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Fires can spread extremely fast — just a few minutes is all it takes for one to start burning out of control. That’s why it’s always a good idea to have a small extinguisher on hand. Your extinguisher should be in a place you can quickly grab and start using, and the best ones should include clear and uncomplicated instructions, easy enough for anyone to use in seconds.
Small Fire Extinguisher Buying Guide
An extinguisher that’s rated ABC is designed to handle multiple types of fires: “A” for paper, cloth, trash and organically combustable materials; “B” for liquids and gasses; and “C” for electrical. Not all of them have this label, but it’s highly recommended to go with one that has all three. They should work with not only grease fires (where water can make it worse), but also objects like dish towels left too close to a burner. There’s also type “K” for kitchens and oil fires, which are common in restaurants, but can still happen at home.
Typically an extinguisher is filled with a dry chemical powder you often see everywhere once it’s been discharged. But size matters too. Having a big, bulky industrial-sized extinguisher isn’t always best for an apartment kitchen, and it needs to be light enough that anyone can pick it up in an instant.
If you already have an extinguisher, but it’s been sitting there for years untouched, getting a new one to replace it is a safe bet. Over time, these can deteriorate. Other options, like canned aerosol extinguishers, may be lighter, smaller and less complex (as well as less messy), but they can’t compare to a legitimate extinguisher when a real fire flares up. A fire blanket is a good backup to have, but shouldn’t be your primary go-to — you’ll have to get close to the flames in order to throw the blanket on top of it, and oxygen can still get in, reigniting the fire even after it seems to be out.
What Are the Best Small Fire Extinguishers?
While we primarily focused on home and kitchen fires here, these small extinguishers can also be stored in cars, trucks, RVs, ATVs and even boats.
1. Amerex B417 Fire Extinguisher
Amerex supplies fire extinguishers to major industrial buildings and stores, so handling a house fire is no problem for this 2.5 pound B417 (around 5 pounds charged). A fully metal valve means it’s not only durable and well-built, but can be refilled at certified places, sometimes even at local fire departments. This comes with a wall-mount hook, and can discharge in just 10 seconds.
2. Kidde 21005779 Pro 210 Fire Extinguisher
Wherever fire starts, whether in the kitchen trash, electrical wiring or on the stove, Kidde’s Pro 210 is there to put it out, fast. This is UL-certified to fight multiple types of fires, discharging in 13-15 seconds from a range of 10-15 feet. It’s easy to see when this is all charged up and ready for use, thanks to a gauge that anyone can read. It also takes minimal effort to lift, at only 4 pounds, in a corrosion-resistant, powder-coated aluminum cylinder. It comes with its own wall mount.
3. First Alert Home1 Rechargeable Fire Extinguisher
This ABC-rated unit is rechargeable after being used (by a certified professional or at a fire department), and features a metal pull-pin instead of a plastic one to help prevent against tampering and accidentally discharging. It’s metal all over, including the color-coated gauge, the trigger and body, and comes with a plastic mount and screws.