You’ll find extension cords list their gauges (their thickness), and in many cases will indicate how many volts and amps, or simply how many watts, they can handle. Once you know the power requirements of your devices on the receiving end, you can figure out which cable will be right for your setup. We’ve selected a wide variety of options below that can handle everything from long, 100-foot runs to short connections that just need a little extra wiggle room.
TL;DR — These are the Best Extension Cords:
1. US Wire and Cable 74050
Best Extension Cord
US Wire and Cable is out to impress with its 74050 extension cord. This cable delivers excellence in every way and offers versatility to power everything from your PS4 Pro to your home renovation. The 74050 can also be safely used outdoors, delivering reliable electricity for all of your summer fun.
Thanks to its 12 gauge copper wiring, it can deliver 15 amps and 1,875 watts of power. It’s also wrapped in weather resistant vinyl sleeving to protect it from the elements and remain flexible even in extreme cold. Illuminated ends quickly display whether it’s receiving power.
2. Cable Matters 16 AWG Heavy Duty Extension Cord
Best Budget Extension Cord
When it comes to value, it’s hard to beat Cable Matters. These standard, single outlet extension cords offer plentiful lengths for affordable prices. In fact, a two-pack of 25-foot cords comes in at only $15.99, and will leave you with a cable to spare!
These Cable Matters cords aren’t intended for heavy duty use and at this price we wouldn’t expect them to be. Still, they’ll work well for the vast majority of household uses thanks to their 16-gauge copper wiring, rated for 13 amps and 1625 watts.
3. Maximm Cable Rotating Extension Cord
Best Indoor Extension Cord
If you’re looking for the best indoor extension cord, look no further: this innovative cord from Maximm checks all of the boxes. The cable is white, so it easily blends in with home decor, and uses a flat plug design that doesn’t protrude from the wall like other cables. Once it’s plugged in, you can also rotate it and make room for other cables or reposition it for better cable management.
This Maxxim cable is strictly for indoor use, and while it will work great even for high-end gaming PCs, you won’t want to push it by running high-amp tools and appliances. Still, with 13 amps and 1,625 watts of through-power, it makes a great solution for devices that require extra reach without becoming an eyesore.
4. Voltec 05-00364 12/3 SJTW Outdoor Extension Cord
Best Outdoor Extension Cord
Getting ready for an outdoor party? Look no further than the Voltec 05-00364 12/3 SJTW Outdoor Extension cord. Not only is it outfitted with heavy gauge wire to power high draw devices and appliances, it’s also ruggedized for outdoor use.
The 05-00105 has a suite of features that make it the perfect choice for outdoor use. The wire shielded by a flexible jacket that makes it easy to use but resistant to water, sunlight, and rough use. It is also rated for use in temperatures from -40 to 140F degrees. If you’re working in the dark or just need to ensure the cord is still carrying power, a light built into the receptable at the end of the cord will make it easy to see.
5. AmazonBasics Indoor 3 Prong Extension Power Strip
Best Light Duty Extension Cord
Sometimes it’s best to keep things simple, and that’s where this handy 2-pack of extension cords from AmazonBasics comes in. Available in 6, 8, or 12-foot lengths, these extension cords have the same size and shape as normal lightweight devices: thin, narrow, and easily routable. It does get a bit bigger at the end, but that’s because it terminates in a 3-outlet power strip, complete with ground ports for three-prong devices.
Despite its svelte look, this AmazonBasics extension cord is quite capable, transferring 13 amps and 1,625 watts of power. Amazon doesn’t list a wire gauge, but based on the specs it’s likely 16-gauge, so you’ll want to stick to light duty use with this one.
6. Iron Forge Cable Illuminated Extension Cord
Best Heavy Duty Extension Cord
If you need a heavy duty extension cord, look no further than this Iron Forge Cable. Rated at 15 amps and 1,875 watts, it’s capable of driving major power tools and household items alike.
The real selling point of this cable is its use of 10 gauge wire. Using a thicker wire allows this extension cord to offer consistent power, even over the course of big projects with seriously beefy power tools. Where other cables would fail and become a fire risk, this extension cord will stand up to the heat. Literally.
7. meross Smart Power Strip
Best Smart Extension Cord
With smart home gadgets becoming far more common, why bother adding a simple extension cable to your home? With the meross Smart Power Strip, you’ll be getting a six-foot extension cord, and quite a bit more. The power strip offer surge protection, so you’re keeping your electronics safer than you would with a standard extension cord. The strip has four outlets with a bit of space between them, letting you connect a small handful of your devices. It also has four USB-A port you can use to power or charge smaller electronics with up to 5V/4A total or 5V/2.4A for a single gadget.
