How Much Does an ABC Fire Extinguisher Weigh: 16 Examples

How much does an ABC Fire Extinguisher weigh? This is a question that I have been asked a multitude of times.  It’s always good to know the weight of your fire extinguisher so you can be prepared for any emergency situation! 

Knowing your fire extinguisher inside and out is always a good idea.  This allows you to know when something isn’t quite right, make the call for repairs and inspections, and avoid potential issues.  For this reason, we advise every fire extinguisher owner to really get up close and personal with their fire extinguishers.

It turns out the average fire extinguishers weight is between 5-7 pounds!  They can come in different sizes though depending on your needs.  Some are smaller than others and some have more capacity.

So how much do ABC fire extinguishers weigh? Well, below we’ve gathered some averages for you to have a look at, as well as some explanations to help you better understand what these numbers mean.  At the end of this blog post is 16 examples from 4 different manufactures.  

Understanding Fire Extinguisher Weight Specs

Before we get into the average weight of an ABC fire extinguisher, let’s talk a little bit about the various specs we are giving out.  This is important because it isn’t just the weight of the fire extinguisher straight from the factory that you need to worry about as a fire extinguisher owner. 

UL Rating

Located on the fire extinguisher label is the UL rating. All Fire Extinguishers are tested by the Underwriters Laboratory (UL) for safety and performance.  These numerical ratings allow you to compare the relative extinguishing effectiveness of various fire extinguishers. In other words, the numbers show how much of the fire can be put out by the extinguisher.  

The UL rating is broken down into Class A and Class B:C ratings. The number beside the letter A ranges from 1 to 40.  This is the water equivalency for this extinguisher, where 1 equals 1.25 gallons.  For example, 4A means the fire extinguisher is as effective as 5 gallons of water (4 x 1.25 = 5).

The numbers before B and C are a measure of the amount of square feet the fire extinguisher can put out. For example, a 20:BC fire extinguisher can extinguish a fire over 20 square feet. C indicates the extinguisher is suitable for use on electrically energized equipment.

For Example:

The extinguisher in the photo above has the equivalent of 3.75 gallons of water and can extinguish a fire over 40 square feet.

UL Rating Chart

UL Rating Extinguishing Effectiveness
1A:10B:C 1.25 gallons of water: 10 square feet
3A:40B:C 3.75 gallons of water: 40 square feet
4A:80B:C 5 gallons of water: 80 square feet
10A:120B:C 12.5 gallons of water: 120 square feet

Cylinder and Head Assembly Weight

There is a lot of confusion when it comes to fire extinguisher cylinders and heads. For starters, what are the differences between them? 

The cylinder is typically made up of anodized aluminum and is the shell where you store the dry chemical and compressed air or nitrogen that powers your hand-held extinguisher. 

The head assembly is where the agent (aka: stuff) goes and this part attaches to the nozzle on top of the cylinder so that we can spray it out!  

The weight of these components contributes to the overall gross weight of the extinguisher.

ABC Dry Chemical Weight

ABC or Multi-Purpose extinguishers utilize a specially fluidized and siliconized mono ammonium phosphate dry chemical.  It chemically insulates Class A fires by melting at approximately 350 degrees F and coats the surface to which it is applied.  It smothers and breaks the chain reaction of Class B fires and will not conduct electricity back to the extinguisher operator.

Dry chemical weight refers to the amount of powder that is in the extinguisher.  Extinguishers are classified by how much dry chemical is charged inside the unit.  So, for a 5lb ABC fire extinguisher, that extinguisher is charged or filled with 5lbs of ABC dry chemical.  

This is another contributing factor when determining the overall gross weight of the extinguisher.

Extinguisher Gross Weight 

The extinguisher’s gross weight is the dry chemical weight and the hose, nozzle, valve head, pin, and tamper seal.  This number is the highest number you should ever get when weighing your extinguisher.  Unfortunately, some extinguishers surpass or have too little gross weight, meaning they have the potential to not work properly in the event of an emergency situation.

