The best overall extension cord for EV charging is the Lectron J1772 extension cord. It has an IP rating of 66 and includes silver plating inlets, which reduce heat build-up and reduces voltage drop.
- Durable construction
- High amperage rating
As one of the USA’s leading EV charging specialists, we will look at every aspect of extension cords for EV charging so you can make an informed and safe decision on which extension cord to buy.
We will examine the different cable gauges and why that is important, as well as whether you can use conventional extension cords and the different types of plugs involved and which is better, plus a whole lot more.
Best NEMA 14-50 Extension Cords For EV Charging
While the J1772 extension cord is the better option for charging your EV, some good NEMA 14-50 extension cords are also available, and these are great for Teslas too!
1️⃣ The CAMCO 50 Amp 30Ft (55195) Outdoor Extension Cord
This product is rated top because CAMCO has been making these types of products for a good number of years now, and they understand the requirements for EV and outdoor extension cords, demonstrating that perfectly.
This is a 50 amp cable that is more than sufficient for 240V fast charging with a level 2 charger and also has a thick 6-gauge copper cable, while the casing is made from heavy-duty weatherproof PVC.
It also features a locking electrical adapter making plugging and unplugging easy. The carry straps allow for convenient transport and storage, and it is also certified for use in the USA and Canada and is available below:
- Durable construction
- High amperage rating
- Heavy and bulky
2️⃣ Ceptics GN-CD NEMA 14-50 Extension Cord
Another very good option is the extension cord from Ceptics. This product is available in several lengths, from 10ft to 25 ft and 50ft, so that you can buy the perfect length cable for your needs.
This cable is also rated at 50 amps and is UL safety rated, and while it only has a limited lifetime warranty, the cable is sturdy and solid.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t come with a carrier or holder, making it awkward to transport and roll up.
The cable is only 8-gauge, so this is thinner than the CAMCO product, and the 50ft version of this product is more expensive than the CAMCO product of the same length.
However, the manufacturer rates this cord safe for use with Tesla EV models 3, S, X, and Y. This extension cord would also be viable with other outdoor and extension applications.
These extension cords can connect to the Tesla chargers with the NEMA 14-50 adapter for Level 2 charging.
Best NEMA 5-15 10-Gauge Extension Cords For EV Charging
In some cases, you may need the extension cord to connect to a NEMA 5-15 outlet. So you would also require an extension adapter to connect to the charging station.
- Molded plug with copper-coated wiring
- Flame retardant
- STW indoor/outdoor water-resistant jacket
The extension cord should be a thicker gauge cable for the higher current if you use a level 2 charger.
While a regular outlet is 110/120V, the level 2 chargers would be 240V and running up to 40 A or 50A, so the 10-gauge cable is preferable for this purpose.
These extension cords are also for heavy-duty applications like powering RVs, larger heaters, power tools, and EVs.
Let’s look at the best 10-gauge extension cords for EV charging.
1️⃣ AWG Coleman / Southwire Extension
This extension cord is 100ft long, and with 10-gauge wiring, it is an ideal product to use where your EV has parked some distance from your charging outlet.
The vinyl jacket is a bright yellow and is resistant to oil, weather, scratches, and grease, but more importantly, this product is UL certified, and that’s worth the $137 price tag.
The product is now owned and made by Coleman’s sister company Southwire, and they have improved the ground wire gauge to allow for better current flow.
2️⃣ Flexzilla Pro 10-Gauge Extension Cord
This is a monster of an extension cord; if you need something super tough and durable, this is the cord you want in a 10-gauge extension cord.
It is more expensive than the Coleman/Southwire but is also 100ft long and can operate in temperatures as low as -58oF up to 168oF.
The SJTW jacket is superbly rugged, durable, heat and fire resistant, and weather, oil, and grease resistant, making this an ideal extension cord in more demanding climate conditions.
Colored in ‘Zilla’ green and with a power ‘lit’ LED indicator, you will always know when this cord is live, whether by day or night, and the improved grounded circuit adds to the safety aspect for better peace of mind.
Best J1772 Extension Cords For EV-Specific Charging
While you can use the NEMA 14-50 extension cords for your EV using the 14-50 adapter. If you don’t, here are some of the best extension cords using the J1772 connector that is, in fact, the best option for EV charging.
Many Tesla owners opt for the J1772 extension cords as they often offer several adapters to allow use with a wide variety of EVs.
As a rule, the J1772 extension cords tend to have higher current performance ratings and greater protection against overheating, overcurrent, and overvoltage.
Therefore, this should be the first choice for using a J1772 over a NEMA 14-50.
1️⃣ Lectron J1772 40ft Extension Cord
Lectron is a reputable tech company, and their experience has delivered a superb quality J1772 extension cable that delivers on every aspect for fast, efficient, and safe EV charging.
One of the key features not offered by the other products listed here is the silver plating that increases conductivity and lowers friction and heat in the cables.
Available in 20ft and 40ft options and made from ABS and rated IP66, this extension cord is compatible with Level 1 and Level 2 chargers with a maximum input current rating of 40A.
