to use it. This is almost always illustrated with small pictures, so that in case of an emergency it can be done as quickly as possible.

The inspection sticker is usually perforated, as with a car, on the month and year indicating the next inspection date.

Why should a fire extinguisher not be aimed at people?

In principle, this does not apply to all fire extinguishers. However, if a CO2 extinguisher is used, there is a risk of suffocation on the one hand and a risk of frostbite on the other, since the carbon dioxide is released at Fr

The other fire extinguishers mentioned above are, if operated correctly, not dangerous and can also be used to extinguish people. Powder extinguishers can cause irritated mucous membranes, but are not toxic, as is often assumed.

Be sure to keep at least one meter distance when pointing the extinguisher at a person. This also applies to extinguishing low voltage devices (< 1,000 volts). You will find the relevant information on every fire extinguisher label.

Where and how do I best store my fire extinguisher?

Quite simply, where it is easily and quickly at hand from all rooms, because when things get serious, there should be no need to search first. In most cases, this is in the hallway. However, if it is a grease fire extinguisher, it is most logical to keep it in the kitchen.

Of course, you should not leave the fire extinguisher on the floor just like that. One solution would be a wall bracket. There are special brackets for the different devices as well as a universal bracket. An advantage of this storage option is that the device is always visible and can be removed relatively easily. However, it is not protected against shocks and in the worst case could even fall down if someone runs into it.

For this reason there are fire extinguisher boxes made of plastic or steel. They are also fixed to the wall and allow quick access. The boxes are available from about 30 Euro.

For larger rooms simple fire extinguisher stands can be used. They are light and can be moved at any time. A disadvantage of this variant is that the stands including the extinguisher are in danger of falling over. This could damage the unit.

Who has to pay – tenant or landlord?

In principle, both in Germany and Austria, the lessor cannot pass on the acquisition costs for fire extinguishing equipment to the lessee.

Acquisition costs are not to be understood as incidental costs which typically occur on a continuous basis.

However, the inspection and maintenance costs may well be included in the rent. They are regarded as other operating costs, as they occur repeatedly as additional costs.

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