An extension cord, albeit mostly unnoticed, has become one of the essential components of life at home. A quality extension cord allows you to effectively go about your business at home, even running power to a corner of your yard seemingly out of reach. A durable option further ensures that power is transmitted consistently over long periods, naturally withstanding the characteristic wear and tear associated with outdoor use.
An AWG number represents the thickness of the wire gauge. A 10-gauge extension is normally the thickest option, primarily intended for heavy-duty applications. This wire gauge is built for high amperage use, sometimes even up to 30 amps. Consequently, a heavy-duty extension cord is arguably one of the safest solutions for transmitting power at home; some even safe enough to power your home from a generator, say during a blackout.
- 1 Best 10 Gauge Extension Cord
- 2 How To Choose the Best 10-Gauge Extension Cords
- 3 Frequently Asked Question about Extension Cords
Best 10 Gauge Extension Cord
Here are 5 of the best 10-gauge outdoor extension cords you'll find on the market:
1. Pizety Century Cord (100-Foot)
- 10 Gauge Extension Cord ,extension cord With Lighted Ends 10 Gauge extension cord air conditioner...
- Heavy duty 10 Gauge. power extension cord 100ft Outdoor Extension Cord. Heavy duty outdoor jacket...
- extension cord flat plug General Indoor/Outdoor Cord for power equipment . Heavy-duty molded on...
- extension cord extension cord indoor 5/8" strain reliefs in back of plug and connectors prevent ends...
- 10 Gauge 10/3 Extension Cord
This 100-foot 10/3 extension cord is arguably one of the best picks in the current market. It comes with a sturdy heavy-duty, high-quality build to ensure that it can withstand almost everything the outdoors will throw at it. As a result, the Pizety Century Cord is not only water-resistant but also resistant to fire!
This extension cord will comfortably power a dual-motor electric blower running at 18 amps. You are unlikely to experience any dips in power, even for heavy use, unless, of course, you have multiple appliances plugged in. You can also consider getting a reel for switching between different lengths conveniently, as well as proper storage.
2. Century ProStar 100 Foot
- Heavy duty 10 Gauge. High visibility neon colors for recognition. Flame resistant.
- Heavy duty outdoor jacket that is water resistant for added protection against moisture.
- Triple Tap. Heavy-duty molded on 15A-125V plugs and connectors.
- 5/8" strain reliefs in back of plug and connectors prevent ends from pulling away from cord body.
- Both plugs have a built in amber neon light which indicates there is power in the cord and outlet.
This is yet another favourite pick among extension cord buyers on Amazon, including but not limited to its affordable price point. It comes in two brilliant colour options, so you'll never have to worry about its visibility. Furthermore, you also get to choose between two sizes; 50 ft and 100 ft variants.
Its durable, heavy-duty build ensures that it is resistant to water. The connectors are also pretty solid, and you won't have to worry about unwanted breaks or bends. The Century ProStart enables you to draw up to 15 Amp, thanks to its incredible thickness. Not to mention that it also comes with a triple tap.
3. Iron Forge Cable (25-Foot)
- ALL PURPOSE EXTENSION CORD for Indoor and Outdoor use. Great for gardening, landscaping, or powering...
- WATER RESISTANT - Flexible vinyl covering protects cords against moisture, abrasion and sunlight.
- REINFORCED BLADES protect prongs from bending or breaking. 10 GAUGE 3-wire grounded, 25 foot, 15...
- LIGHTED PLUGS indicate when the power is on. SLIP RESISTANT DESIGN.
- LIFETIME REPLACEMENT WARRANTY – Iron Forge Cable stands behind all of its extension cords 100%. If...
This is undoubtedly the most popular and vaunted extension cable on the market, for great reasons, no less. First of all, this 10-gauge extension cord comes in 4 different sizes to meet every user's needs.
