The holidays are officially upon us and many of us are digging out boxes of Christmas lights, ready to decorate for the season. There are many different resources out there to help us choose the best lighting options for our space and inspire us to put together creative and eye-catching outdoor lighting displays. However, there’s one important piece of the puzzle that’s often taken for granted – the extension cords!
What good is an extravagant lighting display without the power needed to light it up?
Selecting the best extension cord for your porch, yard or outdoor space can make the process of decorating for the holidays far easier. In this guide, I break down the important factors to consider when choosing the best extension cord for the job. I also share our top 5 picks to help you get started!
The Backyard Boss Top Extension Cords for 2021
|DEWENWILS Outdoor Light Timer with 12 Ft Extension Cord||Check The Price!|
|Yodotek 50 Ft Seven Outlet Outdoor Extension Cord||Check The Price!|
|ReelWorks Industrial 80’ Commercial Extension Cord Reel||Check The Price!|
|K KASONIC 6-Outlet Outdoor Power Stake||Check The Price!|
|DEWENWILS 25 Ft Candy Cane Outdoor Christmas Extension Cord||Check The Price!|
Why You Can Trust Us
I have always had a weakness for holiday decorating, going all out for every holiday from Halloween and Christmas to Easter and St. Patrick’s Day. Of course, this means spending FAR more money than necessary picking up all the supplies necessary to bring my vision to life. Each year, we add something new to our displays and with more decorations comes a need for supporting power.
In recent years, we made the decision to upgrade our electrical cords to better serve the decorations that we were putting out. This meant digging into the details of the cords currently on the market, finding out what factors set them apart from one another. In this guide, I have combined my personal experience and the information that I gathered during this research phase with the opinions of the rest of the Backyard Boss team.
Best Extension Cord with Timer
This 12-foot extension cord offers three grounded outlets and a waterproof timer that automatically control your lights, lowering your power bills.
Why We Like It: Avoid running up your power bills this holiday season by accidentally forgetting to shut down your holiday lights. The scheduling features available on the DEWENWILS Outdoor Light Timer with 12 Ft Extension Cord feature a dusk to dawn sensor, allowing you to program the lights. They can come on as the sun goes down and remain on for 2, 4, 6, or 8 hours, or until it senses the return of the sun at dawn. This will continue repeating daily, making it easy to set it and forget it throughout the busy Christmas schedule.
The 12-foot-long cord is longer than most available timer units, combining an outdoor timer with an extension cord. The heavy-duty cord is weatherproof and is rated as safe to use between temperatures of -40 degrees Fahrenheit and 140 degrees Fahrenheit. The timer portion has 2 built-in mounting holes on the back and right side to easily hang it up where needed and the right-angle plug allows the cover protector on our outdoor outlet to remain in place during use.
Who Should Buy It: The DEWENWILS Outdoor Light Timer with 12 Ft Extension Cord is a great option for anyone that is interested in scheduling their lights throughout the season.
Best Extension Cord with Multiple Spaced Outlets
Why We Like It: The Yodotek 50 Ft Seven Outlet Outdoor Extension Cord is specifically designed to accommodate larger yard displays by offering seven outlets. This allows you to easily plug-in decorations in different areas of the yard without worrying about running separate cords to each location. If the 50-foot size is too large, there is a smaller 25-foot option available in your choice of 12-gauge or 14-gauge wiring. Each of these outlets is outfitted with an IP44 waterproof cap to protect it from the elements when not in use. A blue power indicator light makes it easy to see whether the cord is plugged in and operational from a distance.
This highly durable extension cord is rated as safe to use down to -22 degrees Fahrenheit. It is made from 100% copper wiring which has been coated with FT-1 fire resistance PVC, allowing it to handle temperatures up to 221 degrees Fahrenheit. In the event that you do run into a problem, the company backs their product with a 1-year warranty and 3 years of customer service.
Who Should Buy It: If you are looking for an electrical cord that will simultaneously power multiple decorations across the space of your front yard, this is a great option to consider.
