By Craig Lloyd, HowToGeek.com, April 25, 2017 

Extension cords are one of the most common household items, but there are many different kinds of extension cords built for different purposes.

Here’s what you should know about extension cords and when they can and can’t be used.

The Different Gauges (aka AWG)

The wires inside an extension cord come in all different thicknesses, which is denoted as “gauge”. It’s also sometimes referred to as “AWG”, which stands for American Wire Gauge. However, don’t get this confused with the actual thickness of the cord itself (though the thicker the gauge, the thicker the cable, to an extent). Instead, gauge refers to the thickness of the wires inside the extension cord.

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