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Best Outdoor Extension Cords

All ready to start a project and realize your power tools don’t have enough range? Everyone needs a quality extension cord suited for the task at hand! But not just any cord will do. You need to make sure that you choose one suitable for your needs.

If you want to use any tool, a regular household extension cord won’t do. You could end up starting a fire when it melts under the load! Instead, look specifically for an outdoor extension cord.

Factors To Consider When Choosing An Extension Cord For Outdoors

And what, you may ask, makes an extension cord suitable for use outdoors? There are a few factors. But the most noticeable is that it will be a heavier cord. That’s because the insulation and the wires themselves have to be thicker. And since almost every power tool needs to use a grounded plug, these heavy extension cords also have three-pronged outlets and plugs.

Here are the other considerations you need to keep in mind.

How Far You Can Go

Sure, some tools only have a foot of cord, so you need an extension to use them at all. But usually, the whole point of an extension cord is to give you extra range. 

Most heavy-duty extension cords come in 50- or 100-foot lengths. But you also have to be aware that the further the current has to travel, the more the voltage will drop. If possible, don’t use a longer cord than you need or find a closer outlet.

At the same time, you should never connect two extension cords in a chain. This would be an OSHA violation at work. It’s a dangerous practice at home, too. If you need to go farther than a single extension cord allows, you’re using the wrong type of tool. Switch to a battery- or gas-powered tool, instead.

What Gauge And Amperage Do You Need?

The gauge of the wire and maximum amps that the cord can support are keys to safety. These are more important to the function of the extension cord than any other factor. 

Wire gauge refers to its thickness, and lower numbers mean thicker wire. That means a 16-gauge cord is not suitable for a lawnmower, but a 12-gauge is. As the gauge gets lower, the amps – or total electrical current – that the cord supports go up

The length of the wire also comes into play. For instance, sometimes 14-gauge is ok at 50 feet, but you’ll need 12 gauge at 100 feet.

Most outdoor power tools require at least 14 gauge extension cords. You can find this information in the instruction manual of your tool. And we try to include that information in our articles, too, when it’s available.

We encourage you to take this information seriously. Sure, there are times when nothing goes wrong when you use the wrong cord. But is it worth the risk? You could overload a circuit, burn out the cord, or damage your tool. Worst of all, you could start a fire. Stay safe and respect the rating requirements!

Got Enough Prongs?

Always feel stuck with a three-prong plug and a two-prong outlet? If so, you’re doing it wrong. 

The third prong is a ground wire for your tool and electric cord. It’s an emergency channel for electric current to protect your tool and your home’s electrical system from damage.

It’s not as much of a problem nowadays as it was years ago when most homes weren’t built with three-pronged outlets. However, never remove the third prong. Find the right kind of outlet to plug your equipment into.

Can You Find It?

This is a small point, but are you going to be able to easily find your extension cord when it’s spread across your yard?

It’s not essential, but it can be helpful to have a cord that’s a bright color that will contrast against the background. But it’s easy to lose track of a green one in the grass and even accidentally run over it! And there are white ones, too, that could disappear in the snow.

Can It Stand The Heat And The Cold?

Outdoor extension cords are for normal outdoor conditions. They’re tough, but even they can’t support extreme temperatures at either end of the scale. However, there are also all-weather cords that can handle almost anything Mother Nature can throw at them.

Other Great, But Optional, Considerations

Even with extension cords, there are some bells and whistles that you might like but aren’t necessary to make it a quality product.

For instance, some cords have clips on the end that help connect them to your tool. These clips provide extra support so that the extension cord doesn’t pull apart from your device’s cord accidentally.

There are also extension cords with a small light in the socket end to indicate if it’s getting juice. You never know when you might pull the plug out of the outlet or if some other mishap occurs! This light will help you narrow down any problems.

Need Even More?

Outdoor extension cords are great for everyday household uses, from hedge trimmers through pool filters and lawnmowers. But for even tougher cords, look for one that’s rated for contractors. These are great for construction, mechanics, and welders. They’re even more resistant to extreme weather and better for continuous use.

