Have you ever struggled to keep your lawn looking fresh or set up festive outdoor lighting? Sure, most people have definitely gotten frustrated before trying to host a barbecue when the outdoor outlet just wouldn’t reach far enough for all the equipment.
Your old ratty extension cord might have seen better days, after so many seasons in the elements but it’s hanging on by a thread! The last thing you want when guests are over is to be troubleshooting electrical issues.
That’s why this article provides complete details on the selection, benefits and types of heavy-duty outdoor extension cords.
Benefits of Outdoor Extension Cord
A durable outdoor extension cord boasts several advantages over indoor varieties.
An Outdoor extension cord made of heavy-duty and weather-resistant materials like PVC or rubber insulation stands up to rain, snow, heat and cold while maintaining electrical integrity. Extra insulation provides an important layer of protection against shocks or shorts.
Cords with thicker gauges sustain less power loss over longer lengths for stable performance further from the outlet. Some feature molded plugs that lock in place to prevent accidental disconnection.
Flexible yet tough cords resist tangling and damage from lawn equipment or falling branches. Many options include surge protection to safeguard connected devices from power fluctuations.
Multi-outlet designs power multiple appliances without additional splitters or adapters. Overall, an outdoor-rated extension cord optimized for weather conditions delivers safe, dependable power where you need it in the yard.
Key Features to Look for in Outdoor Extension Cords
When shopping for an outdoor extension cord, focus on key attributes that suit your needs.
Consider the length required to reach all intended use areas comfortably without over-extension. Heavier gauges like 12/3 are best for high-wattage tools, while 16/3 still works well for most yard tasks. Cords insulated with PVC, rubber or polyethylene vinyl acetate (PVA) shed water effectively.
Look for cords with labels verifying outdoor use along with specifications for voltage, wattage and current ratings.
Other valuable features include moulded plugs, surge protection, multi-outlet designs and coiled retraction for tangle-free storage. Durability indicators like flexible jacket materials, reinforced ends, and strain relief add long-term value.
Weather Resistance and Outdoor Extension Cords
For extension cords intended for outdoor use, weather resistance is paramount. Standard indoor cords lack protective layers, allowing water to seep over time and corrode internal wiring. This poses electrocution hazards, especially when wet.
Outdoor extension cords feature rugged outerwear jackets made from weatherproof materials like rubber or PVC that repel water, preventing moisture from reaching internal components.
Some use reinforced ends and strain relief to protect plugs and sockets from damage. Cords with UV protection resist degradation from sun exposure as well. Look for cords with wet location ratings to ensure safe performance even in rainy or damp conditions around the yard and garden.
Different Types of Outdoor Extension Cords
Not all outdoor extension cord needs are the same. Consider your specific applications to choose the right type. Basic single-outlet cords extend power to one device but take up less storage space.
Multi-outlet extension cords feature multiple-spaced outlets to run multiple appliances on one cord. Flat cords lay flatter on the ground without tripping hazards. Kink-resistant hoses prevent tangling.
Some speciality cords include designs for spooling onto reels or integrating lighting for nighttime visibility. Extension cords are also made for submersible use to power fountain pumps or other underwater needs safely. Choosing the right design maximizes safety and convenience for your unique yard tasks and equipment.
Safety Tips for Using Outdoor Extension Cords
While outdoor extension cords enable convenient power access, safety must come first.
Inspect cords for damage before each use, and do not use any with cracked or exposed wiring.
- Only use cords rated for outdoor use.
- Do not run cords through standing water or areas where they could be submerged.
- Position cords away from high-traffic areas to avoid tripping hazards.
- Consider burying cords a few inches below ground level if they cross walkways or driveways.
- Never place extension cords in direct sunlight when not in use, as heat can damage insulation over time.
- Always fully unwind extension cords to avoid overheating.
- Use GFCI-protected outlets for the highest protection against shocks near water sources.
Outdoor extension cords provide invaluable power access for yard maintenance, projects and activities. Choosing a cord optimized for weather resistance, durability, and your unique needs delivers safe, dependable performance.
Proper installation, inspection and storage also prevent hazards. As technology progresses, extension cords will continue enhancing the outdoor experience.
So do your tools, appliances, and yourself a favor – retire that old beater cord and upgrade to something you can rely on year after year. Your guests and insurance company will thank you!