Of course, this is a smart device, so you can connect it to your home Wi-Fi and get advanced control over it. With the meross app, you’ll be able to control the four AC outlets individually and the four USB ports as a group. You can set timers for when plugs turn on or off, and even control them when you’re away from home. Apple HomeKit, Google Assistant, and Amazon Alexa voice control are also all supported.
8. AmazonBasics 16/3 Vinyl Outdoor Extension Cord
Best Extended Length Extension Cord
Looking for something with a little more length? Amazon has come to your rescue with the AmazonBasics 16/3 Vinyl Outdoor Extension Cord. Available in bright orange for visibility and green for when you want it to blend in, this cable is made for outdoor use in short or long-term use, such as driving a seasonal display. The best part? You can pick up the full 100-foot length for only $25!
This AmazonBasics Vinyl Extension cord is a perfect fit for lawn projects where you need power across the yard. This green version is rated for 13 amps and 1,625 watts: more than enough for most electric lawn equipment. The orange version is rated for slightly less but still offers plenty of juice for most applications. It’s also coated in vinyl to resist the elements.
9. Belkin 12-Outlet Surge Protector
Best Extension Power Strip
Looking for the best of both worlds? Belkin has you covered with their 12-Outlet Surge Protector with 10-foot Cord. Not only does it provide a length worthy of most living spaces, its surge protection qualities are the perfect fit for safeguarding your expensive electronics.
This hybrid surge protector/extension cord is the perfect fit for making sure your gaming PC is able survive dangerous storms and power outages. It’s able to absorb an impressive 4,156 joules and 6,000 volts of spike voltage. It even has a limited lifetime warranty so you can buy with confidence. Just remember, surge protectors do eventually wear out and lose their protection, so plan on replacing it every 3-5 years.
10. Eshldty Outdoor Power Strip Surge Protector
Best Waterproof Extension Cord
A lot of extension cords have some form of surge protection to guard your connected devices, but the Eshldty Outdoor Power Strip Surge Protector takes its safety features a lot further. This power strip includes three outlets to let you protect a few devices at once, and it can handle power surges up to 1,500 joules.
So far, that doesn’t make it terribly exceptional, but it can actually withstand splashed liquids with an IPX6 rating. In other words, it’ll even work in the rain (though it should not be submerged). This will let you use the Eshldty power strip in environments you wouldn’t want to use a lot of other power strips. It also has a few additional safety features, including plugs that require more force to insert or remove power cords (a child-safety feature), shock-proofing to prevent power from running through various metallic objects inserted into the plugs, and flame retardance up to 1,382 degrees Fahrenheit.
What To Look for in an Extension Cord
Shopping for an extension cord isn’t the most complex task, but there are still a few things to keep in mind. If you want to be sure to find the cable that matches your needs, here’s what you need to look for.
The first thing you need to look for is what size wire the extension cord uses, referred to as its “gauge” or “AWG.” A wire’s gauge is its diameter, and the lower the gauge, the higher its diameter. A lower gauge extension cord is a good fit for heavy duty devices that draw a lot of power. Whereas high gauge extension cords are a better fit for smaller household devices.
Hand in hand with gauge, pay close attention to the level of current an extension cord is rated to carry, which is usually listed in amperage and wattage. Before choosing an extension cord, be sure to check the electricity needs of the device you intend to power. Never try to overpower your extension cord. If it’s rated for 10 amps, stick to that. Over taxing an extension cord can cause the cord to fail or even cause a fire. It’s always a good idea to get a little more than what you need than cutting it too close.
Likewise, think of every place you may need to use this extension cord and choose the type that matches your needs. Many are rated for both indoor and outdoor use, which usually means they offer water resistance, but don’t count on that. Read the descriptions and don’t push any electrical cord beyond its intended purpose.
Finally, no matter what you intend to use it for, remember that extension cords are temporary solutions. A well-made cord will last many years but is no replacement for a dedicated outlet. If you plan on keeping the device you’re powering in its position, it’s often a wiser idea to pay a professional to place an outlet in a convenient position, both for aesthetics and long-term safety.
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Chris Coke is a tech critic that cares way too much about mechanical keyboards. Check him out at IGN, MMORPG.com, or PC Perspective. Follow him on Twitter @gamebynight.