How to Choose the Right Extension Cord

Your Guide to buying the best extension cords


This buying guide will provide you with an overview of the different types of extension cords available and the factors you need to consider when selecting an extension cord for your specific needs. We will discuss the various features and specifications of extension cords, as well as the advantages and disadvantages of each type. Additionally, we will provide safety tips and considerations when using an extension cord. With the help of this guide, you will be able to make an informed decision when purchasing an extension cord for your home or business.

Key features

  1. Type of Extension Cord: Consider the type of extension cord you need, such as a basic cord, a heavy-duty cord, or an outdoor cord.
  2. Length: Determine how long the extension cord needs to be to suit your needs.
  3. Voltage Rating: Check the voltage rating of the extension cord to ensure it can handle the amount of electricity you need to draw.
  4. Gauge: The gauge of the extension cord will indicate how much electricity it can safely handle. Higher gauge cords can handle more amperage (amps) than lower gauges.
  5. Power Rating: Know the wattage or amperage rating of the devices you will be connecting to the extension cord.
  6. Cord Material: Consider if the extension cord is made from a durable material such as rubber or plastic that can withstand wear and tear and be used outside.
  7. Cord Strength: Look for an extension cord with an additional strain relief spring or cord wrap for added protection from wear and tear.
  8. Safety Features: Look for an extension cord equipped with built-in safety features such as a circuit breaker or power surge protection.

See the most popular extension cords on Amazon

Important considerations


  • Portability: Extension cords are lightweight and easy to transport making them great for temporary or on-the-go use.
  • Versatility: Extension cords come in a variety of lengths, styles, and colors, allowing you to choose the one that’s best suited to your needs.
  • Cost: Extension cords are usually quite affordable, making it easy to buy multiple for different areas or projects.
  • Safety: Extension cords are designed with safety features such as surge protection, GFCI outlets, and heavy-duty insulation that can help protect against electrical hazards.
  • Convenience: Extension cords are designed to increase the reach of your current outlets, making it easy to power appliances, tools, and electronics far away from the original source.


  • Cord Length: Extension cords vary in length, and it is important to make sure the cord length is suitable for the intended purpose. Too short of a cord may cause awkward reaching or stretching, while too long can cause potential tripping hazards.
  • Power Capacity: Extension cords have different power capacities and it is important to make sure the power capacity of the cord is suitable for the intended purpose. Using a cord with too low of a power capacity can result in electrical overload, while using a cord with too high of a power capacity can be a waste of money.
  • Cord Gauge/Thickness: Extension cords come in different gauges or thicknesses and it is important to make sure the cord is suitable for the intended purpose. A thicker cord can handle more power but may be more expensive. On the other hand, a thinner cord is cheaper but may not be able to handle the intended amount of power.
  • Outdoor Use: Extension cords are available for outdoor use, but it is important to make sure the cord is listed for the intended purpose. Outdoor cords are generally thicker and designed to stand up to the elements, while indoor cords may not be suitable for outdoor use.
  • Safety Considerations: Extension cords have the potential to be dangerous if not used properly. It is important to make sure all cords are properly rated for the intended purpose and use, and that the cords are not damaged in any way. Worn or damaged cords should be replaced to avoid potential hazards.

Best alternatives

  1. Surge Protectors - An electrical device used to protect electrical appliances and devices connected to it from sudden increase in voltage or current.
  2. Power Strips - A multiple outlet strip used to provide additional outlets for connecting numerous electrical appliances.
  3. Power Banks - A device that stores energy and can be used to supply power to devices on the go.
  4. Power Inverters - A device that converts direct current (DC) to alternating current (AC) for use in powering devices.
  5. Portable Generators - A device used to generate power to provide electricity to devices in areas where there is no access to a power grid.

Related tools, supplies, and accessories

  • Grounded Plug Adapter - a device that connects multiple extension cords together to form a single outlet
  • Circuit Breaker - a device that will automatically shut off the current in the event of an overload
  • Cable Protector - a device that covers the cable to protect it from wear and tear
  • Cable Reel - a device that rolls up an extension cord to keep it out of the way and prevent tangling
  • Safety Plug - a device that helps to prevent contact with the electrical current in an outlet
  • Power Strip - a device that allows multiple electrical devices to be connected to one outlet
  • GFCI Outlet - a device that prevents electric shock in wet conditions

Common questions

  1. What is an extension cord? An extension cord is a device used to extend the reach of an electrical outlet by providing an additional length of cable with multiple outlets at the end.
  2. What are the different types of extension cords? The types of extension cords include indoor, outdoor, retractable, and heavy-duty.
  3. What factors should be considered when buying an extension cord? Factors to consider when buying an extension cord include length, wire gauge, number of outlets, and UL rating.
  4. Should an extension cord be used for permanent installations? No, extension cords should not be used for permanent installations; they are intended for temporary use only.
  5. What should I do if the extension cord is not working? If the extension cord is not working, first check the outlet and the cord for any signs of damage. If no damage is found, try using a different cord to test the outlet.


In the early 2000s, an extension cord was so long that it caused a power outage throughout the city of La Grande, Oregon. The cord was reportedly 1,200 feet long and connected several portable classrooms that were in use. It created a short circuit when the cord was plugged in, causing a power outage that lasted almost an hour. Fortunately, no one was injured during the incident. Source

Disclaimer: This buying guide was not created by humans, and it is possible that some of it's content is inaccurate or incomplete. We do not guarantee or take any liability for the accuracy of this buying guide. Additionally, the images on this page were generated by AI and may not accurately represent the product that is being discussed. We have tried to convey useful information, but it is our subjective opinion and should not be taken as complete or factual.