Reviews

Best Outdoor Extension Cords: Increase the Reach of Your Tools

Keep tools safely plugged in and improve their range with these outdoor extension cords

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BY Linsay Thomas , Suzana Mijatovic / LAST UPDATED ON October 11, 2019

An outdoor extension cord is a must-have for every homeowner. There's always going to be a job or project that will drag you away from a power outlet. When that occurs, you need a quality extension cord that won't burn out or get damaged by outdoor threats. You also want to keep your tools safe while running them on electric power. Here are some of the top outdoor extension cords that meet these requirements.

Best Overall
Iron Forge Outdoor Extension Cord
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Summary
Summary

The Iron Forge Cable is a multi-purpose cord suitable for both indoor and outdoor use. The 10-gauge wire makes it ideal for heavy-duty tools and all home appliances. At 50 feet long, it's perfect for small- to medium-sized households.

Pros
Pros
  • Cord is safe for indoor and outdoor use
  • Made of flexible vinyl that protects against moisture, abrasion, and the sun
  • Blades are reinforced to keep the prongs safe from damage 
  • Cord has a slip-resistant design and a built-in LED light. 
  • Comes with a lifetime warranty.
Cons
Cons
  • Cord might feel heavy, especially when using tools such as lawnmowers 
  • Ends could be a little loose and tend to fall out due to the cord weight
Best Overall
Iron Forge Outdoor Extension Cord
Best Value
Otimo Outdoor Extra Heavy Duty Extension Cord
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Summary
Summary

Suitable for both indoor and outdoor use. Easy to see. Safe construction and use. At 100 feet long, it can extend to various locations outside the home.

Pros
Pros
  • This extension cord is primarily for outdoor use (of course, you can use it indoors, too)
  • Made of heavy-duty materials that are flame- and water-resistant 
  • Red color makes it easy to see. 
  • Cord is ETL listed and has a grounded plug
  • Electrical ratings are 125 volts, 15 amps, 1875 watts
Cons
Cons
  • Cord may be a little heavy when you are doing some lighter chores
  • Cord may be too long for some users
Best Value
Otimo Outdoor Extra Heavy Duty Extension Cord
Honorable Mention
SIMBR Outdoor/Indoor Extension Cord
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Summary
Summary

SIMBR makes another high-quality cord suitable for both indoor and outdoor purposes. This versatile three-pronged cord features three lighted outlets and can handle up to 15 amps. It can be used for both small- and heavy-duty tools. It's also 50 feet long and ideal for most standard-sized backyards.

Pros
Pros
  • Vinyl coating protects the cord from weather elements
  • Can also withstand extremely low and high temperatures 
  • Material is sturdy yet very lightweight 
  • Cord has twisted copper wires, molded plugs, and an indicator light
  • Easy to use and quite durable
  • Comes with a lifetime warranty
Cons
Cons
  • Cord tends to tangle when unwinding and could be hard to maneuver and store
  • May be difficult to connect the ends
  • A bit bulky
Honorable Mention
SIMBR Outdoor/Indoor Extension Cord

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Benefits of Outdoor Extension Cords

  • Water-resistant. Outdoor extension cords are designed to be used outside in warm and cold weather. The wire cord is encapsulated in a sleeve that protects it from moisture and abrasion, so you are able to use these cords in the rain. Make sure the outdoor extension cord is rated for wet weather conditions.  
  • Flexible. Because many home projects require the use of power, some extension cords need to be longer in length. Fortunately, most cords are designed to roll up for easy storage on the wall or on a reel. 
  • Reach a distant outlet. Long extension cords will help you reach a power source no matter where in the house or yard you need power. Make sure that the cord is long enough to reach your outlet with plenty of play so that you don’t overstretch the cord. 
  • Show off Christmas lights. When wiring your house for the annual Christmas light display, make sure you purchase an outdoor extension cord that is rated for outside use. Keep all cords attached along a wall so there will be less chance of someone tripping over the cord in the dark.

Types of Extension Cords

Two-Pronged Cords

A plug with two prongs can be used in any extension cord; however, the two-pronged cord will not be grounded. Whether using a two-pronged or a three-pronged outlet, the two-prong cords do not have the protective safety of a grounded cord. As a result, your equipment will not be safely grounded when a two-plug cord is used with a three-pronged outlet or extension cord.

Three-Pronged Cords

Three-pronged plugs have the round prong below the two vertical slots on the extension cord. This is what helps ground the wires. Experts recommend that you only use a three-pronged plug with a three-pronged extension cord. Grounding means that the plug has a ground wire that will reduce the risk of fire or electrical shock. It protects your hands from any electrical charge. 

Top Brands

General Electric (GE)

For more than 125 years, General Electric has been making products for consumers, including various products to power nearly everything. Their top extension cords are the GE Outdoor Extension Cord and the GE Black Extension Cord.

Coleman 

In 1900, William Coleman began selling gas pressure lamps, and the company has been growing ever since. Headquartered in Chicago, it also has facilities in Wichita, Kan. and Texas. One of its top outdoor extension cords is the Coleman Outdoor Extension Cord.

