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!
Best extension cord for generators
The best generator extension cord is the Champion Power Equipment 48034. The cord can carry a lot of electrical current and can withstand extreme heat or cold.
|Name||Plug type||Wire gauge||Operating current||Voltage||Max. wattage||Length||Review|
|Champion Power Equipment 48034|
|L5-30P to three 5-15R||10/3 AWG||30 A||125 V||1875 W||25 ft||Review|
manual transfer switch and RVs
|L14-30P to L14-30R||10/4 AWG||30 A||125/250 V||7500 W||50 ft||Review|
|N14-50P to CS6364||6/3+ 8/1 AWG||50 A||125/250 V||12500 W||30 ft||Review|
best for contractors
|male to three 5-15R||12/3 AWG||15 A||125 V||1875 W||75 ft||Review|
Best extnsion cords for generator reviews
Champion Power Equipment Extension Cord – best overall
The Champion 48034 is top of the line when it comes to generator extension cords. Champion is one of the largest manufacturers of generators, and this cord is designed specifically for generators.
The cord comes in a length of 25 feet and is rated at 10 gauge. You can use this cord for generators up to 3,750 watts.
You attach one end to the generator, and the other end has 3 outlets that can carry up to 15 amps each.
What I really like about this extension cord is that it is very thick and durable. It is weather resistant, which is great if you need to use the generator during unfavorable weather. That being said, you should still make sure that both the generator and the outlets on the extension cord are not touched by water.
Champion Power Equipment 48034 is the overall best extension cord for a generator. It is a heavy duty, 10-gague cord that can be used on generators up to 3,750 watts.
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
Can handles large appliances such as refrigerators, freezers, and microwaves.
Made by a reputable generator manufacturer.
RVGUARD – Best for RV and manual transfer switch
RVGUARD is another great generator extension cord, especially if you have a RV. This is because it allows for manual transfer switch. This allows you to use the cord to transfer power from the generator directly into your RV or home’s main breaker panel. This can allow you to power up everything in your RV or Home with only making one connection with the cord.
In terms of wattage, it can transfer 6,250 watts at 125 volts, and 12,500 watts and 250 volts. The heavy duty cord is weather resistant.
The cord also has a lot of user friendly perks. It has a handle attached to the plug which makes it easier to plug in and take out the cord. It also features an LED light which lights up when the cord is transferring power. Lastly, the cord is 50 feet long, which adds to its functionality.
Look no further if you need a generator extension cord for manual transfer switch or for your RV!
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: 7500/12,500
Option length, ft: 10, 15, 20, 40
Manual transfer switch
LED indicator light
Vevor – heavy-duty
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.
The cord is durable and weather resistant, and it can withstand temperatures as low as -40 degrees fahrenheight, and high as 190 degrees fahrenheight.
You can choose between a 25 foot or 50 foot length.
It can also be used to connect a generator to a manual switch box.
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!
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
Option length, ft: 10, 15, 20, 25, 50, 75
Can transfer up to 12,500 watts
Not too expensive
Watt’s Wire – for contractors
Watt’s Wire 12-gauge extension cord is great for any sort of construction work. It is 75 feet long which gives you a lot of flexibility, especially when working on large construction sites.
This cord can carry up to 15A and 1875W, which is enough for most power tools. Additionally, the three outlets are angled, which let you plug in three thick cords at once. There is also a convenient indicator light which lets you know when the cord is plugged into power.
This cord is rated at 12/3.
This is a great extension cord for job sites, as it is 75 feet long and allows you to plug in 3 different appliances at once.
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
Option length, ft: 2, 10, 15, 25, 50, 100
Angled outlets allow for thick cords to be plugged in at the same time
Indicator lights for when it is connected to power
Can’t power heavy machinery
How to choose an extension cord for a generator
When choosing the best extension cord for your generator, you should consider the gauge, length, amperage and wattage limits, plug type, and material.
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.
Safety tips for using an extension cord for a generator
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.