Extension Cord Buyer’s Guide – GME Supply


Hey, I’m Mark with GME Supply, and today
we’re going to go through a few different options in extension cords. Consider it your
extension cord buyer’s guide. First thing you need to do is consider environment
and usage. If your extension cord is going to be used in cold, wet, outdoor environments,
you’d need a different type of extension cord than if you were just needing to plug
in a house lamp in your living room. You learn the most about a cord’s durability
and intended use by looking at the jacket type. The jacket is basically the outer shell
of the cord. It’s given a letter designation, using a standard code. S indicates a flexible cord designed for general
use. W indicates the cord is rated for outdoor
use. J indicates the cord has standard 300 voltage
insulation. If there’s no J, the cord has a thicker 600 volt insulation, designed for
heavier use. P indicates parallel wire construction, which
is used in air conditioner cords and household extension cords. T indicates the cord jacket is made from vinyl
thermoplastic. E indicates the cord has a jacket made from
thermoplastic elastomer rubber, or TPE. O indicates the cord is oil-resistant. So this popular extension cord from US Wire
and Cable has a jacket designation of SJTW. It’s flexible, uses standard 300 volt insulation,
uses a vinyl thermoplastic jacket, and is rated for outdoor use. Next, we’ll look at power rating. Every
extension cord has a maximum amperage which it can safely conduct. If your device or tool
pulls more amps than the cord is rated for, the device may not function properly, and
the cord could overheat. Power usage for devices varies greatly. A light may only use half
an amp, where a leaf blower might pull 12 amps. Be sure to check that your cord is rated
for the amperage you’re going to be using. Our example extension cord has a 15 amp maximum
rating. Finally, gauge rating. Wire gauge is a measure
of the diameter of the conducting wires inside the cord. The lower the number the higher
the gauge, which means a higher current capacity. Gauge is typically listed with the number
of conducting wires in the cord. So this cord is a 12 gauge, 3 wire cord. All of these ratings are generally stamped
on the jacket of the cord, as well. So if you lose the packaging or a label falls off,
you can still make sure you’re using the right cord for the job. So there you have it. A quick overview of
extension cords. Obviously, there are other options to consider, like length, maximum
voltage, lighted or non-lighted, 2 or 3 prong plugs, temperature ratings… and more. To see all our extension cord options, visit
us at gmesupply.com.

4 comments on “Extension Cord Buyer’s Guide – GME Supply

  1. I'm looking for a cord that has little-to-no "memory", i.e. it straightens out easily after having been coiled up tightly for some period of time. Many power tools have this kind of soft, flexible, rubber-like qualities, but I haven't been able to find it in extension cords. 14-16 gauge would be preferable and a 13 amp rating

  2. Great explanation. I need some wire to make an extension for a buddy's everlast welders. I want to ensure I get the right kind.

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