We often overlook the importance of choosing the right kind of power cord for the tools we are using. This might be the post that could save you big bucks and your health as well. Whether you are a tradesman or a weekend fabricator, consider the task of choosing the right extension power cord as important as you check your financial records. Even when you put these cords to their actual use, such as for temporary lighting, you often forget basic safety formalities. Therefore, when you are choosing a power cord for your workshop or home you need to be a little aware of your product use.

Like every now and then we’ve all had this thought in our mind of buying one long cord and use it for every purpose. Let’s clear out on this and understand why is it a bad idea?

Wrong Uses of Power Cords

For example, you have got a 4 ½ angle grinder plugged into the old 16-gauge, 100ft extension cord you usually use for the lamp lights. It’ll work in a proper way, but there might be chances that the body of the grinder heats up more than the usual. And it can get worst than this, the whole thing might just stop working. Giant equipment like electric motors have to pull more power to cover long distances; with a cord in perfect condition, if it’s thin, then the length will not carry the amperage needed to keep the grinder’s motor running in an ideal way.

Let’s consider another instance where you need only 50ft. You put the other 50 out of the way. The reason behind this is the half of the cord wouldn’t be exposed. But electric current is still running through it, and the heat built up from the wire’s resistance would further drop its actual capacity. If the wires get extremely hot, the heat generated from coiled-up power cords is prone to fire.

In such a situation, the resistance of the cord’s small gauge, the rolled-up length, and then draw of the grinder’s motor generates heat. These situations are not the ideal ones, and might harm your equipment.

Knocked and partially cut portions of your right-angle power cord cause more than just damages. They block the flow of electricity with added resistance and heat which lowers the capacity to carry the power over the full length. Therefore, keep in mind that a cut that exposes wire is like an electric shock waiting to happen to you. The solution to this problem is to buy a new male and female connector to make two smaller connections.

Talking about the ideal situations, you should have multiple extension cords available of various lengths, thick enough to supply power to your tools in a safe way. If you accidentally step into any of the shops, you will find the keeper normally running their equipment with a 100-ft, 16-gauge. But the truth is that whatever tool they use always heats up and is vulnerable to cause a serious accident.

There are many instances of power cord uses which reduce the power you expect from a cord. For example, multi-colored cords plugged into each other draped over and through toolboxes, cabinets, and tables held together with electrical tape. After this, there comes the power strips and splitters. These all type of situations are responsible for low power supply.

The Solution

You should store at least 2 to 3 cords for use. Like the collection of 14/3 and 10/3-gauge power cords. The 14 gauge tends to be super short and comes handy when you need a little extra to hit the wall socket. The 10/3 is around 25ft, heavy duty that can be handy for heavy power consumptions tools.

But when it comes to choosing a specific power cord like right angle power cords for your workshop, running multiple extension cords can be a little tricky task to handle. That’s why there is a reason behind using a thinner gauge cord here. If you go with a 14-gauge cord, it will power most tools.

Now, that you are aware of the correct usage of these power cords in your workshop, read ahead to know when you need to toss out and buy new power cords:

  • No mentioned certification or rating on the cords.
  • The cord doesn’t contain a three-prong plug and a connector.
  • The cord’s plug has same-size blades instead of modern plugs that insert into an outlet one way.
  • The wires have exposed the wiring.
  • The cord and plug have a poor connection.


The Power Cords are products that are easily misused, something that can turn into a major safety hazard. The uses of Power cords are varied by the equipment choice. But the dangerous situations arise when you substitute a longer, thinner, higher gauge cord than the recommended gauge. To eliminate such situations, you should consider investing in high-quality, thick-gauge power cords in different lengths for your workshops.