How Much Does a 2.5 lb. ABC Fire Extinguisher Weight?

Let’s start with the smallest and lightest of the extinguishers to answer the question, “How much does a 2.5 lb. fire extinguisher weight?”

On average, these smaller capacity extinguishers can have an average gross weight of 5 lbs.  That said, there are some that weigh even more than that.

It’s amazing how much weight can vary from brand to brand. While one manufacturer may offer a product at 5 lbs. 5 oz., another company provides an equivalent extinguisher in 3lbs 9 oz! You’d think with such small differences there would be no difference?  Not when you look more closely and realize that the dry chemical agent is off by only 1 ounce; making this surprisingly insignificant amount of net error.

How Much Does a 5 lb. ABC Fire Extinguisher Weight?

How much do 5 lb. extinguishers weigh?  Again, there is some variation from one extinguisher to the next.  That said, 5 lb. extinguishers do tend to be more standardized in terms of gross weight.

The average weight for a 5 lb. extinguisher is 9 lbs. 4 oz. with a dry chemical weight of 5 lbs.  These lightweight units make them the perfect fit for most fire extinguishing applications.

One example of a heavier extinguisher is the Buckeye model 10914.  This extinguisher weights in right at 10 lbs. fully charged.  Meanwhile, lighter extinguishers can weight one pound less.

How Much Does a 10 lb. ABC Fire Extinguisher Weight?

10 lb. extinguishers are the middle ground in the world of portable ABC fire extinguishers.  They offer a happy medium between the enormous 20 lb. units and the teeny tiny 2.5 lb. extinguishers, giving users the most coverage for fire protection while still offering some mobility of the extinguisher.

So how much does a 10 lb. ABC fire extinguishers weigh?  On average, you can expect a 10 lb. unit to come in around 17 lbs. 3 oz. gross weight.  The dry chemical capacity will be the same at 10 lbs. 

All four manufactures offer some great examples of extinguishers in various weights.  The lightest of these extinguishers is the Kidde Pro 10, which as a 16 lb. gross weight.  Meanwhile, the Buckeye 11340 is the heaviest option, weighing in at 18 lbs. 2 oz. fully charged.

How Much Does a 20 lb. ABC Fire Extinguisher Weight?

Lastly is the biggest and heaviest of the portable fire extinguishers.  On average, these massive extinguishers have gross weights that range between 30 and 36.5 lbs.

The actual average weight of a 20 lb. fire extinguisher is 33 lbs.  That’s a lot of weight to be lugging around during an emergency situation!  However, there fire protection coverage is equivalent to 12.5 gallons of water and can extinguish a fire over 120 square feet.  They truly can pack a punch at just an average weight of 33 lbs.

One example of a lighter 20 lb. fire extinguisher is the Kidde Pro 20.  This extinguisher weighs in right at 30 lbs. fully charged.  Meanwhile, larger units weigh upwards to 6 lbs. more.  However, the 6 lb. difference does make a difference when it comes to overall fire protection coverage.  The smaller unit only has an equivalent of 7.5 gallons of water and can extinguish a fire over 80 square feet.

Factors that Affect ABC Fire Extinguisher Weight

Now you know the answer to, “How much does an ABC fire extinguisher weigh?” That said, this isn’t really all the info you need.  You also need to know factors that affect that weight, like how maintenance and use can influence the total weight of the extinguisher.

Improper Maintenance

Every 6 years the extinguisher will be due for an internal inspection.  The extinguisher will be broken down and completely emptied of powder, all the parts will be cleaned, any defective parts will be replaced, and then the whole thing will be put back together.

The final piece of a fire extinguisher inspection is weighing the fully charged fire extinguisher. The label will indicate how much dry chemical to add to the extinguisher and how high to set the pressure. Occasionally, the gauge will indicate a different optimal pressure than the label. If this happens, the gauge will usually have to be replaced—an incorrect gauge will affect the fire extinguisher’s discharge and rating.

