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In preparation for the holiday season and the inevitable projects that will be coming up when we move into our new home in a few weeks. I was wondering if there are any recommendations for good, quality, reliable extensions cords and what gauge you guys go with typically. My current selection of cords are from my father and are all 14-18ga and are 10-25 years old. I used them for a number of projects this summer and even in 20amp outlets I kept tripping the breakers :banghead: Most of my tools aside from my table saw, miter saw and circular saw are cordless. Naturally one of these three beasts are always needed when doing wood carpentry work for a shed or workshop or whatever else the wife throws at me.

I've been looking heavily at the (don't make fun of the cheesy name) Badass Extensions Cords brand. I figured it would be worth while to get a 10ga x 100' w/ triple tap, 12ga x 50' w/ triple tap, and a 12ga x 25' w/ triple tap, as well as a 3' inline GFCI w/ triple tap.

https://www.badassextensioncords.com

Any suggestions in regards to a brand? Box store, online or specialty store? Overkill with the gauge wiring vs length?

Any input is greatly appreciate, thank you
 

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I have a couple 100 ft 12/3 Coleman extension cords that I bought several years ago and they are holding up great. They are high visibility yellow and have an illuminated receptacle end (so you know power is on). I also have several other Coleman extension cord products including distributing blocks and a 10/3 25ft cord I use with a small welder. All of them have been top notch. I'm sure there are probably better and more expensive cords out there but These are hard to beat.

The 100ft 12/3 cord was around $50 from Amazon.
 

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Wire are wire. From an electrical standpoint a 100' 12AWG cord from Harbor Freight will be no worse than a "name" brand or one you make yourself. The mechanical quality may differ, of course. Kinda like the "Monster" brand AV cables. They are very nicely made, but electrically no different than a cheap cable made from adequately shielded wire.

An extension cord will not make a breaker trip all on its own, meaning that a "good" cord will not trip and a "bad" cord will with the same load and circumstances. You're either exceeding the rated current draw (agree not likely with a 20A outlet) or you are causing a ground fault which is defined as either more current flowing out the hot then returning through the neutral OR any current flowing through the safety ground, I can make a GFCI trip just by plugging in an extension cord and leaving it on my lawn during a rainstorm. No load at all. You'll get enough leakage current to trip the GFCI. That's how they're supposed to work.

Al
 

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Wire are wire. From an electrical standpoint a 100' 12AWG cord from Harbor Freight will be no worse than a "name" brand or one you make yourself. The mechanical quality may differ, of course. Kinda like the "Monster" brand AV cables. They are very nicely made, but electrically no different than a cheap cable made from adequately shielded wire.
I agree... wire is wire. But as you say connectors are not connectors. The ends that are put on extension cords can be vastly different when comparing an el-cheapo cord to a better quality cord. This is especially true for the receptacle end. Super cheap cords have super cheap receptacles which use the minimum amount of metal possible to establish a mechanical connection. Just like with cheap household wall receptacles you will find a cheap cord doesn't have much "grip" on the male end of the tool plugged into it. The mechanical connection will also degrade quickly with regular use.

I've also observed that rubber is also not rubber. Some cheap cords I've had use rubber insulation which quickly turns to a stiff plastic like material as soon as the temperature drops below 50-degrees F.

When it comes to a decent quality extension cord that is going to last a while, the mechanical aspects of the cord are everything!

By the way, below is a post I did a while back which illustrates the dangers of cheap mechanical connections.

Counter top oven plug getting hot
 

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Wire are wire. From an electrical standpoint a 100' 12AWG cord from Harbor Freight will be no worse than a "name" brand or one you make yourself. The mechanical quality may differ, of course. Kinda like the "Monster" brand AV cables. They are very nicely made, but electrically no different than a cheap cable made from adequately shielded wire.

