How Does a 14-Gauge Extension Cord Work?
A 14-gauge extension cord is more durable than a 12 gauge extension cord and lasts longer. To calculate the size of a wire, engineers use a system called American Wire Gauge (AWG). The larger the number, the smaller the wire. The lower the AWG number, the smaller the wire size. For example, a 14-gauge wire is smaller than a 16-gauge wire (see table).
Wire Gauge in Inches Range of Conductor Diameters for Conductors Rated at Not More Than 75C (167F) Diameter in mm Approx. Area
Is a 14-Gauge Extension Cord Residential Safe to Use?
A 14-gauge extension cord is the finest choice for home power tools and appliances. Make certain that the length of the cord you buy is within your reach, but not so long that it becomes a tripping hazard. The 14-gauge extension cord may be used in kitchens, workshops, closets and garages, but should not be used outdoors.
Inspect the extension cord for cracks and frayed wires before you use it. Extension cords with faulty wiring can be dangerous. Replace any cord that is worn or damaged. Use a 14-gauge extension cord if applicable, but never exceed its amperage rating.
What is the Best Extension Cord For Your Needs?
Use an extension cord that fits your appliance and your need for it. If you’re using it for a power tool, look for an extension cord with a gauge rating of at least 16, but no more than 18. If you need to plug in several appliances at once, choose an extension cord with a higher gauge rating. A higher gauge will have a lower amp rating, so if you’re using it for several high-power appliances, you’ll need a cord with a higher gauge rating.
For longer runs, use a heavy-duty extension cord such as a gauge. For shorter runs, you can use a lighter-duty extension cord with an 18/2 or a 16/3 gauge. You can figure out the total length of an extension cord by using this formula:
length = (cable length) x (no. of conductors) x (no. of amps) / 110v x .21v
For example, if you have a 25′ extension cord that has 5 conductors and it’s rated at 30 amps, the length of the cord is:
25′ x (5) x (30/110) / .21 = 215′ [for a 250 ft. run]