5 Things You Should Know – Before Buying An Extension Cord

by Glenn Maxwell

Electrical cords are ingenious since most residential units, including well-planned homes, require energy usage far away from your outlet. However, while electrical cords are useful devices, they may be pretty harmful mainly because of consumer’s limited understanding of the functionality.

Most consumers treat electrical cords like a low-participation purchase and can’t separate huge duty extension cord along with a light play one. Furthermore, they can’t decipher other pertinent specifications like amperage and gauge.

Thankfully, electrical cords are pretty easy to determine. Here are vital extension cord specifications that will help you buy safe and sturdy products.

1. Extension Cord Width (Wire Gauge) And Length

Extension cords tend to be more than wires having a plug on a single finish as well as an outlet alternatively. Extra time cord’s cable’s width and length indicate its convenience of various applications. The fundamental unit for calculating extra time cord’s width may be the American Wire Gauge (AWG), denoted like a figure varying from 0000 to 40. An AWG chart lists an electric conductor’s diameter or mix-sectional size with no sheath covering holding the conductors together.

A higher AWG figure means many thin electrical conductors bundled together to satisfy the conventional mix-sectional width for electricity-transporting wires. However, a minimal AWG signifies less wires with wider diameters incorporated to satisfy the pre-set standard for electric wires’ mix-sectional size. Thicker conductors have greater electric conductivity, while thin conductors possess a lower power-transporting capacity, even if incorporated. So, electrical cords having a low AWG rating offer better performance than individuals having a greater AWG rating.

Besides AWG, extra time cord’s length also shows its performance capacity as longer wires have greater resistance than shorter wires. However, longer wires tend to be more convenient because they get rid of the unsafe practice of developing extra time cord link chain to pay for needed distances. Therefore, consider purchasing lengthy, low wire gauge electrical cords for durability and safety.

2. Amperage

Amperage denotes an electrical device’s current transporting capacity or power rating. Different gauge electrical cords have different maximum amperage ratings varying between 10-20amps. Consequently, plugging a tool into extra time cord having a lower power rating compared to device’s may cause an overload. An electrical overload can harm your extension cord as well as your appliances or tools and even result in a fireplace.

So, think about your intended use before choosing extra time cord and buy an electric cord that may handle your device or tool’s power requirement. Second, avoid plugging multiple devices right into a single extension cord, because this too could cause an overload. Finally, observe that extra time cord’s length also impacts its power-transporting capacity and factor cord length while selecting extra time cord.

3. Indoor/Outside Use Rating

Electrical cords have different applications inside and outdoors the house. However, not every electric electrical cords are perfect for outside use, and taking advantage of extra time cord within the wrong atmosphere could be hazardous. While indoor-use electrical cords have simple construction, outside-rated electrical cords have heavy-duty construction for ecological protection, as described below.

First, most outside use electrical cords are low gauge, so that they are pretty lengthy, varying from 50ft to 100 to prevent stretching the cord during use. Second, there is a high current-transporting capacity, varying from 15amps to 20amps, suitable for heavy tools like power saws, generators, drills, and rotary hammers.

Second, outside electrical cords feature heavy-duty construction with robust rubber, vinyl, or plastic casing that’s water-resistant, abrasion-resistant, Ultra violet-resistant, and flame resistant. They’re flexible enough to resist temperature fluctuations and have a 3-prong plug along with other special security features to lessen electric shock risk. However, the simplest way to recognize an outside-rated extension cord is as simple as its vibrant orange color. Outside electrical cords also boast “W” his or her designation letters.

4. Extension Cord Classification And Designation Letters

Electrical cords have numerous applications in various environments, which makes it hard to box their overlapping features into distinct groups. However, experts loosely classify electrical cords by frequency useful as periodic, frequent use, and rugged electrical cords.

Periodic electrical cords mostly are 16-gauge cords for straightforward indoor applications like powering fans and make contact with charging, while frequent use cords mostly feature 14-gauge cords. Rugged electrical cords tend to be heavy-duty 8-12 gauge cords that power high-capacity tools for longer periods.

Aside from the general functionality classifications, electrical cords have a designated letter for particular insight, as highlighted below.

S: Specifies an adaptable wire well suited for general indoor use

W: Denotes an outside-rated wire as described above

J: Specifies that the cord features the normal 300V insulation, while its absence signifies heavy-duty 600V insulation

O: Oil-resistant extension cord

T: Signifies the cord includes a vinyl thermoplastic protective sheath

P: Parallel wire construction.

Browse the designated letters above to obtain the ideal extension cord for your requirements as well as your atmosphere.


Purchasing the ideal extension cord for your house application requires fundamental product understanding. So, stick to the tips above to recognize and purchase high-quality and safe electrical cords.

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