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LAST UPDATED: October 11, 2019

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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PUBLISHED 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 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 Overall
    Iron Forge Cable Outdoor Extension Cord
  • Best Value
    Otimo Outdoor Extra Heavy Duty Extension Cord
    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). It is made of heavy-duty materials that are flame- and water-resistant. The red color makes it easy to see. The cord is ETL listed and has a grounded plug. Electrical ratings are 125 volts, 15 amps, 1875 watts.
    Cons
    Cons
    The cord may be a little heavy in weight when you are doing some lighter chores. The cord may actually be too long for some users.
  • Best Value
    Otimo Outdoor Extra Heavy Duty Extension Cord
  • 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. 
  • Honorable Mention
    US Wire and Cable Outdoor Extension Cord

    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 Outdoor Extension Cord Reviews & Recommendations 2020

    Best Overall

    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

    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, snowblowers, 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

    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.

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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.  
    • Flexibility. 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. 
    • 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

    • Regular or Heavy 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 Cord Reviews & Recommendations 2020

    Best Overall

    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

    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, snowblowers, 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

    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.

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