Have you ever used an extension cord for charging your electric vehicle? If the answer is no, you are either worried about the safety potential of connecting your charging cord to an extension lead or have never parked in a spot that was too far away from the charging station for your cable to reach. In any case, having the best extension cord for charging electric cars on hand can lessen your anxiety about charging your vehicle during suboptimal situations.
Whether you own an electric vehicle or are planning to buy one, this blog will address your pressing concerns about how to select an extension lead for charging an electric car.
However, before discussing the best options on the market, let’s talk about the biggest question most electric vehicle owners may have: do I even need to buy an extension cable?
Should You Buy an Extension Cord to Charge an Electric Car?
Almost all-electric vehicle manufacturers caution buyers against using extension cords to charge their cars. This is because most of the extension leads available in the market are not designed to charge vehicles.
However, if you drive your electric car pretty regularly, you may encounter a situation where you have difficulty reaching a charging station or a power outlet – no matter how close you can park your car.
Since less-than-suitable conditions require innovative solutions, having access to an appropriate extension cord can help you save time on finding another charging station.
So, the short answer to the question is yes. It would be best to consider buying an extension lead for charging an electric car. But the long answer is that you should be very careful about which product you choose.
Since a low-quality extension cord increases the risk of an electrical fire, please make sure to invest in high-capacity extension cords that are not likely to overheat and pose a threat to your car, the charging station, and everyone else in the vicinity.
Is It Safe to Use an Extension Cord to Charge an Electric Car?
Most extension cables available at the local hardware stores are meant for appliances that require much lower current than electric vehicles. So, suppose you were to pick a regular extension cord and use it to charge your electric car.
In that case, the device will most likely not supply sufficient current and eventually begin to overheat, damaging the insulation on the wires. If that happens, you could potentially be at risk of starting an electrical fire.
Unfortunately, most high-capacity extension cords are also not designed to handle high amperes for the duration it may take to charge an electric car fully.
Therefore, if you are looking to buy an extension cable for charging your vehicle, here are a few things you must keep in your mind:
Even higher capacity cords are not made to be used for the length of time it can take to fully charge your electric vehicle, leading to overheating and potential charging issues.
- Only choose heavy-duty extension cables with high gauge
- Ensure the charging current is below the assigned rating for the power socket.
- Ensure there are no issues with power outlet wiring that may pose a fire hazard.
- Keep away from cords that are broken or frayed.
- Please never use defective power outlets. If the outlet in your garage is old, consider getting it replaced.
- Keep an eye on the power outlet and extension cord to ensure neither gets too hot.
- Refrain from using extension cords that are too long.
What is the Right Cord to Charge an Electric Car?
The former is deemed ideal for charging electric vehicles, particularly Tesla. Meanwhile, the latter is popular because it is compatible with the commonly installed NEMA L6-20 power outlets.
Here are a few things you must know about both types of extension cords:
Application: The J1772 extension cord is designed to charge electric vehicles, whereas NEMA 14-50 is a universal extension cable meant for light-duty applications.
Maximum Current: J1772 extension cable can handle up to 80 amperes of electricity, while NEMA 14-50 can handle up to 50 amperes.
Number of Pins: J1772 extension lead has five pins. On the other hand, NEMA 14-50 has four.
Safety Feature: J1772 extension cable boasts overheat, overvoltage, and overcurrent protection features. Meanwhile, a NEMA 14-50 cord may overheat if used for prolonged periods.
Price: J1772 extension lead is slightly more expensive than NEMA 14-50.
Weight: J1772 extension cord is also heavier than its counterpart.
Please note that it is mandatory to install NEMA 14-50 with a Ground Fault Circuit Interceptor, more commonly referred to as GFCI.
On the other hand, almost all the latest electric vehicles feature a GFCI breaker, which essentially means the two can trip each other.
So, even if you leave your car plugged in for the required amount of time, there is a chance the charging session might stop in the middle, making NEMA 14-50 an undependable option.
Moreover, NEMA outlets are generally of lower quality. Therefore, they might begin to melt or malfunction after charging electric vehicles – which pull maximum amperes – continuously for several months.
That being said, if you are only planning to use these extension cords occasionally for short periods, they might be a good, budget-friendly option.
On the other side of the coin, J1772 extension cords are made for charging electric vehicles. It means they can handle high currents and deliver sufficient power.
These connectors are more suitable for wall-mounted chargers, making them an ideal option for those driving Tesla, as the leading electric car manufacturer does not offer a charging adapter compatible with NEMA outlets anymore – at least in North America.
However, if you live in a condo, installing a Level 2 wall-box charger for your car outside your home may require permission from the homeowner association. In such situations, using a NEMA 14-50 connector may be your only option.
Now that we know the differences between J1772 and NEMA 14-50 extension cords, let’s look at the top options for both.
The Best J1772 Extension Cords for Charging an Electric Car
Looking for the best extension cord for charging electric cars? Here are the most suitable J1772 cables you must know about.
1. Lectron J1772 Extension Cable
The Lectron J1772 Extension Cable is considered an excellent solution for charging your electric vehicle when it is parked too far away from a charging station.
This heavy-duty cable is compatible with both Level and Level 2 chargers. Moreover, it supports up to 40 amperes of current and features a 20-foot outdoor cable for easy connectivity.
That’s not all. This charging accessory is highly durable. It is manufactured from high-quality ABS plastic, features an inlet with silver plates for enhanced conductivity, has a waterproof design, and is not likely to overheat. To top it all off, buying this extension cord will not put a dent in your wallet.