The Iron Forge Cable has a highly durable and sturdy build that gives it exceptional longevity. The bright yellow is unmistakable, even when burrowed in the lawn. It delivers 1875 Watts, translating to 125 Volts and a 15-Amp draw. It also comes with female-end lights, which indicate when power is running through. Furthermore, a buyer also gets a lifetime warranty, which is music to every consumer's ears.
4. XtremePowerUS (50-Foot)
- Indoor/Outdoor Extension Cord - Perfectly extend 50ft for your household or shop appliances, your...
- Lighted 50ft Extension Cord - Specific light on the plug tells you whether power is on, adding extra...
- Weatherproof Extension Cord - Stay flexible in -40F To 221F,, lower risk of twisting, knotting,...
- Contractor Approved - The cords are more flexible and abrasion resistant at any temperature than...
- Strong Clear Molded Plug - Clear molded plugs are rugged, durable and over-sized to resist breaking;...
XtremePower US stands out among the 50 ft variants mainly for its reliability. This extension cord is UL approved for starters, and it can be used both indoors and outdoors, making it equally ideal and popular for charging electric cars.
The build quality is pretty tough, yet the cord itself is decently flexible. It also has a sturdy coating that protects it from abrasion, meaning you get great longevity from this pick. The cherry on top is certainly the fact that XtremePowerUS can withstand temperatures between -40F to 221F, a fete we have not seen around often.
5. Conntek 15 Amp
- Plug and Connector: NEMA 5-15
- U.S 3 Prong Lighted End Female
- Heavy Duty 600 Volt Outdoor Jacket STW 10/3
- Gauge: 10 AWG, 15 Amps, 125 Volts
- Approval: UL, C-UL Listed
This is the only pick on this list that is both C-UL listed and also UL-listed approved. According to several users from Amazon, it is immensely dependable and performs remarkably well.
It constructed in a solid heavy-duty design that is built to last, perfectly suitable for the outdoors. It comes with a 3-prong lighted female end for extra safety. Most importantly, this extension cord allows for 125 Volts and 15 Amps of power to run through. Furthermore, the 25 ft option only leads to a 0.5V voltage drop, making it remarkably efficient.
How To Choose the Best 10-Gauge Extension Cords
1. Cord Length and Voltage Drop
The most common and arguably effective extension cords for home use are typically under 100 feet, although you can still find longer options if necessary. While this might come off as more to do with practicality, there's also a functional aspect. The cord's length also influences the amount of voltage that is lost due to electrical resistance, commonly known as voltage drop. The longer the cord, the more significant the voltage drop. It would be best to find the shortest possible cord length to get maximum power capacity for the specific task at hand.
Quick Tip: Wattage (resulting power) = Amps (amount of electricity flowing through a conductor) x Volts (resistance of electric flow)
2. Safety Features
Independent testing agencies usually determine this to ensure that extension cords are extremely safe for their intended uses. The best extension cords on the market indicate their approval and certification from such agencies -mainly Underwriters Laboratories (UL mark) or Intertek (ETL mark)-on their packaging.
A good extension cord should also be brightly coloured for visibility, especially if it'll run across the yard, to avoid tripping or running over it with a lawnmower, for instance. Equally important, the best extension cord normally has a lit plug that indicates when power is running through. In addition, outdoor extension cords come in thicker, more durable jacket covers that safeguard them from the elements while also providing insulation. Sometimes, this also includes three-pronged grounded plugs for extra safety.
3. Jacket Strength
Basically, a jacket cover is an insulation on top of the wires for effective and safe functioning. Typically, an extension cable is usually covered by heavy-duty plastics, vinyl and rubber, which protect the wires from exposure to the elements, overheating and electrical leakage.
The material, strength and purpose of the cord jacket are indicated using letters, normally a combination of them, as follows:
- S- General use.
- W- Outdoor use.
- J- Standard 300V insulation. If the J is missing, it means a thicker 600V heavy-use insulation.
- P- Parallel wire build, mainly for air conditioner cords and household extension cords.
