Extension cords come in handy when you need to plug something in, but there’s no outlet nearby. The right cord can give you an extra five feet or an extra 50 feet, depending on what you need.
If you’re working outside, you’ll need a different extension cord than what you use in the house. You’ll have to consider features like length, weatherproofing, and durability. This list will help you find the best outdoor extension cord.
The Best Outdoor Extension Cords
Whether you’re looking for a short outdoor extension cord or something longer, you’ll find what you need in this buyer’s guide.
LifeSupplyUSA 6ft Outdoor Extension Cord
LifeSupplyUSA’s 6ft outdoor extension cord is heavy-duty. It can handle lawnmowers, washing machines, and refrigerators. It has a 12-gauge wire and a 3-prong grounded plug.
The insulation on this cord is PVC, which makes it durable. It’s a bright yellow cover, which means you’ll never trip over this wire when you’re using it outside.
The ends of this extension cord light up so you can tell when it’s plugged in, and the power is flowing through. This can come in handy if you’re stringing up lights and can’t tell if you’ve blown the fuses or the cord isn’t conducting electricity.
- Vinyl coating makes it durable for outdoor use
- Lighted ends make it easy to see if power is flowing
- 12-gauge wire can handle 125 volts and 1875 watts
- Cord isn’t approved by a testing lab
- It’s not made in the USA, despite the company name
Epicord 10ft Outdoor Extension Cord
The 10ft outdoor extension cord from Epicord is a heavy-duty option. It has a 16-gauge wire that produces 125 volts and 1625 watts.
The insulation is black, which makes it hard to see outside. This can be a major negative, but on the plus side, the insulation is durable. It’s made of vinyl, so it’s protected from sun, rain, dust, and fire.
Epicord made the plugs from molded PVC so they won’t crack with use. The grounded 3-pronged plug prevents electric shock. The company reinforced the prongs so they won’t bend in the outlet.
- Thick insulation is ideal for outdoor use
- 10ft length makes it great to use for handheld tools and appliances
- More affordable than what you’d find at a hardware store
- Cord is black, making it harder to see outside compared to brighter options
- Cord isn’t just heavy-duty, but also just plain heavy due to thick insulation
UltraPro 25ft Outdoor Extension Cord
If you’re looking for a 25ft outdoor extension cord, the UltraPro extension cord fits the bill and delivers more. This cord has three outlets on the end, so you can plug in multiple devices.
You can choose from black, white, green, pink, or orange insulation. It’s nice to have the option because you can go for something eye-catching or something that blends in.
The wire is a 16-gauge that can handle 125 volts and 1625 watts. Underwriters Laboratories (UL) tested and approved UltraPro’s cords. That means it adheres to the highest standards in the electrical industry.
- Has three outlets so you can plug in more appliances
- Comes in different colors: black, white, green, pink, and orange
- Approved by UL, a reputable testing agency
- Some customers randomly receive a single outlet cord instead of the three outlet model
- The insulation is so durable that the cord isn’t very flexible
Go Green Power Inc. 50ft Outdoor Extension Cord
Go Green Power Inc. offers a 50ft outdoor extension cord with a lighted end. It’s a 16-gauge wire that delivers 125 volts and 1625 amps. That means it’s strong enough to power anything from a handheld drill to a snowblower.
The coating is vinyl so it’s durable for use in all weather. It’s a bright red and black twist so you’ll be able to see it on the ground and prevent tripping hazards.
Both ends light up when power is passing through. The light is bright green, so you’ll easily know if the electricity is flowing or if you need to check your outlet. Go Green Power Inc. has its cords tested by Intertek (ETL), so you’re getting an approved outdoor extension cord.
This environmentally friendly company gives you a way to recycle their products. With batteries, wires, and plastic taking up so much space in landfills, it’s nice to support a company that recycles 100% of its products.
- Lighted ends show you when power is passing through
- Approved by Intertek (ETL)
- Voltage perfect for various outdoor and indoor appliances
- Insulation has melted in some cases, posing a fire hazard
- Female-end plug can pull away from the cord and expose the wire
Iron Forge 100ft Outdoor Extension Cord
If you need a long cord, choose the Iron Forge extension cord. It’s a 100ft outdoor extension cord that comes in attractive hunter green. This is a great color for outdoor use because it can blend into your landscape.