Woods

Started in 1929, Woods has been creating home improvement power products for more than 75 years. It offers extension cords and surge protectors. One of its most popular products is the  Orange 100-Foot Extension Cord.

Outdoor Extension Cords Pricing

  • Under $20: Many extensions cords are available within this range with the length and gauge choice that will work for you to use at home.
  • $20-$40: Here you will find a wide range of heavy-duty extension cords. These are available in a variety of color choices, each with various lengths. 
  • $40-$100: There are many choices of quality extension cords at this price point. Some come with retractable reels, and some have longer, thicker cords for commercial usage.

Key Features

Gauge

The gauge of wire used in an outdoor extension cord refers to the amount of electrical current running through the wire. It tells you the amount a wire can safely handle. Heavy-duty extension cords are always grounded, meaning they have a three-slot plug to better handle various appliances. 

Amperage Rating

Amperage rating refers to the electrical current that flows through an electrical conductor. It is a function of current and wire gauge based on the length of the wire. You need to make sure that your cord is designed to handle the current that you will use. Check the product labels for the exact information.

Length 

Outdoor extension cords come in many colors and lengths. It’s all about being safe when the extension cord is in use. You want to use an extension cord that will reach your project and allow enough cord so that it will reach your project and have plenty of cord without it stretching too far. This will help to ensure safety.

Insulation 

Outdoor extension cords should be marked with a “W” on the side or end to indicate that they are designed for outdoor use. Outdoor cords should have more insulation than indoor cords. They should be made with plastic or vinyl covers. They may come in bright colors such as yellow and orange, and they need to be much more heavy-duty than an indoor extension cord. 

Other Considerations

  • Usage. Some projects will be quick and easy, and some will take longer. If you are using the extension cord for bigger, longer-use projects, make sure you check the power rating. If you are using the extension cord for quick projects, make sure that you wrap up and secure the cord when you are finished.

Best Outdoor Extension Cords Reviews & Recommendations 2020

Best Overall
Iron Forge Cable Outdoor Extension Cord

The extension cord’s rating is 15 amps, 1875 watts, and 125 volts. This 25-foot extension cord is bright yellow and has three outlets in one, which allows you to plug in three items at one time. It’s also available in a 50-foot, 100-foot, or 200-foot sizes. This water-resistant extension cord will fit many of your needs. 


This extension cord contains an LED-lighted socket that powers the female end to light up when the extension cord is plugged in. This will let you know that the cord is still plugged in. The cord is also a slip-resistant design. This hose comes with a lifetime replacement warranty, so you can rest assured that this quality hose will last for a very long time.


Even though this is an outdoor cord, it should not be used in extremely wet conditions. The plug ends may change color if it’s left in the sun for too long.

Best Value
Otimo Outdoor Extra Heavy Duty Extension Cord

This is one heavy-duty cord. It has many positive attributes that make it a great purchase. The cord is 100-feet long, which makes it good for almost any outdoor application. This includes electric lawn mowers, snow blowers, chain saws, chippers, and weed wackers. It is made of materials that make it resistant to water, moisture, and heat. The red color makes it easy to see in snow, in bushes, or on the lawn.


This cord gives you the power you need for those heavy-duty chores like chain sawing and chipping. It is rated at 125 volts, 15 amps (other cords can handle only 12 amps), and 1875 watts. It also has an ETL (electrical technical laboratory) rating, which means it is guaranteed safe when you use it as instructed. 


One thing you should be aware of is that since it's 100-feet long and made from heavy-duty materials, it may be a little heavy to carry. It also can be a little too long for some uses, especially indoors.

Honorable Mention
US Wire and Cable Outdoor Extension Cord​​​​

This extension cord’s ratings are 15 amps, 1875 watts, and 125 volts. This yellow extension cord is available in 25, 50 and 100-foot lengths. The lightweight cord is safe for both outdoor and indoor use. The vinyl coating protects the cord from the elements, and the material is sturdy and lightweight.


If you don’t have enough electrical outlets, then using this cord will add two additional outlets. The cord lights up on both ends to let you know that the cord is plugged in. The black cord covers up any dirt and grime that happens from use. 


One issue with the cord is that it tends to tangle when you’re unwinding it. Therefore, it may be a bit hard to maneuver and store. However, for the price, it is still a great option.

Best Multi-Use
Dewenwils Green Outdoor Tri-Tap Extension Cord

The Dewenwils Green Outdoor Tri-Tap Extension Cord is built for the Christmas light hobbyist. It’s a versatile cord that provides power for up to three devices at once. It’s also set at a reasonable price, considering the triple port at the end. The cord is designed out of copper and reinforced with blades and a double-jacketed coat for extra protection.


That extra layer makes the difference out in the cold and rain all winter long—or summer even, if you want to provide power to a water pump or pond. It’s green color also helps it blend into the grass so your yard doesn’t look like a multi-colored workshop. It’s also able to withstand temperatures between -40 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit.


However, the green color can be difficult to see in the summer if you choose to mow the grass. Running over a cord is never a good thing and can be dangerous. While not a major negative, the cord could use some rubber plug protectors if you choose not to use all of the ports at once.

