A cold weather extension cord. There’s a significant difference between a regular extension cord and one designed to perform in cold weather. Here’s my up-to-date opinion for specific extension cords among the best for cold weather conditions.
I researched this because I do use outdoor extension cords during winter, and I needed at least one cold weather extension cord, or two! I was tired of dealing with stiff unmanageable cords. So I found a few brands that I believe to be among the best for cold weather performance.
The main difference being – the outer jacket remains flexible when it’s cold, and won’t crack.
Has this happened to you? It’s winter (or cold weather on either side of winter), and you need to use an extension cord outside. Maybe for a snow thrower, or use on a job site, or for whatever reason..
You grab one from inside and use it. However, very quickly it becomes stiff in the cold weather, making it difficult to manage. And 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 for use! The loops will not lay out straight because it’s cold. Not flexible. Not manageable.
Yet another example… You’re a contractor. Extension cords are in the truck all the time. Now you have both problems exemplified above.
A regular extension cord is going to eventually crack and break during cold weather usage due to these problems. I’ve had that happen!
Again, a purpose-designed cold weather extension cord will solve this problem!
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 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.
Best Performing Cold Weather Extension Cords
There are a number of “All Weather” extension cord brands these days.
My chosen brand recommendations use Southwire (more about Southwire below). The brands are Polar/Solar and Woods (of Coleman Cable). Each provide options for length and wire gauge. I personally suggest 12 gauge wire for most uses with outdoor extension cords.
The wire itself, Southwire, is made in America. View the following choices on amzn:
Woods Extreme Weather 12/3
Flexible to -50C (-58F)
Polar Solar Supreme 12/3
Flexible to -60C (-76F)
“Southwire Company, LLC is one of North America’s largest wire and cable producers.”
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, we have an electric TORO ‘Power Shovel’ that’s used specifically to clear snow on the deck. Actually, Mrs. J works the deck, while I use a real snow blower to do the other cleanup. Here’s a photo after one particular snowfall (a bit much for the power shovel !).
The extension cord that we had been using for the electric TORO for deck snow removal would immediately get brittle and stiff. Good luck trying to wind it up afterwards… A pain in the @$$. That is until buying one of the aforementioned cold weather extension cords!
[ Read: Extension Cords For Generators ]