LAST UPDATED: July 7, 2019
Best Fire Extinguishers: Top Picks for Vehicle Safety
Keeping a fire extinguisher is a great choice to help keep you safe
The Review Team
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PUBLISHED ON July 7, 2019
Vehicle fires are all too frequent and can cause incredible damage and even death in some cases. Causes can vary and can include production defects, arson, accidents, and mechanical problems. You want to keep yourself, your passengers, and your vehicle safe from the dangers you may encounter while driving. We've compiled a list of the best fire extinguishers for cars to keep you and your loved ones safe.
Why Trust Us
All of our reviews are based on market research, expert input, or practical experience with most products we include. This way, we offer genuine, accurate guides to help you find the best picks.
Benefits of Fire Extinguishers
- Safety. The most important benefit of having a car fire extinguisher is your safety and the safety of your passengers. Even if you hope never to use it, having the extra protection for when something bad happens is smart and reassuring.
- Protect your vehicle. Aside from saving the people that are in your car, having a fire extinguisher can also keep the vehicle itself safe. Car fires act quickly and can absolutely devastate your vehicle before emergency services arrive.
- Save money. If your car were to catch fire and you couldn't extinguish it, the entire vehicle could be destroyed. If you can save your car before there is severe damage, you're saving yourself the cost of repairs or replacement.
Types of Fire Extinguisher
The lowest class of fire extinguishers is class A. These are made to put out ordinary combustibles, such as paper, wood, and plastics. The key component of these extinguishers is mono-ammonium phosphate. It's essential to pay attention to the rating an extinguisher has because they can be made for one specific type of fire or have the ability to put multiple different kinds.
The second classification for fire extinguishers deals with flammable liquids. This covers things like gasoline, oil, and paint—which are common in garage and vehicle fires. While car fires aren't usually started with the fuel, these liquids are present throughout the vehicle and can quickly escalate a fire. These extinguishers can use either mono-ammonium phosphate or sodium bicarbonate.
The highest classification for regular fire extinguishers deals with electrical fires. These safety products contain non-conductive agents that not only put out the fire but also prevent any electrical current from reaching you. Electrical fires are one of the most common types when dealing with cars, so this coverage is crucial for an automotive extinguisher.
The fire safety industry has had tremendous advances over the past few decades, and one of the companies to attribute these innovations to is Amerex. The company was started in 1971 and has grown to be the world's largest producer of portable fire extinguishers. Today, its most popular products are compact fire extinguishers like the Amerex B500.
Buckeye Fire Equipment is an international leader in developing fire protection products. The company offers a very popular chrome fire extinguisher for cars with its Stainless Steel Hand Held Fire Extinguisher. Buckeye has more than four decades of experience and even earned the coveted ISO 9001-2008 Quality Certification. It started as a privately owned company in Charlotte, N.C.
First Alert was started in 1958 with the goal of creating commercial smoke alarms. Since then, the company has branched out by expanding its line of safety products. After its residential products gained traction, the product line "First Alert" was officially started in 1970. It offers portable and residential fire extinguishers like the Tundra Aerosol Spray and the First Alert Garage Fire Extinguisher.
Two of the best-rated fire extinguishers are the Kidde FA110 and the Kidde 21005779. From its humble beginnings in Belleville, N.J., Kidde has become a pioneer in fire safety. Walter Kidde founded the company in 1917. He originally produced the first integrated smoke detection and carbon dioxide extinguishing system for ships. He later expanded his company’s product lines to include home use and automotive options.
Fire Extinguisher Pricing
- Under $35: The smallest and least expensive form of fire extinguisher is aerosol cans. These typically come in packs of two or more and cost much less than full extinguishers.
- $35 to $75: The average auto fire extinguisher cost between $35 and $75. Different features inside this price range include sizes up to 5 pounds and class ratings of A, B, C, or a combination of the three.
- Over $75: A premium-priced fire extinguisher can come with several different features to set them apart from your average safety device. This can include automotive mounting brackets, color and finish options, and the ability to be refilled.
