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It’s essential to know the proper extension cords to fix outside if you want to power an electronic. Or maybe it’s the holiday season, which requires you to hang lights in your front yard. Extension cords are an essential item in every home since they make it easy to connect electronics to power sources. While there are numerous kinds you can use, there are only two ways to categorize them. One is indoor extension cables, while the others are outdoor ones. Outdoor and indoor extension cables differ, and it’s not advisable to use indoor ones outside due to harsher conditions. Therefore, before you start setting up your lights or connecting the appliance, you need to know the right extension cord to have outside. It’s the best way to guarantee your lights will remain on and the device will run smoothly. So how then do you choose the right extension cord to place outdoors? These tips should come in handy.


Length of the Extension Cable

Outdoor cables tend to cover longer distances than those inside. The leading cause of this is that more sockets spread over shorter distances inside than there are outside.

So as you contemplate buying a 12 gauge extension cord to use outside, find out the distance the cord needs to cover. The measurement will help you know the right length to buy from the hardware store.

Also, longer cords are safer than shorter ones due to resistance issues. When you have multiple cords plugged into one plug, it creates resistance, quickly causes a shot, or causes combustion. It’s due to excessive generated heat.

The Thickness of the Cord

Have you ever noticed that all outdoor cords are thicker as compared to those used inside? It’s a great safety measure that ensures you can use the cord safely in varying conditions.

Since you need more power delivered to the lights or appliances outside, you need to get a thicker extension cord. 

Thickness varies, and it’s best to note the best one to get before you make a purchase. The gauge of the extension cord helps you know what to pick. The higher the gauge, the less current it can carry.

Check the Symbol ‘W.”

An easy and straightforward way to differentiate an outdoor extension cable from one used indoors is to consider a few symbols. Check for the letter ‘W,’ which indicates that the extension cable is suitable for outdoor conditions.

The letter is mostly written on the extension cord or the packaging, but you can also inquire from the store attendant before buying it. The letter W helps you know that this is the right extension cable to use under certain weather conditions like excessive rain and snow.

High Amperage Rating

Extension cords that are suitable for outdoor use have a high amperage rating. It differs from that inside because the electric current needed outside is lower for safety reasons. So check to see the amperage rating of the cord before you get it to use outdoors.


High amperage discourages high electric current supply because this increases the chances of overloading and electric resistance. Both these instances can lead to machine breakdown and even fires to breakout.

Type of Plug

Choosing the right extension cable to use outside is a detailed process that needs a specific type of plug. While most indoor extension cables use two-prong plugs, those outside needs a three-prong one.

Since outdoor extension cables are prone to faults, the third prong proves useful by redirecting excessive current. It’s one of the main ways to reduce overloading and is an important safety feature.

Power Rating and Delivery


What is the power rating required? Every extension cable has a power rating, and this is important for those intended for outdoor use.

Also, each electric device you intend to use outside has an indicated power rating on it that can guide you when buying an extension cable. By noting the appliance and extension cable’s power rating, you can save on cost and energy.

Type of Electronic

Which device do you intend to plug into the extension cable? While most devices can use ordinary extension cables, some require further protection. For example, does the device you want to use a surge protector?


Noting the difference between ordinary electronics and sensitive ones is crucial if you want to protect them. Sensitive electronics require further protection using devices like surge protectors. They come in handy when there’s a current surge that can easily lead to overloading.

Final Thoughts

The right outdoor extensions will serve you well and protect all your electronic devices. However, you must know how to distinguish them from those meant for indoor use only. It’s not safe to use an indoor extension cable outside as it’s not manufactured for such conditions. Talk to an expert electrician to help you figure out what works best for you.

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