Top 3 Best Car Fire Extinguishers for 2018

H3R Performance HG100C HalGuard Chrome Clean Agent Fire Extinguisher - 1.4 lbs

As we become more safety conscious, car fire extinguishers are becoming as common as smoke detectors in homes and apartments, and maybe in years to come they will be in every vehicle like seatbelts or airbags.

Thankfully the number of vehicle fires in the USA has dropped over the years but they have been highly publicized. Perhaps the most infamous of these was the Ford Pinto scandal in the USA in the 1970s/80s which has been burned into [pun intended] the public's subconscious. This was alluded to in the book/movie Fight Club, where Ed Norton's character discusses the Recall Formula, the calculations used to decide whether to recall a car which goes on fire, and also brilliantly parodied in The Simpson's 'Canyonero' skit back in 1998, which you can see here.

People never need to use a fire extinguisher until they do. Touch wood, you won't either, but that one time the situation arises even if you don't need to use it on your own vehicle then you could be on hand to save someone else's car or even their life.

So with increased safety at forefront of people's minds, in particular those with families, we take a look at top 3 of the best fire extinguisher for your car on the market.

Top 3 Best Fire Extinguishers for Your Vehicles

Things to Consider Before Purchasing A Fire Extinguisher

Type of fire extinguishers

The most important thing to consider and probably the one most often ignored until after use when it is too late. All fire extinguishers will have a rating, such as 5:BC, now here comes the science bit....:

A general-purpose fire extinguisher is known as an ABC extinguisher and is the one that is most widely available.

  • 'A' means the extinguisher is effective against fires involving paper, wood, textiles and plastics
  • 'B' means it is effective against flammable liquid fires
  • 'C' means it is effective against fire in live electrical equipment

Usually these everyday ABC extinguishers are dry chem. This means they leave behind a residue, which can be a nuisance to clean away, or worse, cause the engine or electrics to stop working. In fact sometimes the residue can cause more damage than the fire would.

Therefore, a Halogen extinguisher should be considered. This type uses halogen gas to extinguish the fire and leaves no residue, but these are generally more expensive and with lower capacity.

Capacity

You will probably be looking at a smaller capacity unit if you want to store it somewhere in your vehicle that is easily accessible, although you probably won't be able to put out any major fires. Capacity is measured by number, usually from 1[smallest] to 40[largest], hence in our example above 5-BC means it has quite a small capacity and is suitable for use on a liquid or live electrical fire but not a normal paper fire.

Aesthetic

Probably the least important characteristic but often the folks who think that having a fire extinguisher is a good idea usually have something outside of their family worth protecting, such as a treasured, classic car that is their pride and joy. So they might consider a fire extinguisher that looks cool as well as being a potential life-saver.

Best Car Fire Extinguisher Reviews for 2018

#1 - H3R Performance HG100C HalGuard Chrome Clean Agent Fire Extinguisher - 1.4 lbs

H3R Performance HG100C HalGuard Chrome Clean Agent Fire Extinguisher - 1.4 lbs

First up is the H3R Performance HG100C, which weighs in at 1.4 pounds for our metric system readers. It is compact and its handsome chrome finish appeals to the more style conscious.

It uses liquefied gas to ensure it can reach fires anywhere but you will need to contact a specialist to get it recharged as it uses HalGuard technology which was developed especially for motor racing use.

This means it poses no risk of electric shock and doesn't leave behind the residue of a standard ABC dry chem fire extinguisher, which can damage your engine.

It comes with a solid wall mount and is designed so you want to show it off rather than keep it covered, plus doing this makes for easier access should you need it.

It has a 1B:C rating which means it has a small capacity and is not suitable for your A type fires involving paper, wood trash etc.

#2 - First Alert Auto Fire Extinguisher 2 Lb. Ul Rating 5:Bc

First Alert Auto Fire Extinguisher 2 Lb. Ul Rating 5:Bc

This painted aluminium extinguisher has a 5B:C rating so it also doesn't leave behind a residue and you get about 8 seconds of continuous spray, which is a larger capacity than the H3R model.

On the downside it has a plastic pull ring which can deteriorate over time and it also comes with a plastic rather than metal mounting bracket.

It weighs 1.38 lbs of agent, comes with a 5-year warranty, retains pressure in hot climates and is compact enough to fit in your glove compartment.

#3 - Kidde 21005779 Pro 210 Fire Extinguisher, ABC, 160CI, 4 lbs, 1 Pack

Kidde 21005779 Pro 210 Fire Extinguisher, ABC, 160CI, 4 lbs, 1 Pack

This is an old-school, red-coloured ABC fire extinguisher which weighs in at 4 lbs and will leave a residue after use. 

It is multipurpose and its 2-A:10-B:C capacity is larger than the other 2 and it has a discharge time of 13-15 seconds so can tackle larger fires. It has good build quality using metal instead of plastic, is easily mounted, has a hose to direct the spray and comes with a 6-year limited warranty.

However, it does need to be maintained regularly by recharging it, you should also check the easily visible pressure gauge and it is easily refillable at a fire extinguisher distributor.

Keep an eye out for fire extinguishers as you go about your day and you will notice the Kidde brand name everywhere as they are a brand you can trust. Customer service is great in the rare cases you have a problem such as it arriving uncharged.

Summary

The H3R stands out on looks, type and is a great choice as it is particularly suited for use in a vehicle. The First Alert is a good option which like the H3R won't leave a residue behind after use. The Kidde can tackle larger fires, and is a good all-purpose model but keep in mind you may have to clean up afterwards.

Steven K. Galloway