Best fire extinguisher for the money?

April 14, 2010 3:44:46 PM PDT
House fires are the leading cause of fire deaths in the United States. Hundreds die every year and most fires start in the kitchen. Consumer Reports just tested fire extinguishers. Firefighters know how quickly a kitchen fire can spread. That's why having a good fire extinguisher on hand is so important.

"The first few seconds are vital. It means the difference between extinguishing a small, incipient fire on a stove or on a stove top and the fire consuming your kitchen or a portion of your house," said one firefighter.

Consumer Reports just tested more than a dozen extinguishers, including seven smaller ones convenient for the kitchen. Also tested were two new types of aerosol sprays.

Testers created fires using a flammable liquid to see how well each one could battle a blaze.

"Most did well, but the two aerosol sprays sometimes caused the fire to flare up. And while they may look a lot like fire extinguishers, they're not," said John Galeotafiore with Consumer Reports.

But you wouldn't get that from the First Alert Tundra unless you read the fine print.

"Another problem, these cans don't have a pressure indicator, so there's no way of knowing if they're ready to use, which is critically important," said Galeotafiore

Therefore, Consumer Reports rates the Kitchen Guard and First Alert Tundra aerosol sprays a 'Don't Buy.'

A better choice for your kitchen is one from Kidde. It's the $19 model FX10K. It was easy to use and quickly extinguished the test fires.

Besides having a fire extinguisher in your kitchen, Consumer Reports says it's important to have multi-purpose extinguishers on every floor of your home.

Consumer Reports recommends the $36 Kidde model FX340GW. Remember to make sure the pressure indicator registers 'full.'


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