Should I purchase a fire extinguisher from a hardware store or auto parts dealer?


It’s common for people to ask us whether it’s safe to purchase a fire extinguisher from a local hardware store like Supercheap Auto. The answer is most likely a yes if you are in Australia or New Zealand, thanks to the tough national compliance standards we have in place when it comes to the sale of fire equipment under AS/NZ1841.5. However, it is not the efficiency of fire equipment that’s the problem when shopping at a hardware store, but rather the suitability of these products to your needs. After all, a hardware store representative will probably be very knowledgeable about the products on sale in a store like Supercheap Auto. But, understandably if they’re not a fire equipment specialist, they’re unlikely to have the same depth of knowledge about fire extinguishers as we do. Here’s why:

There are hundreds of products out there

Did you know there are dozens of fire extinguishers available on the market? In fact, there are six very different classes of fire risks, and each of these come in a range of different colours, classifications and sizes. These include:

  •       Class A – Ordinary combustibles
  •       Class B – Flammable liquids
  •       Class C – Flammable gases
  •       Class D – Combustible metals
  •       Class E – Electrical equipment
  •       Class F – Cooking oils and fats

To make this even more confusing, there are also five common types of fire extinguishers on sale in Australia. Each of these are designed specifically to fight the numerous risks above. These include:

This is already proof already that picking the right equipment without the help of an expert can be very daunting. Then comes the matter of size. Extinguisher sizes range between 1.0 KG and 45.0KG. How do you know the right size is right for your fire risks? Then there’s also the matter of rechargeable or disposable products. Would it be more cost effective to purchase a long term or single-use solution? The answer to each of these questions is very different for everyone. 

Having a range of products can be useful  

While we understand that it can be daunting, having such a wide array of fire extinguishers on the market can also be extremely valuable. It means there is always likely to be a product that suits the needs of your organisation. You want the product you rely on to save lives to be the most suitable to your needs, certainly not something you have any uncertainties or doubts about. Talking to an expert will help you gain crucial knowledge about the different kinds of fire extinguishers. We use our expertise to find a total fire equipment solution that is suitable to the unique risks and needs of your organisation. 

Incorrect products are dangerous
Not only can an incorrect extinguisher be ineffective at fighting a blaze, it can also be dangerous and even fatal when used on a fire with a different rating or class. Did you know that using a water extinguisher on an oil fire, or a carbon dioxide extinguisher on a chemical fire, may cause a dangerous explosion? When you purchase your extinguisher through an expert organisation, we learn about all the risks at your site and find the safest possible solution for you.  

A more extensive range of products 

Fire Equipment Online has a very wide range of fire safety equipment and fire accessories that will cover the needs and requirements of your organisation. We have those niche products that are not sold elsewhere. We also supply top-of-the-line fire suppression products that fully comply with all relevant regulations and Australian Standards. 


Want to learn more about what fire extinguisher is right for you? Fire Equipment Online is here to help. Our highly-qualified experts will help find the most affordable and most well-suited fire extinguisher solution for you, no matter how unique your requirements may be. Contact us today for more information.