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There always comes a time when you need power in a hard-to-reach area, whether it is on a construction site or a remote corner of your garden. Whatever the reason, an outdoor extension cord is an invaluable piece of equipment which is worth having. However, you want to choose a high-quality product which is suitable for all the different tasks that you have in mind. We have selected the best outdoor extension cords for you to browse through at your leisure. As well as offering an overview of each of them, we also tell you more about some of their key features.
The Best Outdoor Extension Cord
The extension cord is wrapped in vinyl to protect against the elements, such as moisture and sunlight, as well as to resist normal wear and tear. It has reinforced prongs on the plugs and heavy-duty connectors for safety and durability. This Coleman Cable product also complies with OSHA standards and is UL listed.
Durable jacket deals with rough weather conditions
Protects electrical connections for longer lifespan
Highly visible color for safety
Reinforced plug blades
- BrandColeman Cable
- Weight7.88 pounds
Here, we have this all-weather extension cord, which is designed to deal with a host of different weather conditions. Measuring at 50 feet, it is on the longer end of the scale, and it retains its flexibility in extreme weather conditions. You don’t have to worry about it tangling, either. The lighted plugs will illuminate when there is power flowing through it. Plus, it is suitable for both indoor and outdoor use, making it inherently versatile.
Stays flexible in extreme conditions
Suitable for indoor or outdoor use
Heavy-duty, tangle-free design
Lifetime limited warranty
- BrandUS Wire and Cable
- Weight5 pounds
This 16-gauge outdoor all-weather extension cord is specially made for garden decoration and landscape lighting. Its green color means that it can blend in seamlessly with your outdoor environment, making it suitable for long-term use. Also, the flexible jacket of the 25-foot extension cord is waterproof, and it also protects against chemicals, abrasions, dirt, and dust. It includes three grounded outlets, so you can power multiple outlets at the same time.
Flexible cord stops tangling and reduces tripping hazards
Blends in seamlessly with lawns and gardens
Three grounded outlets to power multiple electrical devices
Waterproof and durable vinyl jacket
- Weight2 pounds
If you are looking for a shorter extension lead that is suitable for both indoor and outdoor use, this is a great option. It’s great for outdoor use, as it’s water-resistant and can protect against abrasion and sunlight. The design is also slip-resistant.
The reinforced blades of the plug are specially designed to protect against bending and breaking. It is also backed by a lifetime replacement warranty, meaning that you can get a new one if anything should ever go wrong.
3-prong grounded plug
LED light illuminates when power is on
Protects against moisture, abrasion, and sunlight
- BrandIron Forge Cable
- Weight1.47 pounds
This 50-foot, heavy-duty extension cord ticks all the boxes of what you would want in a product such as this one. It is tough enough to be both water and flame resistant, and the color is bright yellow to ensure that everyone can spot it easily. The plug lights up when it is running, demonstrating that there is a flow of power. You can also move it around to use outdoors and indoors as you wish.
Heavy-duty and tough
Water and flame resistant
Bright yellow color for high-visibility
- Weight4.85 pounds
This popular outdoor power cord extends to 75 feet and features a multi-outlet design. It is made to suit both professionals and DIYers alike. The thermoplastic on the outside of the cord is made to withstand extreme temperatures, so you can feel comfortable using it in any environment.
Designed to OSHA standards, the cord is both fire and moisture resistant. It also comes with built-in strain relief and unbreakable molded plugs, so it can support as much as 150lbs without damage!
Designed to withstand extreme weather conditions
Uses 14-Gauge soft-drawn copper
20% more insulation than competitors
Built-in power indicator
- BrandWatt’s Wire
- Weight7.45 pounds
Made in a bright yellow color for plenty of visibility, this heavy-duty extension cord is designed not to mar your floors or walls. It is double insulated and features solid molded plugs. As for the outer jacket, it is tough to ensure that it won’t crack or break. It has even been tested at temperatures as low as -35 degrees Celsius! Plus, it stretches to 50 feet, making it suitable for homes with power sources a longer distance away.
Heavy-duty extension cord
Specially formulated SJTW vinyl outer jacket
Lifetime limited warranty
- BrandUS Wire and Cable
- Weight7 pounds
The next cord also comes with a green vinyl jacket, allowing it to blend in with your garden. Measuring at 20ft, it is shorter than some of the other ones which we have discussed in this blog post, but if you have a smaller garden which needs power, it is ideal. The plug ends are heavy-duty with strain relief to withstand bends and tugging. The power is enough to power most medium-rated appliances, but you should always make sure that you take the time to check that it is enough before purchase.
Jacket resists oil, grease, moisture, and abrasion
Heavy-duty, molded plug ends
Green vinyl color
- BrandMaster Electrician
- Weight1.35 pounds
Our next choice is this 50-foot extension cord, which features all-copper wire. The high-vis orange color ensures that it stands out in all working environments. No matter what DIY task you have planned or if you are professional needing to hook up your power tools, you will be able to do so.
Additional safety is provided by the 3-prong grounded plug, while the vinyl covering is designed to protect against a range of possible damages including abrasion, moisture, and direct sunlight.