An extension cord will not make a breaker trip all on its own, meaning that a "good" cord will not trip and a "bad" cord will with the same load and circumstances. You're either exceeding the rated current draw (agree not likely with a 20A outlet) or you are causing a ground fault which is defined as either more current flowing out the hot then returning through the neutral OR any current flowing through the safety ground, I can make a GFCI trip just by plugging in an extension cord and leaving it on my lawn during a rainstorm. No load at all. You'll get enough leakage current to trip the GFCI. That's how they're supposed to work.

Al
Too light of a cord can make the breaker trip depending on the type of load. Take a motor...The light cord causes a big enough voltage drop to keep the motor from starting properly causing it to over amp.

The big thing about cords for us northerners is the insulation and jacket cold weather flexibility. That’s what separates the good from the bad.
 

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We use 12 gauge cords exclusively for our saws and as short as practical. Its not worth spending $500 on a miter saw and using a $10 cord. 12 gauge cords aren't cheap but IMO worth the money.
 

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Too light of a cord can make the breaker trip depending on the type of load. Take a motor...The light cord causes a big enough voltage drop to keep the motor from starting properly causing it to over amp.

The big thing about cords for us northerners is the insulation and jacket cold weather flexibility. That’s what separates the good from the bad.
I was referring to like vs like. You are correct that a variable inductance load like a motor can trip a breaker if the wire size is too small due to the motor starter relay never sensing enough current to shut off.

With a resistive load, there is a real problem as the load can be well within the limit of the circuit breaker but the extension cord heats due to I2R losses. It can get hot enough to melt and cause a fire without ever seeing more current than the circuit is capable of sourcing.

Al
 

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I've also observed that rubber is also not rubber. Some cheap cords I've had use rubber insulation which quickly turns to a stiff plastic like material as soon as the temperature drops below 50-degrees F.
I have a 50' (maybe less) 12/3 rubber extension cord I made myself with quality Hubbell connectors that I use for things like the table saw. The first one lasted 20 years before the rubber jacket hardened into a completely inflexible substance and disintegrated. Made a new one by buying replacement cable from Lowe's or Home Depot. Reused the indestructible connectors!

Al
 

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I just happened to buy a couple of new extension cords recently. I chose Yellow Jacket brand, made by Southwire and MADE IN USA. I didn't need anything in particular, but chose 12/3 in 25 and 50 foot lengths. They are SJTW, fairly flexible and I waited until I had some Ace hardware coupons when I bought them.

Most of my previous cords were 14/3, and running a 50 ft line and a 1/2 inch heavy duty drill, or a rotary hammer, there was a definite decrease in power.

I did a bit of research and the only ones available locally at a non-box store and USA made were the Yellow Jackets.

I also like Hubbell connectors and find good deals on Ebay, I use them for any custom made cords or replacement ends.

The other brands mentioned earlier look good, but I couldn't find where they were made on the websites. I prefer to buy USA made whenever I can.

Now if you want super heavy duty extension cords you can try to look for SO or SOOW cord, rated at 600V, they have super heavy jackets. Heavy and thick, but last and last. If you can't find them pre-made, make them up yourself and use Hubbell connectors.

Just my 2 cents.
 

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I have Milwaukee’s 10” cordless mitre saw, and both the 6 1/2” and 7 1/4 cordless circular saws (along with just about every other tool they make). Going to start work on my basement this winter and will pick up the cordless table saw, most people don’t think they have the guts that corded do but I’ve proved many wrong.

To answer your question about extension cords. Cut the cord and go without. It will completely change the way you can tackle
Projects
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I have a couple 100 ft 12/3 Coleman extension cords that I bought several years ago and they are holding up great. They are high visibility yellow and have an illuminated receptacle end (so you know power is on). I also have several other Coleman extension cord products including distributing blocks and a 10/3 25ft cord I use with a small welder. All of them have been top notch. I'm sure there are probably better and more expensive cords out there but These are hard to beat.

