Comparing fire extinguishers

Posted by PI Collaborator on

Fire Extinguisher Comparison

Old hoses and ethanol rich fuel are a bad combination making carrying a fire extinguisher a must. Unfortunately, traditional fire extinguishers are large, heavy pressurized capsules that don't last long and are not easy to carry around.

Imagine if you will a fire extinguisher that is 80% smaller, 1/10th the weight, discharges for 5 times as long, makes no mess, and never expires. Element is this extinguisher. Using a technology developed for the space program in fixed installations Element is a handheld unit that fights fires by emitting a gas that interrupts the chain of combustion. This results in a totally clean extinguisher that does not rob oxygen and is totally safe and non-toxic.


  • - Coming in at just over 0.5lbs and producing 50 seconds of discharge; more than 4x longer than a 5lb fire extinguisher, this tiny unit packs quite a punch!
  • - It’s lightweight, compact size makes it ideal not only for your car, but also for your kitchen, garage, RV, boat, airplane, and anything else that can catch on fire!
  • - One of the best features of the Element Fire Extinguisher is that it is completely maintenance-free – you’ll never have to check if it’s still safe to use because it never expires.
  • - Unlike a dry-chemical fire extinguisher that uses solid powder to smother a fire until it's out, the aerosolized gas from Element's extinguishers attaches directly to the surrounding oxygen molecules, robbing fires of their fuel source – meaning that it is clean, leaving zero residue or mess to clean up.










Let's see Element action!

1. Here is a vid showing a gasoline fire being tackled. One thing to note is that the bowl is round sided and there is over half a gallon of gasoline inside of the bowl. A traditional fire extinguisher (with its pressurized jet) would have pushed the gas out of the bowl and made a big fireball. Element makes no thrust so it gets to work fighting the gasoline fire without spreading the liquid.



2. Is it hard to use? In this video we get a total newbie with zero knowledge or experience with Element to figure out how to activate it. All he knew prior to the one-take we used to make this video is that the unit is an extinguisher and he has to figure it out.



3. Can you blow it out easily? In this video, we show how Element will work even in the absence of oxygen by putting it underwater.



Product review as appeared on Two Guys Garage television program Season 18 Episode: Lifted Jeep



Also we are super excited to announce that we were at Jay Leno's Garage introducing Element to his 2 million+ YouTube followers. Jay is just a tremendous enthusiast and immediately offered (we did not even have to ask) to have us come to his garage the moment we showed him Element at a car show because he thought it was so valuable to let people know about it. Humbling and exciting all at the same time

The whole deal came together really fast so there was no time to arrange all the legal stuff to have an on-camera fire test. We did supply them with some footage of an official test to cut in but it did not make it to the final edit. Jay's guys were great to work with but the day we filmed was really busy with other segments that we only had the time for one take. All in all I think they did an amazing job editing everything and there was no doubt from the result who the pro was.



Element fire extinguishers can put out a fire from in front of the grille. You can point the gas from an Element through a cracked open hood or a grille to saturate an area before opening the hood to finish off a fire. This ‘presaturation’ will greatly reduce the chance of a flare-up when opening the hood because the gas (which is heavier than air) will block incoming oxygen from feeding the flames. In a confined engine bay with all the nooks and crannies an Element extinguisher does very well. Being able to 'fill' the compartment with gas is the key to fighting the fire (again this technique holds true for CO2 or Halon/Halotron).

By comparison, a traditional 5lb fire bottle will discharge for about 10-11 seconds and starts losing steam after 6-7 seconds. For someone not familiar with using an extinguisher, you waste 3-5 seconds just getting your bearings and a feel for the unit. That does not leave a lot of time to actually fight the blaze. Again an example of where reality is nothing like the movies. With 50 seconds on tap with an Element, you have that extra bit of time to get a feel for the task while still having plenty in reserve to fight the fire. We quote a conservative number of 50 seconds of discharge time but over 60 is normal and there are variances from unit to unit as it is a chemical reaction that can be a little variable.

