Durable Outdoor Extension Cords For Every Season
Ever since he was a child, Jason has loved repairing, building and creating things. Growing up, he spent all his free time carving intricate woodcraft pieces that soon caught the eye of neighbours and friends. Before he knew it, Jason turned his hobby into a job, earning an income from being his hometowns handyman. Many years have passed since then but Jason’s enthusiasm for woodwork remains the same. He can usually be found in his workshop, crafting furniture or restoring old treasures.
An extension cord is needed when you want to use tools and appliances away from your power source or for your home outside projector. If you're working outside then it's very important to use a cord that's made for the purpose and can withstand the elements. In this guide, you'll discover 10 of the top outdoor extension cords on the market, along with a breakdown of all the factors you need to consider before buying. We'll also help you choose a gauge extension cord to meet your requirements.
Our Leading Choices
100 feet long
16 Gauge Heavy Duty Wire
Three-pronged grounded plug
10 amp, 125 volts, 1250 watt
Flexible, durable jacket
The top extension cord in our review is Iron Forge Cable 100 Foot. It can be used for major home appliances and is perfect for the garden, with its green cord which blends right into its surroundings and is virtually unnoticeable. It’s more than a match for whatever the weather throws at it, with a tough jacket that protects it from both moisture and sunlight. What’s more, the jacket is flexible, which helps prevent those annoying tangles. You can buy this high quality and a durable extension cord with confidence, as Iron Forge Cable offers a lifetime warranty where they will replace it with a new one should anything go wrong.
100 feet long
15 amps, 1875 watts
12 gauge heavy-duty wire
Lighted receptor end
Southwire 3 Pronged Outoor Extension Lead is designed with safety in mind. Its bright yellow color makes it highly visible when used on a worksite and it features a light at one end that clearly indicates when the power is on. Ideal for outdoor use, it’s also useful inside the home, with a jacket that won’t leave marks on your floors or walls. It’s flexible to avoid tangles and highly weather-resistant, with a durable coating and molded plastic connectors protecting against rain and sunlight. If you’ve experienced the frustration of the connector prongs bending or breaking, then you’ll be pleased to note that on this cord the blades are reinforced, making them especially durable.
25-foot extension cord
13 amps, 125V, 1625 Watts
3 prong grounded outlet
90 day limited warranty
UltraPro Insulated Extension Cord is 25 feet long and whilst it’s great for use inside the home, it’s also outdoor rated and can be used for everything from outdoor lighting to powering the tools in your workshop. The one-piece molded plug is strong and durable and the three wires of this UL listed cord are double insulated. This means that they have interior insulation in addition to the rubber exterior insulation. Its flexibility makes it handy for maneuvering around tight spaces, and it has a solid, quality feel to it. Its discrete black color means it blends perfectly into its surroundings wherever it’s used.
50 feet long
13 Amps, 1625 Watts, 120V
Orange wire for visibility
This durable 3 wire 50-foot AmazonBasics Outdoor Extension Cord comes at a great price and features all-copper wire. It has great safety features, including a three-pronged grounded plug and a bright orange color for visibility. Its vinyl jacket protects the wires from all kinds of weather and from damage by abrasion and it’s also nice and flexible, so it doesn’t end up crimped and twisted after use. Something to note, however, is that the female end of the cord is a little larger than on other outdoor extension cords and may not fit into all outdoor appliances. This extension cord comes backed by the AmazonBasics 1-Year Limited Warranty.
25 feet long
15 amps, 1875 Watts, 125 V
Recommended for heavy-duty equipment and tools
Discrete black cord
If you’re on a budget, look no further than the GoGreen Power GG-13825BK Outdoor Extension Cord. Ideal for use with heavy-duty tools and equipment, this ETL listed cord has heavy-duty molded plugs and is suitable for use by contractors. But that doesn’t mean it’s not great for indoor use too – and its discrete black color means it will blend easily with the background wherever it’s placed. Despite being heavy-duty, the cord is still flexible enough to resist kinking and tangling and is very easy to use. This is an extension cord that’s built to last!
15 feet long
13 amp, 125V, 1625 watt
Durable thermoplastic insulation
High quality molded connectors
Lifetime replacement warranty
If you want some serious bang for your buck, then look no further than this tough 15-foot Iron Forge Cable Outdoor Extension Cord which is the greatest in our review in terms of value. It has strong, reinforced blades that are resistant to bending or breaking and comes in an unobtrusive black color, so whether you want it for outdoor use or for inside the home, it will blend right into the background. Despite being resistant to the elements, it’s flexible enough to avoid tangling and just perfect for all sorts of applications, from garden lighting to heated outdoor bird baths! What’s more, this extension cord is backed by Iron Forge Cable’s lifetime replacement warranty, so you’re totally covered if anything goes wrong.
