How Do Fire Extinguishers Work?

Inside, a fire extinguisher is quite like a giant aerosol can, often with two different substances inside. One of them is a solid, liquid, or gas substance for fighting the fire. The other one is called a propellant and is a pressurized chemical that makes the fire-fighting substance come out when you press the extinguisher handle.

Next time you see a fire extinguisher, take a good look. Have you noticed that fire extinguishers are always really strong steel canisters? That because the propellant is stored inside at a high pressure. Strong canisters are needed to stop the extinguishers exploding!

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How to Use a Fire Extinguisher

Accidents happen. Be prepared to fight your own fire by learning how to use a fire extinguisher.

Top Picks For Fire Extinguishers

Best Overall: Amerex Dry Chemical Fire Extinguisher at Amazon

“A perfect size for general home use.”

Runner-Up, Best Overall: Kidde Fire Extinguisher at Amazon

“A chemical fire extinguisher that can handle all types of fires.”

Best High-Capacity: Kidde Fire Extinguisher at Amazon

“Has enough power to handle larger blazes.”

Best Aerosol: First Alert Tundra Fire Extinguisher at Amazon

“Capable of putting out all major kinds of small fires.”

Best for the Car: First Alert Auto Fire Extinguisher at Amazon

“Reviewers like how small the First Alert is.”

Best Set: Kidde Fire Extinguisher Pack at Home Depot

“This set makes a great gift for a new homeowner.”

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Types of Fire Extinguishers

Which type of extinguisher should be used? See below.

Safety Tips

Safety tips to follow in using a fire extinguisher.