If you use a generator in 2023, it is not enough to only buy it as you should explore more details about this device. Choosing the proper generator and appliances to it may help you to prolong its lifetime and increase the quality of its work. One of the essential things to buy when you use the generator regularly is an extension cord.
If you have never heard about the benefits of using the correct extension cords you should definitely read this article. We will tell you the difference that can be noticed when you use an unsuitable cord in comparison to the proper one and how it affects the state of your generator. Moreover, we will help you to choose the correct extension cord for your generator and provide recommendations for the best extension cords available on the market.
Keep reading this review and learn more details about the work of generators and the need for extension cords.
TOP Best Extension Cord
Here you will find detailed info about the advantages and disadvantages of the best extension cords that we have found on the market and tested. You also can find the links for these goods and order them online right after deciding the most suitable extension cord for your generator.
This GE extension cord is not suitable for outdoor use but can become a perfect indoor cord because of its characteristics. Firstly, it has 3 power outlets which are protected with a special cover. Thus, your family members can use it safely and do not be afraid of any injuries. Secondly, this indoor extension cord is much cheaper than other options and can be an affordable item for your office or home equipment. Thirdly, it has two-prong plugs which can balance the strain and prevent fast fraying.
Characteristics of this indoor extension cord:
- Gauge wire — 16;
- Power rating — 13 Amps;
- 1,625 Watts;
- 125 Volts.
GE extension cord with three power outlets has perfect safety features and can become a good supplement in your garage or office as it carries enough power for indoor use.
As regards the advantages of the GE extension cord, here is the list of the most important ones:
- Low price;
- Three power outlets;
- UL listed;
- Variety of colors.
However, you cannot use this cord for some purposes for the following reasons:
- No weather resistance;
- Too short for outdoor use.
All in all, you can consider this option if its length is enough for you as its price is highly attractive.
Check more details about the GE extension cord here.
There are not many outdoor extension cords that have 100 feet in length in stores. This Iron Forge Cable is perfect for outdoor use as it has protection from weather conditions that can destroy the cord. The protection is provided by the special vinyl jacket and it can assure you that the cable is weather resistant. Moreover, it is suitable for indoor use as well as it can power not only heavy-duty devices but medium ones too.
The main characteristics of the cord are the following:
- Gauge wire — 16;
- Power rating — 10 Amps;
- 1,250 Watts;
- 125 Volts.
This extension cord has durable construction with reinforced blades for protection from breaks.
There are more advantages of this model of heavy-duty extension cord:
- Indoor and outdoor use;
- Powerful gauge wire;
- Protection from weather conditions;
- UL safety features.
The Iron Forge Cable has one drawback — one power outlet. Nevertheless, this option is the best extension cord that we have tried because of the combination of high-quality characteristics.
Get acquainted with this cord and its price here and order it online.
3 — Three-Outlet Extension Cord Coordinate Designer
The indoor extension cords cannot be elements of your decor generally. However, there is an extension cord designed in a modern style that can fit your interior easily. This Coordinate Designer Cord can be applied in many ways at your house for example for small devices and lamps. Moreover, its fabric cover makes it stylish and protects the cord itself from breaks and bends. You can choose one out of 12 colors for this extension cord to be sure that it suits the design of your room.
In addition to the protection of the cable, this cord has lock covers for outlets that make it safe to use at your house. There is no chance that one of your family members or children can injure themselves with this cord. It is a flat plug extension cord, so it will not occupy a lot of space in your room.
This cord has such power characteristics as:
- Length — 8 feet;
- Power rating — 13 Amps;
- 1,625 Watts;
- 125 Volts.
Summarizing the benefits of this Coordinate Designer Extension Cord, it has many advantages in comparison to other indoor extension cords:
- Three outlets;
- Covers for power outlets;
- 12 available colors;
- Portable and compact.
The only problem is that you cannot apply it outside because of the short cable and the design not being compatible with outdoor conditions. Also, it has a two-prong outlet, so you cannot connect every device to it.
Choose the most suitable color for this extension cord and order it here.
This short but useful indoor extension cord has all the needed properties for application in small places. The Firmest Indoor Extension Cord length is 1 foot which is enough only for tight locations. What makes this cord preferable to choose is its plastic cover of the cable. It is durable and can sustain any type of bends as it is highly flexible. Moreover, this flexible cord can carry more power than its competitors and does not overheat because of the high-quality materials.
The characteristics of Firmest Extension Cord:
- Gauge wire — 14;
- Power rating — 15 Amps;
- Temperature resistance — 167 F;
- 1,875 Watts;
- 125 Volts.
When we were testing this indoor extension cord we noticed the following advantages:
- Temperature resistance;
- UL certificate;
- Portable design with a durable cable.
Of course, you cannot apply this extension cord outdoor as its length is 1 foot. Still, if the purpose of the usage is to power devices at home, this option is recommended.
Go to the website where you can read the comprehensive description of the extension cord and order it.
