Whether you need 30 Amps for a power generator, surge protection for your computer, or a hassle-free way to connect all your strings of Christmas lights together, there is an extension cord designed just for you. Our top pick is the US Wire and Cable 74050 because it can be used both outdoors and indoors, is reasonably priced, and meets OSHA standards. Here are a few more cords to consider to meet your specific needs.
The US Wire and Cable extension cord reaches 50 feet, has a power rating of 15 Amps, 125V, and 1875 watts, and is suitable for both indoor and outdoor use. It is powerful enough to use with some smaller generators and equally handy for power tools, Christmas lights, and appliances, plus it meets OSHA standards. The cord is double insulated and is covered with a vinyl coat that is crack and break-resistant, even in frigid weather. It handles temperatures as cold as 35 degrees below zero (Fahrenheit) and won't become hard, or stiff.
Both the plug and receptacle ends of this cord are coated well for protection and include an indicator light that glows red when power is pumping through it.
While the US Wire and Cable is the top pick for extension cords, it isn't recommended as a universal solution. It can be used both indoors and outdoors, but because of its length and lack of surge protection, it shouldn't be used for electronics. But does work well for extending power to vacuum cleaners and other household appliances on top of all its outdoor uses.
The AmazonBasics 16-gauge extension cord works well for outdoor tools, like edgers and weed eaters, or power tools like circular saws and drills. It's also tough enough to use with power vacs. This cord uses all-copper wiring and is encased with an abrasion-resistant vinyl covering that protects it against direct sunlight and moisture. The coating is also a bright orange color, so it's easy to see to avoid trips or accidental cuts or breaks. The AmazonBascis Vinyl Cord easily reaches 50 feet.
The biggest drawback of this extension cord is it isn't recommended to be used indoors. One reason for this is the length of the cord. Fifty feet is a good length for using power tools, but indoor use should be much short to help minimize tripping. The plug itself is also bulky, so it doesn't slip behind furniture without it being pulled out a considerable distance first. The AmazonBasics only supports 13 Amps, which is okay for most power tools but is substantially lower than the recommended 30 Amps experts suggest is needed for powering generators.
For heavy-duty jobs, particularly those in a shop or garage, this 12-gauge retractable extension cord is a good solution. It easily mounts to the ceiling or wall, and the swiveling case lets the cable quickly move along with you while walking around your project without getting tangled or kinked.
The cord extends up to 40 feet, and the polypropylene case is both oil and grease resistant. You can adjust the stopper so the cable doesn't retract until you need it to, plus it has an internal circuit breaker to cut the power off in case of a surge. The receptacle has three plugs to accommodate multiple tools connected at once, so you don't have to worry about unplugging devices as you switch between using them.
Because of the way it is designed, the CopperPeak Retractable Cord isn't a good fit for indoor use, especially with electronics. You can set the case on the ground instead of mounting it in place, but it is more bulky, taking up a good amount of space when used this way.
The right-angled plug of the 13-Amp Woods SlimLine extension cords makes it easy to use behind furniture without pulling out sofas or bookshelves too far from the wall. Plus the flat cable, itself, lays more easily against walls without bunching or rolling. It has three grounded outlets, which is excellent for using with lamps or alarm clocks. It is only eight feet long, which is the recommended length for indoor use.
Though the Woods SlimLine 2241 is designed for indoor use, it isn't recommended to be used with electronic devices. Televisions, computers, space heaters need surge protection in case of a power outage or other instance that causes a lot of power to run to the device. Not having this protection can cause permanent damage to your device.
The Champion Power Equipment is an excellent choice for extending power to tools and other outdoor equipment. This cord handles 125 volts and 30 amps, which is good enough for use with most generators. It reaches 25 feet, and its coating is abrasive free, so it won't wear down, nick, or become damaged too easily.
The three outlets have coverings to keep dust and grime from becoming trapped in and blocking them. And it uses 10-gauge wiring to help keep the cord flexible and even in extreme heat or cold.
While this extension cord is 25 feet long, an acceptable length for using generators safely, other outdoor cords are double this length. Fifty feet cables make it easier to use power tools and landscaping tools more easily without being inhibited by length. Also, the Champion Power Equipment 48034 isn't recommended to be used indoors, especially with electronics because the cord tends to coil a bit, creating a tripping hazard, and the outlets aren't surge protected.
For electronics, the GE Designer extension cord is a good choice. This three-outlet cord supports multiple devices plugged in at once. And it has both surge protection and a braided, non-tangle cord, which are great safety features when using an extension cord indoors. The GE Designer Cord with Surge Protector lays flat and close to walls and is only 15 feet long to help remove tripping hazards. Plus, you don't have to pull furniture or media far from the wall to use it.
This extension cord doesn't support a lot of power and isn't insulated for outdoor use. Because of this, don't use this cord for power tools, or even for using electronic devices outdoors. Doing so creates a dangerous safety hazard.
This extension cord has a fanned, three-outlet design to make it easier to feed multiple strings of Christmas lights from across your yard to a single point. It's UL rated for both outdoor and indoor use. The TerraBloom Outdoor Cord handles 1875 watts and 15 amps of power while its rubber exterior covering keeps the all copper wiring insulated from extreme weather conditions, more durable against abrasions, and is water, oil, and grease resistant. The cord doesn't coil or twist and doesn't become stiff in cold weather.
While the TerraBloom 50ft 14/3 Outdoor Cord does a good job working with several power tools, including lawnmowers and sanders, it isn't a good fit to use with power generators. This is because it only supports 15 amps of power, and experts recommend 30 amp extension cords for generators.
The bottom line
The best extension cord for most uses is the US Wire and Cable 74050 because it handles 30 amps, which is suitable for power tools, including generators, and indoor use for vacuum cleaners and other household appliances. It is 50 feet long, which covers a decent amount of space. And it has a thick, insulated coating that is abrasive-free but also protects the wiring from extreme heat and cold down to negative 35 degrees Fahrenheit. It won't coil or break easily, nor will it freeze or become hard while used outside. As great as this cord is, the US Wire and Cable doesn't have surge protection, so we don't recommend using it for powering electronic devices.
For electronics including televisions, space heaters, and home connected devices, like Amazon Echo and Google Home, check out the GE Designer Cord with Surge Protector. This extension cord won't twist or coil and isn't too long to trip over. Its flat and compact plug design keeps it tucked behind furniture and close against the wall. The three grounded outlets include surge protection, which is an essential requirement when using an extension cord with electronics.