- T- Vinyl thermoplastic construction.
- E- Thermoplastic elastomer rubber (TPE) construction.
- O- Oil-resistant.
It goes without saying that extension cords ought to be tough! A good option should have a thick jacket that withstands wear and tear from gravel or even being walked on. Moulded plugs have also shown to be significantly durable, just as much as reinforced blades.
This resistance should also translate to weatherproofing. The best extension cord should be able to resist damage from water, direct sunlight and temperature changes.
5. Number of Outlets
This mainly hinges on the number of appliances you want to run on the extension cord simultaneously. However, it would be best if you were extremely keen to avoid overloading it. That being said, the manufacturer will always indicate the power capacity and power rating to ensure that you don't end up overheating the cord.
6. Plug & Socket Type
Generally, extension cord plugs come with either two or three prongs. For outdoor extension cords, the third prong is necessary, a vital feature that "grounds" the cord by providing an added path for electrical currents during heavy-duty use. It is worth noting that while a two-pronged plug can be used in a three-pin socket, the inverse is highly prohibited.
7. Additional Features
Some extension cords do come with extra features that contribute to their overall efficacy and safety.
- Built-In Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) - This automatically cuts off the power supply to the wire cable whenever a ground fault or short circuit occurs.
- Lighted plug ends - This light up when there is power running through the cord. It becomes especially nifty when you are using an outdoor extension cord in the dark.
- Connector box - This is fitted between the extension's cord plug and the plug on the connected electrical device to ensure they are clasped together firmly.
- Locking socket - This is an in-built mechanism in an extension cord socket that ensures a device and the cord are connected securely.
Extension Cord Safe Use
Power cords, when used without proper caution, can be quite hazardous. So how do you gain their effectiveness and convenience without putting people or other appliances at risk? As we have previously elaborated, when buying an extension cord:
- Buy an option certified by an independent testing lab.
- Choose an extension cord that matches the power capacity you require.
- Consider the shortest viable cord length.
- Go for an extension cord with three-prong or polarized plugs.
When using an extension cord:
- Ensure it's visible and preferably running across areas with minimal to no traffic.
- Never tamper with the third grounding prong to fit in a two-pin socket.
- Use an extension cord solely for its intended use; don't use an indoor cord outdoors or vice versa.
- Read and understand the instructions thoroughly for proper use.
- Avoid using multiple appliances on the same cord.
- Avoid plugging multiple cords together.
- Don't bend or coil the cord when in use.
- Never attach the cord to a surface using nails or staples.
- Avoid using an extension cord that heats up during use.
- Cover unused cord receptacles using childproof covers.
- Check for cracks on the cord's coating or any exposed wires before use.
For proper maintenance:
- Always store your extension cord indoors.
- Unplug it if it's not in use.
- Dispose off damaged cords responsibly.
- When you are disconnecting the cord from an outlet, pull the plug, not the cord.
Frequently Asked Question about Extension Cords
1. Can I leave the extension cord outside?
As mentioned above, an extension cord is best stored indoors. Ideally, these cords are meant to supply power temporarily, which means some of them-especially outdoor options-can withstand being left outside for a couple of days. However, extended exposure to the elements will undoubtedly expedite the wear and tear process, which can lead to electrical leakages, shocks or even fire.
When you are done using the extension cord, unplug it from the wall outlet safely, coil it carefully to avoid twisting, then hang it in a dry indoor area. But if your outdoor feature requires a constant power supply, it would best if you simply went for permanent wiring.
2. Are extension cords still safe in the rain?
Yes, at least for weatherproof options. However, it is important to still protect an outdoor extension cord from rain, particularly to avoid exposing the wire cable to water. As such, it would be much safer to use a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) adapter together with your extension cord so that it breaks the circuit whenever the wires come into contact with moisture. Crucially, you should ensure that this device is directly plugged into the power source, then the extension cord on top of it.