The 100ft 12/3 cord was around $50 from Amazon.
12/3 is satisfactory for a 100' run?

Wire are wire. From an electrical standpoint a 100' 12AWG cord from Harbor Freight will be no worse than a "name" brand or one you make yourself. The mechanical quality may differ, of course. Kinda like the "Monster" brand AV cables. They are very nicely made, but electrically no different than a cheap cable made from adequately shielded wire.

An extension cord will not make a breaker trip all on its own, meaning that a "good" cord will not trip and a "bad" cord will with the same load and circumstances. You're either exceeding the rated current draw (agree not likely with a 20A outlet) or you are causing a ground fault which is defined as either more current flowing out the hot then returning through the neutral OR any current flowing through the safety ground, I can make a GFCI trip just by plugging in an extension cord and leaving it on my lawn during a rainstorm. No load at all. You'll get enough leakage current to trip the GFCI. That's how they're supposed to work.

Al
The ends are definitely a big deal. Once those get slopping its all down hill from there.


These guys have a pretty good selection

https://www.wattswire.com/collections/all
I'll take a look thanks for the link.

I agree... wire is wire. But as you say connectors are not connectors. The ends that are put on extension cords can be vastly different when comparing an el-cheapo cord to a better quality cord. This is especially true for the receptacle end. Super cheap cords have super cheap receptacles which use the minimum amount of metal possible to establish a mechanical connection. Just like with cheap household wall receptacles you will find a cheap cord doesn't have much "grip" on the male end of the tool plugged into it. The mechanical connection will also degrade quickly with regular use.

I've also observed that rubber is also not rubber. Some cheap cords I've had use rubber insulation which quickly turns to a stiff plastic like material as soon as the temperature drops below 50-degrees F.

When it comes to a decent quality extension cord that is going to last a while, the mechanical aspects of the cord are everything!

By the way, below is a post I did a while back which illustrates the dangers of cheap mechanical connections.

Counter top oven plug getting hot
Loose connectors or cheap ones for that matter nullify the purpose. I'd rather pay to play than rebuy them before they truly fail.


We use 12 gauge cords exclusively for our saws and as short as practical. Its not worth spending $500 on a miter saw and using a $10 cord. 12 gauge cords aren't cheap but IMO worth the money.
12/3 is certainly cheaper than 10/3 :laugh:

I have a 50' (maybe less) 12/3 rubber extension cord I made myself with quality Hubbell connectors that I use for things like the table saw. The first one lasted 20 years before the rubber jacket hardened into a completely inflexible substance and disintegrated. Made a new one by buying replacement cable from Lowe's or Home Depot. Reused the indestructible connectors!
Al
I could put my own connectors on, I just prefer to go with vendor made.

I just happened to buy a couple of new extension cords recently. I chose Yellow Jacket brand, made by Southwire and MADE IN USA. I didn't need anything in particular, but chose 12/3 in 25 and 50 foot lengths. They are SJTW, fairly flexible and I waited until I had some Ace hardware coupons when I bought them.

Most of my previous cords were 14/3, and running a 50 ft line and a 1/2 inch heavy duty drill, or a rotary hammer, there was a definite decrease in power.

I did a bit of research and the only ones available locally at a non-box store and USA made were the Yellow Jackets.

I also like Hubbell connectors and find good deals on Ebay, I use them for any custom made cords or replacement ends.

The other brands mentioned earlier look good, but I couldn't find where they were made on the websites. I prefer to buy USA made whenever I can.

Now if you want super heavy duty extension cords you can try to look for SO or SOOW cord, rated at 600V, they have super heavy jackets. Heavy and thick, but last and last. If you can't find them pre-made, make them up yourself and use Hubbell connectors.

Just my 2 cents.
I've heard that name yellow jacket before, I'll look into them. As a New Englander I was definitely going with the SJTW to make sure it has flex in the cold.My current ones are not and once it gets frosty outside, might as well leave them the rest of the winter. The SOOW might be overkill for my application, no wenders or plasma torches to be used.

