by | Mar 22, 2021 | Health & Safety, Z

Last Updated: Oct 18, 2021 @ 1:26 pm.

What's the best fire extinguisher for a vehicle? Whether you drive a passenger car, truck or RV, having a small fire extinguisher in your vehicle is a smart move. We talked with fire safety officials to get their recommendations. Then we compared several small fire extinguishers designed for vehicles, looking at third-party testing data. Here are the ones we'd recommend.

FYI: We've been reviewing and rating products for the home and families since 1994. To keep things independent, we don't take money or freebies from brands we review! Our work is 100% reader-supported!


Best Tried & True Brand

Easy on the wallet
Great size and good quality, this fire extinguisher comes with a mounting bracket for vehicles. And yes, it is marine-approved for use on boats.

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Best Lightweight Extinguisher

Marine approved
At 2.7 lbs, this fire extinguisher weighed about 10% less than others we researched—and that's important when you want to quickly wield it for a fire. Mounting bracket included.
$17.10

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Best Extinguisher for a RV

Compact size
Unlike other car fire extinguishers this one is rated ABC and K—the K is for grease fires. Great for RV's. Also nice: one-handed use and no residue. Caveat: one time use (can't be recharged).

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Buying a Fire Extinguisher For A Vehicle: Tips & Advice

Here’s a product we hope you never have to actually use: a fire extinguisher for your car, RV or truck!

While no states require passenger vehicles to carry a fire extinguisher (in the United States), it may be a smart move to have one anyway.

That’s especially true for recreational vehicles, large trucks or even older passenger cars.

To get advice on buying the best car fire extinguisher, we interviewed fire safety officials from three counties across the country. We got their buying tips on what to look for when considering a fire extinguisher. Then we poured over third-party research that compared extinguisher safety.

After all that research, here is some advice and tips on buying a fire extinguisher:

• Fire extinguishers are rated A, B and C. A is for wood, paper, trash and some plastic fires. B is for flammable liquids. C stands for fires caused by energized electrical equipment. Hence, the most popular fire extinguishers for the home are rated ABC for all three types of fires. For vehicles, you’ll mostly see fire extinguishers that are 5BC.

• The second number next to the letter refers to water equivalency (A, where 1 = 1.25 gallons)) and square footage of coverage (B). Hence, a fire extinguisher that is rated 1A10BC covers all fire types, is equivalent to 1.25 gallons of water and covers 10 square feet of fire.

• Make sure the fire extinguisher is UL rated. All the recommended products in this article have a UL rating.

•  Always point the fire extinguisher at the base of the fire, not the top!

• When it comes to vehicle fires, if you have time, turn off the engine to keep fuel from flowing to the fire.

• The best fire extinguishers have a pressure gauge. Make sure the gauge is always in the green area—check this when you first get the extinguisher, as some extinguishers may accidently discharge during shipping. (Yes, you can have a used fire extinguisher recharged by a local fire equipment supply company).

• Yes, some fire extinguishers are rechargeable after use. This can be done by a fire equipment supply company or (in some areas) a local fire department.

• Vehicle fire extinguishers are much like those designed for the home, just smaller in capacity. That’s make them easier to mount in a vehicle. 

Based on our research, here are our top picks for fire extinguishers for cars:

Why Trust Us

We’ve been rating and reviewing products for the home and families since 1994. We do hands-on testing—we buy the products with our own money and evaluate with an eye toward quality, ease of use and affordability.

Here’s another key point: we don’t take money from the brands we review. No free samples, no sponsors, no “partnerships.” Our work is 100% reader-supported!

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