What Extinguisher Do I Need?


Dry Powder

Multi purpose Dry Chemical, covers all normal classes of fire ABE

  • 0.3kg DP: for use on motorbikes or chainsaws
  • 1kg DP: for use in camper vans, cars, small domestic kitchens
  • 1.5kg DP: for use on buses, small kitchens, service vans, litter trucks
  • 2KG DP: for use in office areas, kitchens, litter trucks, home garage or workshop, retail shops
  • 2.5KG DP: for use in small commercial workshops, kitchens office areas, storage areas within 210 Sq Metres
  • 4.5Kg DP: for use in workshops, large offices, warehousing etc
  • 9KG DP: same as 4.5dp but also fuel stations, bigger warehouses workshops etc or dangerous goods store

Carbon Dioxide

Carbon dioxide covers electrical, fuel and flammable liquids fires, advantage is no residue

  • 2kg CO2: for use in small workshops, welding areas, service bays for vehicles, server or computer rooms
  •  3.5KG CO2: same as above but more capacity
  •  5KG CO2: same as above but more capacity again

Wet Chemical

For use on hot fats and oils F Class, will work on A class fires as well(Deep fat fryers specifically)

  • 2L Wet Chem: small deep fat fryers, takeaway bars etc
  • 7L Wet Chem: larger deep fat fryers, fish and chip shops large commercial kitchens


For use on fuel fires, good for motor racing, tyres, A class fires, not suitable for electrical.

  • 9L Foam: As above


Works on paper, Timber, Textiles only

  • 9L Water/Gas: for use on timber, A class storage areas as above, not suitable for fuel or electrical

The selection of an appropriate extinguisher is related to the assessment of risk. This assessment is often difficult in areas outside of those covered by codes of compliance. The assessment of risk is particularly difficult when it comes to protecting items that are operated outside of the usual suburban environment.

The factors, which must be considered in these situations, include the availability of support services such as the Fire Service etc. This is very important with the increase in boating and 4WD activities. Far too often we see the attempt to cover boats and vehicles worth $30,000 - $40,000 with an under-rated $50.00 extinguisher.

This selection guide is offered only to assist in the selection of extinguishers. It is not to be viewed as replacing any compliance codes, building codes or any legislation, which may at any time direct the installation of any particular extinguisher.

The following table sets out a guide for selection on type of extinguisher suitable for the classes of fires. YES in RED indicates that the class in which the extinguishing agent is most effective, LIMITED indicates that the extinguisher is not the ideal choice, but may have some extinguishing capability.

Extinguishant Class A
Class B
Class C
Class E Electrically energised equipment Class F Cooking oils and fats Comments
Water YES NO NO NO NO Dangerous if used on flammable liquid, energised electrical equipment and cooking oil/fat fires
Wet Chemical YES NO NO NO YES Dangerous if used on energised electrical equipment
Foam YES YES NO NO LIMITED Dangerous if used on energised electrical equipment
ABE Powder YES YES YES YES NO Look carefully at the extinguisher to determine if it is a BE or ABE unit as the capability is different
Carbon Dioxide (CO2) LIMITED LIMITED LIMITED YES LIMITED Not suitable for outdoor use


Further information can be found at the Fire Protection Association of New Zealand website.