What to look for when choosing an extension cord

Outlets are not always enough to connect electrical appliances or they are located in a remote location. Then you have to use an extension cord or carry, as they are often called. At a construction site, you can’t do without it at all, especially when you have to work with a power tool at a height or somewhere in the yard. This product is indispensable in everyday life and work, so let's figure out how to choose an extension cord and which one is better for connecting household appliances, power tools and other types of equipment!

Cable cross section, length and type

The main thing to check when choosing is what power or current the electric extension cord can withstand. This information should be indicated on the packaging or determined by the product itself, now we will tell you more.

Sometimes people mistakenly believe that if an amperage of 16A is written on a socket or plug, then the entire extension cord will withstand this current - not a fact! To choose the right amperage, some electricians use rules like:

10 A per 1 square. mm conductor cross-section

And this in most cases works, albeit with slight deviations. That is, an electric extension cord with a cross-sectional area of ​​conductors:

  • 0.75 sq. mm - suitable for 6 A;
  • 1 sq. mm - 10 A;
  • 1.5 sq. mm - 16 A;

Extenders of large lengths (from 25 or 50 meters, including those made in the form of a coil) are made with a wire with a cross-sectional area of ​​2.5 mm in length. mm Firstly, to reduce losses, and secondly, to make the product more durable.

But for everyday tasks, such as connecting a washing machine or for a heater, it is enough to choose an extension cord of 5-7 meters long with a cross-section of conductive wires of 1.5 square meters. mm

For an extension cord, an electric wire of the brand is excellent PVA. It has thick insulation, a round cross-section, and the gap between the cores is filled with a dielectric, which improves operational properties and damage resistance. It bends well, but such a design is quite dense and an electric extension cord with wires of 2.5 square meters. mm is quite heavy and voluminous.

PVA wire

This wire is great for DIY extension cord assemblies. Often, electricians use a flat cord brand Ball screw. Its insulation is not too thick compared to the previous example, however, it is quite suitable for laying and permanent work, while at the construction site it will quickly become worthless.

ShVVP cord

And for working in difficult conditions it is better to choose an electric extension cord, which is made ofKG cable.

KG cable

The thicker the wire - the easier it will carry mechanical stress. But its thickness does not guarantee equally thick veins. On cheap products on the wire do not indicate the marking at all - beware of it.

So, first of all, the extension cord is selected according to the power of the equipment that you will connect to it, and the distance from its installation to the nearest outlet.

The design of the plug and sockets, their number

By the design of the plug and socket, you can choose an extension cord with or without grounding. At the same time, it will be difficult or impossible to insert plugs of Soviet electrical appliances into the embodiment with grounding contacts and deep sockets. To connect not too powerful household appliances (up to 1 kW), the universal version will be a version with shallow sockets.

Electrical extension cord

Structurally, forks can be cast and collapsible.

Collapsible fork

Cast forks will last longer, and collapsible forks to replace faster. Consider when choosing an extension cord the fact that instances with collapsible forks can often be counterfeit products, that is, the so-called samopal.

Fixed fork

It is also important to choose the right degree of dust and moisture protection. For use in the open air, for example, in a summer house for connecting a lawn mower or in construction for a welding machine, you must take into account possible drops of water. In this case, you need to choose an extension cord with the highest possible degree of protection, it is marked as IPxx, where xx-digits and the more they are - the more protected the device. In the photo below you see an example of a model with lockable outlets.

Water resistant electrical extension cord

Sockets can be from 1 to 4. Less common are models with 5 or more connectors for plugs. Do not buy a carrier with 4 outlets if you know for sure that you need it for a particular device and you will not connect anything else. In this he will last longer and will be safer.

Single extension cord

The presence of a surge protector and a power button

An important feature of using an extension cord to power electronics is surge protector and buttons to disconnect from the network. The surge protector is a device for suppressing electromagnetic interference caused by your equipment in the mains. Their occurrence is due to the principle of operation of pulse converters and will not be considered within this article.

Circuit protection

In addition to the filter, such devices are installed varistor, which protects the connected electronics from high-voltage surges and power surges, as well as a fuse and a button to turn off the power. It is convenient to use by de-energizing the equipment when you are not using it. Thus, you further reduce the risk of damage due to power surges if you decide to choose an extension cord with additional protection.

Which is better for different conditions

Consider several typical cases when you need an extension cord and which one is better to choose.

Workplace connection. Usually in this case there is a set of equipment for which you need to provide sockets:

  • For a computer - a system unit and a monitor or laptop.
  • For speakers and printer.
  • For a modem or router.

Total need from 3 to 5 connectors. The power consumption of this kit rarely exceeds 1, and even less often 2 kW (if there is a laser printer). Then you definitely need to use a surge protector similar to the topic in the figure below, but which one to choose?

Network filters

The best manufacturers of extension cords for computers:

  • Pilot - sometimes filters are called by this word, because this company in the market has long been well recommended.
  • SVEN is a brand under which an assortment of additional equipment for a PC of good quality is produced.
  • APC - Also known for their uninterruptible power supplies.
  • Defender is a Russian brand; good products are sold under it.
  • Xiaomi - no comments needed.

For a drill, it is best to choose an electric extension cord with one outlet, because it will last longer, it is easier to pull it on the wire when you drill the ceiling or holes for cornices and there is less chance that debris will fill in the unoccupied sockets and something will close.

Electric extension with one socket

For a garage, a power extension cord on a reel with a length of 25 meters and a thick wire will be useful. It is suitable for connecting a small machine or welding inverter.


The same option would be a great solution for a cottage, if you need to connect an electric trimmer or lawn mower.But note that you can not overload the extension cords on the coil, because in this design the wire can not be completely cooled when it is wound and its insulation can float.

For the home, for example, for a TV and similar equipment, any model of suitable length and with the right number of connectors is suitable, because modern appliances consume a little electricity. Whereas for a hair dryer, it is better to choose an extension cord with conductors of 1.5 square meters. mm

Connection of equipment

For an electric stove, it is generally undesirable to use an electric extension cord and connect it directly to the circuit breaker and RCD. But if we are talking about a small portable tile with one or two burners with a total power of 2-3 kW - choose an extension cord with grounding and a cross-section of conductors of at least 1.5 square meters. mm

Finally, we recommend watching useful videos on the topic:

Now you know how to choose an extension cord and which one is better for connecting household appliances, electronics and garden tools. We hope the provided tips have helped you choose the best option for your own conditions!

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