It's smart to keep a fire extinguisher in your garage. According to the US Fire Administration, garage fires tend to spread farther, causing more injuries, and cost more for repairs than fires that start in any other area of the home.
Before selecting a fire extinguisher for your garage, there a few things to keep in mind. In this article, we'll go over some important things to consider before buying a garage fire extinguisher. And while it's true that we're biased, we've tried to create a fair guide to help anyone make an informed decision.
Preventing Garage Fires Is Very Important
As mentioned above, the US Fire Administration has found that garage fires tend to spread farther, causing more injuries, and cost more for repairs than fires that start in any other area of the home. According to the National Fire Protection Association, more than 10,000 home garage fires occurred in the United States in 2020. These fires resulted in hundreds of injuries and hundreds of millions of dollars in damages.
One of the main sources of garage fires are vehicles themselves. A small fluid leak, a hot exhaust manifold, or an electrical short over some oil soaked cardboard is all it takes to start a fire.
Garage fires are particularly dangerous because of what's inside most garages: Flammable chemicals like brake fluid, cleaners and solvents, acetylene or propane, gasoline, paint, fertilizer, and so on. If you want to prevent garage fires, there are some good rules of thumb to follow:
- Keep everything clean and organized
- Store volatile chemicals in a shed outside the home
- Unplug electrical chargers when not in use
- Keep a fire extinguisher in the garage in a place that's easy to reach
Fire extinguishers are your first line of defense, so it's important to pick the right one for the job.
Things To Consider When Buying A Fire Extinguisher For Your Garage
There are a few factors to consider when purchasing a fire extinguisher for your garage:
- UL rating. Whatever fire extinguisher you buy should have an official rating from Underwriters Laboratories. All fire extinguishers with an actual UL rating have met rigorous standards for quality and reliability. Don't settle for a vague, "meets UL requirements," or anything less.
- Fire extinguisher size. We recommend that garage fire extinguishers have at least 2.5 lb. of extinguishing agent, with a 5 lb. fire extinguisher being an even better choice. It's also important to make sure every adult in the home can use the fire extinguisher. If a fire extinguisher is big or heavy, it may be too hard for some adults to use.
- Fire extinguisher fire class ratings. Garage fires are likely to involve chemicals that require a class "B" rating, combustibles like wood or cardboard that require a class "A" rating, and electrical fires that require a "C" rating. So, a fire extinguisher rated for class A, B, and C - like our MaxOut™ fire extinguishers - is ideal.
- Local regulations. Many cities require a portable fire extinguisher in the home. If you're not sure about your city's requirements, your local fire marshal can assist.
- Garage area. Larger garages need larger fire extinguishers. If you look at a fire extinguisher's UL rating, you'll find a series of letters and numbers that tell you about a fire extinguisher's capabilities. For example, our 5 lb. MaxOut MX500R is rated 3A:40B:C. This means that it is equivalent to 3 gallons of water for class A fires, or could put out a 40 sq. ft. class B fire.
- Mounting options. Make sure your fire extinguisher comes with a quality mount. Our extinguishers come with a flat surface mount that's perfect for wall use. We also have quick release mounts that also work great for use on a garage wall or toolbox.
- Dry Chemical vs. Clean Agent. While dry chemical extinguishers are extremely effective, a clean agent fire extinguisher is worth considering. Our HalGuard™ fire extinguishers, for example, are effective against Class B and Class C fires, but do not leave any residue behind. Many vehicle owners prefer clean agent fire extinguishers because they won't damage electronics. Clean agent extinguishers also don't require clean-up after use.
Which Garage Fire Extinguisher Is Best?
It would be easy (and correct) to say that H3R Performance fire extinguishers are the best. But we recognize that may be a little biased. So instead, we'll just say:
- Be sure to buy a fire extinguisher that's UL listed.
- Make sure you know what fire classes your extinguisher is rated for, and whether or not it's a clean agent extinguisher.
- Make sure your extinguisher is easy to find, and that it's not too big for any adult in the household to use.
- We've never heard of anyone regretting the purchase of a high quality fire extinguisher.
At H3R Performance, we've worked hard to develop the highest quality fire extinguishers on the market. We know our products will be counted on to perform in extreme situations, so we take quality seriously. As a result, all our extinguishers are an asset wherever they are - the garage, the car, even in the kitchen.
Whatever fire extinguisher you choose for your garage - dry chemical or clean agent, 2.5 lb or 5 lb - we hope you'll consider one of ours.