There are numerous types of fire ratings and extinguishers with a combination of different classifications. The best choice for your car is an extinguisher that has an A, B, and C rating. These cover all the basics, and they protect you from the most common types of fires that can start in a vehicle.
While large SUVs and small coupes may require different sized fire extinguishers, the average vehicle doesn't need an overly large safety device. You need a small fire extinguisher for cars so that it can be kept in an easy to reach area. Extinguishers between 2 and 5 pounds are the preferred size for vehicle safety.
Your average fire extinguisher is only made for one use, and they also expire over time. That means anytime you use your extinguisher (or anytime your unused one expires), you need to purchase a new one. A great option is buying a rechargeable (or refillable) fire extinguisher. While they tend to be more expensive upfront, they'll save you money in the long run.
- Construction: There are plenty of different materials that can be used to make the canister of a fire extinguisher. Various metals can affect the price, strength, and weight of your device. The valve assembly should also be considered. Dry chemical agents are discharged at very high pressure, so having a hose and valve that can handle it is important.
- Mounting Options: It's crucial that you can access your fire extinguisher in an emergency. Some devices are small enough to be kept in easy to reach places like a glove compartment or center console. For larger extinguishers, a mounting bracket made for your device can be incredibly helpful and give you plenty of options when it comes to placement.
- Discharge Time: The discharge time of a fire extinguisher deals with how far an extinguishing agent can be projected. This is important for your personal safety; you never want to be too close to a fire while using an extinguisher.
- Warranty: Between defects in construction and the shelf life of some extinguishing agents, it's always helpful to have a more extended warranty for your fire extinguishers. Some class-leading warranties can last up to five years, with some only lasting three months.
Best Fire Extinguisher Reviews & Recommendations 2020
The best fire extinguisher for cars comes from Kidde. This fire safety device has the best balance of features you can find in a package small enough for automotive use. The Pro 210 comes with a wall mount as it is meant for home use, but its versatility and plethora of features makes it an ideal fire extinguisher for trucks and cars or even to keep in your garage.
This multipurpose extinguisher has a class A, B, and C UL-rating. It has the ability to handle any type of fire that could start in your vehicle. The safety device itself is a durable and robust cylinder that is not only lightweight but also corrosion-resistant. The dry chemical agent operates at 100 PSI with the fastest discharge rate—it disperses in just 15 seconds. The powerful release covers between 10 and 15 feet, the longest distance of any extinguisher on this list.
Despite being an excellent small fire extinguisher for car use, this product does come with a few negatives. Perhaps the biggest downside is that the Kidde Pro does not come with an automotive fire extinguisher mount. This can make it challenging to keep the device in an easy-to-access area. The dry chemical that the Pro 210 uses also leaves a white residue after use, which can be difficult to clean up.
This mini fire extinguisher for cars shouldn't be discounted because of its size. This two pack of aerosol fire depressant is incredibly versatile thanks to its packaging. While traditional fire extinguishers can require expert installation to get them in the best position, these little cans can be kept anywhere with no mount required— they’re even small enough to fit in your glove box.
First Alert's aerosol spray is the least expensive car fire extinguisher for sale. Despite its price, it even outdoes some of the most premium options. The Tundra extinguisher lasts for more than 32 seconds of spraying, nearly four times longer than your average fire depressant. It’s also designed to take on paper, fabric, wood, grease, and electrical fires. Another notable feature is that the dry chemical is entirely biodegradable and non-toxic, which helps make it very easy to clean up.
Depending on your preferences, this might not be the best type of fire extinguisher for your car. The small size may not be ideal for larger SUV and truck models. The Tundra spray also only has a three-year warranty and is not rechargeable. This can end up making it more expensive in the long run, despite the low purchase price.
One of the best in-car fire extinguishers based on looks is the stylish chrome H3R Performance HG100C. Halguard's products are popular with car enthusiasts because its extinguishers actually add to a car’s look instead of taking away from it. On top of aesthetics, the H3R builds on its predecessor's success by offering great safety features.
This is the only automotive fire extinguisher with mounting bracket on our list, a feature that can really set it apart for some users. The H3R's premium mounting options include a polished mount and matching brackets. It also uses a clean Halotron agent that is environmentally friendly and rated to take on class B and C fires. The dry chemical agent is rechargeable, non-conductive, and easy to clean.
