Finding the ideal location to charge them all can be challenging, given our growing reliance on electronic devices and gadgets. The main challenge arises when charging several devices simultaneously but only having one charging port. A functional extension cord can be a lifesaver in this situation.
Extension cords are necessary for modern life, serving various purposes, from short-term ones like hanging lights during a festival or powering tools for a home improvement project to longer-term ones like connecting a floor lamp to that outlet behind the couch.
However, purchasing one with the wrong size and specification could be dangerous. Picking the appropriate extension cord is essential for avoiding future accidents. But given all the options on the market, it can be difficult. To help you choose a reliable and long-lasting extension cord, this article will go over 5 factors you should consider.
Consider the Length, Size, and Type
There are several different sizes and types of extension cord. When selecting one, consider the extension’s ability to transmit electrical current adequately and its capacity to carry an electric load. Check the cord’s length and wire gauge to see if it meets these specifications.
The wire gauge refers to the diameter or thickness of the wire. It determines the maximum amount of current that can flow through it and the maximum heat the wire can generate while performing the task.
Similarly, length controls the portion of voltage lost through resistance in the cord wires and the voltage drop.
The American Wire Gauge is used to specify a wire gauge (AWG). The rating is based on the diameter of the copper wire, and the lower the number, the thicker the cord. A cord with a 12 AWG rating for a 120-volt source has wires that are 12 gauge and can be used with a 120-volt power source.
Additionally, the voltage drop will also be higher on long wires. Even though both types of extension cords have the same AWG rating, long extension cords have a lower capacity than their shorter counterparts.
Find Extension Cords that Can Carry 15 Amps
If the correlation between length and cord thickness is hard to determine, one can check the packaging for the amperage rating. Avoid using indoor/outdoor extension cords rated 10 A or 13 A. Get one that is rated at least 15 A instead. (If the cord’s maximum amperage is not specified, you should not use it.)
This way, you can plug in any household appliance or tool and 15 A fuses—typically found in residential electrical panels. The voltage ratings are unnecessary for household use. Most extension cords will be labeled for 125 V or 130 V to match the US residential voltage. On the other hand, for workplace safety requirements, contractor cords intended for construction sites may have a rating of up to 300 V. If you’re not buying it for a work site, there’s no need to spend more money on these cords even though they might be a little more durable.
Consider the Weather
It is essential to note that some cords, particularly at lower temperatures, are much more flexible than others. Flexible cords are easier to use in confined spaces, convenient to coil and store properly, and easier to stretch across your workspace.
Finding a cord made for colder temperatures is the only way to guarantee you get a more flexible cord without unspooling every single one of them in the aisle. The packaging for some cords does not specify the cord’s ideal temperature ranges, but the cords that list temperatures below freezing are typically more flexible at all temperatures.
Skip Buying Multi-Outlet Ends
Many believe purchasing an extension cord with a few additional outlets at the end, frequently referred to as a “banana tap,” is a wise choice. But because they’re simpler to overload, it is best to avoid buying them.
A 15 A cord, for instance, can easily handle a circular saw. However, if you add a few bright work lights, the cord will be overloaded each time you turn on the saw. Thus, it is best to stick to one outlet per cord and piece of equipment for anything requiring considerable power.
Even for general use, one outlet per code is a good option if you want them to last for an extended time.
Look for GFCI Protection
Some extension cords include GFCI protection, providing an additional safety layer against electrical shock. It accomplishes this by tracking the electricity flow and automatically turning off the circuit’s power if there is a difference in current flow.
If the cord is to be used outdoors, in the basement, or any other moist environment, it is best to look out for the one with GFCI protection.
Extension cords are great for various uses, both at home and at work. They have improved safety features that make them ideal for wet or hazardous environments. Choosing the right one will ensure your and your appliances’ safety. If you aren’t sure about the factors to consider while purchasing the cord, then the information mentioned above should assist you.