Best for Projects
Southwire Vinyl Outdoor Extension Cord

The Southwire Vinyl Outdoor Extension Cord is thick, sturdy, and set at a comfortable price. It features a bright orange jacket so you can easily spot it out in the yard as well. Plus, the outer layer is durable and waterproof. The cord can reach up to 25 feet and is perfect for outdoor landscaping, ponds, and lawn equipment.


The number one thing you may find enjoyable about the cord is its flexibility. Though the protective layer is tough, it is bendable and easy to mold into shape. The plugs are even water-resistant and include reinforced blades that are built to withstand being bent and broken if handled too roughly.


There have been complaints that the cord is shorter than expected. Also, the rubber on the end of the female connector may be too thick to fit securely on some devices.

Best Premium
Southwire Outdoor Extension Cord

Southwire is a popular name when it comes to extension cords, and this outdoor extension cord is functional and adaptable. Unlike the previously mentioned cord, this one includes a vibrant yellow jacket. It’s also longer than the other model and can reach a full length of 50 feet. But best of all, the end features a light that lets you know it’s on and you see it better. The cable is waterproof, highly visible, and the socket is water-resistant as well. The cord contains the same vinyl build as its counterpart, making it flexible too, even for its extended length. 


Although, as a 50-foot cord, the cable can get quite heavy if you have to carry it far. The prongs may also be an issue as they feel weaker and can bend easily if you apply enough pressure. The cord is also a bit more expensive than other cables on the market. You may also find that the cord twists on itself if you leave it wrapped up for a while.

Best Short Option
GE Outdoor Extension Cord

The GE Extension Cord may look basic and boring, but don’t be fooled by its simplicity. The heavy-duty cord is built with a double layer of insulation and a vinyl jacket. It’s a great little cord if you need power for any outdoor work or decorations. It can even be used indoors if you need to provide any electricity to any lights as well. The outer layer isn’t too thick either, which means it isn’t difficult to wrap up when you’re done using it. And at just 15 feet, the cable is lightweight and is a breeze to store. Not to mention, the cord isn’t overly expensive either. It’ll even work in the snow if you’re looking to power-up some Christmas lights or more.


Though, there have been complaints with the prongs, as they may not be all that durable. And while it may not be all that big of an issue, the black color can be difficult to see if it is left out in the yard.

Best for Just About Everything
GoGreen Power Outdoor Extension Cord

The GoGreen Power Outdoor Extension Cord is a reliable cable that is built for any outdoor need. The rugged cord is developed with a thermoplastic material and is SJTW rated. This helps it resist oil, grease, snow, water, and dust. Its high-quality design makes it one of the best for powering water pumps, lights, and equipment.


The thermoplastic coating doesn’t make the cord stiff or difficult to bend either. Both the female and male ends are strong, durable, and extra sturdy as well. It’s a premium outdoor extension cord that is sure to make any holiday bright. 


The plug may not connect properly to certain devices. It can also be quite hefty once coiled up. You may be better off putting in on a cord reel. Plus, it is on the pricier side when it comes to extension cords.

Tips

  • Never use indoor cords for outdoor purposes. They are not designed to withstand temperature variations, moisture, and other threats. Outdoor extension cords have better insulation and stronger jackets, which makes them safer and more reliable for outdoor use. 
  • Try to pick a cord length according to your specific needs. Don't go for longer cords when not necessary; they have less capacity to carry on an electric charge. For example, if your backyard is 25 feet long, you don't need a 50-foot extension cord. 
  • Pick a wire gauge carefully. Thicker wires have lower gauge numbers. A lower gauge ensures a better flow of electricity. Cords mostly range from 10 to 12 gauge. If you have heavy-duty tools, stick with these numbers. On the other hand, small tools and home appliances can easily work with higher-gauge cords. 

FAQs

Q: Can I use outdoor extension cords indoors? 

Yes, they are perfectly safe and useful for indoor purposes. However, you should never do the opposite and use indoor cords outside. An indoor extension cord is not protected enough to withstand outdoor threats, so it can cause accidents and a lot of damage. 

Q: How do I maintain an outdoor extension cord? 

You can prolong the life of your outdoor extension cord by storing it properly. Make sure to wrap and put it in a dry place after each use. Try to avoid overextending and straining the cord while using it. When unplugging it, pull it out from the power socket by gripping the plug and not the cord itself. You should also avoid driving over the cord with your vehicle.

Q: What happens if an outdoor extension cord gets wet? 

This type of cord is waterproof. As long as it doesn't have cracks or tears, water can't damage it. However, watch out for the ends of the cords. If the connections are not sealed properly against the weather, water could get in and cause a short circuit. 

Final Thoughts

Our top pick is Iron Forge Cable Outdoor Extension Cord, a multi-purpose cord perfect for heavy-duty tools. It’s safe, durable, and has a lot of extra features. 

Those who need a longer cord but are on a tight budget might want to consider getting the Otimo Outdoor Extra Heavy Duty Extension Cord.