Foam or powder extinguisher?

Foam or powder extinguisher? Find out which is the right fire extinguisher and when.

Feuerlöscher Schaum oder Pulver - CWS Fire Safety

Individual expert advice

Non-binding and competent for your industry

Already a customer?
Hidden Fields

Information on the processing of your personal data can be found here

3 March 2023 Fire Safety

Foam or powder extinguisher - which is the right one and when?

The numbers are very alarming, but every 2-3 minutes there is a fire in a German home. Fortunately, these are often harmless fires, but many people underestimate the high risk of fire. A fire extinguisher is essential in every building in order to be able to take initial measures in the event of a fire. This way, an expansion of the fire can be prevented for the time being. The question arises:

  •     Is a foam or powder extinguisher better?
  •     What are the differences between foam and powder extinguishers?
  •     For which fire class is a powder or foam extinguisher better suited?

Read now when and where a foam or powder extinguisher is better suited.

Pulver oder Schaumlöscher - für welche Brandklasse eignen sich Pulver- und Schaum

Powder or foam extinguisher?

When purchasing a fire extinguisher, e.g. for a private household, many people are undecided as to whether foam or powder should be chosen.

Basically, it can be said that both types of fire extinguisher are used in most cases in private households or offices.

However, there are differences between powder and foam extinguishers that should be taken into account before buying.

Unterschiede Feuerlöscher Schaum oder Pulver - CWS Fire Safety

The powder extinguisher

Pulver oder Schaumlöscher - Der Pulverlöscher von CWS

The powder extinguisher, also called "ABC fire extinguisher", has a very wide range of applications. This refers to the three different fire classes in which the powder extinguisher is used. It can be used for substances of fire classes A (solid flammable substances), B (liquid flammable substances) and C (gaseous flammable substances).

Furthermore, the powder extinguisher is very inexpensive to buy compared to the foam extinguisher. However, this fact often leads lay people to prefer buying a powder extinguisher for indoor use without being aware of the disadvantages.


  • immediate extinguishing effect (immense powder cloud)
  • very high extinguishing capacity
  • broadly applicable (fire classes A,B,C)
  • inexpensive acquisition costs


  • high level of damage to interior fittings
  • short operating time due to sudden discharge of extinguishing agent
  • no cooling effect, fires are only extinguished for a short time
  • immense visual/breathing obstruction when used indoor

    Due to the disadvantages listed, it is recommended to use the powder extinguisher only in unoccupied areas, cellars or other storage rooms, in the garage, and outdoors. In this way, damage caused by the extinguishing agent to the interior furnishings can be avoided.

    The foam extinguisher

    Pulver oder Schaumlöscher - Der Schaumlöscher von CWS

    Compared to the powder extinguisher, the foam extinguisher was designed for the most common fire classes (A, B). It can only be used for fire classes A (solids) and B (liquids). However, the extinguishing effect is much better. The foam agent covers the source of the fire like a veil, cools it and completely smothers the flames.

    In addition, the foam extinguisher, unlike the powder extinguisher, does not cause extensive damage, which is why it is also used indoors.


      • high extinguishing capacity
      • longer duration of use
      • low pressure (easy handling for laymen)
      • low damage


      • higher purchase costs
      • narrower range of use (only fire classes A, B)


          Fire extinguisher: foam or powder - Our recommendation:

          But which fire extinguisher - foam or powder - should one buy now?

          For private households and offices, both fire extinguishers - foam and powder - are basically suitable.

          However, these are mostly fires caused by solid flammable substances (fire class A). It is very rare for private households or offices to have to deal with fire class C (gaseous flammable substances). Due to this fact, it is not absolutely necessary to have a powder extinguisher that covers all three fire classes. The foam extinguisher for fire classes A and B is completely sufficient.

          Feuerlöscher Schaum oder Pulver - Unterschiede sowie Vor- und Nachteile

          Another aspect is that the foam extinguisher leaves considerably less damage to interior furnishings, which is why it is particularly suitable for indoor use. Even though the foam fire extinguisher is initially more expensive to purchase than a powder extinguisher, the costs are significantly lower after one use. In addition, the foam extinguisher has a longer service life. This is due to the low operating pressure during use.

          Important: Foam extinguishers containing fluorine will be banned in the EU from 2024. Short transition periods are to be expected for foam extinguishers containing fluorine, i.e. for most foam extinguishers in use.

          Make sure now to purchase only fluorine-free foam fire extinguishers and replace existing foam extinguishers in time.

          In summary, it can be said that the purchase of a foam fire extinguisher is recommended. It can be used indoors as well as outdoors and leaves little damage. Powder extinguishers are used for uninhabited areas and outdoors.

          Foam or powder extinguisher?

          For which fire classes are both powder and foam extinguishers suitable?

          Powder extinguishers and foam extinguishers are suitable for both fire classes A and B.

          Is a foam or powder extinguisher better?

          The question of whether a foam or powder extinguisher is better must be answered depending on the area of application. Basically, a foam extinguisher is recommended for indoor areas due to a low extinguishing damage. In outdoor areas, a powder extinguisher can also be useful.

          Foam or powder extinguisher, what are the differences?

          Foam extinguishers are only suitable for fire classes A and B, powder extinguishers are also suitable for fire class C. In addition, foam extinguishers cause little extinguishing damage. This makes them particularly suitable for indoor areas. Learn more about the advantages and disadvantages of:

          Do you still have questions about foam or powder extinguishers?

          *** We are currently only active in Germany and Netherlands! ***


          Please find our privacy policy under this link

          Hidden Fields