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50 feet long
15 amps, 125V, 1875 watt
9 inline outlets and 1 end outlet
Three-pronged grounded outlet
100% Money-Back Guarantee
The extension cord in our premium category is this heavy-duty Digital Energy Multi-Outlet Indoor/Outdoor Extension Cord. 50 feet long, it can get power to just where you need it, with a multitude of indoor and outdoor applications. It’s also highly flexible, so you can run it just the way you need to. Its 10 outlets are evenly spaced 5 feet apart, which is a huge advantage. With many extension cords, the outlets are positioned close together. Not only does this present safety issues, but it also looks messy and cluttered. Perfect for bands and conferences, stage lighting and so much more, this exceptionally high-quality extension cord has lots of other great features, too. It has hanging holes at the point of each outlet and comes with outlet caps for when it’s not in use. Whilst the caps are designed to protect against humidity, it’s worth noting that this cord is not meant to be used on a wet surface.
100 feet long
13 amps, 125V, 1875 watts
Water and flame resistant material
This 100-foot heavy-duty Otimo Outdoor Extension Cord use is composed of a material that’s resistant to both water and flames. This means you can use it with complete confidence, whether you’re using it for lighting or to power your landscaping tools – and with a 14 gauge cord, it is more than a match for your high power appliances. This cord is ETL listed and its bright yellow color is designed to stop anyone stepping on it or tripping over it when in use. It is extremely resistant to abrasion, so you can use it in areas of your garden with lots of gravel or stones, without worrying about causing damage. It may be tough, but it’s still nice and flexible, plus it’s very easy to coil up when you’ve finished using it. It may be a little more expensive than some extension cords on the market, but this is reflected in its great quality and sturdy construction.
15 feet long
13 amp, 125 volts, 1625 watts
Water-resistant and flame retardant
3 electrical outlets for simultaneous use
100% satisfaction guarantee
Iron Forge Cable Durable 15 Foot Outdoor Extension Cord is built to last and specifically designed for rugged outdoor use, although they are ideal for use inside the home too. They are super versatile, with 3 electrical outlets that can be used simultaneously. These cords are UL listed, with a three-pronged plug that’s grounded for safety. The prongs themselves are reinforced for strength, so you don’t need to worry about them breaking or becoming bent. The black cable is just what you need if you don’t want your extension cord to show – instead, it just blends into the background. Iron Forge Cable offers an excellent 100% satisfaction guarantee, so you can feel sure that you’re buying an extension cord that does just what you need it to.
20 feet long
13 amps, 125 V, 1625 watts
all copper wires
3-prong plug and 3-prong socket on ends
highly visible orange cord
AmazonBasics 20 Foot Outdoor Extension Lead has three handy outlets that can be used at the same time. They are bright orange in color – ideal if you need to be able to spot the cord easily due to safety reasons. The plug is three-pronged, as are the sockets on the end, and the cord is vinyl coated to protect it from the weather and abrasion from rough surfaces. You can use this extension cord for all kinds of applications around the home – it’s ideal for power tools like circular saws and drills, but is also great for Halloween lights and festive displays!
Features To Consider With Outdoor Extension Cables
It is important to look for an extension cord with an adequate length for your needs. For example, if you have a very long garden to mow, then you will need a cord that will allow you to reach all the way to the end. That being said, you should only use a long extension cord if you absolutely need to. Electrical resistance increases with every foot of extra cord, which means that the amount of power the cord can deliver to the devices it is connected to is reduced. For performance, always opt for the shortest extension cord possible to connect your devices.
The specifications for some outdoor extension cords will state that they are 'UL listed' or 'ETL listed'. This is good to know, as it shows that an independent testing agency such as Underwriters Laboratories (UL mark) or Intertek (ETL mark) has determined that the cords are safe for their designated purpose. In addition to checking that an extension cord has received this certification, there are other safety features to look for too. Some cords are brightly colored for visibility. This is important if the cord will be located in an area where it could present a tripping hazard, or be caught up in the blades of your mower, for example. Another good feature that some of the greatest extension cords have is a lit plug, which is a clear indication that power is running through the cord. Outdoor extension cords have other special features that make them suitable for use in the yard - they have thicker, more durable jacket covers that protect them from the weather and insulate the wires. You should never use an indoor extension cord outside the home. Three-pronged grounded plugs provide additional safety to cords designed for outdoor use.
One of the biggest factors when choosing an extension cord for your needs is how well it will stand up to the elements. Outdoor extension cords should be water-resistant, able to resist direct sunlight, and also able to cope with changes in temperature. An indoor extension lead is not designed to be weatherproof and would be dangerous for use outside the home.