- Reasonably priced
- Capacity to handle higher current
- Durable and waterproof
- Resistant to overheating
- Relatively short warranty period
Since it is compatible with all J1772 electric car chargers, Lectron J1772 Extension Cable is easily one of the best choices on the market.
2. MUSTART J1772 Extension Cord
Has your garage been taken over by old boxes, shelves, and other stuff that has made it impossible for your charger to reach the power outlet? If your answer is yes, you should consider investing in MUSTART J1772 Extension Cord.
It is a 20-foot outdoor extension cable that is known for being extremely flexible. It is also lightweight, making it easy to store, access, and carry.
In addition, this extension cable has a 40-ampere rating and comes with cover caps on both ends for added protection.
If you are looking for a sturdy and waterproof connector that won’t be affected by external elements or harsh weather conditions, MUSTART J1772 Extension Cord is one of your safest bets.
- Resistant to water.
- Comes with a portable bag.
- Relatively lightweight.
- Flexible and sturdy.
- Materials may not be as durable.
MUSTART J1772 Extension Cord may not be as durable as Lectron J1772 Extension Cable, but it has a higher water resistance level and is comparatively lightweight.
3. LEFANEV J1772 Extension Cord
The LEFANEV J1772 Extension Cord is also a valuable addition to our list of the best extension cords for charging electric vehicles.
It has been designed to meet or exceed the original SAE J1772 safety specifications, which means you can use it to charge your electric car with complete peace of mind.
Moreover, it comes with a 20-foot cord that allows you to plug your car into the charging station with enhanced convenience.
The LEFANEV J1772 Extension Cord also features a silver-plated inlet that ensures better conductivity and prevents overheating.
In addition, it can handle a 40-ampere current, is resistant to water, and made from high-strength material that adds significantly to its lifespan.
- Lightweight extension cord
- Cleaner and more aesthetically pleasing
- Relatively less durable
The LEFANEV J1772 Extension Cord is a fairly good product. However, it doesn’t boast additional safety features like the other two aforementioned devices.
The Best NEMA 14-50 Extension Cords for Charging an Electric Car
If you are in the market for an ideal extension lead for charging an electric car, these are some of the top NEMA 14-50 cables you may want to consider.
1. Camco 55542 NEMA 14-50 Extension Cord
It is a budget-friendly and highly functional NEMA 14-50 extension cord that provides sufficient length to charge your electric car from a distant charging station.
Camco 55542 has a 25-foot cable that boasts a heavy-duty coating that is resistant to fire, water, dirt, harsh weather conditions, and general wear and tear. It is also a perfect option for powering RVs and boats.
One of the best things about the Camco 55542 extension is its 50-ampere plug and 50-ampere locking connector.
Moreover, it offers a patented power grip handle that ensures easy plugging and unplugging into the charging station. Since the cable is made of 100% copper, it will last for a long time.
- High-quality and sturdy materials
- Reasonably priced product
- High conductivity and current capacity
- Comes with an adjustable cord organizer
- Not designed specifically to charge electric cars
Besides the fact that Camco 55542 extension cord is not specifically made for electric vehicles, the product contains no major flaws or defects.
In fact, it is one of the best heavy-duty NEMA extension cables on the market.
2. Ceptics GN-CD NEMA 14-50 Extension Cord
Featuring a weather-resistant coating, Ceptics GN-CD-16A-50 Ft 50-Amp Auto EV Extension Cord is designed for charging electric vehicles.
It is also a UL-listed product that has met all applicable safety standards and has been verified by a third party.
According to the manufacturer, the extension cord can handle 50 amperes, making it a great choice for most Tesla models – including Tesla S, X, and Y.
Additionally, Ceptics GN-CD Extension Cord comes with a heavy-duty cable that is reasonably flexible, allowing you to coil and store it in the trunk of the car.
The company also offers a limited lifetime warranty to ensure electric car owners can buy their product without worrying about its lifespan or functionality.
You can buy this extension cord in 10 feet, 25 feet, and 50 feet varieties.
- Highly weather-resistant
- Several options for length
- Comes with a limited lifetime warranty
- Relatively stiff extension cord
- Inconvenient grip handle
- Slightly premium-priced
It is a fairly reasonable option for those looking to buy NEMA 14-50 extension cords that have been particularly designed for charging electric vehicles. However, it is a little costly.
Related elctric car articles:
- How to Make Your Battery Last a Long Time
- What to Do When Your Electric Car Runs Out of Charge?
- Electric Car or Gas Car: Which is a Better Option?
- Why You Shouldn’t Purchase an Electric Car
- Electric Cars vs Hybrid Cars
Our Final Thoughts
Buying an extension cord to charge your electric car is not a bad idea – as long as you do your research, pay attention to the ratings on the charging outlets, and use a high-quality cable that won’t overheat or catch fire after being plugged in for a few hours.
It is also important to note that the options mentioned above are meant to be used as extension leads and do not serve the function of electric car chargers.
So, if you are looking for the best extension cord for charging electric cars, we suggest you weigh the pros and cons of top NEMA 14-50 and J1772 extension cables to make a well-informed decision.
My name is Matthew, staying in Seattle, Washington. Electric Vehicles (Electric Cars & Electric bikes) caught my attention for the last few years and my love for electric cars and bikes is everlasting. I spend many of my weekends traveling to various places all over various cities with my electric vehicle (e-bike and electric car). Here I am sharing my expertise, experience, and invaluable information about electric cars and electric bikes. Check out more.