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Power Outlets, Extension Cords and Protectors

Indoor Extension Cords vs. Outdoor Extension Cords

There's nothing better than a good extension cord when your lighting or equipment just can't reach the outlet. While all extension cords may look the same, there are some important differences that dictate where you can use indoor extensions cords or outdoor extension cords. All extension cords have ratings stamped on insulation/jackets so that you know where they can be used, along with the wire gauge.

Outdoor extension cords can be used indoors or outdoors while indoor extension cords are primarily indoor only. In a pinch, you can use an indoor extension cord outdoors on a sunny day (no rain or sprinklers) for small things like a hand sander or heat gun. The indoor extension cord should be wrapped up and brought back inside as soon as the project is finished. Do not try to use an indoor extension cord to power your leaf blower. Indoor extension cords can't be used outdoors for permanent or semi-permanent installations such as Christmas light displays either. Here are some differences between indoor and outdoor extension cords that will help you know which to use when:

  • Insulation: Outdoor extension cords have thicker insulation which is durable enough to protect against moisture, sun damage, severe temperatures, and temperature changes.
  • Length: Larger-gauge extension cords allow more electricity to flow through the cord, allowing the electricity to travel further. While outdoor extension cords can surpass 150 feet, you'll rarely find indoor extension cords longer than 25 feet.
  • What the Cord Can Power: Chances are good that your indoor extension cord doesn't allow enough electricity through to power your leaf blower or table saw, but it can handle powering your vacuum cleaner, table lamps, and other small appliances. Check the gauge requirements of your equipment before using any extension cords.
  • Grounding Prong: All outdoor extension cords have a three prong plug with grounding wire that reduces the risk of electrical shock. Even indoors, three prong cords should only be used with three prong grounded outlets. Do not connect a two prong and three prong cord together in order to use the three prong cord in a two prong outlet. While an indoor extension cord may have a three prong outlet as well (and should also only be used with a three prong outlet), most only have two prongs.

Outdoor Cord Protectors

Connecting multiple strings of patio lights or Christmas light strings? Each male-female connection needs a weather resistant cord protector to keep water from making a mess of your lighting display, outdoor stereo setup, or workshop. Made from UV resistant plastic, these extension cord protectors are NEMA rated for indoor or outdoor use. Use single plug protectors where two cords meet or a twist and seal cord dome to protect power strips and multiple outlet connections from a single hub.

Outdoor Power Outlets

Control multiple outlets from a long distance away using outdoor power stakes. These outdoor power stakes are colored green, which allow them to blend in with lawns and other outdoor areas. Every outlet on the stakes is paired with a cover, which keeps the outlets safe from the weather and you safe from electric shocks. Outdoor power stakes are ideal for use with Christmas lights and decorations.

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