The coating is vinyl, protecting the wire from the weather and also ensuring it won’t slip from your hands when you’re working with it. The wire is 16-gauge, producing 125 volts and 1625 watts.
Iron Forge offers a lifetime replacement warranty on all of its products. That means if something goes wrong with your extension cord, they’ll send you a new one. The company is also based in the United States and owned by veterans, so it’s a good business to support.
- Attractive green cord blends in with the natural landscape
- Approved by Underwriters Laboratories (UL)
- Company has a lifetime replacement warranty
- Cord has a strong chemical smell for the first several uses
- Seems thinner in person than it looks in pictures online
LifeSupplyUSA 200ft Outdoor Extension Cord
LifeSupplyUSA offered the shortest extension cord on this list and it also has the longest. Their 200ft outdoor extension cord is an eye-catching orange that ensures it’ll never get tangled in your mower blades.
Just like the company’s other selections, this cord has lighted ends so you can tell with a glance if electricity is flowing. That feature comes in handy since you can get so far away from the outlet. You won’t have to make your way back 200ft; just look at the end and see if it’s lit up.
The wire is 16-gauge, producing 125 volts and 1625 watts. This is powerful enough—and long enough—to use for drills, saws, lawnmowers, air compressors, holiday lights, and more.
Because of the power and the length, you can use this cord with handheld tools because you walk around with them. You won’t have to come back to the outlet to plug it into something closer. It comes in handy for yard work because you can reach anywhere in your yard from one outlet.
- 200ft length makes sure you can use it anywhere
- Bright orange insulation makes it grab your attention
- Can use it for handheld devices and larger appliances
- Extended length makes voltage drops more likely with the use
- Only 16-gauge when it could be lower considering the length
Features to Consider
You might have already found the cord you need from the list above. If not, check out these features that you should consider before finding an outdoor extension cord.
The length of cord you need depends on how far you need to stretch between an outlet and the plugged-in appliance. However, it’s always better to get the shortest possible cord, as long as it still reaches what you need.
The longer an extension cord is, the more you have to worry about voltage drop. If you’ve noticed that some shorter cords have more power than a long cord, that’s why. The electricity has to travel so far from the plug to the outlet that it loses power along the way.
Therefore you’ll want to make sure that longer extension cords have a lower gauge, which means the wire is thicker and can convey more electricity. Getting anything less might prevent the plugged-in appliances from working right.
It’s always better to get the correct length of the extension cord, even if it’s so long you’ll experience voltage drop. This is because it’s not safe to plug in two shorter extension cords. Instead of plugging in two 6ft outdoor extension cords and hoping for the best, spring for the 15ft option.
The maximum load an extension cord can safely handle depends on its length and the gauge of the wire. When a package tells you the gauge of the wire, it will also tell you how many volts it can handle.
The gauge of the wire inside of the extension cords gives you an idea of how much electricity it can convey. The gauge is the thickness of the wire, with 16-gauge being a light-duty cord and 12-gauge being heavy-duty.
You can use 16-gauge extension cords to power hedge trimmers and portable fans. A medium gauge like 14 is enough to power table saws, drills, and other electric tools. The 12-gauge wires can power shop vacs, circular saws, chainsaws, and other large tools.
You can usually find the gauge needed on whatever appliance you’re trying to power. If you don’t see it printed on the body or in the instruction manual, it’s best to err on the side of a higher gauge. That will ensure the cord can power what you need.
Outdoor extension cords are weatherproof out of necessity. They have thick insulation made of plastic, vinyl, or rubber coating the wires. Even though you won’t be leaving the cord outside all of the time, you want to choose an option that can withstand the elements and last for years. Something like the outdoor extension cord cover.
The same insulation that weatherproofs the wires will also make the cord more durable. In addition to a durable cord, check the prongs. Because your outdoor cord will get walked on and tugged around, you want molded plugs with reinforced blades. This type won’t break in the outlet.
There are two agencies that test outdoor extension cords and deem them ready for use. This is Underwriters Laboratories (UL) and Intertek (ETL). The companies mark their initials on the cords to show that they’ve passed inspection.
