What are The Different Types of Fire Extinguishers?

Fire extinguishers are one of the devices which are used for protecting from fires. These are needed for controlling or putting off small flames.

When a fire has spread out, it cannot be totally controlled by a fire extinguisher, and that time it would need the assistance of fire fighters.

With time, technology has developed and new ideas are being implemented. There has been a lot of development in case of the fire extinguishers and now there are different types of fire extinguishers available now. 

You may come across different fire extinguisher varieties which may differ on the basis of a number of factors. Here are some ways of classifying these devices to make your search easier:

co2 fire extinguisher

One of the most common types that we are aware of is the co2 fire extinguisher. This contains carbon dioxide gas, which is the only type of fire extinguishers that is suggested to be used for fire caused from electrical equipment.

This is safe to be used as because the gas carbon dioxide is a non conductor, and when it has been used it does not leave any kind of mess. In case of fire caused from flammable liquids, this also proves to be effective.

The cylinder is of this type of extinguisher is red in color with a black mark on top, and have got a horn type nozzle. Let us take a look at the other different types of fire extinguishers.

Water fire extinguisher

Water has always been used for putting off fires. There are these water fire extinguishers which are very effective in putting off flames. This extinguisher has to be used on any kind of fire that has been caused from products such as paper, wood, furniture, etc which are termed as Class A fires.

Water additive fire extinguisher

Water additive fire extinguisher is another device that is capable of putting off fires effectively. Chemical substances are added to the water, which increases the effectiveness of water in putting of flames.

They are much lighter in weight and therefore can be carried from one place to another with ease.

Dry powdered fire extinguisher

Dry powdered fire extinguishers are one of the best fire extinguishers that are there. They have got high overall performance. It is suggested to be used at homes and at vehicles.

These have got a blue mark on the top of the extinguisher bottle, and are safe to be used on fires which have resulted from electrical components. This is not suitable for being used in enclosed spaces, particularly because that might affect the vision and as well there are chances of creating breathing problem.

Foam Fire extinguisher

Foam Fire extinguishers are there for almost three decades now. Previously, the foam contained bad smell and was thick, because of the high level of protein in it. Modern day ones have got one of the top level performances. They have got a cream label on the top of the cylinder.

Wet chemical fire extinguisher

On the list of different types of fire extinguishers, one new addition to the list of fire extinguisher is the Wet chemical fire extinguisher. This has been developed for being used for putting off fires that might result from deep fat cooking fires.

The cylinder is marked with a yellow color label on the top of the instructions. For tackling fires that result from flammable metals, the type of fire extinguisher that is used is called the Metal Powder fire extinguisher. It requires the correct fire extinguisher to put off the fire from flammable metals. Therefore, this type of extinguishers is the most suitable for serving the purpose.

We may differ fire extinguisher from few other aspects. Let's look on other types

Mode of Operation

On the basis of how a fire extinguisher can be operated, there are two types of these devices. First is the category of stored pressure devices in which the expellant and the firefighting agents are stored in the same chamber. For example, dry chemicals as extinguishers and nitrogen as expellants are commonly used in these devices.

The second type is that of cartridge-operated fire extinguishing devices which store fire fighting substances and expellants in different chambers. These devices have the advantage that they can be easily and promptly recharged to help in the process of controlling fire.

Fire Extinguishing Agent Used

Another factor for classification is the type of fire extinguishing agent used. The most popular variety is those having dry chemicals like sodium bicarbonate, ammonium phosphate, potassium chloride and others.

Another popular category is that of devices with foams as extinguishing agents. Film forming fluoroprotein and arctic fire are among the agents used in such devices. Water and wet chemicals are other extinguishing agents used in different varieties of fire extinguishing devices.

Type of Fire Sources

The most important classification of these devices is on the basis of fire sources for which they can be utilized to control and extinguish fire. These include five different categories of fire extinguishing devices:

Class A: These extinguishers are used for ordinary combustible substances like paper, wood, plastic, cardboard, cloth and thrash. 

Class B: These devices are used for controlling fires caused due to flammable liquids like grease, kerosene, gasoline, paint, oil and so on.

Class C: Fires caused due to electrical devices can be extinguished using Class C extinguishers.

Class D: Sodium, magnesium and many other metals which are combustible in nature can cause fires at places like laboratories and factories. Class D extinguishers are meant for such places.

Class K: Used for fires caused by cooking oils, these extinguishers are found in restaurants and other commercial kitchens.

Besides, there are extinguishers with rated as ABC or using other class combinations which mean that they can be used for multiple fire sources.


Fire extinguishing devices are also classified on the basis of their sizes. The common types are 10-pound, 5-pound, 2-pound and stove-top extinguishers. One must choose among these extinguishers considering the size of the area for which it will be used.

Final Verdict

One should always be careful while dealing with any kind of flammable substance. Also, it needs to be checked if houses are equipped with fire extinguishers as a protective measure.

From the different types of fire extinguishers, each have got a particular function and needs to be used depending upon the substances from which the fire had resulted. All should be aware especially while dealing with flammable substances.

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