Originally Posted by Excoastie
good point, but all extension cords should be at least 14 gauge wire. I'm a little rusty, but I think the electric code requires a minimum of 14 gauge for all 120V circuits, this should be good for most 15 amp applications
"Should be" - I agree 1000%!
As I look at extension cords everywhere from WalMart to NAPA, most are 16ga and many are 18ga!
IMO this should NOT be allowed and should be minimum 14ga so the cord can safely handle the full load of the electrical circuit right to the point the breaker trips.
All cords (3 wire) will have the wire size marked on the outside about every 3' or so. It will be something like '14/3'. This indicates gauge/# of conductors.
If you find one marked 12/3, you have a portable cord that will handle anything your standard electrical outlet can throw at it AND is a great source of 12ga wire which will comfortably handle 20 Amps.