Easy-to-find, highly visible orange
16-gauge extension cord
Protective vinyl covering against tough conditions
Made with all-copper wire
- Weight3.2 pounds
Suitable for both indoor and outdoor use, this product is ideal for a range of different purposes. The high-vis yellow jacket ensures that it can be easily spotted wherever you are working. But you don’t have to worry about it marking your walls or floors.
When the end is illuminated, you know that the power is on. As for the blades, they are reinforced to add an extra level of durability against bending and breaking. It is also waterproof and protected against abrasion, sunlight, and moisture.
Highly durable with reinforced blades
Lighted receptor shows power is on
Visible to increase safety
- Weight12.9 pounds
Best Outdoor Extension Cord Buying Guide
The next part is the buying guide, which provides you with more information about some of the main things to consider when buying a cord, as well as safety information. There is also a frequently asked questions section, and a recap of the best product on the list – as chosen by us.
Things to Consider When Buying an Outdoor Extension Cord
You may think that an extension cord is a basic product which you don’t need to spend much time choosing. In fact, if you take your time to pick one, you will end up with a cord which is safer, more durable, and more flexible than average. So, here are some of the top things to consider before you make your mind up.
- Power Ratings
The power rating of the cord is highly important. If you plan on running some heavy machinery or high-power tools through it, you need to make allowances accordingly. The amount of power that a cord can carry is directly related to the thickness of the wires inside and the length of the cord. Longer cords need thicker conducive copper wires. If you don’t have enough power, this can negatively affect the performance of whatever you are trying to run through it. In turn, this can lead to safety issues. Overloaded extension cords can end up heating up too much, possibly resulting in melting or a fire breaking out.
- Safety Standards
Check the brand to make sure that you are buying an approved product which conforms to safety standards. They should be ranked by independent consumer safety companies, so stay on the lookout for high-quality products. If the cord is badly made, it is much more likely to be dangerous. Obviously, your safety should always take precedence, and this is something which you especially need to take heed of when you are buying an electrical product. The color of the cord also plays a role in its safety. Choose one which is brightly colored and it is easier to spot wherever you go, making it less likely to cause a tripping hazard. However, if you want one for long-term use which is going to blend in seamlessly with your garden, a green cord is the best option.
A flexible cord has a host of advantages over a rigid and inflexible one. A cord which lays flat when it is stretched out is less likely to cause someone to trip up when they are walking by. Also, they are much easier to use as they will not stay in their coiled-up state when you are trying to unfurl them and manoeuvre them around corners. When you are finished using a flexible cord, it is much easier to coil it up and store away. The best cords continue to retain their flexibility when confronted with tough conditions such as extreme heat and cold.
- Outlet Construction
The outlet construction of your extension cord sets apart the good from the bad. Check for grip plugs which keep the cord securely plugged in but offer the flexibility so you don’t struggle when you are plugging them in or pulling them apart. Strain relief is another useful feature. Essentially, this little plastic cover has the job of stopping the wires from bending too much when it is plugged in at tight angles. Also, check the durability of the jacket. Since you will be using the extension cord outdoors, you need it to be able to withstand different conditions thrown at it – whether this is pouring rain or sweltering heat. It should also offer protection against abrasion, which is important for a piece of equipment that is likely to get dragged around in tough environments.
You may think that a longer cord is always better, but you only need to choose one which reaches the lengths that you desire of it. For example, if you only have a 15ft backyard, you should choose a cord which measures roughly 15-20ft. Longer cords need more capacity to carry the electric charge, so if you buy a longer cord than needed, not only are you not being energy efficient, but you will also end up throwing money away unnecessarily.
Some manufacturers offer a guarantee of around a year, whereas others give lifetime guarantees. This provides you with some extra assurance in case anything goes wrong with your cord, allowing you to get a replacement if needed.
Indoor Vs. Outdoor
Indoor and outdoor extension cords have their own individual set of properties which make them suitable for their specific environment. While you can use an outdoor extension cable indoors, you should never do the opposite as this is a potential safety hazard. Before purchasing your cord, there are a couple of things to take into account including the environment where it will be operating and the power requirements. Indoor cords tend to be used for smaller devices such as household appliances, computer equipment, chargers etc. Outdoor cords are often used for devices with a higher amperage and voltage requirement.
Always check the specifications of the cord that you are buying before purchase. Here are a few of the main differences between the indoor and outdoor varieties.
Perhaps the most obvious difference between the two types of extension cord is the insulation used in the construction. Outdoor cables are made with plenty of insulation, which protects against moisture and temperature changes. Direct sunlight can break down the insulation used for indoor cords, but this is not the same for their outdoor counterparts as they are made with a different material which protects against light damage. Many outdoor cords are also constructed to prevent chemical damage which can occur in working environments.
The size and/or diameter of an extension cord affects its gauge. Cables with a larger gauge allow more current to flow through the cord, which is necessary when the cord is longer. Indoor cables don’t tend to exceed 25 feet in length, whereas outdoor cables can measure over 100 feet. Check the gauge and distance specifications to power your appliances safely.
