Home » Five Things to Keep in Mind When Buying Cord Extensions 

Five Things to Keep in Mind When Buying Cord Extensions 

by Uneeb Khan

Extension cables are one of the most regularly used household tools. People frequently use them to connect various devices or hang beautiful lights. While most people love buying an extension cord, only a few consider their extension cord purchasing. The truth is that most prefer the cheapest option if the length satisfies their requirements. 

Choosing an extension cord should include more than just considering the price tag. It would be best if you understood the purpose of the cable, where it will go, and how much electricity is hooked into it. 

What is an extension cord? 

flat extension cord

An extension cord is a long flexible electrical power line having a plug on one end and one or more sockets on the other (usually of the same type as the plug). The phrase “adapter cord” may be used if the plug and power outlet are of different types.  

Extension cords are available in various colors, lengths, and thicknesses. The thicker the cord, the more power the appliance uses. Cords used outside, in wet locations, near oils, or exposed to sunlight for extended periods should be chosen with care. 

This article discusses the five factors to consider when purchasing extension cords. 

1. Buy a Longer Cord Than You Need 

When measuring a flat extension cord, it’s easy to underestimate how much length you’ll need. Assume you take a straight-line measurement from your outlet to your device. You probably don’t want your cord to run in the same straight line. Ideally, you want it to dangle loosely down the floor and not be pulled tight when you move your device. There are a few benefits of this. The first is convenience; having tightly wound extension cords all over the place isn’t fun. 

The other factor is even more important: safety. If your cord is too short, you may have to daisy-chain extension cords. This is a dreadful thought. Each additional cord increases resistance, causing the voltage at the line’s end to decline. Not only that, but the increased resistance generates heat, posing a substantial fire risk. 

To avoid these complications, get a cord that is longer than you require. In that manner, it will always reach as far as you require. Not only that, but you’ll have a more extended cord with additional options if you need to repurpose it. 

2. Look for Cold Weather Extension Cords for Flexibility 

Some extension cords are more flexible than others; they are considerably easier to stretch over your workstation, more accessible to the coil, and less annoying in confined situations. Significantly, look for extension cords with temperatures listed below freezing because they will be more flexible in any weather. 

3. Think About Your Amperage 

Extension cord with red on/off switch

Another issue to consider is if your cord provides adequate power. Flat wires are especially troublesome, as thinner cables can transmit less power. Typically, a standard residential socket delivers 15 amps of power. However, if you have a 20-amp breaker and robust gauge wiring, you can run up to 20 amps.  

Moreover, most electronics do not consume the whole 15 amps. If they did, you’d only be able to run one device per circuit breaker. Most PCs, for example, consume less than four amps. Power tools, space heaters, and other high-powered devices are the only ones that draw 15 amps. 

Ensure that your extension cords are powerful enough for the job. This is especially true when a cord includes more than one plug at one end. If you connect many electronics, the amperage must be shared. You must consider all of this when selecting your cord.  

4. Mind Your Working Environment 

charging cords

Your working environment may influence the sort of cables you purchase and the maintenance techniques you employ. Keep extension cords away from hot spots as the power flowing via the wires emit heat, leading to overheating. Overheating can also occur when exposed to a heat source, increasing the risk of an electrical fire. 

Furthermore, keep your extension wires away from bulky things. The weight of office appliances can damage your cord by compressing the insulation or breaking the wires. To protect your wiring, you can use raceways or tubings. 

5. Thicker Cords can Carry More Power 

Carpainter's tools

In addition to length, the thickness of the wires within an extension cable determines how much power it can safely carry. Thicker wires are capable of carrying more electricity over greater distances.  

If you wish to use power tools like drills, saws, or wet/dry vacs safely and at maximum power, the bare minimum will not suffice. 

In the United States, cord thickness is commonly expressed in gauge or AWG. More significant numbers indicate smaller cables, which can carry less power. A 14 AWG cable is the thinnest we recommend, only at 25 feet or fewer lengths. 


Aside from the considerations above, keep in mind that an extension cable is a temporary power supply device and should never be used in place of permanent wiring. If you require additional power and the extension cord is too long to extend, consider contacting an electrician and installing mounted outlets for long-term power. The companies that provide extension cords online also sell right-angle power cords, switches, and ethernet cables. 

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