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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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 Cable Outdoor Extension Cord
    Summary
    Summary
    Iron Forge Cable is a multi-purpose cord suitable for both indoor and outdoor use. The 12-gauge wire makes it ideal for heavy-duty tools and all home appliances. At 25 feet long, it's perfect for small- to medium-sized households.
    Pros
    Pros
    The cord is safe for indoor and outdoor use. It's made of flexible vinyl that protects against moisture, abrasion, and the sun. The blades are reinforced to keep the prongs safe from damage. The cord has a slip-resistant design and a built-in LED light. It comes with a lifetime warranty. 
    Cons
    Cons
    The cord might feel heavy, especially when using tools such as lawnmowers. The ends could be a little loose and tend to fall out due to the cord weight.
  • Best Value
    AmazonBasics Outdoor Extension Cord
    Summary
    Summary
    This AmazonBasics cord is an excellent choice for those who need some extra reach in their large backyards. The cord is 50 feet long, lightweight, and safe for outdoor use. It has proven to be quite reliable and is a great inexpensive alternative to our top pick
    Pros
    Pros
    The cord has a vinyl jacket for protection against moisture, abrasion, and sunlight. It's made of all-copper wire, and it's very flexible. It has a three-pronged grounded plug for extra safety. It's colored in bright orange for higher visibility. It’s easy to use and store.
    Cons
    Cons
    The 16-gauge wire is only suitable for small tools. There might be some extra plastic on the ends; you'll need to trim it down for a perfect fit.
  • Honorable Mention
    US Wire and Cable Outdoor Extension Cord
    Summary
    Summary
    US Wire and Cable makes another high-quality cord suitable for both indoor and outdoor purposes. Thanks to its 12-gauge width, it can be used for both small- and heavy-duty tools. It's also 25 feet long and ideal for most standard-sized backyards.
    Pros
    Pros
    The cord has a vinyl jacket for protection against moisture, abrasion, and sunlight. It's made of all-copper wire, and it's very flexible. It has a three-pronged grounded plug for extra safety. It's colored in bright orange for higher visibility. It’s easy to use and store.
    Cons
    Cons
    The cord is very stiff, so it could be hard to maneuver and store. The ends are bulky as well. The cord could get warm due to extended use. 

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? 

A: 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? 

A: 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? 

A: 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 on a tight budget might want to consider getting AmazonBasics Outdoor Extension Cord. As long as you are satisfied with a higher gauge number, this is an excellent choice.