In contrast to previously described cables, this US wire extension cord can be applied in both ways indoor or outdoor use. Furthermore, there is a low chance that you will lose it in your garage or trip over it outside because it is designed in a bright yellow color. It is safe to use this extension cord outside even during winter because the outlet jacket is made of vinyl. The vinyl outdoor extension cord can resist temperature up to -35 degrees F.
Here is the list of the main characteristics of this extension cord:
- Gauge wire — 12;
- Power rating — 15 Amps;
- 1,875 Watts;
- 125 Volts.
The advantages of the usage of the US Wire cord are:
- Vinyl cover of the jacket;
- Bright color;
- On/Off indicator on the plug.
The bright yellow color of the cord can become a problem as well as it will be noticeable and do not suit the surrounding design. However, you can consider this option if you need a durable outdoor extension cord.
Check the price and more characteristics of this extension cord here.
This extension cord is distinctive from all others as it is a smart device that provides remote control over the power carriage at your home. GHome power strip can be connected to your phone or other devices through WiFi and allows you to check the activity of devices at any time. You can apply voice commands, set timers, and use other functions of remote control with this power strip.
It has 3 outlets, so you can easily connect up to 3 devices at one time. Furthermore, the connected devices cannot be damaged by power as the strip controls the load and stop working when notices the overloading.
As regards the power features of this smart power cord, they are:
- USB output — 3.1 Amps;
- 100-240 volts;
- Maximum load — 10 Amps.
We can recommend you this extension cord as it has many pros:
- 3 USB ports and outlets;
- Protection from overloading;
- Ability to connect it to Alexa and use voice commands.
The only limitation for the usage of this extension cord is the necessity to have a 2.4 GHz WiFi network. Also, it is suitable only for indoor use.
Follow the link and read the description provided by the producer of this smart power strip.
The Сhampion Power extension cord is perfect for both indoor and outdoor use as it is protected from any damages. Firstly, it has three outlets that are covered by the cap protecting it from dust. Secondly, the cable is a 10-gauge wire which can be resistant to different weather conditions. Thus, it can work properly in extreme temperatures in both winter and summer. Also, this design of the cable makes it flexible and prevents bends.
This Champion Power strip has the following power characteristics:
- Gauge wire — 10;
- Power rating — 30 Amps;
- Cable length — 25 feet;
- 3,750 Watts;
- 125 Volts.
This outdoor extension cord can be really useful for your usage of a generator as it has several advantages:
- Safety UL-listed certificate;
- Powerful outlet 30 Amps;
- High resistance.
The only disadvantage of this extension cord is its price, you should pay more for the high-quality power strip.
Anyways, you can explore more info about this cord and learn its price here.
Variety of Extension Cords
There are several characteristics of the extension cords that you should explore before making a choice. They allow you to avoid overheating of the generator and provide a stable and proper power flow. Every detail may influence the quality of your generator and the devices that you connect to it. For this reason, it is important to understand the principle of work of such components that transfer power as cords, power outlets, power strips, and others.
One of the main factors that should determine your choice of extension cords is the gauge. You should know the size of the gauge that you need for your generator as it affects the process of power transition and power capacity.
There are cases when people choose small extension cords and this leads to overheating of the parts of the generator. It happens because the extension cords change the amount of power transferred to the devices and can restrict it. The thickness of the gauge determines the limit that power cords can transfer, and if your generator is designed for more power you should choose bigger gauges.
Also, pay attention not only to the thickness of the power cords but the gauge wire located inside the cords. If you do not have enough knowledge about the wire gauge you should ask a consultant to help you to figure out the gauge wire size.
There are several types of wire gauge available in the stores and the most common ones are:
Be careful and do not mix up these notions as the bigger the number the less powerful is the cord. The #12 gauge is more powerful and is highly recommended for portable generators. Also, you can learn the suitability of the gauge wire for your generator by looking at the labels on it. The label on the generator should include the info about the required wire gauge of the extension cords.
Number of Cords To Apply
Usually, people use only one extension cord for their generators. Nevertheless, some generators are equipped with two or more outlet circuits, and in this case, you can apply more than one extension cord. Pay attention to the overall load that your generator can sustain and balance it when you connect more than one device to it.
For instance, if your generator can sustain carrying 3,500 watts and has two outlets, you can apply two 12/3 cords with the voltage suitable for the prong outlets of your generator.
National Electrical Code (NEC)
Another important characteristic of the extension cord is its NEC. It shows the allowed amount of Amps for the wire cable. If this amount is exceeded it can cause overheating and other problems related to the safety of power carriage. The differences between the extension cords appear because of the various insulation of the wire cable, maximum temperature, and other characteristics.
Here is an example of the amount of Amps that the cable extension cord UL486E can sustain:
- Gauge #14 — 15 Amps;
- Gauge #12 — 20 Amps;
- Gauge #10 — 30 Amps.
However, the NCE can be different in your situation because of the quality and type of used materials.
Extension Cord Length
You should select the cord length based on the purpose of its usage. The required length may vary for outdoor and indoor usage. The maximum length that you can use is usually 50 feet, but you should estimate this value in your case individually.
