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Extinguisher Rating

Extinguisher Rating

The extinguisher rating of a fire extinguisher is a performance and classification rating scheme for fire extinguishers according to their performance and suitability for a particular fire classification. The rating of a fire extinguisher is determined in accordance with the requirements of Australian Standard AS 1850.  

Fire extinguishers complying with Australian Standards are marked with a classification and rating, determined in accordance with Australian Standard AS 1850.

Extinguishers are rated by their performance and suitability for a particular class of fire, i.e. a typical water extinguisher may be marked 2A and a typical dry chemical extinguisher marked 2A:40B:E.

The number before the letter is a measure of the relative performance within the respective class as follows:

  • For Class A - Between 0 and 10
  • For Class B - Between 2 and 80
  • For Class F - Between 1 and 4

The higher the number , the more effective the extinguisher is for the nominated class of fire.  When a fire extinguisher is rated for more than one class of fire, it is expressed in alphabetical order, i.e. 2A:40B:E.

A common misconception is that two fire extinguishers of equal mass (Kg) or volume (Litres) have the same rating.

Extinguishers are subjected to a range of standardised tests to determine their suitability and rating, in accordance with the requirements of the Building Code of Australia and local authorities having jurisdiction.

The rating of a fire extinguisher is required to be prominently displayed on the side of each extinguisher.


In preparing this definition, we have drawn from various sources including Legislation, Codes, Standards and industry information, research and knowledge.  Like the english language, these definitions may subtly change from time to time. As such these definitions are provided solely on the basis that users will be responsible for making their own assessment of the definition and and are advised to verify all relevant representations, statements and information.