Despite being one of the best car fire extinguishers, the H3R Performance HG100C has some negative qualities. Most notably, this extinguisher is the most expensive option— costing nearly double its biggest competitors. The extinguishing agent also isn't rated for class A fires, putting at a disadvantage compared to others on our list.
This compact aluminum cylinder canister extinguisher is perfect for sticking in your car. It uses sodium bicarbonate as a dry chemical fire suppression. It comes with a built-in pressure gauge. The aluminum used for the canister is corrosion- and rust-resistant as are the trigger and valve.
You’ll find this fire extinguisher easy to use with a simple, easy-to-pull safety pin and trigger. The corrosion resistance means that you can keep this extinguisher in your car or trunk and never worry about it failing you when you need it most. There are also instructions for how to use your extinguisher printed in large images right on the side of the canister.
Unfortunately, it’s important to note that this fire extinguisher is not rated to put out Class A fires—only B and C. This means that it won’t be effective at putting out paper, wood, textiles, or plastics. Given that there are textiles and plastics in modern cars, this could be a problem. You’ll also want to be careful with the safety pin, as it can easily fall out. In some cases, it has fallen out in transit, which caused the fire extinguisher to completely discharge in the shipping box.
This set of two fire extinguishers is perfect if you have more than one vehicle you want to put an extinguisher in. Both are a clean, bright white color and have a slim cylinder design. They’re rated for use in both automobiles and on boats. They’re BC fire extinguishers, so they can put out liquids and electrical fires.
Both extinguishers come with a mounting bracket. This makes it easy to find a secure place to keep them inside your car. You don’t want them rolling and banging around. They’re also rated for up to 120 degrees, so they’re safe to keep in your car even in the hottest of summers.
Unfortunately, they’re only rated for B and C fires, so they aren’t effective at putting out Class A fires. The mounting bracket is made of plastic, so it may not be as durable as you’d like if you plan on installing it in your boat or off-roading vehicle.
The First Alert brand is one of the most trusted names in fire extinguishers. This compact car extinguisher is perfect for keeping in any type of vehicle. It comes with a comfortable trigger handle and guards to make storing and using it easy.
What’s nice about this extinguisher is that it comes with a mounting bracket and strap to secure it to your car. It also has a safety seal to prevent accidental discharges and potential tampering. The compact size of this extinguisher makes it perfect for your car because it doesn’t take up a lot of room; it’s only 10.3 inches tall and 2.9 inches wide.
Unfortunately, this extinguisher only fights liquid and electrical fires and not Class A fires. The head, trigger, and pin on this extinguisher are all made of plastic. This makes them less durable and can easily break, which can prevent effective use of the extinguisher when you need it most.
This fire suppressant may not look like a typical extinguisher, but that doesn’t make it any less effective. It’s rated for effectively putting out Class A (wood), B (gasoline), C (electrical), and K (fats) fires. Once you spray the suppressant, it will expand to 40 times its size. This will help you to put out larger fires without needing to carry around a huge extinguisher. The expanding suppressant works to suffocate the fire while also cooling the fire’s core.
This small canister won’t take up much room and is perfect for stowing in your trunk or glove box. Once you spray it and put out the fire, the cleanup is easy. Simply wipe the foam away. It won’t leave any residue, is non-toxic, and non-irritant. It’s also biodegradable.
While this may sound like the perfect solution, the Mini Fire Fighter does have some drawbacks. The top is a standard aerosol nozzle, which can easily break and cause an accidental discharge. The foam also has a strong and unpleasant odor.
This high-quality fire extinguisher is a sleek black steel cylinder with a large discharge nozzle. It comes with a stainless steel strap and mounting bracket. The entire spray nozzle, valve, and handle are all made of metal. The liquified gas in this extinguisher will put out hard-to-reach fires. It’s safe for use on your electronics and won’t create a thermal shock.