Because of where they are to be used, outdoor cords need to be tough! Look for a cord with a thick, rugged coating that will protect it from damage like gravel, sharp stones, and even from being walked on. Molded plugs tend to be very durable and it's also a good idea to look for an extension cord with reinforced blades. It's easy to break or bend the plug prongs, but those with reinforced blades are much more resistant to wear and tear and will give you a lot more service.
The maximum load of an extension cord is influenced by two main things - the length of the cord and its gauge. The gauge of the cord (sometimes called the AWG or American wire gauge) is the US standard measure for the diameter of non-ferrous electrical conductors. You will often see it listed in the specifications for extension cords as a gauge number. A 12 gauge, 120V extension cord, for example, would contain 12 gauge wires and would be suitable for use with a standard 120V outlet. The lower the gauge number, the thicker the wire - and the thicker the wire, the more electricity it can carry. With longer extension cords, the issue of voltage drop arises - the longer the cord, the larger the voltage drop. This is why longer extension cords have a lower capacity than shorter cords with the same gauge number. A 50-foot extension cord, then, would need heavier wire than a 25-foot cord to deliver the full current rating that an appliance needs. 12 gauge wire is the ideal type for heavy-duty operations. When choosing an extension cord for your needs, the power rating is very important. If you try to use a cord that can't handle enough power, the appliance you are trying to use may not work properly. There are safety issues too. An extension cord that is overloaded can get hot, sometimes to the point of melting or catching fire. Refer to the manuals for your tools and appliances, as they will generally state the power rating for the extension cord that you will need.
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Number Of Outlets
Some cords will have more than one outlet, which is ideal if you want to run multiple appliances simultaneously. The only thing to beware of here is the risk of overloading the cord - so if you plan to use multiple appliances, make sure that the power needs of all of them combined aren't too much for your cord to handle safely.
Outdoor Extension Cord FAQ
Q: Can you leave outdoor extension cords outside?
It is generally not recommended to leave extension cords outside for more than a few days. Extension cords are intended to supply power on a temporary basis and even though outdoor cords are designed to be resistant to sunshine and moisture, long term exposure to the elements can do them damage and cause their coating to break down. This can lead to sparking and may also cause electric shocks or even fire. For the same reason, you should avoid placing extension cords in areas that you know will get very wet. If you have an outdoor feature that needs a constant source of power, then it would be best to seek a permanent wiring solution. You should also avoid storing cords outside, which can cause damage and considerably shorten their life. The best option is to unplug them after use, coil them carefully (to avoid twisting or kinking) then hang them in a dry indoor area. Always inspect the cord before use after storing it for some time and make sure there are no cracks in the insulation or any exposed wire.
Q: Are outdoor extension cords safe in rain?
Whilst outdoor cords are designed to be as weatherproof as possible, it is still a good idea to protect them from rain for safety reasons. For extra security, you should use a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) along with your cord if you don't already have GFCI protected outlets installed outside your property. All you need to do is plug the GFCI adapter into your outlet, then plug the cord into the adapter. If the GFCI detects that power is flowing through water, it will act as a circuit breaker and immediately shut it off. In order to avoid the risk of electric shock, be sure to plug the GFCI adapter into the outlet before plugging in the extension cord.
Q: How do I know if my extension cord is for outdoor use?
When buying a cord the packaging should clearly indicate whether or not it is rated for outdoor use. There are other things to look for, too. A 'W' on the packaging or on the cord itself indicates that it is weatherproof and designed to use outside. Another sign is the plug - cords meant for outdoor use always have three-pronged plugs, with the third prong serving as a grounding wire. Indoor extension cords usually have only two-prong plugs. Finally, outdoor cords are a lot better insulated, with a heavy - sometimes brightly colored - jacket to insulate the wires and protect against sun, moisture, and temperature fluctuations.
Q: What gauge extension cord do I need?
The gauge (or thickness) of the wire directly relates to how much current it can carry. A 16 gauge cord is considered to be light-duty and is ideal for things like portable box fans, hedge trimmers, and outdoor string lights. 14 gauge wire - which is thicker than 16 gauge wire - is considered to be a medium-duty. It is suitable for corded lawn mowers, drills and table saws up to around 100 feet. After that, the voltage drop would make it more suitable for less powerful appliances like lights and fans. 12 gauge wire is found in heavy-duty extension cords and is suitable for appliances such as chainsaws, circular saws, and shop vacs. It's always a good idea to go for a higher gauge wire than you think you might need.
Choose and Use Extension Cords Safely - Safe Electricity
How to Tell If an Extension Cord Is for Outdoor Use - Mr. Electric
Safer Ways to Use Extension Cords - Indiana Electric Cooperatives