The charging handle is super-durable and designed for heavy-duty use, and Lectron back that up with a one-year warranty.
2️⃣ Lefanev J1772 20ft Extension Cord
This 20ft J1772 extension cord is ideal for short-distance extensions to your EV and, at $165, is an affordable but durable option for most Evs and has a rating of 40A and can handle up to 250V for Level 2 chargers.
The charger itself is made from ABS, making it impact resistant, and the IP66 rating allows for usage in all kinds of weather conditions as it has good resistance to dust and water ingress.
It is lightweight at just 5.5 lbs and is ideal for carrying in your trunk, whether for home, work, or a drive-in charging station.
3️⃣ Mustart 20ft J1772 20ft 40A Extension Cord
This is another recommended product and a better option if you use your extension cord outdoors. It has an IP67 rating, the highest of the three products listed here, and will work for Level 1 and Level 2 chargers.
While it has a 40A rating ad and a sturdy enough design, this product would not be ideal for heavy wear and tear environments.
This is another lightweight and flexible EV extension cord weighing in at just under 10 lbs and is flexible enough to store in your trunk for easy charging.
Why Would You Need An Extension Cord For EV Charging?
The most common reason people look to utilize extension cords would be when the electric car is either not in a garage or driveway and has to be parked on the street.
This happens when people switch to an electric vehicle from a gas vehicle and are now faced with the challenge of charging it.
Fortunately, EV manufacturers have come to the party and created several extension cable options for EV owners – both Tesla and non-Tesla – to allow for charging at a distance.
Still, before you rush out and buy an extension cable, there are some facts you need to be aware of.
What Are The Charger Levels For EVs?
There are three levels of car chargers for EVs, and it’s important to understand the specific differences between them so you know the risks involved when considering an extension cord.
- Level 1 is the slowest’ trickle’ type charger and uses your home’s standard electrical outlet and 110/120V 10A supply.
- Level 2 uses a 240V 40A/50A supply that can also be hardwired.
- Level 3 is the 480V DC commercial supply which you would only find at commercial charging stations.
With each of these levels, the amperage changes, and this is where the type of extension cord you use makes a big difference to charging efficiency and safety.
Not All EV Charging Extension Cords Are Equal
You need to think about electric current like water moving through a pipe. The narrower the line, the higher the water pressure and the lower the water volume, while wider pipes allow more water to flow through them at a higher rate with lower pressure.
The same applies to electric current moving through extension cords. Your typical home extension cord would use a 14 or 16-gauge cable, which is thin and designed to work with home appliances like hair dryers, washing machines, and kettles.
These appliances will draw a lower current level than the rated 10-amps, so the extension cord can safely carry the power supply to and from the appliance without overheating.
But, when you add an electric vehicle to this outlet using a standard extension cord, the current draw is much higher and can reach and stay at the 10 amp maximum level for hours on end.
This creates friction within the cable and heat, which lowers the electric flow, slows the charging rate, and increases the risk of meltdown, short circuit, and fire.
When you have an extension cord for EV charging specifically designed for this purpose, the gauge of the wire is much thicker, allowing for much faster EV charging.
These cords use 10 gauge cables and have added water and dust protection to prevent fire, short circuits, and overheating.
When looking for the best options on extension cords for EV charging, I recommend you only look for those specifically designed for this purpose so that your EV will charge quickly and safely.
J1772 Or NEMA 14-50 For EV Charging
In the USA, there are several different types of EV charging connectors, provided they are installed and used safely; both are equally efficient for charging your EV.
The NEMA 14-50 is a common extension plug wired for 240v 50 amps and is used to drive heavy appliances such as stoves and welders.
While rated at 50 amps, this socket will only continually draw a maximum of 40 amps on an EV charger.
NEMA has the 14-50 and 6-50 options available, and the 6-50 is growing in popularity as it is cheaper than the 14-50.
Remember that while these sockets and plugs were designed for conventional heavy-duty electrical appliances, NEMA 14-50 and 6-50 level 2 chargers are very efficient when charging an EV but not as solid as the J1772 configuration.
The J1772 connector is made from rugged and durable materials that can handle the additional levels of current that occur with EV charging.
Of course, it’s also about the cable quality, so a 10-gauge extension cord with a NEMA plug would be much better than a conventional NEMA extension cord.
Where possible, we recommend the J1772 configuration, and if you have a Tesla, most suppliers offer the J1772 Tesla adapter that clicks into the end of the socket so you can use it to charge your Tesla.
The table below shows the differences between the NEMA 14-50 and the J1772 for EV charging.
|Characteristics||J1772 Extension Cord||NEMA 14-50 Extension Cord|
|Safety||Overheating, Overcurrent, and Overvoltage protection||None|
|Maximum Rated Current||80A||50A|
|Plug Pins||5 – Hot, ground, neutral + control pilot and proximity sensor||4 – Neutral, ground, hot, hot|
|Wire Gauge Weight||10 Gauge / heavier||14/16 gauge lighter|
|Usage application||EV Charging specifically||General electrical extension|
By comparing the two extension cord options, you can see that you will be better off with the J1772 extension cord if you use one.
