Are Cheap Extension Cords Safe? (5 Suppliers Checked)

Cheap extension cords are not a bargain if they fail to deliver the power you need.

But when you buy cheap extension cords, you might end up paying more than you bargained for — in safety hazards and repairs.

In this article, we will talk about the safety of cheap extension cords and the suppliers that sell them to help guide you in making an informed and safer decision.

Here’s If Cheap Extension Cords Are Safe:

Cheap extension cords are useful, but they’re also a possible fire hazard. Cheap extension cords often have inferior insulation and have little to no safety features built in. Low-cost extension cords can melt, spark, or even ignite if they come in contact with a heat source, like an iron or stovetop.

close up color orange electric extension cord

Are Cheap Extension Cords Generally Safe?

Is there a difference between the cheap extension cords you can buy at the hardware store and the ones that you get from a reputable online retailer like Amazon? Absolutely.

Cheap extension cords are made from thinner wire, which means they lose power faster than higher-quality ones do.

They also tend to be poorly insulated and can’t handle high-load applications, so if you overload one, it could overheat and start a fire.

If you’re planning on using an extension cord for anything other than a small appliance like a lamp or fan, it’s worth spending some money on a good-quality cord. You’ll get better performance and longer life from it, plus something that’s safer to use in your home or business.

Consumer Reports says that most of the cheap power strips it tested failed basic safety tests related to overheating, shorting out, catching fire or tripping circuit breakers.

For example, one cord caught fire after being pulled from its socket by a vacuum cleaner as it was being vacuumed.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that about 200 house fires per year are caused by faulty extension cords.

The problem with cheap cords is that many don’t meet UL standards for electrical performance and durability. These standards are designed to ensure that all electrical components (including those made overseas) meet minimum requirements for safety, reliability and durability.

According to Consumer Reports magazine, most extension cord fires occur during outdoor activities such as yardwork or holiday lighting displays when people use improper methods for storing and using their cords.

Read our blog here about do extension cords reduce power?

How Can You Tell If an Extension Cord Is Safe?

When you have to buy an extension cord, there are a number of factors that you must consider.

Most people do not realize how important the safety of their electrical equipment is until it is too late and they have suffered from a power surge or fire.

When you go out to buy cheap extension cords, you want to make sure that they are safe and that they will not cause any damage to your appliances.

However, there are some things that you need to look out for when buying cheap extension cords:

  • Look at the Rating Label:
    • The first thing that you should do when examining any electrical device is to look at the ratings label. This label will give you all of the information that you need about your cord, including its capacity and its voltage rating. If the label says that it is rated for indoor use only, then it probably doesn’t meet safety codes and should not be used outdoors or in any other situation where it could get wet.
  • Check for Damage:
    • Another important thing to check for when examining an extension cord is damage. Extension cords are often run across lawns and other places where they can get cut by rocks or other debris on the ground. If your extension cord has been damaged in this way, then it should be replaced immediately before somebody gets hurt by it because it could short out and start a fire at any moment.
  • Material:
    • If it is made with poor quality materials then it can be dangerous. You should always ensure that the material used in making your cheap extension cord is made from high quality materials so that it can withstand any power surge or fluctuations in voltage levels in your house. If the material used is poor quality then there is a chance that it may cause damage to other electrical appliances in your house as well as cause fires as well.

Note also, that the color of extension cords has no meaning.

Are Extension Cords from Dollar Tree Safe?

Extension cords from Dollar Tree are safe to use if they’re used properly and not abused.

All extension cords have some risk of fire if they’re handled carelessly or used improperly because they carry electricity to your power tools and other devices.

You should never run an extension cord under carpets or rugs because this will increase the risk of overheating and fire due to friction between the cord and floor surface over time.

Are Extension Cords from Costco Safe?

Costco sells a variety of extension cords that are UL-listed and meet safety standards for use in the United States.

However, these cords may not meet your specific needs and may not work well in some situations. For example, a thin extension cord might overheat if you put too much strain on it.

The wires inside should be made of copper, which conducts electricity better than aluminum or steel. The plug should have three prongs and be designed for outdoor use.

The outer covering should be either rubber or vinyl (not plastic). And finally, basic instructions should be printed on the side of the packaging.

Look for cords with these and you will okay.

You can shop Costco even if you forgot your card.

Are Extension Cords from eBay Safe?

eBay is a great place to buy extension cords. They’re often much cheaper than buying them at a hardware store and they’re usually just as good.

However, there are some things you need to watch out for (as we’ve looked at) so that you don’t end up with a defective extension cord that could start a fire or cause an electrical shock.

Read on to learn more.

Are Extension Cords from Lowes Safe?

Lowe’s is another popular option for buying extension cords. However, the same problems exist with this brand as with the others: some are safe, some aren’t.

You never really know until you’ve tested it yourself or read customer reviews online.

Read our blog here about can extension cords trip breakers?

Are Extension Cords from China Safe?

This is where things get interesting! There’s a lot of debate about whether or not it’s safe to buy Chinese-made products for use in your home.

Some people say that it’s fine as long as you keep them away from moisture and children (which is good advice regardless of where it was made).

Others say that using anything made in China will cause problems eventually.

China is known for making cheap products that look like high-quality goods but aren’t really made well enough to be useful or safe. This is especially true when it comes to electronics such as televisions and computers but it also applies to non-electronic items like clothing and furniture as well.

In general, you should avoid buying extension cords online unless they’re UL listed — meaning that they’re certified as safe by Underwriters Laboratories (UL).

The only exception is if you know exactly what type of cord you need and can find it for less at an online retailer such as Amazon or Newegg than at your local hardware store or home improvement center.

What Are the Safest Places to Buy Extension Cords?

As far as the safest places to buy extension cords go, there are two main types: those sold in retail stores and those sold online through Amazon and other retailers.

Retailers like Home Depot or Lowe’s will sell extension cords with UL labels on them as well as ones without any safety certification at all.

These may be good options if you just need something basic or affordable but aren’t concerned about how safe it is for use around your home or office space.

Online retailers like Amazon also carry extension cords, but they usually offer higher quality products that have been tested by third parties like Underwriters Laboratories (UL) to ensure they meet certain safety standards before being sold online or in retail stores.


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