Cold Weather Extension Cord That Stays Flexible & Won’t Crack
Has this happened to you? It’s winter, or on either side of winter, and you need to use an extension cord outside. You grab one from inside and use it. However, when you’re done, it’s next to impossible to nicely coil it up for storage — because it’s so cold and stiff! A purpose-designed cold weather extension cord solves this problem.
In the example above, the extension cord was initially inside where it’s warm. What if you keep yours in the garage where it’s cold? Now you’ve got another annoying problem… Unwinding it or un-coiling it! The loops will not lay out straight because it’s cold. Not flexible.
Yet another example… You’re a contractor. Extension cords are in the truck all the time. Now you have both problems exemplified above. Also, a regular extension cord is going to eventually crack and break during the winter due to these problems. I’ve had that happen.
Again, a purpose-designed cold weather extension cord will solve this problem!
My updated recommendation below – for the best value cold weather extension cord.
And it’s made here in the USA.
What is a Cold Weather Extension Cord?
Put simply, its design and construction has been optimized for cold temperatures. More accurately, ‘extreme temperatures’ (including hot). “All Weather”.
A normal outdoor extension cord works well enough during the off-winter months. But it will probably freeze stiff during the winter.
When the temperature gets colder and approaches freezing, a standard cord will get stiffer and stiffer as the flexibility properties become, well, less flexible!
This results in some potential dangers. Not only is it a pain to work with a less-than-flexible extension cord (good luck coiling it back up), the cord might crack. When cords crack, they’re unsafe because wires become exposed. And, they just stop working.
A winter cold weather extension cord has an outer jacket and inner cables with their jackets that have been optimized to remain flexible. It won’t get stiff or crack, and will remain durable, flexible, and kink free.
A little cold weather preparedness…
Best Value versus Performance Cold Weather Extension Cord
There are a number of “All Weather” extension cord brands these days.
I researched this because I do use outdoor extension cords during winter. I needed a cold weather extension cord! Or two! I was tired of dealing with stiff unmanageable cords. So I found what I believe one of the best values versus cold weather performance (there are more expensive ones out there).
Southwire Polar/Solar Supreme
“Southwire Company, LLC is one of North America’s largest wire and cable producers.”
They make 25′, 50′, and 100′ lengths.
Made in America
Southwire Polar Solar Supreme 12/3
(view on amzn)
Features & Benefits
Outer Jacket Constructed of 100% TPE (thermo-plastic elastomer).
TPEs are a physical mix of plastic and rubber. They consist of materials with both thermoplastic and elastomeric properties (temperature and flexibility).
- Solar Supreme SJEOW T*Prene
- WITHSTANDS EXTREME COLD t*preen insulation jacket offers superior jobsite performance by allowing the insulation to maintain its flexibility in the harshest environments
- HEAVY DUTY all-copper wire extension cord recommended for use with heavy duty equipment and tools
- HIGHLY VISIBLE bright blue and white jacket provides extra safety as well as prevents loss and theft on jobsites
- Oversized, clear molded plug prevent accidental bending or breaking and UL listed for your safety
- 15 Amps, 125 Volts, 1875 Watts
- Abrasion, chemical and oil resistant
“I bought this cord to accompany our electric snow blower. I wanted a cord that wouldn’t become stiff and unwieldy in Winter temps. This cord does the job well. Lying in snow and performing in single digit temps it has remained as flexible as my indoor cords.”
“It’s heavier to wind, but that is due to it being 12 gauge wire in order to carry adequate load to my snow blower. Excellent choice and the price was cheaper than other options!”~ a review of this cold weather extension cord from a user
Headquartered in Carrollton, GA, Southwire Company is impressive:
Similar to the reviewer above, I have an electric TORO ‘Power Shovel’ that’s used to clear the deck of snow during the winter. Here’s a photo following one particular extra deep snowfall (a repeating event that we regularly face during the winter). Actually, Mrs. J does the deck while I man the big snow blower down below.
The extension cord that we had been using up on the deck would immediately get brittle and stiff. Good luck trying to wind it up afterwards… So, this is another example of the benefits for a purpose-designed all-weather extension cord.
[ Read: Best Extension Cord For Generator ]
I have a few, nice in extreme cold.
Very annoying when you pick a cord up and you have a pole in your hand, bend it and it splits.
Or you have to warm it up to pre-shape it for your needs so it doesn’t self destruct.
Or last, keep it in the house, carry it outside in your coat to keep it pliable.
After my dog and sheep ate 2 of them I need new ends.
The old cords I sometimes preposition so there’s little fiddling and no damaged cords, when that’s possible typically to plug the tractor in.
Polar cords are $$
Something to keep in mind:
Electrical power (P=IV = I²R = V²/R) (Derivatives of Ohms Law)
P = Power, I = Current, V = Voltage, R = Resistance
And: referencing engineeringtoolbox.com for copper wire parameters
My point is……last winter I ran a 100 ft 14 AWG ‘extension cord’ from the house to the chicken mansion. In the Mansion there was one oil-filled heater. (500 Watts?) (Home Deepot/Lowes type) After around 24 inches of the white stuff, there was NONE of it around the extension cord. The heat generated by the current flowing through the cord, and its resistance, was enough to keep the cord nice and dry. Which also means there was enough power used through the cable to keep the ambient temperature in and around the cable above freezing.
So, what does all this mean? If you are using ‘extension cords’ to supply energy to an external abode…..being it chickens, donkeys, dogs, or whatever……and there is a clear, no snow path in and around your wires running power to the abode of afore mentioned family, that doesn’t abide in the ‘main house’……you might have a problem with power loss. i.e., A smaller than needed wire size. As the little ol’ lady, Clara Peller, in the Wendys commercial said, “Where’s the beef?” Get yourself a bigger cable….i.e. More Beef = more power!
Yeah, my 50’ extension cords are 12AWG, and my 100’ cords are 10AWG.
Voltage drop, especially with devices that have a high start-up surge current, can be significant.
It was 102 here yesterday. Having trouble relating 😁
I was ready for hot weather with spare window units, plenty of water and snow megadon this year has me rethinking lots of preps.
Hahaha, yes I suppose it was a little early to post a winter article – but I’m beginning to think about it at my location during this mid-September timeframe… waking up to the 40’s with that ‘chill’ in the air. Leaves starting to show Fall colors – then next thing ya know the ground will be white…
Not too early by any means! Stores order in cycles totally out of synch with seasons. You buy your Christmas stuff in July and August, Sumer stuff in February so getting decent power cords and other winter gear well before others even clue in is great planning. Especially if we have another crappy winter and everyone is looking for power cords generators etc.
Thanks for your ongoing articles and items of interest Ken!
Ken, Am starting to think that the only sensible thing the VP has ever said was do your Christmas shopping now.
Dd not tell US but told a foreign audience… Guess she thought we would never get that info… I do like making own gifts for others…having plenty supplies on hand keeps me sane, and busy…
Its been chilly in the mornings here too, unusually chilly for sure, i have a feeling this ones going to creep up on folks, be much colder than expected
Not too early to make selections ahead of the herd! we had temps as low as 59 this week early morning…a little early for that here, it is what gives a boost to the late summer and fall veggies.squash produces faster and tender.!
It was 85 here in the Midwest yesterday and 47 this morning. Definitely a change in the air, not as humid. I always start preparing for winter in September and appreciate hearing other’s thoughts and plans.
I am sitting on a cord of split post stacked and seasoned. I have 2 more cords to split but just can let work get in the way of dove season when last year we only burned 1/2 cord. Once it gets below 85 the urge will hit and I’ll get to splitting.