Which extension cord is best?
An extension cord’s primary purpose is to extend the reach of your electrical power supply, but not all extension cords can handle the same amount of power safely. Different gauges are available for various purposes. Depending on the amount of power you intend to run through your cables, it needs to handle that energy transfer safely.
That is why our top choice is the Yellow Jacket Heavy-Duty Contractor (50 feet) since it is a heavy-duty 12-gauge, three-pronged cord used professionally for rough conditions. With those heavy-duty extension cords, you can ensure that you will safely direct electrical power to wherever you need it most.
What to know before you buy an extension cord
What are you plugging your extension cord into?
First, you need to consider what you will be using an extension cord to power. Not all appliances, tools or electronic devices require the same amount of electricity. Before you purchase and plug in a cord, make sure that both the outlet and your extension cord can safely handle the electrical needs of anything you intend to power.
Also, note that cords with grounded, three-prong plugs will cost more than cords with only two prongs. Low gauge cords are thicker and cost more than thinner extension cords because they handle heavier-duty jobs.
Will the cord be placed inside or outside?
Not all extension cords are safe to use outdoors, so be careful not to bring a cord outside that is only intended for simple, low-amp indoor tasks. Cords that are safe for outdoor use will often be more expensive because of the level of safety needed to prevent fires and other problems while exposing the cord to the elements.
How many devices or appliances are you planning to plug in?
Be careful that your extension cord can handle all of the devices that you plug into it. Consider that if the distance between the outlet and the electrical devices is not the problem, an extension cord may not even be right for you. You may need an outlet splitter to help your wall outlet handle more individual devices. Extension cords are best for transferring energy from an outlet to an electrical device or devices that are too far away to reach usually.
How much you can expect to spend on an extension cord
Depending on the length and purpose of the extension cord, the price will vary. For lighter duty indoor and outdoor cords, expect to pay around $5-$20. If you are looking for high-quality, professional-grade gear, it will probably be closer to a $25-$70 range, depending on exactly how long you need your cord to be.
Extension cord FAQ
What is an amp and why does that matter?
A. An amp, or ampere, is the measurement of electricity flowing through your cord’s wiring. Differently sized wires can handle different amounts of amps. The length and gauge of a cord affect how many amps your cord can take safely. Be sure that you check the amps any appliance or equipment needs and that it does not go beyond what your cords can safely handle. This is crucial to prevent damage to your cords, devices and to stop potential fire hazards before they can happen.
Can I plug more extension cords or splitters into my extension cord?
A. For your safety, be sure that you only plug appliances or other cords that would stay within a cord’s maximum capacity for power transmission. If you use something that exceeds your cord’s limits, the cord can overheat and start an electrical fire. If you need to attach more than one extension cord to each other, try to ensure they all have the same AWG rating.
What’s the best extension cord to buy?
Top extension cord
What you need to know: It is a heavy-duty professional extension cord for tough conditions that will hold up to heat and cold.
What you’ll love: It is a 12 gauge cord with three-prong ends. The bright cord color makes it hard to lose track of in an outdoor environment, and the plug is a bit oversized for a safe and easy grip. It works with heavy equipment and power tools, resistant to abrasion and damage at any temperature.
What you should consider: It is a bit heavier, so it may be a bit more challenging to move around and maneuver than lighter extension cords.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Top extension cord for the money
What you need to know: This lighter duty, 16 gauge extension cord is safe for outdoor use at an affordable price.
What you’ll love: The cord resists sunlight and moisture in addition to abrasion resistance. One end of the cord lights up for safety and to make the cord easier to use. It is not heavy-duty, but it is still safe for use in outdoor conditions. The cord prevents any kink or tangle from forming accidentally.
What you should consider: Quality control has found that on rare occasions, copies of this product have reached the consumer without a functional light at the end of the cord.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Worth checking out
What you need to know: The two extension cords included are great for indoor use and provide additional three-prong outlets where you need them.
What you’ll love: Each cord has three separate three-prong outlets at the end for you to plug in your devices. The cords have a 10-year warranty. At the end of the cord is a built-in hook so you can secure your extension cord wherever it needs to be. The plug for your outlet can also fit nicely between a piece of furniture and the wall.
What you should consider: Because of the design, you can only use one per standard outlet in your home. This may be an inconvenience for some, but if you need an extension cord with many outlets, it would be essential to find one specifically designed to handle that much electricity safely.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
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Elliott Rivette writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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