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What are the Key Differences Between Foam and Powder Extinguishers?

Workplaces and public areas frequently have both foam and powder extinguishers, but which is superior? 

Due to their versatility and suitability for the majority of common fire risks, both types of extinguishers are well liked. 

It can be challenging to choose the best fire fighting solution for your organization because it depends on the risks and type of environment.

What are the Key Differences Between Foam and Powder Extinguishers

Dry powder extinguishers are also referred to as ABC fire extinguishers because of their multipurpose use in fighting Class A, B, and C fires. 

They may also be referred to as dry chemical fire extinguishers at times. 

A powder fire extinguisher is a multipurpose piece of fire safety equipment that works well in commercial boiler rooms, large workshops, and garage forecourts.

We describe appropriate uses for powder fire extinguishers, including what kinds of fires a dry powder extinguisher should not be used for as well as what kinds of fires it should be used for. 

Furthermore covered are the functions of a powder fire extinguisher, the areas that would benefit from having one nearby, and how to recognize a powder fire extinguisher.

What is the purpose of a powder fire extinguisher?

Using a powder fire extinguisher is a flexible solution that can be applied to Class A (flammable solids), Class B (flammable liquids), and Class C (flammable gases) fires. 

Without running the risk of electric shock, they can also be utilized on electrical fires involving equipment that is less than 1000 volts. 

On the other hand, we also advise keeping CO2 fire extinguishers on hand in areas where there is a risk of fire (like a communal kitchen or near an electrical heater).

When using a dry powder fire extinguisher on electrical equipment that is over 1000 volts, you should exercise caution as this may lead to corrosion on objects like computers. 

Lastly, it is not a good cooking oil fire extinguisher because cooking oil burns at a temperature higher than other common combustible liquids, which makes dry powder extinguishers useless against Class F fires.

There Are Three Main Types Of Dry Powder Extinguishers

Powders with an ABC rating or multipurpose use that include ammonium phosphate

Extinguishers with a BC rating that contain potassium or sodium bicarbonate also referred to as baking soda or bicarbonate of soda! 

A few powder fire extinguishers with a BC rating come with Monnex. Nitrogen is typically used as the pressurizing gas.

Graphite powder fire extinguishers with ratings of A and D are typically reserved for use in Class D fires.

Both varieties of dry powder extinguishers that don’t contain graphite have the ability to corrode soft metals like aluminum and can be abrasive when sprayed.

Pros of Powder Extinguishers

  • Quick extinguishing – Used correctly, dry powder in a fire extinguisher. able to guarantee an extremely rapid extinguishment of a recently started fire.
  • Not Conductive – When there is a possibility that electrical equipment is operating, this kind of fire extinguisher can be used. since it is not an electrical conductor.
  • Ideal for fuel fires – When used, the dry powder coats fuels, like gasoline, protecting them from oxygen and putting out the fire quickly.
  • Does not create thermal shock – Hot metal can be used to put out fires that involve wheel assemblies of all kinds because it uses dry powder, which stops thermal shock.

This type of bottle also offers a lot of other benefits, like a good heat barrier, a broad range of applications, and a large temperature distance.

Cons of Powder Extinguishers

The following are some of the dry powder fire extinguishers’ limitations. Please keep up by following and catching up.

  • The visibility effect – Firefighters’ visibility will be restricted by the use of dry powder extinguishers and the formation of dense powder clouds.
  • Breathing difficulties – Inhaled dry powder during a firefighting incident can irritate the throat and lungs, making breathing difficult.
  • Leftovers the following usage – After putting out a fire, extra dry powder could corrode some metal surfaces.

Additionally, there are several other restrictions when using a dry fire extinguisher, including: 

Not totally stopping the fire, which has an impact on the fire department’s relocation.

How do powder fire extinguishers work?

A powder fire extinguisher’s agent surrounds the fire like a thick “blanket,” depriving it of oxygen and putting out the flames. 

It is important to note that there is a slight chance of re-ignition because a dry powder fire extinguisher does not put out the fire.

How can one recognize a powder fire extinguisher?

The powder fire extinguisher is easily identified by its blue label that reads “Powder.” 

In order to indicate which types of fires it is suitable for use on, an extinguisher ID sign with the word “Powder” should be affixed above the fire extinguisher.

Which areas are appropriate for using powder fire extinguishers?

Construction sites, garage forecourts, and workshops are among the areas where having a powder fire extinguisher on hand is advantageous. 

Powder fire extinguishers are advised for all vehicles, including fuel tankers, as they are appropriate for use in situations involving flammable liquids and gases.

Nevertheless, a powder fire extinguisher shouldn’t be used in enclosed areas because the powder’s dry form can obstruct vision, be easily inhaled, and leave behind difficult to clean residue.

Fire extinguishers made of foam

It is believed that the production of AFFF foam fire extinguishers will be prohibited by the end of 2026 due to the dangerous PFAS chemicals that are present in the foam. 

Safelincs has already stopped selling extinguishers with AFFF Foam and water additives, and some manufacturers have created a variety of greener substitutes.

A Foam and B Foam, two eco foam P50 Service Free Fire Extinguishers from Britannia Fire, are now available. 

The medium in these units functions similarly to AFFF Foam by encasing the fire, creating a seal that shuts off the oxygen supply, and producing a cooling effect.

The Benefits of Foam Fire Fighting Equipment

  • For those looking for a more efficient way to put out fires, foam fire extinguishing systems have a lot to offer. 
  • Compatibility with various foam suppressant types
  • Put out fires caused by materials such as paint, gas, and oil.
  • Cleanup is simpler than with powder.
  • Less conductivity than water, so if sprayed on electrical equipment, it won’t cause as much damage.

Replace Powder and Foam Fire Extinguishers with Water Mist Extinguishers

Since water mist fire extinguishers only contain water that has been de ionized, they are completely environmentally friendly. 

Water mists, therefore, do not release any dangerous substances upon discharge and do not leave any untidy residue for cleanup. 

They contain de ionized water, which means it doesn’t conduct electricity. 

They are a perfect substitute for the AFFF foam extinguishers because they can be used on live electrical equipment without risk.

Which Type of Extinguisher Is Better, Powder or Foam?

Many types of fire extinguishers may be appropriate in locations where the fire risk assessment has only identified Class A and or Class B risks in addition to fires involving electrical equipment:

  • Foam extinguishers without fluorine
  • Extinguishers in powder
  • Mist extinguishers for water

The fire risk assessment’s identification of the hazards will ultimately dictate the kind of extinguisher that must be installed on a property. 

The person in charge must make sure they have chosen the most appropriate and successful firefighting option for their organization or property when there are overlaps and more than one type of extinguisher would be suitable.


Powder extinguishers are often the best choice for outdoor environments with a mixed fire risk. 

For interior environments where dangers from fire are common, eco foam or water mist extinguishers are the best options.

Why not get in touch with Ul Listed Foam Manufacturers In India if you’re still unclear about the kind of extinguisher you should put on your property? Take action now! 

For maintenance on fire safety equipment, contact us right now!

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