Fire Safety Learning Center

Articles and other information related to fire safety equipment and procedures in Illinois.

Fire Extinguishers Sold at Retail Stores

Customers often ask about the difference between the fire extinguishers sold at retail stores like Home Depot, Menards or Costco and those sold and installed by commercial fire safety companies. On the surface, residential units and commercial units can appear similar. To make matters more confusing, the fire extinguishers sold at retail stores may use the term "commercial" on the packaging. In reality, these types of fire extinguishers cannot be realistically used outside of personal use. (Inside your home, garage, etc.)

Don't waste your money purchasing fire extinguishers from retail stores if your aim is to provide fire protection to a common area of a building or any type of commercial use. These units do not meet code for commercial applications and are only designed to be used inside of your home. All extinguishers must be certified and tagged by a licensed fire extinguisher technician prior to placing into service. In order for a technician to certify and tag an extinguisher, the unit must meet certain criteria including the ability for the technician to obtain replacement parts. (This is a requirement of NFPA 10)

Even if the fire extinguisher's box lists the unit at "rechargeable", it is not possible to obtain replacement parts and properly service the vast majority of the extinguishers sold at retail stores. These extinguishers are not made for commercial applications and will almost certainly have "for home use" or "for home protection" listed to make this distinction.

With our re-certified extinguishers, clients can purchase legitimate, commercial fire extinguishers for the same cost (or less) than the residential-type extinguishers sold at these retailers.

Licenses required to install, service and maintain...
Expected Life of a Commercial Fire Extinguisher