What gauge extension cord for refrigerator?

What gauge extension cord for refrigerator?


When it comes to using an extension cord for a refrigerator, it is crucial to select the appropriate gauge to ensure the safe and efficient operation of the appliance. Using an extension cord with the wrong gauge can lead to voltage drops, overheating, and potential damage to the refrigerator. In this article, we will explore the factors to consider and provide guidance on choosing the right gauge extension cord for your refrigerator.

Understanding Extension Cord Gauges

Extension cords are available in various gauges, which determine the amount of electrical current they can safely handle. The gauge of an extension cord is inversely proportional to its thickness, meaning that a lower gauge number indicates a thicker cord capable of carrying more current. Common extension cord gauges include 16, 14, 12, and 10, with 10 being the thickest.

Refrigerator Power Requirements

Before selecting an extension cord, it is important to understand the power requirements of your refrigerator. Most household refrigerators operate on a standard 120-volt electrical system and draw around 6 to 8 amps of current. However, it is advisable to check the refrigerator’s user manual or the manufacturer’s specifications to determine the exact power requirements.

Choosing the Right Gauge Extension Cord

To ensure the safe and efficient operation of your refrigerator, it is recommended to choose an extension cord with a gauge that can handle the refrigerator’s power requirements. As a general rule of thumb, a 14-gauge extension cord is suitable for most refrigerators. This gauge is capable of carrying up to 15 amps of current, providing a sufficient power supply for the appliance.

However, if your refrigerator is located far away from the power outlet or if you need to use a longer extension cord, it is advisable to opt for a thicker gauge to compensate for the potential voltage drop over longer distances. In such cases, a 12-gauge extension cord would be a better choice as it can handle up to 20 amps of current.

Additional Considerations

While selecting the appropriate gauge extension cord is crucial, there are a few additional factors to consider for the safe use of the refrigerator:

Cord Length: Avoid using excessively long extension cords as they can result in voltage drops and reduced power supply to the refrigerator. If possible, position the refrigerator closer to the power outlet or consider installing a new outlet closer to the appliance.

Cord Quality: Ensure that the extension cord is of high quality and in good condition. Look for cords with a UL (Underwriters Laboratories) or ETL (Intertek) certification mark, indicating that they meet safety standards.

Overloading: Do not overload the extension cord by connecting multiple high-power appliances to it. This can lead to overheating and potential fire hazards. It is recommended to use a separate extension cord for each appliance.


Choosing the right gauge extension cord for your refrigerator is essential to ensure its safe and efficient operation. A 14-gauge extension cord is generally suitable for most refrigerators, but if you need to use a longer cord or have specific power requirements, opting for a thicker gauge, such as 12, is advisable. Always prioritize safety and consider the additional factors mentioned above to prevent any potential hazards.


– homedepot.com
– lowes.com
– consumerreports.org