Fire Extinguisher Vs Fire Aerosol Spray

When most people think of fighting fires in their homes, they think of using a fire extinguisher or water. But there also exists fire aerosol sprays. How do these compare to ordinary fire extinguishers? Find out below.

Types of Fire Aerosol Sprays

There are a range of fire aerosol sprays available for certain types of fires. These are usually ABC-type for putting out a range of fires:

  • Class A (wood, paper, trash fires), and
  • Class B (fires involving flammable liquids such as petroleum, diesel, paint, oil and tar), and
  • Class C (electrical fires)

Fire aerosol sprays are generally good for:

  • Kitchens
  • Workshops
  • RVs
  • Cars
  • Camping
  • Garages
  • Offices

They are very convenient to access and can be stored under a desk or in a cupboard.

Good Fire Aerosol Sprays

First Alert EZ Fire Spray, Extinguishing Aerosol Spray

Smoke Doctor 4-in-1 Mini Suppressant – Car Fire Suppressor for Auto-Mobile, Truck, Boat – Home Fire Suppressor for Kitchen – Small Fire Suppressor for Clothing, Batteries – Portable Fire Eliminator

Lifesafe Technologies StaySafe 5-in-1 Fire Extinguisher, 5-Pack, For Home, Kitchen, Car, Garage, Boat, The best small extinguisher that tackles 5 types of fire in seconds

How Fire Aerosol Spray Cans Work

Aerosol fire extinguishers are compressed cans of propellant that shoots out a mist of liquid fire suppressant particles. The contents are under pressure and released when the top cap is pressed down. As the liquid shoots out of the nozzle it is atomized and directed in a cone like a typical fire extinguisher nozzle would.

Fire aerosol sprays are also great for putting out small ordinary household fires such as grease, fabrics, paper, wood, and even electrical equipment. This is why fire aerosol sprays are meant for general purpose home and office fires.

This is opposed to fire extinguishers which cover fire types ABC, or are specialized to put out fire types A – K.

Fire aerosol sprays can have different spray nozzles for wide or narrow spray patterns.

Fire Flames

Can You Reuse Fire Aerosol Spray?

Yes. You can reuse a fire aerosol spray can, as long as the can still has pressurized contents. However, if it has already been used to put out a fire, it may not have enough fire suppressant left to put out another one.

It is recommended to replace the fire aerosol spray can after it is used once. Rather than take a chance of running out, if you know the can has been used already, either replace it or buy an additional can.

And unlike rechargable fire extinguishers, fire aerosol spray cans cannot be refilled once the contents are spent. Fire aerosol spray cans are meant to be disposable, and not refilled. They can be recycled or disposed just like other aerosol spray cans.

Can Fire Aerosol Spray Put Out a Grease Fire?

Yes, fire aerosol spray cans are great for putting out kitchen oil and grease fires. Make sure to purchase one that explicitly says so on the packaging — it will say “Class ABC” or “Class B” or similar. The “B” means it is safe to use on a grease or oil fire.

Brands of Aerosol Fire Extinguishers

Multitple fire aerosol spray brands exist. These include:

  • First Alert EZ Fire Spray
  • FireAde Personal Firefighting Extinguisher Foam Aerosol
  • Cold Fire – Ultimate Fire Protection
  • Fire Gone Fire Suppressant Canister

Is Fire Aerosol Spray Easy To Use?

Yes. Ease of use is one of the main benefits of fire aerosol cans. All you need to do is remove the cap and spray, similar to a can of spray paint, Lysol or spray oil.

Three factors make fire aerosol spray cans easy to use:

  • Lighter than a fire extinguisher — this makes them good for children and people who lack strength
  • Easier to control the spray amount — the button is operated with one or two fingers like a spray paint can
  • Sprays contents at a lower output rate — this means there is less “kickback” and you can see where you’re spraying better

Ease of use also comes from ease of storage. The cans are smaller and lighter than the typical fire extinguisher. They don’t require a hanger, straps or cabinet bolted to the wall. Just put them on a shelf, under the sink, on the counter near your stove, or on your workbench. If a fire breaks, out the fire spray can is right there to put it out quickly.

Fire aerosol sprays can be biodegradable and easy to clean up. They can also have contents that will not damage kitchen surfaces, such as stove or countertops.

Fire Aerosol Spray Vs Fire Extinguisher Cost

A typical general purpose fire aerosol spray can will cost between $10-20 USD. This is less expensive than a fire extinguisher which costs between $30-100+ to purchase.

Fire aerosol sprays can be bought in packs of 2 or more as well.

Which is Better: Fire Aerosol Spray Or Fire Extinguisher?

Considering the many benefits of fire aerosol spray cans, one might think they are the better option for putting out fires. However, according to Consumer Reports, fire aerosol sprays have significant disadvantages.

Disadvantages of fire aerosol spray cans include:

  • False sense of security — they cannot put out large fast-spreading fires due to insufficient spray volume and output
  • May require multiple cans to put out a fire — if you don’t have multiple cans you can run out before you can extinguish a big or fast-spreading fire
  • Grease fires can flare up — grease fires often require a lot more extinguishing before they will go out
  • They have no pressure indicators — this means you won’t know if it’s already been used or not, or if it has enough pressure to operate correctly

This compares to fire extinguisher benefits:

  • Specialized for each type of fire (A,B,C, D, K etc.)
  • Varying sizes from 1 pound to 50 pounds
  • Include pressure indicators — you know if it’s safe and ready or needs recharging or replacement
  • Rechargeable — many fire extinguishers are rechargeable and reusable, extending your return on investment
  • Long lasting (up to 10 years) — good long-term safety investment

Fires are unpredictable and very dangerous. If you are concerned about having anything other than a small localized fire, then it may be best to purchase a multi-purpose ABC fire extinguisher, rather than an aerosol spray.

In Closing

Whether you choose to use a fire extinguisher or a fire aerosol spray can, always remember to keep safety in mind. If the fire gets too far out of control, it is better to exit the premises and call the fire department.

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Nick Klamecki, Author
About Nick Klamecki, Author

Nick Klamecki is a certified Fire and Workplace Safety expert with 15 years experience in product research and testing. He has a degree from U.C. Davis, is an active outdoorsman and spent years ensuring the safety of special needs children. Nick researches and tests workplace, industrial and safety products and provides advice on their safe use. Learn more about Nick here or connect with him on LinkedIn | Medium