Extension Cord Size Chart – Understanding Wire Gauge and Amps


What Is An Extension Cord?

An extension cord is a long piece of wire used to connect two points together. There are different types of extensions cords, which differ from each other in their size and length. These include:

16 Gauge (12-Gauge) Extension Cords For Air Conditioning And Boilers

These are the most common type of extension cords found in homes today. They come in lengths ranging from 6 feet up to 24 feet.

24 Gauge (14-Gauge) Extension Cords For Water Purification Systems

These are longer than 16 gauge and usually have a diameter of 18 inches or larger. They typically range in length from 8 feet up to 30 feet. Some brands may call them “30 foot” extension cords, but they are really only 15 foot extensions cords.

How Many Watts Can A 16 GAGE Extension Cord Handle?

The answer to this question depends upon what kind of electricity you want to run through it. If you’re running a water purifier system with a single outlet, then the number of watts will depend on your local electrical regulations. Most states require at least 1 amp per socket; however, some states allow up to 2 amps per socket.

Can You Use A 16 Gauge Extension Cord For An Air Conditioner?

Yes, but typically the cord will heat up if you run more than 1,500 watts through it. This is why it’s always a good idea to buy at least a 14 gauge extension cord for an air conditioner.

What Is The Maximum Distance For An Extension Cord?

This will depend upon what kind of extension cord you’re using. Manufacturers recommend that you never run an extension cord more than 150 feet from the nearest electrical outlet.

How Many Amps Can A 12 Gauge Extension Cord Handle?

This will depend upon the length of your extension cord. If you’re running a single appliance, then you should be fine with up to around 10 amps. If you’re running a refrigerator, you should probably not go over 4.5 amps.

How Many Feet Is A 10 Gauge Extension Cord?

A typical 10 gauge extension cord will range in length from 25 feet up to 50 feet.

Can You Use A 16 Gauge Extension Cord For An Air Compressor?

Yes, but it will get very hot if you’re running more than around 400 watts through it. This is why it’s always a good idea to buy at least a 14 gauge extension cord for an air compressor.

What Is The Best Gauge For An Extension Cord?

A 12 or 14 gauge cord is the best for running a sump pump or any other standard appliance. You can also use a 16 gauge cord, but it must be at least 10 feet long and you cannot run more than around 1,500 watts through it.

A 24 or 28 gauge cord is the best for running power tools such as a sander or drill.

It’s important to remember that you should never plug an extension cord into itself. You must always have at least one outlet between the start and end of your extension cord. You should also remember to inspect your cords every year and replace them if you notice any fraying or exposed wires.

How Many Amps Can A 16 Gauge Extension Cord Handle?

Most appliances and tools will not pull more than 3 to 4 amps, so a 16 gauge cord should work for most applications.

What Is The Maximum Length Of An Extension Cord?

The maximum length of an extension cord will depend upon the gauge of the wires inside it. The lower the number, the smaller the wire. The smaller the wire, the less resistance and the more wattage it can carry. Here are the maximum length recommendations for different sized wires:

14 Gauge Wire – 100 Feet

12 Gauge Wire – 50 Feet

10 Gauge Wire – 25 Feet

You should keep in mind that most extension cords will lose power with length. The smaller the wire, the greater the loss. If you’re running a power tool or a larger appliance, you may want to buy a longer cord or multiple extension cords so you can keep the loss to a minimum.

Sources & references used in this article: