Originally Posted by brad12kx
"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.
I agree with you there Brad it is brutal how many times you see an 18 ga extension cord. 16 is bad enough. I honestly don't even like 14 especially if you start getting any distance in the cord. Where I work we wire all 15A circuits with 12 ga, just a standard they decided on and it is a good one. Now in future when like microwaves are drawing more easy to switch the 15 breaker to a 20 and change out the receptacle and good to go. Most cords you will buy will be 16 or 18 and I don't know how they are allowed on the market.