September 14, 2023

5 Tips That Help You Find The Right Extension Cord At A Hardware Store

High-quality and affordable extension cords are available in various online and physical hardware stores. Suppose you have no hurry to use the right extension cords; buying online’s a brilliant idea. Unfortunately, that is not the right way to go if you’re in the middle of a project and need reliable code.

Whether looking for an extension code online, walk-in store, or within the shortest time, you must consider many factors to make better choices. Continue scrolling below to learn 5 essential tips that will help you to find the right extension cords; 

1. Flexibility

At lower temperatures, certain cables are visibly more flexible than others. Flexible extension cords are less stressful, especially in congested places. You can quickly spread flexible and heavy-duty extension cords across your workstation, coil up neatly, and utilize them in confined areas.

Tightly packaged wires on a shelf make it difficult to untangle and often lead to a messy and time-consuming process when using them. On the other hand, flexible extension cords offer ease of handling and prevent frustrating tangles

If you want a heavy duty extension cord that is more flexible without pooling them along the walkway, find a chord designed for lower temperatures. Power cables whose packaging specifies temperatures below freezing tend to be more pliable regardless of the ambient temperature. 

2. Length

If you're not sure about the length of the extension cord you'll need, it's better to fall on the side of caution and get the one that's slightly longer than expected. A cable that effectively covers your workspace area is convenient and safe.

Connecting several extension cables in a chain is forbidden because of safety concerns. Multiple cords connected to one outlet provide more electrical resistance than one long cord. More than one extension cord is used to cover long-distance loss of power due to voltage drops caused by increased resistance.

To prioritize the convenience and safety of your property, avoid shorter and less expensive cords. Daisy-chaining increases the potential for a fire or melted wire due to the increased resistance introduced by the additional cords. When it comes to cost, you won't have to acquire an additional extension cord if the cord is long enough.

3. Thickness

The highest possible current that an extension cord may carry depends on the wire's thickness and length. Power is sent more distantly and efficiently with thicker cables. The recommended wire gauge for extension cords includes 25 feet 14/3 (14 AWG), 50 feet 12/3 (12 AWG), and 100 feet 10/3 (10 AWG).

The United States uses the American Wire Gauge System (AWG) to describe cord diameter. A lower power capacity directly results from a larger number of smaller wires. The smallest gauge cable recommended is a 14 AWG cord, and even then, only at lengths of 25 feet or less; the largest size cord you're likely to find is a 10 AWG cord.

4. Indoor Versus Outdoor Uses

Since indoor and outdoor cables are constructed differently, knowing when and where the extension cord will be utilized is crucial. The outer coating of an outdoor extension cable is built to withstand the rigors of harsh environmental elements.

An indoor extension cable outside can cause it to overheat or short out. Use covered, flat-laying extension cables in high-traffic interior locations to lessen the risk of people stumbling over them.

5. Plug Configurations

There is a wide variety of chord shapes and terminating for single and multiple plug extension cables. These include the block, T-shape, W-shape, sliding compression lock, and more. Most electronics may use either a 2-prong or 3-prong plug. A two-prong plug is compatible with a three-prong extension cable but not vice versa.

Only use a three-prong extension cord with a three-prong plug, and only into a three-hole electrical outlet that is correctly grounded. The grounded outlet with its third prong was created to lessen the possibility of electrical shock and fire.

Other Important Considerations When Choosing The Right Extension Cord

  • Cord Material: The material of the cord affects its durability and resistance to abrasion, chemicals, and oils. Common materials include vinyl, rubber, and thermoplastic.
  • Cord Color: Different colors can help identify cords for specific uses or locations, making organization and troubleshooting easier.
  • Amp Rating: The amp rating indicates the maximum current the cord can safely handle. It should match or exceed the devices' power requirements.
  • Voltage Rating: The voltage rating specifies the maximum voltage the cord can handle safely. Ensure it is suitable for your power source.
  • Cord Ends: Consider whether the cord has standard 2-prong or 3-prong grounded plugs and if it's compatible with your devices.
  • Cord Retention System: Cord retention systems, like hooks or cord wraps, keep the extension cord neatly coiled when not used.
  • Cord Locking Mechanism: Prevent accidental unplugging, providing a secure connection for critical devices.
  • Overload Protection: Circuit breakers or surge protectors safeguard connected devices from surges.
  • Temperature Rating: Extension cords rated for high and low extreme temperatures ensure optimal performance.
  • Flame Resistance: Flame-resistant properties offer safety, especially near heat sources or flammable materials.
  • UL Listing or Certification: UL (Underwriters Laboratories) or other reputable certifications ensure the extension codes meet safety standards.
  • Cord Management Accessories: Cord reels, wall mounts, or cord organizers simplify storage and management.


There are several factors to consider to choose the correct extension code for your home or workplace. However, the main ones include the extension cords’ flexibility, length, thickness, and plug configuration. It’s also to know how and where you will use the cord because indoor and outdoor extension cords have different uses.

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