Best Retractable Extension Cord
Constructed with a commercial-grade industrial cord reel, this extension cord provides power for up to 80’ while conveniently storing without concern for snagging or tangling.
Why We Like It: With an impressive 80-foot cord, the ReelWorks Industrial 80’ Commercial Extension Cord Reel will make it easier for homeowners that don’t have outdoor power outlets conveniently available for their holiday decorating needs. When your extension cord isn’t in use, it easily stows away in a commercial-grade, durable extension cord reel free from snags or tangling. On the back of the cord reel, a steel swivel bracket includes mounting holes with slide and lock grooves for better stability and can be rotated up to 135-degrees. The cord has a built-in circuit breaker that will trip when the power is a little too much to operate safely and can easily be reset with a button on the side of the reel.
All 3 of the included electrical outlets are clustered together on a single connector. This electrical connector has a built-in LED light and a neon glow strip along the cord itself to make it easy to spot in low-light conditions. The extension cord itself is premium grade and resistant to acids, alkalis, water, oil, UV rays, and ozone. It is also flame retardant and rated as safe for use in temperatures ranging from -58 degrees Fahrenheit to 221 degrees Fahrenheit. The product was designed for use in industrial and commercial settings.
Who Should Buy It: The tough and durable design of the ReelWorks Industrial 80’ Commercial Extension Cord Reel offers significant reach, easy storage, and the ability to stand up to the abuse of regular or ongoing use.
Best Outdoor Power Stake
Why We Like It: This lightweight power solution comes in at less than 2 lbs, making it easy to move as needed, providing you with power anywhere in your outdoor space. The K KASONIC 6-Outlet Outdoor Power Stake includes six outlets featured on a double-sided power strip connected to a garden stake, allowing you to secure your power source outdoors regardless of the weather conditions. Each of the outlets features a protective flip cover to keep them safe in wet weather situations. At the base of one side, an on-off switch with a water-resistant circuit breaker makes it easy to turn off the power if needed while also keeping you and your family safe.
A 9-foot cord extends from the power strip, allowing you to easily reach your outdoor power outlet, even if it’s not exactly where it’s needed. The power strip and cord are both green in color, making it easy to incorporate with your gardening or landscaping without it being overly obvious to any passerby. If you do choose to use the power strip inside, the stake can easily be removed.
Who Should Buy It: Homeowners that are looking for an ongoing power solution in the yard or garden should consider the convenience of the K KASONIC 6-Outlet Outdoor Power Stake.
Best Decorative Holiday Extension Cord
Decorated to look like a candy cane, this outdoor extension cord will not only provide power to your holiday décor, but it will also look festive while doing it.
Why We Like It: Holiday lovers, this is a perfect extension cord option that will not only provide power to your holiday lighting but also offers a fun and festive aesthetic that will easily work into your seasonal display. This extension cord design features a red and white spiral pattern that gives it a candy-cane-like aesthetic. The length of the cord features two electrical outlets, evenly spaced, while a third can be found at the end.
Each of the three outlets features a convenient safety cover that will easily protect it from the elements including snow, rain, and dust. The extension cord features a 16 AWG wiring system that is capable of powering most Christmas decorations and LED light strands. The gauge of wire used in these electrical cords makes them highly flexible, easily adjusting your cords (as needed) around any other decorations or obstacles throughout your decorating efforts. This is an indoor/outdoor product, which means that it can be used effectively outdoors however it shouldn’t be left exposed to the elements for an extended period of time.
Who Should Buy It: The DEWENWILS 25 Ft Candy Cane Outdoor Christmas Extension Cord is a great option for holiday lovers that are searching for an extension cord that is both functional and plays into the holiday aesthetic.
Important Factors to Consider When Shopping for an Extension Cord
This is a factor that can be difficult for many people to understand, so we’re going to try to break it down in the simplest way possible. The power transmission refers to the amount of power that a cord can hold and provide to your Christmas lights and electrical devices. This is dependent on the gauge of the wires in the cords as well as the length of the cord.