- Plug Type
Another factor which is often different between indoor and outdoor cords is the type of plug used. Indoor cords often have a two-prong plug, whereas the outdoor cords usually have a third prong, which is a grounding wire designed to reduce the risk of electrical shock or fire. Bear in mind that combining a two-prong extension cord with a three-pronged model is potentially dangerous.
Every appliance or tool which you could plug into a socket has a different amperage. Many of the indoor models have a lower amperage than the outdoor models. In general, outdoor devices need more amps than indoor ones. Most indoor extension cords cannot support the kind of amperage which is required for power tools and other equipment that you are likely to use outdoors.
- Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter Extensions
One way of ensuring that the cord is safer is with a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI). This is designed to shut off if it senses that the power is flowing through something that it shouldn’t such a person or water. You need to plug this in directly to the outlet before plugging in the extension – and never the other way around.
Safety Tips for Using Outdoor Extension Cords
Just as you are using any devices which involve electricity, you need to take care to put safety as a number one priority. With this in mind, here are a few top safety tips which you can follow to ensure that you stay safe when using your outdoor extension cord.
- Read the instructions for information about correct usage of the cord.
- Avoid linking numerous extension cords to lengthen the range. Instead, you should choose a cord of the correct length beforehand to make things safer.
- Make sure that the product has been fully tested by an accredited safety testing organization.
- When you are not using your outdoor extension cord, you should untangle it, unplug it and put it away indoors in a safe place to extend its lifespan for as long as possible.
- Take the time to inspect the cord on a regular basis. If you find that it is damaged in any way, you should avoid trying to use it. A few of the things to look out for include cut insulation, frayed wires, or flattened pieces.
- Never use an indoor cable outside your home as they are not designed to withstand tough conditions.
- Remember that moisture resistant is not the same as waterproof.
- Keep the cord away from any rotating parts such as blades, chains etc.
- Don’t affix the power cord to walls and ceilings using metal staples or nails as these can damage the jacket. Even if it is not damaged during installation, it can still get worn through if someone pulls on the cable at some point.
- Avoid overpowering the cord by plugging in multiple appliances at once.
Best Outdoor Extension Cord FAQ:
Q: What is an outdoor extension cord?
A: An outdoor extension cord is a useful electrical accessory which is specifically designed for use outside. However, most of them can be used indoors as well. Essentially, it allows you to power tools and accessories away from the main power source. This gives you more freedom to use your devices outdoor in hard-to-reach areas. The cords come in different lengths and power ratings depending on your needs. The right cord will help to ensure an optimum performance level, enhance safety, and maximize power efficiency. Since outdoor extension cords are exposed to the weather, the insulation and jacket need to be made of more durable materials. They are designed to withstand chemicals, moisture, and temperature changes.
Q: How should I maintain my outdoor extension cord?
A: Maintaining your outdoor extension cord helps to ensure that it lasts longer. Avoid using it in an area where you have water features, places that tend to accumulate water or snow, or anywhere else that it is likely to get wet. Otherwise, the cord can get damaged, leading to possible electrical fires. Be careful not to drive over the cord, run a lawnmower, or use any other heavy-duty equipment which could prove to be damaging. Don’t overextend your extension cords as this will put undue strain on them. You should avoid connecting multiple cords by buying the correct length in the first place. Remember, you can get cords which extend up to 100ft, which should be more than enough for the majority of jobs.
Ensure that you store it properly when it is not in use to stop it getting damaged and to prevent others from tripping. When you unplug it, pull the plug rather than the cord to avoid any unnecessary strain on it. Coil or roll it up the way it was when it was purchased and hang it somewhere it is not going to get trodden on. When you get it back out again, make sure to give it a thorough inspection for wire exposure or cracks around the insulation. Make sure to keep your extension cords cool as they generate heat which need to vent. Uncover them when they are in use, and if they begin to feel too hot, unplug them and attempt to determine the cause. Remember that extension cords should only be used as a temporary power source rather than a long-term solution.
Q: Can outdoor extension cords be buried?
A: As we have just mentioned, extension cords are designed for temporary use. As such, there should be no need to bury them underground as long as you take all the necessary precautions of avoiding water, not overstretching them etc.
Q: How many extension cords can be strung together?
A: You should avoid stringing together more than one extension cord. This can potentially lead to equipment failure, fire, or electrocution. The rating of a power cord is based on its length. If you plug in two identical cords, this will lead to cutting the capacity in half, possibly resulting in overheating and voltage drop. This reduction in power is why most extension cords do not exceed 100ft in length, which could easily happen if you plug in multiple cords. If you need more than this length, you will probably require a temporary power distribution box.
Our Top Pick
We have selected this 100ft extension cord as our number one choice of all the ones which we have discussed in this blog post. It is specially designed for landscaping and to power a whole host of different appliances which you may want to use outdoors.
Its bright orange color helps to ensure that it is easily spotted wherever you are using it. The flexible design provides additional protection against abrasion, moisture, and sunlight. As for the plug, it is durable and water-resistant with reinforced blades to protect against bending and breaking.
For us, it ticks all the boxes of what you would want in an outdoor extension cord.
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