When first lit there is a flame that comes out of the tip of the unit. This flame quickly dies down after a few seconds but at the beginning is largest as the striking chemical on the tip is being consumed. You are correct there is a chemical reaction taking place that creates some heat and a tiny flame front at the tip of the unit as it discharges. That flame, due to the saturation of chemical coming out, cannot start any kind of fire. I have literally sprayed atomized fuel on it and it would not light so you can be sure a carpet will not catch fire from it. As for the unit itself you are supposed to hold it from the handle because with the passage of time the unit gets hot. This heating happens on a very progressive level so if you are holding the extinguisher by the body it will give you plenty of notice to re-position your hand to the cool handle. During this window some of the chemical tip can fly out and if pointed at something clean like the aluminum can produce the result seen. Had the clean test been performed at the end then you should at worst gotten some of the cardboard dust previously mentioned and would wipe off. Again if you run a test whose only job is to find residue then some is possible. Our claim of 'no residue' is not intended to mislead anyone but is expected to be taken in the context of no residue compared to the many pounds of corrosive dust released by a powder extinguisher, or no residue in the scene of a fire.

Element is intended to be a small and maintenance-free fire fighting option that is easy to carry and use. It is best for incipient fires allowing you to tackle them before they spread out of control. In fire protection, you learn that there is not one perfect tool for every job but in Element we feel that we have a product that on a balance of factors is an attractive overall option for the general user and offers reliable fire fighting protection when other larger options are not practical or available.

Of course if your car is really up in flames nothing short of a fire truck will help you and in those instances it is safest to watch the show and let the pros handle it. That said the reality is that most fires are incipient fires; fires that are just growing. Fires that are (as one guy told me at a trade show) 'bigger than I can pee on' can get out of hand incredibly quickly and it is those instances where having an extinguisher is critical. By being small, light, and easy to use Element aims to make fire fighting more accessible to people in those instances when your bladder is not quite full



Interestingly in the fire extinguisher world there are two big education hurdles:

  • 1. Most people greatly over estimate the size of fire a given fire extinguisher can handle. Handheld extinguishers (regardless of type and size) are for dealing with small fires before they really take hold. Your window to get started fighting one of these fires is small and very quickly they reach the point where a professional fire fighter is needed. As such having an extinguisher that is easy to have close at hand and has a long discharge time is a huge head start in dealing with a fire. Regardless of what you choose to use an extinguisher MUST be easily accessible. In the case of a car that means within reach of the driver in the drivers compartment. In the trunk will waste too much time in an emergency.
  • 2. All extinguishers have their shortcomings. One is really good on wood fires but useless on oil fires. One makes a huge corrosive mess, another is weak in windy conditions, while another cannot be used on electrical. There is no one perfect tool but on a balance of performance we are very excited to offer Element to the consumer market because it offers some real advantages over traditional extinguishers and will encourage many more people to carry an extinguisher who otherwise would not have bothered.

As an aside this past weekend we were at a hot rod show and a customer of ours came to us almost in tears to tell us that his Element saved his car last month. He had some side-draft carburetors and one of them had a float needle stick which spit fire out of the throat and caught (of all things) the brake master on fire. Acting quickly he stopped, fired up his Element, and put the fire out with minimal collateral damage. Without it, his car (which happened to be a family heirloom) was for sure a goner. As a car guy that was pretty awesome to hear.


Regarding marine approval, in the US marine defaults to UL for their standard and it is totally un-bending. When UL comes boating will come by default but until then we can only legally sell the product as a supplement and not a substitute by what is legally required. Luckily as long as you have what is required by law (no matter how buried it is) then you are totally free to have and use Element. Personal cars and your home, for instance, have no legal requirements so having an Element is a free choice without having to supplement it with anything else.

Just like a Ferrari it is made in Italy and carries CE and TUV certifications. In addition to being internationally patented, Element has won multiple global product and innovation awards and is used by foreign Police and Military. 



For a little late week humour check out what can happen when things go wrong with a conventional fire extinguisher!



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