Reviewerst Generators Best Generator Extension Cord

Did you know that a generator must be kept away from living spaces? If you’re planning to use this device, ensure you have an adequate extension cord. This cable is designed to handle the power between your generator and plugged appliances.

But when it comes to buying a generator cord, there are so many factors to consider! In this review, I’ll answer the most common questions and take a closer look at the best extension cords for a generator. All models listed here are of the highest quality and have excellent customer feedback.

So, if you want to find a perfect generator cord for your needs, just keep reading!

Our pick
best extension cords for generator
Champion Power Equipment 48034
Best extension cords for generator
Resistant to extreme heat or cold, this cord stays flexible so it’s ready when you are.
Name Plug type Wire gauge Operating current Voltage Maximum wattage Length Review
Champion Power Equipment 48034best overall L5-30P to three 5-15R 10/3 AWG 30 A 125 V 3750 W 25 ft Review
RVGUARDfor manual transfer switch and RV L14-30P to L14-30R 10/4 AWG 30 A 125/250 V 7500 W 50 ft Review
Vevorheavy-duty N14-50P to CS6364 6/3+ 8/1 AWG 50 A 125/250 V 12500 W 30 ft Review
Watt’s Wirefor contractors male to three 5-15R 12/3 AWG 15 A 125 V 1875 W 75 ft Review

Important when choosing an extension cord for a generator

Gauge and length of extension cord for generator

When buying an extension cord for your generator, the first thing to consider is the gauge of the cord. The gauge is the thickness of the wire, and it is measured in terms of American Wire Gauge (AWG) – the most widespread numbers are AWG 16, AWG 14, AWG 12, AWG 10, and AWG 8.

Note that the higher the gauge number, the thinner the wire. The lower the gauge number, the thicker the wire!

A thick cord can handle more power than a thin one. Therefore, you should choose an extension cord with a lower gauge number (not more than 12 AWG) if you plan to use it with a generator.

A thicker look – fatter cord – usually means heavier gauge wires inside. But this isn’t always the case! It might simply be a thicker outerwear layer. So, make sure to read the labels before making a purchase.

The wire gauge in the extension cord influences the maximum length you could use. Here is why:

How does the length of the extension cord affect the current resistance?

The longer the cords, the more resistance they create. High resistance creates voltage drops. This, in turn, makes the generator run hotter and be less efficient; plus, it can easily damage plugged devices.

Generally, you’ll stay within 50 feet to run a cord from outside into the house. However, remember that the lower the AWG number, the longer cord you can use to supply power to your appliances.

Amperage and wattage limits of generator extension cord

Extension cords are rated according to the amount of amperage and wattage they can safely carry, both of which are determined by the wire gauge. When picking a generator cord, it’s crucial to consider the amount of wattage and amperage that the instrument or appliance connected to the extension cord will draw.

The National Electric Code (NEC) determines the cable gauge you need to use. Here are some examples of amperage limits for 3-wire extension cords:

  • 16 AWG = 10 amps
  • 14 AWG = 15 amps
  • 12 AWG = 20 amps
  • 10 AWG = 30 amps

It’s vital to consider these numbers! For instance, if you use a 16 AWG generator cord for a 15 amp device, the cord may get very hot and cause a fire hazard.

Note that various factors influence extension cord ratings; here are some specs when implementing ‘Ohm’s Law’ (P=IE) to the above-mentioned NEC wire gauge limits.

14/3 extension cord max. 15 amperes 1800 watts 120 volts
12/3 extension cord max. 20 amperes 2400 watts 120 volts
10/3 extension cord max. 30 amperes 3600 watts 120 volts

The “/3” denotes the presence of three wires within the extension cord’s insulation.

Plug types of extension cords for generators

When using a generator, it is essential to use the right extension cords to avoid any safety hazards. The first step is to identify your home outlet type and the type of jack on the generator.

The most common types of electrical outlets in U.S. homes are NEMA 1 (two-prong) and NEMA 5-15R (three-prong). They can feed devices with current ratings from 15 to 60A and voltage ratings from 125 to 600V.

There are 4 types of outlets on the generator: 5-20R, L5-20R, L14-30R, and N14-50R. Curved-blade, twist-locking connectors are denoted by the letter “L,” while others are the straight blade and non-locking ones. Now, let’s find out what numerals mean:

  • 5-20R – 2 pole – 3 wire grounding, rated for 125V
  • L5-20R – 2 pole – 3 wire grounding, rated for 125V
  • L14-30R – 3 pole – 4 wire grounding, rated for 125/250V
  • N14-50R – 3 pole – 4 wire grounding, rated for 125/250V

Once you have identified the type of outlet, you will need to find an extension cord with a connector that matches the outlet on the generator. If you cannot find an extension cord with a connector that matches the outlet on the generator, you can use a converter to change the connector from one type to another.

