How to Choose the Right Fire Extinguisher Sizes

Fire Extinguisher Sizes

The fire extinguisher sizes are the numbers written alongside the fire extinguisher classification letters. This tells the size of the fire extinguisher.

Example, for the extinguisher classification – 2A:10B:C, the numbers in-front of the letters are the different sizes. It implies that the above fire extinguisher can put out a fire just as effectively as 2½ gallons of water since 1 equals 1¼ gallons of water; 10B indicates that you can expect to douse a fire that had spread to cover 10 square feet and a class C fire extinguishing agent.

Fire Extinguisher Sizes

Here are the different extinguisher sizes for different classes of the fire extinguisher:

  • Class A extinguisher sizes: Class A size ratings range from 1 to 40. This tells you the water equivalency. 1 equals 1¼ gallons of water, so in this example, 2A means the extinguisher can put out a fire just as effectively as 2½ gallons of water.
  • Class B extinguisher sizes: Class B size ratings range from 1 to 640. This number estimates the square footage an extinguisher can cover. In the above example, 10B indicates that you can expect to douse a fire that had spread to cover 10 square feet.
  • Class C,D OR K extinguisher sizes: There are no numeric size ratings for fighting Class C, D, or K fires because these classifications simply indicate that the extinguisher is recommended for fighting electrical fires, flammable metal fires, or kitchen fires, respectively.

READ: P.A.S.S Fire Safety (How to Use Fire Extinguisher)

Here are some common sizes of the portable fire extinguisher:


Fire Extinguisher Sizes

Foam fire extinguisher  sizes

3, 6 & 9 Litre

Water extinguisher sizes

3, 6 & 9 Litre

Dry powder extinguisher sizes

1, 2, 4, 6 & 9 Kg

Carbon Dioxide sizes

2 & 5 Kg

Wet chemical extinguisher sizes

3 & 6 Litre

READ: What Do The Symbols On A Fire Extinguisher Indicate

Aside from this portable fire extinguisher sizes, there are industrial sizes for fire extinguishers, like – 25kg CO2, 25kg & 50kg DCP, 50 Liters foam, 50 Liters Water.

In conclusion, you cannot get a 50kg DCP fire extinguisher for your car, neither can you get a 2kg CO2 fire extinguisher for your home. This is why you need to understand what you need exactly, and that is only possible after fire risk assessment.

So get fire risk assessment done where you need to control fire hazard, based on the report of the risk assessment you can now determine the exact size and type of fire extinguisher needed.

How to Choose the Right Fire Extinguisher Size

Selecting the appropriate size fire extinguisher requires taking into account a number of variables, such as the kind of fire you may come across, the extent of the possible fire, and the particular requirements of the surrounding area. Fire extinguishers are categorized according to the kind of fire that they are most effective against and are available in various sizes.

So before you choose, you must consider the following:

1. The Class of Fire

You should know if the fire you will probably be combating belong to which of these classes:

  • Class A – fires involving solid materials such as wood, paper or textiles.
  • Class B – fires involving flammable liquids such as petrol, diesel or oils.
  • Class C – fires involving gases.
  • Class D – fires involving metals.
  • Class F – fires involving cooking oils such as in deep-fat fryers.

2. Evaluate the Potential Fire Hazards:

Identify the types of materials present in the area where the fire extinguisher will be used and consider the likelihood of encountering fires.

3. Consider the Size of the Area:

Note that larger areas may require larger fire extinguishers or multiple units and small extinguishers may be suitable for confined spaces.

4. Check the Fire Extinguisher Rating:

Fire extinguishers are labeled with a numerical rating that indicates their effectiveness against a specific class of fire; the higher the number, the more firefighting power the extinguisher has. So you need to also pay attention to this.

5. Match the Extinguisher Size to the Risk:

For general use in offices, homes, or small workshops, a 2A:10B:C extinguisher is often recommended. For larger areas or areas with specific fire risks, you may need a higher-rated extinguisher.

6. Consider Multipurpose Extinguishers:

ABC-rated extinguishers are versatile and suitable for use on a variety of fires (Class A, B, and C). Multipurpose extinguishers can be convenient for general use.

7. Consider Your Location:

Install fire extinguishers in easily accessible and visible locations, also consider placing it near potential fire hazards, exits, and high-risk areas.

8. Follow Local Regulations and Guidelines:

Check local fire safety regulations and guidelines for specific requirements. Some buildings and industries may have specific standards for fire extinguisher placement and size.

Remember, it’s crucial to tailor your choice to the specific needs of your environment and the potential fire risks. If you are unsure or have specific concerns, consult with a fire safety professional for guidance.


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