I have Milwaukee’s 10” cordless mitre saw, and both the 6 1/2” and 7 1/4 cordless circular saws (along with just about every other tool they make). Going to start work on my basement this winter and will pick up the cordless table saw, most people don’t think they have the guts that corded do but I’ve proved many wrong.

To answer your question about extension cords. Cut the cord and go without. It will completely change the way you can tackle
Projects
I will go all cordless someday however until the 60v stuff is out for long enough I'll stick with corded for the big dogs. I do however want a 6.5" circular saw. The 7.25" corded I could save for concrete or brick.


Thank you guys
 

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To answer your question about extension cords. Cut the cord and go without. It will completely change the way you can tackle
Projects
I will look in the Milwaukee catalog for M18 versions of a stock tank heater, stick welder, knipco heater, milk house heater, battery charger, etc:mocking:

I get your point...cordless tools are great, but I don’t think they diminish the need for good heavy cords one single bit.
 

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12-3 is a good size for power tools and I agree, better quality means BETTER QUALITY!!

On another note, I personally do not have anything longer than 50'. 100' long extension cords are too long to handle and are a PITA if you only need 40' and only have a 100' long cord. If I need 100', I plug two 50' cords together. :dunno:
 

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I will look in the Milwaukee catalog for M18 versions of a stock tank heater, stick welder, knipco heater, milk house heater, battery charger, etc:mocking:

I get your point...cordless tools are great, but I don’t think they diminish the need for good heavy cords one single bit.
I bet the M18 stick welder will have heavy cords.:lol:

I have a bunch of different extension cords. The yellow jackets are nice, which reminds me where is that one?
 

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12-3 is a good size for power tools and I agree, better quality means BETTER QUALITY!!

On another note, I personally do not have anything longer than 50'. 100' long extension cords are too long to handle and are a PITA if you only need 40' and only have a 100' long cord. If I need 100', I plug two 50' cords together. :dunno:
I agree. The 100 footers can be a pain at times. I use a reel like this for my 100 foot 12/3 cord.

 

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I have Milwaukee’s 10” cordless mitre saw, and both the 6 1/2” and 7 1/4 cordless circular saws (along with just about every other tool they make). Going to start work on my basement this winter and will pick up the cordless table saw, most people don’t think they have the guts that corded do but I’ve proved many wrong.

To answer your question about extension cords. Cut the cord and go without. It will completely change the way you can tackle
Projects
There is no question current cordless tools are very capable and convenient but with mitre saws and table saws unless you need to carry them around to a job site where you have limited power you currently pay a HUGE premium for the luxury of using a battery. While current cordless table and mitre saws can rival corded tools they typically require the use of the biggest batteries the company offers. That's 12Ah for the Milwaukee. So $500+ for the table saw and another $200 for an extra battery. That's a lot when working in the comfort of your basement where you can just reach over plug it in to a receptacle and not have to worry about battery life.
 

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I agree. The 100 footers can be a pain at times. I use a reel like this for my 100 foot 12/3 cord.

Do these reels have slip rings in them so you do not have to run all the cord off or is there another way to get to the plug end?
 

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12-3 is a good size for power tools and I agree, better quality means BETTER QUALITY!!

On another note, I personally do not have anything longer than 50'. 100' long extension cords are too long to handle and are a PITA if you only need 40' and only have a 100' long cord. If I need 100', I plug two 50' cords together. :dunno:
We had 100 foot cords for a time and I got sick of rolling them up so they were neutered to be 50s. A few have further been neutered to be 20s, 30s, 40s because my guys seem to think they can drive skidloaders, scissorlifts, telehandlers, and trenchers over them with no ill effects not to mention unplugging them from across the room. Ive even had a guy cut one in half with a circular saw in two different places. :unknown: Hey, they aren't paying for them, right? :banghead:
 
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