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What Gauge Extension Cord is Needed for Power Tools?

Extension cords are lifesavers because they can come in handy when your equipment’s cord doesn’t reach the outlet when you’re working on a job. The extension cord allows you to maneuver when working efficiently and ensures that your power tool isn’t being stretched when in use. With extension cords, you can maximize power tools’ functionality by extending their standard reach. A good extension cord enhances productivity and allows you to finish the job on time. So, what gauge extension cord for power tools should you pick?


Without extension cords, you’ll find yourself searching for new outlets around the jobsite to continue working, which will increase your work time and cause unnecessary frustration. However, if you don’t use extension cords with appropriate safety measures in place, they can be dangerous to use. They pose fire hazards because they can overheat, which is generally when the connecting power tool requires more power than the extension cord can provide. The extension cord can even start to melt due to overheating.


Apart from the increased risk of fires due to overheating, using damaged extension cords can also seriously injure or burn you as well. They can also be a trip hazard for occupants as people can get their feet tangled and fall down a flight of stairs or on their faces. The best way to reduce the risks of using extension cords is to ensure that you find the right size and gauge extension cord for power tools. There are numerous sizes and types of extension cords meant for outdoor or indoor use, and they come in varying lengths and gauges.


How to Select an Extension Cord?

Extension cords come in various sizes, types, and lengths. However, the two factors that are most important in determining the extension cord’s compatibility with your power tool are:

  • Extension cord length – the extension cord length will determine the load capacity and power output.
  • Wire gauge thickness – How thick the wire is will affect how much the wire will get heated and the amount of current it can carry.


These two factors should easily allow you to find an electric extension cord that is the perfect fit to be used alongside your power tool.

What Gauge Extension Cord for Power Tools?

Amperage is the amount of power that the extension cord can handle; it is also called Amps. All extension cords come with an American wire gauge or AWG rating. The rating is the standard wire gauge system to measure the electric wire. With the lower AWG number, the cord has a higher capacity and becomes thicker. If you use an extension cord with an incorrect gauge, it can cause the outlet to overheat and the equipment to malfunction.


To choose the proper gauge extension cord for your power tools, you need to identify the gauge on the power tool’s cord. The gauge grade will be engraved on the cord, and once you know that, you need to look for an extension cord one grade lower than that number. It will mean that the extension cord will be thicker and can handle the power adequately your power tool needs to function at optimum levels.


What Extension Cord Size Do You Need?

Your extension cord’s length will also determine the amount of power that it can quickly provide to your power tool. A long extension cord means that the power will need to travel a greater distance. Increasing the length of the extension cord means that the total amps getting delivered to the power tool will be lowered, which will create a strain on the power tool and the outlet.


You need to ensure that you’re using the shortest length extension cord, which will reach the power outlet easily and allow you to use your power tool on the job site. In general, the extension cord shouldn’t be similar in length to the power cord because extension cords come with resistance. Long wires mean that there will be greater resistance, and less power will be delivered to your power tool.


Extension cords that don’t deliver adequate power to your machine will cause it to malfunction, because it won’t work at optimum levels. The motor’s life on your power tool will also decrease as it will need to work harder to ensure that the power tool is performing its job. Therefore, you should measure the distance you’ll need to move around when working with your power tool properly. That will give you a decent estimate of the size of the extension cord you’ll need.


Extension Cords Must Be Properly Stored

If you want the best performance from your extension cord, you need to ensure that it is properly stored when it is not in use. Without proper storage, your extension cord will become ineffective as it will sustain damage over time. One of the most common issues you’ll face is that the cord will curl up into different shapes and become entangled.


That happens due to improper storage of the extension cord. All extension cords have the propensity to curl up if they aren’t wrapped up nicely and stored correctly. Most people use their arms to wrap the cord around it, which allows the cord to be trapped between the hand and elbow. This wrapping method ensures the extension cord is packed nicely and doesn’t develop unnecessary curls when it is stored.


Our Final Thoughts

We hope you now know what gauge extension cord for power tools you should pick. Extension cords allow you to properly use your power tools even when it is far away from the electrical outlet. Therefore, you have a greater range of movement and freedom when working on a project. However, you need to ensure that you get the correct gauge extension cord for your power tool before using an extension cord. Follow all safety precautions and always choose the right length and gauge for the extension cord.


About Chris

When Chris first bought a house, he quickly realized that he was now going to need to be a weekend handyman. Every project that he worked on, he kept realizing that he needed more and more DIY tools. Chris is also someone who likes to do a lot of research before making large purchases. Since he had already done most of the research, Chris decided to put the info that he accumulated about his favorite daily tools onto