Best Outdoor Extension Cords: Increase the Reach of Your Tools
Keep tools safely plugged in and improve their range with these outdoor extension cords
The Drive and its partners may earn a commission if you purchase a product through one of our links. Read more.
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.
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.
- 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.
- 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
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.
- 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
- Cord may be a little heavy when you are doing some lighter chores
- Cord may be too long for some users
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.
- 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
- Cord tends to tangle when unwinding and could be hard to maneuver and store
- May be difficult to connect the ends
- A bit bulky
Why Trust Us
Our reviews are driven by a combination of hands-on testing, expert input, “wisdom of the crowd” assessments from actual buyers, and our own expertise. We always aim to offer genuine, accurate guides to help you find the best picks.
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
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
- 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
- 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.
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.
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.