The gauge of wire is measured in American Wire Gauge (AWG). The number assigned to each cable represents how thick the cable is. The lower the number, the thicker the cable and the higher the amperage. Due to the size and weight implication, most shorter cords carry lower AWG scores (higher amperage) while longer cords carry higher AWG scores (lower amperage, lighter weight).
Most of the cords that we have included on this list are more than capable of powering the standard LED Christmas lights owned by the average person. However, it is important to note that over-powering a cord for an extended time can cause damage to the cord or your devices from voltage drop or even pose a significant fire risk.
One of the most obvious factors to consider is the length that you require. To figure this out, you’ll first have to have an idea of where your lights and decorations are going to be placed. When you have determined the distance that you will need to cover, purchase a cord that’s even longer. Not only will this give you some room for error if you have measured wrong (after all, we’re all just human) but it will also give you extra length to navigate around any items that may be in the way at the time.
If possible, avoid ‘daisy-chaining’ your cords. This means connecting multiple extension cords together to try to reach a longer distance. Doing this adds resistance to the movement of electricity between the electrical outlet that you are plugged into and the item you are powering which can lead to heat build-up and a higher fire risk.
Number of Outlets
As mentioned, daisy-chaining your electrical cords can create a higher fire risk. With that in mind, you want to be sure that your cord will provide the needed number of outlets without having to add an extra cord. There are different ways that outlets can be featured on an electrical cord, depending on your needs. This includes clustering the outlets all together at the end of the cord, offering a cord that splits off to multiple cords each with outlets at the end, or a cord that features outlets spread out along the length of the cord.
Extension Cord Rating
Every extension cord has been rated using a series of letters, making it easy to determine which cord is best suited for your needs. This rating will be included in the product description of the cord when you are shopping and is also printed onto the cord’s outer jacket. While there are a wide variety of different ratings that can be used, the most common ratings include:
- S: Flexible cord suitable for general use
- W: Outdoor-rated cord suitable for use in wet locations
- O: Oil resistant
- J: Hard service with standard 300-volt insulation
- T: Vinyl thermoplastic jacket
- E: Thermoplastic elastomer rubber (TPE) jacket
- P: Parallel wire construction
The Difference Between Indoor and Outdoor Extension Cords
You may be reading this wondering why you can’t just use your usual extension cords from inside the house outdoors, especially if your only use for outdoor cords is once a year during the holiday season. It may seem like an unnecessary expense just for the holidays, however, there are some important differences to consider.
The biggest difference between the two types of extension cords is the fact that outdoor extension cords are designed to withstand exposure to the elements. During the winter, this means a durable, waterproof jacket to protect the cord as well as a thicker layer of insulation for use in colder temperatures. Outdoor extension cords are sorted into three categories ranging from light-duty cords for occasional use to rugged, construction-quality cords.
How We Picked
With so many different indoor and outdoor extension cords on the market, we recognized that it was our responsibility to help our readers understand which factors were necessary when selecting an extension cord for use with their holiday décor. This involved not only understanding the different cords that are available but also digging deeper into the features that each offered.
To narrow down the available options, we assessed the durability of each of the cords including their weatherproof ratings and their ability to stand up to ongoing use. From there we looked at the length of the cords, the number of outlets, and any additional features that the cords offered such as timers and mounting gear. Finally, we read through the customer reviews of those that have purchased and used the cords to better understand how they perform in real-life scenarios.
The Best Extension Cord to Light Up Your Holiday Decorations This Festive Season
While we strongly believe that each of the cords listed in this guide would be a great investment for your holiday decorating needs, there was one cord that stood out for the features that it offered. The combination of a durable 12-foot extension cord with the flexibility of the built-in timer makes the DEWENWILS Outdoor Light Timer with 12 Ft Extension Cord a great choice for any space. This year, set up your holiday display and allow the scheduling settings of this cord to take care of the rest! Not only will you be able to enjoy your lighting worry-free, but you will even save some money along the way.