Top Outdoor Extension Cords

Here are our picks for outdoor extension cords that will make great additions to your tool collection! Just click the link to buy and have one delivered right to your door.

50-foot Extension Cords

US Wire and Cable 74050, 50ft, Yellow

  • Length: 50 feet(100 feet also available at this link)
  • Gauge: 12
  • Amps: 15 
  • Volts: 110 

This bright-yellow extension cord will serve you well. And you’ll probably realize that it’s a quality accessory the moment you pick it up: it weighs over 13 pounds!

The biggest drawback we see is that it’s not an all-weather cord.

We looked carefully at a lot of online reviews, too. It seems that, at least for a while, someone else sold a product with the same name. Amazon lumped them together. The one from the US Wire and Cable store is the recommended product. The other one seems to have been a cheap imitation. Be sure to check who is selling the product – only buy if it says it’s from the US Wire and Cable Store. This information is between the product name and review.

Voltec 03-00106 Outdoor Extension Cord (50 Feet)

  • Length: 50 feet
  • Gauge: 12
  • Amps: 15
  • Volts: 110 

Voltec offers this product, which stands out for several reasons. First, of course, is that it’s a high-quality outdoor cord.

It has lights in both the male and female ends. It also has a lock to keep it from pulling apart from whatever is plugged into it. Finally, it has a unique yellow-and-blue color scheme which makes it easy to spot against both grass and snow.

It’s also rated for use in temperatures from -40° F to 140°F. The description doesn’t mention “all weather”, but that range encompasses just about everything you could deal with on the planet, at least in any habitable area.

The lock is handy – sometimes. However, if you’re connecting it to a cord that has an unusually short power cord, the lock itself can get in the way. And that can make it useless, so be sure to consider what tools you’ll be using it with first.

Woods 982452 50-Foot Heavy Duty All-Weather Extension Cord

  • Length: 50 feet
  • Gauge: 14
  • Amps:15
  • Volts: 115 

This extension cord is great if you like to work on your car. Or maybe if you’re Jed Clampett and expect to strike oil in the yard. Why? It’s oil-resistant! Yes, some cords have special coatings for this – and this is one of them. It’s also an all-weather cord, so you’ll be in good shape under a lot of adverse conditions.

It seems reliable; the specifications seem accurate. It has no special features, but it gets power from one end to the other, and that’s what it’s all about, right?

100-foot Extension Cords

Amazon Basics 100-Foot 3-Prong Heavy-Duty Vinyl Indoor/Outdoor Extension Cord

  • Length: 100 feet
  • Gauge: 16
  • Amps: 10
  • Volts: 125

For light work, this cord is for you! The gauge is too high for heavy tools, but for hedge trimmers – or Christmas lights – you’ll love it.

There’s nothing fancy about this cord. But it does the job – again, for light duty! 

Be aware that the female end is a bit large, so you may have trouble fitting it into the cup that’s around the plug on some tools.

Clear Power 100 ft Outdoor Extension Cord

  • Length: 100 feet
  • Gauge: 16
  • Amps:10
  • Volts: 110 

This bright-red extension cord stands out for its quality, too. It’s also available in black, green, white, and blue, with identical specifications. 

It works well for Christmas lights, but it’s not an all-weather cord. If you’re in a colder part of the world, you might want to consider a different option. This should be good above 40°F, though.

GoGreen Power (GG-13800BK) 100-foot Outdoor Extension Cord

  • Length: 100
  • Gauge: 14
  • Amps: 13
  • Volts: 125

This 100-foot cord is 14 gauge so it can support most medium- to heavy-weight home power tools. It’s available in a single pack or a pack of two. However, when we were writing this, the two-pack costs far more than buying two separate cords. Just be aware!

Again, this cord offers no fancy doodads. It just carries current from one end to the other. But it does that well and doesn’t have issues with odor, heating up, or other concerns. When you need 100 feet and have some power tools to use, it’s a great choice.

Conclusion

When you run electric power tools for your yard, you need a quality extension cord! We’ve looked at some high-quality options here. Be sure to understand and respect the ratings for proper use. And always work safely!