There is no doubt that most of us are familiar with the concept of power strips and extension cords. In addition to increasing the number of outlets, they also increase the distance between outlets.

Even though they appear to perform the same task, they differ in several ways.

In addition to the level of security they provide and the costs they charge, they are also distinguished by the number of devices they support, etc. It is also possible for their shapes and sizes to vary. Additionally, these two have different levels of flexibility regarding their use. This guide is all about extension cord vs. power strip in detail.

What is a power strip?

A power strip comprises a series of electrical sockets with a cable and plugs at each end. Multiple electrical devices can be powered by devices such as these in the same area, such as an entertainment room.

Power strips often come with a circuit breaker to prevent short circuits and power overloads. Some power strips have an automatic shut-off feature if the device or appliance is left unattended.

What is an extension cord?

These tools consist of long electrical cables with at least one plug on each end and one socket on each end. An extension cord extends a wall outlet farther away, allowing us to power our tools.

It is important to consider the length of an extension cord before purchasing it, and you can purchase them according to your needs. The longer the extension cord, the more power is required to run it to the appliance, which consumes more power.

Some cords are only 2 feet long, while others are over 30 feet long, and the longer the cord, the more power is consumed. It is not just the size of an extension cord that determines how much power it can safely carry; it is also the thickness of the wires inside. Power can be carried over longer distances with thicker wires.

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Be aware that extension cords should only be used temporarily; unplug them immediately when not in use, and do not leave them plugged into the wall socket.

Extension cord vs. power strip

·         Socket Variety

Different plugs can be plugged into a power strip, including USB ports, types of 2 or 3-pronged plugs, etc. There are USB ports, types of two-pronged and three-pronged plugs, and so on. An extension cable can only power one type of plug at a time.

It would help to consider these factors before choosing which one to buy for your needs.

·         The cost

The additional features of a power strip, along with the excessive number of sockets, make them more expensive than an extension cord. If you need to power only one device and are on a budget, you may consider using an extension cord.

·         Dimensions

An extension cord is a good option if you want a compact solution to extend your power supply. There are multiple sockets on a power strip, even up to ten at a time. Due to this, it tends to be considerably bulkier.

·         Keeping safe

In many cases, power strips come with a surge protector, ensuring the safety of your electrical appliances and devices. There are many reasons why electrical systems malfunction, including electrical surges. Extension cords cannot be equipped with such a feature. You may opt for a power strip if your outlet does not provide surge protection.

·         Amount of sockets

Power strips can support multiple devices, as they contain multiple outlets of various kinds, including USB ports to charge your phones and devices. But an extension cord usually only contains one single socket.

·         The flexibility of use

A master switch on power strips controls the power on the entire strip. For each separate socket, they might also provide an individual switch. In addition, it gives you a great deal of flexibility about what you want to run and what you don’t. Unfortunately, extension cords do not offer this flexibility.

The purpose of extension cords and power strips

There is often confusion between a power strip and an extension cord since many manufacturers design power strips with long cables. In spite of this, these accessories have a crucial difference in their uses.

  • A power strip is required if you want to expand the number of outlets from one power source.
  • An extension cord is required if you wish to reach distant appliances with a power source.
  • How to maintain the extension cord vs. power strip?
  • Visually inspect electrical cords, surge suppressors, and power strips before use. Power strips, surge suppressors, and cords that have been damaged must be thrown away. When cords are not protected, they are more likely to be damaged. When protecting a cord, there are several things to keep in mind. By following these steps, electrical shock and fire risks will be greatly reduced.
  • Make sure that flexible cords are not attached to building structures, such as walls and ceilings, using nails, tacks, zip ties, staples, or any other methods that could damage them.
  • Make sure flexible cords are not run through walls, ceilings, floors, windows, or over drop-down ceilings, carpets, rugs, or false floors. It is a fire code violation to keep the cord concealed from view, and it is impossible to verify its condition if it is kept hidden from view.
  • It is important to make sure that the temporary cords placed across walkways and circulation paths are protected by bridges and visible so that tripping cannot occur. It is less effective to use other methods, such as duct tape.
  • Electrical cords should never be placed in areas where vehicles will be driving or riding on them.
  • Make sure cords are not placed over sharp or abrasive surfaces.
  • Cords should never be kinked, knotted, or twisted.
  • Always grip the plug when disconnecting from an outlet. Pull the cord instead of the cord itself.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

How do extension cords and surge protectors differ?

You are only protected against power surges with surge protectors, not surge protectors and suppressors. Although power strips are often considered extension cords, they do not offer protection.

How do surge protectors and power strips differ?

Even though power strips are convenient, they don’t provide much protection. It is possible to find circuit breakers that act as both ON/OFF switches and circuit breakers. In many ways, a surge protector is similar to a power strip but adds a real layer of protection. This is what protects your laptop from power surges or spikes.

When it comes to power strips, how long do they last?

It is not uncommon for a power strip to last for only three years. There is no specific lifespan because it depends on several factors. There are several factors to consider, including where you live, how many appliances you plug in daily, how much power they use, and whether surge protection is included.

How do cheap surge protectors compare to expensive ones?

Cheap surge protectors don’t work well, if at all, and may even cause more harm than good in the long run. It’s fair to say that surge protectors all perform the same basic function of absorbing excessive voltage to prevent damage to your electronics.