Also, the length of the extension cord changes its voltage drop. It is connected with the resistance of the wire cable as longer cables have higher resistance and consequently the voltage drop. It is also influenced by the gauge, material, and other features of the extension cord.
There is one recommendation for people who need to use a long cord with a length of 100 feet. It is better to choose the extension cord with the #10 gauge as it is heavier and carries more power.
Purpose of Usage
The weather conditions can affect the work of your generator and extension cords. That is why you should use only outdoor extension cords if the generator is located out of your house or you want to connect the devices situated outside. Portable generators are usually used outdoor, that is why you can find a huge variety of outdoor extension cords on the market. They have more durable insulation and are equipped with special plugs.
Signs of Wrongly Chosen Extension Cord
Here are several signs that you may notice to understand that your extension cord is not suitable for your generator:
- The heating of any part of the extension cord;
- The circuit breaker on the generator trips;
- There are weird noises produced by generators or other connected devices.
So, if you have noticed at least one of the described indications, you should check your extension cord and maybe change it if it is not suitable for your generator.
The general recommendation is to use a heavy-duty extension cord especially if you need to use it outdoor. The cord rated as #10 will be the best option for mostly all generators and will save your devices from the wrong carriage of current.
However, if you need to plug the device inside of your house, not all heavy-duty cords will be compatible with your indoor generator. It happens because the plugs or outlets inside the houses are designed in another way than a plug of the extension cord. So, maybe you would prefer an indoor extension cord instead of a heavy-duty cord if you want to use it for the power of the refrigerator. Take into account, the cord with the power rating of #12 can be applied for both indoor and outdoor use.
Here are the best extension cords in our opinion:
Y-Splitter for Extension Cord
In addition to usual cords, you may see the Y-splitter cord that is useful for balancing the power rating. You may be interested in such an extension cord if your generator is powerful and you want to split the transferred power.
These two Y-splitters are good for portable generators that have 3 and 4 prongs:
Power Extension With 30 Amp Cord
One more recommendation is the extension cord that sustains 30 Amp and can convert the power into 20 Amp to make the connection suitable for usual wall outlets. Also, its length is 25 feet which is enough for indoor use with power outlets at the house.
If you want to read a more detailed description of the extension cords for indoor and outdoor use go to the next section. We have collected the top 8 extension cords suitable for different purposes there for you.
The main difference between all extension cords is the purpose of usage. High-quality extension cords are designed in such a way that external factors cannot influence their work. So, if you are going to apply the extension cord outside, the best option for you among described is Iron Forge Cable. However, it can be expensive and unnecessary for you to buy such a long and well-designed cord for inside use. If the purpose for buying the cord is its implementation in an office or house, you should choose GE extension cord with three power outlets.
Safely Power Your Devices
Before buying and applying the cord, please make sure that you know the basic safety rules related to extension cords and electronic devices.
You should know every line in the list below to protect your devices, your house, and family members from accidents:
- Locate the cord on the surfaces that cannot burn (no carpet or furniture);
- Apply indoor or outdoor extension cord in a proper place;
- Avoid bending the cable;
- Choose power rating and gauge according to characteristics of your generator;
- Stop using the cord if it is overheated;
- Prefer three-prong outlets;
- Connect only allowed number of devices;
- Do not attach the extension cord to the floor.
All in all, it is enough to know the basics of electricity to use the generators and extension cords safely.
Best Extension Cord Summary
We have told you a lot of information about extension cords, their main properties, the way you can choose them, and how to make the usage of the cords safe. Moreover, we have provided the list of recommended extension cords that we have tested. You can be sure that these recommendations will not disappoint you with their work or quality.
Choose a heavy-duty extension cord for outdoor use or a small indoor cord for a wall outlet depending on your situation. Pay attention to the characteristics of your power tool such as safety features, length, how much power they carry, weather conditions resistance, and extra features. Select the power strip wisely to prolong its work period and safely power your electronic devices.
Frequently Asked Questions – FAQ
Which is the better 12 or 16-gauge extension cord?
Your choice should depend on the location of your generator and the required length of the cord. Moreover, you have to explore the label on your generator to learn the suitability of an outlet for the cord. The 12-gauge power strip is more powerful than the 16-gauge and that is why it can be not compatible with some generators.
What to consider when choosing the best extension cord?
In this article, we described the features that are common for most extension cords. You should estimate the power rating that you need for your purposes, the length of the strip, and the number of outlets built-in the cord.
What does the gauge of an extension cord refer to?
It is one of the characteristics of the cords which illustrates the thickness of the wire. This identification is universal for most extension cords and is illustrated as American Wire Gauge on the labels of cords.
Can I use an extension cord to power my refrigerator?
Yes, you can connect the extension cord to the refrigerator but choose a suitable model of the cord for this task. It is recommended to apply a three-prong cord with a high power rating. The best extension cord for this purpose should be 10-gauge.
What is a surge protector?
Some extension cords have built-in surge protectors which is the measure of safety. As the electricity can be unstable in your house and you want to control it to prevent damages to your devices or electric shock, you should choose the cords with surge protection. It works as a filter of incoming power and does not allow carrying more power than is needed.