Checking the gross weight of the fire extinguisher means weighing the entire unit—hose, nozzle, valve head, pin, tamper seal, and of course, dry chemical. Proper hose and nozzle or nozzle as outlined on the label must be correct, for this, too, will affect the rating of the fire extinguisher if it is wrong.  Fire extinguishers will have in writing the weight (gross) of the total fire extinguisher or the parameters to follow.  For example, a 5-pound ABC fire extinguisher will say something like “Fill with five pounds of ABC dry chemical…gross weight of 8 lbs. 5 oz +- 8 oz.”

This means that the lowest gross weight the fire extinguisher can have is 7 lbs, 13 oz. A fire extinguisher below the minimal weight can only happen when the licensed technician who was refilling the extinguisher did not bother letting the chemical settle in the cylinder and then topping it off with added chemical, did not have a scale, or did not use a scale while doing the maintenance.  

One cannot know what the actual weight of the extinguisher is without a scale; just by hefting the extinguisher, your brain cannot tell you whether it is at the proper weight – only whether it is heavy or light.  Remember—if the weight is too low, it will affect the rating of the fire extinguisher.

Undercharged Fire Extinguishers

We tend to think of fire extinguishers as constants — they’re always nearby, ready and waiting in case a fire breaks out. But the truth is that fire extinguishers often are not ready, because they haven’t been properly maintained. There are countless stories of people attempting to fight an incipient-stage fire with a portable extinguisher only to discover too late that the extinguisher is not charged — even if it has never been used before.

Everyone from homeowners to business owners needs to understand the importance of fire extinguisher recharging. This process is an important aspect of fire extinguisher service and maintenance and cannot be ignored.

When and why do fire extinguishers need to be recharged?

There are several instances where fire extinguisher recharging needs to take place —one that is obvious and some that are less commonly known.

  • Fire extinguishers need to be recharged immediately after each use.  Even if the extinguishing agent inside was not completely discharged, the extinguisher still needs to be serviced in order to make sure it’s ready for its next use. Even a minimal discharge will normally result in leakage and an eventual total loss of pressure needed for proper operation.
  • Fire extinguishers need to be recharged periodically throughout their life, even if they haven’t been used. Both the NFPA 10 code standard for portable fire extinguishers and manufacturer’s service guidelines require periodic internal examination and recharging. For the most commonly used stored pressure dry chemical fire extinguishers, this internal examination and recharging is required at six and twelve years from the date of manufacture noted on the extinguisher.
  • Extinguishers can also need to be internally examined or recharged due to damage or other environmental factors that may result in them becoming depressurized.

ABC Fire Extinguisher Manufacture Weight Cart: 16 Examples

Amerex

Design Nozzle Hose & Nozzle
Model Number B417T
B402/B402T B456 A411
UL Rating 1A:10B:C
3A:40B:C 4A:80B:C 10A:120B:C
Capacity (LBS) 2.5
5 10 20
Gross Weight 5.5
9.5 18 36.5

Buckeye

Design Nozzle Hose & Nozzle
Model Number 13315
10914 11340 12120
UL Rating 1A:10B:C
3A:40B:C 4A:80B:C 10A:120B:C
Capacity (LBS) 2.5
5 10 20
Gross Weight 5.5
10 18 33.5

Ansul

Design Nozzle Hose & Nozzle
Model Number A02S
AA05S-1 AA10S 12120
UL Rating 1A:10B:C
3A:40B:C 4A:80B:C 10A:120B:C
Capacity (LBS) 2.5
5 10 20
Gross Weight 5.5
9.1 17 32.2

Kidde

Design Nozzle Hose & Nozzle
Model Number PRO 2.5
PRO 5 PRO 10 PRO 20
UL Rating 1A:10B:C
3A:40B:C 4A:80B:C 10A:120B:C
Capacity (LBS) 2.6
5.5 10 18
Gross Weight 3.9
9 16 30