After ensuring that you’re buying an approved cord, you can also check for some safety features for yourself. The overall style of outdoor cords is a safety feature. They are brightly colored so they’ll stand out and not create a tripping hazard or get caught in the lawnmower.
The thick insulation on outdoor extension covers keeps the electricity inside so you won’t get shocked. This type of cord also has reinforced prongs so they won’t bend and get pulled from the outlet with use. The third prong on an outdoor extension cord grounds it so there’s no risk of electric shock.
There are also GFCI extension cords, that means “ground fault circuit interrupter”. This extension cable detects ground faults, which happen when electric current leaks onto the ground, something that is especially dangerous when there’s moisture on the ground.
Sometimes too much electrical current may pass through the extension cord, that might lead to them overheating and catching fire. Something that can be prevented by using an extension cord with a switch.
Number of Outlets
Most people think of an extension cord as a way to get extra length between the outlet and whatever you need to power up. But some extension cords have extra outlets on the end. This means you can plug multiple items into one extension cord.
Some cords have two or three outlets at the end. Others have extra outlets positioned along the length of the cord.
No matter which type you buy, make sure the cord can handle the voltage of everything you intend to plug into it. Just because a cord has three outlets doesn’t mean it can power three refrigerators at once. If you overpower the cord, it can blow the electricity.
Hopefully, you’ve found the best outdoor extension cord to suit your needs. If you have more questions about what you can use the cord for and how to take care of it, check out these frequently asked questions.
Can You Leave Outdoor Extension Cords Outside?
Because the manufacturers label them as outdoor extension cords, it might seem fine to leave them outside. However, it’s important to not leave them outside longer than a day or two.
The sunlight and extreme temperatures can break down the cord’s insulation. The bare wires can stop working at best and shock you or start a fire at worst.
If you use an outdoor extension cord periodically throughout the year, it’s best to take it inside in-between uses. Store it somewhere warm and dry to ensure the insulation stays whole and effective. When you take good care of your extension cords, they’ll last for years.
Are Outdoor Extension Cords Safe in Rain?
You have to consider outdoor extension cord safety when you’re taking care of your cords. The cords themselves have a thick insulated cover to protect them from the elements. But the rain can potentially reach the plug’s prongs.
If the plugs of the cords get rain exposure, they can become damaged and short out. They can also cause electric shocks or fires.
To protect your extension cords from rain damage, you can use an extension cord cover to protect the plugs and outlets. This weatherproof box keeps the rain from reaching the electricity.
You can also use ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCI) at the outlet. These adapters can tell if water is interfering with the electricity. It will shut off the power as a circuit breaker would do.
What Kind of Extension Cord Should I Use for Outdoor Decorations?
You might be wondering what size of outdoor cable do you need for outdoor decorations. Many outdoor extension cords have packaging that says if they’re ideal for holiday lights. The best outdoor extension cord for you depends on your needs.
If you have several outdoor outlets, you can link an extension cord to every two strands of lights. If you only have one outlet, you’ll want to maximize your extension cord. Choose a cord that has multiple outlets on the end so you can plug in more decorations.
How Do I Know If My Extension Cord Is for Outdoor Use?
When you’re wondering how to tell if an extension cord is for outdoor use, you don’t need to look beyond the packaging. Outdoor extension cords have a “W” on the package that shows it’s weatherproof. This means you can use it outside.
This type of cord is often brightly colored, so you can find it in the grass and dirt. It’s usually coated in plastic, rubber, or vinyl to ensure it’s durable enough for outdoor use. These thick layers of insulation also protect the cord from wear and tear due to rain, sunlight, and extreme temperatures.
Outdoor extension cords also have three-prong plugs. Some indoor extension cords do as well, but they frequently have two prongs. All outdoor extension cords will have three prongs because it includes a grounding wire. The grounding wire reduces the risk of fire or electrocution.
Final Notes on Outdoor Extension Cords
It’s important to find the right outdoor extension cord for you. You might need something longer, shorter, or more of an underground extension cord but you don’t want to skimp on the durability and insulation. Getting the right extension cord will ensure you’ll have the length and electricity for all of your outdoor needs.