Because these cables are designed specifically for EV charging, they incorporate more robust design and safety elements than NEMA cables.
While the 14-50 NEMA cords would work, rather invest a little more and get an extension cord that will perform properly on all fronts.
What Makes A Good NEMA 14-50 Extension Cord For EV Charging?
When looking for a NEMA 14-50 extension cord, some factors will influence which product you should buy.
Remember that when using high-current products with a risk of fire or electrocution, you need to consider sacrificing cost for safety.
When evaluating a NEMA 14-50 extension cable for your EV, you need to look at the following:
- Technical specs (wire gauge / current rating)
- IP Rating
- Handle comfort
- Cable stiffness
When it comes to Level 2 EV charging, you must remember that the current carried in these cables is much higher than in your home circuits, and where you have a 240V outlet, that is double the standard 110V/120V domestic supply.
Most chargers use 32A/40A/ 48A or even 50A current, so you need to be sure that the cable thickness can safely handle this current for the charging time.
A thinner gauge cable means that the cable’s friction and heat will build up, which can reduce charging efficiency and risk melting, short circuits, and fire.
As a rule, you should have at least 10 gauge thick cable. Think about electric current like water- the wider pipe flows through, the more water can flow and the lower the pressure will be.
When you have thinner pipes with the same water volume, the pressure is higher, and if the pipe has any weak points, the water pressure will slowly erode that point until it breaks, and then it will leak through – the same principle applies to electric current.
Is The Extension Cable Certified?
It is always better to ensure that any electrical product you buy is safety certified.
Check the packaging and specs for the UL certification for extension cords for EV charging.
This means that your product has been quality tested for compliance and is safe to use.
Extension Cable Length
When it comes to the length, ensure you know how long the cord needs to be before you buy it.
You don’t want it to arrive and find you don’t have enough length on the cable to reach your EV, and you either have to return it for a longer one or add another extension cable.
Having two extension cables is not recommended as it increases the friction and is more at risk for fire or shorts and being accidentally pulled or tripped over.
So measure the distance you need from your charging outlet to your EV and make sure you buy the correct length.
If your EV is parked in the street and you need an extremely long extension cable, buy two of the same ones.
Or, if you are going to use a conventional extension, get one that has the same wire thickness as the EV charging cable and that both are weatherproof or have a high IP rating.
The IP rating is especially important if you use your extension cable outside. For outdoor lines, you need a rating of at least IP66 or IP67, as this offers the most protection against dust and water.
It is preferable to have the same IP rating for indoor cables too, so you have maximum protection and can use the cable outdoors without having to buy a separate one should you decide to charge your EV outside.
Handle Comfort And Cable Stiffness
This extension cord will require heavy-duty usage, so the holder has to be solidly built to handle the cable weight and general wear and tear.
Cable stiffness is another factor, and while thick gauge cables will be stiffer than thinner ones, you don’t want a cable that takes huge muscle power to roll it up or out, so test that cable before you buy and make sure it’s manageable.
Brand Quality Matters
Finally, buying a NEMA 14-50 cable made by a reputable brand is important.
Of course, doing your research first is important before buying, and while there are many products available, be picky with the brand you choose.
Many manufacturers recommend or endorse compatible, safe, and efficient brands with their EVs. Before committing to a purchase, you can always check product reviews, return policies, warranties, and technical specs.
Can I Charge My EV Using An Extension Cord?
Yes, you can, but make sure the application rates the cord you use. Level 1 chargers can use a normal extension cord. So if you have a Level 2 charger, ensure that the extension cord you choose is rated for 240V and 40A.
Can You Plug Your EV Into Your Dryer Outlet?
Yes, you can use the dryer outlet, as this is a 240V supply. Depending on the type of outlet the dryer has, you may need an adapter, which would be a Level 2 charger. Hence, using the correct specification of an extension cord is essential for optimum charging and safety.
📝 Related article: Can I charge my Tesla with the dryer outlet?
Is It Better To Hardwire Or Plug In An EV Charger?
It is always better to hardwire an EV charger, but this will cost more upfront. With a dedicated circuit and GFCI breaker, this is the safest and fastest way to charge an EV.
There are essentially 3 combinations you have available when using extension cords for EV charging:
1️⃣ When you need to plug the extension into a 240v wall outlet and connect the charging station to the female receptacle – Use a NEMA 14-50 extension cord.
2️⃣ Plugging the extension cable into a regular 120v outlet will require an additional NEMA 14-50 adapter to make the connection to the charger complete – Use a NEMA 5-15 extension cord.
3️⃣ If the charging station is plugged in or hardwired at the 240v outlet, use an EV-specific J1772 extension cable to reach from the charger to your EV.
As you can see, the J1772 is the better option by far when it comes to using an extension cord for EV charging.
While they may be limited to lengths, they are still the best suited for the job in terms of safety and efficiency, and that’s really what you want from your EV extension cord!