Types and materials of generator extension cord

You might see letters like SJ, SJT, SEOW, SO, and others that describe your gen-cord. Each has its own set of materials and applications.

The cable can be made of thermoset, thermoplastic elastomer, or thermoplastic. A thermoset cord has a thick rubber jacket and is extremely durable. A thermoplastic elastomer cable is a medium-duty material that performs well in low temperatures. A thermoplastic cord is only used for short periods of time.

Below you’ll see what the letters stand for:

  • S – severe service cord
  • SJ – junior severe service
  • T – thermoplastic
  • H – heat-resistant
  • N – nylon outer jacket material
  • E – elastomer
  • O – oil-resistant outer jacket
  • OO – oil-resistant outer insulation and jacket
  • V – vacuum
  • W – CSA weather- and water-resistant

If you are planning to use your gen-cord outside, make sure to choose a proper model.

Best extension cords for generator reviews

Champion Power Equipment Extension Cord – best overall

Champion Power Equipment 48034

The 48034 is a 30 amp extension cord for a generator rated for 125V use. It’s capable of changing the L5-30R locking outlet to three 5-15R household outlets, so you can power multiple devices at a time.

This 25-foot cord features a fan-style form for easy access to the generator’s power. But what I really appreciate in this item is its combination of flexibility and reliability. The 10/3-gauge wire is encased in weatherproof insulation (SJTW).

Champion Power Equipment 48034 photo

With heat- and cold-resistant thermoplastic coating, you can rest assured knowing that your power cord will remain flexible and perform properly regardless of the outside temperature.

Champion Power Equipment 48034 is the overall best extension cord for a generator. This high-capacity, outdoor-rated model is a convenient and dependable solution that allows you to run your generator from a safe distance, protecting you from harmful emissions.

Key specs

  • Plug type: L5-30P to three 5-15R
  • Length, ft: 25
  • Wire gauge, AWG: 10/3
  • Operating current, A: 30
  • Voltage, V: 125
  • Maximum wattage, W: 3750
  • Pattern: SJTW

Pros

  • Can handle high-power appliances and devices (fridge, deep freezer, heater, WiFi, TV, etc.)
  • Durable – will last a lifetime
  • Very bright color – less likely to trip over it.

Cons

  • Tiny molded ends – hard to get a firm grip to insert or remove from the receptacles.

RVGUARD – for manual transfer switch and RV

RVGUARD

RVGUARD is a high-quality NEMA L14-30P to L14-30R extension cord, which stands out against rivals due to its length, durability, and other great features.

I’m really pleased with this 4-wire generator cord construction and its SJTW jacket, which makes it sturdy yet flexible, promising convenient and safe use.

The 10/4 gauge wire is rated for 125/250V and will provide you with a continuous and undisturbed current. Next, it has a rating of 30 amps and can carry up to 7500 watts, making it super powerful.

rvguard with generator

The cord boasts a twist-lock design – it quickly locks into place and prevents the cable from falling off. Plus, you’ll have no vibration issues when your generator is operating for long periods of time.

Look no further if you need an excellent gen-cord for manual transfer switch and RV! With RVGUARD’s 50ft-long generator cord, you’ll never experience degradation of power!

Key specs

  • Plug type: L14-30P to L14-30R
  • Length, ft: 50
  • Wire gauge, AWG: 10/4
  • Operating current, A: 30
  • Voltage, V: 125/250
  • Maximum wattage, W: 7500
  • Pattern: SJTW
  • Option length, ft: 10, 15, 20, 40

Pros

  • Durable and powerful
  • ETL listed
  • Easy to roll up for storage
  • Includes carrying connector and storage bag.

Cons

  • Heavy
  • It may feel big and cumbersome for some users.

Vevor – heavy-duty

Vevor

Vevor is a heavy-duty 50 Amp 125/250V power cord that works with generators using an N14-50P outlet and allows you to reach your nearest power receptacle or electrical connection more efficiently.

Its 6/3+ 8/1 copper wire will last you for decades. More than that, the cord boasts 12500 watts of capacity, outperforming even our top list products – Champion Power Equipment 48034 and RVGUARD.