You don’t have to be near the fire for this extinguisher to do its job. You can be 6-8 feet away and still have plenty of stopping power. This extinguisher is also lightweight for its size, at just 5.4 pounds. You can also recharge this extinguisher, which is something that the majority of the other extinguishers on this list cannot do.
Unfortunately, this extinguisher is quite large, at 14.8 inches long and 5 inches wide. This will make it bulky to store in your car. It’s also only rated for Class B and C fires.
This small fire extinguisher only weighs 2.5 pounds, which makes it small enough for your vehicle and lightweight enough for anyone to use. It comes with a metal strap bracket. The suppressant material in this extinguisher is monoammonium phosphate, which is a dry chemical.
What’s nice about this extinguisher is that it’s rated for Class A, B, and C fires, so you’ll be able to put out any type of fire that you would encounter in your vehicle. The materials used to manufacture this extinguisher are high-quality and will resist corrosion.
There are some downsides to this extinguisher. It’s quite small, so if you have a larger fire on your hands, you may not be able to put it out with just this one extinguisher. It’s also a single-use device, so after you use it, you cannot have it refilled and use it again.
This set of two fire suppression canisters is fast acting and compact. These canisters are small enough that you can tuck them away for easy reach anywhere. You could place one in your RV, kitchen, boat, garage, or car. The suppressant works on fires that are from wood, fabric, electrical, grease, and automobile engines.
The nice thing about these cans is that the suppression material is noncorrosive and won’t damage the material you spray it on. It’s also environmentally safe and biodegradable. This makes it safe to use outside.
One downside to this can is that it is smaller than standard fire extinguishers. So if you’re facing a larger fire, one canister may not be enough to suppress it. The trigger on the can is made of plastic, which can grow brittle when stored in the car and potentially break when you need it the most. The canisters are also single-use, so once it’s empty, you’ll need to throw it away and buy a new one.
- Read the instructions and the owner’s manual of your vehicle's fire extinguisher when you first receive it. It's crucial to know how to use it before an emergency situation arises.
- Be aware of the best spots in your car for keeping a fire extinguisher. Personal preference and available space are important factors, and they can help you decide which option is the best for you.
- If certain passengers are frequently in your vehicle, make sure they are aware of the extinguisher's location as well.
- Consider keeping a fire extinguisher in areas where you often park or work on your car. Some options are great for keeping in your garage or shop.
- Make sure to contact emergency services in the event of a fire. While having your own extinguisher can put out an active fire, you don't want to risk assuming the situation is under control before it truly is.
- If you are driving your vehicle or working on your vehicle and you see smoke or smell something burning, immediately stop what you're doing. You do not want to add to the problem before knowing what the cause may be.
Q: What causes a car to catch on fire?
A: Cars are complex machines, so there are plenty of things that can cause a fire. Causes include electrical shorts, fuel leaks, overheating, accidents, and even manufacturing defects. It's vital to protect you and your vehicle from a wide spectrum of potential issues.
Q: Should I carry a fire extinguisher in my car?
A: While keeping a fire extinguisher in your car isn't a necessity, there are only upsides to having one. Having a vehicle-mounted fire extinguisher will keep you safe in an emergency and doesn't affect your day-to-day driving needs.
Q: Where should I keep a fire extinguisher in my vehicle?
A: You need to make sure that, in an emergency, you can get to your fire extinguisher quickly. Assuming you don't want to it out on the open at all times, good places are under the driver's seat, in front of the passenger's seat, or an accessible part of the center console.
Q: What should I do if my car catches on fire?
A: If you see any smoke or smell something burning, it is important to pull over and turn your car off. It is not worth the risk to continue to your destination, and turning the vehicle off will help reduce the risk of a fire starting. If there is a small flame or smoke, you can use your fire extinguisher to smother the fire. You should keep a safe distance and avoid opening the hood and contact emergency services.
When it comes to vehicle safety, the best choice in fire extinguishers needs to be compact and effective. The Kidde 21005779 Pro 210 Fire Extinguisher is perfect to fit in your car and is capable of handling the types of fires most likely to occur.
Drivers who want a comprehensive option that is also affordable should opt for the First Alert Tundra Fire Extinguishing Aerosol Spray.