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Critical questions about workshop wiring

Choosing extension cords

Choosing extension cords

Q: How do I choose the right extension cord?

A: No matter how many outlets your shop contains, you may occasionally need an extension cord. Keep the following rules in mind:

  1. The longer the cord, the fewer amps it can handle, and the greater the voltage drop will be across it's length.
  2. The lighter the gauge (larger AWG number), the fewer amps the cord can handle.

For example, a 50'-long, 12-gauge cord can handle 15 amps. At 150', though, a 12-gauge cord can't handle more than 10 amps.

The lesson: For shop use, buy only 10- or 12-gauge extension cords that are no longer than necessary for the job.


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