I love how easily this cable can be managed – it’s very flexible yet sturdy, so you can run this generator extension cord into the house or use it outdoors.

Vevor side view

Finally, with a safer twist locking design that keeps dust and rain out of your connection altogether, never worry about it slipping from your plug!

Vevor is the most heavy-duty extension cord for a generator available on today’s market! You can rely on its exceptional power and durability!

Key specs

  • Plug type: N14-50P to CS6364
  • Length, ft: 30
  • Wire gauge, AWG: 6/3+ 8/1
  • Operating current, A: 50
  • Voltage, V: 125/250
  • Maximum wattage, W: 12500
  • Pattern: STW
  • Option length, ft: 10, 15, 20, 25, 50, 75

Pros

  • Convenient length – 30 feet
  • Made of high-quality materials – pure copper and STW
  • Has ergonomic grip – easy to plug and unplug.

Cons

  • The included carrying strap is too small and lightweight for such a beefy cord.

Watt’s Wire – for contractors

Watt's Wire

What’s Wire 12-gauge extension cord for a generator was designed with constructors in mind.

Pure copper cords’ conductors effectively minimize voltage drops and meet 15A and 1875W, so this product will never let you down when the power goes out.

The cord is made of SJTW thermoplastic; this material helps the wire withstand various temperatures – from -40F to 130F. Plus, a high-quality vinyl jacket can handle concrete, but it won’t damage your floors or walls.

Watt's Wire on the floor

The cable has a clear triple-outlet head with an indicator light, which is quite helpful because it allows you to connect many electronic items at once and signals you when it’s hooked up to the power source.

All these features make Watt’s Wire the best generator extension cord for constructors. Besides, its generous length of 75 feet lets you connect any device in your home or office regardless of how far away it is from your generator.

Key specs

  • Plug type: male to three 5-15R
  • Length, ft: 75
  • Wire gauge, AWG: 12/3
  • Operating current, A: 15
  • Voltage, V: 125
  • Maximum wattage, W: 1875
  • Pattern: SJTW
  • Option length, ft: 2, 10, 15, 25, 50, 100

Pros

  • Long, heavy-duty, powerful cord
  • Customized with moisture, abrasion, and fire resistance
  • Sturdy NEMA 5-15 molded plugs
  • Meets OSHA and UL 817 requirements.

Cons

  • The ground terminal doesn’t sit in the plug deep enough.

Safety tips

Safety first! There are a few things to keep in mind when using an extension cord:

  • An extension cord must be rated for the amount of power that the generator is putting out
  • Make sure that the extension cord is plugged into a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) outlet, if possible
  • If you are using an outdoor extension cord, make sure it is weatherproof and rated for outdoor use.
  • Make sure that the outlets on your generator are covered when in use.
  • To avoid a tripping hazard, do not run an extension cord under or across any walkways or driveways
  • Do not use damaged or frayed cables
  • Do not place carpet or other things on top of the extension cord
  • Do not use a male-to-male cord.

How do I connect an extension cord from my generator to my house?

An extension cord is the cheapest and the most convenient way to connect your generator. All you have to do is to plug the cable into the outlet on the generator. The opposite end of the extension cord splits into several domestic outlets, allowing you to hook up multiple devices and appliances safely.

How to ground your generator?

When using a generator, it is essential to ground it properly to avoid electrical shocks. One way to ground a generator is to use a grounding rod. To do this, drive a metal rod into the ground and connect it to the generator with a grounding wire. Another way to ground a generator is to connect it to household wiring.

FAQ

Do I need a special extension cord for a generator?

Yes, using the proper extension cord is important for safety and electrical reasons. The generator’s AC outlet supply must match the AC power requirements of the equipment being powered.

What gauge extension cord for a refrigerator to a generator?

The refrigerator must be plugged into the generator through a heavy-duty extension cord. The gauge rating of the cord is determined by its application and based on length and amperage requirements. We recommend using an extension cord with a minimum of 12-gauge wire.

How long of an extension cord can I use with a generator?

The maximum distance we recommend is 100 feet, but that may be a bit longer depending on the type of equipment being used.

Is it possible to operate two extension cords off of the same generator?

Yes, you can use more than one extension cord with the generator. The number of cords you can connect to a generator depends on how many AC outlets it has and the amperage rating of each outlet. We recommend not using more than two or three extension cords, depending on how big your generator is.

Can you connect two generator cords together?

No, it is not a good idea to connect two or more extension cords.