Tips to Consider while choosing extension cords

Extension cords are very handy when the appliance’s cord you’re using will not reach the nearest power outlet. But it’s important that you chose an extension cord that properly matches the appliance you’re using. If you are not sure, ask your friendly electrician on the Gold Coast to advise you on the correct size you’ll need. By choosing the correct type of extension cord, it helps to prevent fires and to ensure electrical safety for everyone.

These things should be considered while choosing the right extension cord for your appliance;

Length of the Extension Cord

An extension cord can deliver power over long distances, but it’s always best to use a cord of the right length as the longer the extension cord the greater the power drop.

  • Because the electrical efficiency is reduced with every meter of extension cord, it can affect the performance of appliances and possibly their safety
  • It also saves energy using a short extension as opposed to a long cord

Extension Cord Gauge or Thickness

All appliances and electrical devices have their amperage ratings written on them. These can usually be found plate permanently attached to the device or appliance, so you can check you have matched the correct extension cord to your device.

All extension cords are categorized by gauge or their thickness, the lower the number, the higher the higher their amperage ratings are, so an extension cable with a low gauge number is rated for heavy duty.

This table will give you an idea of which gauge extension cord to use

  • A 16 gauge cord is meant for light duty such as low wattage lights, portable fans, radios
  • A 14 gauge cord is meant for medium duty applications such as power drills, electric lawn mowers, electric hedge cutters, table saws and other medium wattage appliances
  • A 10 to 12 gauge cord is meant for all heavy duty and extra heavy duty applications such as portable air conditioners, air compressors, shop vacuum cleaners

A light duty appliance can be used with a heavy duty extension cord, but you should not use a heavy duty device with a light duty cord.

Indoor or Outdoor Use

Some extension cords are rated for outdoor use and are made to withstand the elements such as rain sunshine and freezing conditions. This will be clearly marked on the packaging the cord comes in.

High end extension cords

High end or higher quality extension cords can come with handy features such as power flow indicator lights and ground fault circuit interrupters. These are designed to help prevent electric shocks. They can also come with connection boxed that prevent accidental unplugging


Follow these basic safety tips:

  • Have you extension leads checked regularly by an electrician on the Gold Coast
  • Don’t connect extension cords together, get the right sized extension cord
  • Always check the cord before using and never gather or roll up a plugged in, extension cord
  • Be aware of where you’re in use, extension cords are
  • Don’t place extension cords under mats, rugs or carpets
  • Don’t overload extension cords


Always consult your friendly electrician on the Gold Coast if you have any concerns about any aspects of your home or electrical system, including the types and sizes of extension cords to use.